Known and Forgotten Czechs

Discussion in 'Culture' started by Zik, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. Zik

    Zik Well-Known Member

    Hello, thank you for visiting this topic.

    I often told to myself there are many interesting Czech people in my humble opinion, but I often forget some of them. If I should quickly say 20 of them, I have problems to say the most important ones.

    So I just would like to remember some Czechs, who are important in my humble opinion. I think we are not very known in the West especially becuase of the communism. Now, we are in the NATO, EU, Schengen Zone, we don't pay visa if travelling to the USA (from former Varsaw Pact, it's only the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia), we fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, our economy is quickly growing, so I think more people is interested in Czechia in these days. Anyway, France is a cultural superpower, because it spends a lot of money on advertise itself. So we also should try it.

    In this case, we should know what to say about ourselves. Some Czechs are quite known (John Amos Comenius, Václav Havel or Milan Kundera), some are forgotten. So I tried to show the Czechs, who are the most important in my humble opinion. I hope you will enjoy it and I'm looking forward to your comments.... :)

    Svatý Václav
    Saint Wenceslas


    Czech patron (I know this word has also another meanings, so don't laugh, he is not known for sitting in a pub :D ). Important especially for ourselves, but as I read in this phorum, also relatively known in Anglo-Saxon countries.

    Boleslav I.
    Boleslaus I


    The brother of Saint Wenceslas. He was quite cruel (he let to kill his brother in 935), but he was a very good ruler. He fought with German ruler Otto I. During his rule, Czech Kingdom had a great economical growth.

    Přemysl Otakar II.
    Ottokar II of Bohemia


    One of the most important Czech kings. He definitely joined Egerland (Chebsko) to the Czech lands. He also owned today's Austria. He wanted to be the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He fought with his enemy, Rudolph I of Germany in the Battle on the Marchfeld (Bitva na Moravském poli). Přemysl Otakar has been killed and the Czechs lost Austria. Dante Alighieri writes about him in his Divine Comedy. Also Lope de Vega wrote about him.

    Václav II.
    Wenceslas II


    One of the most glourious ruler of the Czech state and of the most important ruler in Europe in his times. He ruled over Czech Kingdom, Poland and Hungary, he owned today's eastern Germany (including the Baltic Sea).

    Karel IV.
    Charles IV


    Germans sometimes consider him a German, but his mother was Anežka Přemyslovna and his father came from Luxemburg. He lived in Prague, spoke Czech and he did a lot for Czechia, especially for Czech autonomy on the Holy Roman Empire. He let to build the Prague Bridge (since the Czech national revival Charles Bridge), the Prague New Town, Charles Square, the castle Karlštejn and he established the Prague University (later Charles University). He won the competion The Greatest Czechs (originally invented by the BBC, as far as I know).

    Jan Hus


    Philosopher, religious thinker, reformator. Burned in German city Konstanz (Kostnice) for his opinions (he critizated the Catholic). After John Wycleff, he was the second reformator in Europe. For hunderts of years, Czechs were evangelists. After 1620, Austrians violently re-catolized the Czech lands. After his death, his followers, Hussites (husité), fought on the Catholics. These fight are called „Husitské války“.

    Jan Žižka


    Hussite commander. He is considered controversial today, but he was a good strategist. The words „pistol“ and „howitzer“ were originally names of the weapons his army used.

    Petr Chelčický
    His look is not known. Philospher and religious thinker. Inspirated by Jan Hus. His most important idea was non-violence. His books inspirated other thinkers, like Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

    John Amos Comenius
    Jan Ámos Komenský


    Philosopher, religious thinker, writer, pedagogue. Because of the Austrian tyranta, he had to, as a protestand and a Czech patriot, espace. First to Poland, then to Sweden and a lot of the most important books he wrote in the Netherlands, where he died (his grave is in Naarden). He supported pansofia (the baroque idea of universal education) and he thought scholars should really understand what they learn, not only know to say it. He is called „The Teacher of the Nations“.

