Abstracts OH 20 (2019), No. 2

Pavel Král

Political Communication among Prague, Heidelberg and London at the Time of the Bohemian Revolt. Correspondence and communication networks


The study focuses on ways and tools of political communication between the Bohemian estates and the Stuart England. Besides searching for main communication channels among the Czech lands, the Palatinate and England, the main goal of the study is to identify who the principal actors of this communication were and what centres they used. Objects of interest include a reconstruction of communication and correspondence networks established by these key stakeholders and the ways they used to achieve their aims. Basic sources are the correspondence of diplomatic, political and military representatives of the English court, the Elector Palatine and the Kingdom of Bohemia. The communication of the Bohemian estates with the English royal court was never direct during the Bohemian Revolt. The Estates resorted to mediating roles of the Palatinate and Dutch General Estates. Their attempts at correspondence with the English King remained largely unanswered. The Bohemian matters were also a part of correspondence between James I and Frederick V of the Palatine and his wife Elizabeth Stuart, but usually it was treated just formally and diplomatically. Key actors of the political communication included members of the diplomatic missions of the English royal court and the court of the Elector Palatine in Heidelberg. On the Palatinate side, diplomatic tasks were assigned mainly to members of the Palatine council, namely Volrad of Plessen, Christopher of Dohna and Achatius of Dohna, who visited London several times and held talks with the King or secretaries state. The English diplomatic network seems more professional. From the perspective of the political communication of the Bohemian Revolt, the intelligence headquarters built in The Hague by English ambassador Dudley Carleton seems essential. English ambassadors gathered information in the place of their residence, but when it was necessary they turned into ambassadors extraordinary into politically unstable areas, such as Central Europe in the early seventeenth century. Sometimes, individuals with little diplomatic experience were appointed envoys. For the English interests in the Palatinate and later in Prague, personal secretaries of Elizabeth Stuart were of essential importance. Last but not least, diplomatic tasks were fulfilled also by English military commanders in the Kingdom of Bohemia.


Key words: Bohemian Revolt; England; James I; Frederick V of the Palatinate; Political communication; Diplomacy; Correspondence network


Marek Brčák

The Capuchins as Recipients and Mediators of Baroque Caritas


In the 17th and 18th centuries in Bohemia and Moravia, the Capuchins were, by reason of the order's mission and spiritual nature, not only the recipients but also the providers of Christian charity, for which the term caritas is used in Latin. The immediate dependence of the Capuchins on the charitable donations which they received during the period under consideration was a major problem for the material security of the order’s individual houses. On the other hand, this link also had its positive side, as it was through it that the social networks of individual monasteries were established and maintained. The giving of alms was the most common form of interaction between the Order and the local population. It was never a one-sided activity, since the Capuchins provided the latter with a variety of gifts and services in return. On the contrary, in the provision of caritas by the Capuchins themselves it is necessary to emphasize the commitment of the Order during outbreaks of plague and its members’ service as chaplains in urban hospitals and prisons.


Key words: Capuchins; Caritas; Alms; Early Modern Period; Bohemia and Moravia


Monika Řezáčová

Jiří Olivier Wallis and the Hungarian theatre of war in the years 1716 and 1717


The imperial officer Jiří Olivier Wallis took part in the battles of Petrovaradin, Temešvár and Belgrade under the leadership of Prince Eugene of Savoy in 1716 and 1717. He confided his experiences there to his younger brother František de Paul Wallis in his personal correspondence. In addition to describing individual battles, he also recorded his feelings, anxieties, and fears. Although Jiří Olivier tried to present himself as a hard-bitten soldier in the above-mentioned conflicts and stylized himself as a brave and fearless warrior, letters addressed to his younger brother revealed another – „unidealized“ – aspect of the writer's personality. At the same time, they also approached the everyday life of an individual nobleman during a military campaign. In addition to his experiences on the Hungarian battlefields, he also took an interest in his younger sibling. He was mainly concerned about his brother’s state of health, and did not hesitate to advise him on some of the medical treatments known to him.


Keywords: Jiří Olivier Wallis; 18th century; Austro-Turkish war; Battles of Petrovaradin, Temešvár and Belgrade; Treaty of Požarevac; Hungary; Everyday military life


Ivo Cerman

The Bohemian Peasant Patents of 1680 and Legal Protection of Serfs. Edition of Documents


The present study seeks to provide documents concerning the legal status of serfs in Bohemia. It brings the first comprehensive edition of Robotpatente (i.e. peasant patents) for Bohemia and Moravia of 1680, and 1713, the instruction for the Prokurator (i.e. prosecuting attorney) and connected documents, which provided framework for the legal protection of serfs in Habsburg Bohemia. It will be followed in next years by editions of documents for further periods in the development of serfdom. The introductory historical study explains why it is important to return to studying the legal status of serfs, and how this approach differs from the research in peasant rebellions and class struggles. Since I try to build on the narrative of Bauernbefreiung I provide here also a detailed survey of the development of this historiographical narrative mode. The introduction also elucidates what the Robotpatente say about the legal status of serfs and the role of legal institutions before 1680. Since the role of statutory law in the Early Modern Age may not be overrated, this picture is completed by customary law. Our analysis draws on the legal disputes between the landlord and the serfs as individuals and serfs in village communities. We prove that the Leibeigenschaft (serfdom) was connected with limitations of personal freedom. The scope of these limits had been known already before 1680. The edition of documents presents the two peasant patents of 1680 for Bohemia, but also a collection of documents concerning the publication of the patents. It brings also an unknown ‘second Robotpatent’ of 1681 and the version in which the Robotpatent of 1680 was implemented in Moravia in 1713.


Key words: Serfdom; Bohemia; Robotpatente; Legal history; Litigation; Edition of documents


Václav Bůžek

The Habsburgs in early modern Czech historical research.

This study deals with the transformation of Czech historical science’s view of the rule of the Habsburgs in the lands of the Czech Crown at the beginning of the modern era. Firstly, the author briefly describes the opinions of historians who from the 19th century onwards criticized the Habsburgs for their notable detachment from Czech national interests. This negative evaluation of them as a hostile dynasty which caused social, national, and religious oppression in the lands of the Czech Crown, especially after the Battle of the White Mountain, was prevalent in Czech historical science well into the 20th century. The difference in the views of Western European and Czech historians about the historical role of the Habsburgs in Central Europe became still more pronounced in the 1950s to 1980s. The framework of ideologically distorted viewpoints was transcended only by the work of Josef Janáček and later of Jaroslav Pánek, who in the early 1990s was the first to adopt a programmed critical approach to evaluating the rule of the Habsburgs without ideological, moralizing and above all emotionally patriotic prejudices and stereotypes. The failure of his project was influenced by a complete absence of case studies which would permit comparative research into the political, religious and cultural history of the Czech Crown Lands in the early modern Habsburg monarchy. Next, the author of this study follows the research journeys of Czech historians who over the past thirty years have investigated topics relating to the political power of the Habsburgs, their Catholic faith and dynastic representation in the Czech lands in the 16th and 17th centuries. Their scientific efforts are presented within the broad international context of research into the history of the Habsburg dynasty in Central Europe. Despite case studies and the most recently published two-volume work on the Habsburgs, modern Czech historical science has not yet been able to get to grips in the fullest sense with the rule of this dynasty in the Czech Lands. In future years, the long-awaited climax of the journey towards the fulfilment of a conceptually demanding scientific aim should be a “Czech” view of the history of the Habsburg monarchy - of the Habsburgs’ rule within the Central European monarchy and the representation of their power and piety.


Keywords: Early Modern Period;  Czech Crown Lands; Habsburgs; Historiography