George of Podebrady

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Image of George von Podebrady in the Chronicle of Martin Cuthenus, 1539
Statue of George of Podebrady in Kunštát

Georg von Poděbrad (also: Georg von Kunstadt und Poděbrad ; Czech: Jiří z Poděbrad; Jiří z Kunštátu a Poděbrad ; * April 6, 1420 probably at Poděbrady Castle ; † March 22, 1471 in Prague ) was King of Bohemia from 1458 to 1471 .

He was the first king in late medieval Central Europe to turn away from the Roman Church and adopt the Hussite denomination .

Origin and family

Georg came from the Moravian noble family von Kunstadt , which had extensive possessions in Moravia and Bohemia . The Poděbrad family branch of the Lords of Kunstadt was founded by Georg's great-grandfather Boček I of Poděbrady († 1373). Georg's parents were Viktorin von Podiebrad († 1427) and Anna von Wartenberg (1403-1427).

In 1441 Georg married Kunigunde von Sternberg . After her death in 1449, he married Johanna von Rosental († 1475) in 1450 .

Children from the first marriage:

Children from the second marriage:


As a fourteen-year-old Georg himself took part in the great battle of Lipan on the side of the Utraquists , which brought about the downfall of the more radical Taborites . As one of the leaders of the Utraquists, he later defeated the Austrian troops of the Roman-German King Albrecht II , the son-in-law and heir of Emperor Sigismund .

After Albrecht II's death in 1439, Bohemia was split into two parties: the Roman or Austrian party under Ulrich II von Rosenberg and the Kalixtine National Party, which was led by Georg von Podiebrad since the death of Hynek Ptáček von Pirkstein . In 1448 Georg was elected to the office of land administrator; the official confirmation took place in the spring of 1452. After the election the Catholic alliance occupied Prague. After several unsuccessful attempts at mediation, Georg decided to take up arms. Little by little he raised a force in northeastern Bohemia, where his castle stood and where the Kalixtine had numerous followers. With this army of about 900 men he marched from Kuttenberg to Prague at the beginning of September 1448 , which he was able to occupy with almost no resistance. The highest burgrave Meinhard von Neuhaus was taken prisoner. On September 20, 1448 Ulrich von Neuhaus asked for his father's release. It was refused by Georg because Meinhard was to be brought to a proper court.

A civil war then broke out between the Catholic nobles and Georg's unit. Meinhard, imprisoned in Podebrady, fell seriously ill and was therefore released on February 1, 1449. He died on the way to Neuhaus . Eventually the nobles of the Roman party were also defeated.

Georg von Podiebrad was brought to the aid of Wilhelm the Brave , Duke of Saxony, as part of the Saxon fratricidal war (1445-1451) against Elector Friedrich II .

In 1451 the future Emperor Friedrich III appointed. , the guardian of the young King Ladislaus , Georg von Podiebrad to the State Marshal of Bohemia; the estates elected him to be provincial administrator in the same year. The Bohemian aristocracy urged the emperor to let Ladislaus, who had been elected king in 1453, exercise this office. Since the emperor refused to give his consent, pointing out that Ladislaus was not of legal age, the Catholic nobility wanted to bring the young king to Prague by force.

Although the Bohemian struggle against the Catholic faith continued, the position of George of Podebrady was weakened after Ladislaus was crowned on October 28, 1453. Ladislaus showed sympathy for the Roman Church, although he confirmed the Prague compacts and the traditional class privileges . In 1457 he died unexpectedly, and Georg von Podiebrad was suspected of having had Ladislaus poisoned. However, this allegation has never been proven.

King of Bohemia

Several nobles applied for the vacated office of the Bohemian king. Albrecht of Bavaria was proposed, but rejected the crown. Candidates were the Polish King Casimir , the Saxon Duke Wilhelm , Friedrich von Brandenburg and the French Prince Karl von Valois . On February 27, 1458, Georg was raised to the rank of king and crowned by an utraquist majority. The supporters of the Austrian party also voted for him because they did not want to oppose the mood that demanded a nationally minded ruler.

George's election did not meet with approval everywhere in Bohemia. There was resistance in Iglau . Georg moved there with his army, supported by his loyal followers such as Johann II von Rosenberg , and besieged the city for four months before a peace treaty was concluded on November 15, 1458, in which the Iglauers undertook to pay homage to the king. Also Wroclaw initially refused to accept the king's rule. After long, fruitless negotiations, Pope Pius II finally intervened through his mediator Jost II von Rosenberg . In December 1459, the city of Breslau also recognized the new king.

In the Treaty of Eger in 1459, Elector Friedrich , Duke Wilhelm of Saxony and Georg von Podiebrad set the border between Bohemia and Saxony at the level of the Ore Mountains and the middle of the Elbe , which is still largely valid today. This border is one of the oldest still existing in Europe.

One of his Moravian opponents who refused to recognize George was Hynek Bitovsky von Lichtenburg ( Hynek Bitovský z Lichtenburka ). This dispute was based on personal enmity and culminated in the siege of the castles of Hynek. In 1465 Zornstein Castle was finally captured.

A year after George of Podebrady came to power, Pope Pius II came to power, whose consistent hostility was the most serious obstacle to George's government. Although he rejected the Pope's request to abolish the compacts, he tried to improve relations with the Holy See by suppressing radical opponents of the papacy.

Above all, Georg's persecution of the newly founded Bohemian brothers is seen as a flaw in his reign. However, his efforts to make peace with the papacy failed. After the death of Pope Pius II, his planned crusade against Bohemia no longer took place. His successor Paul II was also a determined opponent of the Hussites.

