Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Polish knights in the face of Hussitism and the ideas of anty-Husite crusades

The author focused his attention on two problems which are the part of the same topic. The first one is the presence of the polish knights in the 15 th – century crusade movement. The latter one is concerned with the attitude of those knights towards the heresy which was spreading in neighbouring Bohemia and towards the attempts both the Pope and caesar made in order to eliminate the movement by means of military power.
The treat of the constituing of the first European heretical state in Bohemia led to the organisation (under the auspices of the Pope) of the crusades against hussite (1420–1431) which were the integral part of the 15 th – century crusade movement. The first crusade against the hussites, declared on 17 th March 1420 in Wrocław (Breslau) was conducted by the king of Romans Sigismund of Luxemburg and ended in a total defeat in the battle of the Vitkov Hill (14 th July 1420). To sum up, there were five crusade campaigns against the hussites, most of which turned into both military and political down falls. Despite many efforts, the Pope’s propaganda did not succeed in attracting Poland (Bohemia’s neighbour) to join the fight against the hussites. Only some knights, close to the Hungarian court (among them Andrew Balicki, Zawisza Czarny), fought in the crusadors regiments. The overwhelming majority of the polish knights did not understand the religious matter and regarded the hussites as allies rather than enemies. For them the political aspects (antipathy towards the Roman king) as well as close ethnical friendship (and connecting Germans with the hostile Order of Teutonic Knights) were of more importance. Therefore, the great majority of the Polish knights going to Bohemia, instead of joining the crusador units decided to fight together with Sigismund Korybutowicz and Dobiesław Puchała on the side of the hussites condemned by the church.
Far more popular, as far as the Polish or Hungarian knights are concerned, were the 15 th – century crusades organised against the Ottoman Empire, which were also attended by the Bohemian knights (including many hussites).