“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” –  The Impossible Term “Propaganda” and Its Popular and Anti-Royal Uses in Luxembourg Bohemia (ca. 1390–1421)

Klara Hübner

Masaryk University, Brno

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hungarian Historical Review Volume 13 Issue 2  (2024):235-260 DOI 10.38145/2024.2.235

The article follows two paths. First, it deals with the genealogy of the concept of propaganda and the ambiguities and vagaries of the term associated with it. On the one hand, this concept is decisively shaped by modern prerequisites. On the other hand, it has characteristics that make it a timeless element of political communication. Because of the strong influence of modern phenomena on what we have come to understand as propaganda, the application of this term to premodern examples works only if the communicative context is emphasized, including the historical and social background, the strategies of the propagandist, the propagandist’s sense of the most effective means of swaying a certain target public, etc. Second, the focus is on parallel manifestations of propaganda in Bohemian society in the decades before the Hussite Wars (1390–1420). One can identify two of the functions of the propaganda of the time: it was used to deepen and spread the Hussite reformist thinking among the general population and to subject the respective Luxembourg kings, Wenceslas IV and Sigismund of Luxembourg, to harsh criticism. There were few points of contact between the two forms of propaganda used to further these two goals, since they addressed different social groups, but their effectiveness clearly demonstrates how far-reaching the impact of political propaganda could be in the fifteenth century.

Keywords: medieval propaganda, pre-Hussite Bohemia, Luxembourg dynasty, Wenceslas IV, Sigismund of Luxembourg

Full Text (HTML) Full Text (PDF)