Modern Czech Republic is a small state, the area of which is smaller than that of the Leningrad, Saratov or Rostov regions. If what makes it stand out among other Central European countries, it is obedience to the officials of the European Union and adherence to the liberal values prescribed by them. There is not even a hint of resistance to the dictatorship of Brussels, which is sometimes demonstrated by their closest neighbors: Hungary and Poland. The Czechs obediently disfigure their beautiful capital with terrible, tasteless and vulgar objects (we will not list them so as not to waste time and not advertise for them) and demonstrate the now fashionable Russophobia. But all of this is the mouth of an extinct volcano covered with ash. It is hard to believe that a few centuries ago, fiery passions boiled here, that for fifteen years (1419-1434) the Czechs literally shook Europe. They repelled five crusades one after another and successfully fought against the Germans, Poles, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Austrians, Italians, British, Hospitallers and Templars. This fire was extinguished only when the Czechs grappled among themselves: on May 30, 1434, in the battle of Lipany, the Chaschniks defeated the Taborites and "orphans". Emperor Sigismund I said upon learning of this battle:
"Only the Czechs themselves can defeat Chekhov."
But before that, the brightest star suddenly flashed the name of Jan Zizka, nicknamed by the enemies at first the One-Eyed Devil, and then - the Fearful Blind.
He fought only at the very beginning of the Hussite wars - only five years. But the victories won by him were so unexpected and brilliant that his name was forever included in the list of the greatest generals in the world, and the gold with which it was written has not tarnished to this day.
Jan Zizka in his youth
There is a legend that Jan Zizka of Trocnov lost his first eye in the Battle of Grunwald. He even became one of the characters in the famous painting by J. Matejko dedicated to this battle.
However, carried out in the 1980s. an analysis of the skull, which in 1910 was considered genuine, gave reason to believe that this wound (most likely a blow with a sword or saber) was received by the person who owned the skull when he was no more than 11-12 years old. The age of this man at the time of death, according to the Czech anthropologist Emanuel Vlcekil, was approximately 60-65 years. Since it is known that Jan from Trocnov was orphaned early, it can be assumed that it was during the incident that resulted in his injury that his parents died. And the boy did not disappear - he became the page of King Wenceslas IV.
The very participation of Zizka in the Battle of Grunwald is considered by many researchers to be a late legend. Meanwhile, he became one of the heroes of the famous painting by J. Matejko dedicated to this battle.
In this fragment of J. Matejko's painting "The Battle of Grunwald" we see that Jan ижižka is preparing to strike the commander Heinrich von Schwelborn. In the hands of the hero is a knightly sword, although in fact his beloved weapons there was a six-man
The information about Zizka's participation in the Hungarian campaign against Turkey is also considered legendary. He is also credited with participating in the Battle of Agincourt on the side of the British.
This is not surprising: historians and patriots of any country are pleased to see such a hero in their army, saying that it was in its ranks that he learned how to fight properly.
In theory, couldn't he fight for us? - Poles, Hungarians and British ask themselves. - Does the chronology allow? And there is no exact information that he was somewhere else at that time? Great, then, our man! And let them try to prove the opposite.
But let us return from the hazy zone of assumptions to the realm of real facts and suddenly see Jan ижižka in the role of a robber knight. Having gathered a detachment (or gang) of people loyal to him, he began to trade in the possessions of the princes from Rosenberg. In the court book of these aristocrats, a record of the testimony of one of the captured robbers of this detachment, dated 1406, has been preserved:
"Jan Goliy said that Zizka, a certain Jindrich and Zizka's brother took fish and other cargo from the convoy ... Matei took the money from the merchants, and Zizka killed one of the servants."
Other documents refer to the robbery of a wagon train with a cloth.
Further, information sources differ: according to some sources, Zizka was caught, but received the amnesty of the king, according to others, using the decree on the amnesty, he returned to the royal service, finding himself in the retinue of Queen Sofia - the wife of Wenceslas IV. Apparently, since the time of Jan's previous service, the king had a good relationship, and Wenceslas fully trusted his former page.
