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Title: Czechmate Redefining the Relationship Between Bohemia and the German Empire, 973�1086
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Chester, Grayson
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2012
Publication Date: 2012


Subjects / Keywords: Medieval
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theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
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Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: This thesis re-examines the understanding of the eleventh-century relationship between medieval Bohemia (the core of the modern-day Czech Republic) and the German Empire. Historians have traditionally defined this as an entirely one-way relationship in which Germany had full control. This interpretation is largely the result of the nineteenth-century political biases of Czech and German historians. This thesis, on the other hand, argues that Bohemia retained a significant degree of influence over its relationship with the empire and was able successfully to manipulate it in order to achieve its own political aims. I also argue that increased closeness with Germany throughout the eleventh century did not imply increasing German dominance over Bohemia, as some historians have argued, but was, rather, the direct result of deliberate political decisions made by successive Bohemian dukes. This closeness was in the best interests of Bohemia and the ruling P?emyslid dynasty.
Statement of Responsibility: by Grayson Chester
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2012
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: McCarthy, Thomas

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Title: Czechmate Redefining the Relationship Between Bohemia and the German Empire, 973�1086
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Chester, Grayson
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2012
Publication Date: 2012


Subjects / Keywords: Medieval
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: This thesis re-examines the understanding of the eleventh-century relationship between medieval Bohemia (the core of the modern-day Czech Republic) and the German Empire. Historians have traditionally defined this as an entirely one-way relationship in which Germany had full control. This interpretation is largely the result of the nineteenth-century political biases of Czech and German historians. This thesis, on the other hand, argues that Bohemia retained a significant degree of influence over its relationship with the empire and was able successfully to manipulate it in order to achieve its own political aims. I also argue that increased closeness with Germany throughout the eleventh century did not imply increasing German dominance over Bohemia, as some historians have argued, but was, rather, the direct result of deliberate political decisions made by successive Bohemian dukes. This closeness was in the best interests of Bohemia and the ruling P?emyslid dynasty.
Statement of Responsibility: by Grayson Chester
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2012
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: McCarthy, Thomas

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2012 C5
System ID: NCFE004560:00001

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CZECHMATE : REDEFINING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BOH EMIA AND THE GERMAN EMPIRE, 973 1086 BY GRAYSON CHESTER A THESIS Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degre e Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Thomas McCarthy SARASOTA, FLORIDA MAY, 2011


i Table of Contents Maps ............................................................................................................................. .... ... ii Tables and Indexes ............................................................................................................. iv Abstract.............................................................................................................. .................v Introduction ........................................................... ............................................................. 1 Chapter One: The Polish Threat ...................................................................... ................... 13 Chapter Two : Revenge and Growing Pains ....................................................................... 31 Chapter Three : The Kingdom of B ohemia ........................................................................ 54 Conclus ion ......................................................................................................................... 80 Bibliography .................................................................................................................... ... 87


ii Map of Bohemia and Moravia


iii Map of Central Europe with Cities


iv Tables and Indexes Dukes of Bohemia Boleslav II (972 99) Boleslav III (999 1002) Wlodovej (1002 3) Boleslav IV (1003 4), ruled as duke of Poland (992 1024), king of Poland (1 025) Jaromir (1004 12) ich (1012 38) etislav (1038 55) 61) Vratislav II (1061 1092) Bishops of Prague Thietmar (973 82) ch/St. Adalbert (982 996) Thieddeg (998 1017) Ekkehard (1017 23) Izzo (1023 30) Severus (1030 1067) Gebhard (1068 8 9) Cosmas (1090 98) Emperors of Germany Otto I (r. 962 973) Otto II (r. 973 982) Otto III (r. 983 1002) Henry II (r. 1002 1024) Conrad II (r. 1024 1039) Henry III (r. 1039 1056) Henry IV (r. 1056 1106)


v CZECHMATE: REDEFINING THE RELATIONSHIP BETW EEN BOHEMIA AND THE GERMAN EMPIRE, 973 1086 Grayson Chester New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT This thesis re examines the understanding of the eleventh century relationship between medieval Bohemia (the core of the modern day Czech Republic) and the German Empire. Historians have traditionally defined this as an entirely one way relationship in which Germany had full control. This interpretation is largely the result of the nineteenth century political biases of Czech and German historians. This t hesis, on the other hand, argues that Bohemia retained a significant degree of influence over its relationship with the empire and was able successfully to manipulate it in order to achieve its own political aims. I also argue that increased closeness with Germany throughout the eleventh century did not imply increasing German dominance over Bohemia, as some historians have argued, but was, rather, the direct result of deliberate political decisions made by successive Bohemian dukes. This closeness was in t he best Thomas J. H. McCarthy Division of Social Sciences


1 Introduction On the day of his investiture in 1067, Bishop Gebhard 1 of Prague received some startling news. Gebhard was informed by his o lder brother, Duke Vratislav of Bohemia (r. 1061 1092), that he had no choice but to accept the illegal partition of the diocese he was about to receive. This would subsequently halve the authority of the office between Prague in Bohemia and Olomouc in Mor avia. When confronted with this most recent slight by his brother, Gebhard was distraught. He tried over and over again for the next five years to persuade his brother to reunite the two bishoprics under the sole jurisdiction of the diocese of Prague, but to no avail. As their feud hit its zenith, Gebhard decided to act In 1073, Gebhard undertook the journey to Olomouc in secret in order to meet his Moravian counterpart, Bishop Jan. The latter bishop was blissfully unaware of the escalating conflict betwe en Gebhard and his older brother, the duke, and could not have suspected anything was amiss when he received Gebhard as an unexpected guest. For his part, the bishop of Prague maintained an innocent facade until he found himself alone with the man who, in his view, represented yet another facet of the duke s persistent efforts to strip Gebhard of his authority and his dignity. Finding himself overcome with passion, he maimed Bishop Jan with his bare hands. ly members and this was yet another instance in a long string of similar events. Simply put, he was an inconvenience to his whole family, forced into the clergy and raised to be the next bishop of Prague to 1 Born Jaromir, but referred to by all period historians by his Ge rman name. I do the same to avoid confusion with the duke by the same name who is more important in this study


2 prevent intra familial feuding over the secular authority of the ducal position. To his 1055), Gebhard was a threat to the stability of a duchy that had spent the past half century attempting to recover from a series of political mistakes that had led in 1003 t o foreign dominance of Bohemia by Poland under their duke, I Chrobry (r. 992 1025). While ruled Bohemia for one s time. Bishop Gebhard s father had been both blessed and cursed with a large family, including five sons. While this ensured the survival of his dynastic line, it also forced new problems onto the troubled duchy how could the secular ducal power be preserved intact without slighting th e younger brothers who would receive virtually nothing? The answer was not simple and B problem when he died in 1055. His duchy passed first to his oldest son, 1055 61), who viewed his next oldest sibling, Vratislav, with so much suspicion that Vratislav fled to Hungary in fear of his brother. Vratislav rushed back to Prague faster than any of his three remaining brothers and seized the position. Looking at Gebhard, his next youngest brother, with the same degree of suspicion once given to him by his own older brother, Vratislav made it his personal mission for the security of his duchy to see to it that Gebhard would not only be unable to challenge the duke s secular authority but even make it near impossible for Gebhard to flex his own religious authority. By forcibly ensuring that Gebhard s life could in no way contest Vratislav s ability to dictate nearly all happenings within the duchy, Vratislav accomplished for himself what his father B


3 reigns the creation of a political situation in which a reigning duke could exercise his authority without familial complexities getting in the way. There was a certain degree of luck in that the two youngest brothers, Conrad and Otto, were content with their respective halves of Moravia, the Bohemian dependent state to the east. These two brothers were too young, however, to have appreciated the political difficulties that their father had le ft their family on his deathbed, and would certainly have realized the unlikelihood of their of ever ruling Bohemia by the time they had reached adulthood sometime around the beginning of Vratislav s reign. Gebhard was the only loose end for Vratislav to a ddress and the duke did so shrewdly and ruthlessly. Intra eyes of chronicler Cosmas of Pra gue due to their almost single minded devotion to the Church, had only adopted Christianity in the early 880s. In 895, they accepted the overlordship of the German empire to their west, a relationship that was constantly redefined but continued unbroken un til 1421. During the reign of St. Vclav (r. 925 35), 2 the P grandmother, St. Ludmilla (whose role in the establishment of Czech Christianity cannot be understated), as a devout Christian and held this religious fervor in mind whe n he was made duke around 925 at the age of eighteen. Using his new authority to promote Christianity within his duchy, Vclav made many enemies among Bohemia s powerful pagan nobility which exerted much influence over internal affairs of all sorts. Most 2 never king.


