The Hussites (Czech: Husité or Kališníci; "Chalice People") were a pre-Protestant Christian movement that followed the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus, who became the best known representative of the Bohemian Reformation.

The Hussite movement began in the Kingdom of Bohemia and quickly spread throughout the remaining Lands of the Bohemian Crown, including Moravia and Silesia. It also made inroads into the northern parts of the Kingdom of Hungary (now Slovakia), but was rejected and gained infamy for the plundering behavior of the Hussite soldiers.[1][2][3][4] There were also very small temporary communities in Poland-Lithuania and Transylvania which moved to Bohemia after being confronted with religious intolerance. It was a regional movement that failed to expand anywhere farther. Hussites emerged as a majority Utraquist movement with a significant Taborite faction, and smaller regional ones that included Adamites, Orebites and Orphans. Major Hussite theologians included Petr Chelcicky, Jerome of Prague, and others. A number of Czech national heroes were Hussite, including Jan Zizka, who led a fierce resistance to five consecutive crusades proclaimed on Hussite Bohemia by the Papacy. Hussites were one of the most important forerunners of the Protestant Reformation. This predominantly religious movement was propelled by social issues and strengthened Czech national awareness.

After the Council of Constance lured Jan Hus in with a letter of indemnity, then tried him for heresy and put him to death at the stake on 6 July 1415,[5] the Hussites fought the Hussite Wars (1420–1434) for their religious and political cause. After the Hussite Wars ended, the Catholic-supported Utraquist side came out victorious from conflict with the Taborites and became the most common representation of the Hussite faith in Bohemia. Catholics and Utraquists were emancipated in Bohemia after the religious peace of Kutná Hora in 1485.

Bohemia and Moravia, or what is now the territory of the Czech Republic, remained majority Hussite for two centuries until Roman Catholicism was reimposed by the Holy Roman Emperor after the 1620 Battle of White Mountain during the Thirty Years' War. Due to this event and centuries of Habsburg persecution, Hussite traditions are merely represented in the Moravian Church, Unity of the Brethren, and the refounded Czechoslovak Hussite churches among present-day Christians.[6]

Kingdom of Bohemia during the Hussite Wars
The Lands of the Bohemian Crown during the Hussite Wars. The movement began in Prague and quickly spread south and then through the rest of the Kingdom of Bohemia. Eventually, it expanded into the remaining domains of the Bohemian Crown as well.

Impact of Hus's death on Bohemia

Muttich, Kamil Vladislav - Mistr Jan Hus na hranici v Kostnici 1415
Execution of Jan Hus (1415) that sparked outrage in the Kingdom of Bohemia
Evolution of the Hussite movement in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown from 1419 to 1620, superimposed on modern borders

The arrest of Hus in 1414 caused considerable resentment in Czech lands. The authorities of both countries appealed urgently and repeatedly to King Sigismund to release Jan Hus.

When news of his death at the Council of Constance in 1415 arrived, disturbances broke out, directed primarily against the clergy and especially against the monks. Even the Archbishop narrowly escaped from the effects of this popular anger. The treatment of Hus was felt to be a disgrace inflicted upon the whole country and his death was seen as a criminal act. King Wenceslaus, prompted by his grudge against Sigismund, at first gave free vent to his indignation at the course of events in Constance. His wife openly favoured the friends of Hus. Avowed Hussites stood at the head of the government.

A league was formed by certain lords, who pledged themselves to protect the free preaching of the Gospel upon all their possessions and estates and to obey the power of the Bishops only where their orders accorded with the injunctions of the Bible. The university would arbitrate any disputed points. The entire Hussite nobility joined the league. Other than verbal protest of the council's treatment of Hus, there was little evidence of any actions taken by the nobility until 1417. At that point several of the lesser nobility and some barons, signatories of the 1415 protest letter, removed Romanist priests from their parishes, replacing them with priests willing to give communion in both wine and bread. The chalice of wine became the central identifying symbol of the Hussite movement.[7] If the king had joined, its resolutions would have received the sanction of the law; but he refused, and approached the newly formed Roman Catholic League of lords, whose members pledged themselves to support the king, the Catholic Church, and the Council. The prospect of a civil war began to emerge.

Pope Martin V as Cardinal Otto of Colonna had attacked Hus with relentless severity. He energetically resumed the battle against Hus's teaching after the enactments of the Council of Constance. He wished to eradicate completely the doctrine of Hus, for which purpose the co-operation of King Wenceslaus had to be obtained. In 1418, Sigismund succeeded in winning his brother over to the standpoint of the council by pointing out the inevitability of a religious war if the heretics in Bohemia found further protection. Hussite statesmen and army leaders had to leave the country and Roman Catholic priests were reinstated. These measures caused a general commotion which hastened the death of King Wenceslaus by a paralytic stroke in 1419. His heir was Sigismund.