It is difficult to say when our hero got acquainted with the ideas of supporters of religious reform, but it is known that he became a staunch follower of Jan Huss, who developed the teachings of the English theologian John Wycliffe.
Wycliffe John, the first translator of the Bible into Middle English, often referred to as the "Morning Star of the Reformation"
Even before Jan Hus, talented preachers appeared in the Czech Republic who spoke out against the numerous abuses of the hierarchs of the Catholic Church. Among them are Konrad Waldhauser, Jan Milich, Matvey iz Janov. The latter openly called the Pope “the two-horned beast”, the hierarchs “the servants of the Antichrist” and argued that in order to improve the health of the church, all the unjustly accumulated wealth should be removed from it. He called the estate society "the invention of the devil."
It was Matvey who was the first to put forward the requirement for the communion of the laity with wine, and not bread alone. And only later did Jan Hus appear, who with his sermons literally “set fire to” the Czech Republic, in some sermons directly calling “to gird ourselves with a sword and defend the law of the Lord” and affirming:
"Truly, brothers, now is the time of war and sword."
Moreover, at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, the morality of priests and monks, despite the accusations of his predecessors, did not improve at all. Even an official check, undertaken then at the initiative of the archbishop, revealed that:
"The priests, who are at the head of the parish churches, openly contain concubines and generally behave so intemperately and indecently that this creates a great temptation among the flock."
And Hus himself claimed that in the Tyn Church of the Virgin, the priests in broad daylight dragged into the altar and tried to rape a married woman, but were caught at the place of admission - this temple had to be re-consecrated.
When Jan Hus was ordered to appear in Rome for explanations, he refused, stating to his followers:
"Satan was alarmed and the tail of the hippopotamus began to move."
Jan from Gusinets
Jan Hus, engraving
Jan Hus, who comes from a peasant family, managed to graduate from two faculties of the University of Prague (liberal arts and theological), and then became its dean and rector. He was a talented preacher; even King Wenceslas IV and Queen Sofia, whose spiritual father he became, fell under the charm of his personality.
I hope you understand that we are talking about the same Wenceslas who ordered to drown Jan Nepomuk in the Vltava River? Who allegedly refused to reveal to the king the secret of Sophia's confession.
However, many historians consider these family passions to be just a legend. The real reason for the king's anger was the proximity of the victim to the Prague archbishop, with whom Wenceslas constantly clashed. But he liked the sermons of Jan Hus, especially in those places where the wealth of the church and the interference of hierarchs in secular affairs were condemned. Jan Hus also supported the king in his fight against the rebellious masters, addressing the people:
"Even the dog protects the bed on which it lies."
Hus did not consider himself a heretic at all. On the contrary, he was a devout Catholic and merely suggested a return to early Christian non-acquisitiveness and argued that the Bible should be recognized as the only source of religious truth.
But the hierarchs of the official church for some reason really did not want to be poor and did not like Hus's calls for refusal to pay for church sacraments, the ban on the sale of church posts, criticism of indulgences and the right of the Pope to raise the sword against enemies. And, unlike the common people, they were not delighted with Gus's harsh statements like this:
“Even the last penny that the poor old woman hides can be pulled out by an unworthy clergyman - if not for confession, then for mass, if not for mass, then for sacred relics, if not for relics, then for absolution, if not for absolution , then for prayers, and if not for prayers, then for burial. How can you not say after that that he is more cunning and more evil than a thief? "
And many aristocrats did not like Hus's theses that an unjust rich man is a thief, and about the non-recognition of power that violates the commandments of God.
The popularity of Jan Hus in the Czech Republic and Prague was such that it was simply impossible to do anything with him on the territory of this country. I had to send him an official invitation to the Cathedral of Constance - to discuss various issues of theology there, convey my point of view to respected people, and debate.
The treacherous arrest and apparently unjust execution of Jan Hus in Constance in 1415 led to a radicalization of the protest in Bohemia and the outbreak of the Hussite wars 4 years after his burning. In the Czech Republic, by the way, bonfires are still lit every year on July 6 in memory of the burning of Jan Hus.
