Black Army of Hungary


Black Army of Hungary

The "Black Army" ("Black Legion or Host") - named after their black armor panoply - is in historigraphy the common name given to the excellent quality of diverse and polyglot military forces serving under the reign of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary.

It is recognized as the first standing continental European fighting force not under conscription and with regular pay since the Roman Empire. Hungary's "Black Army" traditionally encompasses the years from 1458 to 1490.

The core of the army consisted of 8-10 thousands of mercenaries (which later increased to 30,000), but its size doubled during the invasions. The soldiers were mainly Bohemians Germans Polish, and Hungarians joined as well from 1480. The main corps of the army were the infantry, artillery and light and heavy cavalry. The function of the heavy cavalry was to protect the light armored infantry and artillery, meanwhile the other corps inflicted random attacks on the enemy.

In 1458, Hungary had elected Mattyas Corvinus as its sovereign. His father was the renowned Hungarian regent , John Hunyadi. Due to the economic development of Hungary during Corvinus's reign, Hungary was able to muster a large professional army, unlike any other in Europe at the time.

The death of Matthias Corvinus meant the end of the "Black Army", because the weak Ladislaus II was not able to cover the costs of the army.


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