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of plenary indulgence to all who should take part in the coming crusade.
This proclamation caused intense fury in Bohemia, which became yet greater when the people were informed of the cruel death which one of their fellow-citizens had suffered at Breslau by order of Sigismund, who, not feeling as yet strong enough to crush Bohemia, had proceeded to Silesia from Brno. John Krasa, a wealthy citizen of Prague, was accused of having spoken with disapproval of the sentence passed by the council of Constance on Hus, and of having maintained the necessity of communion in the two kinds. By order of Sigismund he was placed before an ecclesiastical tribunal, which condemned him to be dragged by horses through the streets of Breslau. The cruel sentence was carried out on March 15, 1420. Krasa endured his martyrdom with great courage and fortitude. Many of the nobles of Bohemia, including the supreme Burgrave Cenek of Wartenberg, were present at the death of Krasa, and were greatly incensed by the cruelty of Sigismund. Contemporary chroniclers attribute largely to this occurrence the defection of Wartenberg from the cause of Sigismund, which took place shortly afterwards.
The numerous bands of so-called crusaders now began to march on Bohemia from all directions. Sigismund himself crossed the frontier about the beginning of May. The news that he received on entering Bohemia was by no means favourable. Cenek of Wartenberg had, on April 17, joined the national party and concluded an alliance with the cities of Prague. In a proclamation published on April 20, he enumerated the grievances of the Bohemians against “the Roman and Hungarian King Sigismund, who had
1 Brezova refers to the death of Krasa in very pathetic words. He writes: (Krasa) “ in fide sancta permansit ac in sancto perstitit proposito tamquam miles strenuus ac athletha domini fortissimus; orans namque pro suis inimicis omnes eorum blasphemias, hereticationes, probra ac derisiones, nec non et penas sustinuit durissimas magistri sui ac pastoris Jesu domini exemplo, pro veritate evangelica tamquam ovis ductus ad victimam. Tandemque spiritu exalato ad dominum in spe bona migrare meruit ac palmam martirii adipisci, quod et nobis prestare dignetur Deus trinus et unus in secula benedictus seculorum” (pp. 358,359).
not been crowned as King of Bohemia." The proclamation ended by declaring that no Bohemian should under penalty of losing his honour, his fortune, and his life fail to take part in the defence of the country. General, national and religious enthusiasm prevailed in Bohemia, but it unfortunately led to deplorable excesses. The Hussite movement for a time assumed an iconoclastic character. Many ancient monasteries, monuments of the finest ancient Bohemian architecture, were destroyed both at Prague and in other parts of the country. Many monks and nuns were treated with great cruelty. Though some writers have attempted to attenuate these outrages, they cannot be sufficiently blamed both for their base brutality and their political ineptitude. In a moment of greatest peril Bohemia thus alienated many friends. Cenek of Wartenberg, who held the castle of Hradcany and Vysehrad, concluded a truce with Sigismund, stipulating only that the religious services on his estates should continue to be held according to the utraquist rites. The citizens of Prague also endeavoured to come to an agreement with Sigismund. The King of Hungary, after crossing the frontier, first attacked the city of Kralove Hradec,1 which surrendered after a short resistance. From here he marched to Kutna Hora, the centre of a German and Romanist population. It was here that he received the envoys of the cities of Prague. He had found at Kutna Hora that at least some Bohemians were opposed to Hussitism and now believed his victory certain. He assumed a more overbearing manner, and received the citizens in a very opprobrious fashion. He overwhelmed them with reproaches and demanded unconditional surrender. Informed of this, the citizens of Prague, though they were the most moderate of all utraquists, knew that war to the knife was inevitable, and immediately began to strengthen the fortifications of their city. They also, understanding the folly of internal dissensions in face of a powerful enemy, sent messengers to Tabor begging the Taborites
if they wished verily to obey God's word, to march to their aid without delay, and with as many men as they could muster.”
1 In German, Königgrätz,
Zizka did not hesitate for a moment. Headed by him and the three other “captains of the people,” the Taborites, numbering about six thousand men, set out on the day the message had reached them, and defeating a Romanist force which endeavoured to intercept them, arrived at Prague on May 20. About the same time the forces of the Bohemian towns Loun, Slany, and Zatec also arrived in the city, and several utraquist nobles and knights with their followers hurried to Prague to take part in the defence of the menaced capital.
Such slight succour appeared very insufficient in view of the fact that from all parts of Europe vast armies were marching on Prague. Yet the citizens did not lose courage for a moment. As I have written elsewhere,1 "absolute confidence in Scripture rendered despondency impossible. A thorough acquaintance with the Old Testament is evident in all the contemporary records of those stirring times. No man or woman of Prague doubted that the Lord, who had once struck down the forces of Sennacherib, would now strike down the forces of Sigismund.”
