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Gewalt, Krieg und Geschlecht im Mittelalter

Edited By Amalie Fößel

Gewalt und Krieg sind heute wie auch in der Vormoderne keine ausschließlich männliche Domäne, sondern Räume der Männer und Frauen gleichermaßen. In Zeiten kriegerischer Auseinandersetzungen werden Geschlechterrollen ausgebildet, konforme und abweichende Verhaltensweisen ausprobiert und Konzepte von Männlichkeit und Weiblichkeit entwickelt. Erstmals für die Epoche des Mittelalters (7.-16. Jahrhundert) werden daraus resultierende Fragestellungen im interdisziplinären und kulturübergreifenden Vergleich untersucht. Die Beiträge erörtern Geschlechterbeziehungen auf Darstellungs- und Handlungsebene und beschreiben Interaktionsformen in Kontexten von Gewalt und Krieg. Über den europäischen Raum mit seinen zahlreichen Fehden und Heerzügen hinaus werden auch die Kreuzzüge in den Blick genommen.

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Gender, Religion and Nobility in Hussite Bohemia (Zdeněk Beran)

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Zdeněk Beran

Gender, Religion and Nobility in Hussite


Abstract: The Bohemian reform movement and subsequent Hussite revolution are an ideal field to investigate the relation of gender and religion in the context of violence and war. The article analyses interactions between gender and religion in normative texts and their confrontation with the social practice of the late medieval Czech nobility.


The late medieval Kingdom of Bohemia was shaped considerably by the reform process and consequent Hussite revolution.1 The fundamental driving motif of the period became the reflection of faith. Hussites, adherents to ecclesiastical reform personified by the name of the university master and preacher Jan Hus († 1415), endeavoured to cleanse the Church and fulfil the ideal of “God’s Law” in human society. Catholics on the contrary strived for the protection of the unity of the Church and Faith from the pernicious contamination of heresy. The Bohemian reform movement is thus an ideal field to investigate the relation of gender and religion in the context of different levels of violence and war. This paper will concentrate on a group of noble persons, as noble status based upon special family prerogatives, was the fundamental social differentiation criterium in pre-modern society. The Bohemian nobility was divided into two land estates, the lords (barons) and the knights, also labelled by modern Czech historiography as the “upper nobility” and the “lower nobility”. At the beginning of the 15th century only the upper nobility, later both noble estates, had, along with the sovereign, a crucial share in the land administration and political direction of the kingdom. This acquired the form of an “estates’ monarchy” in the course of ←139 | 140→the 15th century.2 Therefore, the nobility is an ideal example for an intersectional analysis of the relations between gender and religion, since they are characterized by specific features which differentiate them from the analogical relations of other social layers.3 On the one hand the nobility had more opportunities to actively influence the ongoing social and political changes, on the other hand, nobles were strongly bound to their social status and a widely accepted idea of chivalry. The main task is to clarify multifaceted interactions of gender and religion in normative texts and confront them with social practices of the late medieval Czech nobles.

The strikingly high percentage of women in medieval heretical movements was noticed already by Shulamith Shahar.4 However, the question of whether to interpret the significant role of women in heretical movements from the perspective of piety (religion) or gender remains open. The question could be focused on particular cases and issues. The significant role of women in Hussitism attracted the attention of contemporaries and also of a number of Bohemian historians.5 In the 1940s Anna Císařová-Kolářová expanded general observations about women in Hussitism with her systematic, but also romanticizing and popularizing approach to women’s participation in the Bohemian Reformation.6 The ←140 | 141→role of women in Hussite Bohemia later enthralled the Canadian Bohemist John Martin Klassen, who found a field for proving his thesis of the existence of an alternative medieval social model based on greater cooperation between the two sexes.7 Awareness was raised especially with studies by Božena Kopičková and Pavlína Rychterová focusing on different sources and issues related to women in late medieval Bohemia.8 My recent study examined forms and limits of female ←141 | 142→noblewomen’s power in this period.9 However, for the first time in the past decade in Czech medieval studies, an approach of gender history has been developed10 that analyses the “mutual interactions of the social category of sex, both in theory and practice, its roots and prototypes” according to Pavlína Rychterová.11 Considering the focus on „pious women“ in the sources, the group of noblewomen is more difficult to grasp and has escaped the approach of gender analysis so far. Many questions joining the categories of gender, masculinity and feminity in this watershed period have thus remained open for further investigation.

Regarding the concept of this study, it is first of all necessary to determine, if and in what way the Bohemian reform movement, the subsequent revolution and confessionally motivated wars influenced the perception of gender roles. Secondly, we need to clarify what importance we can attribute to the category of gender in these tempestuous times.12 In this historical context, it is thus often not possible to grasp gender in isolation, but interdependently with associated social categories, in this case particularly with the categories of religion and estate.13 Therefore the aim is to identify the factors, rhetoretic and the social positions that determined and reflected the interaction of gender and religion in the breakthrough events of the Hussite revolution. The analysis shows how gender in relation to religion could have a different impact on rhetoretics and how these gender specified rhetoretics influenced social reality. This paper presents an intersectional analysis of ideas and rhetoretics over the researched period (esp. ideals of piety, chivalry and war) and puts them into the context of the social reality of an observed group of particular nobles.

