Topics of coins

The Battle of Vienna

The Battle of Vienna in 1683 was in many respects a breakthrough in the history of Europe and one of the largest military operations for both its sides: the Ottoman Empire and the Polish-Imperial army. The Turks fielded an army of over 100,000 men (of whom approximately 65,000 actually fought in the battle), while the allied forces amounted to some 70,000 soldiers, including 27,000 Poles. The clash was a rare example of effective coordination between the large forces of the Empire and Poland. Commander-in-Chief Jan III Sobieski concentrated his troops close to the enemy’s forces and brought the Ottomans to a decisive battle, fought in accordance with the old Polish art of war, in which he defeated the enemy and freed Vienna, previously besieged for two months. The effective cooperation of Christians against the Ottomans was an event unprecedented in history — and one of the reasons for the success.

The victorious battle on 12 September 1683 saved the imperial capital, broke the fear of the Ottoman army and initiated an agreement between the neighbouring Christian states. As a result, a peace was made in 1699, liberating almost all of Hungary from the Turks, while Podolia and Right-Bank Ukraine, lost in 1672, returned to Poland. It was also the last victorious treaty the Commonwealth concluded before its downfall. It permanently normalised Polish-Turkish relations, ushering in good relations and friendship in the age of partitions.

The obverse of the gold coin bears an image of Jan III Sobieski, Commander-in-Chief at the Battle of Vienna. The king is depicted in right semiprofile, in Polish attire, in accordance with his image from the time. The reverse features hussars in gallop with their lances lowered for attack. The figures commemorate the decisive role of the charge of the Polish cavalry.

Dariusz Milewski

The obverse of the silver coin shows hussar wings, while the reverse — a stylised equestrian portrait of Jan III Sobieski as the victor, holding a standard in his left hand and a sabre in his right hand, knocking down the defeated enemies.

The image is modelled on the memorial plaque from 1883, put up on the wall of St Mary's Basilica in Kraków.