If ever there was a man before his time it was Bohemian religious reformer, Jan Hus. He made his name attacking ecclesiastical abuses, and starting a Hussite religious movement that was similar to the Protestantism which emerged a century later. Excommunicated in 1410, Hus continued to preach throughout Bohemia, vocally supporting the religious writings of Englishman John Wycliffe, calling for church reform and protesting against the sale of indulgences. His following quickly grew into substantial numbers, which led to his invitation to the Council of Konstanz in 1414 to explain his position. This came with a promise of a safe passage home, but in the event the councillors decided to defy his imperial protection, incarcerate him, place him on trial and burn him at the stake for heresy. This helped make Hus the same sort of national figurehead for Czechs as Martin Luther is for Germans.

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