The paper confronts normative sources mostly of a theological nature with data acquired from the sources relating to social practice, hence particularly from ←142 | 143→diplomatic sources and from aristocratic correspondence.14 The article relies primarily on texts of Hussite leading theological authorities. Matthias of Janov (Matěj z Janova, † 1393) and Tomáš of Štítný († 1st decade of the 15th century) represent the early phase of the Bohemian Reformation. Jan Hus stood in the centre of reformation and his burning at the stake in Constance on 6th July 1415 outraged and mobilized noble supporters of the reform in Bohemia and Moravia. Jacobellis von Mies (Jakoubek ze Stříbra, † 1429), Hus’s disciple and initiator of receiving communion under both kinds (corporis et sanquinis Christi) for both clerics and laity, was the leader of moderate Hussites in the first decade of the revolution. Jan Rokycana († 1471) who strongly depended on Jacobellis’s ideas became the leader of the main part of Hussites called in the post-war period Utraquists (acc. sub utraque specie) or Calixtines. He was elected, however never acknowledged by the papacy, as archbishop of Prague and cooperated closely together with King George of Poděbrady († 1471). Texts of these theologians are confronted with several anti-Hussite polemics. Unique hindsight characterizes the work of the Utraquist lawyer and lower noble Viktorin Kornel of Všehrdy († 1520). The treatise begins with an analysis of the general features of the relationship between gender and piety in Hussitism. Focus is futher placed on its impact on knightly ideal and war.

Gender and Piety in Religious Polemics and Struggle

In the question of the interrelation of both sexes the Bohemian reformers essentially referred to traditional medieval standpoints.15 However, the category of gender proved to be very valuable in the argumentation and rhetoric of theologians and lay defenders of both confessional parties. The negative definition of feminity became an important and frequent theme in anti-reform criticism.16 The social categories of religion and gender were thus closely related to ←143 | 144→one another in Hussite Bohemia. Although religious polemics were dominant, gender specific rhetorics played an important role in confessionally tinted argumentation.

While Bohemian reformers thought that women were more susceptible to sin than men, following the French theologian Petrus Comestor, they appreciated all the more the piety of saintly women who were seen among the reform adherents in Bohemia.17 Matthias of Janov, a priest and a preacher who publicly criticized sins in society and strived to return it to the biblical ideals of the apostolic church, stressed the piety of saintly women in Bohemia. He considered women que sunt in Christo18 to have a leading position among the poor and petite of this world.19 These women overshadowed men with their piety and found special favour with God. “Poor and petite of the world” stand in the Bible under God’s special protection and represent humble humanity entirely dependent on God’s grace. Women thus took the place of men devoted ad vanitatem et pompam huius mundi, who Janov compares to women for their sins: But in today’s time women in Christ surpass the virtues of men, as can be seen with your own eyes when the prelates are transformed by their softness, pride, and passion into women […] to women Jesus transfers his treasures and wealth […] namely in Prague.20 Hence, the unusually positive evaluation of women was related exclusively to the adherents of ecclesiastical reform, not to the category of feminity as such. Entirely in accord with the conception of sexual order in the period, in which everything female was perceived to be inferior in relation to the masculine, it is possible to prove here a generally used tactic of connecting certain models of masculinity (in this case the corrupted priesthood) with the characteristics associated with feminity, which in the eyes of their contemporaries were intended to attribute a criticized group with a negative connotation. Dawn M. Hadley calls this process the “feminization of subordinate masculinities”,21 and as noted above, also the reverse model of “masculinisation of preferred feminities” (in this case the pious women) can be recognized. The idea that true piety overlaps gender differences thus opened the question of women’s participation in reform processes and politics.

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Reformation preachers had indeed a very clear experience of women’s participation in the reform movement. The main example was the vicinity of Bethlehem Chapel, in which Jan Hus preached, to a circle of female supporters – many from noble backgrounds.22 However, these cases were still considered to be exceptions, thus indirectly confirming notions of the inferior position of women. The ascension of selected women became an instrument of the celebration of God’s omnipotence.23 Similar to Janov we find this principle explicitly expressed with Tomáš of Štítný, according to whom in those times, [God] showed us his mercy, he admonished his church through a woman, through Saint Birgitte […] that God often chooses the bland and disgraced to impel the strong.24 Štítný intended to translate Birgitte’s revelations for Czech audiences and thus to form Czech women according to her image. In the beginning of the second book of his manuscript Six Books on General Christian Matters called On Three Estates: Virgins, Widows, and Wives we find an illumination of three women (a married woman, widow and virgin) reading probably the Czech translation of the Bible with a prior position of virgin holding a manuscript. The content of this treatise as well as the images of pious women in the manuscript show their high importance for the reform movement.25

Jan Hus even recognized that women as well as men were created ad imaginem Dei. Therefore, Hus argued that Eve was not created merely as a derivation of Adam but according to God’s image as Adam was.26 The German Protestant thinkers, who considered the same nature of men and women distinguished ←145 | 146→“only” by a difference of their quality, not essence, approached gender differentiation in a similar way a hundred years later.27