At the end of May and the beginning of June the vast armies of so-called crusaders began to encircle Prague. Their full amount is stated to have been about 200,000 men. They had on their march committed terrible depredations and murders, killing all Bohemians, even those who belonged to the Roman Church. Sigismund at the end of May arrived in the neighbourhood of Prague, where the castles of Hradcany, and Vysehrad were still held by his adherents. He for some time hesitated to attack the city, knowing that new forces were daily joining the crusading armies. At last it was decided that a general assault should take place on July 14. Some of Sigismund's German allies attacked the Vitkov-now Zizkov-hill, but were repulsed with great loss by the Taborites, led by Zizka. Even the Taborite women took part in the defence. One of these women surpassed the men in courage. When the Bohemians were for a moment obliged to retreat, she refused to do so, saying, “ It
1 Prague, p. 53.
2 For an account of the siege of Prague and the battles of the Zizkov and Vysehrad, see my Bohemia, a Historical Sketch, and Prague.
is not beseeming that a faithful Christian should give way to Antichrist "1 After this failure the attacks on the other parts of the town were also abandoned. Both parties hoped by negotiations to come to an agreement, and the utraquist nobles who, from dynastic motives had remained faithful to Sigismund, but shared the religious views of their countrymen, attempted to act as mediators. The moment seemed a favourable one for a pacification. The Bohemians had in the articles of Prague, which had in all probability been at least outlined previously, a programme that united all national parties. As Mr. Krummel ? has well pointed out, the differences among the Hussites were not as yet considerable. All acknowledged the teaching of Hus, and all strove for the same purpose, the reformation of the church in accordance with the customs of the primitive church. All Hussites condemned the evils caused by the temporal powers granted to popes and bishops, the abuse of indulgences, and the immoral life led by the priesthood of the period. All strove to establish a truly saintly and apostolical church of which laymen as well as priests should form an active part. The views of Hus were still fresh in the memory of all, and when we notice how greatly discord increased among the Hussites, when the memory of the master grew dimmer, we realise what an irreparable loss to Bohemia and the cause of church-reform the comparatively early death of Hus was.
The articles of Prague were shown to the utraquist nobles who had attempted mediation, and they strongly approved of them. It was, however, necessary that the articles should be jointly discussed by representatives of the national party and by opponents of church-reform. Even the choice of a meeting-place proved difficult because of the intense mutual distrust. The Hussites in particular, warned by the recent fate of Hus, hesitated to entrust their safety to men who might possibly plead that no faith should be kept with heretics. All these difficulties were, however, surmounted, and it was decided that a meeting in the open air should take place in the Mala Strana (“ small quarter") of Prague. The
1 Brezova, p. 388. * Leopold Krummel, Utraquisten und Taboriten.
Romanist representatives were Louis, patriarch of Aquileja, Simon of Ragusa Bishop of Trau, and several other dignitaries of the Roman Church. The Bohemians were represented by the most prominent theologians of the university, and several leaders of the utraquist and Taborite armies were also present. The principal speakers were on the Roman side the learned doctor Peter de Vergeriis, and on the Bohemian magister John of Pribram, who was already considered one of the most learned theologians of the University of Prague. The debate was carried on with great decorum and gravity, and the subjects discussed, as Palacky notes with his usual acumen, already foreshadowed the discussions of the Council of Basel. It was, however, impossible to arrive at an agreement.
Sigismund had retired from the neighbourhood of Prague shortly after the defeat of the crusaders of Zizka's hill, but his troops still garrisoned the castles of Hradcany and Vysehrad. The last-named castle was hardly pressed by the Hussites. In the autumn of the year 1420, Sigismund made an attempt to relieve the garrison. He was, however, defeated in a very sanguinary battle fought between the village of Pankrac and the castle of the Vysehrad on November 2. Sigismund now left Bohemia and for a time abandoned all attempts to conquer the country. The Hussites, both those of the utraquist party—who now were often known as the " Praguers," as the capital was their principal centre—and those who belonged to the Taborite party, now assumed the offensive and obtained possession of almost the whole of Bohemia. Many of the nobles, among them Cenek of Wartenberg, also now formally adopted the Hussite cause.
At this moment when Bohemia was at least for a time free from the obnoxious presence of Sigismund, it is interesting to notice briefly the development of the doctrines of Hus in the country. The moderate or utraquist party among the Hussites, who were known also as Calixtines or Praguers, was in accordance with the Church of Rome on most points, as had indeed been the case with Hus himself. The opposition of the utraquists was directed against