4 i mportantly, he earned the ire of his brother, Boleslav I the Cruel. 3 According to legend, Boleslav slew his brother with the help of several counts at a religious feast, martyring Vclav and immortalizing him in Czech national consciousness up to the prese nt day. A similar event, this time an overthrow of a sitting duke by his younger brother rather than full blown fratricide, occurred almost a century later in 1012. Jaromir, the was 37), who subsequently held the title of duke until his death. Neither of these earlier instances, however, were s the three olde st sons earlier cases were not as extreme. Boleslav I the Cruel repented for his crimes and helped bring Bohemia back on the path toward Christianization. on the throne in 1032 and Jaromir returned only to ensure that there would be no trouble in the ascension Bohemia faced the very real threat of civil war through the ambition of too many family members. When Vratislav solved this problem in 1067 with the final subjugation of his brother, Gebhard, Vratislav was free to shift his focus from familial mistrust to the aggrandizement of Bohemia domestically and internationally. In fact, by the time Vratislav inherited the ducal throne in 1061, Bohemia s position in the international political environment had changed drastically from the dark year of 1003 4. It had transformed from a politically irrelevant, militarily inept, nearly p agan society into one that was nearly inseparable from its national Church. It had seen a 3 The grandfather of the aforemention ed I Chrobry of Poland.


5 steady increase in its ability to exert military force over its neighbors and had taken a leading role in the political realities of medieval central Europe at this t ime. At the same time, Poland s own history during this half century suffered at the gain of Bohemia, allowing the Czechs to take vengeance for all of the historical wrongs they had suffered at Polish hands. This thesis argues two clear points of differin g magnitudes. The first and more basic of these arguments is that occupation of Bohemia from 1003 4 acted as a catalyst for deliberate political decisions made by 11 th century Czech dukes in order to ingratiate themselves w ith the German emperors. This began to occur immediately after wresting their territory free from Polish dominion. The exact reasons varied from duke to duke, but one theme in particular seems to stand out in their collective consciousness that weak ties b etween Bohemia and Germany had led directly to the tragedy of 1003 4, and that only by restoring this relationship could Czechs be protected from further Polish aggression as well as given the opportunity to take vengeance for Poland s past crimes. Second and more important, this thesis argues that that the relationship between Bohemia and the Empire at this period cannot be defined as merely a one way dominance by Germany. Rather, numerous examples attest that Czech dukes attempted (often successfully) a ctively to manipulate this relationship to their own end s The Bohemians deliberate control over their relationship with Germany took several forms. Among them were attempts by several Czech dukes to dictate German policy toward Poland, always to the inte nded detriment of their old foes. In another case, a duke replaced Czech monks


6 with imported German ones in order to more easily guard the faithful against the Slavonic script despised by the duke. While the Germans were only too happy to continue their lo ng tradition of evangelism in the area, it is critical to note that these monks were brought into the land by Czechs and according to Czech interests. Furthermore, reliance upon Germanizing factors centralized the authority of the Czech duke, taking away f rom the sometimes contentious influence of his counts. Towards the end of the period considered in this study (the turn of the twelfth century) we can see Vratislav s clear intent to increase his own duchy s sovereignty through undertaking several decisive military roles on behalf of the beleaguered German emperor. This culminated in the raising of Bohemia from a duchy to a kingdom and the anointing of Vratislav as the first king of the Czechs. Consequently I reject the notion that Czechs were in any way p assive recipients of imperial influence. Rather, much of the influence exerted by the empire on Czech affairs was, for the most part, consciously welcomed by the Czech dukes as a tool that they themselves manipulated for their own benefit and for the benef it of Bohemia. With the beginning of the modern study of history in the nineteenth century, scholars of both German and Czech origin moved quickly to examine this period of history to forward the aims of nationalism. Czech scholars in particular have obse ssively characterized this period as yet another example of how the Czech relationship with Germany was oppressive. While period sources show that medieval Czechs had an unusually well defined concept of what it meant to be a Czech, the idea espoused by th ese historians that their modern struggle against German oppression (real and perceived) began as early as the eleventh century events discussed in this thesis is too simple For their part, German nationalist historians like Steindorff or Menzel had no


7 de sire to correct this falsification of the understood narrative, as they were only too happy to present themselves as bringers of culture to a savage and primitive people. They further perpetuated the myth that the relationship between Bohemia and the Germa n Empire was one in which Bohemia was rendered a recipient of Germanizing influence and nothing more. For example, the renowned nineteenth century German historian Heinrich von Treitschke (1834 96) wrote in Das deutsche Ordensland Preussen that the Germans uncivilized people to the east. 4 From the other perspective, the equally well respected Cz 1876), clearly acknowledged this German presence throughout Czech history, but strongly criticized it in order to stir nationalist sentiment within his people. a conflict with Germandom, that is, on acceptance and rejection of German customs and 5 dynastic tie, of which the Czech nation, the Czech estates, scarcely desired to know anything and to which they paid no regard. This is an actual fact equally well known to 6 I regard the statements of both historians to be false and the results of their own personal struggles to promote the unity of their r espective peoples. The myths of this relationship have been perpetuated in the twentieth century as well. Anglophone historians like James Thompson (1869 1941) have generally supported 4 Treitschke (1862), 12. 5 Quoted in Agnew (2003), 64. 6 Palack (1848), 304


8 the nationalist narrative mutually crafted by Czechs and Germans. Not until Lisa Wolverton s grand social, cultural, and political analysis, Hastening Toward Prague (2001), was a cohesive attempt made to redefine the relationship of Czechs and Germans between 1050 and 1200. In 2009, Wolverton also published the first Englis h translation of Cosmas of Prague s early twelfth century Chronica Boemorum Finally, in 2011, the thirteenth to early fourteenth century Czech history with, The Czech Lands in Medieval Tr ansformation On a more abstract level, it can be safely said that neither German nor Czech historians of the nineteenth century had any desire to portray the medieval relationship between Bohemia and the German Empire as one the Czechs deliberately used t o effect change within their duchy/kingdom. This does not seem to be the case any longer, as both anglophone and Czech scholars have begun to revisit medieval Bohemia. This thesis builds upon Wolverton s work, but considers a slightly earlier period, from 973 1086. Through it, I hope to dispel the seemingly immortal nineteenth century nationalist falsehoods that have lingered within the cultural consciousness of both Germans and Czechs, as well as the international academic community at large. Instead of a simplistic paradigm of giver and recipient, I propose that the true relationship between Germany and Bohemia was far more dynamic and allowed Czechs to exercise more control over the German factors in their cultural and social spheres than has been previo usly thought. In particular I attempt to show how B ohemia s domestic and international climates were not unrelated. For some, this means the straightforward analysis of the dukes international policy. For others, I seek to explain how events within the du chy, such as civil discontent or change in religious policy, affected the relationship


9 between Bohemia and Germany. For sources, I rely most heavily upon Cosmas of Prague s 1125 chronicle, the first attempt to record all of Bohemia s history made by a Czec h. I also rely strongly on Thietmar of Merseburg s 1018 chronicle, particularly in the first chapter. At all points I attempt to compare Czech versions of events with those recorded by German writers like Frutolf of Michelsberg, Herman of Reichenau, and La mpert of Hersfeld. This thesis does not attempt to provide a complete analysis of medieval (or modern) Czech history. I have left out some key elements that one would generally expect to find in a work on the era, such as a finer consideration to the stat us and role of Moravia. As intriguing as this topic is, I only address Moravia as it is relevant to the relationship between Bohemia and Germany. I have had to omit certain other issues due to a lack of source material, such as the broader relationship bet ween the Czech duke and his subordinates, nobility, peasants, and sometimes clergy. I attempt to show important instances where the influence of the nobility and clergy play a role in shaping the motivations of the Czech duke, particularly when it meant ac tion (or inaction) to help define the way in which Bohemia interacted with the empire. It is important to clarify, then, that this thesis represent only the views of the Czechs who had the luxury of being involved in politics and important enough among their contemporaries for their opinion to have been recorded. We ca n only guess how lowborn Czechs saw these matters or even how much national consciousness 7 they retained compared to their l ords. 7 This word is being used as a catch all term to refer to anything that made one a Czech in this time period. This encompasses a number of complex issues, including but not limited to: geographic boundaries (which Bohemia has in strong definition), shared origin legends (such as those provided by Cosmas), or cultural norms


10 I have also avoided detailed discussion of Bohemia s relationship with Poland and Hungary, respectively. In both of these cases, certain elements are absolutely crucial to understanding the complexities of the Czech German situation. Most of the tim e, however, these details are superfluous. When needed, I have provided as much background information as necessary about these two important groups, but only when pertinent to understanding the relationship between Bohemia and the Empire. In the first cha pter, Poland plays a critical role in the fortunes of Bohemia. It then cedes position to Hungary, which makes appearances in chapters two and three. I maintain that our focus must be fixed upon the German Empire because all other international relationshi ps Bohemia had during this period were secondary to that of its relationship with Germany. At the same time, I do not wish to waste valuable space discussing internal matters within Germany unless they have some role in determining a Bohemian course of act ion. Countless tomes have been published on events in Germany during the years discussed by my paper, and I am happy to leave this period in the safe hands of so many scholars. On a similar note, I also do not intend for my thesis to touch on matters far a fter the conclusion date I have set. Simply put, I do not have access to the necessary sources, lack the necessary language skills, and have too much respect for Lisa Wolverton to attempt a re understanding of her own particular area of expertise. The time frame examined in this thesis is one in which there are enough sources to draw accurate conclusions, but still lack s quality discourse untainted by the biases of the nineteenth century historical approach. As such, there is more than enough to work with w ithout too much crossover with Wolverton s own research. Structurally, the first of my three chapters looks at the implications of events


