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656 [632]

K. Henry 5. The tragicall historie of M. Hierome of Prage.

The Tragicall and lamentable history of the famous learned man and godly Martyr of Christ, maister Hierome of Prage, burned at Constance for like cause and quarrell as Maister Iohn Hus was. 1416. 
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Jerome of Prague

Apart from the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, it is arguable that no violent death in the Middle Ages caught the imagination of contemporaries as did that of Jerome of Prague. This was not due to Jerome's intrinsic importance, but to the remarkable fortitude he displayed at his execution. Poggio Braccioloini, the celebrated humanist, was an eyewitness to Jerome's execution, and although not sympathetic to Jerome's cause, he wrote a public letter, which circulated widely, comparing Jerome to Socrates. Therefore it is not surprising that Jerome was one of the relatively few non-British martyrs included in the Commentarii (fos. 78r-81v). Foxe cited Bernard of Luxembourg as his source, but he was an author whom Foxe did not use. It is probable that Foxe's source for this account was a short account by John Bale, who cited Bernard frequently. Foxe repeated this account in the Rerum (pp. 67-71). In the 1563 edition, Foxe replaced this material with an account of Jerome's martyrdom based on accounts of eyewitnesses contained in the two volume collection of documents relating to Jan Hus, the Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta, which was anonymously edited by Matthias Flacius, and printed in Nuremberg in 1558 (cf. Hus...Historia et Monumnenta, II, fos. 349r-354r). In the 1570 edition, Foxe reprinted this account, but he also added Poggio's more elegant, and famous, account of Jerome's death which was also printed in the Hus…Historia et Monumenta (fos. 358r-359r). The 1570 account of Jerome Prague was reprinted without change in the 1576 and 1583 editions of the Acts and Monuments.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaThe story of Hierome of Prage.THhese thinges hetherto being discourssed touching the lyfe, Actes and Constant martyrdom of M. Iohn Hus with part also of his letters adioyned to the same, whose death was on the 6. of Iuly. an. 1416. now remayneth cōsequently to describe the like Tragedy and cruell handeling of his Christian companion and fellow in bandes M. Hierome of Prage: Who grieuously sorrowing the slaunderous reproch and diffamation of his coūtry of Boheme, and also hearing tell of þe manifest iniuries done vnto that man of worthy memory M. Iohn Hus: MarginaliaHierome commeth to Constance.freely and of hys own accord came vnto Constance, the 4. day of Iprill. an, 1415. Who there perceiuing that Iohn Hus was denyed to be heard, and that watche and wayte was layd for hym on euery side, he departed to Iberling a Citty of the Empire, vntill the next day: the which Citty was a myle of frō Constance, and from thence he wrote hys letters by me vnto Sigismund kyng of Hungry and hys Barons, and also vnto the Councell, MarginaliaThe safe cōduct was required but in vaine of the Emperour.most earnestly requiring that the kyng and the Councell would geue him a safe conduct frely to come and go, and that he woulde then come in open audience to aunswere vnto euery man, if there were any of the Councell that would lay any cryme vnto hym, as by the tenour of his intimation, shall more at large appeare.

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When as the sayd king of Hungary was required therunto, as is aforesayd, being in the house of the Lord Cardinall of Cambray, he denyed to geue M. Hierome anye safe conducte excusing himselfe for the euil speede he had wt the safe conduct of Iohn Hus before, and alleadging also certayne other causes. The deputies also of the foure nations of þe Councell, being moued therunto by þe Lords of þe kingdome of Boheme, aunswered: wee (say they) will geue hym a safeconduct to come, but not to depart. Whose aunsweres, when they were reported vnto maister Hierome, he the next day after wrote certaine intimations according to the tenour here vnder written, which he sent vnto Constance to be set vpon the gates of the Citty, and vpon the gates of the Churches and Monasteries, and of the houses of the Cardinals, and other nobles and prelates. The tenour wherof here followeth word for word in thys maner.

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MarginaliaThe intimations of Hierome of Prage, set vp in diuers places of the towne of Constance.Vnto the most noble Prince and Lord, the Lord Sigismund, by the grace of God king of the Romanes, alwaies Augustus, and of Hungary &c. I Hierome of Prage maister of Arte of the generall vniuersities of Paris, Colleyn, Heldeberg & Prage, by these my present letters do notifie vnto the king together with the whole reuerend Councell and as much as in my lyeth, do all men to vnderstand and know, that because of the crafty slaunderers, backbiters & accusers, I am ready frely & of myne owne will, to come vnto Cōstance, there to declare openly before the Councell the puritie and sinceritie of my true fayth and myne innocencie, and not secretly in corners before any priuate or particulare person. Wherfore if there be any of my slaūderers, of what natiō or estate soeuer they be, which will obiect agaynst me anye crime of errour or heresie: let them come forth openly before me in the presence of the whole Councell, and in theyr owne names obiect agaynst me, and I will be ready, as I haue written, to aunswere openly and publikely before the whole Councell of myne innocencie, and to declare the puretie and sinceritie of my true fayth. And if so be that I shalbe foūd culpable in errour or heresie, then I will not refuse openly to suffer such punishment as shall be meete and worthy for an erroneous person, or an hereticke.

