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Jan Zizka leading his troops, Jena Codex, Hussite, early 16th century Bohemia


A larger image of Jan Zizka leading his troops, Jena Codex, Hussite, early 16th century Bohemia

Image source: myarmoury


Image source

Title: The Jena Codex
Library: Narodni Muzeum
Language: Latin, Old-Czech
City: PRAHA (=PRAG, Prague), Czech Republic.
Shelf Mark: IV B 24
Alternate Names: Jenskı kodex.
Origin: Prague (Czech Republic)
Dimensions: 120 folios (9 parchment, the others paper) -- 313 x 213 mm.
Date Description: ca. 1500
Content: Collection of materials relating to the Hussites and in particular to John Huss (executed in July 1415) -- compiled by Bohuslav of Cechtice, as his own memorial (see p. 77 of commentary vol., which also gives a short list of contents)
Hand: variations of bastarda -- (separate texts, including an incunabulum on fols. 39-54)
Illuminations: Yes
Type of Decoration: Numerous full-page framed scenes, many including text and/or dialogue -- smaller framed images in other sections -- foliate marginal decorations in some sections -- unusual layout on fols. 80-85 -- empty pages --
Source: Hesburgh Libraries



The Codex stored in the National Museum’s department of manuscripts and early prints originated in the late 15th and early 16th century Czech Lands. The impetus for the drawing of this document came from the Utraquist Bohuslav of Cechtice. The manuscript bears rich and extensive illumination. In some parts, the pictorial decorations dominate the text. The manuscript primarily contains theological treatises that are to highlight the discrepancy between the early Church and the Church of the time of Master John Huss. The illuminations depict, for example, the clergy’s dissolute lifestyle, or criticise the selling of indulgencies. Almost the entire Codex is written in Czech, with only a small part in Latin.

The manuscript is not the work of a single man. Several scribes participated in its writing. The illuminations too were the work of several people, belonging to a 16th century illumination workshop led by Janícek Zmiletı of Písek, to whom the most beautiful illuminations are attributed. It was standard practice in illumination workshops for the leading artist to create the most important illuminations and leave the others to his colleagues. Several painters might have been involved in creating one image. One painter might have worked on the borders, for example, while another concentrated on the background. It is assumed that several works similar to the Jena Codex were created in the 15th century. However, only one more manuscript comparable in its content has survived to this day - the Göttingen Codex. Although the decorations of the Jena Codex are richer and of better quality than those of the Göttingen Codex, what both works have in common is satirical text directed against the state of the contemporary Church. The figurative scenes are very appropriate to the text.
Text source: Muzeum 3000



Extracts from Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2 by Ian Heath:
The term 'Utraquist' derived from one of the Hussites' principal religious demands, which was that laymen as well as priests should receive communion under both kinds (sub utraque specie), ie, should partake of the wine as well as the bread in Holy Communion hence their adoption of the chalice as the symbol of their movement. Many of the Hussite movement's early war-leaders were priests who, being men of the cloth rather than men of the sword, apparently based their military advice and teaching on the works of classical Roman authors. One modern authority has even attributed Jan Zizka's battlefield tactics to his familiarity with Vegetius' 'Epitome rei militaris'. Zizka's successor Prokop the Bald was himself a former priest.

The chalice (kalich) was the symbol of the Hussite movement and it subsequently appeared on the majority of their flags, with or without the wafer.
From the same codex Battle of Domazlice, 1431, Jena Codex, Hussite, early 16th century Bohemia



See also Jan Zizka leading his troops, Göttingen Codex, Hussite, late 15th century Bohemia
An Utraquist Priest in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2 by Ian Heath, based on an illumination of Jan Zizka leading his troops
Hussite Flags in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2 by Ian Heath, based on an illumination of Jan Zizka leading his troops
Other 16th Century Illustrations Costume & Soldiers