Factions of the Hussites

Jagiełło dispute
Hussite theologians dispute in the presence of King Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland

Hussitism organised itself during the years 1415–1419. From the beginning, there formed two parties, with a smaller number of people withdrawing from both parties around the pacifist Petr Chelčický, whose teachings would form the foundation of the Unitas Fratrum.

The moderate party, who followed Hus more closely, sought to conduct reform while leaving the whole hierarchical and liturgical order of the Church untouched.

The more radical party identified itself more boldly with the doctrines of John Wycliffe, sharing his passionate hatred of the monastic clergy, and his desire to return the Church to its supposed condition during the time of the apostles. This required the removal of the existing hierarchy and the secularisation of ecclesiastical possessions. The radicals preached the "sufficientia legis Christi"—the divine law (i.e. the Bible) is the sole rule and canon for human society, not only in the church, but also in political and civil matters. They rejected therefore, as early as 1416, everything that they believed had no basis in the Bible, such as the veneration of saints and images, fasts, superfluous holidays, the oath, intercession for the dead, auricular Confession, indulgences, the sacraments of Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick; they admitted laymen and women to the preacher's office, and chose their own priests. But above all they clung to Wycliffe's doctrine of the Lord's Supper, denying transubstantiation, and this is the principal point by which they are distinguished from the moderate party.

Four Articles of Prague

The programme of the more conservative Hussites (the moderate party) is contained in the Four Articles of Prague, which were written by Jakoubek ze Stříbra and agreed upon in July 1420, promulgated in the Latin, Czech, and German languages.[8] The full text is about two pages long, but they are often summarized as:[8]

  • Freedom to preach the word of God
  • Celebration of the communion under both kinds (bread and wine to priests and laity alike)
  • Poverty of the clergy and expropriation of church property;
  • Punishment for mortal sins regardless of stature.

Calixtines (or Utraquists) and Taborites

Luther und Hus-Abendmahl
Luther and Hus serving communion under both kinds together, an imaginary woodcut from 16th century Saxony demonstrating the affinity of Lutherans and Moderate Hussites
Jensky kodex Zizka
Jan Žižka leading troops of Radical Hussites

The views of the moderate Hussites were widely represented at the University and among the citizens of Prague; they were therefore called the Prague Party, but also Calixtines (Latin calix chalice) or Utraquists (Latin utraque both), because they emphasized the second article of Prague, and the chalice became their emblem.

The radicals (the radical party) had their gathering-places all around the country. Their first armed assault fell on the small town of Ústí, on the river Lužnice, south of Prague (today's Sezimovo Ústí). However, as the place did not prove to be defensible, they settled in the remains of an older town upon a hill not far away and founded a new town, which they named Tábor (after the traditional name of the mountain on which Jesus was expected to return; see Mark 13); hence they were called Táborité (Taborites). They comprised the essential force of the radical Hussites. Their aim was to destroy the enemies of the law of God, and to defend his kingdom (which had been expected to come in a short time) by the sword. Their end-of-world visions did not come true. In order to preserve their settlement and spread their ideology, they waged bloody wars; in the beginning they observed a strict regime, inflicting the severest punishment equally for murder, as for less severe faults as adultery, perjury and usury, and also tried to apply rigid Biblical standards to the social order of the time. The Taborites usually had the support of the Orebites (later called Orphans), an eastern Bohemian sect of Hussitism based in Hradec Králové.


Prague banner c1477
Banner used by Prague Hussites
Banner used by Taborites
Sirotci 2
Banner used by Orphans

Hussites were not a unitary movement, but a diverse one with multiple factions that held different views and opposed each other in the Hussite Wars.

Hussites can be divided into:


Hussite Wars (1419–1434)

Ussita pavese shield Prag Museum 1429
Recreation of Hussite pavise from an original in the Museum of Prague
Husité - Jenský kodex
Battle between Hussites and Catholic crusaders; Jena Codex, 15th century

The news of the death of King Wenceslaus in 1419 produced a great commotion among the people of Prague. A revolution swept over the country: churches and monasteries were destroyed, and church property was seized by the Hussite nobility. It was then, and remained till much later, in question whether Bohemia was a hereditary or an elective monarchy, especially as the line through which Sigismund claimed the throne had accepted that the Kingdom of Bohemia was an elective monarchy elected by the nobles, and thus the regent of the kingdom (Čeněk of Wartenberg) also explicitly stated that Sigismund had not been elected as reason for Sigismund's claim to not be accepted. Sigismund could get possession of "his" kingdom only by force of arms. Pope Martin V called upon Catholics of the West to take up arms against the Hussites, declaring a crusade, and there followed twelve years of warfare.

