A One-Eyed Hero: Jan Žižka

By | April 24, 2019

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PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - 2012/06/17: 'Narodní Památník', the monument with the statue of a horse-mounted Jan Žižka, is located at the top of Vítkov hill. Source: (Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images)

An unusual war hero from the Medieval age where battles were fought as knights and castles were used not only as homes but as a defensive shield against the enemy. Jan Žižka was not your ordinary leader. He did not fight with shields and armor or even castles. He used ingenuity and skills as that is all he had at that time, but it worked to his advantage.

Jan Žižka was born in 1360 in the Kingdom of Bohemia and lived to be 63 or 64. He was a medieval war hero from 1378 to 1424. Losing an eye at a young age, he was nicknamed John the One-Eyed Žižka of the Chalice. Declaring loyalty to the teachings of John Hus, he was an undefeated Czech general over a group who were called the Hussites.  

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Jan Hus. Source: (lutheranreformation.org)

John Hus was a Czech theologian and church reformer during the Bohemian Reformation. Like John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, and others, his teachings had a great impact on Western Europe. In 1415, he was burned at the stake because of his doctrines that were against the Catholic Church.

The first battle that Žižka fought in was the Battle of Grunwald. The Battle of Grunwald (1410) was one of the most important victories in Poland and Lithuania, as well as one of the largest battles in medieval Europe. This battle was against the Teutonic Knights which included crusaders and mercenaries from Western Europe. Only about 59 out of 270 of the Teutonic knights survived this battle.