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Popular Ideologies in late Mediaeval Europe: Taborite Chiliasm and its Antecedents

  • Ernst Werner (a1)

The basic Chiliastic character of the Taborite articles was recognized by scholars a long time ago. A. Hauck deals with the problem in his Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, in which he introduces the problem to the general public. His knowledge of the subject is based solely on the Latin sources, since he did not read Czech. When German and Czechoslovakian scholars dealt with the problem questions of sectarian influence, such as the Waldensian, and of nationalism tended to prevail. However after 1945 the young Marxian historiography of the CSR tried to discover the social roots of these ideas, focussing attention on certain social and economic questions which even the bourgeois historians had admitted to be relevant.

Starting with the perception of Marx and Engels that the existence of revolutionary ideas in a given epoch presupposes the existence of a revolutionary class J. Macek came to the conclusion that urban and rural poverty were the driving forces of the Hussite revolution and that Chiliasm was the appropriate ideology for the movement. He denied foreign sectarian influence, and explained Chiliastic Taborism solely by the Bohemian environment.

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1 Hauck, A., Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, Vol. V (2) (Berlin, 1953, new edition), pp. 10801089.

2 Marx-Engels, , Die deutsche Ideologie (Berlin, 1953, new edition, Bücherei des Marxismus- Leninismus), Vol. 29, p. 45.

3 Macek, J., Tábor v husitském revolčnim hnuti, Vol. I (Prague, 1956, 2nd edition), Vol. II (Prague, 1955, Českoslov. Akad. Ved.), German edition: Macek, J., Die hussitische revolutionäre Bewegung, (Berlin, 1958).

Bewegung, (Berlin, 1958).

4 Macek, , Tabor, Vol. I, 153, 159.

5 Macek, , Tabor, Vol. II, 103, 112.

6 On the social structure of Tabor, ibid. pp. 343–349; on cities and villages from which inhabitants fled to Tabor, pp. 356–378; on the occupation of the citizens of Tabor in 1432–1450, and on the peasants leaving Tabor in 1422–24, Vol. II, 373–82.

7 Compare Bartoš, F. M.;, –Do čtyř pražküch artykulê. Z myšlenkovüch i ústavnich zápasê let 1415–1420”, Sbornik přspĕvků dejindm hlavniho města Prahy, Vol. V (2) (Prague, 1932), p. 567.

8 Taken out of the Chiliastic articles of the old Czechoslovakian edition by Macek, J., Ktoſ jsú boſi bojovnici. Čteḿ o táboře v husitském revolučnim hnuti. (Prague, 1951), (article VII, VIII, X, XT!) p. 58. A later version in Latin, shorter, used by Von DÖllinger, I., Beiträge zur Sektengeschichte des Mittelalters, vol. II (Munich, 1890), pp. 691700. A general survey of the sources in Macek, , Tábor, vol. I, pp. 379386. Macek, J., “Táborské cbiliastické články”, Historicky sbornik, vol. I (Prague, 1953), pp. 6364.

9 Chapter XTV–XV, XX, XXI op. cit., pp. 58, 59.

10 Chapter XVII, XIX, p. 59 and Jan Přibram, Život knĕži táborsüch, ibid. p. 265.

11 Chapter XXffl, p. 59.

12 Jan Přibram, op. cit., p. 264 ff.

13 Article XXXIX, p. 61.

14 Article XXV, p. 59, Přibram p. 271.

15 Article XXIV, p. 59.

16 Article XXXVII, XXXVIII, p. 61, Přibram p. 275

17 Article XXVII, p. 60.

18 Article XXIX, p. 60.

19 Article XXX, p. 50.

20 Article XXXI-XXXIV, LXXVHI, p. 60 ff.

21 Article XL, p. 61.

22 Přibram p. 291.

23 “Staré letopisy české”, ed. Palackü-Charvát in Macek, op. cit., p. 117 Laurentius of Brĕzová, , “Historia hussitica”, Fortes rerum Bohemicarum, V (Prague, 1893), p. 475.

24 Macek, , Tábor, Vol. II, p. 303.

25 The letter is an appendix of the Historia hussitica, reprinted in a footnote, op. cit., p. 495

26 “Staré letopisy Českè”, ed. Šimek, F. (Prague, 1937), p. 27 ff.

27 Laurentius, op. cit., p. 518. It deals with the report which Žižka gave to the magistrates of Prague after the suppression of the last Picards on the Isle of Hamr in the Nežarka River, Oct. 21, 1421.

