Boleslaus II, Duke of Bohemia
Boleslaus II the Pious, a member of the Přemyslid dynasty, was Duke of Bohemia from 972 until his death Boleslaus was an elder son of Duke Boleslaus I the Cruel and brother of the three other children of his father who survived to adulthood: Strachkvas and the abbess Mlada. His mother may have been a mysterious figure known only from her coins. According to some historians, she was the wife of Boleslaus I. Boleslaus II took over the rule of the Duchy of Bohemia as kníže on his father's death in 972. Like his father, Boleslaus II quarrelled with the Ottonian kings of Germany. In 974 he and Duke Mieszko I of Poland supported the rebellious Duke Henry II of Bavaria in his civil war against the rule of Emperor Otto II. In 976, Henry was defeated and fled to Boleslaus' court at Prague Castle, whereafter Otto's forces campaigned the Bohemian lands. In 978, Boleslaus solemnly pledged allegiance to the emperor at the Easter festivities in Quedlinburg. In turn, the relations with Poland deteriorated from about 980 onwards.
When Emperor Otto II died in 983 and was succeeded by his minor son Otto III, the alliance was overturned, as Boleslaus again allied with the insurgent Bavarian Duke Henry, while Mieszko I took the side of the young king. Moreover, when Boleslaus occupied the Saxon Margravate of Meissen, he thwarted the plans of Mieszko's son Bolesław, who had married a daughter of Margrave Ricdag. In 987 Boleslaus had to retire from Meissen. In 992 he approached King Otto III and participated in an unsuccessful campaign against the Lutici tribes in the wake of the 983 Great Slav Rising. Boleslaus's reign is most notable for the foundation of the Diocese of Prague in 973, earning him the epithet "The Pious" by the medieval chronicler Cosmas of Prague; the Bohemian diocese was placed at that time within the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Mainz and Emperor Otto II enforced the appointment of the Saxon monk Thietmar as first bishop. Meanwhile, the struggle with the rivalling Slavník dynasty flared up again from 981 onwards, when Prince Soběslav striving for independence began to forge alliances with the Polish and Saxon rulers.
Upon Bishop Dětmar's death in 982, Soběslav's brother Adalbert was appointed his successor until he abandoned his primacy to lead a mission to the Old Prussians in 994. On 28 September 995, Boleslaus' forces and the confederate Vršovci clan stormed Libice Castle in southern Bohemia and massacred the members of the Slavník dynasty that were found there. Boleslaus's brutal triumph ensured the unity of Bohemia under a single ruler. Boleslaus's first wife Adiva may have been a daughter of the English king Edward the Elder, though the evidence for this is weak, his second wife was Emma of Mělník. It is certain the Boleslaus's oldest son was born by Adiva, but the mother of the others cannot be established with certainty: Boleslaus III, his eldest son and successor Wenceslaus, died as an infant Jaromír, became Duke of Bohemia in 1003 Oldřich, became Duke of Bohemia in 1012Soon after his father's death, Boleslaus III entered into conflict with his brothers and was deposed in 1002; the internal struggles of the Přemyslid dynasty shook the Bohemian duchy, until Duke Oldřich's efforts stabilised the country.
Krofta, Kamil. "Bohemia to the Extinction of the Premyslids". In Tanner, J. R.. W.. N. Cambridge Medieval History:Victory of the Papacy. Vol. VI. Cambridge University Press. Joanna A. Sobiesiak: Bolesław II Przemyślida: Dynasta i jego państwo. Kraków: Avalon, 2006
Knyaz or knez is a historical Slavic title, used both as a royal and noble title in different times of history and different ancient Slavic lands. It is translated into English as prince, duke or count, depending on specific historical context and the known Latin equivalents of the title for each bearer of the name. In Latin sources the title is translated as comes or princeps, but the word was derived from the Proto-Germanic *kuningaz; the female form transliterated from Bulgarian and Russian is knyaginya, kneginja in Slovene and Serbo-Croatian. In Russian, the daughter of a knyaz is knyazhna. In Russian, the son of a knyaz is knyazhich; the title is pronounced and written in different European languages. In Serbo-Croatian and West Slavic languages, such as Polish, the word has come to denote "lord", in Czech and Slovak came to mean "priest" as well as "duke". In Sorbian it means "Mister". Today the term knez is still used as the most common translation of "prince" in Bosnian and Serbian literature.