11 between 973 and 1004. In this period, Bohemia s relationship with the empire is in a nebulous state. For the most par t still pagan, Bohemia began its close kinship with its own national church, itself a means of interacting with Germany, in 973 with the founding of the diocese of Prague by Czech duke Boleslav II (r. 972 999). I introduce here the reverberating importance of the creation of the diocese. I also discuss how the three way relationship between Poland, Germany, and Bohemia developed to the detriment of the Czechs. The second chapter then examines the events between 1004 and 1055, and discusses the ways in which the next round of Czech dukes sought to renew their relationship with the empire while struggling to find a balance between imperial ties and their own cultural sovereignty. The third and final chapter discusses the events of the years 1055 1086 during wh ich Bohemia was confronted with the reality of its need of Germans in all matters religious, while managing to manipulate Germany s increasingly hostile political environment to the benefit of Bohemia. The Czechs were also blessed with favorable political opportunities that provide their duchy the ability to exercise its influence over the empire in new ways. Bohemia was able, if only for a short time, to play both sides of two embittered enemies the empire and the church. I have specifically divided the ch apters along these dates due to important events marked by the start and end of each. As much as possible, all three chapters work towards a reassessment of the relationship of Bohemia and the Empire in the central Middle Ages. Each features numerous exam ples of historical events that I use to define this relationship. Each duke faced his own trials during his reign and each had a unique approach to handling the Bohemia s affairs in regards to Germany. Nevertheless, all were either willing to define


12 the re lationship or were forced to in some way or another by outside factors. Together, these individual narratives show a Bohemia that was perhaps not as helplessly subordinated by the empire as the scholarly consensus of the past century and a half would have us believe. Bohemia was very much in control of its own path during this time. That it led to closer ties with the empire was not a result of imperial interference, but a conscious effort on the part of the rulers of Bohemia to pursue positive relations wi th Germany for the purpose of achieving strictly Bohemian goals.


13 Chapter I : The Polish Threat For reasons that are mostly unknown, Poland and Bohemia had grown to despise one another by the end of the tenth century. The final fifteen years before the n ew millennium saw the relationship between Bohemia and its northern Slavic neighbor turn from lukewarm ambivalence to frosty mistrust. In 1003 Poland conquered Bohemia and rule d over it for a year. They were able to do this by taking advantage of weakening Czech German relations and building upon their own relationship with Germany. The 1003 4 occupation strongly affected how Bohemia sought to define its own relationship with the empire for the remainder of the eleventh century. Most seemingly contradictory to the idea that Bohemia was able to exercise a large degree of control over the state of the relationship with Germany is that the Czechs appear to have had unnecessarily strong links with Germany after the turn of the millennium. This goes against commo n thought in the nineteenth century that such a well defined nation would desire to receive German influence. In reality, there existed strong incentive for Bohemia to pursue these closer ties with the Germans. Therefore, to consider the increased Bohemian acceptance of Germanizing factors as a sign of German dominance (and consequently of Czech subordination) is to harbor a logical fallacy. This view does not endeavor to ask if this was something that was desired by the Czechs nor does it take into account the intended effects of stronger German ties within Czech society. T his year of occupation and its causes was the driving force behind Czech motivation for a closer relationship with the empire. In order to discuss the facts pertinent to this chapter, th e status of the two major


14 political entities must first be further elaborated. We will begin with the Czechs themselves. They were considered distinctly Slavic in language and identity by themselves, by other Slavs, and by western groups like Germans and c ould only be considered nominally Christianized at the founding of the bishopric of Prague in 973. We know, however, that by the early 1100s, Bohemia was considered, by Cosmas of Prague at least, to have been successfully converted to the faith. 1 This sugg ests that the late tenth and eleventh centuries can be seen as something of a launching point for Christian identity within the Czech lands. Lisa Wolverton believes that Cosmas viewed the foundation of the diocese this way. 2 The second major power in the region was the German Empire, as represented by the powerful Empire to the west of the Slavic lands. While nineteenth century historiography on the period is to be for the most part rejected, it is important to note that German sources at the time do ackn owledge the aggressive role played by Germans in administering their culture the regions to the east of the Empire. 3 This implies at least a tacit self acceptance of German penetration, though it is somewhat premature to suggest that they viewed their own actions as inherently aggressive. Austria and Salzburg in particular, are noted in the Bulgarian St. Constantine of Preslav s Life of St. Methodius as being founded specifically as a base for German missionary activity in eastern Europe, particularly Bohem ia. 4 In our revised understanding, however, the Germans represent much more than guarantors of western civilization. The Empire was viewed at various times by Poles and Czechs as both a positive and negative influence on their respective 1 L. Wolverton (2009), 13 4. 2 Ibid, 13. 3 For example, Thietmar of Mesreberg, Helmold of Bosau, and Otto of Bamberg.


15 domestic political and social climates. Particularly important was the role that Empire played as final arbiter in disputes between Czechs and Poles. Beginning, with Conversion of Czechs and Political Environment This analysis is not complete without a discussion of the importance of the 895 switch in allegiance by the Bohemians and how it framed the initial attitudes of the duchy towards its neighbors, in particular the Germans. Before swearing allegiance to the German King Arnulf of East Francia (r. 877 899), Bohemia ha d been part of the massive failed state of Greater Moravia (833 902). This state had been founded in 833 as a united Slavic confederation and immediately became intertwined with the preaching of Sts. Cyril and Methodius from Constantinople. Nevertheless, o wing to a combination of declining Byzantine influence in the area at the end of the century and internal struggle over the Moravian throne, Moravia fell apart as spectacularly as it had risen. Taking the stance that Moravia was doomed, I (r. 889 894/5) and Vratislav I (r. 915 21), the sons of the first baptized Bohemian duke, Borivoj (r. 870 889), swore an oath of fealty to the German king. 5 The significance of this event cannot be overstated. Christian Bohemia began its existence already looking westwards. It could be argued that it was simply that the strongest influence of Christianity lay in this direction, but that would ignore the influence of the Byzantine religious culture to which Duke converted Although often overshadowed by his brother, Cyril, Methodius was the one to baptize the 4 5 Cosmas 1.1, 33.


16 duke and bring about the initial Christianization of the Bohemian lands. German cultural presence, however, had by this time become unavoidable for B ohemia. It manifested itself in aggressive campaigning by German missionaries for the use of the Latin alphabet (which successfully destroyed the use of the once widespread Byzantine Slavonic in the region). 6 Commerce also played a vital role in further ex posing Bohemia to German culture. 7 As the external influences on Bohemia at the time of its flight from Moravia remained so strongly German, it was certain that the state would continue its turn toward the west. Adalbert and the Diocese of Prague The Cz echs gained a centerpiece of cultural identity as well as a link with Germany with the founding of the bishopric of Prague in 973. According to Cosmas of Prague, Boleslav II (r. 972 99), duke of the Bohemians, was the principal mover in the creation of the diocese. Cosmas says that Boleslav was impressed by a man of 8 Thietmar, who had been praying in Prague, was well versed in Czech and was able to strike up a friendship with the process of creating the bishopric by writing to emperor Otto I (936 73) entreating him to grant both the establishment of the new diocese and the investiture of Thietmar as its bishop. Boleslav s d esire to write to Otto stems from the relationship between lord and 6 Duichev (1985) 46, Life of St. Methodius, 99 108. 7 Thompson (1926), 605. 8 Cosmas 1.22, 72.


17 vassal, but was also a necessary step in the formation of the bishopric. There is no doubt that this act was monumental for both the Church and the Czechs. Boleslav s involvement earned h complete the highly successful Christianization of the region. It is also very likely, however, that this act underlay the solid relationship between Czechs and Germans at the time period of Boleslav s reign. Stemm ing from at least as early as Charlemagne s reign, missionary presence in Bohemia was strongly encouraged. It seems clear enough that the Christianization of the eastern peoples, namely the Slavs, was an ambition for the Germans. Many illustrious clergymen took up missionary duty to the empire s borders even as late as one Bishop Otto of Bamberg in the early twelfth century. Given the resources put into the conversion process over several centuries, German preoccupation with the Christianization of these la nds may fairly be described as cultural. In other words, this obsession played a role in the formation of the idea of what a German should do, particularly for the ultra influential clergy. Despite clear German benefits from the creation of the diocese of Prague, it is actually somewhat more difficult to discern Czech benefits from the proposition. Boleslav II could have been acting solely out of his own individual piety in the establishment of the bishopric. The acceptance of the new bishopric in Bohemia, however, was challenged early by powerful political families and led to the second bishop of Prague, St. Adalbert (r. 982 996) temporarily resigning in disgust and fleeing to Rome in 989. 9 of the 9 Ibid 1.29, 79 80.


