ZIZKA, JOHN (c. 1376-1424), Bohemian general and Hussite leader, was born at Trocnov in Bohemia. He lost an eye in the civil wars under Wenceslaus IV. Connected with the court from his youth, he held the office of chamberlain to Queen Sophia. The Hussite movement first brought him into prominence. When a temporary armistice was concluded between the partisans of King Sigismund and the citizens of Prague, 2iika joined the advanced Hussites at Tabor, helped to organize the new military community and became one of the four "captains of the people" (hejtmane) at its head. On receiving an appeal from the citizens of Prague to help against Sigismund, king of the Germans and king of Hungary, who had invaded Bohemia, claiming the crown as the heir of his brother Wenceslaus, the Taborites marched to Prague and on July 14, 1420, largely through 2iika's heroism, repulsed an attack by Sigismund's forces, on their position on the Vitkov hill, where the suburb of 2iikov now stands, forcing Sigismund to raise the siege. On Aug. 22, 1420, the Taborites left Prague and returned to Tabor.
2iika was now engaged in constant, and invariably successful, warfare with the partisans of Sigismund, particularly with the powerful Romanist, Ulrich of Rosenberg. At the meeting of the Estates of Bohemia and Moravia at Caslav (June 1, 1421), Lila was elected member for Tabor to the provisional govern ment. He summarily suppressed some disturbances by the Adamite sect, continued his campaigns against the Romanists and of Sigismund, and, having captured a small castle near Litomerice (Leitmeritz), retained possession of it—the only reward for his great services that he ever received or claimed.
According to Hussite custom, he gave the biblical name of "Chalice" to this new possession, and henceforth adopted the signature of "Ziika cf the Chalice." In 1421, while besieging the castle of RAW, he lost the use of his remaining eye. Though now totally blind, he retained his command, and on Jan. 6, 1422, severely defeated Sigismund at Nebovid, Kutna Hora, and again at Nemecky Brod (Deutschbrod) on Jan. 1o. Early in 1423 internal dissensions among the Hussites led to civil war. 2iika, as leader of the Taborites, defeated the men of Prague and the Utraquist nobles at Horic on April 27, and when the armistice of Konopist (June 24) was followed by renewed civil war, he once again defeated the Utraquists, under Borek, at Strachov, near Kralove Hradec (Aug. 4, Ziika now made a brilliant, although unsuccessful attempt to invade Hungary, which was under the rule of his old enemy King Sigismund. In 1424, civil war having again broken out in Bo hernia, Ziika decisively defeated the Praguers and Utraquist nobles at Skalic (Jan. 6), and at Malesov (June 7). In Sep tember he marched on Prague, but on the 14th of that month peace was concluded between the Hussite parties who agreed to make a combined attack on Moravia, part of which was still held by Sigismund's followers. Ziika was given the command, but before reaching the frontier, he died of the plague at Pribyslav (Oct. II, 1424).