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Wherefore I must humbly beseech my Lord the King and the whole sacred Coūcell, that I may haue to this end and purpose aforesayd, safe and sure accesse. And if it happē that I offering suche equitie and right as I do, before any fault be proued agaynst me, be arested imprisoned, or haue any violence done vnto me, that thē it may be manifest vnto the whole worlde that this generall Councell doth not proceede according to equitie and iustice, if they woulde by any meanes put me backe from this profoūd and straight iustice, being come hether freely and of myne owne minde and accorde. The whiche thing I suppose to be farre from so sacred and holy Councell of wise men.

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WHen as yet he through such intimations copied out in the Bohemian, Latine, and Germayne tongue, being set vp as is aforesayd, MarginaliaSafe conduct denied to Hierome.could not get any safeconduct thē the Nobles, Lords, and Knightes specially of the Bo-hemian nation, present in Constance, gaue vnto maister Hierome their letters patentes, cōfirmed with their seales for a testimony and witnesse of the premisses. MarginaliaHierome returneth toward Boheme, with the testimonies of the Lordes of Boheme.With the which letters the sayd M. Hierome returned agayne vnto Boheme, but by the treason and conspiracy of his enemies was taken in Hirsaw by the officers of Duke Iohn, MarginaliaHierom apprehēded in the way by Duke Iohn. and in Zultzbach was brought backe agayne to the presence of the Duke. In the meane time such as were the setters forward of the Councell agaynst M. Iohn Hus, and M. Ierome, that is to say Michael de Causis aud M. Palletz MarginaliaMichaell de Causis, and Palletz enemies to Hierome. and other their accomplices, required that the sayde mayster Hierome should be cited by reason of hys intimations: & certayne dayes after the citation hereunder written, was set vpon the gates and porches of the citty, and Churches, which followeth here in this maner.

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MarginaliaHierome of Prage cited by the councell whē he was taken.This most sacred and holy Synode and general councell of Constance, faithfully congregated and gathered together in the holy Ghost, representing the vniuersall militant Church, vnto Hierome of Prage, which writeth himselfe to be a mayster of Arte of so many Vniuersities, and pretendeth those things which are onely pertayning vnto sobriety and modesty, and that he knoweth no more then he ought. &c. Know thou that there is a certayne writinge come vnto our vnderstanding and knowledge, the whiche was set vp as it were by thine owne person vpon þe gates of the Churches and Citty of Constance, vppon the Sonday, when there was song in the Church of God: Quasi modo geniti. Wherein thou doest affirme, that thou wilt openly answere vnto thy accusers and slaunderers which shall obiect any crime, errour or heresie agaynst thee, whereof þm art meruailously infamed and accused before vs, and specially touching the doctrine of Wickleff, and other doctrines contrary vnto the catholicke fayh, so that thou mightest haue graunted vnto thee a safe conduct to come. But for so much as it is our part principally and chiefly to foresee and looke vnto these crafty Foxes which goe about to destroy the vyneyarde of the Lord of hostes, therefore we do cite & and call forth by the tenour of these presentes, thy person manifoldly defamed and suspected for the temerarious affirming and teaching of manifold erroures, so that within the term of 15. dayes to be accompted from the date of these presentes, wherof 5. dayes are appoynted for the first term fiue for the second, and other fiue for the third, we do ordein and appoynt by Canonicall admonition and warninge, that thou do appeare in the publique Session of the sacred Councell, if there be any holden the same day, or els þe first day immediately following, when as any Session shalbe, according to the tenour of thy sayd writing, to answere to those thinges, which any person or persons shall obiect or lay agaynst thee in any cause of thy fayth, and to receiue & haue, as iustice shall require. Wherupon, so much as in vs lyeth, & as catholike faith shall require, we offer & assigne to thee by the tenour hereof, our safe cōduct frō all violence (iustice alwayes being saued) certifying thee þt whether þm doest appeare or not, the sayd terme or tyme appoynted notwithstanding, processe shall goe forward agaynst thee by the sayd sacred Councell, or by their Cōmissary or Cōmissaries, for the time aforesayd not obserued and kept, thy contumacie or stubburnes in any thing notwithstanding Geuen in the 6. Session of the generall Councell, the 17. day of Aprill, vnder the seale of the presidentes of the foure nations.

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¶ Grumpert Faber Notary of the Germaynes.

AFter that Sigismund king of Hungary with the rest of the Councell, vnderstood by the foresaid Duke Ioh. MarginaliaThis Duke Iohn in histories is comōly called the sonne of Clement. that M. Hierome was taken, they were earnestly in hand, requiring that M. Hierome shold be brought before them vnto the Councell. The whiche Duke Iohn, after hee had receiued letters of the kyng and the Councell, brought M. Hierom bound vnto Constance, whom his brother Duke Ludouicus lead through the Cittie to the Cloyster of the Frier Minors in Constance, whereas the chiefe Priestes and Elders of the people, Scribes & Phariseis, were gathered together attending and wayting for hys comming. MarginaliaHierome is brought bound vnto Constance by Duke Iohn.He the sayd mayster Hierome caryed a great handbolte of iron with a long chayne in hys hand, and as he passed the chayne made a great ratlyng and noyse, and for the more confusion and despite towardes hym, they led him by the same chayne after Duke Ludouicus aforesaid, holding and stretching out the chayne a great way from him: with the whiche chayne, they also kept him bounde in the Cloyster. When he was brought into the Cloyster, they reade before hym the letter of Duke Iohn, which was sent with þe sayd mayster Hierome vnto the Councell, contayning in effect how that the sayd Duke Iohn had sent mayster Hierome

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