Přemyslid dynasty

The Přemyslid dynasty or House of Přemyslid (Czech: Přemyslovci, German: Premysliden, Polish: Przemyślidzi) was a Czech royal dynasty which reigned in the Duchy of Bohemia and later Kingdom of Bohemia and Margraviate of Moravia (9th century–1306), as well as in parts of Poland (including Silesia), Hungary, and Austria.

Přemyslid dynasty
Přemyslovci erb
CountryPřemyslovci erb.svg Duchy of Bohemia
Lesser coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bohemia (Wenceslaus II of Bohemia).svg Kingdom of Bohemia
Founded867
FounderBořivoj I
Final rulerWenceslaus III of Bohemia
Titles
Dissolution1306 (Royal branch)
1521 (Opavian branch)
Cadet branchesIn order of seniority:
  • Bretislian
    • Conradian:
      • Znojmo (1035-1191)
      • Brno (1035-1200)
    • Olomouc (1045-1227)
    • Děpoltian (1123-1247)
    • Opavian (1255-1521)

Origin and growth of the Přemyslid dynasty

The dynasty's origin dates back to the 9th century,[1] when the Přemyslids ruled a tiny territory around Prague, populated by the Czech tribe of the Western Slavs. Gradually they expanded, conquering the region of Bohemia, located in the Bohemian basin where it was not threatened by the expansion of the Frankish Empire. The first historically-documented Přemyslid duke was Bořivoj I (867).[1] In the following century, the Přemyslids also ruled over Silesia and founded the city of Wroclaw (German: Breslau), derived from the name of a Bohemian duke, Vratislaus I, father of Saint Wenceslaus. Under the reign of Prince Boleslaus I the Cruel (935) and his son Boleslaus II the Pious (972), the Přemyslids ruled territory stretching to today's Belarus.[1]

The dynasty controlled vital trade routes during this time. The Bohemian lands and Prague were an important center of trade where merchants from all of Europe settled, including many Jews, as recalled in 965 by the Hispano-Jewish merchant and traveller Ibrahim ibn Ya'qub. He wrote, "Prague is a city from the stone, the richest of all states north of the Alps." After their rise to prominence, however, struggles within the family set in motion a decline in power and, in 1002, the Polish duke Boleslaus the Brave occupied Prague.[1] Boleslaus III, son of Boleslaus II, escaped from Bohemia; decades of confusion and anarchy ensued.

The decline ended in the reign of Prince Bretislaus I, grandson of Boleslaus II. He in turn looted Poland, including the cities of Krakow and Gniezno (1038), where he obtained the relics of St. Adalbert. He sought the establishment of the Prague archbishopric and a royal title. His son and successor Vratislaus II became the first King of Bohemia in 1085.

Vratislav's son Sobeslaus I destroyed the Imperial army of King Lothar III in the Battle of Chlumec in 1126. This allowed a further strengthening of Bohemia, culminating during the reign of Vratislav's grandson, King Vladislaus II (1158). Vladislav II founded many monasteries and built the first stone bridge across the Vltava river, one of the earliest in Central and Northern Europe. Once again, internal struggles started the decline of the Přemyslids. Many leaders from the dynasty alternated on the Bohemian throne, leading to their eventual bankruptcy. Finally, on his ascension to the throne, Ottokar I began a series of changes that brought Bohemia out of crisis, and began a period of success[1] that lasted for nearly 220 years.

At the height of its power

Premyslovci premyslovci
Přemyslid Kings - Přemysl Ottokar II (one crown), Wenceslaus II (two crowns) and Wenceslaus III (three crowns)
WaclawII
Member of the Přemyslid dynasty: King Wenceslaus II, drawing by Jan Matejko

Ottokar I became the third King of Bohemia in the year 1198 but was the first King of Bohemia to acquire a hereditary royal title. This began significant growth of the Přemyslids' dynastic power. There was also a large urban and crafts development in Bohemia.

In the second half of the 13th century, the Přemyslids were one of the most powerful dynasties in Central Europe.[2] King Přemysl Ottokar II, son of Wenceslas I, earned the nickname "Iron and Golden King" because of his military power and wealth.[1] After several victorious wars with the Hungarian Kingdom, he acquired Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, extending Bohemian territory to the Adriatic Sea.

King Ottokar II aspired to the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire. His ambitions started the conflict with House of Habsburg, who were, until then, little-known princes, which suited the interests of German noble Houses better than the mighty king Ottokar. The representative of Habsburgs Rudolf was elected as King of Romans. In the Battle of Marchfeld (1278), Ottokar clashed with Imperial and Hungarian armies yet he was killed in battle himself.[1] The Habsburgs acquired Austria, retaining it until the 20th century.