18 10 Why, then, would Boleslav sacrifice political favor among his powerful subordinates in favor of an approach that would benefit the Germans? It could simply be that Boleslav did not foresee the domesti c consequences of his actions. He may also have hoped to establish with the Empire to breed German support for his rule that would have kept his detractors quiet with military might. Additionally, he could also have acted out of genuine concern for the spi ritual well being of his people. Effects on Czech German Relations Regardless of what Boleslav II had expected and intended from the foundation of the bishopric of Prague, it caused him all sorts of progressively worsening problems. While there can be no denying that the diocese was encouraging domestic Christianization, the powerful counts and political families seemed to gain more leverage over the duke. This is best exemplified in the slaughter of the brothers of St. Adalbert in 995 by one of these f amilies, the and the duke s inability to prevent it. 11 Boleslav is shown to be politically handicapped by as early as the the mid 980s. The relationship between the Germans and the Czechs began a steady downward turn at this point, directly corres ponding with Boleslav s increasing political impotence. Thietmar of Merseburg mentions a sudden mutual falling out between Boleslav and the Polish duke Mieszko (r. 962 992), but gives no clue as to its cause. 12 J. Thompson suggests that it had 10 Ibid, p. 80. 11 Ibid, 80 1. 12 Thietmar 4.11, 158.


19 long been the ambition of Bohemia to incorporate the southern parts of the Polish territory (including Wroc history. 13 While nationalism was uncharacteristically developed for the time period within Czech identity, there is only one small piece of evidence supporting this claim. Boleslav II h ad shown a propensity towards land grabbing from the adjacent German areas, which might lend some credence to this theory. 14 Whatever Boleslav s motives, this unexplained mutual falling out was the first event of many that soured medieval Czech Polish rela tions. It also indirectly led to a less positive relationship with the Empire. Before the events of 986, Thietmar refers to Boleslav in a remarkably positive light (particularly for a person who writes with much abhorrence of the Bohemians in general), sta 15 However, Boleslav found himself representing the opposite side of the empire. Duke Mieszko of Poland found the Empress Theophanu (ruling after the death of her husband Otto II in 983), who happened to be nearby in Magdeburg, sympathetic to his cause. She eventually organized a Saxon led army to march against the very Boleslav about whom Thietmar had written so highly. Given the undue influence of his counts over his politics, it is less surprising that Thietmar s version of Boleslav is ready to commit to war against relatively well established allies. Thietmar snidely remarks that it was the counsel of a titleless knight in Boleslav s army to retreat from the battle that saved the B ohemian duke s reign from complete ruination. 16 13 Thompson (1926), 619. 14 the March of Meissen [983], Thietmar 4.5, 152. 15 Ibid, 152. 16 Ibid 4.12, 159.


20 Polish Relations with Germany Improve Unfortunately for Boleslav II, this transgression came at a poor time. Taking the field against the empire came as the first real threat to Empress Theophanu s reign. Th is affront was thus the new regent s first impression of Boleslav, and presented him as an adversary rather than the friend that he desired to be. This surely would not have been forgotten by Otto III when he came of age in 991. Within the next year, Miesz ko of Poland died, leaving the ducal throne to his son, Boles Chrobry (r. 992 1025) who soon struck up a good friendship with the very young Otto. Chrobry and Otto III may be hard to rationalize, but it has its roots in the friendship between the martyred Czech bishop Ad albert and Otto II (Otto III s father). Adalbert s presence in the empire clearly touched the Ottonian family in positive ways that lasted even after his death in 997. After Adalbert Chrobry the martyr 17 This established direct his b are, it it likely that, given Adalbert s missionary work in the region, successes in Christianization of the region was one of them. Moved by these miracles and his family s strong ties to the martyr, Otto III took it upon himself to make a pilgrimage in 1000 to Adalbert


21 What exactly happened at Gniezno is something of a mystery, but there can be no denying that, through the chance choice of the location of Adalbert s missionary work, the purchasing of Adalbert s re mains, and the Polish duke s readiness to accommodate Otto (as well as impress him with riches and gifts), Polish relations with the empire had Chrobry s motivations for ingratiating himself with the Germans are unknown and pote ntially numerous. Even Thietmar of Merseburg, who s piety. 18 himself did descend from Bohemian blo od on his mother s side) and they probably never him. The Polish duke clearly had ulterior motivations for his wooing of Otto, namely direct improvements in relations s uncanny nature for political brilliance (which will be touched upon later), it is also possible that the Pole knew that these improved relations would lead to the further reduction of German support for Poland s arch Bohemia only a few short years later, lending some credence to this theory. The other Boleslav (II, of Bohemia), before dying in 999, clearly seems to have recognized the perilous position that his empire was in. In what appears to be a last attempt to repair the damage done to the relationship between Bohemia and the Empire (as well as a final slight at his anti Christian and anti German domestic enemies), Boleslav II wrote to Emperor Otto III asking him to se lect the third bishop of Prague. 19 17 Ibid 4.28, 172. 18 Ib id 171 2. 19 Cosmas 1.31 83 4.


22 The first two, Thietmar (no relation to the chronicler) and Adalbert had both been approved by the emperor but their recommendation had come directly from the Czechs themselves, which gave them a degree of autonomy at the time that the other duchies of the empire did not have. This autonomy was that of the duchy but also of the diocese the distinction is important because it shows the Czech s unique situation in both secular and religious affairs with the empire. Otto chose a Saxon named Thieddeg one of his own people and the ruling German tribe at the time to be the new bishop. Unfortunately, this generosity by Boleslav appears to have had little or no effect on the political climate. Chrobry s favor with the Germans did not last long. Otto III died suddenly in the beginning of 1002, and his cousin Duke Henry VI of Bavaria succeeded him as king after a strongly contested election. The Polish duke supported the duke s ascensi on, but only after taking Kuchenberg and the lands west of it up to the Elster river in exchange for Poland s support. 20 In the chaos of the succession, this seems to have gone largely unrecognized as an act of hostility by the Germans, ostensibly due to He nry s own political troubles associated with his kingmaking. David Warner notes the immediate resistance of malcontent nobility (most notably Henry of Schweinfurt, thr one, Henry II clearly promised many things to many people, and may never have 21 Almost immediately after Margrave Henry 20 Thietmar 5.9 10, 211 2. 21 Warner (2001), 215.


23 assassination attempt the Polish duke the perfect opportunity to play victim. Thietmar, the only recorder of this assassination attempt, adamantly swears it did not come from the new king, and given the domestic i nstability of the first year of Henry s reign, it seems unlikely that he would make such a rash decision. Making the most of his perceived mistreatment from the (1002 1018). Death of Boleslav II and Reign of Boleslav III With the congress of Gniezno signifying the downfall of German Czech relations and the zenith of those between Germany and Poland, internal struggles and weak personalities helped to bring about the furth er decline of Bohemia. Boleslav II of Bohemia died in 999, leaving his duchy to his son, Boleslav III (r. 999 1002). In an interesting show of western influence in Bohemia the dying Boleslav delivered a deathbed speech to his namesake, drawing allusions t o Charlemagne s deathbed speech to his son, Pepin. Advising his son in the manners and actions of a good duke (in Charlemagne/Pepin s case it was king), Boleslav II thresholds of churches, worship God, honor his prie 22 This shows the deeply entrenched Christian values among the P conscious Germanization prior to and during Boleslav II s reign. It does not seem, however, that Boleslav III followed his father s advice. Both


24 Cosmas and Thietmar think poorly of him, with the latter accusing t he new duke of incompetence, foolhardiness, and a quick temper. He also frequently describes the new s Bellum Civile ) and accuses the duke of oppressing his own people. 23 Notabl y, Thietmar does not list him in the number of important individuals who met with King Henry II on his iter regis the ceremonial journey of the king throughout his kingdom. This is important to note as the other Boles the event consequently illustrates the current relationship between the three ethnic groups Emperor s side while the Czech Boleslav was not. One of Boleslav III of Bohemia s worst acts, according to Thietmar, was the castration of his brother Jaromir (a future duke of Bohemia, r. 1004 12), and his exile with his other younger brother Ulrich (another future duke). 24 Unable to w ithstand the oppression, the Czech counts called upon a relative to the Polish Boles V ladivo j (r. 1002 3) to replace the sitting s, which gives the new duke of Bohemia as even worse than his deposed and universally reviled predecessor. He is accused of being a drunk 25 of Poland had to do with his relative s elevation to the Bohemian ducal throne. Suspiciously, Vladivoj died a year later (1003), Chrobry have been manipulating the tumultuous political climate of Bohemia the whole 22 Cosmas 1.33, 85. 23 Thietmar 5.23, 221. 24 Ibid.