The opponents of Hussitism (and later also the Unity of the Brethren, originated from the radical and pacifist streams of Hussites) interpreted the participation of women in the reform movement entirely differently to its adherents. Noblelady Eliška of Kravaře who promoted communion under both kinds on her manors was admonished by anti-Hussite polemist Mařík Rvačka († after 1418) with the words: stand in the old obedience and do not be Eve.28 We often hear of hidden sexuality behind the pretended piety of female adherents of reform.29 Gender-tinted argumentation was used by the Dominican Petr Nosek in his treatise De signis haereticorum (1462), in which he “revealed” the corrupt essence of the “sectarian” teachings. One characteristic feature was the support of women, which Petr Nosek explained with women’s unclean and scandalous wish to teach others as a visible manifestation of their unwavering desire.30 In this way the criticism of the Dominican monk expands the image of the weakness of the female by emphasizing women’s sexuality, which required persistent male supervision and discipline. The control of female sexuality, which in medieval thought represented the basic pillar on which male dominance rested, offered a simple and easily accessible cliché allowing the defamation of the new religious streams.31 Pavlína Rychterová drew attention to the correlation between the general process of the laicization distinctly present in Hussitism and engagement of women in the reform process. She concluded that the critics of the Bohemian ←146 | 147→reform movement regarded and presented these dynamics as a sign of a profound social disintegration.32

Another ideological accent of the Bohemian reformers, connected to the issue of piety, became the emphasis of the positive role of marriage, popularly confronted with the disorderly-living virgins.33 Tomáš of Štítný recognizes that a humble woman is better than a proud virgin.34 He compares housewives, who had the second place in the household right after the husband, and hence before all the servants regardless of sex, apparently after the model of Hildegard of Bingen to the Moon. Because as the Moon takes all its beauty from the Sun, so she takes her virtue from her husband.35 Although the female quality and virtue depended on men, married women could reach true piety and authority at home.

Jan Hus’s preference of the virgin state over matrimony clung in the margins of medieval thought tradition. In the context of everyday life he admitted that the wife can also be a good influence on the husband and acknowledged the value of marriage as an institution, in which it is possible to reach personal holiness and which is natural for people, who do not want to live a consecrated life.36 In a letter to Lord Václav of Dubá, he directly exults that Lord Václav wants to take a wife and pass the world of vanities, because it is time, since he has already travelled around kingdoms a great deal, performed in many tournaments, tired his body, issued his money and worsened his soul […] Why it already remains to turn from this and to serve God in peace at home with his wife.37 According to the later leader of the Bohemian Utraquists, Jan Rokycana, a proper wife is more pleasing to God than a proud virgin,38 as personified by the spiritual leader ←147 | 148→of the Utraquists an unloved Catholic nun.39 According to Rokycana, God will not judge people according to their marital status, but according to the merits of each.40 Rokycana even infers a lesser inclination of married women to pride because of their fear of their husband and their universal experience of humility suffered during childbirth.41 However, not even Rokycana refutes the ideal of bodily virginity, nevertheless he emphasizes spiritual virginity perceived as personal piety.42

By thinking over the paths to true piety, Czech reformers touched on the essence of male and female roles in the world, which they perceived under the influence of authoritative texts and the changeable social realities. In the preserved sources, we discover the use of the exchange of gender roles as a rhetorical means, a high appreciation of the marital state (with positive influence on both sexes) in confrontation with disorderly living virgins and a decisive emphasis on the spiritual level, in the final perspective wiping all differences between true Christians. The dominance of masculine qualities, preference for sexual restraint, as well as resistance to the public activity of women in matters of faith and politics, nevertheless, remained unshaken. Women in the Bohemian reform movement became a sign of profound social disintegration for their opponents. The cliché of uncontrolled female lust was always available, when it was necessary to discredit members of the newly emerging religious streams. Gender was thus seen as an important category in the construction of religious “otherness”.43 These general features of the gender-piety relations (or their negative definitions) in Hussitism influenced the form of the chivalrous ideal and war which is discussed below.

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Gender, Piety and Chivalry in Religious Wars

At the end of the 1410s, the Bohemian nobility divided into a group of loyal Roman Catholics and the adherents of the chalice, although only a small part of them and only a fraction of the people of the upper nobility inclined to support radical Hussitism. The majority of the Bohemian nobility was oriented towards moderate Utraquism covered by theological authorities of Prague University. The considerations of holy war, long years of battles and the ever-present feuds led to new elaborations of the roles of men and women in society.44 During the war years, the concept of Christian chivalry found itself in the ideological furnishings of both sides – Hussite and Catholic. Both sides considered themselves to be the army of the knights of God. However, with the Hussites the chivalric ideal was more closely tied with the ascetic-allegorical concept of spiritual fight, where also commoners and women figured, than with the Crusaders fulfilling their traditional role of warriors in the service of the Church. Nevertheless, the Hussites were also later compelled to connect the idea of the “spiritual chivalry” with the real fight.45

Jan Hus urged all good Christians to live as true knights of God,46 by which he however did not call people to arms, but challenged them to efforts in order to achieve the spiritual ideal perceived as “spiritual chivalry”. This idea reviving the ancient concept of milites Christi battling with spiritual powers at the side of Christ’s heavenly army was very widespread in Bohemian reform thought.47 However ‘the knight’, as a general ideal of the Christian life, was clearly related to masculine behaviour. When Anežka of Rožmberk († 1488), a female aristocrat from a leading lordly family living in spinsterhood, labelled herself as a true […] knight, then she wanted to show she could manage difficult tasks with success and courage.48 We thus see a frequent example of enriching the description ←149 | 150→of a woman with male characteristics in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period.49 The word “knight” was closer in meaning to the term “masculine”, but it contained a somewhat different field of connotations arising from the broader complexity of the chivalric ideal.

