Taborite

The Taborites (Czech "Táborité", singular "Táborita") were members of a religious community considered heretical by the Catholic Church. The Taborites were centered on the Bohemian city of Tábor during the Hussite Wars in the 15th century. The religious reform movement in Bohemia splintered into various religious sects. Beginning with the most radical,Fact|date=September 2008 the various sects that existed were the: Adamites, Taborites, Orebites (Orphans), Utraquists and Praguers. Because the revolution's impetus came from the burning of Jan Hus, for the purpose of simplicity, many writers have put most of these sects under one umbrella term calling them the "Hussites".

Economically supported by Tabor's control of local gold mines, the citizens joined local peasants to develop a communist-like society. Taborites announced the Millennium of Christ and declared there would be no more servants and masters. They promised people would return to a state of pristine innocence.

Taborite theology represented one of the most radical departures from that of the hierarchical medieval church. They rejected the outer veneer of the corrupted church and insisted on the normativeness of biblical authority. Even though Taborite theologians were versed in scholastic theology, they were among the first intellectuals to break free from centuries-old scholastic methods.

The Taborites were particularly zealous in their religious practices and, like other such sects, some believed it was their duty to slay all heretics, "i.e.", non-Taborites. This was in most part a response to the burning of Jan Hus and the crusades that were launched against Bohemia. Because Bohemia was declared heretical by Rome, the slaying of any Bohemian by the crusaders was considered a service to the church.

Some of the most outstanding Taborite theologians were Mikulas Biskupec of Pelhrimov and Prokop Veliký (who died in the Battle of Lipany). The early radical theological ideas of Taborites were represented by Petr Kanis and Martin Huska.

Tabor's army was led by Jan Žižka, the blind Bohemian general who commanded his rag-tag army in defense of Bohemia against the crusading Imperial Army under Emperor Sigismund. Žižka did not believe that all heretics should be slain and often showed clemency to those he defeated. After one battle when his army disobeyed him and killed many prisoners, Žižka ordered the army to pray for forgiveness. This experience partly inspired him to write a famous military code of conduct - "Žižkův vojenský řád" - a document partly inspired by the biblical book of Deuteronomy. Žižka eventually left Tabor because that community became too radical for his beliefs and took over the leadership of the more moderate Orebites in Hradec Králové. Due to the numerous crusades, the Taborites and Orebites often set aside their religious differences and cooperated militarily to defeat all crusades launched against Bohemia.

Once the external threat was removed by Hussite victories, the various Hussite factions turned on each other. Finally, the power of the Taborites was broken, after twenty years, with the Battle of Lipany on May 30 1434. 13,000 of the 18,000-strong army were killed. In 1437 they signed a treaty with Czech king Sigismund.

Even though the Taborites ceased to play an important political role, their theological thinking strongly influenced the foundation and rise of the Unity of the Brethren (Unitas Fratrum) in 1457 today in English called the Moravian Church.

External links

* [http://archive.joan-of-arc.org/joanofarc_letter_march_23_1430.html Joan of Arc's Letter to the Hussites] (23 March 1430) — In 1430, Joan of Arc dictated a letter threatening to lead a crusading army against the Hussites unless they returned to "the Catholic Faith and the original Light". This link contains a translation of the letter plus notes and commentary.
* [http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/matthaywood/main/Hussites.htm The Hussite Wars]
* [http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/wars_bohemian.html The Bohemian War (1420–1434)]
* "The Hussite Wars (1419–36)", Stephen Turnbull, Osprey Publishing (ISBN 1-84176-665-8)

See also

*Hussite Wars
*Wars of Religion
*Bohemia
*List of Holy Roman Emperors
*Jan Hus


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  • Taborite — Ta bor*ite, n. (Eccl. Hist.) One of certain Bohemian reformers who suffered persecution in the fifteenth century; so called from Tabor, a hill or fortress where they encamped during a part of their struggles. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • taborite — ● taborite nom Membre d un groupe de hussites radicaux groupés autour de Jan Zižka, qui se retranchèrent en 1420 à Tábor (Bohême Méridionale). [Opposés aux calixtins (modérés), ils condamnaient la tradition, les cérémonies liturgiques, l… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Taborite — /tay beuh ruyt /, n. (in the 15th century) a member of the militant body of Hussites maintaining a strict literal interpretation of the Scriptures. [1640 50; named after Tabor, city in Bohemia where the radical party of Hussites had its… …   Universalium

  • taborite — ˈtābəˌrīt noun ( s) Usage: usually capitalized Etymology: Tábor, town south of Prague in the former kingdom of Bohemia (now a province of western Czechoslovakia) founded in 1420 as a Taborite stronghold by Jan Ziska died 1424 Bohemian Hussite… …   Useful english dictionary

  • taborite — (ta bo ri t ) s. m. Membre d une secte de hussites, qui refusa d accepter quatre articles acceptés par les calixtins et réglés dans le concile de Bâle. ÉTYMOLOGIE    Ainsi dit des retranchements ou tabor dont ils se servaient dans la guerre.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • taborite — ta·bor·ite …   English syllables

  • Hussite Wars — Infobox Military Conflict conflict = Hussite Wars partof = date = July 30 1419 – May 30 1434 place = Central Europe, mostly in Bohemia casus = First Defenestration of Prague (30 July), burning of John Huss in 1415 result = Defeat of radical… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Vítkov Hill — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Vítkov Hill partof=the Hussite Wars caption=A painting by Alphonse Mucha detailing the carnage after the battle date=June 12 July 14, 1420 place=Vítkov Hill (outside Prague, Czech Republic)… …   Wikipedia

  • Prokop the Great — AndreasFact|date=September 2008 Prokop or Prokop the Great ( cs. Prokop Veliký) (b. about 1380 probably at HejlovFact|date=September 2008 near Tábor ndash; d. 30 May 1434 at Lipany) was one of the most prominent Hussite generals of the Hussite… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Hořice — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Hořice partof=the Hussite Wars date=April 27, 1423 place=Hořice result=Decisive Taborite victory combatant1=Taborites combatant2=Utraquists commander1=Jan Žižka commander2=Čeněk von Wartenberg… …   Wikipedia

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