Knez is found as a surname in former Yugoslavia. The etymology is a cognate of the English king, the German König, the Swedish konung; the proto-Slavic form was кънѧѕь, kŭnędzĭ. The meaning of the term changed over the course of history; the term was used to denote the chieftain of a Slavic tribe. With the development of feudal statehood, it became the title of a ruler of a state, among East Slavs, for example, of Kievan Rus'. In medieval Latin sources the title was rendered as either dux. In Bulgaria, Boris I of Bulgaria changed his title to knyaz after his conversion to Christianity, but his son Simeon took the higher title of tsar son in 913. In Kievan Rus', as the degree of centralization grew, the ruler acquired the title Velikii Knyaz, he ruled a Velyke Knyazivstvo, while a ruler of its vassal constituent was called udelny knyaz or knyaz. When Kievan Rus' became fragmented in the 13th century, the title Kniaz continued to be used in East Slavic states, including Kiev, Novgorod, Vladimir-Suzdal', Tver, Halych-Volynia, in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
As noted above, the title knyaz or kniaz became a hereditary noble title in the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Following the union of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, kniaź became a recognised title in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By the 1630s - apart from the title pan, which indicated membership of the large szlachta noble class - kniaź was the only hereditary title, recognised and used in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Notable holders of the title kniaź include Jeremi Wiśniowiecki; as the Tsardom of Russia gained dominion over much of former Kievan Rus', Velikii Kniaz Ivan IV of Russia in 1547 was crowned as Tsar. From the mid-18th century onwards, the title Velikii Kniaz was revived to refer to sons and grandsons of Russian Emperors. See titles for Tsar's family for details. Kniaz continued as a hereditary title of Russian nobility patrilineally descended from Rurik or Gediminas. Members of Rurikid or Gedyminid families were called princes when they ruled tiny quasi-sovereign medieval principalities.
After their demesnes were absorbed by Muscovy, they settled at the Moscow court and were authorised to continue with their princely titles. From the 18th century onwards, the title was granted by the Tsar, for the first time by Peter the Great to his associate Alexander Menshikov, by Catherine the Great to her lover Grigory Potemkin. After 1801, with the incorporation of Georgia into the Russian Empire, various titles of numerous local nobles were controversially rendered in Russian as "kniazes". Many petty Tatar nobles asserted their right to style themselves "kniazes" because they descended from Genghis Khan. See "Velikiy Knyaz" article for more details. Within the Russian Empire of 1809-1917, Finland was called Grand Principality of Finland. In the 19th century, the Serbian term knez and the Bulgarian term knyaz were revived to denote semi-independent rulers of those countries, such as Alexander Karađorđević and Alexander of Battenberg. In parts of Serbia and western Bulgaria, knez was the informal title of the elder or mayor of a village or zadruga until around the 19th century.
Those are called градоначелник and градоначалник or кмет. Prior to Battenberg, the title knyaz was born by Simeon I during the First Bulgarian Empire. At the height of his power, Simeon adopted the title of tsar, as did the Bulgarian rulers after the country became independent
Drahomíra of Stodor was Duchess consort of Bohemia from 915 to 921, wife of the Přemyslid duke Vratislaus I. She acted as regent of the Duchy of Bohemia from 921 to 924 during the minority of her son Wenceslaus, she is chiefly known for the murder of her mother-in-law Ludmila of Bohemia by hired assassins. Her name pronounced as "druh-haw-mee-ruh". Drahomíra was born in the present-day Havelland region centered around the fortress of Brandenburg, the daughter of a Hevelli prince. According to Cosmas of Prague, she married Duke Vratislav I of Bohemia about 906. Drahomíra gave birth to at least six children: her sons were Wenceslaus and Boleslaus, who both succeeded their father as Bohemian dukes. Among her four daughters were one Přibislava, who became a nun at the Prague St. George's Convent, Střezislava, the wife of the Bohemian nobleman Slavník, founder of the Slavník dynasty; the marriage led the Přemyslid dynasty to cooperation with the Polabian Slavs and brought Bohemia in conflict with the Saxon duke Henry the Fowler, who became German king in 919 and waged war against the Hevelli tribes.
After her husband's untimely death in 921, the Bohemian nobles designated Drahomíra regent for her minor son Wenceslaus. However, she had to divide the government of Bohemia with her mother-in-law Ludmila, widow of Duke Bořivoj I, who took over the religious education of her sons. Popular history depicts Ludmila as a restrained and pious grandmother, but it is that the political demands of government called for more energy and worldliness than history records. Wenceslaus was one of the main reasons for the fatal discord between Drahomíra and Ludmila, who had exerted great influence over Drahomíra's eldest son, leaving Drahomíra to concentrate her efforts on her younger son, Boleslaus. Despite or as a result of her political and personal efforts, Ludmila attracted Drahomíra's bitter enmity, she alleged that her mother-in-law, with the help of Bavarian missionaries, educated Wenceslaus to become a monk rather than a prince. Moreover, the two women may have disagreed whether to recognise the East Frankish supremacy of Henry the Fowler.