Although in the end, and after many hesitations, even among Hus’s adherents there prevailed an acceptance of the “physical sword” – physical fight, the Hussite concept of the Christian knight remained more individualized. It was still based on an internal spiritual experience and effort to establish an arrangement, which would be pleasing to God, whereas the Crusaders defended the unity of the Church according to the well-known model of crusade. At the beginning of the 1420s, Hussite women from lower social classes found a place at the side of men in battles, in which the fate of the revolution was decided. The chroniclers of the conservative Hussite stream repeatedly emphasized the anger and cruelty with which these women took part in the murder of the civilian population and thus underlined their inability to comply with respected norms for fighting battles. The justification for excluding women from participation in war was thus built on their inability to lead a bellum iustum “from love” for the enemy, which was a necessary condition for its justification according to Prague University masters and their idea of a “holy warrior”.50

The leading representative of Prague University in the years of the revolution Jacobellis von Mies only reluctantly consented to a defensive war with the characteristics of a holy struggle, from which, however, he ruled out the participation of priests and women with the words as swine armour, so women fight, by which he targeted the Hussite radicals.51 He was outraged over the fact that now ←150 | 151→priests and women fight with manner, they burn and murder, as the estates are mixed so that no one keeps his own state,52 although women better should overcome their opponents by prayer not by fight.53 Therefore, in contrast to women from the popular movement raising weapons against the enemies of Christ in the first years of the revolution, the share of noblewomen in the period events then drowned out by the peak theological authority. The ideal of a Calixtine woman remained the virgin and the highest place among the virgin virtues went to humility.54 Women as the originators of violence found themselves in contradiction with the period mores, by which the military and political engagement of noblewomen was limited in a fundamental way.55 In Hussitism the popular motif of Judith with the head of Holofernes was thus perceived as an image of female humility and fidelity, or on a general level as a symbol of the victory of the faithful over the tyrannical oppressor, rather than as a challenge calling noblewomen into combat.56

In general, a military state was not favourable for women; widows became the victims of the power ambitions of their neighbours or relatives and seldom did women step out of the shadow of their fathers, brothers and husbands in that turbulent time.57 Violence against women and children became one of the main rhetorical means for the defamation of an opponent. It was also the most frequent context in which reference was made to women by the chroniclers of the Hussite Period. Only Queen Joanna of Rožmitál († 1475), wife of King George of Poděbrady, acquired unprecedented power for women as well as direct engagement in military events, which remained denied to other women except for marginal episodes from the beginnings of the Hussite revolution.58

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The masculine ideal of the knight remained unshaken in the same way among the Calixtines and with noblemen it often superseded even the very idea of a holy war.59 However, it was no longer true in the Late Middle Ages that powerful noblemen had to prove their combat ability in the front lines of battles, although many of them still were true masters of the war trade. Nobelmen adopted vocabulary of violence and further articulated their statutes in a military code. Nevertheless, direct violence executed by the nobility, just like the image of the noble-warrior tied to it, were during 15th century gradually transformed into the area of memory and aristocratic representation.60

At the end of the 15th century also female engagement in war and knightly deeds re-emerged in the sphere of memory and representation. According to the lower nobleman and experienced lawyer Viktorin Kornel of Všehrdy, Czechs were known far and wide thanks to the masculinity of them in wars, which he otherwise calls war courage.61 It was thus one of the pillars of chivalric virtue, which, as we read further, did not remain closed even to the world of women. When Všehrdy remembers the bravery of the Czechs, he does not forget the Czech women, who were allowed to follow male courage, wear armour, ride, shoot, hunt, swing, be in battle, drive their flock, and bravely fight with men, even beat and overcome.62 According to Dawn M. Hadley, women lacked their own feminine terms and models in the case of the execution of power or heroic conduct and so in these situations adopted masculine terms and models.63 However, the knightly ideal was able to include warlike behaviour of both men and women, real engagement of women in politics and war always encountered a barrier in noble customs and theological teachings.

Hussite radicals, followed only by a smaller part of the Czech nobility, supported a programme of equality before Divine law, the violation of which was to be punished in the same way regardless of estate or sex.64 They called for ←152 | 153→the moral cleansing of the army of “God’s warriors”, which forbade committing sexual violence against women, against which the preachers rousing the crusades also gushed. Violence against women served as the most common means used for men’s disqualification. There is indeed almost an entire lack of reports of the rape of noblewomen during the Hussite wars.

