The Hussite Wars/Chapter 4

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The Bohemian historians, who wrote of the great civil war as contemporaries, all, not excepting Březova, adopted a strictly chronological method which makes the study of their works somewhat fatiguing. After reading an account of the beginning of the siege of some castle we find ourselves suddenly transferred to the “ἀγορά” or market-place of Prague, or to the university colleges, and read the account of a disputation on some abstruse question of theological dogma or ritual. A page or two further we return to accounts of warlike events. The patience of a modern reader would hardly tolerate such a system. I wish, therefore, to give here a brief account of the theological controversies which caused great discord and internal troubles, both in Prague and at Tábor, during the years 1421 and 1422. As noted in the last chapter it had been settled at the conference in the house of Zmrzlík that both the contending parties should send a written statement of their religious views within a month to Lord Ulrich of Jindřichův Hradec, who had presided at the conference, and to the burgomaster of the old town of Prague. The Táborite priests immediately drew up a lengthy document expounding their doctrine, and entrusted one of the most extreme members of their community, the priest Venceslas Koranda, whose name has already been mentioned, with the duty of presenting this paper to the Praguers. The danger of a new foreign invasion then again confronted the Bohemians, and it was certainly the duty of the Táborites to further concord among the Hussite parties. If they really had this duty at heart their choice of an envoy could not have been more unfortunate. Koranda expressed the wish to deliver his message at a general meeting of the citizens. In consequence of the feverish state of excitement that prevailed in the city, this would inevitably have led to riots and to bloodshed. The town-council, therefore, wisely prohibited the meeting. Koranda then declared that he would preach in the church of St. Mary-of-the-Snow, and there expound the teaching of the brethren of Tábor. When he arrived there unexpectedly the pulpit was occupied by Martin of Volyn, who had been a disciple of Hus. When Martin had ended his sermon, Koranda immediately addressed the congregation. He began by complaining of the conduct of the magistrates of Prague, who, he said, had attempted to prevent him from obtaining a hearing. He then discussed the question of vestments, which greatly interested a population then entirely absorbed by ecclesiastical controversies. He invoked the example of Jesus Christ to condemn the use of any but ordinary clothing during religious services and, speaking in a very menacing tone, added that the brethren would treat those men of high rank—he obviously referred to the Utraquist nobles—who attempted to defend the use of vestments by falsified Scriptural texts in the same fashion as other infidels who falsified Scripture.[1] These threats were unfortunately carried into execution afterwards. Koranda then left Prague, after having transmitted to the town-council an extensive paper expounding the religious views of the Táborites. The document was an amplification of the statements which Koranda had made in his sermon. Great stress was laid on the use of vestments, and Jesus was quoted as witness to prove that they were not only useless, but opposed to the teaching of the Gospel.[2] Koranda further affirmed, in the name of the community of Tábor, that it considered the ritual of the Catholic Church as founded, not on the traditions and decrees of Christ, but on the authority of popes and others belonging to a far later period.[3] The university of Prague, representing the Utraquist Church, replied in a very prolix document. This paper energetically defended the ritual of the Roman Church, which decreed the use of vestments, and it declared that he who despised his mother, the primitive Church, to whom the Saviour granted power upon earth inferior only to His own, was not only a publican and sinner, but was Satan himself. The lengthy document contained very numerous quotations; those from the Old Testament refer principally to the ritual of the Jews; even the distinct dress of the ancient Egyptian priests is adduced as an argument in favour of vestments. The principal statement is that all regulations of God, and those of the Holy Church which are not opposed to God’s law, and in particular the use of vestments, must be observed by the faithful.[4] These statements of the views of the two parties clearly show how great the distance between them had already become.

The community of Tábor and their allies in Prague, such as the priest John of Zělivo, were at that time carried away by an ultra-revolutionary current, and had it not been for Žižka both cities might have fallen into a state of complete anarchy.[5] It is but fair to note that this movement did not influence the entire Táborite clergy. There were many men among them who, holding extreme puritanical views, abhorred church ornaments and vestments, and differed from the Church of Rome in their doctrine concerning the Sacraments more widely than did the moderate Utraquists, but who were by no means visionaries, and ardently wished to maintain public order. The leader of these men was Nicholas of Pelhřimov, whom the Táborites had, in the autumn of the year 1420, chosen as bishop. For a time, however, the fanatics seemed to prevail, and as was natural in a country where religious controversies had become the predominant interest, the crimes and follies of these men were by their opponents imputed to the whole Táborite community. Almost immediately after Koranda’s sermon in Prague, the people of Tábor and of the neighbouring districts began to attack all those who publicly approved of the wearing of vestments by priests when celebrating mass. Some of these men were declared heretics and burnt alive by the populace. Among the Táborite priests whose fanaticism endangered public order was one Martin Houška, surnamed Loquis who, in, a more enlightened age, would deservedly have been confined in a lunatic asylum. He professed an insane and fanatical hatred of the Sacrament of Communion, and expressed his views in a repulsively blasphemous fashion. Probably by request of Žižka he was arrested by Lord Ulrich of Jindřichův Hradec, one of the Utraquist nobles. From his prison in Lord Ulrich’s castle he wrote to his friends at Tábor, begging to be allowed to expound his views there. Lord Ulrich granted him his liberty, probably thinking that he would there be punished by the members of his own community. At Tábor he recanted the opinions opposed to the teaching of that community which he had previously professed, but not believing himself to be safe there he attempted to fly to Moravia, which appears to have been his home. On his way he was arrested at Chrudim by the commander of the district, Bořek of Miletinek, one of the Utraquist generals. It is a curious proof of the universal interest in theological controversy at that period that the general himself examined Loquis on his views about Communion. They appeared to Miletinek so blasphemous that he struck Loquis on the face and ordered him to be burnt. The priest Ambrose of Králové Hradec, leader of the Orebite community, however, begged that the enthusiast should be entrusted to him, asserting that he would convert him from his erroneous views. After a few weeks the priest Ambrose declared “that he could do nothing with him.” He then had the wretched man, who well deserved the quiet of a cell in a lunatic asylum, conveyed to the castle of Roudnice, where the Archbishop of Prague, Conrad of Vechta, then resided. The archbishop consulted the citizens of Prague, and they appealed to Žižka, who was then practically the ruler of Bohemia. The great general was at that moment very much impressed by the internal troubles caused by religious fanatics, which appeared to endanger the future of the Hussite movement. He therefore declared that an example should be made, and suggested that Loquis should be burnt publicly on the market-place of Prague. The magistrates, knowing that the fanatic had many adherents in their city, declined to do this, fearing the outbreak of riots. They sent, however, an executioner to Roudnice, who, after having cruelly tortured Loquis and a companion who had followed him, burnt them alive in a barrel into which they had been thrust. It is a proof of the terrible ferocity which at that time was general, even among men of moderate views, such as Lawrence of Březova, that he should refer to the death of Loquis in the following words: “Let praise be given to God, who seized the wolves who attempted to invade His flock, and in a wondrous fashion repelled and destroyed them before they could taint the others.”[6] In consequence of the chiliastic prophecies which, since the year 1420, had been widely spread at Tábor, a feeling of recklessness prevailed among the people, and even the most absurd and anti-social theories found believers. The best known occurrence in connection with these religious excesses is the rise and fall of the so-called Adamites. The excesses of these obscene fanatics have very unfairly been used to discredit the whole Hussite movement, and even Pope Martin V did not hesitate to do so. As I have previously written[7] recent research has proved that the so-called Adamites had no connection whatever with Hussitism. The first mention of Adamites in Bohemia is contained in a letter[8] addressed to the Archbishop of Prague in the year 1409—before the death of Hus and long before the beginning of the Hussite movement—by the priest John of Chvojnov, in which he complains of the orgies which took place at night-time among his parishioners. He relates misdeeds very similar to those of which Březova, Æneas Sylvius, and their many copiers afterwards accused the Adamites. This letter undoubtedly contains the first mention of Adamites in Bohemia. That sect cannot in any way be connected with Hus, or even with extreme fanatics such as Loquis. It is probable that though religious insanity has, under various forms, existed at all periods, the direct forerunners of the Adamites were the so-called Turlupins in France. From France their doctrines penetrated to Austria early in the fourteenth century,[9] and they undoubtedly reached Bohemia from there in the first years of the fifteenth century. The attempt to connect the deeds of these fanatics with the actions of the brothers of Tábor was undoubtedly inspired by the writings of Březova, whose hatred of the Táborites was even intenser than his hatred of the adherents of the Church of Rome. It is sufficient to state that the doctrine of the Adamites did not originate in Bohemia, that it existed there before the time of Hus, and that it endured after the fall of Tábor. It is more correct to state, as does Dr. Nedoma, that the Adamite movement in that troubled period rose to the surface in consequence of the universal political and religious anarchy. According to Březova, who is almost our sole authority, but cannot be considered an impartial one, those who dwelt in Tábor divided into two parties, that of the Picards[10] and that of the Táborites; the more faithful (i. e. moderate) Táborite party expelled more then 200 people of both sexes from Tábor, and these, wandering through the hills and forests; reached such a degree of insanity that all, both men and women, walked in a state of complete nudity, saying that they were in a state of innocence, and that clothing had first been assumed because of the transgression of our first progenitors. Březova then proceeds to accuse the Picards or Adamites of incest and other horrible crimes, and declares that it is impossible to relate some of them. Žižka was inexorable in his treatment of these enemies of God’s law. On his return from Beroun to Tábor after one of his military raids he ordered fifty of these fanatics, belonging to both sexes, to be burnt in the neighbouring village of Klokot. Some of these fanatics had escaped from Tábor before Žižka arrived there, and had formed a settlement on an island in the River Nežárka near Časlav. Æneas Sylvius has given us a very unedifying account of their life there. They were attacked by Žižka in October 1421 and mercilessly exterminated.

Other less insane, but perhaps even more dangerous, fanatics also imperilled the Utraquist Church in the year 1421. Prominent among them was the priest John of Zělivo, who has already been mentioned. He was the leader of the advanced party among the citizens of Prague. In his sermons he constantly referred to the approaching Kingdom of Heaven, and opposed all temporal laws and regulations. Though he may himself have been a well-meaning man, his following consisted mainly of the most turbulent and violent citizens of the lowest class. These men caused constant riots in the city. Inflamed by the sermons of Priest John they expelled the Utraquist priests from their parish churches and established Táborite preachers in their places. Thus the rabble, headed by two Táborite preachers named Prokop[11] and Philipp, “fugitive monks and men of evil repute,” occupied the church of St. Peter on the Pořič, drove away the Utraquist preachers and established their two leaders in their stead. Similar events occurred in other churches in Prague.

When in July John of Zělivo accompanied the army and left Prague a temporary reaction took place. It is very characteristic of the social condition of Bohemia at the period of the Hussite wars that women took the lead in this movement. Several widows and other zealous women called many of their friends together, and walking in procession to the town-hall requested a hearing of the town-councillors. When they had been admitted, one of the women read out a letter, signed by all, which complained of the injustice with which the faithful priests of the churches of St. Michael, St. Nicholas, and St. Peter on the Pořič had been treated. They then reminded the councillors of the ordinance which the city had passed in March forbidding the propagation of heresies in Prague, and accused them of partiality in their administration of the town, and specially of summoning only their partisans to the meetings of the citizens and of the aldermen. They ended by demanding that all these grievances should be remedied. The councillors, who all belonged to Zělivo’s party, were greatly displeased by this demonstration. They caused the women to be arrested, and ordered them to separate. Those who were married were to stand apart, and the other ones also. All were shown where to stand. The women refused to obey this order and declined to separate. The town-councillors then ordered the women to deliver to them the letter which had been read out, but this also they refused to do. The councillors then became angry. Leaving the town-hall, they gave the order that the crowd of women should be locked up in the council-chamber. They were, however, after two hours allowed to leave the council-chamber unharmed.[12]