25 time? He certainly would have found friends in the ever deliberately avoided involving himself in what should have been an easy sweep of power over the state in the absence of a Bohemian duke. Instead, Bole namesake (Boleslav III of Bohemia) to be recalled to his duchy by the Czechs, gambling that the formerly deposed duke would be unable to restrain his anger towards those who had previously ousted him. The gamble paid off. Bolesla v III and his followers gathered together all of his former detractors (including his own brother in law) and slaughtered them in the middle of Lent. 26 Thietmar s disgust is palpable, and his revulsion is very likely representative of the German attitude to Chrobry of Poland then took advantage of the universal disapproval of his Czech counterpart, and invited him into a trap. Cosmas claims that Boleslav III knew of the trap and commanded that Jaromir take his place u pon the ducal throne if anything bad were to happen to him. 27 This plan, of course, was thwarted by the ever present and always shady everything horrible. Thietmar does not mention this at all. Both chroniclers, however, are in agreement as to what took place at the meeting. 25 Ibid. 26 Ibid 5.29, 224 5. 27 Cosmas 1.34, 88 9.


26 The Polish Boles thus rendering him unable to rule. He marched with his army southwards, occupied Prague, and bestowed upon himself the title of Duke of Bohemia in what seems to have been a surprisingly bl oodless coup. 28 Under normal circumstances, this should have drawn the ire of the new German king. However, Henry II was otherwise occupied consolidating his power within Germany and ensuring the legitimacy of his crown. s aforementio ned clever trick seems to have been perfectly planned in order to do the most amount of damage to Bohemia while drawing the least amount of scrutiny from the Germans. Cosmas Inaccuracies Cosmas accounts of these events is terribly unreliable, and hi storian Lisa Wolverton wisely alludes to the danger in relying too heavily upon his writings on this subject. 29 He omits the entirety of the events of Boleslav III s reign, and in fact makes hardly any mention of Poland and its massive international importa Chrobry of Poland with his father, duke Mieszko I. Only eleven lines of his chronicle explicitly refer to the Polish invasion of Bohemia, while five lines are given as a reference to events in Cosmas era, and a further twe nty seven are used to describe (with immense heroic embellishment) the violent expulsion of the Poles by the Czechs in 1004. Furthermore, Cosmas refers to Jaromir as Boleslav III s son while he was really his 28 Thietmar 5.30, 225 29


27 younger brother. Facts involving Jaromir are fu rther misconstrued by Cosmas when we learn from Thietmar that Jaromir (and the youngest of the three brothers, Old exile imposed by the same eldest brother who castrated him. 30 Why these blatant inaccuracies and omissions exist is unclear. Cosmas obviously had access to Thietmar s work (he lifts several passages from it throughout his own work), yet manage s still to create an entirely untrue, biased, and mostly useless account of the events. It is entirely possible that Cosmas did not wish these events to be included within the Czech master narrative. As a historian with the power to shape the opinions of h is contemporaries (as well as a certain awareness of his own power), it seems plausible that Cosmas embarrassment over the events of 999 1004 led him to omit them entirely. Cosmas chronicle is without any doubt a nationalistic piece, and from an early tw elfth century perspective, these years would have been some of the darkest in the entirety of Czech history. That he glosses over them with such frivolity is very unlike Cosmas otherwise thorough nature and requires more analysis. I and the Coming of Jaromir Boleslav IV for a year. 31 However, King Henry II was clearly not blind to the events on the eastern edges of the empire and hat he took them into 30 Thietmar 5.29, 224 5. 31 Cosmas says two, though he may be considering Wlodowej s


28 consideration despite not having the means to act at that point. 32 Thietmar claims that the offer, knowing the King s delicate domestic position as a result of internal resistance many of the German margraves and counts on the border of his state, in order to threaten Henry II with additional domestic unrest. These included Henry of the Nordgau, who had a personal grudge against the king after the latter had falsely promised him the duchy of Bavaria. 33 e also been aware of Emperor Henry s escalating conflict with Italian Lombards who recognized Arduin of Ivrea as their true king. Unable to affect the taking of an eastern duchy by an enemy of the crown, Henry II really had no choice but to wait until bett er times in which to respond. II was finally able to turn his attention to Poland by early July of 1004. 34 Massing an army at Merseburg and using the river Neussen to transport su pplies, Henry made it seem to all that his target would be Poland itself. At the last moment, however, the king turned the army southwards and marched directly into Bohemia from the northwest. Led by Jaromir, brother of the blinded Boleslav III, the German army (with Czech contingents 35 ) occupied Prague in heroic fashion, driving out the Poles. Unsurprisingly, Cosmas does not mention the German army that accompanied Jaromir in reclaiming his birthright. When Jaromir and his brother Old 32 Ibid 5.30, 225 33 Ibid 5.13, 214 5. 34 Ibid 6.10, 244.


29 the empire. This does not explain, however, how by order of the king Jaromir found himself at the head of a German army whose express goal was to reclaim Prague for him. It is entirely possible that Jaromir plotted while he was away from his homeland and allied himself with the king after the election of 1002. This would help to explain the uncharacteristically strong Czech German relations that were created during Jaromir s time. Regardless of Jaromir s acti ons before the events of 1004, the results of his actions are clear: Boles way border in which he had previously ruled even the German section with uncontested authority. Czechs were once again in control of their own territory, with much deserved gratitude towards the Germans for their role in restoring order. In the wake of sharply waning German Polish relations, the Czechs under Jaromir were able to fill the void left behind and restore the positive relations between Germans and Czechs seen at the beginning of Boleslav II s ducal reign. This period from 973 to 1004 culminating with Polish dominion over Bohemia thus marks a formative point in Czech history. When we next examine subsequent P obsession with revenge against Poland, we see that that good relations between Czechs and Germans that marked the later centuries were by no means guaranteed. While Bohemia s relationship with the Empire had reached a prior zenith in 973 wi th the foundation of the bishopric of Prague, internal strife over the bishopric s creation and perceived Germanization by the Czechs led to worsening relations shortly thereafter. Ironically, the very act that helped to ingratiate the Czechs to the German Empire helped to worsen these same relations only a decade later. Coupled with a series 35 Ibid 5.11, 245.


30 of unintentional political mistakes involving Poland and Germany by Boleslav II (who was otherwise a strong friend of the empire), and the disastrous reign of his son, Boleslav Chrobry of Poland began drawing his duchy closer to the Germans to the detriment of the Czechs, thus furthering the latter s frosty relations with the Empire. O nly through the self strong foundations between Germans and Poles finally cast aside. Seeking a renewal of German favor, the Czechs under Jaromir, saw the destruction of German Polish relation s as a tool with which they could begin rebuilding their own relationship with the Empire and eventually seek revenge against Poland.


31 Chapter II : Revenge and Growing Pains We now begin the second era of German Czech relations, roughly marked in two stag es: first, a renewed commitment on behalf of the Czechs to pursue closer ties with Germany during the reign of Jaromir (r. 1004 1012) and the portion of Old s reign that corresponded to end of the the German Ottonian dynasty (1024). These two dukes most clearly show the seeking of renewal of strong ties to Germany, under the condition that Poland be made to suffer. s reign during the ( r. 1038 55). Stemming from mixed results of Bohemian German closeness, the Bohemian dukes in the beginning of the German Salian period had a more complicated relationshi p with the empire. Bohemia experienced growing pains resulting from their increased might and engaged in petty but ultimately meaningless squabbles with the empire. In the grand scheme of eleventh century Czech history, these conflicts were resolved by 104 2, and relations between Bohemia and Germany continued to become closer. Historians have said much of this period, but many have failed to see the larger picture; that there existed strong incentives for Bohemia to ingratiate itself with the empire. This era is also one that is quite easily tainted by strongly entrenched perceptions of modern Germans and Czechs and their history in the early twentieth century. Scholars like J. Thompson are quick to identify the strongly German leanings of dukes Jaromir and Old


32 1 He also claims that the Czechs were infatuated with resistance against fac tors of Germanization and believes that stronger German ties were a result of Czech inability to fight off Germanizing influences. These two claims are hard to reconcile with a more nuanced look at the relations between the Czechs and Germans. Making them even less believable are the very intentional steps taken by the Czechs throughout this period to ingratiate themselves with the Germans for the direct betterment of Bohemia and its people. Jaromir s relationship with the Empire This view of Czech subor dination by Germany does not correspond with fact. people, and knowingly manipulated the subordinate relationship of the Czechs with the Empire in order to protect C zech identity from foreign threats. In the wake of the disastrous five years between 999 and 1004, Bohemia was in a very poor position. When the strong relationship between Poland and Germany broke down, the Czechs were presented with an opportunity to pul l themselves out of shame and weakness. With the and the Czech counts, Jaromir triumphantly returned to Prague at the head of a German army. This is important beca use it shows that Jaromir began his reign by restoring ties with Germany. Faced with the realities of the previous five years, Jaromir likely realized 1 Thompson (1926), 618.