28 F. Šimek, p. 31; Laurentius, p. 518; Palackü-Charvat, p. 118.

29 Laurentius, p. 519.

30 Cf. Heymann, G., John Žižka and the Hussite Revolution (Princeton, N. J., 1955), pp. 261264. The Staré letopisy saw in them people who had lost their mind since they insist that God had revealed his will to them; but in reality these things mirrored the devil; Palackü- Charvát, op. cit., p. 117 ff.

31 F. Šimek, p. 30.

32 Cf. Macek, , on the position of women among the Taborites and Chiliasts, Tábor, Vol. II, pp. 8386, also Kolářová-Cίsařova, A., Žena v hnuti husitském (Prague, 1915).

33 Bartoš, F. M., “Puer Bohemus. Dva projevy husitské propagandy”, Věstnik Krai. České spoleěnosti nauk, 19221923, pp. 852, especially p. 44 ff.: “Primum ergo non negamus, quemadmodum negare nos perhibetis, scripturam adeo esse inspiratam, unde ymno dicimus, sicut dicit Petrus quod ‘scriptus sancto inspirante locuti sunt sancti dei homines’ scripturam autem non tantum evangelicam, apostolicam et propheticam, sed omne verbum, a quocumque est scriptum vel editum, quia sicut omne bonum a deo est, ita et omne verum.”

34 Sylvius, Aenea. Historia de Bohemorum…, (Frankfurt-Speyer, 1677), p. 72.

35 Laurentius, p. 431

36 Bartoš, F. M., “Pikardi a Pikarti”, Časopis narodniho musea, 101,1927, pp. 225250.

37 Holinka, R., “Sektářstvi v Čechach pfed revoluci husitskou”, Sbornik Fibs. Fak. Univ. Komenského v Bratislavé XI, 52 (1929) pp. 168173.

38 Kaminsky, H., “Chiliasm and the Hussite Revolution”, Church History, vol. 26 (1957), pp. 4371.

39 MS. 123, folio 278–279 v., see Schlierbach, W., Xenia Bernardina, II (Vienna, 1891), p. 283, Edited by Büttner-Werner, E.Werner, Circumcellionen und Adamiten (Berlin, 1959), pp. 135140.

40 Smirin, M.M., Die Volksreformation des Thomas Münzer und der Grosse Bauernkrieg (Berlin, 1952), p. 258.

41 Kestenberg-Gladstein, R., “The ‘Third Reich’. A fifteenth-century polemic against Joachism and its background”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institut, 18, (1955) pp. 245295, especially pp. 254 ff., 256.

42 Macek, , Tábor, Vol. II, p. 130.

43 Macek, , Ktožjsú boži bojovníci, p. 265: “Item že ti voleni boži budú s panem Kristen vidomfě a cítelně za tisîc let na světe kralovati.”

44Tractatus super quatuor Evangelia”, ed. Buonaiuti, E. in Fonti per la storia d'ltalia, scrittori sec. XII (Rome, 1930), p. 222.

45 Benz, E., “Creator Spiritus. Die Geistlehre des Joachim von Fiore”, Eranos Jahrbuch, 25 (1956), pp. 285–355; Grundmann, H., Neue Forschungen über Joachim von Fiore (Marburg, 1950), pp. 8183; Bloomfield, M. W., “Joachim of Flora. A critical survey of his Canon, Teachings, Sources, Biography and Influence”, Traditio, XIII (1957), pp. 249309.

46 Compare Ehrle, F., “Petrus Johannis Olivi, sein Leben und seine Schriften”, Archivfiir Literatur- und Kirchengeschkhte des Mittelalters, III (1887), pp. 409552. ManseUi, R., La ‘Lectura super Apocalipsim’ di Pietro di Giovanni Olivi (Rome, 1955), 1st. stor. ital. per il medioevo, Studi Storici, fasc. 19–21, pp. 224, 225, 219, 222, 226, 229. Hödl, L., Die Lehre des Petrus Olivi O. F. M. von der Universalgewalt des Papstes. Eine dogmengeschichtliche Abhandlung aufGrund von edierten und unedierten Texten, (München, 1958), (Mitteilungen des Grabmann- Institutes der Universitat München, Heft 1), pp. 20, 25 ff

