Thursday, February 15, 2024

Jan Zizka, as a young mercenary

For my entry to the Historical theme I have Jan Zizka, who was the military leader of the Hussites during their struggles against, well, everyone in Europe it seems. 

As a short backgrounder, the Hussites were a 15th century proto Protestant sect that adhered to the theological arguments of Jan Hus. He preached that fundamental reforms were needed within the Catholic Church to bring it back in line with the religion's underpinnings of humility and simplicity. As one can imagine, Rome had a very dim view on this kind of thing and after promising Hus safe passage to explain himself, took the opportunity to summarily burn him at the stake (as the Inquisition was wont to do). Not surprisingly, Hus' followers in Bohemia (modern day Czech Republic) took a rather dim view of this and so an armed revolt soon broke out.

Jan Zizka, previously an outlaw and mercenary, was an ardent supporter of Hus and became the military leader of the Hussites. Zizka is considered by many military historians as one of the most gifted commanders of the late medieval period. He trained and galvanized Hus' peasant followers, utilized heavily armed wagon lagers as strongpoints, and defeated not one, but three holy crusades sent to eradicate them. He also quelled civil war within Bohemia and prosecuted a war against Hungary. He never lost a battle, even when he was made completely blind in later life. It is recorded that on his deathbed he desired his body to be flayed and his skin used to furnish drums so he could continue to lead his people into battle. Yep. So. Damn. Hardcore. My grandpa was Czech and enjoyed telling me about Zizka's exploits, so I've done this entry in fond memory of him.

I found a great figure of Zizka by Northern Crusades Miniatures. He's depicted here as a young man, still with one eye in the game, being all medieval and badass. 

Here I imagine him at the titanic battle of Grunnewald in 1410 (which saw the collapse of the Teutonic Order). I've set him against a knight who is rising from his downed mount, ready to carry the fight on foot. Great minis and a real joy to paint. 

Gosh, who knows, maybe there will be more Hussites down the road. Wagons Ho!!

Thanks for dropping in for a look. I hope you have a great weekend!

- Curt


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