In the Bavarian War he supported Ludwig the Rich of Bavaria-Landshut against Albrecht Achilles . Bohemian troops invaded the neighboring Sechsämterland of Brandenburg-Kulmbach and caused considerable damage through destruction and looting.

The avowed European

In 1462, Georg von Podiebrad, as King of Bohemia, created the first European federation plan with 21 articles , with various common European institutions, including the army, household, court, representative body, asylum, administration and a coat of arms.

In 1464 the newly elected Pope Paul II declared Georg von Podiebrad a heretic. George's government was the most economically successful since Charles IV , but the Calixtine king had many enemies in the Roman party of the powerful Bohemian nobility. This led to disputes among the Bohemian nobles. Important Catholic aristocrats met on November 28, 1465 at Grünberg Castle ( Zelená Hora ) and founded the Grünberg Alliance ( Zelenohorská jednota ), which was supported by the Holy See. The alliance, under the leadership of Zdenko von Sternberg , drafted a decree on Konopischt in which they accused the king of violating national rights and made other accusations. In addition to Sternberg, the following personalities joined the alliance: Wroclaw Bishop Jost II. Von Rosenberg , Johann Zajíc von Hasenburg , Ulrich von Hasenburg , Bohuslav von Schwanberg , Wilhelm von Ilburg , Heinrich the Elder von Plauen , Diepolt von Riesenburg , Jaroslav von Sternberg , Johann von Sternberg , Heinrich IV. Von Neuhaus , Burian von Guttenstein , Heinrich the Younger von Plauen , Linhart von Guttenstein , Dobrohost von Ronsperg and Johann II. Von Rosenberg . At the meeting of the national assembly on September 25, 1465, the decree was handed over to the king, to which he reacted with a correspondingly sharp answer.

To ensure the support of the European princes, he sent a delegation led by his brother-in-law Löw von Rozmital 1465–1467 to royal courts in Germany, Flanders, England, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Everywhere the delegation was warmly welcomed and tested with the then common fighting techniques (especially wrestling and tournaments) . The rules had already been standardized across Europe, so that only the moral question had to be answered during the fights , whether one should be bare-chested or fully clothed.


Ceske Budejovice: Assassination of the Catholic Mayor Ondřej Puklice in 1467, who had refused to distribute the papal bull.

George was the first king in late medieval Central Europe to turn away from the Roman Church when he accepted the Hussite denomination . This was characterized throughout Bohemia by the acceptance of the lay chalice.

All George's attempts to negotiate with the new Pope Paul failed when his delegates were brusquely rejected by the pontiff. On December 23, 1466, Georg von Podiebrad was excommunicated by Paul II . Since the Pope also demanded that George be deposed as King of Bohemia, the representatives of the Roman Party were forbidden to work with him. Emperor Friedrich III. and Georg's former ally, the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus , joined the uprising. Matthias conquered most of Moravia and was crowned King of Bohemia in Olomouc on May 3, 1469 . In the following year Georg von Podiebrad was militarily more successful, but his sudden death on March 22, 1471 put an end to the advance of the Utraquists.

When he was elected king, it was determined that the office of king was not inheritable. After his death, Vladislav II , the son of the Polish king Casimir, and the Hungarian king Matthias I ran for his successor . Both were crowned Bohemian kings in 1471.

Ultimately, Georg's position was not tenable from the start. Nevertheless, he is revered by the Czechs as an identity-forming figure; he was - besides the "winter king" Friedrich - their only non-Catholic king.


On the basis of anthropological studies of the remains by Emanuel Vlček, it was established that the 165 centimeter tall king suffered from dropsy and, as a result of his obesity, from metabolic diseases. He had large gallstones and liver damage. His face was injured in his youth. His face was slightly disfigured from the fused jawbones.



  • Jiří z Kunštátu a Poděbrad ( Georg von Kunstadt and Poděbrad ); Opera in 3 acts by Osvald Chlubna (1942; 1966 performance on Czech radio).

Web links

Commons : George of Poděbrady  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. The place of birth is not documented. In addition to Podebrady, Bouzov Castle is also given as his possible place of birth. Handbook of the Historical Sites of Bohemia and Moravia, p. 87.
  2. a b c d František Palacký: Archive český.
  3. Partial reference u. a. Carl W. Hingst : Chronicle of Döbeln and the surrounding area. Döbeln 1872, p. 324 ( online ).
  4. ^ A b Rudolf Urbánek: České dějiny. Prague 1930.
  5. Horky, Joseph Edmund (ed.): Des böhmischen Freiherrn, Löw von Rožmital and Blatna, memorials and journeys through Germany, England, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy: a contribution to the contemporary and moral history of the fifteenth century. Brno 1824.
  6. Arnd Krüger : The sport before the "English sport" in England and on the continent (p. 36-54). Christian Becker, Cornelia Regin , Anton Weise (eds.): “When sport came to Hanover”. History and reception of a cultural transfer between England and Northern Germany from the 18th to the 20th century. LIT Verlag, Berlin / Münster 2015, ISBN 978-3-643-13152-2 .
  7. ^ Joachim K. Rühl : Regulations for the Joust in Fifteenth-Century Europe: Francesco Sforza Visconti (1465) and John Tiptoft (1466). International Journal for the History of Sport 18 (2001), 193-208.
predecessor Office successor
Vladislav I. King of Bohemia
Vladislav II. And Matthias I.