33 that Czech cultural preservation was directly intertwined with positive German relations. In a sense, the Germans had become the guarantors of Czech identity through the relationship of emperor and duke. At the same time, integration with Germany and German customs saw the extinction of nearly every Slavic group in old Germania Slavica and was by no means a safe method of preserving a culture. Clearly the relationship between the Czechs and the Germans (from a Czech perspective) was a delicate balancing act between the protection offered by close ties and the self determination needed to preserve Czech identi ty. Additionally, Jaromir inherited a duchy that was substantially smaller than it had been during the rule of his father Boleslav II. Although his army was able to drive out the Poles, the territory he regained did not include areas like Lusatia and Sil esia which were still under Polish rule. Bohemia also lost its own subordinate duchy of Moravia in the of these lands within the Bohemian duchy. Nonetheless, Jaromi r seemed determined to reclaim his birthright using German support as a medium through which to accomplish this. We know that the attitude and motive of the new duke Jaromir were pleasing to King Henry II, despite selfish motives. Thietmar describes the r etaking of Bohemia and Prague under the leadership of a Czech P his strongly negative attitudes towards the Czechs only a year earlier. The chronicler is also impressed by the vigor of the soon to be duke in clearing the land of Poles. He even seems to be impressed by Ja romir s charisma and his ability to reconvert the Czechs s] hoped


34 2 As further evidence of Thietmar s admiration for Jaromir s charisma, the German chronicler also states that came to the cit y of the res idents opened the doors to him, 3 Henceforth Jaromir repeatedly turns up on the side of the king, offering military reinforcements, 4 advice, 5 and diplomatic assistance. 6 In the last example, Thietmar even goes so far as to 7 Enforcing Czech Demands In one event in 1007, Jaromir indicates strong awareness of the delicate situation facing Bohemia as well as his active role in maintaining the security of the duchy. Three years into his reign, he had had much time to contemplate the happenings of the world around him. Rather unexpectedly, however, Jaromir, along with the slavic Liutizi tribe and the city of Wolin, gave Henry an ultimatum that could have been taken as an affront to King Henry. Commenting on Henry aw (a belief that Thietmar and Jaromir held in common), Thietmar records Jaromir as having told the king s] loyal service if he [the king] 2 Thietmar 6.12, 246. 3 Ibid 6.11, 245. 4 Ibid 6.22, 252. 5 Ibid 6.33, 259. 6 Ibid 6.56, 276. 7 Ibid 6.56, 276.


35 8 To Henry s credi t, he did not respond to this audacious ultimatum with anger but inst ead took council with his adviso rs, and the others. The Czech duke got exactly what he wanted. Iro nically, he had never really offered much of a bargaining chip to begin with Wolin and Bohemia were adjacent to the Polish border (to the north and south, respectively) and would have been the first to fall had Henry needed to defend his empire against Pol and. After being established as duke, Jaromir seems to have known implicitly that he would be immediately expected by Henry to take up arms against the old rival, Boles I. In effect, Bohemia would now have flipped sides twice, a worrying trend as it could have reduced Bohemia to little more than a pawn between two greater powers. Clearly no Czech would have wanted to go back to Polish rule (as partially evidenced by c hapter one s account of Cosmas glorified description of the retaking of Prague and the flight of the Poles) and so Jaromir was threatened by a repetition of history If Germany and Poland renewed their friendship, where would that leave Bohemia? Could anot her period of darkness deal a fatal blow to the P Thietmar. Living near the Bohemian border in Merseburg, Thietmar had his pulse on Czech political happenings, but also importantly on the relationship between the Bohemian duke and the king. Though Cosmas do es not mention the ultimatum (in fact he seems to miss much about these and the next few years, as discussed shortly), there is little doubt that the ultimatum was indeed made and that Jaromir knew exactly what he was doing; in other words, acting on behal f of the betterment of his people. 8 Ibid 6.33, 259 50.


36 End of Rule and Usurpation by Old Unfortunately for Jaromir, his tenure as duke lasted a mere eight years. Despite the rapid progress and change that happened during his reign, or maybe even because of s 9 Jaromir was ousted from power and blinded 37), who too was the son of old duke Boleslav II (r. 972 999). There are no sources other than Cosmas that describe this event, leaving Lisa Wolverton to conclude suc cinctly that 10 According to Thietmar, Jaromir originally planned to go to their that they had until then considered each other mortal enemies. 11 Instead, Jaromir arrived in Merseburg, the residence of Thietmar, where he further impressed our chronicler with his piety. 12 Shortly thereafter, Jaromir s luck sank even further. Henry II, cou nseled by bad advice and not wanting to deal with a minor succession crisis when his attention was rege ) he 13 Jaromir was placed in chains fo r the never before mentioned crime of having slaughtered several Bavarians who were coming to give crime occurred, it must have surely taken 9 Wolverton (2009), 92. 10 Wolverton (2001), 190. 11 Thietmar 6.71, 285. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid 6.83, 292.


37 place before Jaromir s ultimatum in 1007. Thietmar himself is highly cr itical of the king s 14 Though he sometimes the legitimate Czech duke 15 Despite Thietmar considering these events to be a very poor decision for both 012 37) came to power. His rule can and must be divided into two halves based on the end of the Ottonian line with Henry II (r. 1002 24) and the beginning of the Salian dynasty with Conrad II (r. 1024 39). Upon taking control d building upon good relations with Henry II and the Germans while still attempting to enforce Czech interests. In 1014, Prince Mieszko was 16 (correctly, adds Thietmar) that the plan was meant to work against him and against Bohemia, so he slaughtered the group as they arrived, taking Mieszko captive. Henry II was rightly outraged by the a bduction of the son of the Polish duke as it could threaten to inflame the already heightened tensions between the two powers. The emperor demanded When he saw that they conflicted w the emperor s demands. His response stressed first his commitment to the emperor and 14 Ibid. 15 Ibid 7.63, 352. 16 Ibid 7.10, 314.


38 his own unworthiness, but then arrives at the crux of the matter. If Mieszko were freed, he and his father would stop at no thing to enact their revenge upon Bohemia. With Mieszko as a hostage, however, Bohemia would have important influence chip over their the Emperor asks. In the end, the emperor ordered that Mieszko be released but not without s concerns would be resolved and a fair peace concluded. How this was meant to be accomplished is unclear, but the emperor, unintentionally or not, lied. Despite promis es that Bohemia would not suffer from the release of Mieszko, business in the empire, probably to attend a council with the emperor. Taking advantage s absence fr om his duchy, Mieszko of Poland invaded Bohemia under the for two days and the aggressors eventually returned to Poland with many captives. 17 se the raid to seize control like he did in 1003, he easily could have, given the little resistance he received, according to Thietmar. 18 This points to the possibility that instead of a calculated undertaking designed to increase the might of Poland, Miesz ko was simply enacting his revenge on the Bohemians for their treatment of him. It is possible that it was both about revenge and a strategic move at the same time The three year gap between Mieszko s captivity and his retribution indicates that a certain degree of thought precluded the raid from being a simple matter of retributive 17 Ibid 7.59, 350. 18 Ibid.


39 take his vengeance and to increase Poland s efforts against the Germans. Whether intention al or not, Henry II had not followed through on his promise and had failed to transg alongside his German allies against the Poles. 19 Finally, in January of 1018, peace was negotiated between the Germans and the Poles, effectively ending Czech involvement in th e 1002 18 war. Thietmar says that the negotiations were not as they should have been, 20 Most s like Silesia. s Second Phase of Rule Henry II died childless in 1024 ushering in a new era of Czech German corresponding to the reign of Henry II, not seem to have continued with this working relationship upon the crowning of the first Salian Conrad II (r. 1024 39). Like fight for the interests of Bohemia throug s son. 19 Ibid 7.59 63, 350 2. 20 Ibid 8.1, 361.


40 However, Henry II and Conrad II differ ed in their reception of Bohemian self interest. The ascent of Conrad II to the German throne began a period of (ultimately productive) tension between Germans and Czechs th at lasted until the beginning of the reign of Vratislav I (r. 1061 92). J. Thompson is not the only historian to completely ignore this changing period. s ascension to the throne after Henry [II] s death had no eff ect on the relationship between the empire and 21 Whether or not the physical ascension of Conrad to the throne directly changed the relationship is unclear, but it is certain beyond any doubt that the relationship between the empire and Bohemia ch anged drastically with the change of dynasties. Unfortunately, the historical record is not clear about what started these hostilities, s rule. In his entry for 1032, Wipo of Burgundy mentions in his Life of Conrad II t no reason for it. Wipo further describes Conrad Mieszko once again. 22 This time, however, Mieszko wish to buy an enemy from an enemy T his suggests to the point where the king would outright refuse to win the war in a single stroke if it involved being indebted to the a 21 Wolfram (2006), 226. 22 Wipo 29, 88.


41 friend of the Empire by Thietmar not even fifteen years earlier. What could have caused the falling out? Historians have made wild and ich did not show up to the diet of Merseburg in 1032, which greatly angered the emperor. 23 Unfortunately, this surely could not be the source of the tension as the diet was only issued after the war against Mieszko had been won. We already know from Wipo th as an enemy before this. Therefore it is c hronologically tenuous that Conrad would be heavily offended if an enemy of the state failed to make an appearance. Wolfgang Menzel Hungary (r. 997 1038), invaded the empire in 1029, at the same time as Mieszko s aforementioned failed offensive. 24 Although Stephen certainly participated in this offensive, it is unlikely that the Bohemians were their allies. Cosmas actually states quite the opposite garnered much praise. 25 Herman of Reichenau mentions this offensive in the same year but as a German endeavor, which suggests strongly that Cosmas m ay indeed be correct, despite writing almost a century after the fact. 26 Cosmas Odd Record of These Events Strangely, Jaromir receives almost no mention whatsoever by Cosmas. Being chiefly responsible for the upturn in Czech fortunes, it should be expec ted then that he 23 Such as by Wolfram (2006), 244. 24 Menzel (1869), 369. 25 Cosmas 1.41, 104.


