Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
XVII: The Crusades Against the Hussites, pp. 586-646 ff. PDF (24.0 MB)
612 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES the elector of Saxony, and had therefore been occupied by Saxon troops. But in June 1426 a strong Hussite army began to besiege Usti, and the Saxon rulers, with the elector's wife Catherine espe cially active, sent a large army to raise the siege and safeguard Saxony's possession of this important Elbe town. The Saxon army— until then considered among the best—was certainly larger than the Hussite army of about 24,000 men, under the overall command of Korybut, with Prokop commanding the Taborite forces. Apparently none of the previous battles fought between Germans and Czechs had resulted in losses as catastrophic as the battle of Usti, even though the assertion, made by German chroniclers, that the German dead numbered 15,000 was probably much exaggerated. Prokop, after the victory, tried to convince the other commanders that this was the right moment to enter Saxony in "hot pursuit" and reduce that country's war-mindedness, but as yet without success. Even so it seemed likely, in the eyes of the Germans, that the terrible heretics would not wait long before crossing the border. If the idea of destroying the "heresy" was not to be given up for good, preparation for a new crusade could not long be postponed. Modest invasions of Silesia and Austria were undertaken by Czech-Hussite troops in the winter of 1426—1427, and in March 1427 a Taborite army under Prokop defeated an Austrian army, causing it heavy losses, at the Austrian town of Zwettl,68 midway between Budweis and Vienna. It seemed increasingly doubtful whether the margraviate of Moravia, solemnly presented to duke Albert by his father-in-law Sigismund, could be maintained in Hapsburg hands. In addition, some vague possibilities for an understanding between the Catholic powers and the conservative Hussite elements, rather strongly repre sented by some of the masters of Prague University and some nobles, collapsed when negotiations with Rome secretly conducted by Kory but were discovered in April 1427. The more determined Utraquists, with John Rokycana at their head, undertook to prevent what seemed to them pure treason.69 The prominent conservatives, among them the masters at the University who had supported a policy of compromise or even submission, were banished from Prague, and Korybut not only lost his already somewhat enfeebled position as regent but was even imprisoned for several months. It was not, however, this development which led to the final decision for a fourth crusade. This had already been decided upon at the very beginning of the year, at a rather remarkable meeting at 68. Macek, Prokop Veliky, pp. 52—53. 69. Bartos, Husitska revoluce, II, 19—22.
Copyright 1975 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved. Use of this material falling outside the purview of "fair use" requires the permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. To buy the hardcover book, see: http://www/wisc/edu/wisconsinpress/books/1734.htm