HUSSITES, the name given to the followers of John Huss (1369-1415), the Bohemian reformer. They were at first often called Wycliffites, as the theological theories of Huss were largely founded on the teachings of Wycliffe. Huss indeed laid more stress on Church reform than on theological controversy. On such matters he always writes as a disciple of Wycliffe. The Hussite movement may be said to have sprung from three main sources. Bohemia was long but very loosely connected with the Church of Rome. The connection became closer at the time when the papacy was discredited by the great schism. The rapacity of its representatives in Bohemia, and the immorality of the clergy caused general indignation. The Hussite movement was also a democratic one, an uprising of the peasantry against the landowners at a period when a third of the soil belonged to the clergy. Finally, national enthusiasm for the Slavic race con tributed largely to its importance. The towns were mainly German ; and since by the regulations of the University of Prague Germans also held almost all the more important ecclesiastical offices—a condition of things greatly resented by the natives of Bohemia, which at this period had reached a high degree of in tellectual development. (See BOHEMIA.) Utraquism.—The Hussite movement assumed a revolutionary character as soon as the news of the death of Huss reached Prague. The knights and nobles of Bohemia and Moravia, who were in favour of Church reform, sent to the council at Con stance (Sept. 2, 1415) a protest which condemned the execution of Huss in the strongest language. The uncompromising attitude of Sigismund, king of the Romans, caused trouble in various parts of Bohemia, and many Romanist priests were driven from their parishes. Almost from the first the Hussites were divided into two principal sections. Shortly before his death Huss had accepted a doctrine preached during his absence by his adherents at Prague, namely, that of "utraquism," i.e., the obligation of the faithful to receive communion in both kinds. This doctrine became the watchword of the moderate Hussites, known as the Utraquists, while the more advanced Hussites known as the Taborites from the name of their stronghold, recognized only two sacraments, Baptism and Communion, and rejected most of the ceremonial of the Roman Church.
most of them Germans, were expelled from the Bohemian cities. In Prague, in Nov. 1419, severe fighting took place between the Hussites and the mercenaries whom Queen Sophia (widow of Wenzel) had hurriedly collected. After a considerable part of the city had been destroyed a truce was concluded on Nov. 13. The nobles, who, though favourable to the Hussite cause, yet supported Sophia, promised to act as mediators with Sigismund; while the citizens of Prague consented to restore to the royal forces the castle of Vysehrad, which had fallen into their hands. Giika, who disapproved of this compromise, left Prague and retired to Plzen (Pilsen), then into southern Bohemia, and after defeating the Romanists at Sudomer—the first pitched battle of the Hussite wars—he arrived at Usti, one of the earliest meeting places of the Hussites. Not considering its situation sufficiently strong, he moved to the neighbouring new settlement of the Hussites, to which the biblical name of Tabor was given. The ecclesiastical organization of Tabor had a somewhat puritanic character, and the Government was established on a thoroughly democratic basis. Four captains of the people were elected, one of whom was Giika ; and a strictly military discipline was in stituted.
"II. The sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist shall be freely administered in the two kinds, that is bread and wine, to all the faithful in Christ who are not precluded by mortal sin—accord ing to the word and disposition of Our Saviour.
"III. The secular power over riches and worldly goods which the clergy possesses in contradiction to Christ's precept, to the prejudice of its office and to the detriment of the secular arm, shall be taken and withdrawn from it, and the clergy itself shall be brought back to the evangelical rule and an apostolic life such as that which Christ and his apostles led. . . .
"IV. All mortal sins, and in particular all public and other disorders, which are contrary to God's law, shall in every rank of life be duly and judiciously prohibited and destroyed by those whose office it is." These articles, which contain the essence of the Hussite doc trine, were rejected by Sigismund. Hostilities therefore continued, and nearly all Bohemia fell into the hands of the Hussites. In ternal troubles prevented them from availing themselves com pletely of their victory. At Prague a demagogue, the priest John of Lelivo, for a time obtained almost unlimited authority over the lower classes of the townsmen; and at Tabor a communistic movement (that of the so-called Adamites) was sternly sup pressed by Giika. Sigismund only arrived in Bohemia at the end of 1421. He took possession of the town of Kutna Hora (Kuttenberg), but was decisively defeated by Giika at Nemecky Brod (Deutschbrod) on Jan. 6, 1422. Bohemia was now again for a time free from foreign intervention, but internal discord again broke out caused partly by theological strife, partly by the ambition of agitators. There were troubles at Tabor itself, where a more advanced party opposed Giika's authority. Bohemia ob tained a temporary respite when, in 1422, Prince Sigismund Kory butovic of Poland became for a short time ruler of the country. His authority was recognized by the Utraquist nobles, the citi zens of Prague, and the more moderate Taborites, including 2IZKA. Korybutovic, however, remained but a short time in Bohemia; after his departure civil war broke out, the Taborites opposing in arms the more moderate Utraquists, whose principal strong hold was Prague. On April 27, 1423, Mika now again leading, the Taborites defeated at Horic the Utraquist army under Cenek of Wartemberg; shortly afterwards an armistice was concluded at Konopoist.
In 1426 the Hussites were again attacked by foreign enemies. In June their forces, led by Prokop the Great—who took the command of the Taborites shortly after Giika's death in Oct. 1424—and Sigismund Korybutovic, who had returned to Bo hemia, signally defeated the Germans at Aussig (Usti nad Labem). After this great victory, and another at Tachau in 1427, the Hussites repeatedly invaded Germany.
The almost uninterrupted victories of the Hussites now ren dered vain all hope of subduing them by force of arms. Moreover, the conspicuously democratic character of the Hussite movement caused the German princes, who were afraid that such views might extend to their own countries, to desire peace. Many Hussites, particularly the Utraquist clergy, were also in favour of peace. Negotiations for this purpose were to take place at the council which had been summoned to meet at Basel on March 3, The Roman see reluctantly consented to the presence of heretics at this council, but indignantly rejected the suggestion of the Hussites that members of the Greek Church and repre sentatives of all Christian creeds should also be present. Before definitely giving its consent to peace negotiations, the Roman Church determined on making a last effort to reduce the Hussites to subjection. On Aug. 1, 1431, a large army of crusaders, under Frederick, margrave of Brandenburg, crossed the Bohemian fron tier; but on the arrival of the Hussite army under Prokop the crusaders immediately took to flight, almost without offering re sistance.
On July 5, 1436, the compacts were formally accepted at Iglau, in Moravia, by King Sigismund, by the Hussite delegates, and by the representatives of the Roman Church. The Utraquist creed, frequently varying in its details, continued to be that of the established Church of Bohemia till all non-Roman religious ser vices were prohibited shortly after the battle of the White Moun tain in 162o. The Taborite party never recovered from its defeat at Lipan, and after the town of Tabor had been captured by George of Podebrad in 1452 Utraquist religious worship was established there. The Bohemian brethren, whose intellectual originator was Peter CheRicky, to a certain extent continued the Taborite traditions, and in the 15th and 16th centuries in cluded most of the strongest opponents of Rome in Bohemia. After the beginning of the German Reformation many Utraquists adopted to a large extent the doctrines of Luther and Calvin ; and in 1567 obtained the repeal of the compacts, which no longer seemed sufficiently far-reaching.