Even more of those days:
In 1683, a vast Ottoman army camped outside the gates of Vienna. For centuries thereafter, the siege and final decisive battle that took place would be cast as a defining moment in a clash of civilizations — that time the forces of Islam were halted at the ramparts of Christendom.
Yet look just a little bit harder and that tidy narrative falls apart. The Ottoman assault had been coordinated in league with the French King Louis XIV. And perhaps more than half of the soldiers seeking to capture the Austrian capital were Christians themselves. There were Greeks, Armenians, Hungarians, Bulgars, Romanians, Serbs, all fighting alongside Arabs, Turks, Kurds, and others in the Ottoman ranks.
One of the main figures leading the Turkish charge was Imre Thokoly, a Protestant born in what’s now Slovakia who was an avowed Hungarian nationalist. Tens of thousands of Hungarian peasants who were angry at the rapacious behavior of the Catholic Church and the imperial Hapsburg dynasty in Vienna had rallied to Thokoly’s banner.
It reflected, writes British academic Ian Almond in his 2009 book, “Two Faiths, One Banner: When Muslims Marched With Christians Across Europe’s Battlegrounds,” how “little use terms such as ‘Muslim’ and ‘Christian’ are to describe the almost hopelessly complex web of shifting power-relations, feudal alliances, ethnic sympathies and historical grudges” that shaped much of European history.