Ludmila fled from Prague to Tetín Castle on the road to Regensburg, where on 16 September 921 Drahomíra's henchmen and Gommon, attacked and strangled her. The next year the troops of Duke Arnulf of Bavaria raided the Bohemian duchy; when Drahomíra's son Wenceslaus came of age about 922, he sent his mother into exile, though he called her back in 925. She spent her years in Prague, upon the murder of her son she fled from the court, she is the subject of two operas, Drahomíra by František Škroup, Drahomíra by Karel Šebor. Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis. Václava author: Ivo Durec
The Rotunda of St. Catherine, known as the Znojmo Rotunda, is a Romanesque rotunda located in Znojmo, Czech Republic, it is the town's most valuable monument, features one of the oldest fresco compositions in the Czech lands. Besides the religious motives, of particular importance is the praising portrayal of the ruling Přemyslid dynasty; the building was a castle chapel, dedicated to Virgin Mary, built in the mid-11th century. The painting was commissioned by Konrad II of Znojmo on the occasion of his wedding with Mary, daughter of Uroš I of Serbia in 1134. Apart of the donor couple and Mary, the identity of the other depicted members of the dynasty is disputed among the historians. With two exceptions being the Přemysl the Ploughman, the legendary ancestor of the dynasty, Vratislaus I, the first King of Bohemia. Pavel Ciprian. Znojemská rotunda ve světle vědeckého poznání: vědecká konference, Znojmo 23.- 25. 9. 1996. Jihomoravské Muzeum. ISBN 978-80-902383-1-2. Barbara Krzemieńská. Moravští Přemyslovci ve znojemské rotundě.
Set Out. ISBN 978-80-86277-09-7. Znojemská rotunda: malby v národní kulturní památce Rotunda sv. Kateřiny a výsledky současného výzkumu: sborník z 2. Konference o rotundě, konané 25.-26. Června 2003 ve Znojmě. Město Znojmo, odbor školství a kultury. 2004. ISBN 978-80-85064-20-9; the Ducal Rotunda of the Virgin Mary and St Catherine A Virtual Tour
Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav
Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav is an administratively united pair of towns in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic, in the heart of the agricultural region of Polabí, about 25 km northeast from Prague. It is part of the Prague metropolitan area, it lies upon the Elbe river, Brandýs nad Labem on the left bank and Stará Boleslav on the right bank. The place is the longest-named one in the Czech Republic. Brandýs nad Labem dates its origin to the 13th century; the town was named as Boleslav by Boleslav I who built here his castle in the beginning of the 10th century. In 1960, the two adjacent towns were joined to form one town of Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav. With a population of about 18,000, it is the second largest Czech united pair of towns after Frýdek-Místek. Stará Boleslav is the oldest pilgrimage site in Central Bohemia, it was an early Přemyslid dynasty stronghold built in the late 9th and 10th century and surrounded by stone ramparts. Its fame came from a major historical event: the murder of Prince Wenceslas by his brother Boleslav at the gate of St Cosmas and Damian Church on September 28, 935.
After his death, Wenceslas was proclaimed a saint by the church and became the patron saint of the Czech nation as well as a symbol of moral reinforcement during hard times. After the year 1039, Bretislaus I established a new Romanesque basilica dedicated to St Wenceslas at the site of the murder and pilgrimage site. Moreover, Bretislaus I had the Collegiate Chapter of St Cosmas and Damian, the oldest in Bohemia, built next to the basilica. By the end of the 11th century, the adjoining Romanesque St Clement Chapel was built, it is valuable for its Romanesque frescos from the latter half of the 12th century depicting scenes from St Clement's life and martyrdom. Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV used to visit the town in the 14th century, supported the Chapter and had new ramparts built; the Hussite Wars starting in 1420 represented the beginning of the town's decline. Most of the buildings, including the Chapter house and the churches, were burned down, the Chapter fled to Žitava. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Boleslav regained its earlier fame through the cult of Madonna.
