Friday, May 23, 2014

The Defenestration of Prague

May 23rd, 2014, marks the day, 396 years ago, that The Defenestration of Prague took place. Having learned a few years ago that defenestration is "the act of throwing a person or thing out a window," our curiosity here at Bugs and Bunnies about this Little Known Holiday was piqued.

For one thing, this particular defenestration involved not things flung from windows, but people(Eek!) For another, this wasn't the only such event to occur in Bohemia's history - nor was it even the first.

And so, into the rabbit hole of research we willingly dove. Dive with us, won't you?

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The First Defenestration of Prague happened on July 30, 1419. It was a bloody and lethal affair, with a judge, a burgomaster, and about thirteen town council members heaved out of the windows of Prague's New Town Hall by an angry mob. None survived, and The Hussite Wars broke out soon after.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The Second Defenestration of Prague is the one people generally mean when discussing *The* Defenestration of Prague. This incident was decidedly less fatal: Two Catholic regents and their secretary were thrown from the third floor window of the Bohemian Chancellory by an angry crowd of Protestants. All three somehow survived the 50 foot (some sources say 70 foot) fall, and two years later, The Thirty Year's War began.




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These defenestrations are not the only ones known to have happened in Bohemian history, but they are the most well-known ones. And so, despite the knowledge that there is more to find down our little rabbit hole of research, we propose climbing out here.

Why?

First, because we scouted ahead, and this particular rabbit hole gets pretty dark, and we don't do a lot of dark here on Bugs and Bunnies. (You're free to continue researching on your own, though, if you like.)

And second, because amidst all the seriousness and gruesomeness of Prague's defenestrations, there was just a little bit of some giggle-worthy stuff, and we do so like to delve into giggle-worthy stuff. Ready? Here we go:

Catholics of the time claimed the trio from The Second Defenestration of Prague in 1618 survived that three-story fall due to the intervention of angels. Protestants of the time countered with an explanation far less heavenly: that the trio survived due to landing in a dung heap.

One last thing: Philip Fabricius, the secretary from that surviving trio, fled to Vienna to tell the Emperor what had happened. The Emperor later granted this secretary the title Baron von Hohenfall. Translation? Baron of Highfall.



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Sources:

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