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The Folly Of Windows In Prague
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
Unlike anywhere else the combination of politics, religion, windows and defenestation plays an important role in Prague's long history. Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window. Bohemia and Prague saw quite a few of those; Two of them are of historical importance, triggering prolonged conflicts within Bohemia and beyond.
The First Defenestration involved the killing of seven members of the city council by a crowd of radical Czech Hussites on 30 July 1419 after the town council members had refused to exchange their Hussite prisoners. The mob stormed the town hall and threw the judge, the major, and some thirteen members of the town council out of the window into the street, where they were killed by the fall or dispatched by the mob. King Václav IV (Wenceslas in English, Wenzel in German), upon hearing this news, was so stunned that he died a little time after, supposedly due to the shock.
The Second Defenestration is known as "THE Defenestration of Prague" (Prager Fenstersturz). On 23 May 1618, four Catholic Lord Regents, responsible for persuading King Matthias to write a letter which ultimately removed Protestant religious freedoms that had been granted earlier by King Rudolf II, were thrown out a third floor window along with the Regents' secretary. They fell 70 feet (21 metres), landed on a large pile of manure in a dry moat and survived. Roman Catholic Imperial officials claimed that the men survived due to the mercy of angels assisting the righteousness of the Catholic cause. Protestant pamphleteers asserted that their survival had more to do with the horse manure in which they landed than the benevolent acts of angels. This Defenestration was unsuccessful in its immediate motives, but served to precipitate the Bohemian Revolt and the Thirty Years' War.
May 29th, 2012
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