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Petr Maťa On the Book by Václav Bůžek on Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria, and the Bohemian Aristocracy

The author considers the recent monograph by Václav Bůžek published in Czech and German devoted to the question of the interaction of the Bohemian aristocracy and the Habsburg courts in the sixteenth century. In his monograph, Václav Bůžek has amassed extensive source material and summarised the knowledge so far. Nevertheless, the author of the critical reflection at the same time shows the deficiencies that cheapen the book. They include on the one hand little critical work with the sources proving the presence of aristocrats from the Czech lands at the Habsburg courts (incorrect reading, factual errors in identification, a lack of clarity of the criteria) and on the other hand the problematic framing of the analysis itself of the court ceremonials by contemporary research on the political rituals in the Early Modern Period by means of defunct references, which fulfill the role of the formal methodological assurance without a real harmony with the cited studies and partially in contradiction to them. A difficulty of the publication is also stylistics, combining expert-sounding constructions that are empty of content with psychologizing and in places bizarre fictionalization of the described facts, which often leads to murky argumentation.

Petr Maťa ALESSANDRO CATALANO, La Boemia e la riconquista delle coscienze. Ernst Adalbert von Harrach e la controriforma in Europa centrale (1620–1667)

Petr Maťa The Defensive Alliance of the Bohemian Estates in 1547

The aim of this article is to correct certain erroneous but persisting views related to the unsuccessful uprising of the Bohemian Estates in 1547. The focus is on interpretation of its two central documents: the founding document of a defensive alliance of the Bohemian Estates of February 15, which was eventually signed by almost two thousand estate signatories, and on the anonymous grievances from the second half of March 1547, which proposes certain changes to the constitution and limitation of the royal prerogative. In literature, the name of the first of these documents, ‘přátelské snešení’ (amicable compact), was mistakenly applied to the latter text. Even in most recent studies, the two documents are repeatedly interchanged, which distorts the logic of the whole undertaking. This study analyses contemporary terms used in the documents, their formal and material aspects, their legal significance, but also various precedents for such an alliance of the Estates during the reign of George of Poděbrady and the Jagiellonian kings. It thus presents a new perspective on the alliance as such, claiming that it should not be understood as a loose association of persons who support some particular, publicly declared political goals. Rather, it should be viewed as a platform created for the purpose of stimulating and legitimising a revolt of the Estates and a means of protecting its signatories, who were contractually bound to provide mutual protection. Negotiations between the king and the Estates about the existence of the alliance and its founding document thus amounted to a conflict about legality of the organised efforts of the Estates as such.