Poles & siege of Vienna

Vatican museum features a large painting by Jan Matejko, whose work I got to know well during my time in Krakow. Jan Matejko lived in the 19th Century in Krakow. His specialty was massive works depicting great moments in Polish history. Painting in Vatican shows Jan III Sobieski, one of the greatest Polish kings and his victory over the Turks at Vienna.

It was September 1683. The Turks had pushed to the gates of Vienna and were successfully laying siege. The triumph of the jihad seemed assured with the Turks continuing their 300 year conquest of eastern and central Europe. But then the Polish army crossed the Danube under King Jan Sobieski. Soon the Turkish army was fleeing back toward Constantinople. Its expansion finished, a true turning point in history. Never again would Europe face this kind of existential threat.

So the Polish King Jan III Sobieski helped save Europe from conquest by the armies of Islam and Pope John Paul II (Jan Pavel) helps save Europe from Soviet communism. Is there something about the name John or being Polish?

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