Ottokar's son King Wenceslaus II was just seven when he came to the throne of Bohemia. Over time, thanks to deft diplomacy, he gained the Polish crown for himself and the crown of Hungary for his son.[1] Wenceslas II brought together a vast empire stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Danube river and established numerous cities, among them Plzeň in 1295. Bohemia became a wealthy nation during his reign thanks to a large vein of silver at Kutná Hora.[1] He introduced the silver Prague groschen,[1] which was an important European currency for centuries, and planned to build the first university in Central Europe.

The power and wealth of the Kingdom of Bohemia gave rise to great respect, but also to the hostility of other European royal families. The dynasty began to collapse following the untimely death of Wenceslaus II (1305), and the assassination of his only son, Wenceslaus III in 1306, which ended their rule.[1][2]

On the distaff side, however, the dynasty continued, and in 1355, Bohemian king Charles IV, the grandson of Wenceslaus II, was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome.

Legendary rulers

The name of the dynasty, according to Cosmas in his Chronica Boemorum (1119), comes from its legendary founder, Přemysl, husband of duchess Libuše.[3]

Dukes of Bohemia

The first historical Přemyslid was Duke Bořivoj I, baptised in 874 by Saint Methodius. In 895, Bohemia gained independence from Great Moravia. Between 1003 and 1004, Bohemia was controlled by Boleslaus the Brave, Duke of Poland from the Piast dynasty, grandson of Boleslaus I the Cruel.

In 1085, Duke Vratislaus II, and, in 1158, Duke Vladislaus II, were crowned King of Bohemia as a personal award from the Holy Roman Emperor. The title, however, was not hereditary.

Kings of Bohemia

Duernkrut3
Maximum extent of the kingdom under Ottokar II,
c. 1276

Bohemia was the only princedom in the Holy Roman Empire which was raised to the status of kingdom prior to the Napoleonic wars. The reason for this was strength: as soon as Bohemia overcame its civil strife, the Czech duke became the principal ally for any candidate for the Imperial throne. The emperor could thus use Bohemian forces to punish any rebels who were Czech neighbours simply by raiding their lands. This is evinced by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV naming Prince Vratislaus II of Bohemia the first king of Bohemia, Vratislav I, in 1085. He was raised to this prominent position not long after his father Bretislaus pacified Bohemia after years of civil conflict. The kingship was disputed whenever Czech internal conflict increased. It was fixed, however, after the position of the emperor in Germany weakened.

In 1198, Duke Ottokar I again gained the title of King of Bohemia as an ally of Philip of Swabia. This title was reconfirmed by Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor and later on in Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor's Golden Bull of Sicily (1212).

Kings of Bohemia, Poland and Hungary, rulers of Austria

WenceslausIImap-en
Territory under the control of the Přemyslids, c. 1301:
  Kingdom of Bohemia
  Kingdom of Poland
  Probable extent of territory under control of Wenceslaus III in Hungary
  Vassals

In 1269-1276, King Ottokar II of Bohemia was the first in history to rule the lands of today's Austria together (except for Tyrol). He also founded the Hofburg Palace in Vienna.

In 1300, King Wenceslaus II was crowned King of Poland. Prior to this, he held the title "High Duke of Poland (Duke of Kraków)" since 1291 and became its overlord upon the death of Przemysł II of Poland in 1296.

The royal line ended in 1306 with the death of King Wenceslaus III. The Bohemian throne went to the Luxembourgs, and the Polish throne returned to the Piasts.

Dukes of Opava, Krnov, Ratibor and Münsterberg

In 1269, Nicholas, bastard son of King Ottokar II who was legitimized by pope Alexander IV in 1260, became Duke of Opava. In 1337, his son Nicholas II inherited the Duchy of Ratibor. His four sons divided the Duchy of Opava (the Duchy of Ratibor was inherited only by the eldest, John). Thus started the partition of a once-unified land between the descendants of Nicholas II. In 1443, William, Duke of Opava gained the Duchy of Münsterberg, which was held by Přemyslids until 1456. This line of Opavian Přemyslids ended in 1521, with the death of Valentine, Duke of Ratibor.

Family tree

Family Tree of the Premyslid Dukes and Kings of Bohemia

Bořivoj I. + Saint Ludmila

Family tree of Elisabeth of Bohemia and Jagiellonians and Habsburgs

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Přemyslid Dynasty". Czech Republic Government. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
  2. ^ a b "House of Přemysl". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
  3. ^ Peter Demetz. Prague in Black and Gold: Scenes from the Life of a European City. Hill and Wang, 1997. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-8090-1609-9
Conrad II of Znojmo

Conrad II of Znojmo (Czech: Konrád II. Znojemský; d. 1161), a member of the Přemyslid dynasty, was a Bohemian prince who ruled in the Moravian principality of Znojmo from 1123 to 1128 and again from 1134 until his death.

