Procopius the Great

Procopius the Great, Czech Prokop Holý, d. 1434, Czech Hussite leader. A priest, he joined the Hussite movement (see Hussites) and distinguished himself as a captain under John Zizka in the Hussite Wars. He succeeded Zizka as head of the radical Hussites or Taborites after Zizka's death (1424) and commanded in the great Hussite victory (1426) against the Saxon forces of the anti-Hussite Crusade at Usti-nad-Labem. In the subsequent four years Procopius led Hussite forces to victory in Hungary, Silesia, Saxony, and Thuringia and commanded the Czech forces against a new crusade launched by Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund in 1431. The crushing defeat that he inflicted (Aug., 1431) on the crusaders at Domazlice led to peace negotiations (1432) at Eger (Cheb) between the Hussites and representatives of the Council of Basel (see Basel, Council of). Procopius, however, continued to campaign in Lusatia, Silesia, and Brandenburg even after Hussite delegates had arrived (1433) at Basel to negotiate a religious compromise. He rejected the Compactata, arrived at by the council, which reconciled the Utraquists, the moderate wing of the Hussites, with the Roman Catholic Church. The Utraquists and Catholics of Bohemia then united against the Taborites, whom they crushed (1434) at Lipany; Procopius died in the battle. As a general, Procopius was a worthy successor of Zizka. His ally Procopius the Little, Czech Prokupek, d. 1434, was a leader of the Orphans (formerly the “Union,” led by Zizka), a less radical group close to the Taborites. He commanded at the unsuccessful siege (1432–34) of Pilsen, a Catholic stronghold, and he too perished in the battle of Lipany.

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