42 would receive some mention by Cosmas, even if only at least a negative one due to his German leanings. To the contrary Cosmas takes great effort to rewrite history. Instead of acknowledging Jaromir s efforts to put the Czechs back on what he saw to be the right path, Cosmas deletes him from the narrative altogether. In 1004, the year of Jaromir s found his brother Jaromir, and sent him into exile; then, with the (here they 27 Obviously, Cosmas story diverges radically from that of Thietmar, who was both alive during and interested in the events discussed in the narrative. Thus Th ietmar s version is much more likely to be correct, especially when coupled with Cosmas well noted tendency to falsify a date or misconstrue a fact. 28 Far from being useless however, Cosmas revision of history opens up interesting questions about why suc h a discrepancy exists. I believe that Cosmas is intending to show a lesson to his contemporaries. Cosmas, a well learned man with a unique vantage point on international affairs, completed his work in 1125 in a period of Czech history violently dictated n ot by outside threats (like the Poles in the Ottonian era), but rather by internal familial chaos. The story of Jaromir and Old the former deposed by the latter in what can only be called avaricious ambition represented to Cosmas an important link between the first true intra mythic St. Vclav by Boleslav I of Bohemia, and Cosmas own day. In other words, it gave both mythical and historical credence for the intra familial strife that Cosmas saw as 26 Herman of Reichenau 1030, 66. 27 Cosmas 1.36, 92. 28 See Cosmas entries 1.33 5, 85 90.


43 so shameful. s death in 1037. According to Cosmas (and this should be taken with a healthy degree of skepticism), Jaromir returned to Prague, on the assumption that he would try to regain control of the city for another reign over Bohemia. 29 f everyone standing around view a view which ironically never saw fit to reveal most of Jaromir s life. It is possible the author felt that limiting the violence he recorded be tween the brothers was best in order to complete his lesson. In his lament, Jaromir forgives his dead brother for blinding him, does intend to teach a lesson, then it is unlikely that this section is meant to be facetious. Cosmas would have wanted Jaromir to forgive his brother. This precluded the possibility that future generations would fight over the strife between the two bro thers, as familial matters like this frequently bred infighting in Cosmas time. As a final entry in book one, Cosmas records that the took vengeance against Jaromir by assassinating him. 30 Cosmas also takes great liberties to again turn the reade r against the ever present era they last 29 Cosmas 1.42, 105 6. 30 Ibid 1.42, 107 8.


44 appear in 1108 where Cosmas records a final slaughter of their family. This makes his tle strife he deems to mention on an enemy that society has long since expunged. In his speech, Jaromir calls the narrative as enemies of order and peace in Bohemia. 31 the narrative as well as Cosmas use of them as a literary crutch. The most important portion of the recorded speech is t hat of Jaromir placing his important if we believe that Cosmas intended to teach a lesson. Taking the throne would Jaromir, one which Cosmas the tale on a happy note, that of familial reconci liation. While it is impossible to know if this was Cosmas intent, it certainly seems the most likely explanation for his omissions. It needs to be looked at alongside four key parts of the recorded narrative: 1.) Cosmas record of Jaromir s hopeful spee ch forgiving all his brother s sins, despite their number; 2.) the final portion of Cosmas version of Jaromir s speech where he slanders the and warns the new duke B wary of them; 3.) Cosmas record of Jaromir happily abdicating in favor of his enemy s 55) this all in spite of a readily vacant throne which would have been his for the taking; 4.) Jaromir s deat h in 1038, with which 31 Ibid, 107.


45 the author concludes a turbulent tale on one last note evil. s Personal History Germans alike for two heroic deeds. The first of these was the reconquest of Moravia, the province directly east of Bohemia that had been administered by the Czechs until Polish sometime between 1019 and 1029. The uncertainty in the dates stems from a difference of opinion between German and Czech historians. Cosmas gives the date as 1019, but given his past inaccuracy, this might not be correct. 32 Lisa Wolverton prefers a date aro und 1021. 33 I personally hold that an earlier view is more likely. Since the time of Boles s conquest of the Czech lands, he Poles [flee] from the cities among whom many he ordered captured and chained in a line to be sold in H 34 credit for this heroic defeat of their ancient enemy, the Poles, and his father gives him the territory of Moravia to rule as a dependency of Bohemia. The second important deed is the abduction of Judith of Schweinfurt, daughter of Henry of Schweinfurt (d. 1017), Magrave of the Nordgau. 35 Cosmas claims Judith s Ottonian lineage, but Lisa Wolverton importantly notes that none is known to exist, 32 Cosmas 1.40, 101 4. 33 Wolverton (2009), 188. 34 Cosmas 1.40,103.


46 suggesting strongly that Cosmas desired a connection to this roy al line in the next generation of P have been struck by love and, seeing no way to negotiate with her father for her hand in marri age, forcefully took her back to Bohemia with him. He stopped only to pay his towards the Czechs became increasingly colder around this time (with the ascent of Conrad II in 1024), it is possible that perhaps all was not forgotten as Cosmas seems to suggest particularly given the decade wide gap in potential dates; perhaps this event is mor e closely tied with Bohemia loss of Salian favor. s Campaign Against Poland suggest he would. As the new duke took power, Poland was technically under control of Kaz imi e rz I (r. 1034 58) but the reality of the po litical situation meant that Kaz im ierz was in exile until 1040. Kaz imi e rz inherited a duchy from his father Mieszko II (r. 1031 y. At the end of hi s reign, had forcefully made Poland a kingdom and crowned himself as its king, a tradition carried on by Mieszko. As a result of Mieszko s transgressions, Conrad II waged the aforementioned war against the Poles and forced Miesz ko to 35 Wolfram (2000), 243 4.


47 relinquish his title, thereby reverting the territory back to its pre At the same time, Bohemia had both never been stronger nor had a duke so 36 he began a grand pillaging of the land of his enemies that had never been attempted to such a degree by the Czechs. Cosmas describes the raid in awe, making copious use of biblical references and basing much of his wording on Regino of Prm s Chronicon in s army. Three important goals were accomplished by this foray. First was the sack of Krakow, the most important city ne ar the Czech border which had consistently been a tool in Polish schemes, including the conquest of Bohemia in 1003. 37 Cosmas the duchy. 38 The second was the sacking of G n i e zno, important for a similar reason as Krakow as well as marking a symbolic destruction of the 1000 congress of Gniezno in which the Germans and Poles became more closely bonded, to the immense detriment of the Czechs. The sacking of Gniezno leads t o the third major accomplishment by the from the Prussians who had martyred the C zech, and, until 1040, they had been held in Polish hands. By relocating these relics to the land of the saint sense finished the legend of Adalbert and succeeded in further entwining the saint with 36 Cosmas 2.1, 112. 37 Ibid, 112. 38 Ibid.


48 Czech nationalist sentiment a ll for this saint who deliberately fled from Bohemia because of the region s impiety. s Relationship with Czech Christianity s near mythic status in Czech history, t role in promoting the Church throughout the s reign began on this note as Cosmas remarks that, for the first time, the Kyrie Eleison was sung at the coronation of a new duke. This marked a new, henceforth unbroken tradition and Prague. It is unclear and perhaps deliberately left unstated where this tradition actually originated. Cosmas sim ply states that, after Jaromir s rousing speech in which he u! [ Kyrie Eleison 39 eyes with a reputation of piety that rivaled that of his grandfather Boleslav II the Pious. Cosmas description of the pillage of Poland can only be described as religious, and much s seizure of the relics of St. Adalbert, itself an immense act of piety, is described in similar language. On an the sins they committed, giving them humility on top of their pious acts. 40 39 Ibid 1.42, 106. 40 Ibid 2.3, 113 114.


49 Perha ps particularly noteworthy is the whole of Cosmas s book two, chapter four, which describes in detail great religious changes in Czech society. B have issued various decrees such as the closure of all markets on Sundays to mark the day s holiness. In a period in which the Church was attempting to eradicate the practice of sins like nicolaitism (clerical marriage) and simony (the purchasing of religious office) 41 defining marriage. The duke prescribed harsh punishment for breaches of these new laws, with all those who commit them being sent into exile in to Hungary, an area regarded by Czechs and Germans alike with disdain. War with the German Empire social and religious matters alike, his rule was soon challenged by none ot her than his lord, Emperor Henry III (r. 1039 1056). The son of Conrad II (d. 1039), Henry had in 1040. 42 Perhaps the new emperor felt threatened by the duke s flaunting of Czech military might near the Polish German border. More likely, the testy relationship between Conrad II and Bohemia had left a mark on Conrad s young son, Henry. This would hav e further been reinforced by literature intended for the emperor, like Wipo s Life of Conrad II which 41 42 Herman of Reichenau 1040, 72, and Cosmas 2.8, 123.