47 On the position of the southern French Beguines in regard to the Fraticelli and the Spirituals see Ehrle, F., “Die Spiritualen, ihr Verhaltnis zum Franziskanerorden und zu den Fraticellen”, Archivfiir Literatur- und Kirchengeschkhte des Mittelalters, IV (1888), pp. 1190, esp. p. 153. Mens, A., “Les béguines et les bégards dans le cadre de la culture médiévale”, Le Moyen Age, 64, (Paris, 1958), pp. 305–15, emphasizes the independent character of the heretic Beguines in southern France compared with those of northwestern Europe. Pásztor, E., “Le polemiche sulla ‘Lectura super Apocalipsim’ di Pietro di Giovanni Olivi fino alia suo condanna”, Bullettino dall' Ist. stor. ital. per il medioevo, 70 (Rome, 1958), p. 409, stresses the significance of the attack on the Church in Olivi's prophecies: “che dalle visioni escatologiche del loro maestro si costruivano armi potenti, per rivolgerle contro la stessa Chiesa, proclamandola priva di ogni potere e autorita.…”

48 Manselli, R., Spirituali e Beghini in Provenza (Istituto storico italiano per il medio evo, studi storici), fasc. 31–34 (Rome, 1959), pp. 183,167 seq., 190 seq.

49 Gui, Bernard, Manuel de Vinquisiteur, Vol. I, ed. Mollat, G.. (Paris, 1926, Les classiques de l'histoire de France au Moyen Age, 8/9), p. 152.

50 To the Beguines this man was “ille angelus de q u o scribitur in Apocalipsi quod fades eius erat sicut sol et habebat librum apertum in manu sua et quod ei clarius fuerat revelatum tempus futurum et ilia que debent contingere pro tempore futuro quam alicui alio doctori”Cited by R. Manselli, op. cit., p. 183.

51 Bernard Gui, op. cit., pp. 148–150.

52 Ibid. p. 148 “ … sed etiam Spiritum Sanctum in suo corpore sentient habitare”.

53 Ibid., pp. 150, 152.

54 Ibid., p. 152.

55 Ibid., pp. 114,116. Some of the Beguines renounced their trades; a woman named Amada, from Limoux, testified before the heresy tribunal in 1325 that she lay on Olivi's grave and lived by alms, “credens tune melius facere querendo sic victum suum et vestitum”. Cited by Manselli, op. cit., p. 180 (3).

56 Bernard Gui, op. cit., p. 166. Douie, D. L., The Nature and the Effect of the Heresy of the Fraticelli (Manchester, 1932), p. 253, decided that, “the bulk of the Beguines were drawn from the lower classes…”.

57 See Graus, F., “Die erste Krise des Feudalismus”, Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, III (Berlin, 1955), pp. 552592.

58 May, W. H., “The Confession of Prous Boneta, heretic and heresiarch, Essays in Medieval Life and Thought, presented in Honor of A. P. Evans(New York, 1955), pp. 330, pp. 27–29.

59 Ibid., p. 29.

60 The materialfrom theDoat mss. made available by R. Manselli(op. cit. in n. 50, above, pp. 81, 189,192,261–2,309,311–13,324,362) shows that at Narbonne, Montpellier, Lodève and Bézier there were some craftsmen among the members. Tailors, weavers, clothiers and candlemakers are named, along with a butcher, a smith, a parchment-maker, a sawyer and a merchant. There is n o mention of peasants, the movement was purely urban. Manselli (op. cit., p. 258), because there were clergy in it, thinks the movement had no distinct social profile. This was not so. The records of the Inquisition show that the clergy who participated came from the same kind of urban families as their lay associates. The clergy were bound to the urban environment by a thousand ties, above all when they were active as mendicants. These craftsmens' adoption of Spiritual Franciscan doctrines on poverty clearly reflects the desire of the medieval bourgeoisie for a n “accessible” church, without any thinking out of the consequences and without a trace of revolutionary ideas.

61 Baeumker, C., “Ein Traktat gegen die Amalricaner aus dem Anfang des XIII. Jahrhunderts”, Jahrbuch fur Philosophie und spekulative Theologie, XII, (1893), I, pp. 365, 370; II, pp. 375, 372; XH, pp. 409, 412.

62 Grundmann, H., Studien iiber Joachim von Fioris (Leipzig, 1927), p. 95.

63 C. Baeumker, op. cit., p. 391.

64 Brito, Guilelmus, “De gestis Philippi II”, ed. Delaborde, E., found in: Oeuvres de Rigard et de Guillauma le Breton (Paris, 1882), pp. 230 ff.

65 Ley, H., Studie zur Geschichte des Materialismus im Mittelalter (Berlin, 1957), pp. 218,220.

66 Heisterbach, Caesarius von, “Dialogus miraculorum”, ed. Strange, J. (Köln-Bonn-Brüssel, 1851), p. 293

67 See Buonaiuti, E., Gioacchino da Fiore. I tempi, la vite, il messaggio (Rome, y), pp. 123186.

68 Smirin, op. cit., p. 275.

69 Grundmann, H., “Religiöse Bewegungen im Mittelalter”, Hist. Stud. Ebering, 267 (Berlin, 1935), pp. 356 ff.

70 Ley, op. cit., p. 214.

71 Ibid., pp. 382, 412.

72 Pelagius, Alvarus, De planctu Ecclesiae, Lyon 1517, p. 172a.

73 Jundt, A, Histoire du panthéisme populaire au moyen áge et au seizième siècle, (Paris, 1875), p. 101. Also Müller, K. in Theologische Literaturzeitung, 8 (1883), column 204.