In the course of the 15th century, the form of the dominant noble masculinity changed, which retained a military character, but shifted from the battlefield to the area of memory and representation. Theological authorities of the dominant ideological stream of the Hussites closed the path of women to active engagement in military operations because female piety was found incompatible with physical fighting. Nevertheless, the memory of Czech female warriors remained and female aristocrats gladily refered to the masculine ideal of knight. In the area of the chivalric ideal, where women lacked suitable feminine terms and models of behaviour, the adoption of masculine terms took place.


Gender represents a category, which during the Hussite revolution was newly perceived and rhetorically utilized. The Hussite revolution did not lead to a “revolution” in the conception of gender. A much greater share in the support of the reform process fell to noble women than in the actual revolution and war. In the rhetoric of the supporters and opponents of the reform process, the category of gender played an important role for the appreciation, criticism, marginalization or defamation of various social groups. The dominance of masculine qualities, the preference of sexual restraint, as well as opposition to the public activity of women in matters of religion, remained unchanged, however Hussitism emphasized the real qualities of women in the sphere of piety, which recognized the right to the same moral standards as men. By resisting the ecclesiastical authorities, the Bohemian Reformation closed the path of the nobility to models of alternative masculinity and femininity embodied in church celibacy, which indirectly emphasized the importance of marriage for the successful realization of the gender identity of the individual.65

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In the area of the chivalric ideal, suitable feminine terms and models of behaviour were lacking and therefore the adoption of terms and models of masculine conduct took place (knighthood, manliness, bravery). The male ideal of the knight remained undoubted among Calixtines and with noblemen it often superseded even the very idea of a holy war. Only with part of the Hussite radicals did the emphasis on the true faith entirely predominate and thus the categories of gender and estate were relativized. The highest theological authority of the dominant ideological stream of the Hussites, however, identically with the Catholic thinkers, closed the path for women to active engagement in military operations and politics. Circumstances placed only Queen Joanna at the head of the armies thanks to her special status as queen.

The Hussite revolution provided many examples of utilization of gender in favour of the religious struggle. Different forms of “corrupted” feminity or masculinity were a powerful ideological means for the opposing groups. However religion was undoubtedly the main driving force of the entire movement, nevertheless gender stereotypes of women’s improper participation in war or deep rooted ideas of masculine superiority etc. resisted most efforts to change, except for several ideas of the Hussite radicals which however influenced only a minor part of the Czech nobility.

* This chapter was written with the support of the Stipendium Aktion Österreich-Tschechien, Ref. No.: ICM-2015–02891 and the project of Specific Research – Student grant research at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Hradec Králové for 2016.

1 Concerning Hussitism, as a first link in the chain of European reformations and as the “revolution before revolutions”, cf. the renowned Czech medievalist František Šmahel: Husitská revoluce 4. Epilog bouřlivého věku, Praha 1996, p. 168.

2 Cf. Zdeněk Beran: Válka a násilí jako sociální kód české pozdně středověké šlechty, in: Český časopis historický [ČČH] 115 (2017), pp. 319–345; Josef Macek: Česká středověká šlechta, Praha 1997, pp. 9–25. The formation of the Bohemian estates and “estates’ monarchy“ in the Late Middle Ages is described by Robert Novotný: Šlechta, in: Pavlína Cermanová, Robert Novotný, Pavel Soukup (eds.): Husitské století, Praha 2014, pp. 290–312 and Josef Macek: The Monarchy of the Estates, in: Mikuláš Teich (ed.): Bohemia in History, Cambridge 1998, pp. 98–116.

3 Cf. Andrea Griesebner, Susanne Hechberger: Intersektionalität. Ein brauchbares Konzept für die Geschichtswissenschaften?, in: Verena Kallenberg, Jennifer Meyer, Johanna M. Müller (eds.): Intersectionality und Kritik. Neue Perspektiven für alte Fragen, Wiesbaden 2013, p. 113.

4 Cf. Shulamith Shahar: The History of Women in the Later Middle Ages – A General View and Problems of Research, in: Frau und spätmittelalterlicher Alltag. Internationaler Kongress Krems an der Donau 2. bis 5. Oktober 1984 (Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für mittelalterliche Realienkunde Österreichs 9), Wien 1986, pp. 9–18.

5 The first, who strongly drew attention to women in Hussitism, was German historian Friedrich von Bezold: K dějinám husitství. Kulturně historická studie, Praha 1904, p. 41. Generally speaking, the adjective “Czech” refers to the language, “Bohemian” to the territory of Bohemia (inhabited by both Czechs and Germans), while origins of the reform process were not exclusively Czech.