Doubravka of Bohemia

Doubravka of Bohemia (Czech: Doubravka Přemyslovna, Polish: Dobrawa Przemyślidka; ca. 940/45 – 977) was a Bohemian princess of the Přemyslid dynasty and by marriage Duchess of the Polans.

She was the daughter of Boleslaus I the Cruel, Duke of Bohemia, whose wife may have been the mysterious Biagota.According to earlier sources, Doubravka urged her husband Mieszko I of Poland to accept baptism in 966, the year after their marriage. Modern historians believe, however, that the change of religion by Mieszko was one of the points discussed in the Polish-Bohemian agreement concluded soon before his marriage with Doubravka. Her role in his conversion is not considered now to be as important as it is often represented in medieval chronicles.

Elizabeth of Bohemia (1292–1330)

Elizabeth of Bohemia (Czech: Eliška Přemyslovna) (20 January 1292 – 28 September 1330) was a princess of the Bohemian Přemyslid dynasty who became queen consort of Bohemia as the first wife of King John the Blind. She was the mother of Emperor Charles IV, King of Bohemia.

Frederick, Duke of Bohemia

Frederick (Czech: Bedřich) (c. 1142 – 25 March 1189), a member of the Přemyslid dynasty, was Duke of Bohemia from 1172 to 1173 and again from 1178 to his death.

Hostivít

Hostivít was the last of the seven Bohemian mythical princes between the (also mythical) founder of the Přemyslid dynasty Přemysl the Ploughman and the first historical prince Bořivoj. The names of the princes were first recorded in Cosmas chronicle and then transmitted into the most of historical books of the 19th century including František Palacký's The History of the Czech Nation in Bohemia and Moravia. According to tradition, he was the father of the non-legendary prince Bořivoj. Some historians suppose that when St. Ludmila was born, Hostivít (or Svatopluk I of Moravia) and Ludmila's father, Slavibor, contracted that Bořivoj and Ludmilla would get married (that can refer to the wedding procession of an unknown bride mentioned in Annales Fuldenses for 871. According to the Chronicle of Dalimil, Hostivít had a brother called Děpolt who inherited the land of Kouřim.One theory about the number of the princes is propped on the frescoes on the walls of the Rotunda in Znojmo, Moravia but Anežka Merhautová claimed that the frescoes depict all the members of the Přemyslid dynasty including the Moravian junior princes.

Jaromír, Duke of Bohemia

Jaromír (died 4 November 1035), a member of the Přemyslid dynasty, was Duke of Bohemia, in 1003, from 1004 to 1012, and again from 1034 to 1035.

Judith of Bohemia

Judith of Bohemia (c. 1056/58 – 25 December 1086), also known as Judith Přemyslid, was a Bohemian princess of the Přemyslid dynasty, and Duchess of Poland by marriage.

She was a daughter of Duke Vratislaus II of Bohemia by his second wife Adelaide, daughter of King Andrew I of Hungary. She was named after her paternal grandmother Judith of Schweinfurt, who died shortly after her birth.

Křesomysl

Křesomysl was the fifth of the seven Bohemian mythical princes between the (also mythical) founder of the Přemyslid dynasty Přemysl the Ploughman and the first historical prince Bořivoj. The names of the princes were first recorded in Cosmas chronicle and then transmitted into most of the historical books of the 19th century including František Palacký's The History of the Czech Nation in Bohemia and Moravia.

One theory about the number of the princes is propped on the frescoes on the walls of the Rotunda in Znojmo, Moravia but Anežka Merhautová claimed that the frescoes depict all the members of the Přemyslid dynasty including the Moravian junior princes.

Libuše

Libuše , Libussa, Libushe or, historically Lubossa, is a legendary ancestor of the Přemyslid dynasty and the Czech people as a whole. According to legend, she was the youngest but wisest of three sisters, who became queen after their father died; she married a ploughman, Přemysl, with whom she founded the Přemyslid dynasty, and prophesied and founded the city of Prague in the 8th century.

Ludmilla of Bohemia

Ludmilla of Bohemia (died 14 August 1240) was a daughter of Frederick, Duke of Bohemia, and his wife, Elizabeth of Hungary. Ludmilla was a member of the Přemyslid dynasty. She was Duchess consort of Bavaria by her marriage to Louis I, Duke of Bavaria.