The courageous initiative of the Bohemian women proved successful. The priests of the Utraquist Church were reinstated in their parishes, while the agitators either retired to Tábor or continued, led by their ringleader, the priest John, to cause disturbances in Prague. This conduct was all the more reprehensible because the country was—as already stated—at that moment again attacked on all its frontiers by ferocious and fanatical foreign enemies. One of the principal objects of Zělivo and his partisans was to impede and, if possible, to break off the alliance of the Praguers with the Utraquist nobility. When the assembly of the Bohemian estates took place at Kutna Hora in August, it was found that the envoys of Prague had no credentials. The assembly therefore declined to admit them to its deliberations, but sent two of its members, Vávak of Hradec and John Sadlo of Kostelec, who had formerly been private secretary to King Venceslas, to Prague to complain of this omission. On their arrival in Prague the two Bohemian lords earnestly exhorted the citizens not to hinder the proceedings of the national assembly by their opposition, and they very strongly rebuked the priest John of Zělivo, telling him that it was not beseeming for a priest to interfere in worldly matters. In spite of the influence of the party of priest John, the magistrates of Prague finally decided to forward to their envoys the required credentials. As Professor Tomek conjectures with his usual sagacity, the fact that Žižka, known as a bitter opponent of all extreme fanatics, was then in Prague contributed largely to this decision. The well-deserved rebuke which he had received undoubtedly rankled in the mind of priest John, and he was able, as will be mentioned presently, to wreak terrible vengeance on John of Sadlo. The disturbances in Prague meanwhile continued almost uninterruptedly. On October 19, John of Zělivo, as had now become his custom, had the large bells of the church of St. Mary-of-the-Snow rung, and called on the citizens to assemble in the church of St. Stephen. He there addressed the people and called on them to choose “one man as their capable and faithful captain.” After he had inveighed against the barons of the kingdom some of his followers declared that John Hvězda of Vicemilic[13] had always proved faithful, and deserved well of the commonwealth, and that they wished him to be their captain. This somewhat irregular vote was sanctioned by the whole assembly, and very far-reaching powers were granted to the new captain of the people. Four town-councillors, of whom two belonged to the old and two to the new city, were then chosen to assist Vicemilic in the performance of his new duties. Immediately after this coup d’état—for it cannot be otherwise described—the town council, in which Zělivo’s adherents had the majority, committed other illegal acts, which were severely blamed by the moderate Utraquist members of the council. These men had not dared to protest on the spot against the illegal election of Vicemilic, but they afterwards met at the Bethlehem chapel, famous as the scene of Hus’s sermons,[14] and from here forwarded a protest to the town council, which was, however, practically ignored. Priest John meanwhile continued in his sermons to attack the Utraquist nobility with increasing violence. He particularly affirmed that many of the nobles had not obeyed orders when the Utraquist forces had recently been summoned to assemble at Slané. Either the priest John or one of his adherents—the accounts differ—stated that John Sadlo of Kostelec had been one of those who had failed to lead their men to Slané. Sadlo was greatly disliked by Zělivo’s rabble, as he had sternly rebuked their leader and requested him not to interfere in secular matters. When informed of these accusations, which appear to have been entirely unfounded, Sadlo was naturally very indignant. He decided to return immediately to Prague, and to justify his conduct before the magistrates of a city which then exercised a hegemony over the greatest part of Bohemia. Sadlo, however, well knew how untrustworthy the ochlocracy that then ruled Prague was. He therefore sent a messenger to Prague demanding a letter of safe conduct. The town-councillors in their reply stated that they by no means believed in the accusations that had been made against him, and that he could safely proceed on his journey. On October 20 Sadlo, accompanied by a few friends and some followers, proceeded to the town-hall of Prague. On his entry he was immediately arrested, and his companions were told to leave the town-hall. The councillors waited till two o’clock in the night, and then decreed that Sadlo should be decapitated. Sadlo, who was a fervent Utraquist, begged to be allowed to receive Communion in the two kinds before his death. This was refused, and he was buried secretly in the neighbouring church of St. Nicholas without any religious ceremonies. The fully justified indignation which this perfidious act naturally caused among the sensible and reasonable Utraquists is well expressed in Březova’s words. He writes:[15] “Now this John [Sadlo], who had been a great favourite of King Venceslas and his principal councillor, and had often protected the priests, scholars, and citizens against the fury of the King, had faithfully upheld Communion in the two kinds, and had, as far as it was in his power, opposed all innovations that were contrary to God’s law. He thus incurred the enmity of many who were then powerful in the city. The greater part of the Praguers, however, deeply deplored Sadlo’s sudden death, and the preachers faithful to the Lord both privately and publicly blamed the town-councillors, and declared that by causing his sudden death they had sinned grievously.” Březova’s grave but truthful words indicate one of the causes of the failure of the Hussite movement, and, it may be added, of some of the subsequent attempts of the Bohemians to act as a united nation. There exists among the baser-minded Bohemians a tendency to behave in a somewhat servile fashion to those who are their acknowledged enemies, and at the same time to cast suspicion, distrust, and even obloquy on those who, like John of Sadlo, though they belong to a superior class, attempt to befriend the people; for it must be remembered that the differences of class, which are now almost extinct in Western Europe, in Bohemia long continued, and to a certain extent still continue to be almost as strict as in the fifteenth century.

The success of John of Zělivo and his followers in destroying one of their most powerful antagonists naturally encouraged them to continue their turbulent movement. Utterly oblivious of the constant external peril which menaced their country, they had reduced Prague to an almost anarchical condition. As was inevitable, their fanatical madness led to a reaction among the more sensible townsmen. In January 1422 the victorious Hussite armies, led by Žižka, returned to the capital from Německý Brod, and their arrival certainly strengthened the minds of those who were opposed to anarchy. Speaking generally, it may be said that the inhabitants of the new town favoured Zělivo’s views, while the party of order had its principal supporters among the citizens of the old town. We have, however, unfortunately little information concerning these civic disturbances. The leader of the party opposed to Zělivo was then Master Jacobellus of Střibro,[16] Hus’s associate and the originator of Utraquism. He was now Hus’s successor as preacher at the Bethlehem chapel. In consequence of the presence there of the national army, many Utraquist nobles and Táborite captains, including Žižka, were now in Prague. These men considered the possibility of re-establishing order in Prague. They decided that nineteen men chosen from all the national parties should act as mediators. Among those selected for this arduous task were two nobles of the house of Poděbrad, Hašek of Valdštýn, a Moravian noble whom King Sigismund had deprived of his estates, Žižka, with two other Táborite captains, and Hvězda of Vicemilic, whom the Praguers had recently chosen as captain of the people. The mediators began by appointing what may be called a provisional government, but in view of the resistance of the advanced party soon decided to appeal to the people and to order the election of new town-councillors. The elections were to take place separately in each of the towns, and a certain number of representatives allotted to each of the different divisions of the city. These regulations were evidently necessary, because during the mob-rule of Zělivo and his adherents no orderly elections had been possible. The elections which were then held resulted in a victory of the moderate party. The mediators then decreed that the new town-councillors should under all circumstances retain their positions for the term of one year, and enjoined on them to admit no priest to the deliberations of the council unless it should prove necessary to consult him on matters of ritual or doctrine. They further consented to allow four ecclesiastics, Jacobellus, Peter Payne (surnamed Engliš), John Kardinal, and John of Zělivo, to continue to direct ecclesiastical matters; they were, however, to act on the advice of a certain number of laymen, who were to be appointed by the town council. After this agreement had been concluded the allies of Prague almost immediately left the city. Žižka gladly returned to his task of repulsing the foreign enemies of his country, hoping that the new regulations, which were probably partly his own work, would ensure a certain amount of tranquillity to the Bohemian capital.

One of the first steps taken by the new authorities in Prague was the destitution of the captain of the town, Hvězda of Vicemilic. They then appointed as his successor Lord Hašek of Valdstýn; and in view of the base, incessant attacks upon the Utraquist nobles which proceeded from Zělivo’s partisans, they could hardly have made a better choice. Valdštýn, a very fervent Utraquist, had, during Sigismund’s invasion of Moravia, sacrificed his large estates in that country for the sake of his cause, and had afterwards taken a considerable part in Žižka’s brilliant campaign of Kutna Hora. There is no doubt that the inconstancy and ambiguous attitude of Čeněk of Wartenberg and some other Bohemian nobles caused them to be often suspected by the Bohemian people, but of the countless writers on the Hussite wars Palacký alone has pointed out the great difficulties which then confronted the Bohemian nobles. The choice of Valdštýn was an intentional and justified rebuke of the anarchical tendencies of Zělivo and his associates. The theological controversies in Prague meanwhile continued uninterruptedly. Very violent discussions took place among the priests who were still entrusted with the direction of ecclesiastical affairs. John of Zělivo invariably opposed all the views of his colleagues. At last Jacobellus in the presence of Zělivo openly declared that priest John was the cause of all the riots and bloodshed in Prague, and that he had wilfully led astray the Bohemian and Moravian nation. The new conservative town-councillors of Prague then came to the conclusion that it was necessary to end the influence of Zělivo over the turbulent citizens of Prague, even if this result could only be obtained by his execution.[17] Even if we admit that in a land menaced in every direction by ferocious and implacable enemies it may be necessary to remove a man who sows discord among the defenders of his country, we must blame the treacherous fashion in which the execution of Zělivo was carried out. On March 7 Jacobellus proceeded to the town-hall and here formally complained of the conduct of Zělivo and his adherents, who, he said, were from their pulpits openly inciting the people to sedition. He at the same time blamed the magistrates, accusing them of undue leniency. The magistrates then decided to act without further delay. On March 8 they sent two of their members, one representing the old, the other the new town, to the dwelling of priest John near the church of St. Mary-of-the-Snow. They intended to invite him to the town-hall, probably under the pretext of consulting him with regard to the coming campaign; for Zělivo, like many Bohemian priests of his time, often accompanied the armies on their marches, and was even consulted by the generals. The priest was not, however, at home, and a message was sent to him from the town-hall towards evening saying that it was now too late, but begging him to come to the town-hall early on the following day. When he arrived there he was cordially received by the burgomaster and the aldermen, and they began to discuss the plan of the campaign which the joint forces of the Praguers and the Táborites were shortly to undertake. The burgomaster then called in a messenger, and ordered him to request Lord Hašek of Valdštýn to come to the town-hall, as his presence there was very necessary. When Hašek had arrived the burgomaster said to Zělivo, “Dear priest John, let us all be reconciled before we start on our campaign.” The priest, always intransigent, did not receive this suggestion in a conciliatory manner. He complained of the treatment of Vicemilic, who had been deprived of his captainship, and of other men of his party who, he said, had suffered injustice. A somewhat stormy discussion arose, in the course of which Hašek left the hall. Shortly afterwards a magistrate appeared in the hall accompanied by the executioner and his aids. He exclaimed in a loud voice, “Surrender, you are prisoners!” By command of the executioner his aids seized Zělivo’s partisans and bound them with cords. Two of them rushed at Zělivo himself and attempted to lift him from the bench on which he was sitting. He, however, showed them by a sign that he was prepared for death, and knelt down for some time in prayer. He then approached the burgomaster and, speaking in a low voice, reminded him of the troubles which would be the consequence of his execution. The burgomaster only answered, “It cannot be otherwise, priest John.” Contrarily to what had been done in the case of Sadlo, Zělivo and his companions were allowed to confess to a priest who had accompanied John to the town-hall, and to receive Communion from his hands. This priest, who was himself allowed to leave the town-hall unharmed, is the author of the most extensive account of this event which has been preserved to us. Zělivo and his followers were then conducted to the courtyard within the town-hall. Zělivo was then bound with cords and decapitated. Immediately afterwards the same penalty was inflicted on twelve[18] of his followers.

Waldstein undoubtedly foresaw that this execution, and particularly the treachery connected with it, would cause riots in the city. He had drawn up in the market-place close to the town-hall a considerable force of mercenaries in the pay of the city, and he had also secured the assistance of some soldiers who were in the service of the Utraquist nobles. The best account of the riots which immediately followed the execution of Zělivo is that given by one of the contemporary chroniclers.[19] He writes: “In that year [1422], on the Monday following the Reminiscere Sunday during Lent-time, the priest John, a monk of the Premonstratensian monastery, preacher at the Church of St. Mary-of-the-Snow, was beheaded in the town-hall, and with him twelve other men, and the hall was well closed. Then the priest Gaudentius carried his [priest John’s] head through the streets on a dish, inciting the citizens to avenge him. Then also the armed citizens of the new town sounded the bells of all their churches, scaled the walls of the old town[20] demanding that [the body of] priest John should be delivered up to them. Lord Hašek was then captain of the old town, and he had ordered all young nobles from the neighbouring country to be in Prague on this day. (This Lord Hašek with his men placed himself at the corner of the Želežná Ulice (Iron street)[21] nearest to the market-place; but when he understood that he was not safe there he hid himself in Prague,[22] so that many houses were afterwards plundered by those who searched for him. Then the men of the new town, seeing that no resistance was offered them, rushed into the market-place, forced open the gates of the town-hall and found there the bodies of the decapitated. They then began with loud and menacing voices to rail against the murderers. They also searched for the aldermen of the old town, and plundered and destroyed their houses, wherever they found one of them they murdered him. They then attacked the Jews and robbed or destroyed all their possessions. When there was nothing more to steal there, they attacked the [university] colleges, forced open the gates and took away the books of the masters and other scholars, and the books of the public library they either carried away or spoilt them and tore them up. They then attacked the houses of the priests and destroyed them, and those masters who had not fled they arrested and brought to the town-hall. Then Master Rokycan also fled from Prague. On this day Prague suffered more damage then when King Sigismund encamped around the city with more than 100,000 men.” Some of the town magistrates who were suspected of having approved of the execution of Zělivo were immediately decapitated. On numerous other prisoners the people decided to pass judgment later. “Thus,” as Professor Tomek writes,[23] “the prominent companions and followers of Hus in his endeavour to reform the Church, the most zealous and most learned leaders of the whole Utraquist Church, were to be judged by an uneducated rabble.” The reign of terror in Prague, however, lasted only a few days, and we find no explanation of this fact in the scanty contemporary records. It does not seem improbable that Žižka, whom his campaign of Kutna Hora had naturally rendered very popular, interfered. A man of sure judgment such as he was could not fail to see that the continuation of anarchy in the capital would soon be followed by the complete downfall of the Hussite movement. New town-councillors, mostly belonging to Zělivo’s party, were, however, elected; and, probably by a compromise, it was decided that the priests and masters of the university should be sent to Králové Hradec “to do penance there.”

