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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 643

by Cesarini. 162 It could hardly be expected that mutual understand ing would
be easy. Repeatedly it looked as if the negotiations would fail. The demand
for a general truce was refused by Prokop the Great—still the dominant
personality among the Czech leaders—since this would eliminate the
only strong pressure which could be exerted upon the council. In almost all
issues he was supported by the leading figure among the Utraquist clergy,
John Rokycana. Both also tried to gain a concession which the council refused
to grant: the rule that in all parts of Bohemia and Moravia communion under
both kinds should be obligatory. For the Czechs it would mean the prevention
of regional struggles within the realm. But in the eyes of the members of
the council it would have meant forcing the princi ples of Utraquism upon
those cities that had maintained the ortho dox Catholic ritual, such as Pilsen,
and on the surrounding royalist castles whose owners were considered as the
"Landfrieden" of Pilsen. Apart from one of the most impressive "beautiful
rides"—the suc cessful march of the "Orphan" army, supporting its Polish
ally in a war against the Teutonic Knights and getting as far as the West
Prussian Baltic coast 163 —the armies of the brotherhoods hoped to
enforce religious unity in Bohemia by besieging and conquering Pilsen. Since
the Hussite demand could not be accepted by the council, the more determined
Hussites decided to impose this change by military means. 
 The enterprise against Pilsen, first limited to the Taborite field army
under Prokop the Great, later also strengthened by "Orphans," proved a failure.
164 An attempt to seize provisions in neighboring Bavaria resulted in serious
losses, and as the great priest-general was held responsible, some of his
soldiers—many of them no longer devoted fighters for God—exploded
in a mutiny and even kept Prokop under arrest for a short time, after which
he left the army and settled in the New Town of Prague. This led to a considerable
weakening of the military strength of the Taborites. In military terms this
loss of power by the brotherhoods and their cities turned out to be the beginning
of the end. In 1424 Zizka had defeated an army consisting of many nobles
and of citizens of the Old Town of Prague. For ten years the fairly radical
Taborite brotherhood, the somewhat 
162. The history of the Hussite Czechs at Basel is well presented by Tomek,
Prahy, IV, 541—587, 689—713; by Bartos, Husitská revoluce,
II, 120—162, 187—196; and in 
English by the concise but lively and excellent treatment of E. F. Jacob
under the title "The 
Bohemians at the Council of Basel, 1433," in R. W. Seton-Watson's collection
of articles 
called Prague Essays on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the Caroline
University of 
Prague (Oxford, 1949). 
163. Macek, Husite na Baltu a ye Velkopolsku (Prague, 1952). 
164. Macek, Prokop Veliky, pp. 176 ff. 

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