1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Prokop

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PROKOP, the name of two of the most prominent Hussite generals

1. Prokop, surnamed “Veliky” (the great) or “Holy” (the bald), was a married utraquist priest who belonged to an eminent family of citizens of Prague. Though a priest and continuing to officiate as such, he became the most prominent leader of the advanced Hussite or Taborite forces during the latter part of the Hussite wars. He was not indeed the immediate successor of Žižka as leader of the Taborites, as has been frequently stated, but he commanded the forces of Tabor when they obtained their great victories over the Germans and Romanists at Usti nad Labam (Aussig) in 1426 and Domažlice (Tauss) in 1431. He also acted as leader of the Taborites during their frequent incursions into Hungary and Germany, particularly when in 1429 a vast Bohemian army invaded Saxony and the territory of Nuremberg. The Hussites, however, made no attempt permanently to conquer German territory, and on the 6th of February 1430 Prokop concluded at Kulmbach a treaty with Frederick of Brandenburg, burgrave of Nuremberg, by which the Hussites engaged themselves to leave Germany. When the Bohemians entered into negotiations with Sigismund and the Council of Basel and, after prolonged discussions, resolved to send an embassy to the council, Prokop the Great was the most prominent member of this embassy, which reached Basel on the 4th of January 1433. When the negotiations there for a time proved resultless Prokop with the other envoys returned to Bohemia, where new internal troubles broke out. A Taborite army led by Prokop the Great besieged Plzeň, which was then in the hands of the Romanists. The discipline in the Hussite camp had, however, slackened in the course of prolonged warfare, and the Taborites encamped before Plzeň revolted against Prokop, who therefore returned to Prague. Probably encouraged by these dissensions among the men of Tabor, the Bohemian nobility, both Romanist and utraquist, formed a league for the purpose of opposing democracy, which through the victories of Tabor had acquired great strength in the Bohemian towns. The struggle began at Prague. Aided by the nobles, the citizens of the old town took possession of the more democratic new town, which Prokop unsuccessfully attempted to defend. Prokop now called to his aid Prokop “the Lesser,” who had succeeded him in the command of the Taborite army before Plzeň. They jointly retreated eastward from Prague, and their forces, known as the army of the towns, met at Lipan, between Kourim and Kolin, the army of the nobles (May 30, 1434). The Taborites were decisively defeated, and Prokop the Great perished in this battle.

2. Prokop “the Lesser,” or Prokupek (the Bohemian diminutive of the word Prokop), was one of the greatest Hussite generals. Little is known of his early life. He took part in all the later campaigns of Prokop the Great in Germany, and succeeded him as commander of the Taborite army that besieged Plzeň. After the formation of the confederacy of the nobles he was recalled by Prokop the Great, with whom he shared the command of the army of the towns at the fateful battle of Lipan, in which he also perished.

See Count Lutzow, Bohemia: A Historical Sketch; Palacky, History of Bohemia; Toman, Husitske Valečnictvi (Hussite Warfare).