In this paper, Martin Votruba traces the evolution of the Jánošík myth. The highwayman Jánošík is a living legend in Czech, Polish, and Slovak cultures. Contrary to common claims, the modern celebratory myth of the brigand hanged in the eighteenth century is at odds with the traditional images of brigandage in the western Carpathians. Folk songs and The Hungarian Simplicissimus of the seventeenth century often anathematize highway robbery. High literature of the mostly Slovak counties of the Kingdom of Hungary in the Habsburg empire similarly cast Jánošík as a criminal. Yet some intellectuals, such as Pavol Jozef Šafárik, inspired by the robber in German literature, singled out Jánošík from among other brigands and reduced that folklore-based opprobrium. Others, such as Ján Kollár, resisted Jánošík's rehabilitation. Subsequent Central European national revivals and ethnic activism prompted the Slovak romantic poets to reinvent Jánošík as a folk rebel against social and ethnic oppression.