The Hussites initially campaigned defensively, but after 1427 they assumed the offensive. Apart from their religious aims, they fought for the national interests of the Czechs. The moderate and radical parties were united, and they not only repelled the attacks of the army of crusaders but crossed the borders into neighboring countries. On March 23, 1430, Joan of Arc dictated a letter[9] that threatened to lead a crusading army against the Hussites unless they returned to the Catholic faith, but her capture by English and Burgundian troops two months later would keep her from carrying out this threat.

The Council of Basel and Compacta of Prague

Eventually, the opponents of the Hussites found themselves forced to consider an amicable settlement. They invited a Bohemian embassy to appear at the Council of Basel. The discussions began on 10 January 1432, centering chiefly on the four articles of Prague. No agreement emerged. After repeated negotiations between the Basel Council and Bohemia, a Bohemian–Moravian state assembly in Prague accepted the "Compacta" of Prague on 30 November 1433. The agreement granted communion in both kinds to all who desired it, but with the understanding that Christ was entirely present in each kind. Free preaching was granted conditionally: the Church hierarchy had to approve and place priests, and the power of the bishop must be considered. The article which prohibited the secular power of the clergy was almost reversed.

The Taborites refused to conform. The Calixtines united with the Roman Catholics and destroyed the Taborites at the Battle of Lipany on (30 May 1434). From that time, the Taborites lost their importance, though the Hussite movement would continue in Poland for another five years, until the Royalist forces of Poland defeated the Polish Hussites at the Battle of Grotniki. The state assembly of Jihlava in 1436 confirmed the "Compacta" and gave them the sanction of law. This accomplished the reconciliation of Bohemia with Rome and the Western Church, and at last Sigismund obtained possession of the Bohemian crown. His reactionary measures caused a ferment in the whole country, but he died in 1437. The state assembly in Prague rejected Wyclif's doctrine of the Lord's Supper, which was obnoxious to the Utraquists, as heresy in 1444. Most of the Taborites now went over to the party of the Utraquists; the rest joined the "Brothers of the Law of Christ" (Latin: "Unitas Fratrum") (see Unity of the Brethren; also Bohemian Brethren and Moravian Church).

Hussite Bohemia, Luther and the Reformation (1434–1618)

Stevens P. Maria Vítězná
Painting celebrating the Catholic victory at the Battle of White Mountain (1620). In the coming years, Bohemia and Moravia were forcibly converted from Hussitism to Roman Catholicism by the Habsburgs.

In 1462, Pope Pius II declared the "Compacta" null and void, prohibited communion in both kinds, and acknowledged King George of Podebrady as king on condition that he would promise an unconditional harmony with the Roman Church. This he refused, but his successor, King Vladislaus II, favored the Roman Catholics and proceeded against some zealous clergymen of the Calixtines. The troubles of the Utraquists increased from year to year. In 1485, at the Diet of Kutná Hora, an agreement was made between the Roman Catholics and Utraquists that lasted for thirty-one years. It was only later, at the Diet of 1512, that the equal rights of both religions were permanently established. The appearance of Martin Luther was hailed by the Utraquist clergy, and Luther himself was astonished to find so many points of agreement between the doctrines of Hus and his own. But not all Utraquists approved of the German Reformation; a schism arose among them, and many returned to the Roman doctrine, while other elements had organised the "Unitas Fratrum" already in 1457.

Bohemian Revolt and harsh persecution under the Habsburgs (1618–1918)

Under Emperor Maximilian II, the Bohemian state assembly established the "Confessio Bohemica", upon which Lutherans, Reformed, and Bohemian Brethren agreed. From that time forward Hussitism began to die out. After the Battle of White Mountain on 8 November 1620 the Roman Catholic Faith was re-established with vigour, which fundamentally changed the religious conditions of the Czech lands.

Leaders and members of Unitas Fratrum were forced to choose to either leave the many and varied southeastern principalities of what was the Holy Roman Empire (mainly Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia and parts of Germany and its many states), or to practice their beliefs secretly. As a result, members were forced underground and dispersed across northwestern Europe. The largest remaining communities of the Brethren were located in Lissa (Leszno) in Poland, which had historically strong ties with the Czechs, and in small, isolated groups in Moravia. Some, among them Jan Amos Comenius, fled to western Europe, mainly the Low Countries. A settlement of Hussites in Herrnhut, Saxony, now Germany, in 1722 caused the emergence of the Moravian Church.