It has already been noted that the protracted negotiations with Poland at last led to a favourable result, when the news of the victories near Kutna Hora reached Poland. The political situation in that country was also at that moment favourable to the plan of founding a Polish dynasty in Bohemia. Though already of the age of seventy-four, King Ladislas had recently, mainly through the influence of the Grand Duke Vitold, married again. His youthful bride Sonka, grand-daughter of Ivan Olgimuntovič, Prince of Kiew, had been brought up according to the teaching of the Greek Church, and though she joined the Roman Church on her marriage it is certain that she used her great influence over the old King in favour of the Bohemians who were Utraquists, as were her own people. She certainly acted entirely under the influence of the Grand Duke Vitold. This enigmatical prince, one of the most interesting figures in early Slavic history, seems to have contemplated the foundation of a Slavic Utraquist Church which would have become the basis of a vast state, of which he would have been the ruler. His intense ambition, which had not as yet been diminished by increasing age, is one of his characteristics on which both Bohemian and Polish contemporary chroniclers lay great stress. Vitold now declared himself ready to accept the Bohemian crown, and charged his nephew, Prince Sigismund Korybutovič, who was also a nephew of King Ladislas, to proceed to Bohemia as his representative. Pursuing the usual tortuous policy of the Lithuanian princes, Vitold wrote to Pope Martin V informing him that he had accepted the Bohemian throne, as he thought it easier to obtain the return of the Bohemians to the fold of the Church by peaceful means than by warfare.[24] The Pope’s answer,[25] couched not unnaturally in somewhat menacing language, severely blamed Vitold, and declared that unconditional surrender on the part of the heretics was the only solution of the Bohemian question which the Church of Rome could accept. This letter, which Vitold only received after a considerable lapse of time, would probably in no case have influenced his decision or that of Prince Sigismund Korybutovič. In the spring of the year 1422 he raised at Cracow a small army, which he entrusted to his nephew, Prince Korybutovič. The little army, consisting probably of about 5,000 men, left Cracow about Easter and entered Moravia by way of Osvěti (in German, Auschwitz) and Těšin (Teschen). King Sigismund, who after his great defeats near Kutna Hora had retired to Moravia, now left that country, thinking himself safer in hisown Hungarian kingdom. The nobles of Moravia, disregarding the oath that Sigismund had recently forced them to take, rejoined the Utraquist party and again accepted the articles of Prague. Korybutovič first attempted to storm Olomouc (Olmütz), then already a strongly fortified city, but was repulsed with very considerable losses. He then marched to Uničov (Mährisch Neustadt), and obtained possession of the town after some slight resistance. He here, fulfilling the promise he had made before leaving Poland, received Communion in the two kinds, thus formally accepting the four articles of Prague. He remained some time at Uničov, and from there sent several letters to prominent Utraquists both in Bohemia and in Moravia, informing them that he had arrived in their country as representative of his uncle, Grand Duke Vitold, the “postulated” or “demanded”[26] King of Bohemia. He also summoned the nobles and cities not to continue their feuds, and to meet him at a diet that was to take place at Časlav. We have scarcely any information with regard to the proceedings of this assembly. It is, however, certain that Korybutovič swore to obey God’s law and to defend the articles of Prague. He was recognised as regent by all present, and proceeded to Prague, where he was joyfully received by the people,[27] though of course the extreme fanatics, whose leader John of Zělivo had been, did not share the general joy. Equally displeased were the scanty adherents of the King of Hungary. Many of the great Bohemian nobles, though they fully sympathised with the Utraquist movement, had hitherto hesitated entirely to discard King Sigismund, whom they considered the representative of the monarchical principle; for it must be remembered that the conception of a republic as a form of government possible in an extensive country was quite foreign to that period. Only in a separate city or a small village community was the republican form of government then considered possible. The great Bohemian nobles, with a few exceptions, therefore rallied round Korybutovič. The same can be said of the university of Prague and the Hussite High Church generally. These elements were not, however, in themselves sufficient to form a firm foundation for the rule of Korybutovič. Much depended on the attitude of Žižka and his Táborites. Žižka, as will be remembered, had signed the first letter offering the Bohemian crown to the King of Poland. Subsequently he seems to have conceived a not unjustifiable distrust of the Polish princes. He knew that King Ladislas was entirely subservient to the Pope, though at moments when he was on bad terms with Sigismund he sometimes appeared to encourage the Bohemian national movement for the purpose of embarrassing the King of Hungary. Grand Duke Vitold was undoubtedly more genuinely favourable to the Hussite cause, but the mere fact that he had written to the Pope informing him of the expedition of Korybutovič naturally roused the suspicion of Žižka, whom the treachery once committed against Hus—which he always bore in mind—rendered distrustful. There had also been personal dissensions. According to a not very reliable contemporary chronicler[28] Korybutovič had from Uničov written to Žižka in a somewhat imperative manner summoning him to recognise the new King Vitold, and begging him to desist from plundering the country. Žižka returned a sharp answer, alluding to Prince Korybutovič in a very disparaging manner. The Prince wisely did not continue the controversy when, to quote the same chronicler, he heard “that Žižka was a great victor and an invincible warrior in all battles.” It is to the credit of both Žižka and Korybutovič to add that when they afterwards met, a sincere friendship sprang up between the two generals. We are even told that Korybutovič was in the habit of addressing Žižka as “father,” while the latter addressed the Lithuanian Prince as “son.” Before, however, any personal meeting had taken place, Žižka and his followers had already in a letter addressed to the citizens of Prague recognised Korybutovič as leader. The interesting document[29] which announces this decision well deserves quotation. Žižka wrote: “With God’s help! Amen. Be it known to you, my Lord and brethren, that we, with the brethren of Tábor, Domážlice, Klatovy, Sušice, Pisek, as well as the lords, knights, nobles, and the communities of Prachatice and Horaždovice who have voluntarily recognised as rulers me, Chval and Buchovec[30] and entrusted themselves to our guidance, have accepted his Highness the Prince[31] as helper and supreme administrator of the land. We will gladly obey his Highness, and with God’s help aid him by word and deed in all rightful things; and we also beg you all from this day forth to discard all quarrels, dissensions, and bitterness which you have had either during your whole life, or during these last years, that you may honestly say the Lord’s prayer and pray: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. But if you do not act thus, and, banding together in your communities, continue to nourish disorder, lies, and disputes, then by God’s help we, together with his Highness the Prince, the magistrates, the lords, knights, nobles, and faithful commons, will strive to wreak vengeance, whoever the culprit may be, without regard of person. Do you promise to assist us in this task? And should a man have a dispute with another, be it on matters of religion or on others, then he is without riot or disturbances to appear before the burgomasters, the town-councillors, or judges in an orderly fashion and state his case. The elders of the communities, as well as the burgomasters, town-councillors and judges you must hold in honour, and you must love one another. Then God and His holy grace will be with us and grant us His blessing for all good purposes.”

This manly letter, whose Cromwellian flavour will not escape the reader, is one of the most striking and characteristic documents of the Hussite period that have been preserved. It throws a very clear light on Žižka’s true character. The true Žižka had nothing in common with the brutal, cruel, and blasphemous ruffian whom the descendants of those whom he so often defeated conceived and somewhat meanly called Žižka. It is one of the principal merits of the great historian Palacký that he was the first to point out that the fables concerning Žižka, first imagined by Æneas Sylvius and by some fanatical monks and then uncritically repeated by countless writers, are absolutely untrue. It will have been noted that Žižka in his letter to the Praguers laid great stress on the necessity of concord. This admonition was very timely. The Praguers had, after the riots that followed the execution of John of Zělivo, chosen new town-councillors belonging to the party of the decapitated priest. It was practically impossible that Korybutovič should act in unison with men who, as Professor Tomek writes, were the intimate friends of the lowest rabble of Prague. The Lithuanian Prince showed great tact and sagacity in this difficult position. He at first maintained amicable relations with the municipal authorities. He, however, suggested a change in the municipal government, probably—there is scarcely any contemporary evidence on this matter—proposing that members of all Utraquist parties should be included in the town council. The fanaticism of some priests and other former adherents of Zělivo, however, rendered all negotiations fruitless; but the good sense of the moderate Utraquists had at last determined them to end the incessant civic strife. On Sunday, May 24, a week after his arrival in Prague, when Korybutovič left his dwelling in the New Town, a large crowd assembled around him and, seizing the bridle of his horse, led him amidst great enthusiasm through the Old Town to the gates of the town-hall. When the town-councillors saw that the city was greatly excited they immediately surrendered the seals and keys (thus signifying their resignation of their offices), that new councillors might be appointed; and this was done. On the following day the whole community met in the town-hall and elected new councillors. They took the oath of allegiance to the Prince, and recalled from Králové Kradec the masters who had been exiled there.[32]

As soon as order had, at least momentarily, been re-established in Prague, Korybutovič attempted to obtain possession of the Karlštýn castle,[33] situated not far from the capital. This decision has often, and not unnaturally, caused surprise. The castle of the Karlštýn was one of those strongholds which the partisans of King Sigismund still occupied in various parts of Bohemia. Isolated and invested as it was, it could hardly in any case influence the result of the war. It is therefore difficult to understand the importance which Korybutovič attached to its possession, particularly as the ever-present menace of a German invasion was then very great. The Karlštýn castle had been built by Charles IV as a refuge for the royal family in time of war, and also as a stronghold where the Bohemian crown and other royal jewels could be safely deposited. Some writers have therefore conjectured that Korybutovič believed that the Bohemian crown jewels were still in the Karlštýn castle, and that he wished to obtain possession of them. This is exceedingly improbable. Korybutovič’s Bohemian advisers certainly well knew how great an importance the Bohemians, like the Hungarians, attach to the possession of the royal insignia and to the coronation of their kings, but they must have known equally well that King Sigismund had immediately after his coronation in 1420 caused the crown of Bohemia and the other crown jewels to be sent to Moravia and afterwards to Hungary. The siege of the Karlštýn is, at any rate, the principal military event connected with the first short stay of Korybutovič in Bohemia. It is here to be particularly regretted that we have but few and short contemporary accounts of the siege, and these have rather the character of romance than of history. The attempts of modern writers to reconstruct the siege have been but moderately successful. It is probable that Korybutovič’s Bohemian and Polish soldiers began a regular siege of the Karlštýn on May 20, but Korybutovič himself only took over the command of the besieging army on June 4. The castle of Karlštýn, built by the Emperor Charles IV, King of Bohemia, about the year 1350, had a position which could not be considered strong, even if we consider the very primitive condition of artillery at the beginning of the fifteenth century, being situated on an isolated hillock surrounded somewhat closely by higher hills. General Kohler in his interesting work, which I have already quoted, expresses surprise that Charles IV, who had been present at the battle of Crécy, where fire-arms had been used, should yet, when building the Karlštýn a few years later, not have taken the use of artillery into account. It is certain that men began only very gradually to realise the complete change in the methods of warfare which was a necessary consequence of the use of fire-arms. The Bohemian and Polish army, which appears to have been very considerable, occupied all the hills which surrounded the Karlštýn, and as was then the custom, erected block-houses or small forts, surrounded by ditches, which were to secure the besiegers against sorties. The Hussite army brought a considerable amount of artillery, according to the ideas of the time, and among them four large pieces of ordnance. The names of three of these, the “Pražska,” “Jaroměřská,” and “Rychlice” (the “rapid”), have been preserved. The Praguers had also brought a considerable number of catapults, or large slings, which appear to have done more damage than the guns. A large ravine separated the Karlštýn from the surrounding hills, which were occupied by the national forces, and the whole attack had the character of a bombardment rather than of a regular siege. The artillery fire, in consequence of the clumsy and unwieldy make of the guns, was very slack. The “Pražska” and “Jaroměršká” could be fired seven times a day, and even the “Rychlice,” famed for its rapidity, only thirty times. The garrison of the Karlštýn which, contrary to the statement of some chroniclers, must certainly have consisted of more than 500 men, defended itself with great bravery. The besieging army, irritated by this obstinate defence, resorted to some of those strange devices which were customary in mediæval warfare. The commanders caused large stink-pots and baskets containing ordure to be thrown by slings into the fortress, hoping thus to cause contagious diseases within the citadel. They were to a certain extent successful. The chroniclers tell us that the defenders of the Karlštýn were attacked by a mysterious malady which caused all their teeth to fall out. This method of forcing the garrison to surrender, however, also failed. According to the report of a contemporary chronicler, to whom I must leave the full responsibility for a somewhat improbable tale, some of King Sigismund’s adherents at Prague succeeded in conveying to the Karlštýn certain medicaments which cured this mysterious disease.

The attempt to obtain possession of the Karlštýn failed. Several circumstances contributed to Korybutovič’s decision to raise the siege. At the end of September the remaining adherents of priest John again caused troubles in Prague. They were supported by the former captain of the town, Hvězda of Vicemilic, who had joined the Táborites, and later became one of their captains. Prince Korybutovič hurriedly returned to Prague and succeeded in re-establishing order in the capital. The fact that the Táborites had here for the first time intervened in the internal troubles at Prague as allies of the anarchical party greatly influenced the course of the Hussite war. Though the two parties continued for a time to act together both in warfare and in diplomatic negotiations, the former cordial friendship disappeared, and mutual distrust took its place. Other circumstances also contributed to the decision of the Hussites to abandon the siege. The north-eastern frontier of Bohemia, where the country marches with Silesia, was now again, as so constantly during the war, menaced by the German population of Silesia, whose hatred of the Bohemians was founded as much on racial as on religious motives. In the year 1422 the Silesians again entered Bohemia, but very soon again retired. Another danger, which appeared to the Bohemians far more serious than it actually was, consisted in the decision of the German diet then assembled at Regensburg to attempt another invasion of Bohemia on a large scale. The Bohemians concluded an armistice with the defenders of the Karlštýn which was to last for one year. All hostilities were to be suspended, and it was agreed that should the Hungarian King Sigismund return to Bohemia during the period mentioned the defenders of the Karlštýn should be free to admit him into their castle, but should grant him no armed aid if he attacked Prince Korybutovič or the Praguers. The partisans of King Sigismund greatly rejoiced over the preservation of their stronghold and over the cessation of the siege which, had it continued, would inevitably have led to the capitulation of the Karlštýn; for the defenders were already running short of provisions, and epidemics were raging within the citadel. It is a proof of the intense religious fanaticism which was common to all parties in Bohemia at that time that some ardent Roman Catholics expressed strong disapproval of this agreement, though it was obviously favourable to their party.[34]

As early as the beginning of the year 1422 some of the German princes had suggested a new invasion of Bohemia. On March 8 King Sigismund addressed a letter to all the electors, princes, and free towns of Germany summoning them to a diet which was to assemble at Regensburg on May 31. He, however, afterwards adjourned the meeting to July 1, but on his arrival at Regensburg found that the German princes had already left the town and had proceeded to Nürnberg. They had, however, left their representatives at Regensburg, who in the name of their sovereigns invited Sigismund to that city. Sigismund was finally obliged to accept this invitation, though he was greatly irritated by this proposal to change his plans, and declared that he as King and Emperor—though as yet uncrowned—was alone entitled to determine the spot where the imperial diets should meet. Very lengthy deliberations, leading to very slight results, took place at Nürnberg, where Sigismund spent two months. The German States, both great and small, were at that moment almost exclusively occupied with their internal dissensions and feuds. The overbearing manner and unreliable character of Sigismund had won him few friends in Germany. He was at that moment still on bad terms with the influential Elector of Brandenburg, Frederick of Hohenzollern. The only persons who spoke strongly in favour of a new invasion of Bohemia were the ecclesiastical electors and princes whose zeal was stimulated by frequent bulls of Pope Martin V. It was finally decided that an armed force should be equipped to relieve the Karlštýn fortress,[35] and that in the whole empire a tax should be levied for the purpose of carrying on continuous warfare against Bohemia. Disputes into which it is unnecessary to enter here immediately arose with regard to the apportionment of this tax. Cardinal Branda, who had remained in Germany, employed all his eloquence to induce the Germans to retrieve the disgraceful campaign of the previous year by a new and successful one. He presented to Sigismund in the church of St. Sebaldus a battle-flag blessed by the Pope, which the King made over to the Elector of Brandenburg, who was to take command of the crusade.[36] It was generally supposed that the campaign of the previous year had failed because of the want of unity in the command, and Sigismund somewhat reluctantly consented to the Elector of Brandenburg’s being commander-in-chief. The Hohenzollern prince on the other hand appears to have shown little enthusiasm for the cause which he was to uphold. He was at that moment greatly absorbed by negotiations with Poland and the Teutonic Order. He, however, led his troops, which do not seem to have been numerous, as far as Tirschenreuth in the Upper Palatinate, not far from the Bohemian frontier. He here expected to be joined by large reinforcements, but hardly any German troops appeared. The Margrave of Meissen, who was to attack Bohemia from Saxony and thus create a diversion, did not move. The annual Silesian raid was too distant and too insignificant to affect the events at the principal theatre of war. When even the Bishop of Würzburg, who had joined the army, declared that it was better not to enter Bohemia at all than to suffer another defeat there, Frederick disbanded his forces.