74 Martrod, H., “Les bégards. Essai de synthèse historique”, Etudes franciscaines 37 (1925), p. 148.

75 Adam, Salimbene de, “Chronica”, ed. Holder-Egger, O., Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores, 32, p. 287.

76 Fredericq, P., Corpus documentorum inquisitionis haereticae pravitatis Neerlandicae, I (Ghent, 1889), pp. 271–274.

77 Bonaventura, , “Legenda maior”, Analecta franciscana, X, chap. 15, p. 626.

78 Fredericq, op. cit., p. 272.

79 Skazkin, S.D., “Istori010D;eskie uslovija vostanija Dol'čino”, Desjatij meždunarodnij kongress istorikov v Rime. Doclady sovjetsko] delegacii (Moscow, 1956), pp. 389408, 395.

80 Caggese, R., Classi e comuni rurali nel tnedio evo italiani, Vol. II (Florence, 1909), pp. 12 ff.

81 Bragina, L. M., “Obštinoe zemlevlandenie v Severo Vostočnoj Italii XIII–XIV vv.”, Sbornik srednie veka, XII (Moscow, 1958), pp. 3150. A. Labriola likewise sees town economic policy towards the country as the reason for the rise of a rural proletariat. See his Discorrendo di socialismo e difilosofia, VI, ed. Croce, a cura di B. (Bari, 1953), p. 140ff.

82 “Historia Dulcini”, ed. Muratori, , RIS, IX, 1726, column 458; Kestenberg- Gladstein, op. cit., p. 251.

83 Bernard Gui, op. cit., pp. 77–93.

84 Tocco, F., “Gli Apostolici e Fra Dolcino”, Archivo storico italiano, 19 (1897), pp. 241275, 273.

85 Cf. Dunken, G., “Der Aufstand des F r a Dolcino zu Beginn des 14. Jahrhunderts”, Wissenschaftliche Annalen, VI (Berlin, 1957), pp. 494501, 497.

86 Bernard Gui, Vol. I, pp. 90–92.

87 Dupré-Theseider, E., Dolcino, Fra, “Storia e mito”, Bollettino dellà societd di Studi Valdesi, 77 (Torre Pellice, 1958), pp. 525.

88 Ibid., p. 22.

89 Kosminski, J. A. and Skaskin, S. D., Geschichte des Mittelalters, I (Berlin, 1958), p. 384.

90 Dunken, loc. cit.

91 Cf. Volpe, G., Movimenti religiosi e sette ereticali nella societd mediavali italiana, sec. XI–XIV (Florence, 2nd ed., 1926), p. 122.

92 G. Miccoli treats Fra Dolcino's rebellion as an isolated episode in the history of medieval heresy. The facts do not support this interpretation, for the militant chiliastic push occurs not only among the Taborites but also among the Paulicians, whose armed advance was not determined by eschatological ideas. See his “Note sulla fortuna di Fra Dolcino”, Annali delta Scuola normale Superiore di Pisa, series 2, 25 (Pisa, 1956), pp. 317.

93 Rodolico, N., I Ciompi. Unapagina di storia del proletariate operaio (Florence, 1945), p. 58.

94 “Diario d'Anonimo fiorentino dall’ anno 1358 al 1389”, ed. Gherardi, in Cronache dei secoli XIII e XIV (Florence, 1876), pp. 389 if.

95 Rutenburg, V. I., “Vostanie obezdolennich v Siene v 1371 g. i predšestvujuStie jemu narodnich vosstanija v 50 ch-60 ch godach XIV veka”, Sbornik srednie veka, IV (Moscow, 1953), pp. 152180, 170, 172.

96 A detailed analysis of the “Komune” will appear soon in: Vizantyskij vremennik, Nr. XVII, under the title: “Volkstumliche Haretiker oder sozial-politische Reformer? Probleme der revolutionaren Volksbewegung in Thessalonike 1342–1349”.

97 Brandt, M., Wyclifova hereza i socijalni pokreti u Splitu krajem XIV St. (Zagreb, 1955), pp. 130, 166, 174.

98 Engels, F., Der deutsche Bauernkrieg (Berlin, 1951), pp. 61 ff.

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