Post-Habsburg era and modern times (1918–present)

In 1918, as a result of World War I, the Czech lands regained independence from Austria-Hungary controlled by the Habsburg monarchy as Czechoslovakia.

Today, the Czechoslovak Hussite Church claims to be the modern successor of the Hussite tradition.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Spiesz et al. 2006, p. 52.
  2. ^ Bartl 2002, p. 45.
  3. ^ Kirschbaum 2005, p. 48.
  4. ^ Spiesz et al. 2006, p. 53.
  5. ^ Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article "Constance, Council of"
  6. ^ a b Nĕmec, Ludvík "The Czechoslovak heresy and schism: the emergence of a national Czechoslovak church," American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1975, ISBN 0-87169-651-7
  7. ^ John Klassen, The Nobility and the Making of the Hussite Revolution(East European Quarterly/Columbia University Press, 1978)
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ Joan of Arc Letter of March 23, 1430
  10. ^


  • Kaminsky, H. (1967) A History of the Hussite Revolution University of California Press: Los Angeles.
  • Fudge, Thomas A. (1998) The Magnificent Ride: The First Reformation in Hussite Bohemia, Ashgate.
  • Fudge, Thomas A. (2002) The Crusade against Heretics in Bohemia, Ashgate.
  • Ondřej, Brodu, "Traktát mistra Ondřeje z Brodu o původu husitů" (Latin: "Visiones Ioannis, archiepiscopi Pragensis, et earundem explicaciones, alias Tractatus de origine Hussitarum"), Muzem husitského revolučního hnutí, Tábor, 1980, OCLC 28333729 in ‹See Tfd›(in Latin) with introduction in ‹See Tfd›(in Czech)
  • Mathies, Christiane, "Kurfürstenbund und Königtum in der Zeit der Hussitenkriege: die kurfürstliche Reichspolitik gegen Sigmund im Kraftzentrum Mittelrhein," Selbstverlag der Gesellschaft für Mittelrheinische Kirchengeschichte, Mainz, 1978, OCLC 05410832 in ‹See Tfd›(in German)
  • Bezold, Friedrich von, "König Sigmund und die Reichskriege gegen die Husiten," G. Olms, Hildesheim, 1978, ISBN 3-487-05967-3 in ‹See Tfd›(in German)
  • Denis, Ernest, "Huss et la Guerre des Hussites," AMS Press, New York, 1978, ISBN 0-404-16126-X in ‹See Tfd›(in French)
  • Klassen, John (1998) "Hus, the Hussites, and Bohemia" in New Cambridge Medieval History Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
  • Macek, Josef, "Jean Huss et les Traditions Hussites: XVe–XIXe siècles," Plon, Paris, 1973, OCLC 905875 in ‹See Tfd›(in French)

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainJackson, Samuel Macauley, ed. (1914). "article name needed". New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (third ed.). London and New York: Funk and Wagnalls.

External links

Battle of Aussig

The Battle of Aussig (German: Schlacht bei Aussig) or Battle of Ústí nad Labem (Czech: Bitva u Ústí nad Labem) was fought on 16 June 1426, between Roman Catholic crusaders and the Hussites during the Fourth Crusade of the Hussite Wars. It was fought near Aussig (Ústí nad Labem) in northern Bohemia.

The crusade was called because the Pope believed that the Hussite armies would be easily defeated after the death of Jan Žižka. The overall commander of the Hussite forces at the battle was Sigismund Korybut, while Prokop the Great was independently in command of the Taborites. Boso of Vitzthum was the leader of the crusading army. Medieval chronicles states that Hussites had 24,000 soldiers and at least 500 war wagons, while the crusaders had 70,000 men. However modern historians suggest that these numbers are largely exaggerated.The Hussites drew up their Wagenburg on one of the hills near the town. A crusader cavalry assault on the wagon fortress began the battle. The knights could have been equipped with very large battle axes or hammers because one account of the battle has them hewing through the retaining chains on the wagons to breach through the fortress and get inside the Wagenburg. Then, the knights broke through a second defensive line that was made up of pavises. This was the highest point of crusader morale in the whole battle. The Hussite cavalry inside the Wagenburg had left and attacked the knights trying to breach the wagon chains from the rear. The knights were then surrounded and fell under a huge barrage of artillery, crossbow, and handgun fire. The Hussites then charged in on the knights and showed no mercy. The actual battle was brief, and for that reason, it is possible that no more than 4,000 soldiers were lost on the crusader side. However, after the battle, many of the crusaders fled to nearby villages.

Battle of Brüx

The Battle of Brüx was fought on 5 August 1421 in North Bohemia during the Hussite Wars. The Hussite troops, led by Jan Želivský, were defeated by the Catholic Imperial forces of Frederick I of Saxony.

