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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
(1975)

XVII: The Crusades Against the Hussites,   pp. 586-646 ff. PDF (24.0 MB)


Page 595

Ch. XVII THE CRUSADES AGAINST THE HUSSITES 595 
later a majority of the lords and knights sent their challenge to the king.
This, surely, was not the development which Sigismund, by his crusading policy,
had intended and expected. 
 He did not, however, give up his attempts to divide the Hussite population
of Bohemia. He hoped that he could still gain support among the high nobility,
and astonishingly enough after a very short time won over Cenek, as well
as his young friend Ulrich of Rosen berg.25 Thereby Sigismund regained not
only the Hradcany castle but also a much greater freedom of action. At the
head of an army of about 20,000 men he had meanwhile moved, early in May
(1420), to Hradec Králové, an important, thoroughly Czech and
Hussite city which however did not at this stage dare to resist. From there
he went on to Kutná Hora, where the patricians and the German miners
as well as many refugees, mainly Catholic clerics, greeted him en thusiastically.
Meanwhile, temporarily protected by an armistice be tween the city and the
royalist barons, including Cenék, another Prague embassy went to Kutná
Hora.26 Its reception by Sigismund was largely a repetition of what had happened
five months earlier in Brno: the Prague representatives promised surrender
and even will ingness to make some breaches in the walls provided they could
retain access to the chalice. The king, angrily, went one step farther than
he had at Brno: not only must all barricades and fortifications be removed,
but the people of Prague must surrender all their weapons to the royalist
garrisons of the Hradcany and Vysehrad castles, thus leaving themselves completely
defenseless. 
 The report given by the members of the Prague city embassy upon their return
home made it clear that, unless a totally hopeless unconditional surrender
(and with it the loss of access to the chalice) was decided upon, the only
alternative was armed resistance to the king. There was a united decision
for the latter, but it was clear that Prague had to secure support from other
parts of the kingdom. This came from more than one region, but none as strong
and effective as that sent by the fortress-town of Tábor, some 9,000
men (perhaps including noncombatants) led by John Zizka. Without him and
his army the fate of Prague, and with it of Hussite Bohemia, might have been
quite different. 
 The crusading army which Sigismund led to Prague was large and included
contingents from many countries. One of our best informed 
25. Heymann, Zizka, pp. 117—118; Pekar, Zizka a jeho doba, III, 43
ff.; and Brezová, pp. 
365 ff. 
26. Heymann, Zizka, pp. 120—121, and also the sources cited there in
note 27. 


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