George of Podebrad

George of Podebrad

(pôd`yĕbrät), 1420–71, king of Bohemia (1458–71). A Bohemian nobleman, he became leader of the Utraquists, or the moderate Hussites, in the wars between 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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 and Catholics. He seized Prague (1448) during the minority of King 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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, was elected (1452) governor by the Bohemian diet, and continued to rule the country after the formal accession (1453) of Ladislaus. His relations with Ladislaus were friendly. In Ladislaus's reign, George ended the anarchy of the interregnum that had preceded Ladislaus's accession, restored the power of the courts, recovered lost crownlands, and secured the recognition of the central government at Prague in the Bohemian dependencies of Moravia, Silesia, and Lusatia. Ladislaus died in 1457, and George was elected king in 1458. Holy Roman Emperor Frederick IIIFrederick III,
1415–93, Holy Roman emperor (1452–93) and German king (1440–93). With his brother Albert VI he inherited the duchies of Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola.
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 invested him with the kingdom in 1459. When in 1462, Pope Pius II abolished the Compactata, by which the Utraquists had been reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church, George promptly declared his loyalty to the Utraquists. An immediate break with Rome was averted through his alliance with France and Poland, and the emperor's intervention delayed papal action. In 1466, however, Pope Paul IIPaul II,
1417–71, pope (1464–71), a Venetian named Pietro Barbo; successor of Pius II. He was a nephew of Eugene IV. A Renaissance pope, he patronized printing, beautified and improved Rome, and collected antiquities.
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 excommunicated George, declared him deposed, and enlisted the aid of the emperor and of 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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, king of Hungary, against him. Matthias won Moravia and most of Silesia and Lusatia; in 1469 the Catholic party in Bohemia proclaimed Matthias king. George, at the head of the Utraquists, expelled Matthias. To strengthen his position George had signed a treaty with Casimir IV of Poland, naming Casimir's son as his successor. As a result, Ladislaus II (later, as Uladislaus IIUladislaus II
, Hung. Ulászló II, c.1456–1516, king of Hungary (1490–1516) and, as Ladislaus II, king of Bohemia (1471–1516); son of Casimir IV of Poland.
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, also king of Hungary) became king on George's death. George of Podebrad unsuccessfully proposed a European alliance against the Turks. Bohemia recovered peace and prosperity in his reign, which, however, was marked by the persecution of the Bohemian and the Moravian Brethren, descendants of the more radical Hussites.

Bibliography

See studies by F. G. Heymann (1965) and O. Odlozilik (1965).

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