Battle of Deutschbrod

The Battle of Deutschbrod or Německý Brod took place on 10 January 1422, in Deutschbrod (Německý Brod, now Havlíčkův Brod), Bohemia, during the Hussite Wars. Led by Jan Žižka, the Hussites besieged 2,000 Royalist crusaders. The Roman Catholic crusaders were no match for the Hussites and Deutschbrod was quickly taken and sacked. A Royalist arsenal and supply train, numbering some 500 wagons, was captured, one of the largest amounts of loot that the Hussites would take throughout the whole war.

Battle of Domažlice

The Battle of Domažlice (Czech: Bitva u Domažlic) or Battle of Taus (German: Schlacht bei Taus) or Battle of Tausch was fought on 14 August 1431 as the part of the 5th crusade against Hussites. The crusade was sent to Bohemia after negotiations, held in Pressburg and Cheb, between Hussites and the emperor Sigismund had failed.

Battle of Hiltersried

The Battle of Hiltersried took place on 21 September 1433 near the village Hiltersried in Bavaria. A Bavarian feudal army under Count Palatine John of Neumarkt took an expedition against in the Upper Palatinate against marauding Hussites and soundly defeated the Hussite section whose task was to ensure the protection for troops besieging Pilsen. The Hussites, who on that day were not expecting any attack, were totally surprised and did not have time to prepare to defend. After a sharp firing crossbows, the mounted knights attacked in wedge formation toward the entrance to the camp. At the same time the infantry attacked from the wings, binding part of the struggle of defenders. After the Hussite knighthood broke the defense and burst into the camp, the defense started the rout. Knights of the Palatinate took chase.

During the fighting and the pursuit, about 1,500 Hussites were killed and 300 taken prisoner. Their commander escaped, however, and led 130 Taborites from the battlefield and headed for Pilsen. Losses among the knighthood of Palatinate were only 14 dead and about 120 wounded. The failure at Hiltersried led to internal clashes within the ranks of the Hussites, public opinion among the Hussites at Pilsen turned against the organizers Jan Pardus and Jan Řitka of Bezdědice and led to several days of imprisonment for the spiritual administrator of the Tabor municipality Prokop, who defended both captains. The Hussite movement was falling apart from the inside, contributing to the end of the Hussite wars. It was one of the major battles in which documents the Hussites.

Battle of Hořice

The Battle of Hořice (German name: Horschitz) was fought on April 27, 1423, between the Orebites faction of the Hussites and Bohemian Catholics. The Hussites were led by Jan Žižka (who was completely blind at the time of the battle), while the Catholics were led by multiple convertite Čeněk of Wartenberg. The battle took place on the Gothard plateau, near Hořice. Thanks to a strategic position, which allowed perfect use of Hussite war wagons and Žižka's tactical skills, the Hussites eventually won this battle.

Hussites took the high ground and built their Wagenburg (wagon fort) there. The catholic cavalry could not ride up such a steep hill and was forced to dismount. The cannons owned by the nobles could not fire effectively uphill. These circumstances made it a battle between infantry behind fortifications and heavily armored infantry in the field. Žižka's men held the Wagenburg against repeated attacks by dismounted cavalry. Then, Žižka decided that the time was right to counterattack. With some cavalry, the Hussites charged downhill and swept catholic forces from the battlefield.

Battle of Ilava

The Battle of Ilava was a battle in the Hussite Wars between the Hussites and the Hungarian-Royalists army near Ilava (hist. Lewa) in Upper Hungary (today mostly Slovakia) on November 11, 1431.

In 1430 in the Battle of Trnava the army of the Bohemian Hussites defeated the army of the Hungarians, Serbs and Royalists, but the casualties of the Hussites was very strong and the victory was not successful.

In autumn 1431 the Hussite army under Prokop the Great, Prokop the Lesser (Prokůpek) and Hanuš of Kolovrat again invaded Upper Hungary for the revenge of the death of Velek Koudelník of Březnice and for food replenishment. The Hussites captured all Nyitra (Nitra) and the Orebite forces conquered the Likava castle near Liptó (Liptov), on 29 September. The Taborite forces lotting around Nagyszombat (Trnava), Nyitra (Nitra) and Léva (Levice).

Barbara of Cilli, spouse of Emperor Sigismund sent Miklós Rozgonyi and István Pohárnok against the Hussites and also called on the citizens of Kassa (Košice) for the uprising. In October the Hungarian-Royalists forces under Miklós Rozgonyi casts out Prokop's and Kolovrat's Orbite army in Moravia. Near the river Vág (Váh) the Hungarians attacked the Hussite (Taborite) army chief. Because of intensive rain the bridge fell apart under the Taborites and his forces had great losses. Between Galgóc (Hlohovec) and Illava (Ilava) Rozgonyi destroyed Prokůpek's army.