Margraviate of Moravia

The Margraviate of Moravia (Czech: Markrabství moravské; German: Markgrafschaft Mähren) was one of the lands of the Bohemian Crown existing from 1182 to 1918. It was officially administrated by a margrave in cooperation with a provincial diet. It was variously a de facto independent state, and also subject to the Duchy, later the Kingdom of Bohemia. It comprised the region called Moravia within the modern Czech Republic.

Maria of Bohemia

Maria of Bohemia (c. 1124 – after 1172), a member of the Přemyslid dynasty, was Margravine of Austria and Duchess of Bavaria by her first marriage to Duke Leopold I, as well as Margravine of Baden and Verona by her second marriage to Margrave Herman III.

Mnata

Mnata was the second of the seven Bohemian mythical princes between the (also mythical) founder of the Přemyslid dynasty Přemysl, the Ploughman and the first historical prince Bořivoj. The names of the princes were first recorded in Cosmas chronicle and then transmitted into the most of historical books of the 19th century including František Palacký's The History of the Czech Nation in Bohemia and Moravia.

One theory about the number of the princes is propped on the frescoes on the walls of the Rotunda in Znojmo, Moravia but Anežka Merhautová claimed that the frescoes depict all the members of the Přemyslid dynasty including the Moravian junior princes.

Nezamysl

Nezamysl was the first of the seven Bohemian mythical princes between the (also mythical) founder of the Přemyslid dynasty Přemysl the Ploughman and the first historical prince Bořivoj. The names of the princes were first recorded in Cosmas chronicle and then transmitted into most historical works up into the 19th century, including František Palacký's The History of the Czech Nation in Bohemia and Moravia (1836).

One theory connects the number of princes to the frescoes on the "Ducal Rotunda" of the Virgin Mary and St Catherine in Znojmo, Moravia, which date back to the late 11th or early 12th century. However, Anežka Merhautová suggested that the frescoes depict all the members of the Přemyslid dynasty including the Moravian junior princes at the time when it was painted, rather than a Přemyslid pedigree.

Přemysl the Ploughman

Přemysl the Ploughman (Czech pronunciation: [ˈpr̝̊ɛmɪsl̩ ˈoraːtʃ] (listen) Přemysl Oráč; English: Premysl, Przemysl or Primislaus) was the legendary husband of Libuše, and ancestor of the Přemyslid dynasty, containing the line of princes (dukes) and kings which ruled in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown from 873 or earlier until the murder of Wenceslaus III in 1306.

Spytihněv I, Duke of Bohemia

Spytihněv I (c. 875 – 915), a member of the Přemyslid dynasty, was Duke of Bohemia from 894 or 895 until his death.

Vnislav

Vnislav was the fourth of the seven Bohemian mythical princes between the (also mythical) founder of the Přemyslid dynasty Přemysl the Ploughman and the first historical prince Bořivoj. The names of the princes were first recorded in Cosmas chronicle and then transmitted into the most of historical books of the 19th century including František Palacký's The History of the Czech Nation in Bohemia and Moravia.

One theory about the number of the princes is propped on the frescoes on the walls of the Rotunda in Znojmo, Moravia but Anežka Merhautová claimed that the frescoes depict all the members of the Přemyslid dynasty including the Moravian junior princes.

Vojen

Vojen was the third of the seven Bohemian mythical princes between the (also mythical) founder of the Přemyslid dynasty Přemysl the Ploughman and the first historical prince Bořivoj. The names of the princes were first recorded in Cosmas chronicle and then transmitted into the most of historical books of the 19th century including František Palacký's The History of the Czech Nation in Bohemia and Moravia.

One theory about the number of the princes is propped on the frescoes on the walls of the Rotunda in Znojmo, Moravia but Anežka Merhautová claimed that the frescoes depict all the members of the Přemyslid dynasty including the Moravian junior princes.

Wenceslaus II of Bohemia

Wenceslaus II Přemyslid (Czech: Václav II.; Polish: Wacław II Czeski; 27 September 1271 – 21 June 1305) was King of Bohemia (1278–1305), Duke of Cracow (1291–1305), and King of Poland (1300–1305).

He was the only son of King Ottokar II of Bohemia and Ottokar's second wife Kunigunda. He was born in 1271, ten years after the marriage of his parents. Kunigunda was the daughter of Rostislav Mikhailovich, lord of Slavonia, son of a Grand Prince of Kiev, and Anna of Hungary, daughter of Béla IV of Hungary. His great-grandfather was the German king Philip of Swabia. Wenceslaus II was the grandfather of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV. He was a member of the Přemyslid dynasty.

Royal houses of Europe
Piast dynasty
Fragmentation
period
Přemyslid dynasty
Restored Piast dynasty
Capet-Anjou dynasty
Jagiellonian dynasty
Elective monarchy

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