While Sigismund’s hope of subduing Bohemia by the help of Germany was thus again disappointed—as indeed it continued to be up to the end of the war—he about this time obtained an important diplomatic success. Ever since the arrival of Prince Korybutovič in Bohemia the Holy See had constantly appealed to the Grand Duke Vitold of Lithuania and his cousin, the King of Poland, attempting to induce them, both by promises and menaces, to recall Korybutovič. It must be admitted that Vitold, and to a far greater extent Ladislas, acted disloyally towards the Bohemian people. During the short first rule of Korybutovič in Bohemia the Polish clergy, led by Simon Olesnicky, who had just become Bishop of Cracow, fully used its vast influence against the Bohemians.[37] The implacable hatred of Utraquism which has always been a characteristic of the Roman Church was in Poland intensified by the vicinity of Lithuania and Russia, where the Greek Church has always maintained the right of laymen to receive Communion in the two kinds.[38] Vitold had in a letter which I have already quoted attempted to describe the mission of Korybutovič as inspired by the wish to reconcile the Bohemians with the universal Church, an expression that obviously may have conveyed a different meaning to the Grand Duke Vitold and to Pope Martin V. We have no information with regard to Korybutovič’s correspondence with his Polish and Lithuanian relatives, which undoubtedly preceded his departure from Bohemia. It is certain that the Prince left his new country very reluctantly, and that after leaving Prague he remained in Bohemia up to Christmas Eve, 1422, and then only returned to Poland.

The official policy of Poland now became, and for a considerable time continued to be, very hostile to the Utraquist cause. It appears that when leaving their country Prince Korybutovič had promised the Bohemians that he would return and obtain aid from his uncle, the Grand Duke Vitold. The Bohemians, trusting this promise, which was probably made in good faith, wrote to the Lithuanian Grand Duke, inviting him to come to Bohemia as he had promised, and to assume the government of the country. Vitold sent an answer[39] whose untruthfulness, falsehood, and misrepresentation is almost unrivalled even in the records of diplomatic dispatches. He began by stating that he had only permitted the mission of Korybutovič because the Bohemians had promised that, as soon as the Prince arrived, unity and obedience to the Church of Rome would be re-established in the kingdom. The Prince had, however, after his arrival in Bohemia, not been able by his kind and affable mediation to unite the people, lead them away from the erroneous articles (of Prague), and reconcile them with the Holy Roman Church. When we consider the fact that Prince Sigismund Korybutovič had both at Unitov and at Časlav received Communion in the two kinds, that he had in the latter place sworn to defend the articles of Prague, and that, during his stay in the capital, priests of the national Utraquist Church had been among his principal councillors, we cannot help being astounded at these outrageous misstatements. The Grand Duke then declared that he had concluded an alliance with King Sigismund, and now intended to aid him and all the other princes in combating the Bohemians, and that he had therefore recalled Prince Korybutovič from their country.[40]

This letter of the Grand-Duke, probably as insincere as had been his former profession of friendliness for the Utraquists, can only be explained by reference to the general political situation at that moment. In the year 1422 there had been bitter enmity between King Sigismund and the rulers of Poland and Lithuania, and Sigismund had even suggested a plan for partitioning Poland. This menace, of which they were immediately informed, appears to have greatly impressed both Ladislas and Vitold, who fully realised that the fanatical and powerful Roman Catholic clergy in their dominions could scarcely be trusted, should King Sigismund, acting as champion of the Pope, attack Poland. These considerations determined the two princes to agree to what may be called an. unconditional surrender. In the month of March 1423 Ladislas, Vitold, and King Sigismund met at Kasmark in Hungary. It was here decided that the joint forces of the new allies should attack Bohemia. King Ladislas, who had never felt any sympathy for the Utraquist movement, though for political motives and also from personal animosity to King Sigismund he had occasionally appeared to favour it, greatly rejoiced at having regained the favour of the papal see. In a letter[41] addressed to the electors of Germany on April 10, 1423, the King of Poland, replying to a letter of the electors accusing him of favouring heretics, declared that he and the Grand Duke Vitold had been falsely accused. It was true that after the heretics had solemnly promised to renounce their errors and return to the Holy Mother, the universal Church, Vitold had sent some of his followers to Bohemia who, he hoped, would give the people good advice and lead them on the right path. When, however, Ladislas found that the heretics obstinately maintained their errors, he and the Grand Duke Vitold had determined, together with Sigismund, King of the Romans and of Hungary, to equip an army which was to be commanded by King Sigismund, and which was to exterminate those whom their wickedness blinded. Finally King Ladislas begged the German electors not to believe the accusations of heresy which had been brought against him and the Grand Duke Vitold.

The Lithuanian Grand Duke hardly viewed this complete change of policy with the same pleasure as did King Ladislas. To Vitold it meant the wreck of all his ambitious projects. His recently established relations with some of the Moscovite princes, based on the common desire to defend Utraquism, naturally ceased after this surrender.[42] He does not appear to have discarded his former sympathies as completely as did King Ladislas. It is almost certain that he gave secret approval and support to the new expedition of Prince Korybutovič, whom we shall shortly again find in Bohemia. The cause of Vitold’s submission was undoubtedly the fact that Lithuania was without Poland both too weak and too distant to play a part in the politics of Central Europe. After the triumph of the Roman party in Poland, Vitold could not hope for any help from that country; its hostility, indeed, was certain. Immediately after the meeting at Kasmark armaments began both in Poland and in Lithuania in view of a campaign against Bohemia. Their result was not successful. It was found almost impossible to find soldiers who were ready to take part in this war. If the enthusiasm when Korybutovič started on his expedition was, perhaps, not quite so great as some Slavophil writers have stated, it was certainly entirely absent on the present occasion. The attempt to attack Bohemia in 1423 entirely failed. The fact that the Poles showed great reluctance to take up arms against Bohemia revived the former distrust of the Germans against their Polish allies. About this time the municipality of the city of Breslau received a letter[43] from its representative in Poland stating that “Polish envoys were then at Ofen [in Hungary] because of the Hussites, but that he had heard that the Hussites intended to remain on the side of the Poles against our King [Sigismund], and that it appears that the affairs will never be brought to an end.” This proof of intense distrust shows how impossible a common war of Poland and Germany against Bohemia would have been. Pope Martin V had, in this year, planned a vast invasion of Bohemia by armies collected from various parts of Europe, somewhat similar to the great crusade of 1420. He had hoped that not only the Poles and Lithuanians, but also Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians would join in this sacred war. It was, however, on the attitude of the Germans that the success of the new crusade principally depended. It is unnecessary to repeat what has already been written on the complete failure of the attempted German invasion. Of the distant northern sovereigns whose aid was expected only the King of Denmark landed in Germany with a small force. On hearing that no serious attempt to invade Bohemia would be made he very soon returned to his own country.

The Bohemians were thus, during the years 1423 and 1424, almost entirely free from foreign invasion, though warfare with King Sigismund and his son-in-law, Albert of Austria, never entirely ceased. This respite was not, unfortunately, altogether favourable to the national cause. The religious controversies between the Utraquist parties, which, since the time of Hus, had occasionally caused discord, now became far more envenomed, and for the first time led to civil war. During the later months of the year 1422 Žižka did not play so prominent a part in Bohemian affairs as before and after that date. He does not, for instance, appear to have taken part in the siege of the Karlštýn, and its failure was probably partly due to his absence. He had, as we have seen, freely and generously accepted Prince Korybutovič as his leader, but appears afterwards to have become somewhat suspicious of the Lithuanian prince. Though the negotiations at this period are shrouded in great obscurity, it appears certain that Korybutovič, during his stays in Bohemia, entered into negotiations with the nobles of the Roman party. It is very probable that he hoped that the Pope would sanction the articles of Prague, or, at least, Communion in the two kinds. This idea was in itself by no means incongruous, and a similar compromise at the Council of Basel finally closed the Hussite wars. Korybutovič probably hoped that in consequence of his merits as a peacemaker he or his uncle Vitold would be accepted as sovereign by the whole Bohemian nobility, by the Hussite High Church, as well as by the powerful city of Prague, which was then under the influence of that Church. He also probably hoped that the influence of the Roman Catholic nobles would help him to obtain the recognition of Pope Martin V, who was not always on good terms with King Sigismund. It is, I think, certain that Korybutovič’s acceptance of the articles of Prague and of Utraquism was a genuine one, and that his negotiations with the enemies of Utraquism, both during his first and his second stay in Bohemia, had the purpose outlined above. During his whole adventurous life the Lithuanian prince always remained faithful to Utraquism, even when, as occurred on several occasions, it would have been more favourable to his ambitious plans if he had surrendered unconditionally to Rome. The matter was not viewed in this light by the extreme Táborites—levellers who could believe nothing but evil of all princes and nobles. These men affirmed that Korybutovič intended to force the Bohemians to abandon their national Church, and hoped as a reward to obtain the Pope’s support for his plan of obtaining the Bohemian crown. Žižka, perhaps uncertain as to the fashion in which he should judge the attitude of Korybutovič, remained for a time almost inactive, but after the departure of the Lithuanian prince internal troubles broke out, in which Žižka played the most prominent part. It is certain that after the departure of Korybutovič the monarchical party, consisting of the Romanist and some Utraquist nobles, who placed the upholding of the legitimist principle before all other considerations, again entered into negotiations with King Sigismund. This was the one point on which Žižka tolerated no compromise. I have, following the recent independent Bohemian historians, endeavoured to prove that many unjust accusations have been brought against Žižka, and that in true history he appears totally different from the murderer and robber who is the Žižka of tradition.[44] It would, however, be absurd to assert that, even judged from the standpoint of his own age, the great Bohemian warrior was faultless. A relentless and implacable hatred of King Sigismund, the murderer of Hus, sometimes obscured his generally brilliant intelligence and caused him to deviate from his usual moderation. In March 1423 hostilities began in the district of Králové Hradec between the forces of the Orebite community and Lord Čeněk of Wartenberg, who, after having been for some time a Utraquist, had now again conformed to the Church of Rome, and was momentarily an enthusiastic adherent of the Hungarian King. There had for some time been a feud between Čeněk and the brothers Bartoš and Bernard of Valečov, who belonged to the Orebite community and were on terms of friendship with Žižka. Borěk of Miletinek, then captain of the Orebites, took up the cause of the brothers Valečov, probably, as Professor Tomek has conjectured, on the advice of Prince Korybutovič, who, on his way to Silesia and Poland, passed through the district of Králové Hradec about this time. Čeněk, now a strong partisan of the Luxemburg dynasty, was naturally particularly obnoxious to the Lithuanian prince. Žižka also took part in this campaign, as an ally of the brothers Valečov, and what had originally been but a local feud became civil war. Žižka summoned his adherents to meet him at Německý Brod on April 8, and then marched into the district of Králové Hradec, devastating the vast estates which Čeněk owned in that part of Bohemia. Some of the Utraquist nobles joined the forces of Čeněk, and the first battle of the Hussite wars, when Hussites were opposed to other Hussites, took place at Hořice on April 20. This battle is interesting, as it throws considerable light on Žižka’s tactics. He was here, as on almost all other occasions, confronted by a force vastly superior to hisown. At the beginning of his battles Žižka invariably succeeded in occupying a strong defensive position, in which he awaited the enemy’s attack. When, after a time, the enemy was fatigued and his heart began to fail him, and particularly when Žižka’s always skilfully used artillery had weakened him and slackened his advance, then Žižka considered that the decisive moment had arrived. He then flourished his fighting-club; his standard-bearer waved his flag as signal for a general attack; then the gates of the battle-wagons were opened and with war-cries troups of men armed with fighting-clubs rushed forth.[45] It was Žižka’s practice to choose a position on a range of sloping heights to which the wagons could be easily conveyed, and he often chose a small church as the centre of his position. The church tower gave him a good outlook on the movements of the enemy, and the wall which surrounded the churchyard was useful as obstructing the attack of the enemy’s cavalry. On this occasion Žižka chose the small church of St. Gothard, near Hořice, as the centre of his position. A contemporary chronicler[46] thus describes the battle which ensued. “In the year 1423, when Žižka was marching through the district of Králové Hradec subduing the people to his rule, the lords determined to attack him; and he, hearing of this, marched before them to Hořice, having but two columns of wagons. He took up his position with his men near the church of St. Gothard, to be able to place his soldiers and his artillery on a height, and also for the reason that, as horsemen were to attack him, they should be obliged to dismount, and should find nothing to which they could tie their horses. When they [the enemies] then approached, and, having dismounted, advanced to attack the position, they were more burdened by their heavy armour than Žižka’s infantry, who were accustomed to fight on foot. When they were near the summit and attempted to attack the wagons he [Žižka] received them with fire from his guns and constant attacks by his infantry; and before they could capture his wagons he beat them back as he pleased; and after he had driven them away from the wagons he sent fresh soldiers against them. And here the Lord God helped him, so that Lord Čeněk [of Wartenberg] and Lord Ernest [of Pardubice] and the other lords and their men were defeated by him on the field of battle and lost their wagons and guns. Lord Čeněk himself fled from the field with only a small number of followers.”