In the battle 5,000 Hussites were killed, 250 Hussite war wagons and many cannons were captured. Rozgonyi executed many Taborite prisoners and their commander Zikmund Hořovský.

As the defeat has hardly affected Taborites in Bohemia and increased the prestige of the Orbites.

Battle of Kratzau

The Battle of Kratzau occurred on 11 November 1428 between an Imperial Silesian army and the Sirotci Hussites in Kratzau, Bohemia. During the battle, the Imperial Silesian army under Hans von Polenz overpowered the Hussite troops. In November 1428, the Hussites under the leadership of Jan Královec launched a campaign from the occupied Kratzau of Friedland and Ostritz to Löbau. The city was not taken by the Hussites, and so they retreated back to Kratzau. Silesian and Lusatia troops pursued the Hussites, defeating them near Kratzau. The loss of vehicles with rations was essential for the Hussites, since supplies were intended for units besieging the Lichnice Castle.

Battle of Trnava (1430)

The Battle of Trnava or Battle of Nagyszombat was a battle in the Hussite Wars between the Hussites and the Hungarian-Royalists-Serbian army near Trnava (Nagyszombat) in the Kingdom of Hungary (today in Slovakia). The battle was fought in three phases, on 23, 25 and 28 April 1430 and ended in Hussite victory.

In the summer of 1430, 10,000 Hussites from Moravia invaded Hungary under Velek Koudelník of Březnice. The Hussites in Pozsony County looted and set on fire 100 villages. Against Koudelník stood an army under Sigismund, and Stibor of Stiboricz. The army included Hungarian and Transylvanian soldiers and Serbs. Another army under Jan Mátik z Tolovec was composed of Royalists. Mátik was jealous of Stiboricz, because of the trust placed in Stiboricz by Sigismund. At the front of the army, Stiboricz and the Hungarian-Serbian forces charged the Hussites, but Mátik and the Royalists deliberately hung back. The Royalists army belatedly arrived; the plan of campaign was a concentrated charge against the Hussite war-wagons. Koudelník was killed in the battle, and Sigismund's army was forced to flee.

In the battle, 6,000 Royalists, Serbian and Hungarian troops, and 8,000 Husites were killed. In 1431 the Hussite army again invaded Upper Hungary, but Miklós Rozgonyi defeated the Hussites in the battle of Ilava.

Battle of Vyšehrad

The Battle of Vyšehrad was a series of engagements at the start of the Hussite War between Hussite forces and Catholic crusaders sent by Emperor Sigismund. The battle took place at the castle of Vyšehrad from 16 August 1419 to c. 1 November 1420.

Bohemian Reformation

The Bohemian Reformation (also known as the Czech Reformation or Hussite Reformation), preceding the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, was a Christian movement in the late medieval and early modern Kingdom and Crown of Bohemia (mostly what is now present-day Czech Republic, Silesia and Lusatia) striving for a reform of the Roman Catholic Church. Lasting for more than 200 years, it had a significant impact on the historical development of Central Europe and is considered one of the most important religious, social, intellectual and political movements of the early modern period. The Bohemian Reformation produced the first national church separate from Roman authority, the first apocalyptic religious movement of the early modern period, and the first pacifist Protestant church.The Bohemian Reformation was not an internally unified movement and did not remain immutable. Although it split into many groups, some characteristics were shared by all of them – communion under both kinds, distaste for the wealth and power of the church, emphasis on the Bible preached in a vernacular language and on an immediate relationship between man and God. The Bohemian Reformation included particularly the efforts to reform the church before Hus, the Hussite movement (including e.g. Taborites and Orebites), the Unity of the Brethren and Utraquists or Calixtines.