6 Anna Císařová-Kolářová: Žena v Jednotě bratrské, Praha 1942; eadem: Žena v hnutí husitském, Praha 1915.

7 John Martin Klassen: Warring Maidens, Captive Wives, and Hussite Queens. Women and Men at War and at Peace in Fifteenth Century Bohemia, New York 1999, p. 3. The presented monograph was preceded by these studies: idem: Válčící dívky jako reflexe české středověké společnosti, in: Mediaevalia Historica Bohemica [MHB] 5 (1998), pp. 119–134; idem: Queenship in Late Medieval Bohemia, in: East Central Europe/ L’Europe du Centre-Est. Eine wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift 20–23 (1993–1996 [1998]), pp. 101–116; idem: The Challenge of Marriage Through the Eyes of a Fifteenth Century Noble Woman, in: Jaroslav Pánek, Miloslav Polívka, Noemi Rejchrtová (eds.): Husitství – reformace – renesance. Sborník k 60. narozeninám Františka Šmahela, Praha 1994, pp. 649–660; idem: Marriage and Family in Medieval Bohemia, in: East European Quarterly 19 (1985), pp. 257–274; idem: The Development of the Conjugal Bond in Late Medieval Bohemia, in: Journal of Medieval History 13 (1987), pp. 161–178; idem: Women and Religious Reform in Late Medieval Bohemia, in: Renaissance and Reformation 5 (1981), pp. 203–221.

8 Cf. especially Božena Kopičková: „Stav panenské čistoty jest ze všech stavóv najduostojnější“. K názorům na ženy v českém reformním prostředí od poloviny 14. století do roku 1419 (Příspěvek ke středověkým mentalitám), in: Pavel B. Kůrka, Jaroslav Pánek, Miloslav Polívka (eds.): Angelus Pacis. Sborník prací k poctě Noemi Rejchrtové, Praha 2008, pp. 121–131; Božena Kopičková: Žena a rodina v husitství (Současný stav bádání), in: Husitský Tábor 12 (1999), pp. 37–48; eadem: Manželské spory žen pozdního středověku v protokolech ústředních církevních úřadů v Praze, in: Žena v dějinách Prahy. Sborník příspěvků z konference Archivu hl. m. Prahy a Nadace pro gender studies 1993 (Documenta Pragensia 13), Praha 1996, pp. 57–65; eadem: Historické prameny k studiu postavení ženy v české a moravské středověké společnosti (interdisciplinární pojetí studia) (Práce Historického ústavu ČAV/ Opera Instituti historici Pragae. Řada/ Series A. Monographia 4), Praha 1992; Pavlína Rychterová: Ženská zbožnost ve středověku. Některé aspekty jejího výzkumu, in: Kateřina Čadková, Milena Lenderová, Jana Stráníková (eds.): Dějiny žen aneb Evropská žena od středověku do 20. století v zajetí historiografie, Pardubice 2006, pp. 115–123; eadem: Viklefice a její předchůdkyně, in: Martin Nodl, František Šmahel (eds.): Člověk českého středověku, Praha 2002, pp. 220–247; eadem: Frauen und Krieg in Chroniken über die Hussitenkriege, in: Geist, Gesellschaft, Kirche im 13.-16. Jahrhundert (Colloquia mediaevalia Pragensia 1), Praha 1999, pp. 127–143; eadem: Žena a manželství v díle Tomáše ze Štítného, in: MHB 6 (1999), pp. 95–109. Further cf. Petr Čornej: Podoba ženy v české středověké literatuře, in: idem (ed.): Labyrint ženského literárního světa. Sborník z konference pořádané Literární akademií 15.-16. února 2007, Praha 2007, pp. 7–21; Karel Mlateček: K problému emancipace ženy v husitské revoluci, in: Časopis Matice moravské 117 (1998), pp. 417–428.

9 Cf. Zdeněk Beran: Moc a bezmoc šlechtičen v husitských Čechách, in: Studia Mediaevalia Bohemica 9 (2017), pp. 47–69.

10 Cf. Martin Nodl: Středověké dilema ženské svatosti, in: Čadková, Lenderová, Stráníková: Dějiny (see note 8), p. 105.

11 Rychterová: Zbožnost (see note 8), p. 118.

12 Cf. Dawn M. Hadley: Introduction: Medieval Masculinities, in: eadem (ed.): Masculinity in Medieval Europe, Harlow 1999, pp. 1–2.

13 Cf. Katharina Walgenbach: Gender als interdependente Kategorie, in: Katharina Walgenbach, Gabriele Dietze, Antje Hornscheidt, Kerstin Palm (eds.): Gender als interdependente Kategorie. Neue Perspektiven auf Intersektionalität, Diversität und Heterogenität, Opladen 2007, pp. 23–64.

14 Already Michaela Malaníková: Ženy, muži a středověk aneb Úvaha nad možnostmi a limity využití kategorie genderu v medievistice, in: Hana Ambrožová (ed.): Historik na Moravě, Brno 2009, pp. 605–606 pointed out the limits of gender analysis for the medieval period in Bohemia.

15 Cf. Pavel Spunar: Žena, manželství a rodina v počátcích české reformace, in: Alena Frolíková, Jan Janda (eds.): Příspěvky k dějinám křesťanství, Praha 1991, pp. 161–188.

16 On the process of “Othering” perceived as an „Akt der Abgrenzung […] ein aktiver und durchaus aggressiver Prozess der Marginalisierung“ see Bea Lundt: Weder Opfer noch Heldin. Bewährte Bilder über Frauen im Mittelalter verlieren ihre Attraktivität, in: Bea Lundt, Toni Tholen (eds.): „Geschlecht“ in der Lehramtsbildung. Die Beispiele Geschichte und Deutsch (Historische Geschlechterforschung und Didaktik. Ergebnisse und Quellen 3), Berlin 2013, p. 97.