About the same time civil war also broke out in another part of Bohemia. The citizens of Prague, in alliance with some of the nobles of King Sigismund’s party, began to besiege the Táborite stronghold of Křiženec. When, however, Bohuslav of Schwamberg, once a strong Romanist, but now one of the most strenuous Táborites, arrived to relieve the besieged fortress all parties agreed to conclude an armistice. It was decided to hold previously one of the many disputations on dogma and ritual which were so frequent during the Hussite wars, and which generally led to but slight and temporary results. This disputation took place at Konopišt in June and lasted for several days.[47] The representatives of the Hussite High Church were the theologians of the university, John of Přibram, Jacobellus of Střibro, John Kardinal, and the young priest, John of Rokycan, who afterwards became famous as Utraquist Archbishop of Prague. The representatives of the Táborites were Nicholas of Pelhřimov and the English Lollard, Peter Payne, who had fled from his country and sought refuge among the Táborites.[48] Each party also chose two umpires, probably for the purpose of maintaining order during the proceedings; for it can hardly be thought that nobles or citizens would be competent to formulate a decision, should learned and subtle theologians disagree. The question discussed on the first day was that of Communion. The Táborite representatives immediately read out a statement declaring that the sole basis on which they intended to found their arguments were the Holy Scriptures and the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself, the prophets, and the apostles; the teaching of other holy men they could accept if it was in conformity with Christ’s words or obviously founded on the Holy Scriptures. They added that they would die rather than maintain or accept anything that was opposed to the wish of Christ and of His primitive Church. The divines of the university of Prague in their reply declared that they also accepted the Holy Scriptures, and that the Bible of the Christians which was in common use must be accepted by all the faithful under penalty of eternal damnation. They added that they considered the Latin translation of St. Jerome as correct with regard to all matters of faith, and that they also accepted as true and authentic the books of Dionysius, Clement, and Origen, as well as those of the four fathers of the Church Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, and Gregory. They finally declared that when these four fathers expressed a unanimous opinion on any question of faith it was safer, more useful, and easier to agree to it than to some modern conception.[49] The Táborites immediately answered, stating that they rejoiced in learning that their opponents had the same veneration for Holy Scripture which they themselves felt; they wished, however, to mention that the divines of the university had not made the necessary distinction between the canonical and apocryphal books of the Bible. They further stated that many writings had been falsely attributed to Origen and to other ecclesiastical writers, and they suggested that even when the four fathers of the Church had agreed on some point they might have all four erred. The Táborites finally replied to the allusion to the “conceptions of modern persons.” There is little doubt that the persons meant were Martin Houška, John of Zělivo, and other zealots who had claimed Divine inspiration for their teaching. The Táborites maintained that if God at the present time revealed to some man a new meaning of the Scriptures, this man should be believed rather than the fathers of the Church.[50] The proceedings of the first day then terminated. On the second day the representatives of Tábor raised the question of the celebration of mass. They demanded that the ceremonies connected with it should be shortened and simplified, as their long duration prevented the people from listening to the preaching of the Word of God which was so necessary. They strongly blamed the custom of reciting or singing before the people words in a foreign language which they could not understand. They then formulated other grievances, and demanded the suppression of the masses for the dead (the “requiems”), which, they said, had only been established by the Pope Pelagius in 568. They finally denied the existence of purgatory, and stated that it had been unknown in the primitive Church. In their reply the divines of Prague stated that under the penalty of eternal damnation all were obliged to obey, not only the laws and regulations of the apostles and fathers of the Church, but also those of the Church, even if they were evil and depraved, as long as they were reasonable and not obviously opposed to God’s law. It is evident that the moderate party, which wished above all things to maintain its connection with the universal Church, here laid down a principle which it would be very difficult to define. The Táborites then declared that the ritual of the Church of Prague was in many points contrary to Scripture, and that it required to be amended. They further stated that the masters of the university had quoted in defence of their ritual the words of theologians with whom they did not agree on other points, and they (the Táborites) would in future dispense with vestments, as the Praguers had failed to prove that it was obligatory or even lawful to use them. The next subject discussed was the Lord’s Supper. Here at least both parties agreed on certain points. As this was the only positive result of the very lengthy debates, it will be well to enumerate these points here:

I. All faithful Christians admit that both in the species of bread and of wine the whole Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is with us in true presence, both with His own blood and His own body.

II. In the visible Sacrament Christ is contained in His corporal-natural substance, which was transmitted to Him by the Holy Virgin Mary.

III. In the Eucharist and in the visibly sanctified host the full Godship dwells bodily.

IV. The substance of the body of Christ is contained in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, as regards body and substance, but not dimension.[51]

V. The substance of the body of Christ is contained in the Sacrament of the Eucharist only as such.[52]

VI. It (the substance) is, however, though without material extension present in substance and in body.

VII. Christ, true God and man, is, as regards His true natural and substantial body, which lives in heaven, simultaneously and at the same time present in one and many places and with all the communicants, though not in a measurable extension.

VIII. Therefore this same Christ, true God and man, in whom we believe, should, in this venerable Sacrament, be worshipped with genuflections and all honours due to Christ.

This compromise with regard to one of the most burning questions of Bohemian theological controversy secured at least a temporary respite. Though most of the theological problems remained unsolved, an armistice was concluded immediately after the disputation had ended. Though it had no permanent result I have thought it well briefly to outline the theological discussions that took place on this occasion. They show very clearly how great the differences between the moderate Utraquists and the Táborites already were. It appears surprising rather that the men of the two parties should have joined together in opposing foreign invaders and even in sending envoys to the Council of Basel than that they should so frequently have fallen out. We have but little information on the agreement which followed the disputation of Konopišt. It seems, however, certain that the Utraquist lords, the Praguers, and the Táborites determined to act in common against the common enemy, and at least for a time to desist from internal strife. The nobles of the Roman Catholic party were not included in the agreement, and we find Žižka almost immediately after the truce engaged in warfare against the inconstant Čeněk of Wartenberg, who continued to oppose Utraquism. It is probable that on the occasion of the meeting at Konopišt the military leaders deliberated on the future joint plan of campaign and decided to invade Moravia. We are insufficiently informed as to the condition of Moravia during the Hussite wars. The country was always more closely connected with Bohemia than the other lands of the Bohemian crown. During the Hussite wars a religious war similar to that in Bohemia, but on a smaller scale, continued uninterruptedly. The Moravian nobility, closely connected with that of Bohemia, on the whole favoured Utraquism. Yet the Church of Rome never lost its hold on Moravia as completely as it did on the sister-land. In the powerful and energetic John, the “iron” Bishop of Olomouc (Olmütz), who had so greatly contributed to the execution of Hus,[53] the Moravian Catholics found a strong leader. The country bordering on Austria was also exposed to the constant attacks of King Sigismund’s son-in-law, the Archduke Albert. It was therefore decided that Žižka with his Táborites was first to attack Čeněk of Wartenberg and march to Litoměřice, where the German part of the citizens had declared for Rome; he was then to join in Moravia the army of the Utraquist nobles under Borěk of Miletinek, which was immediately to march into that country. The invasion of Moravia appears at first to have been successful. The Utraquists took possession of the town of Prěrov, and after a victorious battle besieged and took the town of Kroměřiže, which belonged to their arch-enemy, the Bishop of Olomouc. They did not, however, continue their campaign long. One of those strange sudden civic upheavals took place with which we sometimes meet in Bohemia as in mediæval Italy. Korybutovič had, during his short rule, appointed Bořek of Miletinek captain of the city of Králové Hradec. When Bořek started on his expedition to Moravia he appointed his brother Dětrich his provisional representative. For reasons which are not clear to us, the citizens rose in revolt against Dětrich and expelled him from their town. On hearing this Bořek evacuated Moravia and marched on Králové Hradec. He also wrote to the citizens of Prague asking for aid, and they immediately sent troops to join him. On the other hand the men of Králové Hradec sent messengers to Litoměřice entreating Žižka to come to their help. Žižka immediately complied with their wish and marched on Králové Hradec. This step is very difficult to account for. Bořek of Miletinek had but a few months previously fought bravely at Žižka’s side at the battle of Hořice. It has been suggested that during his Moravian campaign Bořek had entered into secret negotiations with the citizens of Prague. This would not, however, sufficiently explain Žižka’s conduct, for he himself always wished to be on good terms with the people of the capital. It is probable that Žižka had already received some information of the secret negotiations with King Sigismund into which the Praguers and Utraquist nobles were just entering and which were more fully developed in the following year. This would also account for the exceptional ferocity which Žižka is stated to have shown on this occasion. The encounter between Žižka and perhaps the best of his generals is well described by a contemporary chronicler, though he is somewhat incorrect as regards the succession of the events. He writes:[54] “Diviš [Bořek of Miletinek] ruled over Králové Hradec and placed there his brother, the Lord Dětrich. The citizens informed Žižka of this, and he marched from Litoměřice to Králové Hradec. The citizens admitted him into the town and drove away Lord Dětrich and destroyed the castle. Then Diviš left Moravia, taking with him the Praguers, and sought revenge on the citizens of Králové Hradec because they had driven away his brother; and with the Praguers he drew near to Králové Hradec; and brother Žižka with the citizens marched out to encounter them; and a battle took place between the two parties near the Strachov farm and here ark was ranged against ark;[55] and the Praguers fled, defeated by Žižka on this field; and here many people were killed and 200 taken prisoners; and Diviš fled to Kutna Hora with his men; and the priest who carried the ark for the party of the Praguers Žižka killed with his fighting-club.” From Králové Hradec Žižka marched to Jaroměř and Králové Dvůr and easily subdued these cities, which had been allied with Prague. He immediately afterwards besieged the important town of Časlav. Soon afterwards, however, a new armistice was concluded, and it appears that all Utraquist parties wished that the great general should resume the Moravian campaign. Before starting on this new enterprise, Žižka published his famed regulations of war.[56] Their purpose was to establish strict and rigorous order in the Táborite camps and to bind all his warriors to the four articles of Prague. To give more weight to these regulations, they were issued not only on the authority of Žižka, the commander-in-chief, but also—to quote but a few names—on that of the Lords John Roháč of Duba, Alěš of Riesenburg, John Potštýn of Žampach, as well as of the burgomasters of the three towns, who, as mentioned above, had joined the confederacy of Tábor, and many knights and nobles. It appears that many of the older Táborites, among whom anarchical and visionary views still lingered, disapproved of Žižka’s attempt to enforce military discipline. They continued, indeed, to obey his orders when engaged on a campaign against the common enemy, but the mutual distrust and dislike between the Táborites and Žižka’s more intimate friends constantly increased. Žižka at the end of his life incurred the hatred of at least some of the Táborites.[57]

Žižka immediately started on his new campaign in Moravia. He first occupied Jihlava (Iglau) in that country, and then decided to invade Hungary. King Sigismund was then residing at Buda. Žižka, whose statesmanship has often been underrated by those who saw in him only a brilliant general, rightly thought that it was only by invading his Hungarian kingdom that Sigismund could be forced definitively to renounce his claim to the Bohemian throne. To Žižka, a mortal enemy of the house of Luxemburg, but no enemy of the monarchical principle, this naturally appeared the only way by which the pacification of Bohemia could be effected.

