Hussite Wars

Also found in: Wikipedia.

Hussite Wars

Hussite Wars, series of conflicts in the 15th cent., caused by the rise of the Hussites 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 Wenceslaus, emperor), the Hussites in Bohemia and Moravia took up arms to prevent his brother—their archenemy, Emperor Sigismund—from entering into his succession. John Zizka, 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 Great, 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 of). 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 Podebrad governed Bohemia—first in the name of Ladislaus V 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 Corvinus 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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(2) The Utraquist church was the largest of the churches in Bohemia after the Hussite wars. Its name is derived from the Latin sub utraque specie, meaning 'in both kinds': the Hussites maintained communion under both kinds (both bread and wine), as opposed to the development in the Roman Catholic church, which reserved the blood of Christ for the clerics alone.
"This is where Czech history happened," he said from the clock tower, pointing to the nearby memorial to Jahn Hus, who was burned at the stake for his beliefs and whose death set off the 15th-century Hussite Wars. "The clock just keeps ticking," Skala said.
It is a pity that the conference did not include a paper on the Hussite wars or the crusades against heretics.
But the Hussite wars in Bohemia, the suppression of Lollard dissent in England, not to say the persecution of the Waldensians in France and Italy and of the Alumbrados in Spain, continued to mar the image of the church as the seamless garment of Christ.
Subjects as Vavrinec of Brezove (c.1370-c.1437), who was a chronicler, helped to form an idea of Czech nationalism valuing stories of Hussite wars in which the Czechs overcame the Catholic Crusaders or as Jakoubek of Stribro (c.1370-1429) that supported the communion in both kinds fervently, but maybe not as fervently as Jan Zizka (c.1376-1424) who led the Czechs armies.
For example, France tells the remarkable story of the Wagenburgen or "wagon fortresses" developed by John Zizka in the Hussite wars of Bohemia in the 1420s.
In the second he visits the 15th century where his courage is tested as he gets involved in the Hussite wars to save Prague.
There is a loose chronology in chapters 2 (Hussite wars) and 3 (Christian commonwealth of Europe), but this is less in evidence in the remaining chapters.
The Hussite wars in the early 15th century also increased the number of graves.
After many years of internal strife, during the Hussite wars of 1420-33 the country resumed its individual identity and left the protection of the German states to assume an overtly Slavic nationality.
While the Hundred Years War degenerated into violent anarchy, dragging in the "leading" states of western Europe, the eastern regions were registering major historical episodes, including the Hussite wars in Bohemia (surveyed by John Klassen).