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

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

Page 600

enemy by the two Jagiellon princes, who were therefore willing to help his
opponents, yet they tried not to annoy the pope, claiming that their real
goal was to lead the Czech schismatics back to proper Roman orthodoxy.  
 Pope Martin, however, did not believe that such a peaceable solu tion of
the Hussite movement was either possible or desirable. From the beginning
he had been convinced that the only way to deal with the "Wiclefistae et
Hussitae" was to destroy them. Originally there was hardly any difference
in this respect between the pope and Sigismund; again and again the Hussite
spokesmen, in as wide a representation as that at the diet of Cáslav,
accused the king of having the complete destruction of the whole nation as
his goal. Since eventually he wanted to rule over the Czechs, have them work
for him, and tax them, we may doubt that he really planned such a total annihilation.
In fact, under the influence of the Czech barons in his entourage, he had
refused to go as far in his attack upon Prague as the German princes had
demanded. As a result, a lack of confidence in Sigismund's determination
to destroy the "heresy" developed steadily in several circles in the empire,
even among some of the German electors. There was also in Rome, if not exactly
suspicion of Sigismund's orthodoxy and devotion to the church of Rome, then
at least doubt as to his true intentions. From then on the holy see, far
from giving up the idea of an effective crusade, strengthened the propaganda
for this policy. 
 It cannot be denied that Martin V himself was a strong personality with
a clear consciousness of what he considered to be his sacred duty. His many
briefs written to those involved in the intended crusades—king Sigismund,
the electors, king Vladislav of Poland, grand duke Vitold of Lithuania, the
grand master of the Teutonic Knights, Michael Kuchenmeister of Sternberg,
duke Albert of Aus tria, and a good many others—are generally impressive.36
He also chose, as his helpers and especially as his legates, men of a rather
high caliber, such as bishop Ferdinand of Lucena, who had accompanied Sigismund
as legate during the whole phase of the 1420 crusade. He was present at the
siege of Prague, and during the last phase, shortly 
34. J. Goll, Cechy a Prusy ye stredovëku, (Prague, 1897), pp. 151 ff.
35. Pastor, Geschichte der Papste, I (7th ed., Freiburg, 1925), 223—224,
290 ff.; also Creighton,A History of the Papacy, II, 135 ff., 163. 
36. These can be found in the Vatican Archives. Few have been published,
but 511 are calendared in K. A. Fink, "Die politische Korrespondenz Martins
V. nach den Breven registern," Quellen und Forschungen, Preussisches historisches
Institut, XXVI (Rome, 1935—1936), 172—244. 

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