Žižka’s Hungarian campaign was unsuccessful; yet this campaign, and particularly his retreat from Hungary, have always been considered one of the greatest proofs of his military genius.[58] It is here particularly to be regretted that contemporary evidence is very scanty. We can only conjecture that the Hungarians everywhere retreated when Žižka advanced, and that not being able to give battle he determined to retreat when he could not find sufficient supplies for his soldiers in a country which the Hungarians themselves had ravaged. I will quote the account of a contemporary chronicler[59] which, though often vague as regards topography and chronology, is interesting as giving a good insight into Žižka’s methods of warfare. The chronicler writes: “When the brethren had remained some time in Moravia they persuaded him [Žižka] to undertake a more distant expedition.[60] Then he fitted out four columns of wagons, and with as many guns as he could collect crossed the hills and marched into Hungary. The Hungarians did not oppose his advance, nor interfere with him. They wished to ascertain if some of his men would leave the ranks, hoping then to defeat him. For they had assembled against him a large force of horsemen, and when they had all joined they marched against him, and they had a large number of guns. And he [Žižka], seeing that he could do no good, turned back his wagons in the direction of the land of Moravia and thus disposed them: first he assembled all the men near the wagons, and then continued his march with closed wagons.[61] And thus did he dispose the wagons at the flanks, that he placed between the wagons[62] two shields, and behind each shield two or three shooters; and he did this for this purpose that, should they [the Hungarians] on the march attempt to jump into the wagons, these men should prevent it. On that day the retreat was very difficult; for, whenever he attempted to halt even for a moment, they fired heavily at his troops. He was unable to oppose them, and so marched on till nightfall; he did this that they might not observe where he encamped and fire at his troops; and he allowed no fires to be lit in his army. They [the Hungarians] rode round his army, but having nothing to which to tie their horses they had to go to the neighbouring villages, and that at some distance, to be safe from him [Žižka]. Then, having rested as he thought fit, he marched on the next day to a lake near a hill. He here took up a position so that one flank of his army touched the lake, and the other was placed under the hill for the reason that they should overshoot themselves, if they wanted to shoot at his troops. He himself acted thus: he took the fodder-carts, and had them driven up to this height, and he made out of them at the front gate a bastion and another one at the back;[63] and he threw up entrenchments here, and having done this placed his guns on the bastions; and he never allowed them [the Hungarians] to remain on these heights.[64], Thus he remained safely encamped here on that day and the following night. Then on the third day he marched from the lake to another stream which flows in the direction of Narhid,[65] and encamped near this river; and here he greatly feared an attack while his men were crossing the river. During the whole night he ordered the wagons from one bank of the river to the other to be secured by trenches,[66] surrounded them with ditches to enable his soldiers to resist and on the other side of the stream he placed fodder-carts and a sudden attack of cavalry. He gave orders that the ground on both banks should be dug up, so that he could cross with four columns of wagons. When they [the enemies] saw him occupied in crossing the river with his wagons, they attempted to attack the wagons that were in the rear; then he drove them back from the entrenchments, and when many foot-soldiers and horsemen attacked him, then he wounded and killed many of them, and having beaten them off he crossed to the other bank with his wagons and his men. Then he thanked the Lord God, because the Lord God had deigned to grant him His help when he crossed the river. From here he marched through wide woods where there are marshes and meadows, and encamped in an outlying spot, that they might not fire at him, and here he remained overnight. On the fourth day[67] he marched to the fish-ponds which are near Tyrnau. And here he repaired his wagons, removing some from the places which they had previously occupied in the columns; and this was done because they [the Hungarians] had damaged the wagons at the flanks and killed many horses; and here they left him undisturbed; and having encamped near the fish-ponds and repaired his wagons, on the fifth day he marched to a sloping hill. Then they again attacked him with horsemen and guns. But he marched close to the slope, so that he was secure on one flank; for it was easier for him to defend himself on one flank than on both. Then they, seeing that they could not harm him, retired from the proximity of his army; then he encamped on the hill. Then, as the people tell, there was great misery and distress in the camp, so that for one green cabbage-stump they would gladly have given much money. The reason of this was that they [the Hussites] never ventured out of their wagons, for the enemies were strong in cavalry and they dared not attack them on foot. Whenever the enemy prepared to attack him [Žižka] or fought with him, he always defeated them, and they were beaten back by him; for differently are horsemen equipped and differently foot-soldiers, to whom it is an unaccustomed thing [to fight on horseback]; for if you wish to learn something, before you get used to it some time is required and a certain leisure.[68] On the sixth[69] day of the march he moved away from the slope, as he [Žižka] had to reach the hills;[70] and he had on this day to form his wagons in but one column, for he could not advance in any other way. Then the Hungarians, seeing this, pursued him with large forces, hoping that neither his [military] organisation nor his order-of-battle would any longer avail him, and that his men would be obliged to leave the wagons, and he thus prepared his defence: he took up a position close to some forests under a hill, and this was done that, should they fire at him from their guns, they should overshoot them-selves. He himself with his artillery took up a position on the summit of this height. Then he ordered the horses from the wagons to be unharnessed and told his men to mount the horses, and he armed them with hatchets, shovels, and spades, that they might explore the road, whether it was in any way obstructed; this was done that the [Hungarian] horsemen should not attack his wagons from the flanks, and he ordered the road to be carefully repaired. Then when he had to march his men out of the forest he ordered a new road to be built at a distance of 1 1/2 ‘hons’[71] from the old one on one side and also on the other, and this was done for the reason that if the enemies should overtake him, he could direct his guns and foot-soldiers to the old road, and if the enemies wanted to dispute his passage through the fields, through which he intended to leave the forests, he could in this way fire at them and slay them; and thus did it afterwards befall; and while at this side of the forest he thus disposed his wagons, out of the four columns in which he had marched, he now formed two. He then had forage-carts broken up, and made out of them four rows like a palisade or a bastion from one end of the forest to the other, and he ordered [the planks] to be attached together by cords, so that they could not easily tear them or break them down. And he did this that, should they attempt to jump into his wagons or seize his cannon, his men could defend themselves behind these planks as behind a wall; and thus did it afterwards befall. And then he sent into the forest first the guns, then some foot-soldiers, then fifty wagons from his right flank. And when these fifty wagons had entered the forest, he again ordered some infantry to follow them, as appeared advisable to him, and he sent on fifty more wagons from his left flank, and then again infantry. Thus he again sent on each time fifty wagons, and between each column foot-soldiers, as many as was necessary. And this was done for the reason that if they [the enemies] attempted to kill the wagoners, or seize the wagons, these foot-soldiers marching between the columns of wagons should prevent this. Then, when the last passed, the Hungarians attacked the rear, wishing to seize his cannon. They then, descending from the heights, attacked the fodder-carts which he had placed there, but they [Žižka’s men] remained sheltered by them till the artillery had entered the wood and the infantry also; then they also retreated. And they so little feared the Hungarians that while they [the Hungarians] took possession of the carts they partly destroyed the road, so that the horsemen could not follow them. When the Hungarians saw this, that they could in no way harm him, some rode on in advance, wishing to oppose him [Žižka] when he debouched out of the forest, others rode home saying that this was not a man, but that the devil gave him this cunning, and that nothing availed against him. And thus did he lead his army out of the forest again through some fields that were between slopes. When he had arrived at the new roads which he had made, he first ordered these fifty wagons to move along the new road which he built to the right [of the old one]; and when they marched through the fields they drove close to the slope so that the foot-soldiers had on one side the wagons and on the other the slope, so that they did not fear the horsemen; and he ordered the other columns also to advance along the other [the new] road; and he sent the artillery out of the wood by the old road and then occupied the fields. And so gradually all the wagons were driven out of the wood, and he disposed them so that they were all in one line and wound themselves together like a wreath. And he did this to unite the two columns in one and drive them [the Hungarians] from the field with a powerful hand. And thus the number of wagons which left the forest ever increased, till they had all got into the open. And thus did the Lord God help him to retreat from Hungary. But from the time that Žižka had begun to war this had been his heaviest task.”

This contemporary account of Žižka’s Hungarian campaign—which I have thought best to translate literally from the rugged fifteenth-century Bohemian of the original—was probably written by one who took part in the campaign. It contains many inaccuracies and obscurities and, as I have mentioned, leaves us in doubt with regard to matters both chronological and topographical. Recently Professor Tomek and Dr. Toman, who have thoroughly studied this curious document, have tried to elucidate some doubtful points. The account gives but few names of localities—these generally spelt in a manner that renders them almost unintelligible—and the question arises: What part of Hungary did Žižka invade? It seems most probable that he entered Hungary from Moravia at Holic, and that he marched by Tyrnau and Neutra to the neighbourhood of Gran, where he reached the Danube.[72] He was there not very far from King Sigismund, who was then residing at Buda. The King of Hungary, though he immediately left that city, organised a large force to oppose Žižka, who had hitherto advanced without meeting with any resistance. It was probably in the plains between Gran and Komorn that Žižka was first attacked by vast forces of Hungarian horsemen, and nearly surrounded by them. He then immediately determined to retire to Moravia. On his retreat he probably took the same route as on entering Hungary, but in the absence of all information we are reduced to conjectures. It appears certain that Žižka reached Moravia about October 20, and we read of him as being in Bohemia shortly afterwards.

Very serious events had taken place in that country during Žižka’s absence. It appears probable that soon after the armistice of Konopišt the Praguers and some of the Utraquist nobles entered into negotiations with King Ladislas of Poland. It is even stated that they entrusted him with the mission of tending their, probably not unconditional, submission to the Roman see. Ladislas, with a perfidia plus quam Polonica, did not hesitate to communicate these strictly confidential negotiations to King Sigismund. Polish envoys were sent to the Hungarian court and were received there with great favour. Somewhat later two of the principal nobles of the Roman party in Bohemia also proceeded to Hungary. Doubtless realising that a complete submission of their Utraquist countrymen, after an almost uninterrupted series of victories, was an impossibility, they suggested another conference. A meeting of the Utraquists of Bohemia took place at Kolin shortly afterwards. They decided to enter into negotiations with the Roman Catholics, and it was agreed that representatives of all Bohemian parties should meet at Prague “on the day of St. Gallus”—October 16. At this meeting members of all Bohemian parties except the Táborites were present. Among those who took part in this assembly were Archbishop Conrad, who occupied the first place, the Romanist nobles Aleš of Šternberg and Frederick of Kolowrat, as well as John of Opočno and Puta of Častolovice, who had just returned from visiting King Sigismund in Hungary. Among the Utraquist nobles present were Lord Hašek of Valdštýn and Lord Krušina of Lichtenburg. The rank next to them was assigned to the representatives of the cities of Prague. After them came the knights among whom was Bořek of Miletinek, and the representatives of the other Bohemian towns.[73] The conference sat till November 1. The only information which we have concerning its deliberations is contained in a document that was drawn up before the members separated. It began by stating that all those present agreed to the continuation of the negotiations with the Roman party which the meeting at Kolin had first suggested, and that all desired that a new conference should shortly take place at Brno in Moravia. The document then declared that the members of the conference had decided to elect a provisional government. They thus followed the precedent of the assembly at Časlav in 1421. Twelve “captains of the people” were chosen, and the list included most of the prominent Roman and Utraquist noblemen, whose names have frequently occurred in this work, as well as Bořek of Miletinek, who now commanded the troops of the Praguers. One of the duties of these captains of the land was “to help and defend the country against all who wished to ruin it and to cause troubles and riots.” If we consider the strongly conservative, not to say reactionary, tendency of the assembly at Prague we can hardly doubt that the persons alluded to were the Táborites. The latter were naturally indignant at being described as robbers and rioters. The official document containing the results of the deliberations at Prague avoided to mention King Sigismund, yet immediately after the meeting John of Opočno and Puta of Častolovice again proceeded to Buda, where King Sigismund had now returned. The ostensible purpose of their journey was to obtain letters of safe conduct for the Utraquist envoys who were to proceed to Brno, which was then in the hands of the Archduke Albert, Sigismund’s son-in-law. Enough has been written of Žižka to make it unnecessary to state that these renewed negotiations with Sigismund, as well as the insulting references to the Táborites—whose military leader he was, though he disapproved of many of their tenets—infuriated him to the highest degree.

The year 1424 which now begins is known in Bohemian history as Žižka’s last and bloodiest year. A personal motive, which may to a certain extent have influenced even an absolutely fearless man such as was Žižka, perhaps contributed to his not unjustifiable indignation. While Lord John of Opočno was in Hungary, the town council of Králové Hradec and Ambrose, parish priest of that city, wrote to Žižka informing him that their soldiers had made prisoner “one of the party of Opočno,”[74] a man of rank, who stated that some one had received a large sum for the purpose of entering Žižka’s camp and assassinating him. It is impossible to ascertain the truth of this report, but it is certain that on his return from Hungary and Moravia Žižka immediately entered the district of Králové Hradec and attacked the estates of Puta of Častolovice and John of Opočno, who hurriedly returned from Hungary. A battle took place at Skalice[75] on January 6, 1424, in which Sigismund’s partisans were signally defeated. Žižka, indefatigable in this, the last year of his life, continued, almost always successfully, his campaign in the district of Králové Hradec. He then marched to the neighbourhood of Plzeň, which ever since its evacuation by Žižka at the beginning of the war had continued to be the principal stronghold of the Royalist or Roman party in Bohemia. Žižka’s expedition appears to have been unsuccessful. Plzeň, to the end of the Hussite wars, remained the weak spot in the position of the nationalists. From Plzeň Žižka returned to central Bohemia. The Praguers, who had sanctioned the new negotiations with Sigismund and even taken part in them, had incurred his bitter hatred. Žižka who, as must always be remembered, was everywhere confronted by far more numerous hostile forces, entered the town of Kostelec on the Elbe, and was here besieged by a large army consisting of Praguers and of nobles both of the Utraquist and the Roman party. He is said to have been in great danger, and it is even stated on doubtful authority that King Sigismund greatly rejoiced, believing that Žižka would shortly be his prisoner. Žižka, however, with the aid of Lord Hynek of Poděbrad, succeeded in crossing the Elbe by a ford at night-time. On the other bank he was joined by the forces of the Lord of Poděbrad and by fresh Táborite troops. The army of Žižka and his allies then marched along the right bank of the Elbe till they reached Poděbrady, the principal castle of the lords of that name, who were among Žižka’s staunchest allies in the Bohemian nobility. The Praguers and their allies continued to march along the left bank of the Elbe, only the river separating the opposing armies. On arriving at Poděbrady Žižka with his usual rapidity suddenly decided to recross the river and to march in the direction of Kutna Hora, a country which he thoroughly knew from the time of his winter campaign in 1421. It is not very clear what his ulterior plans were. It has been suggested by some writers that he intended to retreat on Tábor and there to gather reinforcements. If this was for a moment his intention, he immediately changed his mind when he thought that his forces were sufficiently strong to engage the enemies. One of the Táborite leaders, Lord Roháč of Duba, resided in the neighbourhood of Kutna Hora in a castle to which, according to the Hussite custom, he had given the biblical name of Sion. Lord Roháč immediately joined Žižka with a considerable force; some other reinforcements also reached him. He, however, continued his seeming retreat, determined as usual only to give battle on a site where he believed his chances to be favourable. On June 7 he halted near the fort[76] of Malešov, situated on the summit of a hill. Here he immediately formed his columns of wagons and his soldiers in line of battle. As was invariably the case Žižka’s position was a very strong one. The enemies could advance by one road only; the slopes of the hill were then undoubtedly thickly wooded, and a marshy stream crossed the road at the beginning of the ascent. The Praguers, still vastly superior in number, immediately advanced to attack, anxious only that Žižka should not, as at Kostelec on the Elbe, again escape them. Žižka waited till about half the forces of the Praguers had crossed the valley through which the stream flowed and had begun to ascend the hill. He then ordered his horsemen to attack the flanks of the enemies, but soon to retire. Shortly afterwards he gave the order that his battle-wagons, laden with heavy stones, should be driven down the slope into the midst of the advancing Praguers. Their appearance immediately caused a panic, which was, no doubt, all the greater because Žižka’s exploits had already become legendary. The flight of the first columns prevented the advance of the others, and many soldiers—among them the troops of the nobles allied with Prague—never came into action. The flight soon became general, and 1,200 Praguers were killed; among them were the knight Peter Turkovec, who had carried the standard of Prague, and many prominent citizens.

