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584890.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:16 am Reply with quote

Hello all,

This is my first post so I appologise if I break any conventions but I noticed the H forum and thought about Hussites.

After the burning of Hus they kicked off a rebellion in Bohemia, survived 5 crusaders attacks. Fought their way North all of the way to the sea and eventually self destructed!

Their initial leader was blind in one eye and then had the other shot out by a crossbow bolt and still lead the army to victory after victory.

As far as I can recall their leader (Jan Jiska) was the first person to think of putting wagons in a circle, I think it was repeated by settlers in the US to repell Indian attacks?

Absolutely fascinating group. One of the very few peasant uprisings which was not immediately slaughtered!

584962.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:46 pm Reply with quote

Hi Steve, and welcome to the QI forums :-)

That looks like an interesting topic so thanks for posting it - the elves regularly trawl these forums for ideas for the next series.

Sadurian Mike
585006.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:18 pm Reply with quote

He certainly wasn't the first to think of it (the Ancient Egyptians recorded fighting against the camps made of the war wagons of the Sea Peoples, and the Ancient Chinese recorded using circled armoured war wagons to counter cavalry charges in around 120BC), and the wagon forts were not necessarily circles but often took the form of a rectangle or adapted to the local terrain.

However, the Hussites made it a tactic all their own and manned them with handguns, polearms and large flails to fight off attackers. The security of the wagon fort made the Hussite army very difficult to beat because any hard-pressed troops made for their mobile fortress rather than running from the field.

The Hussites were, indeed, a fascinating but short-lived military force who burned out rather than were defeated.

585036.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:13 pm Reply with quote

Is the word 'hussy' anything to do with the Hussites? (Serious question)

Sadurian Mike
585043.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:19 pm Reply with quote

The Hussites were a Czech Protestant religious movement based on the teachings of Jan Hus.

I'm not sure what he taught was the basis of the term "hussy".


585068.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:54 pm Reply with quote

bemahan wrote:
Is the word 'hussy' anything to do with the Hussites? (Serious question)

No, it isn't.

The word hussy for a "loose woman" is a corrupted form of housewife. Dr Johnson noted both in his dictionary, and told us that "It is common to use housewife in a good, and huswife or hussy in a bad sense".

A little bag in which a woman keeps her sewing things is also called a housewife (in this sense pronounced "huzzif") or hussy, and is so called simply because it's a thing that housewives have.

585243.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:13 pm Reply with quote

Aye, and it leads to endless fun with novelistic description such as 'she kept her housewife by her favourite chair'.

585264.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:35 pm Reply with quote

It doesnt sound like any peasant uprising ive heard of. They sound like they have a general, and decent training to me :)
Does anyone know the reasons the group dissolved??

EDIT: Good answer by Sadurian below :)

Last edited by Gyndawyr on Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

Sadurian Mike
585272.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:47 pm Reply with quote

Mainly because they split into two; one group of primarily peasant class (the Tabors) and one of the nobles (the Utraquists). The Utraquists made a deal with Rome and were pardoned, but later turned on their former comrades, the Tabors. The movement just ran out of steam at that point and eventually just fizzled out.

585460.  Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:45 am Reply with quote

It did more or less fizzle out, although the still extant Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) is pretty much a successor to the Hussite movement.

585532.  Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:02 pm Reply with quote

Is there any connection between the word tabor, meaning a kind of drum, and the Tabors?

585543.  Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:29 pm Reply with quote

It seems not.

The Taborites were so called because they lived in a town called Tábor. That town is in turn named after Mount Tabor in Galilee, the supposed venue of the Transfiguration of Christ. The Bible doesn't actually tell us where that event took place; the belief that it was there is first noted from the fifth century.

As for that sort of drum, it shares an etymology with tambourine, and seems to come ultimately from a Persian word for a drum.

586432.  Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:35 am Reply with quote

Wagon forts were used by the boers under the South African name laager. The term laager is still used in modern warfare for tanks and armoured vehicles assembled in a temporary formation for refueling or resupply; although this creates a target rich area which increases vulnerability to air attacks you could say that such a formation is probably the best laager in the world.


586453.  Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:08 am Reply with quote

Thanks suze :-)


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