Together with the Waldensians, Arnoldists and the Lollards (led by John Wycliffe), the Bohemian Reformation's Hussite movement is considered to be the precursor to the Protestant Reformation. These movements are sometimes referred to as the First Reformation in the Czech historiography. Despite the influence of the German and Swiss Reformations, the Bohemian Reformation did not bleed into them, although many Czech Utraquists grew closer and closer to the Lutherans. The Bohemian Reformation kept its own development until the suppression of the Bohemian Revolt in 1620. The victorious restored King Ferdinand II decided to force every inhabitant of Bohemia and Moravia to become Roman Catholic in accordance with the principle cuius regio, eius religio of the Peace of Augsburg (1555). The Bohemian Reformation ended up being diffused in the Protestant world and gradually lost its distinctiveness. The Patent of Toleration issued in 1781 by Emperor Joseph II did not lead to a restoration of the Bohemian Reformation. Joseph II did not respect the Bohemian religious tradition and therefore only Lutheran, Calvinist and Eastern Orthodox faiths were made legal in the Crown of Bohemia and other parts of his realm. In spite of the extinction of the Bohemian Reformation as a distinctive Christian movement, its tradition did not disappear. Many churches (not only in the Czech Republic) do not forget their legacy, refer to the Bohemian Reformation and try to continue its tradition, e. g. the Moravian Church (the continuator of the scattered Unity of the Brethren), Protestant Church of Czech Brethren (Českobratrská církev evangelická), Czechoslovak Hussite Church (Československá církev husitská), Church of Brethren (Církev bratrská), Unity of Brethren Baptists (Bratrská jednota baptistů) and other denominations.


Chrast (Czech pronunciation: [ˈxrast]) is a town in the Pardubice Region of the Czech Republic. Its population was 3,186 as of 28. August 2006.

Villages Chacholice, Podlažice and Skála are administrative parts of Chrast.

Podlažice is the site of Podlažice monastery, where the Codex Gigas, or "Devil's Bible," the largest extant medieval manuscript, was created in the 13th century. The monastery was destroyed by Hussites in the early 15th century.

George of Poděbrady

George of Kunštát and Poděbrady (23 April 1420 – 22 March 1471), also known as Poděbrad or Podiebrad (Czech: Jiří z Poděbrad; German: Georg von Podiebrad), was King of Bohemia (1458–1471). He was a leader of the Hussites. He is known for his idea and attempt to establish common European institutions. It is seen as the first historical vision of European unity.

Hussite Wars

The Hussite Wars, also called the Bohemian Wars or the Hussite Revolution, were fought between the Christian Hussites and the combined Christian Catholic forces of Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, the Papacy and various European monarchs loyal to the Catholic Church, as well as among various Hussite factions themselves. After initial clashes, the Utraquists changed sides in 1423 to fight alongside Roman Catholics and opposed the Taborites and other Hussite spinoffs. These wars lasted from 1419 to approximately 1434.

The Hussite community included most of the Czech population of the Kingdom of Bohemia and formed a major spontaneous military power. They defeated five consecutive crusades proclaimed against them by the Pope (1420, 1421, 1422, 1427, 1431), and intervened in the wars of neighboring countries. The Hussite Wars were notable for the extensive use of early hand-held firearms such as hand cannons.

The fighting ended after 1434, when the moderate Utraquist faction of the Hussites defeated the radical Taborite faction. The Hussites agreed to submit to the authority of the King of Bohemia and the Roman Catholic Church, and were allowed to practice their somewhat variant rite.

Jan Žižka

Jan Žižka z Trocnova a Kalicha (Czech pronunciation: [ˈjan ˈʒɪʃka] (listen); German: Johann Ziska; English: John Zizka of Trocnov and the Chalice) (c. 1360 – 11 October 1424) was a Czech general, a contemporary and follower of Jan Hus, Hussite military leader, and later also a Radical Hussite who led the Taborites. Žižka is held to be one of the most renowned military leaders by many historians and today he is widely considered a Czech national hero.

He was born in the small village of Trocnov (now part of Borovany) in the Kingdom of Bohemia into an aristocratic family. He was nicknamed "One-eyed Žižka". From his youth, he was attached to the royal court and held the office of Chamberlain to Queen Sofia of Bavaria.He fought in the Battle of Grunwald (July 15, 1410), where he defended Radzyń against the Teutonic Order. Later he played a prominent role in the civil wars in Bohemia during the reign of Wenceslas IV. Žižka's tactics were unorthodox and innovative. In addition to training and equipping his army according to their abilities, he used armored wagons armed with small cannons and muskets, presaging the tank of five hundred years later. He was also a master at using geography to its full advantage as well as managing the discipline of his troops.

In the Battle of Kutná Hora (1421) he defeated the army of the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary. The effectiveness of field artillery against the royal cavalry in the battle turned field artillery into a firm part of Hussite armies.

Žižka is considered to be among the greatest military leaders and innovators of all time. His accomplishments in this regard are especially unique and noteworthy as he had to quickly train peasants to repeatedly face highly trained and armored opponents who usually severely outnumbered his own troops, and for this, some have considered him to be the greatest general in history.

A monument was erected on the Vítkov Hill in Prague to honor Jan Žižka and his victory on this hill in 1420. It is the third largest bronze equestrian statue in the world.