It is probably at this period that an incident occurred which, though we have only Æneas Sylvius’s very unreliable authority for it, yet should, perhaps, not remain unrecorded. Æneas Sylvius states[77] that King Sigismund, seeing that Žižka was everywhere successful, and that he was the one man on whom the fate of Bohemia depended, secretly attempted a reconciliation with him. He promised to appoint him Governor of Bohemia and commander of the troops in that country, and to grant him a large sum of money.[78] There is every probability that this tale is entirely untrue. Had Žižka become a traitor to his country and his creed he would have found his only supporters in Bohemia among the not very numerous Romanist nobles, from whom the intense hatred caused by four years of incessant warfare widely separated him. King Sigismund was probably well acquainted with the dispositions of the Hussites, and cannot have been ignorant of Žižka’s extreme suspiciousness, which would certainly have prevented him from trusting the word of Sigismund. Only one quite ignorant of Žižka’s true character can have imagined this tale. The certainly spurious anecdote has only been mentioned here because many writers have even recently repeated Æneas Sylvius’s tale.

The victory of Malešov was followed by a series of successes for Žižka. Immediately after the battle he again obtained possession of Kutna Hora, and the cities of Česky Brod, Kouřim, and Nymburk, formerly allies of Prague, voluntarily accepted his rule. In this his last year we find Žižka constantly moving with feverish activity from one part of the country to another. It has already been mentioned that the Hussite war, like the great English civil war, comprised numerous local struggles, which were dispersed over all parts of the country. Žižka, as if aware of his imminent fate, now wished to give his aid and advice to his comrades in the different districts. After receiving the submission of the cities on the Elbe, which have just been mentioned, Žižka hurried once more to the district of Plzeň and then proceeded to Žatec. He here received important news. The negotiations of the Bohemians with Poland, to which I have frequently referred, had lately been broken off. There is little doubt that King Ladislas used the Bohemians only as a pawn in the difficult political game which he was playing with King Sigismund, the Teutonic order and the Elector of Brandenburg.[79] The King of Poland, at this moment on good terms with Sigismund, endeavoured to ingratiate himself with him by inducing the Bohemians—by means of promises which would not be kept—to at last recognise Sigismund as their king. The negotiations, as was inevitable, failed. In direct contrast with the attitude of Ladislas was that of his nephew, Prince Korybutovič. He again declared himself openly a friend of Bohemia, and travelling rapidly through Silesia suddenly arrived at Prague on June 29 accompanied by 1,500 Polish horsemen. The citizens, greatly weakened by their defeat at Malešov, gladly welcomed him, and conferred on him wider powers than he had possessed during his first stay in Bohemia. They did not, however, grant him the title of king, though he claimed that rank.[80]

Meanwhile Žižka was at Žatec equipping a large army, determined to march on Prague and entirely to suppress the freedom of the city. Besides his own Táborites the men of Loun, Žatec, and Klatovy marched with him. They started at the end of August and arrived on September 1 at Libochovice, where Žižka; with his usual rigid puritanism, caused four monks who had committed outrages on women and maidens to be burnt. From there Žižka’s army—according to Professor Tomek’s conjecture, for the contemporary chronicles are, as usual, hopeless with regard to topography—crossed the Elbe at Veltrus and marching rapidly, as was Žižka’s custom, arrived early in September at Libeň, then a village near Prague, now a part of that city. In the camp at Libeň he received further reinforcements; among others the men of Králové Hradec, always faithful to the national cause, flocked to Žižka’s standards. The city of Prague was not, however, regularly invested, though the Táborite soldiers often closely approached the walls of the new town and taunted the citizens. The latter sometimes attempted sorties, but were invariably repulsed with great loss.

The Utraquists, both within the city walls and in Žižka’s camp, now began seriously to consider the far-reaching consequences which the capture and perhaps the destruction of the capital would have. Žižka’s irritation, though regrettable, is not inexplicable. He had saved Prague in 1420 when it was menaced by the enormous forces of the crusaders, and he had only met with ingratitude. Acute statesman as he was, he well knew that only the incredible apathy of the German princes and the failure of King Ladislas to induce his subjects to take part in a crusade against the kindred Bohemian nation had, both in 1423 and 1424, prevented the complete subjection of Bohemia. It is certain that at the time of the battles of Králové Hradec, Hořice, and Malešov Bohemia would not have been able to resist a determined invasion. Žižka undoubtedly thought that he could defeat the foreign enemies more easily alone than in the company of unreliable allies.

Even among Žižka’s most intimate friends, his intention to attack and, as it was said, to destroy Prague met with grave opposition. They reminded him of the reverence that all, even the most uncultured, Bohemians felt for their time-honoured capital, and of the terrible loss of life which such an assault would inevitably involve. They also alluded to the increasing peril of Moravia. Within the city Prince Korybutovič also exercised a moderating influence. As a friend of Žižka he warmly appealed to the citizens, begging them not to offend the great warrior, but to make all possible concessions. A deputation of the citizens of Prague arrived at Žižka’s camp at Libeň on September 14. Its leader was the priest John of Rokycan, afterwards Utraquist Archbishop of Prague. The citizens could not have made a better choice. Rokycan was a determined Utraquist, who insisted on the right to receive Communion in the two kinds and on the necessity to enforce discipline and poverty among the clergy. He detested, however, the attempts of the extreme Táborites to introduce innovations in respect of doctrine and ritual which had never had the sanction of Hus. These views coincided entirely with those of Žižka, who was always irritated by the endeavours of his enemies to render him responsible for the acts and views of some of his more unruly adherents. The chroniclers tell us that Žižka was greatly impressed by the eloquence of Rokycan, who afterwards became known as one of the greatest of Bohemian preachers. We possess, however, no authentic contemporary account of his speech. It is at any rate certain that the contending parties came to an agreement, and that it was decided that the Táborites under Žižka, the Praguers with Prince Korybutovič, and the Utraquist nobles should henceforth act in common, and should immediately march to Moravia, which had been almost entirely subdued by the Austrian Archduke Albert. Žižka almost alone did not view the future hopefully. “This agreement will not last longer than that at Konopišt,” he is reported to have said. The great warrior’s scepticism was no doubt caused by the fact that it had also been settled at Libeň to enter again into negotiations with the lords “sub una,” that is to say, those who belonged to the Roman party. These men were entirely under the influence of King Sigismund, who had long before declared that he could grant no concessions in ecclesiastical matters, as such matters appertained exclusively to the jurisdiction of the Pope. Some years had to pass and much blood to be shed before the Council of Basel accepted a different standpoint. The negotiations with the nobles of Sigismund’s party led to no very definite result, but an armistice was concluded, and the nobles “sub una” pledged themselves to grant to their peasants the freedom to receive Communion in the two kinds during the suspension of hostilities.

The principal reason why Žižka gave his consent to the treaty of Libeň was the wish to terminate civic warfare and prepare for the defence of his country, menaced by constant raids and attacks. King Ladislas’s intended invasion of Bohemia had entirely failed; many of the Polish soldiers, who were to have taken part in it had even joined the forces of Prince Korybutovič. On the other hand, the Germans were again planning a new crusade. The most pressing danger at that moment was, however, on the Moravian border. It had been agreed at Libeň that the reunited forces of the Utraquists should immediately march to Moravia, and at the end of September the whole force started on its new campaign. Žižka was, of course, commander-in-chief, and Hvězda of Vicemilic, who had just brought reinforcements from Tábor, Prince Sigismund Korybutovič, Bořek of Miletinek, the Lords Kuneš of Bělovic and Victorin of Poděbrad commanded divisions. It was the largest and most united army which any Utraquist general ever led to battle. Its commanders were all experienced soldiers, and Žižka’s men were prepared to follow him anywhere. Fate, never favourable to Bohemia, here also proved hostile. The army marched along the usual road to Moravia by Kutna Hora, Časlav, and Německý Brod, and while the vanguard, under Bořek of Miletinek, immediately crossed the frontier, the rest of the army laid siege to the castle of Přibyslav, which occupied a somewhat important position. While encamped here Žižka was seized by a violent attack of the plague, which then raged in Bohemia, and died on October 11. A contemporary chronicler, who probably took part in Žižka’s campaigns, thus describes his death.[81] “After concluding peace with the Prince (Korybutovič) and the Praguers Žižka and the brethren marched into Moravia, and while encamped before the castle of Přibyslav brother Žižka was seized by a deadly attack of the plague. Then he gave his last charge to his dear faithful brethren and fellow-Bohemians, Lord Victorin of Poděbrad, Lords Kuneš of Bělovic and Hvězda of Vicemilic, saying that, fearing their beloved God, they should firmly and faithfully uphold God’s law in view of His reward in eternity. And then brother Žižka recommended his soul to God and died on the Wednesday before the day of St. Gallus.” This tranquil and hopeful death was very beseeming for the great Bohemian warrior, who had, according to his views—on which the historian cannot pass judgment—devoted his life to the defence of God’s law. He who had so often fought what he firmly believed to be God’s battle assuredly did not dread entering into God’s peace.

It is only reluctantly that I refer to the odious and absolutely unhistorical anecdotes concerning Žižka’s death which, circulated by Æneas Sylvius,[82] have since been repeated by countless writers, and no doubt greatly diverted the Voltairean scepticism of Frederick the Great,[83] to whom Žižka must have seemed a very inexplicable personage. “Žižka's drum” has fortunately at last been relegated from the domain of serious historical study. I have in the course of this work referred so frequently to Žižka that little now remains to be added. He was a very fervent Utraquist, to whom it appeared certain that the Sacrament of Holy Communion according to Christ’s ordinance was only valid when administered in the two kinds. He believed the reform of Church discipline as demanded by Hus to be a necessity. He certainly entertained an undying hatred of King Sigismund, believing—in accordance with his views, derived from the Old Testament—that it was his duty to avenge the treacherous murder of Hus. The opinions expressed by foolish ultramontanes and equally foolish socialists, who describe Žižka as a communist or leveller, are absolutely unhistorical. Žižka belonged to the estate of the “zemans,” the gentry of Bohemia, and had in most respects the same views as other men of his rank. Only his unrivalled military genius and his great gift of statesmanship placed him above them. Thus it gave him much pleasure to receive the order of knighthood after his brilliant victories near Kutna Hora, and—absolutely disinterested as he was—he yet did not hesitate to accept the gift of a small castle near Litoměrice, which the Bohemian estates offered him in recognition of his services to the nation. He gave his new castle the name of Kalice (chalice) as token of his religious views. From this time he always called himself “John Žižka of the chalice,” according to the Bohemian custom, as the knights and nobles then refused titles and took their name from their castles.

According to the contemporary chroniclers Žižka’s body was conveyed to Králové Hradec, where he had many friends, by Ambrose, parish priest of that town, and the priest Prokupek, afterwards famous as a leader of the “Orphans.” It is stated that his remains were afterwards transferred to Časlav, and according to Theobaldus,[84] who writes as one who had seen the tomb, they were interred near an altar on which were placed portraits of Hus and Žižka. Under the portrait of Hus were written the following lines:

Husse, tuus vindex jacet hic dux Žižka Johannes,
Supplex Sigmundus cui quoque Cæsar erat,
Et quoniam bustis clarent loca multa, sepulchrum
Žižka Caslaviæ fama perennis erit.”

Under Žižka’s portrait the following lines were inscribed:

Strenuus in bellis hoc dormit Žižka sepulchro,
Žižka, suæ gentis gloria, Martis honos.
Ille duces scelerum monachos pestemque nefandam
Ad Stygias justo fulmine trusit aquas.
Surget adhuc rursus, quadrate cornua cristæ,
Supplicii ut pœnas, quas meruere luant.

All traces of Žižka’s grave undoubtedly disappeared during the period of reaction which followed the battle of the White Mountain, though quite recently it was rumoured that some bones supposed to be Žižka’s had been discovered at Časlav.