    Prokop Diviš


    Priest and inventor of the lighting rod.

    Johann Gregor Mendel


    Monk, the founder of the genetics.

    Josef Radecký of Radeč


    A marshal, who fought for the Austrian monarchy. He was a great warrior, a winner upon Napoleon. Johann Strauss composed world known „Radetzky March“ in honour of him.

    Josef Jungmann


    Philosopher, linguist, writer, historian, early national revivalist. He wrote the first German - Czech dictionary.

    František Křižík


    Inventor of the new arc-lamp. He didn't invented it, but he made it radically better. The new arc-lamp was especially popular in the UK.

    Josef Ressel


    The inventor of the screw-propeller.

    Bedřich Smetana


    Music composer, especially known for the cycle of the symphonic poems „Má vlast“ (My Fatherland). Especially known is Vyšehrad and Vltava (available on YouTube). Japanese scholars compulsoliry sing his works in Japanese :D. Israeli anthem „Hatikvah“ has been inspirated by Vltava.
    He also wrote „Libuše“, Czech national oper. One melody from it is now the presidential fanfare.

    Antonín Dvořák


    Music composer. A few years he lived in the USA, where he wrote his most known work „From the New World“. One symphony of this cycle has been played on the Moon!

    Josef Mánes


    Painter. The painting on the Orloj are by him. By the way, the Orloj is made by Jan Šindel in 1410.

    František Palacký


    One of the most important Czech revivalists (people, who wanted to restore Czech language), historian, philosopher. He's called „The Father of the Nation“. His propably most important book is „Dějiny národa českého v Čechách i na Moravě“ - the history of the Czech nation in Bohemia and Moravia.

    Bedřich Hrozný


    The founder of hettitology.

    Jan Janský


    The man who explored blood groups.

    Vojtěch Hynais


    Painter, know especially for the curtain of the National Theater.


    Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk


    In the competion „The Greatest Czech“ he was the second. For me, he is the greatest Czech ever. One of the founder of the Czechoslovak state, first president of Czechoslovakia, till 1935. He died in 1937, aged 87. Before the world war, he wrote his first philosophical publications - like The Suicide (Sebevražda) - he wrote why people kill themselves. He was a Czech patriot, a member of the Austrian parliament, but he didn't like blind Czech nationalism, antisemitism and he was not very good for panslavism. During the war, he espcaped, he lived in Serbia, Russia (he was in Moscow in 1917), in London... . After the war, he came back and he was elected the first president. He thought the religion (Christianity) is necessary for the society, but he thought the churches need to be reformated. He established The Czechoslovak Hussite Church. He divided the Catholic Church from the state. He was fully humanistic. He thought the death penalty must be abolished.

    Alfons Mucha


    Painter. Some part of his life, he lived in France. He is known for his art-noveau.


    Emma Destinnová


    Singer, writer.

    Tomáš Baťa


    Shoemaker. He began with a small shoemaker workshop and he built a huge imperium, today known all over the world (Baťa, offten „Bata“). From Zlín, a little town in eastern Moravia, he did a big modern city. He thought new procuders out, which are still used.

    Jaromír Vejvoda


    Composer. Known for his song Škoda lásky. This song sang soldiers of many nations in the world war 2 - Americans and Brits as „The Beer Barrel Polka“, Germans and Austrians as „Rosamunde“... . Dwight David Eisonhower reputedly told this song helped to win the war.

    Karel Čapek


    Writer, philosopher. Friend of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk - he made interviews with him and he wrote the book „The Speeches With TGM“ (Hovory s TGM). In his play RUR (Rosum's Universal Robots) he invented the word „robot“. Hated Nazis and Communist - wrote „Why I Am Not a Communists“ and „The White Disease“ (about Nazism). Pursuable by Nazis. Died in 1938. His brother, Václav Čapek, died in a German concentration camp.