Jan Hus goes to the fire. Miniature from the "Chronicle of the Cathedral of Constance", 1464
But the "holy fathers" in Constanta did not rest on this and a year later they also burned a friend and associate of Jan Hus - Jerome of Prague, a master of four European universities, who went there, naively believing that with his speeches he could protect him.
Jerome of Prague
Meanwhile, the citizens of Prague knew their own worth: not long ago, during the reign of the father of Václav Charles IV, their city was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation, and in terms of education, development and improvement Prague was ahead of many European cities of those years. The university appeared here first in Central Europe, and therefore, in addition to the branch of the Czech nation, there were three more German ones.
Founding Charter of the University of Prague (1348)
In order for the Germans to know their place in Prague, in 1409 Wenceslas IV signed a decree according to which the branch of the Czech nation began to own 3 votes, and the Germans - one each. Because, as Jan Hus said, Czechs
"More than foreign teachers multiplied and rose above them in knowledge in the sciences."
"The Czechs in the Czech kingdom, by right, by the law of God and by innate feeling, should be the first in office, like the French in the French kingdom and the Germans in their lands."
The Germans took offense and left for Leipzig, where they founded a new university. So much the better, the place of rector was given to the people's favorite Jan Hus, and who generally needs Germans in the glorious city of Prague? After all, the same Jerome of Prague asserted that the Czechs trace their origins to the ancient Greeks, are the "most holy nation", Prague is a holy city and Bohemia means "God." And therefore any Czech cannot be a heretic at all.
And suddenly there were such "slaps in the face" in Constanta. The Czechs could not forgive either King Sigismund or the hierarchs of the Catholic Church for this insult.
Defenestration and the beginning of the Hussite wars
On July 30, 1419, events took place in Prague that included history called "defenestration" (literal translation from Latin - "throwing out of the window"). After the refusal of the members of the magistrate to satisfy the demands of the reformers, who were then headed by Jan Zelivsky, the crowd rushed into the town hall and threw the intractable from the windows onto the spears of the armed Prague citizens. Simply put, people came to demand the release of those arrested on the eve of the Hussites, and they took weapons because a kind word and cold weapons such as swords or a pike convince better than just a kind word. But one of the "city fathers" did not think of anything better than to throw a stone at the people gathered under the windows from the window. Then he and all the others flew out of the windows.
The first Prague defenestration in 1419 From the painting by A. Liebscher "The Uprising at the New Town Hall on July 30, 1419"
The City Chronicle states that
“Jan ižka, close to King Wenceslas, was in this ejection and unheard of murder.”
And then Wenceslas IV died and his half-brother Sigismund of Luxembourg became the new king of Bohemia.
Emperor Sigismund I, who went down in history under the nickname Red Fox
It was impossible to find a more inappropriate candidate, since it was Sigismund (at that time not the emperor, but the king of Germany) who once guaranteed the immunity of Jan Hus at the Constantine Cathedral - and did not fulfill his obligation.
In Czeslaw, a meeting of Czech nobles (471 people took part in it) confirmed their loyalty to the four Prague Articles adopted in response to the execution of Jan Hus. These were the demands of freedom to preach the "Word of God", communion of the laity with wine (chalice), the prohibition of priests to exercise secular power, severe punishments for mortal sins, to which it was proposed to include trade in offices and the sale of indulgences.
Twenty representatives were also chosen to fulfill royal duties before the election of a new monarch. Among them was Jan Zizka. To deprive Sigismund of the opportunity to legally be crowned, they took the crown of St. Wenceslas.
On their banners, the rebels depicted a cup (a symbol of the demand for communion of the laity with wine, and not just bread), but sometimes a goose (a hint of Jan Hus), sometimes - a cup and a goose together.
Variants of Hussite flags
However, the Czechs themselves at that time did not like being called Hussites. They called themselves "good people" and "God's warriors."
This is how the Hussite wars began - religious wars, and therefore extremely cruel, in which each side believes that it is fighting not for itself, but for divine truth, and not against a neighbor or brother (father, son), but against the enemy of God and the friend of the devil. Murders, robberies and violence were mutual, but the defending and defending side, especially at first, were still the Hussites of the Czech Republic.
In the next article we will talk about the Hussite wars and continue the story about Jan ижižka, his army, victories and death.