I have just finished reading a REALLY good book which I would highly recommend to anyone (both Czech and English translations are available). It’s called ‘Czechs and Balances – a Nation’s survival kit‘, written by Benjamin Kuras, a Czech-born British author and journalist. The book depicts a historical overview of the Czech lands, from the very beginning up until 20 years after the Velvet Revolution. Although I have had a Czech history lessons at school for years no one really managed to connect all of the historical events until now. And on top of that Kuras manages to do it with humor too!
I contacted him to see if it was OK for me to summarize some of his great points and he agreed to it (thank you again, Mr. Kuras!). The main part of the book is titled “Events that made Czechs who they are now”. Here is the summary of an event numero uno:
1. PRAGUE DEFENESTRATION (a very unique Czech way how to deal with political differences:))
Prague defenestration in 1419 is the beginning of Hussite Wars. During the same year the Czech king Vaclav VI. names new Prague town-hall aldermen who happen to be very Hussite-unfriendly (Catholic). These officials start to create new anti-Hussite rules which are not to the people’s likings. That is why one day a hoard of angry Czechs led by Jan Zelivsky burst into the Prague town hall and simply throw all of the aldermen out of the window (and the public finishes them off once they hit the ground). Prague people then end up electing new councils who sympathize with Hussites and the Czech king is forced to ignore the whole incident. While Vaclav lies on his death bed, Hussites raid churches and drive out all of their catholic priests.
When Vaclav dies the country finds itself without a king and Hussites take advantage it: they mobilize other Protestant towns and overtake many other Czech towns which are still Catholic.
Only 8 months after the defenestration the Pope calls the Czech kingdom the land of heretics and sends a bunch of crusaders to annihilate it. The leader of those crusades happens to be king Zikmund, Vaclav’s younger brother. The Hussites manage to fight off Zikmund’s army for 15 years (!!!) but in the year 1434 they give in to their exhaustion and are finally defeated.
CZ: Cetli jste uz knizku zvanou ‘Cesi na Vlasku’? Jestlize ne, tak si ji urcite sezente, protoze je vyborna. Kratky prehled historickych udalosti nasi rodne zeme nam s humorem a davkou moudrosti predstavuje spisovatel, dramatik, překladatel a publicista Benjamin Kuras.
1. Prazska defenestrace (‘unikatne cesky zbusob jak resit politicke nesvary’)
Prazska defenestrace v roce 1419 je zacatek hustskych valek. Vaclav IV. tohoto roku – pod natlakem nemeckych knizat – dosazuje na prazskou radnici protihusitske konsely, kteri nastavuji velmi tvrde protihusitske zakony a to se prazskemu lidu vubec nelibi. Proto jednoho krasneho odpoledne vtrhne na radnici horda lidi vedena kazatelem Janem Zelivskym a proste vyhodi konsely z okna a dole na chodniku je jeste dorazi. Prazane si pote voli nove konsely a kral je donucen nechat defenestraci nepotrestanou. Kral – ‘podpantoflac’ – umira, zatimco Prazane vesele prepadaji klastery, vyhaneji katolicke mnichy a husite obsazuji Vysehrad. Jelikoz je zeme bez panovnika, husite toho vyuziji, zmobilizuji protestantska mesta a zabiraji dalsi ceska mesta.
Pouze 8 mesicu po defenestraci prohlasi papez Ceske kralovstvi za kacirskou zemi a posle na ni krizackou vypravu pod vedenim krale Zikmunda, Vaclavova mladsiho bratra. Cechum se dovede krizaky odhanet po dobu celych 15 let! V roce 1434 vsak ale unavou podlehaji…If you liked this post buy me a coffee! (Suggested:$3 a latte $8 for a pound) Thanks!