Premyslid Dynasty

 

By Erin Naillon

Libuse, Premysl and Borivoj

Legend states that the Přemyslid dynasty began with Princess Libuše and her husband, a former plowman named Přemysl. The first documented member of the family, however, was Bořivoj, who lived at first in the town of Levý Hradec. Later, he moved to Prague and helped to create Prague Castle, where his descendants would live for centuries.

Wenceslas – Patron Saint

Bořivoj’s wife, Ludmila, would become one of the patron saints of Bohemia. Bořivoj himself had been baptized by Cyril and Methodius at the court of Great Moravian ruler Svatopluk I. Their grandson, Wenceslas, was to become another of Bohemia’s patron saints, and the most famous. Both Ludmila and Wenceslas died tragic deaths at the instigation of Wenceslas’ mother and Ludmila’s daughter-in-law, Drahomíra.

Konopiste Chateau Tours from Prague

Bretislav and Sobeslav

In the 11th century, Břetislav created a rule stating that the oldest male of the family would hold the throne. Later, primogeniture ensured that the first-born male child of the current ruler would accede to power upon the death of his father.
Prince Soběslav defeated Emperor Lothar III’s army in battle near Chlumec. He later built the Rotunda of St. George (which still stands) on the mythical Říp Hill.

Premysl Otakar I and The Golden Sicilian Bull

During the reign of Přemysl Otakar I (1197 – 1230), Emperor Frederick II issued the Golden Sicilian Bull, making Bohemia into a kingdom. From this point onward, the Přemyslid dynasty ruled as the Kings of Bohemia.

Premysl Otakar II, the “King of Iron and Gold”

The powerful Otakar II, the “King of Iron and Gold”, enjoyed the territorial expansion of Bohemia and a very wealthy reign. He died at the Battle of Marchfeld in 1278, fighting Rudolph Habsburg. For five years after Otakar’s death, Brandenburg forces occupied the country, holding Otakar’s baby son, Wenceslas II, captive. Finally, the nobility paid ransom and reclaimed the prince.

Wenceslas II and the Mining Code

Wenceslas II lived to rule until 1305, despite the nobles claiming more than their fair share of power for having rescued him. It was during his reign that silver was discovered in the city of Kutná Hora. In 1300, Wenceslas created a Mining Code; he also extended the territory of Bohemia.

Wenceslas III

By this time, the long reign of the Přemyslids was almost over. Wenceslas III was the last ruler of the illustrious dynasty. His father had also been King of Poland, and in 1306, Wenceslas was traveling to the country to protect the crown. He never went further than the city of Olomouc; he was stabbed to death the night of August 4, and his murderer was never caught. He had married the year before, but no children were born of the marriage.

The Luxembourg Dynasty

Now, a new family would come to rule the Kingdom of Bohemia – the House of Luxembourg.


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