Refusing to recant his beliefs which were contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church, Jan Hus (John Huss) was burned at the stake outside the city walls of Konstanz (Constance).
His execution infuriated people in his country, causing hundreds of Bohemian noblemen to sign a letter of protest. The Pope sent an army of 150,000 men to quell the unrest, but Jan Zizka - a one-eyed soldier - led a Hussite army of resisters.
Greatly outnumbered, sometimes as many as ten-to-one, Zizka and his troops won five victories over a ten-year period. A army made-up of peasants was effectively resisting an army made-up of professionals.
Hundreds of years later, Lynn Montross (an American historian) said of these battles: A greater miracle has not been recorded in the annals of war."
Just over a century after Jan Hus died, Martin Luther also complained about the Pope's use of indulgences. Hus had, in fact, paved the way for others.
This medieval image depicts the final moments of Jan Hus.
Click on the image for a better view.
Image online, courtesy Columbia University.
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