17 Acc. to Milena Lenderová, Božena Kopičková, Jana Burešová, Eduard Maur (eds.): Žena v českých zemích od středověku do 20. století, Praha 2009, p. 31.

18 Vlastimil Kybal: M. Matěj z Janova. Jeho život, spisy a učení, Praha 1905 (reprint Brno 2000), p. 223.

19 Ibid., p. 223. See beatitudes in Matthew 5:3 or Matthew 18:6; Mark 9:42 etc.

20 Ibid., p. 223.

21 Hadley: Introduction (see note 12), p. 11.

22 Acc. to Kolářová-Císařová: Žena v hnutí husitském (see note 6), pp. 71–72.

23 Cf. Lucie Storchová: Gender a „přirozený řád“ v českojazyčných diskursech vdovství, panenství a světectví raného novověku, in: Jana Ratajová, Lucie Storchová (eds.): Nádoby mdlé hlavy nemající? Diskursy panenství a vdovství v české literatuře raného novověku, Praha 2008, pp. 518–519.

24 The excerpt from the manuscript by Tomáš of Štítný: Zjevení svaté Brigity, druhá recenze [The revelation of Saint Brigita, second edition], in: Národní knihovna Praha, sig. XVII.F.1, fol. 1v-2r; issued by Rychterová: Žena (see note 8), p. 104.

25 Cf. pictures of saintly women in the manuscript: Tomáš of Štítný: Knížky šestery o obecných věcech křesťanských [Six Books on General Christian Matters], in: National Library, Prague, sig. XVII A 6, fol.. 4r, 35v, 36r, 44v, 47v, 55r (online: [20. 9. 2018]).

26 Dcerka. O poznání cěsty pravé k spasení, ed. Amedeo Molnár, in: Mistr Jan Hus, Drobné spisy české (Magistri Iohannis Hus. Opera omnia IV. Opera bohemica minora), Praha 1985, pp. 163–165: Hear, daughter, and see and hold your ear […] remember that God created you similar to Himself. Further cf. Klassen: Warring Maidens (see note 7), pp. 160–167.

27 Cf. Storchová: Gender (see note 23), p. 515.

28 Staré písemné památky žen a dcer českých, ed. František Dvorský, Praha 1869, p. 13.

29 Čornej: Podoba ženy (see note 8), p. 7.

30 Císařová-Kolářová: Žena v Jednotě bratrské (see note 6), pp. 36–38.

31 Cf. Michaela Malaníková, Tomáš Borovský: Genderové aspekty sporů o čest ve středověku, in: Tomáš Borovský, Dalibor Janiš, Michaela Malaníková et al. (eds.): Spory o čest ve středověku a raném novověku (Země a kultura ve střední Evropě 16), Brno 2010, p. 116. And again according to the claim of the Catholic, humanistically educated Bohuslav Hasištejnský of Lobkovicz († 1510) aimed at the Unity of the Brethren, Sed forsitan ita legibus Satanae cavetur, ut nulla pene haeresis sine hoc sexu coalescere in ecclesia Dei possit – cf. letter to Jan of Pibra from 8 April 1508, ed. Josef Truhlář, in: Listář Bohuslava Hasištejnského z Lobkovic (Sbírka pramenův ku poznání literárního života v Čechách, na Moravě a v Slezsku. Skupina druhá: Korespondence a cizojazyčné prameny 1), Praha 1893, No. 156.

32 Cf. Rychterová: Viklefice (see note 8), p. 236.

33 Hence, it is a similar emphasis here as in the German Reformation – cf. Storchová: Gender (see note 23), pp. 521, 524.

34 Tomáše ze Štítného: Knížky šestery o obecných věcech křesťanských, ed. Karel Jaromír Erben, Praha 1852, p. 61.

35 Ibid., p. 100. Cf. further Rychterová: Žena (see note 8), pp. 95–103; Klassen: Warring Maidens (see note 7), pp. 90, 149–150; Kopičková: Žena (see note 8), p. 47; Kolářová-Císařová: Žena v hnutí husitském (see note 6), pp. 46–47.

36 Cf. Spunar: Žena (see note 15), pp. 169–172; Kopičková: Stav panenské čistoty (see note 8), p. 127. The perfect virgin is also the perfect wife – the “spouse of Christ”. All three estates meet in the state of spiritual perfection.

37 In a letter to Václav of Dubá (29.6.1415) – Listy Husovy, ed. Bohumil Mareš, Praha 1891, No. 96.

38 František Šimek: Učení M. Jana Rokycany, Praha 1938, p. 264.

39 Criticism of the spoiled virgins was presented already by Jakoubek of Stříbro and in a more radical form by Jan Želivský – cf. Kopičková: Stav panenské čistoty (see note 8), p. 129.

40 Šimek: Učení (see note 38), p. 264.

41 Ibid., p. 263. The hardships of married women were already emphasized by Tomáš of Štítný, but as argumentational support of higher perfection of the virgin state – cf. Kopičková: Stav panenské čistoty (see note 8), p. 126.

