Franjo of Slunj
To be a man during hard times is a challenge that Franjo Frankopan Slunjski (1536-1572) would very gladly accept. This nobleman, ruler of Slunj and the surroundings, was destined the leading role during the bloodiest wars with the Ottoman conquerors. He was declared the Croatian war ‘ban’, called ‘With the Sword and Shield of the Remnants of Illyria’, and his serfs became his fellow soldiers. While he was alive, none of the fortresses of his family got into the hands of the Ottomans who attacked Slunj 13 times without any luck and the sultan regularly complained to the House of Habsburg about his behaviour. When his estate shrunk to only 20 serfs, he revoked the honour of being a ‘ban’ and started his only journey that was not motivated by war. At the start of December 1572, he left for Hungary where he should have married the daughter of one of the richest Hungarian noblemen. Half way to his love, the great warrior died in Varaždin from a poorly treated ulcer. A whole large wedding procession was mourning just like the Croatians and with their outlook in the fight against the Ottomans. In the hardest possible conditions, against all odds, Franjo Frankopan Slunjski managed to stay a man, a man larger than life.