Defenestration: My New Favorite Word

Well, it’s another Monday.  I’ve been writing (in fact, I’ve written every day but Saturdays since the beginning of July, which is a personal first 🙂 ), but I don’t have anything for posting today.  So instead, I thought I’d tell you about my new favorite word:

Defenestration: (n) the act of throwing somebody/something out of a window.

An English word that means the act of throwing somebody out of a window–how fantastic is that?!?!?!

I learned this word last year, while I student taught in a Medieval World History class.  Let me tell you the story behind it:

The story takes place during the Protestant Reformation, in the city of Prague.  Prague, and the Holy Roman Empire in which it was placed, was unique in that the Protestant peasants found allies in the princes of the land.  (The princes probably at least began supporting Protestantism as a way to subvert the Emperor’s authority and gain more of their own.)

Anyways, the short, much-abridged story is this: Some Protestants were gathered in a room on the third floor of a building, conversing with a couple Catholic priests.  The tensions between the two groups rose.  Then the Protestants decided their only course of action was to defenestrate the two priests.  The priests were thrown out of the 70 foot high window.

Woodcut of the Defenestration of 1618

The story goes that people had just been sweeping the streets.  In those days, before sewer systems as we know them…well, you can imagine what was in their pile of street sweepings, located directly beneath the third floor window.  The priests fell into the pile of…stuff.  And the pile broke their fall and saved their lives!!

So the Catholic church claimed that it was a miracle, that angels had saved the priests, and it was a rallying point for the Catholic church.  Both sides gathered their allies, and thus began the 30 Years’ War.

The top window is the one from which the defenestration happened. There’s even a monument to commemorate the event.

Isn’t that a fantastic story?  *sigh*  History’s so full of fascinating things.

Well, that’s all for this week.  Have a great week, and don’t defenestrate anyone 😉

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About A Daughter's Story

I'm an author and a teacher exploring the world and the stories and ideas it holds.
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One Response to Defenestration: My New Favorite Word

  1. Pingback: Dressember Update #4 | Beth Wangler

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