Procopm, Andrew

Procopm, Andrew (also known as Procop the greater, the elder, or the holy, or the shaven, in allusion to his having received the tonsure in early life), was one of the greatest of the Hussite leaders, and ranks only second to Ziska, whose successor he was among the Taborites. Procop was born of a noble family towards the close of the 14th century. He owed his education to an uncle, a nobleman of Prague. After having travelled for some years through France and Spain, Procop returned to his native country just as the religious wars were breaking out. He had taken holy orders, but instead of entering the ministry he joined the ranks of the insurgent Hussites, and, by his military genius, rapidly rose to the first rank. In 1424 Ziska died, and the Taborites elected Procop as their leader. Palacky, in comparing the two great Hussites, says of Procop that if he did not equal Ziska in warlike ability, he surpassed his predecessor in mind and political farsightedness. Procop's history from this time till 1427 presents an almost unbroken series of daring attacks upon the Austrians. At the same time, a larger body of Taborites, who called themselves Orphans, and had been overrunning Lausitz and had burned Lauban, under the leadership of a man subsequently known as Procop the lesser (or younger), now, in concert with the more distinguished Procop, attacked Silesia, and took part in those internal feuds of the Hussite factions by which Bohemia was almost wholly ruined. The threatened approach of three German armies, which had been levied by the neighboring states to carry on an exterminating crusade against the heretics, was alone able to restore unanimity to the divided Hussites, who, under the leadership of the two Procops, offered a desperate and successful resistance to the larger numbers of the Germans, subsequently pursuing their enemies with fire and sword through Silesia, Moravia, and Hungary as far as Presburg. In 1429 Procop made inroads into the German states as far as Magdeburg, and returned to Bohemia laden with spoil, and followed by a numerous band of captive nobles and knights; and in the following year, at the head of 50,000 men-at-arms, and half as many horsemen, he again broke into Misnia, Franconia, and Bavaria, and after having burned 100 castles and towns, destroyed 1400 villages and hamlets, and carried off a vast amount of treasure, turned his arms against Moravia and Silesia. The emperor Sigismund at this crisis offered to treat with him, but the imperial demand, that the Hussites should submit to the decision of a council, afforded Procop a pretext for breaking off all negotiations with the imperial court. A second German crusading army now advanced in 1431, but was thoroughly defeated at Riesenburg. These successes, which were followed by others of nearly equal importance in Silesia, Hungary, and Saxony, where the princes had to purchase peace at the hands of the two Procops on humiliating terms, induced the Council of Basle to propose a meeting between the Hussite leaders and ten learned Catholic doctors. The meeting lasted fifty days, but was productive of no good result. Procop himself went before that learned body, and defended, with much spirit, the creed of his party. But failing to receive such treatment as he felt himself entitled to, he finally refused further to attend the council, and returned to Bohemia, where, combining his forces with those of Procop the lesser, he laid siege to Pilsen. The Calixtines, who came here in force, had offended Procop by the peace treaty they had made with a delegation of the Council of Basle. The council, on this, passed an act known as the Basle Compact, by which the Hussites were allowed the use of the cup in the Lord's Supper, and the Bohemians were designated by the title of the First Sons of the Catholic Church. The Taborites and Orphans, under the leadership of the two Procops, refused, however, to have anything to do with the pope, and hence dissensions arose between them and the more moderate of the Hussites. After many lesser encounters between these factions, a decisive battle was fought near Lipaum in 1434, in which Procop was induced, by a feint of the enemy, to leave his intrenchments. His followers at first fought desperately against the troops of the Bohemian nobles, who were commanded by Meinhard of Neuhaus; but at length. under the influence of a sudden panic, they gave way, and took to flight. Procop, after vainly striving to re-form their broken lines, threw himself into the midst of the enemy, and was killed. Procop the lesser, following in his steps, was also slain, and with these two brave Hussite leaders the cause of the Taborites perished. Milman says, "with Procop fell the military glory, the religious inflexibility, of Bohemia." See Gillett. Life and Times of John Huss, vol. 2, ch. 17 sq.; Leben des Procop (Prague, 1789); Milman, Hist. of Latin Christianity, 7:545-568; Palacky, Gesch. von EBomen, 3, 91 sq.

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