    Otto Wichterle


    Inventor of the modern contact lenses. As a Czech patriot, he was pursuable by Gestapo and then by communistic StB (because he signed 2 000 Words, a document, which asked the communistic leader to respect human rights in Czechoslovakia).

    Emil Zátopek


    Athletist. The first man who runed 10 km for less than 30 minutes. Made 13 world records!

    František Peřina


    As we all know, there fought more than 500 Czech and Slovak pilots in the Royal Air Force during the WW 2. František Peřina is one of the knowest. He fought in France and then in the United Kingdom. He destroyed minimally 12 German aeroplanes.

    Václav Havel


    Writer, dramatist, dissident, philosopher, the icon of the Velvet Revolution. Friend of Bill Clinton, today's dalailama, Nelson Mandela. A lot of years in prison for his opinions. He was the last president of Czechoslovakia (1989 - 1992) and the first president of the Czech Republic (1993 - 2003).

    Karel Svoboda


    Composer, he especially composed music for the musicals and TV serials. Popular especially in Germany (in the both parts, BDR and NDR).

    Milan Kundera


    Writer. Known esecially for his book The Joke, The Unbearable Lightness of Being or The Immortality. The most popular foreign writer in China. He escaped becuase of the communist to France, where he still lives.

    Karel Gott


    The legendary singer. Very popular in Germany, also other states. I'd like to add some links, but if I add some, I'm returned back to the beginning of the post, it's quite tiring, so find it on YouTube... :lol:

    Martina Navrátilová


    Known tennis player. She lives in the USA.

    Věra Čáslavská


    Gymnast. She or her team won seven gold and four silver medails on the olympic games.

    Barbora Špotáková


    Athletist. She won the gold medail in throwing the javelin in Beejing 2008. She hold the European record.

    Roman Šebrle


    Athletist, especially decatlonist and heptatholist. The list of all his medails you can read hire. The first man who got more than 9 000 at decathlon.

    Petr Čech


    Soccer player. In present time, he plays in the English team Chelsea, as the goalkeeper.

    Jan Železný


    One of the best javelin throwler ever. Three olympic gold medails and one silver, three gold medails from the world championship and two broze medials from the championship of Europe. The first man who throwed three times more than 95 m. Holds the world record.

    Czech hockey players


    A lot of names! Since 1993, when the Czech Republic has been established, they won five gold, one silver and three bronze medails! They also won the gold medial in the olympic games in Japan. A lot of them plays in the NHL, some in Russia.

    Huh...finished. I'm sure I forgot so many people! So I really think you will write about other famous Czechs! :lol:
    myczechrepublic likes this.
  2. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Nice list!
  3. kibicz

    kibicz Well-Known Member

    Nice list but i would replace Svatý Václav by his brother Boleslav who was more importatnt to independence of Czechia and also helped to establish "Svatý Václav cult".

    Add Jan Žižka. He invented battle tactic that put end to knight domination on battle field and helped Hussities to defeat 5 crusades(while Bohemia was part of Holy Roman Empire). Also terms "howitzer" and probably "pistol" were derived from hussities names of their firearms..

    Havel, Kundera.. no comment
  4. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Mendel.....My brother and I were just discussing him yesterday. We were helping his son with science homework.
    We remember from high school his studies of traits found in different generations of peas.

    Př that a name or was it like a given title..the thinker?

    Didn't know about Petr Chelčický....His ideas inspired people like Tolstoy and Gandhi.....both of those involved in very different kinds of revolutions.
  5. Zik

    Zik Well-Known Member

    O.K., I added Boleslaus I and Jan Žižka. Also three very important painters - Vojtěch Hynais, Alfons Mucha and Josef Mánes.