  1. Proposuit quod fratres Thaboritæ contra homines altos pro ornatis scripturas impertinenter adducentes et fratrum scripturas adulterantes quod contra illos vellent agere sicut contra quoscunque alios infideles scripturas adulterantes, sicut antea pro imaginibus et consecracione acquarum fecerunt” (Březova, p. 467).
  2. Primum quod Dom. Jesus, Deus et homo, cujus perfecta sunt opera, sine vestibus exterioribus jam ad hoc consuetis et consuetudine et adinventione hominum deputatis et sine ritu a modo sacerdotibus usitato sufficientissime et saluterrime cœnam suam perigit.” (“Chronicon Taboritarum,” in Höfler, Geschichtsschreiber, etc., Vol. II. p. 489.)
  3. Supponimus quod ritum humanum in proposito nolumus vocare traditiones sed decreta paparum et hominum jam longe a vita Christi et apostolorum declinantium, in quibus jam caritas refriguerat iniquitate superabundante” (Höfler, as above, p. 490).
  4. Omnis institutio Dei aut sanctæ matris ecclesiæ legem Dei non destruens sed adjuvans, quam exequi non est de se peccatum est a fidelibus observanda; sed institutio de vestibus ad sacrificandum specialiter deputatis est Dei institutio et sanctæ matris ecclesiæ primitivæ legem Dei non destruens sed adjuvans, quæ non est de se peccatum; igitur talis institutio est a fidelibus observanda” (Höfler, as above, p. 504).
  5. Dr. Krummel in his interesting work entitled Utraquisten und Taboriten, in which he generally upholds the Taborite point of view, yet writes: “Die Taboriten kamen damals in Gefahr . . . durch einen übertriebenen Purismus und die chiliastischen Ideen, welche unter ihnen aufgekommen waren, auf eine abschüssige Bahn zu gerathen, die gefährliche Bahn auf welche im 16ten Jahrhunderte die Wiedertäufer gerathen und verdienter Maszen untergegangen sind” (p. 53).
  6. Březova, p. 495.
  7. See my Master John Hus, pp. 360–361.
  8. Published by Dr. Nedoma in an interesting article in the Věstnik Kral. c. společnosti nauk (Journal of the Roy. Bohemian Society of Science) in 1891. I must here acknowledge my indebtedness to this valuable article, which throws much new light on the question.
  9. This is proved by the Anonymi auctoris brevis narratio de nefanda hæresi adamitica in variis Austriæ locis sæculo XIV grassante (printed by Pez. “Scriptores rerum Austriacarum,” Vol. II. pp. 534–536).
  10. The origin of the Bohemian word “pikhart” is very difficult to trace. It was applied to all extreme fanatics, but particularly to the Adamites. It has often been used connected with the province of Picardy, as the origin of the Adamites is believed to have been in France. Others have connected the pikharts with the Beguins, who were often accused of professing heretical opinions.
  11. This Prokop is, of course, not to be confounded with Prokop the Great, nor with Prokop the Less, leader of the “Orphans” during the last part of the war.
  12. Tomek, History of the Town of Prague, Vol. IV. pp. 191–192.
  13. He was after Žižka’s death for a short time leader of the Táborites.
  14. See my Master John Hus, pp. 75–77.
  15. p. 515 of his Chronicle.
  16. For Jacobellus see my Master John Hus, passim, particularly pp. 71, 232.
  17. The best contemporary account of the execution of Zělivo is that by a priest who accompanied him to the town-hall. It has been printed from the original MS. in the Fontes Rerum Bohemicarum, Vol. Ill. pp. 480–485, and translated into German by Palacký. The document of course is greatly biased.
  18. Accounts differ with regard to the number of adherents of Zělivo who were decapitated with him.
  19. Scriptores rerum Bohemicarum,” Vol. III. pp. 50–51.
  20. The old town was then divided from the new by fortifications. See my Prague (“Mediæval Towns” series), p. 7.
  21. The street still bears that name. See my Prague, p. 178.
  22. The entire career of Valdštýn proves that this accusation of cowardice levelled against him is a calumny. The whole account shows, indeed, great animosity against him.
  23. History of the Town of Prague, Vol. IV. p. 242.
  24. Vitold wrote: “. . . quod dicti Bohemi multis et variis comminationibus atque guerris et exercitibus ad observantiam fidei sanctæ Rom. ecclesiæ et obedientiam sedis sanctæ Vtræ usque hoc reduci nequivissent, quin imo post tot triumphos totiens reportatos ad majorem pertinaciam deducerentur; quos nec gladius nec persecutio terrere poterant, sed ex crebra victoria et aspersione Christi fidelium qui, proh dolor, unanimiter ex utraque parte funditur eo magis animantur.” (Letter of March 5, 1422, printed by Palacký, Urkunden, etc., Vol. I. pp. 180–187.)
  25. Printed by Palacký, Urkunden, etc., Vol. I. p. 206. The letter is dated May 21, 1422.
  26. In Bohemian “požádaný,” in German “postulirter.” According to the ancient constitution only the coronation conferred the full dignity of King of Bohemia
  27. Even Dlugoš, whose strong Roman Catholic feeling naturally did not dispose him to judge Korybutovič favourably, writes: “Sigismundus Korybut . . . Pragam advenit et a plerisque Baronibus et Nobilibus Bohemiæ ab universis vero Pragensibus civibus de adventu suo lætantibus et claves civitatis Pragensis et castri utriusque sibi possessionem consignantibus summo studio et favore summaque gratulatione exceptus est, et magni illi honores tam de Baronibus quam a civibus Pragensibus habiti, summaque rerum tradita. Qui civitatem brevi ad justiorem formam redegit. Nobilibus et qui quiete vivere vellent blandus et amicus. In seditiosos et facinoros asperrimus vindex.” (Dlugossi, Historia Polonica, Vol. I. Lib. xi. p. 452).
  28. Scriptores rerum Bohemicarum,” Vol. III. p. 52.
  29. Printed in the Bohemian original in Cěrmǎk, Listy [documents] Jana Žižky z Trocnova.
  30. The two other captains of the Táborites.
  31. i. e. Korybutovič.
  32. Scriptores rerum Bohemicarum,” Vol. III. p. 55.
  33. See my Prague, etc., pp. 199–200.
  34. Thus Andreas Ratisbonensis writes in his Cronica de expeditionibus in Bohemiam contra Husitas hæreticos:Sicque facta pace ad annum inter eos [the Hussites] et Christi fideles de Carelstein tandem ipsi hæretici ab obsidione recesserunt. O bonum pacis, bonorum omnium excelientissimum, tu suavis desiderabilis hominibus bonæ voluntatis, quomodo nunc et dolosa advenisti. Tu enim gloria jocunditatis nostræ necessitate tua modo legem fregisti quem dedit dominus Moysi dicens: ‘Non inibis fœdus cum habitatoribus terræ.’” “The Chronicles of priest John Andrew of Regensburg”—printed by Höfler, Geschichtsschreiber, etc., Vol. II. pp. 406–457—contains much interesting information concerning the siege of the Karlštýn, mainly derived from the narrative of another priest, who was with the garrison, probably as chaplain.
  35. The idea of the great importance of the Karlštýn prevailed equally among the Catholics and the Utraquists. Thus Andreas Ratisbonensis, who has just been quoted, states that the partisans of Sigismund, when they learnt by a secret messenger that the Elector of Brandenburg had—as will be mentioned presently—abandoned the intention of relieving the Karlštýn, hurriedly concluded a truce with the Hussites before the latter knew that the garrison could not hope for any aid from Germany.
  36. As the Germans did not in this year enter Bohemia, this expedition can hardly be called a crusade. Modern writers generally call the invasion of Bohemia in 1421 the second, and that in 1427 the third crusade.
  37. It is impossible to enter here more fully into the politics of Poland, though their influence on Bohemia was far greater than is usually supposed.
  38. As I have written elsewhere, the connection between politics and religious controversy is in Eastern Europe nearly as close as it was in the Middle Ages, and the intense animosity between the Eastern and the Western Churches still continues. During a recent debate in the Austrian parliament (October 1912) the priest Bauchinger declared that he “saw no difference between Islam and schism,” meaning of course Mahomedanism and the Eastern Church.
  39. Printed in Palacký, Urkundliche Beiträge, Vol. I. pp. 268–288.
  40. Nos igitur gratulanter cum ser. principe D. Rom. Ungariæ, Boemiæ rege fratre et amico nostro carissimo concordiam inivimus et pacem perpetuam fecimus inter nos inviolabiliter duraturam. Nolentes in eo S. Matre Rom. ecclesiæ et totius Christianitatis universitati contraire, sed potius cum ipsa S. Matre eccl. Rom. D. Rege et cæteris catholicis principibus totaque Christianitate contra vos velle stare et juvare, ipsum ducem Sigismundum [Korybutovič] de terris regni Boemiæ exire mandavimus.
  41. Printed by Palacký, Urkundliche Beiträge, etc., Vol. I. pp. 286–288, and by Höfler, Geschichtsschreiber, etc., Vol. Il. pp. 433–435.
  42. This is well shown by Caro in his Geschichte Polens, Vol. III.
  43. Grünhagen, Geschichtsquellen der Hussitenkriege, pp. 38–39.
  44. I refer here principally to German writers. I have seen English books of the eighteenth century which judge Žižka quite fairly, and as correctly as the limited information then available permitted.
  45. Toman, Husitské Valečnictvi (Hussite Warfare).
  46. Scriptores rerum Bohemicarum,” Vol. III. p 56.
  47. A full account of the proceedings at Konopišt is given by Nicholas of Pelhřimov in his Chronicon Táboritarum (printed in Höfler, Geschichtsschreiber, etc., Vol. II, p. 574 f.). Dr. Krummel in his Utraquisten und Taboriten gives an excellent outline of the arguments of both parties written from the standpoint of a German Lutheran divine. He does not, however, appear to me to do justice to the views of the Bohemian Utraquists. They insisted on Communion in the two kinds, believing this to be the law of God, and also desired that the use of the national language in the religious services should be extended, and that stricter regulations regarding the conduct of the priesthood should be established. They never desired or contemplated a separation from the universal Church.
  48. It appears probable that Payne’s unyielding temper and bitterness impeded the proceedings here as they did afterwards at Basel when, as John of Ragusa writes: “Ipse Anglicus tanquam anguis lubricus quanto strictius teneri videbatur et concludi, tanto citius, ad impertinentes dilabebatur.” (“Tractatus quomodo reducti sunt ad unitatem ecclesiæ,” in Monumenta conciliorum generalium XV Secul., Vol. I. p. 260.
  49. Supponimus quod prædictis doctoribus quatuor in quacumque fidei materia idem unanimiter sentientibus, sed in quacunque alia sententia non expresse posita secundum formam propriam catholicæ saltem fidei non dissona nec in aliquo destructiva amplius, securius et utilius et expeditius credendum sit et a Christi fidelibus tenendum et observandum quam novis conceptibus modernorum” (“Chronicon Taboritarum”).
  50. Distinguendum etiam videtur de novis conceptibus hominum modernorum, si enim ex revelatione aut apertione scripturarum Deus hodie sensum potiorem alicui tribueret magis sibi credendum esset quam doctoribus antedictis; multa enim usque ad tempus statutum sunt signata et clausa, ut dicitur Danielis 12” (“Chronicon Taboritarum”).
  51. Substantia Corporis Christi est in sacramento eucharistiæ in quantum corpus et in quantum substantia, non tamen est ibi dimensive.
  52. Substantia Corporis Christi est in sacramento eucharistiæ, in quantum substantia sit in se.
  53. See my Master John Hus, particularly pp. 217 and 234.
  54. Scriptores rerum Bohemicarum,” Vol. III. p. 57.
  55. The Utraquist priests of all parties carried the Holy Sacrament in a monstrance before the warriors when battle began. It became customary to call the monstrance “the ark.” See my Bohemia, a Historical Sketch, p. 140, n. 2.
  56. They are printed as an Appendix to this volume; see n. 1, p. 28.
  57. “Then the old Táborites truly already hated Žižka, principally because Žižka’s priests said mass in an orderly fashion, in vestments, tonsured, and wearing a cope, and carried the body of the Lord ina monstrance.” (“Kronyka o Janovi Žižkovi.” quoted by Professor Tomek in his History of the Town of Prague, Vol. IV, p. 287, n.) This was, of course, by no means their only grievance against Žižka.
  58. All contemporary writers, even those hostile to Žižka, write with great praise of this campaign. Recently Professor Léger has compared it with Xenophon’s Anabasis.
  59. Scriptores rerum Bohemicarum,” Vol. III. p. 77, ff.
  60. This is certainly incorrect. Žižka undoubtedly acted on his own initiative.
  61. The meaning is that the troops were shut up in the wagons.
  62. That is, in the space between two wagons which followed each other.
  63. That is to say, at the two gates of his camp, at the two extremities of the slopes of the hill.
  64. Žižka’s fortifications commanded the ridge and the slopes of the hill. The enemies, therefore, could not establish themselves there and disturb him. They could not with any result fire at the hill, as Žižka’s camp was on the opposite side, and they would, therefore, have overshot themselves.
  65. According to Professor Tomek’s Jan Žižka this was the river Nitra.
  66. As Dr. Toman suggests, this necessarily means that Žižka had ditches dug from the bank of the river at the left end of his lager to the right end.
  67. It was really the fifth day of the retreat.
  68. The meaning of this passage is that the distress in Žižka’s camp was caused by the fact that his soldiers were unable to leave their wagon-forts because of the superiority of the enemy’s cavalry. The passage also conveys the impression that Žižka may have thought of establishing some sort of mounted infantry.
  69. Really the seventh.
  70. i. e. the mountains which divide Hungary from Moravia.
  71. An old Bohemian measure. See p. 106, n. 1.
  72. Æneas Sylvius places one of Žižka’s semi-mythical exploits “near the Danube in Austria.” This probably refers to his Hungarian expedition, when he reached the Danube near Gran.
  73. The members of the assembly were seated at the meetings in the order of precedence, quoted above from the contemporary records.
  74. John of Opočno, who resided in the castle of that name, was the leader of Sigismund’s party in North-Eastern Bohemia, and a bitter enemy of the neighbouring town of Králové Hradec.
  75. Some of my readers may remember that Skalice was the scene of one of the first engagements in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866.
  76. The Bohemian word “tvrz” signifies a fortified house or small castle.
  77. Historia Bohemica, cap. xlv.
  78. Æneas Sylvius writes: “ingens auri pondus quotannis.”
  79. It is of course beyond my purpose to enter into these matters here; but these negotiations alone explain the fluctuating attitude of Poland towards the Bohemians.
  80. The contemporary chronicler Bartošek of Drahonic writes: “Eodem anno circa festum sancti Procopii revenit dux Sigismundus [Korybutovič] Pragam et Pragenses ipsum pro domino susceperunt de facto sed non jure” (p. 593 of Professor Goll’s edition).
  81. Scriptores rerum Bohemicarum,” Vol. III. p. 64.
  82. Æneas Sylvius writes: “Žižka . . . divinitus ut par est credere, peste tactus expiravit monstrum detestabile, crudele, horrendum inopportunum quod postquam manus humana conficere non valuit digitus Dei extinxit. Ferunt illum quum ægrotaret interrogatum quo nam loco mortuus sepeliri vellet, jussisse cadaveri suo pellem adimi, carnes volucribus ac feris objectari ex pelle timpanum fieri, eoque duce bella geri, arrepturam fugam hostes quam primum ejus timpani sonitum audierint” (Historia Bohemica, cap. xlv.).
  83. In one of his letters Frederick the Great announces that he has captured “Žižka’s drum” and that he has had it removed to Glatz.
  84. Zacharias Theobaldus, Hussitenkrieg, 1623, pp. 228–289.