Historie – Otázky – Problémy

Impressions of the Bočkaj Rebellion in Sources of Urban Origin (Using the Example of the City of Brno)


Abstract: A comprehensive research of urban sources, deposited in the Archives of Brno, in order to examine what reaction Bočkaj’s anti-Habsburg uprising provoked among the local burghers.
Unlike towns and villages on the Moravian-Hungarian border, Brno was not exposed to direct invasion by Bočkaj’s troops in 1605–1606. However, it still suffered significantly from the presence of troops in the outskirts of Brno and from the lodging of imperial troops, even in its urban centre. In addition, townspeople and suburban residents had to take great pains to defend the town, especially when working on urban fortifications, such as the Špilberk fortress. Townspeople, including members of the administrative elite, had to reckon with the deployment of their own forces in the town’s defence, and they could also be sent to escort vehicles with equipment into the military camps or to serve as spies. The system ensuring the town’s security (including penalizing of non-respecting of such measures) is best illustrated by the unique guard order, issued by the town council in 1605. This edict increased supplies of provisions, wagons, horses and other supplies for the imperial troops and of course meant a considerable (and often unreasonable) burden on the town’s treasury – thus the war exacted its price even on the prominent royal town of Brno.
The authors also note the unique (and almost unexamined) perspective on the Bočkaj rebellion provided by a former council clerk – George Hovorka from Vyškov. This truly renaissance personality and great urban diplomat compiled his description of the rebellion and transcribed it into his memoires, which are also preserved in the town files. His memoires also include some marginalized news stories and copies of diplomatic materials, indicating an attempt by the uprising’s leaders to try to establish close contacts with top leaders of the Moravian provincial administration. It also details the subsequent preparations for peace negotiations, in which the appointed town clerk was directly involved. In the interests of historical objectivity, the authors wish to assert that, although the devastation of Moravian sites by Bočkaj troops brought greater hardship than the exposure to other military campaigns, on the other hand, even imperial troops (and among them occasionally mercenaries from the countries of the Crown of Bohemia) committed comparable wrongs upon the population of Eastern Hungarian principalities: the original base of Bočkaj’s power.

Key words: Brno, Bočkaj’s rebellion, a unique reflection, councilman clerk, commemorative book, newspaper reporting, corporative policy

PhDr. Hana Jordánková, archivářka Archivu města Brna, a doc. PhDr. Ludmila Sulitková, CSc., vysokoškolská pedagožka, dlouhodobě spolupracují při výzkumu raně novověkých brněnských dějin (jordankova.hana@brno.cz, Ludmila.Sulitkova@seznam.cz)