    „Přemysl“ is his dynastic name. The Přemyslids were a Czech dynasty. Quite mighty in the medieval Europe! The last Přemyslid, Wenceslas III (Václav III.) has been killed in Olomouc in 1306. Unfortunately, he had no son, so in the Czech Kingdom ruled the Luxemburgs (John Luxemburg has been invited to the Czech lands in 1310, he had a son with Anežka Přemyslovna - and the son's name was Václav IV., later Karel IV.). Then, there were Polish Yagellons. And for centuries, Habsburgs. I really don't like them...
  6. Tagarela

    Tagarela Well-Known Member


    Another one in the list: ZIK! the most advertiser of the Czech Land in XXI centure! :D

    I knew some names of the list...

    Kundera, well, soon he is going to be part of Famous French people :roll:

    Kafka is out...but, I know, he is a very discussed person.

    How about Czech women?

    You have Martina Navrátilová (or USA have now)... and probably some other names I don't know.

    * There is also that man of the flowers, who described the Camelias, Kamel something...

    Na shledanou.:
  7. Zik

    Zik Well-Known Member

    Franz Kafka lived in Prague, but he spoke German and his nationality was Jewish.

    Martina Navrátilová is a good idea. I add her.

    EDIT: I absolutely forgot the sportsmen! I added Martina Navrátilová, Barbora Špotáková and Czech hockey players. I have new ideas - Petr Čech, Věra Čáslavská, Roman Šebrle...I think more people (all over the world) is more interested in the sport then in the science or art. So Czech sportsmen are important. I'm too tired already, I add them tomorrow. I can't forget!
  8. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Ema Destinnová
  9. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    sweet peas! It's a type of flower!
  10. jen

    jen Well-Known Member

  11. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    Is Slatinské Doly in the Czech Republic or Slovakia? It's apparently a small town, but google maps shows many places with that name.
  12. Zik

    Zik Well-Known Member

    Jen: Accoring to the article on the Czech Wikipedia, Wichterle is the inventor of the soft contact lenses, as we know them. So, I edit his info, but I think it's not so important. The old contact lenses are not interesting yet! :)

    Well, I add Emma Destinnová, Věra Čáslavská, Roman Šebrle and Petr Čech.
  13. McCracken

    McCracken Well-Known Member

    Any room for Tomas Bata, the founder of the shoe empire?

    His 'cheap and cheerful' footwear was well known to a generation in England. He established the town of East Tilbury around his factory to the east of London in Essex. East Tilbury was supposedly modelled on Zlin and there is a statue of Tomas Bata in East Tilbury today.

    I'm pretty sure that Bata made the black and white "bumper boots" (they were like a Converse copy) that were really popular when I was a kid in the 60s/70s.
  14. kibicz

    kibicz Well-Known Member

    When it comes to sportmen, how about Jan Železný?
  15. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    I didn't know all that, McC. I do remember that a friend of my dad's used to work for them and I got my first pair of 'grown up' boots from him. But they worked 'cheap and cheerful'. They were lovely soft matt black leather.

    PS Excellent list, Zik. And super photos, especially the one of Havel - he was always my heart throb, as well as my hero!
  16. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Čtyři koruny
    The plants Mendel studied were flowers?
    I always had in mind that he studied pea plants....hráchy.
    But then high school was a long time back, so maybe my memory fails me.
  17. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Pea has nice flowers:

  18. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    He cross bred purple and white sweet peas and used the patterns in the offspring to basically guess correctly everything we know for certain about genetics today. He proved the presence of DNA and alleles without ever seeing them, he just imagined.. there must be something there.. dominant or recessive, that is causing this.

    The fact its as sweet peas was important because if he had used a plant where co-dominance was possible = white plus purple making light purple, then well.. that would have been it for genetics!
  19. Zik

    Zik Well-Known Member

    Great ideas. I add Jan Železný and Tomáš Baťa.
  20. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    So he studied the generational variations of the pea plant, and was able to predict outcome.

    It was the trait of the pea flower that he was more interested in than the actual trait of the edible little green pea.

    Interesting experiment. Something unseen was at work that was determining the traits of the next generation.

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