42 Cf. Šimek: Učení (see note 38), p. 212.

43 Cf. Steven F. Kruger: Becoming Christian, Becoming Male?, in: Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Bonnie Wheeler (eds.): Becoming Male in the Middle Ages (The New Middle Ages 4), New York, London 1991, p. 21.

44 Beran: Válka (see note 2), p. 327.

45 Cf. Pavel Soukup: Dvojí ideál křesťanského rytíře v husitském období, in: ČČH 99 (2001), pp. 1–31.

46 Jan Hus: Výklad velký víry, desatera a páteře, in: Moravská zemská knihovna v Brně, Mk 59, fol. 169r.

47 Cf. Soukup: Dvojí ideál (see note 45), p. 29.

48 Listy paní Perchty Lichtenšteinské z Rožmberka, ed. August Sedláček, in: Archiv český čili staré písemné památky české i moravské, sebrané z archivů domácích i cizích [AČ] 11, ed. Josef Kalousek, Praha 1892, No. 80; August Sedláček: Anéžka z Rozemberka. Obrázek z XV. století, in: Sborník historický vydaný na oslavu desítiletého trvání Klubu historického v Praze, Praha 1883, No. 12; Macek: Česká středověká šlechta (see note 2), p. 63.

49 In the Czech milieu, cf. Jiří Hutečka: Militární maskulinita jako koncept historiografického bádání, in: Radmila Švařícková-Slabáková, Jitka Kohoutová, Radmila Pavlíčková, Jiří Hutečka et al. (eds.): Konstrukce maskulinní identity v minulosti a současnosti: Koncepty, metody, perspektivy, Praha 2012, p. 38; Věra Vejrychová: Prolínání obrazů maskulinity a feminity v tematice hrdinství ve francouzské mondénní společnosti 17. století, in: Švařícková-Slabáková, Kohoutová, Pavlíčková, Hutečka: Konstrukce (see note 49), pp. 142–149.

50 Cf. Klassen: Warring Maidens (see note 7), p. 197; Jan Durdík: Husitské vojenství, Praha 1953, p. 134.

51 Cf. Pavel Soukup: Bible a násilí za válek s husity, in: Pavel Soukup, Jaroslav Svátek (ed.): Křížové výpravy v pozdním středověku. Kapitoly z dějin náboženských konfliktů, Praha 2010, pp. 79–80; Pavel Soukup: Dobývání hradu Skály v roce 1413 a husitská teorie války. Ke spisku Jakoubka ze Stříbra o duchovním boji, in: MHB 9 (2003), pp. 175–189; Norman Housley: Religious Warfare in Europe. 1400–1536, Oxford 2002, pp. 34–48.

52 Jakoubek ze Stříbra: Výklad na zjevenie sv. Jana II, ed. František Šimek, Praha 1933, p. 25.

53 Ibid., p. 26.

54 See Kopičková: Stav panenské čistoty (see note 8), pp. 123, 127.

55 See Edith Ennenová: Ženy ve středověku, Praha 2001, p. 242.

56 An image of Judith with the Head of Holofernes can be found in the Bible of the Zamojský family (30s of the 15th century) in the National Library, Prague, sig. XVII C 56, fol. 247v (online:, last accessed 20.9.2018).

57 E.g. documents are available for noblewomen, who commanded the defence of their besieged castles. The military role in these cases fell to their burgraves – cf. e.g. Ze zpráv a kronik doby husitské, ed. Ivan Hlaváček, Praha 1981, pp. 249–250.

58 Cf. František Beneš: Johana z Rožmitálu a královna Johana, in: Vlastivědný sborník Podbrdska 7 (1973), pp. 157–203. Her position was also exceptional in comparison with other Bohemian queens.

59 See Beran: Válka (see note 2), pp. 325–331; Soukup: Dvojí ideál (see note 45), pp. 1–31.

60 See Beran: Válka (see note 2), p. 338–339.

61 M. Viktorina ze Všehrd O právích Země české knihy devatery, ed. Hermenegild Jireček, Praha 1874, p. 4.

62 Ibid., p. 5. Historical-semantic analysis of the word “statečnost” (bravery), “statečný” (brave) in the context of the related labels of “udatný” (valiant), “rekovný” (revered), “smělý” (bold) was provided by Wojciech Iwańczak: Po stopách rytířských příběhů. Rytířský ideál v českém písemnictví 14. století, Praha 2001, pp. 100–109. Cf. further Robert Antonín: Ideální panovník českého středověku, Praha 2013, p. 217.

63 Acc. to Hadley: Introduction (see note 12), p. 12.

64 It appears in the so-called Žižka’s Military Order – Listy Jana Žižky z Trocnova a jeho vojenský řád, ed. Kliment Čermák, Čáslav 1912, pp. 23–29.

65 The process corresponded with the growing importance of the nuclear family based on a partnership between men and women – cf. Klassen: Warring Maidens (see note 7), pp. 74, 139–141; Jennifer Ward: Noblewomen, Family, and Identity in Later Medieval Europe, in: Anne J. Duggan (ed.): Nobles and Nobility in Medieval Europe. Concepts, Origins, Transformations, Woodbridge 2000, p. 255 speaks of the Europe-wide trend.