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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 602

promise to cooperate fully with the German princes so as to make the new
crusade as effective and powerful as possible. 
 There was a prelude to the crusade proper: an invasion on the part of Frederick
of Wettin, margrave of Meissen, into northern Bohemia, where a Hussite army
led by John Zelivsky was trying to conquer the Catholic and ethnically German
city of Most. The collision of the two armies on August 5 (1421) led, for
the first time, to a painful defeat of the Hussites,40 and might have helped
toward the success of the crusade if there had been sufficient coOperation
among their opponents. The Meissen army left Bohemia when they were in formed
that a Hussite force was approaching, led by Zizka, although the Taborite
general had recently lost his eyesight. Meanwhile the far larger German army
had crossed the Bohemian border in the region of Cheb in late August. The
total number was alleged to be at least 125,000 men, as usual an exaggeration.4'
After considerable destruc tion and indiscriminate killing of all Czechs
except small children, 42 detachments of the army occupied the towns of Kadañ
and Chomu toy. The main body, however, moved eastward in the direction of
Prague, but stopped about September 10 to besiege the city of Zatec. The
expectation was clearly that Sigismund with his predominately Hungarian troops
was about to start his own invasion of Bohemia, thus forcing the Czechs to
defend themselves in several regions of their country at the same time. He
procrastinated, to the bitter disappointment of the German forces and their
leaders, the princes and bishops. The siege of Zatec, though it was a far
smaller city, began to resemble the siege of Prague the year before.43 After
enduring three weeks of siege and several ineffective assaults, the Zatec
garrison undertook a successful sortie. Early in October the news came that
a strong Czech army, again with Zizka as oneS of the leaders, was on its
way to attack the besiegers of Zatec. The result was, strangely enough, a
frantic retreat from Zatec, during which the Czech garrison pursued the Germans
and inflicted considerable losses upon them. The German princes, who had
done little to stop the stampede, blamed Sigismund's absence for this second
debacle, whereas the king on his part was most disappointed and angry to
hear of the retreat when he finally invaded Moravia in October, only a short
time after the German crusading army had left Bohemia.  
40. Heymann, Zizka, pp. 24 8—253, with contemporary sources in notes
12 and 13. 
41. See, ibid., p. 273, note 20. 
42. See the report from Nuremberg to Ulm, U.B., I, no. 134, p. 144. 
43. Heymann, Zizka, pp. 274 ff. 
44. U.B., I, 159—163. 

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