Hussite Wars

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Hussite Wars,

series of conflicts in the 15th cent., caused by the rise of the HussitesHussites
, followers of John Huss. After the burning of Huss (1415) and Jerome of Prague (1416), the Hussites continued as a powerful group in Bohemia and Moravia. They drew up (1420) the Four Articles of Prague, demanding freedom of preaching, communion in both kinds (i.e.
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 in Bohemia and Moravia. It was a religious struggle between Hussites and the Roman Catholic Church, a national struggle between Czechs and Germans, and a social struggle between the landed and peasant classes. On the death (1419) of Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia (see WenceslausWenceslaus,
1361–1419, Holy Roman emperor (uncrowned) and German king (1378–1400), king of Bohemia (1378–1419) as Wenceslaus IV, elector of Brandenburg (1373–76), son and successor of Emperor Charles IV.
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, emperor), the Hussites in Bohemia and Moravia took up arms to prevent his brother—their archenemy, Emperor SigismundSigismund
, 1368–1437, Holy Roman emperor (1433–37), German king (1410–37), king of Hungary (1387–1437) and of Bohemia (1419–37), elector of Brandenburg (1376–1415), son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.
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—from entering into his succession. John ZizkaZizka, John
, Czech Jan Žižka , d. 1424, Bohemian military leader and head of the Hussite forces during the anti-Hussite crusades of Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund.
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, the Hussite military leader, expelled Sigismund in 1420 and routed him again at Kutna Hora in 1422. From 1419 to 1436, Bohemia had no effective king, although Witowt of Lithuania was elected (1421) antiking and sent his nephew, Sigismund Korybut, to Bohemia as his vicar. Korybut took the crown in 1424 and held it until 1427. After the death (1424) of Zizka the division between the radical and the moderate parties of the Hussites—the Taborites and the Utraquists—widened. A Taborite, Procopius the GreatProcopius the Great,
Czech Prokop Holý, d. 1434, Czech Hussite leader. A priest, he joined the Hussite movement (see Hussites) and distinguished himself as a captain under John Zizka in the Hussite Wars.
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, succeeded Zizka as military commander of the Hussites. In 1425–26 a Hussite army invaded Silesia and Saxony, and in 1429–30 the united Hussite forces penetrated as far as Franconia. Several crusades against the Hussites were utterly routed by the Czechs, whose military organization and tactics were much superior to those of their opponents. Negotiations with the Council of Basel began, especially through the Univ. of Prague, and in 1433 the Czech delegates arrived at Basel (see Basel, Council ofBasel, Council of,
1431–49, first part of the 17th ecumenical council in the Roman Catholic Church. It is generally considered to have been ecumenical until it fell into heresy in 1437; after that it is regarded as an anticouncil.
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). The result was the conclusion of the Compactata, by which the moderate Hussites were taken back into the Catholic Church. The Compactata were rejected by the Taborites. Civil war now broke out between the Utraquists and the Taborites (predominantly the party of the lower classes). At the decisive battle of Lipany (1434) the Taborites were routed and Procopius was killed. At a council meeting (1436) at Jihlava the Compactata were ratified and Sigismund was recognized as king of Bohemia. On the death (1439) of Sigismund's successor, Albert II, the Utraquist leader George of PodebradGeorge of Podebrad
, 1420–71, king of Bohemia (1458–71). A Bohemian nobleman, he became leader of the Utraquists, or the moderate Hussites, in the wars between Hussites and Catholics.
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 governed Bohemia—first in the name of Ladislaus VLadislaus V
or Ladislaus Posthumus,
1440–57, king of Hungary (1444–57) and, as Ladislaus I, king of Bohemia (1453–57). Ladislaus, duke of Austria by birth as the posthumous son of Albert of Hapsburg, duke of Austria and German king (see Albert II),
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 and from 1458 as king. He refused to accept the papal revocation (1462) of the Compactata and was declared deposed in 1466. A new war began between George and the nobles, and in 1468, Matthias CorvinusMatthias Corvinus
, 1443?–1490, king of Hungary (1458–90) and Bohemia (1478–90), second son of John Hunyadi. He was elected king of Hungary on the death of Ladislaus V. Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III sought to contest the election but recognized him in 1462.
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 of Hungary attacked Bohemia. By the time peace was made (1478), long after George's death, the religious element of the wars had largely disappeared.


See H. Kaminsky, History of the Hussite Revolution (1967).