In 1617-1625 the new baroque Church of the Assumption of Mary was built by Jacoppo de Vaccani, containing a relief of the Madonna called the Palladium of the Czech Lands. In 2003, the St Wenceslas National Pilgrimage to Stará Boleslav was renewed and is now the largest official celebration of St Wenceslas Day. On this occasion Pope Benedict XVI visited the St Wenceslas basilica and held mass for over 50,000 people who had gathered in Stará Boleslav. According to an article in Le Monde, the town is one of the least religious in all of the Czech Republic, indeed of all of Europe and the world. Communists tried to repress the Catholic religion from the 1950s to the 1980s, something which continues to have profound effects on contemporary life in the town. Gödöllő, Hungary Montescudaio, Italy from 2008 Media related to Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav at Wikimedia Commons Municipal website Place of pilgrimage
Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia
Wenceslaus I, Wenceslas I or Václav the Good was the duke of Bohemia from 921 until his assassination in 935. His younger brother, Boleslaus the Cruel, was complicit in the murder, his martyrdom and the popularity of several biographies gave rise to a reputation for heroic virtue that resulted in his elevation to sainthood. He was posthumously declared to be a king and came to be seen as the patron saint of the Czech state, he is the subject of a carol for Saint Stephen's Day. Wenceslaus was the son of Duke of Bohemia from the Přemyslid dynasty, his grandfather, Bořivoj I of Bohemia, was converted to Christianity by Saints Methodius. His mother, Drahomíra, was the daughter of a pagan tribal chief of the Havelli, but was baptized at the time of her marriage, his paternal grandmother, Ludmila of Bohemia, saw to it that he was educated in the Old-Slavonic language and, at an early age, Wenceslas was sent to the college at Budeč. In 921, when Wenceslas was about thirteen, his father died and his grandmother became regent.
Jealous of the influence that Ludmila wielded over Wenceslas, Drahomíra arranged to have her killed. Ludmila was at Tetín Castle near Beroun when assassins murdered her on September 15, 921, she is said to have been strangled by them with her veil. She was at first buried in the church of St. Michael at Tetín, but her remains were removed by Wenceslas, to the church of St. George in Prague, built by his father. Drahomíra assumed the role of regent and initiated measures against the Christians; when Wenceslas was 18, those Christian nobles who remained rebelled against Drahomira. The uprising was successful, Drahomira was sent into exile to Budeč. With the support of the nobles, Wenceslas took control of the government. To prevent disputes between him and his younger brother Boleslav, they divided the country between them, assigning to the latter a considerable territory. After the fall of Great Moravia, the rulers of the Bohemian duchy had to deal both with continuous raids by the Magyars and the forces of the Saxon duke and East Frankish king Henry the Fowler, who had started several eastern campaigns into the adjacent lands of the Polabian Slavs, homeland of Wenceslas's mother.
To withstand Saxon overlordship, Wenceslas's father Vratislaus had forged an alliance with the Bavarian duke Arnulf, a fierce opponent of King Henry at that time. The alliance became worthless, when Arnulf and Henry reconciled at Regensburg in 921. Early in 929, the joint forces of Duke Arnulf of Bavaria and King Henry I the Fowler reached Prague in a sudden attack that forced Wenceslas to resume the payment of a tribute first imposed by the East Frankish king Arnulf of Carinthia in 895, he introduced German priests, favoured the Latin rite instead of the old Slavic, which had gone into disuse in many places for want of priests. He founded a rotunda consecrated to St. Vitus at Prague Castle in Prague, which exists as present-day St. Vitus Cathedral. Henry had been forced to pay a huge tribute to the Magyars in 926 and needed the Bohemian tribute, which Wenceslas refused to pay after the reconciliation between Arnulf and Henry. Another possible reason for the attack was the formation of the anti-Saxon alliance between Bohemia, the Polabian Slavs, the Magyars.
In September 935, a group of nobles allied with Wenceslas's younger brother Boleslav plotted to kill him. After Boleslav invited Wenceslas to the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Stará Boleslav, three of Boleslav's companions, Tira, Česta, Hněvsa, fell on the duke and stabbed him to death; as the duke fell, Boleslav ran him through with a lance. According to Cosmas of Prague, in his Chronica Boëmorum of the early 12th century, one of Boleslav's sons was born on the day of Wenceslas's death; because of the ominous circumstance of his birth, the infant was named Strachkvas, which means "a dreadful feast". There is a tradition that Saint Wenceslas's loyal servant Podevin avenged his death by killing one of the chief conspirators, but was executed by Boleslav. Wenceslas was considered a martyr and saint after his death, when a cult of Wenceslas grew up in Bohemia and in England. Within a few decades, four biographies of him were in circulation; these hagiographies had a powerful influence on the High Middle Ages concept of the rex justus, a monarch whose power stems from his great piety as well as his princely vigor.
Referring approvingly to these hagiographies, the chronicler Cosmas of Prague, writing in about the year 1119, states: But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you. Several centuries this legend was asserted as fact by Pope Pius II. Although Wenceslas was only a duke during his lifetime, Holy Roman Emperor Otto I posthumously "conferred on the regal dignity and title", why he is referred to as "king" in legend and song; the hymn "Svatý Václave" or "Saint Wenceslas Chorale" is one of the oldest known Czech songs. Tracing back to the 12th century, it is still among the most popular religious songs. In 1918, at the founding of the modern Czechoslovak state, the song was discussed as a possible choice for the national anthem. During the Nazi occupation, it was played along with the Czech anthem. Wenceslaus' feast day is celebrated on September 28, on this day celebrati