Proto-Protestantism, also called pre-Protestantism or pre-Reformation movements refers to individuals and movements that propagated ideas similar to Protestantism before 1517, which is usually considered the starting year for the Reformation era. Major representatives were Peter Waldo (c. 1140 – c. 1205), John Wycliffe (1320s–1384), Jan Hus (c.  1369–1415) and the movements they started.

Religion in the Czech Republic

Religion in the Czech Republic was dominated by Christianity until at least the early 20th century, but today Czechia is characterised as being one of the least religious societies in Europe. Since the 1620 Battle of White Mountain religious sphere was accompanied by a widespread anti-Catholic sentiment even when the whole population nominally belonged to the Catholic Church. Overall, Christianity has steadily declined since the early 20th century and today remains only a minority. The Czech Republic has one of the oldest least religious populations in the world. Ever since the 1620 Battle of White Mountain, the Czech people have been historically characterised as "tolerant and even indifferent towards religion". According to Jan Spousta, among the irreligious people, who form the vast majority of modern Czechs, not all are atheists; indeed there has been an increasing distancing from both Christian dogmatism and atheism, and at the same time ideas from Far Eastern religions have become widespread.Christianisation in the 9th and 10th centuries introduced Roman Catholicism. After the Bohemian Reformation, most Czechs (about 85%) became followers of Jan Hus, Petr Chelčický and other regional Protestant Reformers. Taborites and Utraquists were major Hussite groups. During the Hussite Wars, Utraquists sided with the Catholic Church. Following the joint Utraquist—Catholic victory, Utraquism was accepted as a distinct form of Christianity to be practised in Bohemia by the Catholic Church while all remaining Hussite groups were prohibited. After the Reformation, some Bohemians went with the teachings of Martin Luther, especially Sudeten Germans. In the wake of the Reformation, Utraquist Hussites took a renewed increasingly anti-Catholic stance, while some of the defeated Hussite factions (notably Taborites) were revived. Bohemian Estates' defeat in the Battle of White Mountain brought radical religious changes and started a series of intense actions taken by the Habsburgs in order to bring the Czech population back to the Catholic Church. After the Habsburgs regained control of Bohemia, the whole population was forcibly converted to Roman Catholicism—even the Utraquist Hussites. All kinds of Protestant communities including the various branches of Hussites, Lutherans and Reformed were either expelled, killed, or converted to Roman Catholicism. Going forward, Czechs have become more wary and pessimistic of religion as such. A long history of resistance to the Catholic Church followed. It suffered a schism with the neo-Hussite Czechoslovak Hussite Church in 1920, lost the bulk of its adherents during the communist era and continues to lose in the modern, ongoing secularisation. Protestantism never recovered after the Counter-Reformation was introduced by the Austrian Habsburgs in 1620.

According to the 2011 census, 34.5% of the population stated they had no religion, 10.5% were Catholics, 1% Protestants, 0.9% members of other Christian churches, 6.8% were believers but not members of religions, while 0.7% were believers and members of other certain religions. 44.7% of the population did not answer the question about religion. From 1991 to 2001 the population's proportion of members of the Catholic Church decreased from 39.0% to 26.8%. Protestantism declined from 4% to 2%. Due to changes in the last 2011 census' categories, each category has seen a decrease: the proportion of people who have no religion declined from 59% to 34.5%, the Catholics declined from 26.8% to 10.5% and Protestants declined from 2% to 1%. People who didn't answer the optional question rose from 8.8% to 44.7%.


Utraquism (from the Latin sub utraque specie, meaning "in both kinds") or Calixtinism (from chalice; Latin: calix, mug, borrowed from Greek kalyx, shell, husk; Czech: kališníci) was a principal dogma of the Hussites and one of the Four Articles of Prague. It maintained that communion under both kinds (both bread and wine, as opposed to the bread alone) should be administered to the laity during the celebration of the Eucharist. After the Hussite movement split into various factions early in the Hussite Wars, Hussites that emphasized the laity's right to communion under both kinds became known as Moderate Hussites, Utraquist Hussites, or simply Utraquists. The Utraquists formed the most numerous of the major Hussite factions.

Following the victory of allied Utraquist and Catholic forces in the Hussite Wars, Utraquists constituted a majority of the Bohemian population until the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War, nearly two centuries later. The Battle of White Mountain, in 1620, marked the end of the Bohemian Revolt and, consequently, the end of almost two hundred years of Utraquist predominance.

Wagon fort

A wagon fort is a mobile fortification made of wagons arranged into a rectangle, a circle or other shape and possibly joined with each other, an improvised military camp. It is also known as a laager (from Afrikaans) (English: leaguer).

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