Last week's Get Some Victory newsletter laid out some ways to overview historical eras and nations for inspirational people to learn from - artists, statesmen, businessmen, inventors, or whatever else appeals to you.
At the end of it, I asked readers to send me a line if they knew a great story I should know about. Simon Payne wrote in from the Czech Republic to share some very impressive Czech historical figures who I hadn't heard about before. I enjoyed reading this a lot, and he kindly agreed to let me post this. Here's Simon -
This email has got me thinking and after while I came up with a name I'm sure you have not hear of and is actually pretty interesting persona.
His name is:
It was a Czech priest that has a great influence on Czech history and even the whole Europe. I'll try to keep it brief as there is plenty information about him on the internet.
So why was this guy so interesting?
Among other things he worked hard on himself, he studied a lot and was pretty smart and respected guy. He was not afraid to point that the church at his times (15th Century) was not serving the people in the right way and began to talk openly about the problems it has (and there were plenty). He actually started the reform movement in Bohemia. I'm not even sure if he wanted to be a hero but he was burned alive for heresy. For Church it took almost 600 years to apologize and recognize his death as unfortunate.
He was very good speaker and many people loved him, he was a blogger of his time. A very famous one because he has a lot of listeners. Therefore after his death Czech people went into fury and rage! And what followed was one of the most interesting times in our history!
The Hussite movement was formed lead by famous one eyed leader Jan Zizka and they wandered around the land and even around the Europe and drained and fought with the Crusaders and Teutons and others. They were actually pretty successful and used various amazing techniques to defeat much stronger opponents like mounted knights by using river mud as a trap and then beaten them with simple tools used to crush crops. They used wagons to form a effective barriers and turned many battles int their favor. I loved reading about Hussites as a small boy! They were just violent farmers and angry bandits but there is something about them. They stood for for what they believed and made the whole Europe wonder to what to do with them?
These time were called Hussite wars. It was really unprecedented in Europe because all the Crusade and Teuton raids were unsuccessful. And Hussites began to drain even other countries. I know that it was not all for a noble purpose. They lived in a misery and they had a chance to actually do about it. Well I still thing about it as the only time the Czech people really stood for themselves. Which certainly wasn't during the World War 2...
These were violent times and Hussites at the end turned at each other and pretty much beaten themselves... which was a shame but they left a lot for the nation. Did you know that we Czech people are the only nation in the world which can actually form one single real medieval army of knights! Yes it's true. Classical sword fighting is very popular in here and I don't mean with the sword but rather with the actually much heavier sword you see in movies like Robin Hood. It's very popular among young people and they form groups where they train and then make reconstructions of historical battles! A lot of movies are like Joan of Arc were shot in Czech Republic because you will find here a lot of skilled sword fighters and event blacksmiths and other professions. It's more a hobby nowadays but still pretty impressive. I myself trained fighting with the sword when I was younger and it was delightful experience.
I hope you enjoyed my little story about our little nation.
Simon, that was brilliant, thanks for sharing it. I'd recommend everyone check out the links - interesting people. Jan Zizka in particular is really impressive - amazing record as a commander and he made great use of very few resources against very tough opposition. I went to just skim the links you sent me, but I wound up reading them all in full - very compelling stories and some excellent lessons and insights.