FROM IMPRISONED EMBEZZLER TO COMMANDER.THE APPOINTMENT OF JOSEPH PRIAMI TO COMMANDER OF BRATISLAVA, 1663
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The author of this study focused on the new strategic situation after the fall of Nové Zámky (September 1663). The loss of the fortress, which had a high importance in the defence of the fore-field of Vienna, caused extreme panic in the military and political leadership of the Habsburgs. Although the difficult terrain did not favour the Ottoman armies that might attack Vienna from this direction, the possibility of such an action could not be ruled out. Bratislava with its completely outdated defence system needed to be reinforced. Montecuccoli proposed Colonel Joseph Priami to this position. Previously he had worked at the fortifications of Prague and had a significant experience as a field officer. The Emperor assigned Priami to be the commander of Bratislava. Priami also presented the plans of fortification, but these were not realized partly because of the usual financial difficulties, and partly because of the essential improvement in the strategic situation. However, in this otherwise usual story, the real curiosity is the person of Priami and his appointment to this responsible position. Priami’s past was far from being immaculate, he embezzled the pay and the recruiting money of his regiment, made dealings with the supply of his soldiers, left unpaid debts, and was imprisoned three times because of some of these crimes. At the same time, he tried to push forward himself at all times and everywhere in order to get ahead. The present study seeks to answer two questions: first, why a person with such an antecedent was placed in the above-mentioned important position, and secondly, to what extent Priami’s plans to strengthen Bratislava corresponded to the professional requirements and the current possibilities.
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