The New International Encyclopædia/Hussites
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HUSSITES. The followers of John Huss (q.v.). Honoring him as a martyr, about 450 Bohemian nobles formed a league, protesting against the action of the Council of Constance which had condemned Huss to be burned, and bidding defiance to decrees of bishops and the Pope. The symbol of their confederacy was the cup, the use of which in the Lord's Supper they extended to the laity, as had already been done with the approbation of Huss. King Wenceslas of Bohemia was constrained to grant them the use of many churches. After his death (August, 1419) the majority refused to recognize as King his brother, the Emperor Sigismund (q.v.), who had broken his safe-conduct given to Huss. The so-called Hussite wars followed. For eight years (1420-27) the Hussites, led by their generals Ziska (q.v.) and Procopius (q.v.), were victorious against the forces sent against them by the Emperor and the Pope, and in 1429 and 1430 they carried terror into the countries of Germany bordering on Bohemia. Convents and churches were reduced to ashes, and priests and monks were slain. From the beginning the Hussites had included two parties — the more conservative, called Calixtines (q.v.), or Utraquists, more in sympathy with the Church, and hoping for an ultimate reconciliation, and the radical, called Taborites (q.v.), who went much further in rejecting doctrines and practices of the Church. A third faction, intermediate between the two, called Orphans, also developed. In 1431 the Council of Basel (q.v.) undertook to conciliate the Hussites, and succeeded in coming to an agreement with the Calixtines by the ‘Compactata of Prague’ in 1433, after which the latter acknowledged Sigismund as King and made peace with the Church. The Taborites and Orphans were completely defeated in a battle near Böhmischbrod, May 30, 1434, and soon disappeared as a political power, but continued to exist as the Bohemian Brethren (q.v.).