50 takes a negative view of Bohemia and Old 43 As such, Henry was most likely predisposed to a negative view of Bohemia. Taking an extreme view of matters, Cosmas simply accuses Henry of coveting the wealth taken by Bohemia in the raid on Poland. 44 This is probably a strong distortion of the fact Herman of Reichenau simply says that revolt? 45 In reality, this war could have been nothing more than a misundersta nding of the notoriously poorly defined relationshi p between Bohemia and the empire. The long standing question of Czech sovereignty and how it played out in the raid on Poland could very likely have exceeded the terms through which Henry understood the relationship. In differing ideas about what the semi autonomy of reiterated his unwavering loyalty to the emperor, but reminded him that it came with the stipulation that Henry must act in a just way towards Bohemia. 46 Throughout the over into Bohemia and began to destroy th e regions he encountered. Cosmas seems to suggest that Henry personally took part in this campaign. 47 Retreating deeper into and heat, the German soldiers were qui ckly overcome as Czech soldiers poured from the sides of the valley and cut down a large portion of Henry s troops. Cosmas respects the 43 Mommsen and Morrison (2000), 42 3. 44 Cosmas 2.8, 123. 45 Herman of Reichenau 1040, 72 46 Cosmas 2.8, 124. 47 Ibid 2.10, 126.


51 about the sudden death of so much 48 Henry was enraged at this defeat and sent anot her, larger army with the same goal the next year, in 1041. Herman states that the emperor took a different, less traveled route and because of this he achieved greater success than his first attempt on Bohemia. 49 According to both Herman and Cosmas, the co untryside of Bohemia was completely laid waste up to the gates of Prague. Here, sitting within the last defense of his duchy and surrounded by enemies on all sides, B treasury; we are yours and we wish t o be yours. He who rages against his own subjects is 50 s wrath and finally brings a lasting peace between the Boh emians and Germans. On a final, positive note, Henry III conquered. 51 almost nothing more about him unt il his death in 1055. At the same time, this must be s 48 Ibid. 49 Herman of Reichenau 1041, 73. 50 Cosmas 2.12, 28 9.


52 managed to hold onto the territory and riches he had taken from Poland and still managed to deal the hated enemies of the Czechs a crippling blow. As spectacular as the war between the Czechs and Germans was, there do not seem to have been many negative c onsequences to either side. Conclusion Bohemia faced many difficulties in the aftermath of the crisis of the turn of the 11 th century. It had suffered greatly (or at least saw themselves as having suffered greatly) under the rule of Boles Bohemia (1003 4) shaped the mentality of the Czechs for years to come. Jaromir, brother of the failed Duke Boleslav III of Bohemia, restored the duchy with the direct aid of the German empire and kept the security of Bohemia his sole aim as duke. Jaromir frequently took up arms in support of German endeavors, particularly against their hated rivals the s reign lasted only eight years. O s positive relationship with the Germans with the overarching goal of Bohemian autonomy until the end of the Ottonian dynasty in 1024. Here, after twenty years of increasingly improving relations between Germans and Czechs, the f irst challenge of this new period appeared. Under the rule of Conrad II, the empire took a decidedly sterner approach to Czech enterprises, particularly outside of the jurisdiction of the duchy. By 1029, Conrad regarded Bohemia as an enemy, a view he held until the end of his life in 1039. This view most likely was passed onto his son, 51 Steindorff (1874), 111 3.


53 Henry III. When B defender of the Church of Prague as well as a champion of Czech identity with his s campaigns outside of his border angered the already anti Czech Henry III and led to a two year war with the Empire. The war culminated in war. In this way emperors against the Czechs, a resentment that had in the past proven detrimental to s diplomatic skills and luck salvaged the relationship be tween the two peoples and brought it back to friendly terms. At the end of


54 Chapter III : The Kingdom of Bohemia After the experienc ing internal problems within the ruling family. alter the relationship between Germans and Czechs but was unable to do so because of his short lifespan and an unresponsive empire. His next ol dest brother, Vratislav, centralized secular and religious authority into his one office and brought about the raising of Bohemia from a duchy to a kingdom in 1086. This event marks the highpoint of German Czech relations as well as the zenith of Bohemian international influence these two things were not unrelated. B Such campaigns had become a sort of common aim of both Czechs and Germans since the mid tenth century and each side often relied upon the other for aid in them. Cosmas records 1 This was not to be, however, and vers s deathbed speech in which the dying duke passed his dukedom onto s speech invokes a uniquely Czech Christianity which had by this time become entrenched in and in separable from the culture of Bohemia (and Moravia). The old duke publicly denounced any plans to split the kingdom between his sons, citing as justification the biblical reference of Cain and Abel, the imperial reference of Romulus and Remus, and


55 the stri ctly Czech reference of St. Vclav and Boleslav. 2 In his rationale for giving his entire kingdom to his eldest son B keen awareness of a key difference in his historical period compared to that of his he family was himself according to Cosmas, and used the aforementioned biblical, imper ial, and historical references to prove that multiple offspring led to violence. powerless if the duchy were split evenly, the partition might have diffused too much authority of the ducal position and rendered the political authority of the ruling family nonexistent. the complexities as much as Cosmas would have liked his audience to believe, because his younger sons would only lead to violence, causi ng as much harm to his realm as 3 successfully foresee all of the difficulties facing the duchy as a result of his many Moravia to sate the younger brothers 1 Cosmas 2.13, 130. 2 Ibid. 3 Wolverton (2001), 197.


56 ambitions would not begin to solve the problem of intra On the contrary, it merely provided a new threat. 4 s reign was one marked by numerous ra dical policies. However, the effects of these policies were inconclusive and in many cases garnered no response at all. see the results of his endeavors. He died in 1 061, after less than six years as duke. The s policies was that his successor, Vratislav II, reversed many of them. The final important reason was the fact that responses from the empi re were delayed by the death of Henry III in 1056, a duchy less than a year earlier. Henry III s son, Henry IV, was only six at the time. Instead, control of the empire was in the hands of the new king s mother, Queen Agnes, and Archbishop Anno of Cologne. 5 The early years of the regency government were troubled and as such, the happenings of Bohemia were increasingly made peripheral to greater priorities within the em pire. Spytihn s first and most decisive policy was the attempted removal of all Germans from Bohemia. He most likely did this in order to redefine the Czech nature of the duchy, but could have also had a more personal motivation. Steindorff proposed that 4 61) will be henceforth referred to without his number. 5 Berthold of Reichenau 2 nd version 1062, 117 8.


57 two year war, which would have explained a grudge on behalf of the duke against Germans. 6 Herman of Reichenau mentions that a son was sent as hostage, but does not name which of the five it was. The expulsion of Germans included the duke s own mother, the same Judith of Schweinfurt his father had so daringly snatched away from the Empire in his youth. 7 This expulsion is viewed in mostly positive light by Cosmas, though he does not li nger on it for long. It must be looked at with skepticism, however, as there was still strong German presence in Bohemia. In the time of Spytihn s successor, Vratislav, numerous Germans were to be found all around the region, particularly in s five year reign or not as many Germans were expelled as Cosmas seem s to suggest. The truth is most likely a mix of these. The early twelfth century Vita Minor of St. Prokop of Szava (just southeast of Prague) written by a monk of the monastery of the same name, records the expulsion of the existing order of monks by Spy tihn and most importantly their replacement with Germans. 8 s rationale for this act was that the monks were using and teaching with the Slavonic script instead of the Latin script. s action cannot be unders tated. As community; he replaced them with Germans whose adherence to the Latin rite could be 9 This action contradicts Cosmas historical record as Germans were su pposed to 6 Steindorff (1876), 69 70. 7 Cosmas 1.40, 101 4. 8 (2001),134 5. 9 Wolverton (2001), 135.


58 be leaving, not entering the duchy. Much room for competing theories exists, but I believe that an expulsion of Germans must have happened to some degree alongside the replacement of the monks of Szava It is also entirely possible that such an expulsion would not have drawn the ire of the neighboring Empire because of the previously mentioned political state of the regency government. At best, the reliance on Germans to continue century old tradition of the championing of the Latin script in the region was actually pleasing to the Empire. s Policies s own compromising of his anti German efforts underscored his continued dedication to the magnificence of the Church of Prague. While nothing about the Latin sc ript is inherently Czech, the dedication to the Latin script as later reaffirmed by pope Gregory VII 10 the Churc h of Prague. 11 wherein he defended the honor of a peasant he encountered. also reaffir m the existence of a specifically western pan Europeanizing authority over of Czech Christianity, which by this point was already firmly entrenched within the Czechs as a whole, not just in select families like the 10 Codex Diplomaticus et Epistolaris Regni Bohemiae (CBD) no. 81. 11 Wolverton (2001), 132.


59 s own desires in th is matter cl early support this view. First his uncompromising wish for Latin script over Slavonic underscores the continued closeness with the culture and doctrines of the west instead of Byzantium. Consequently this European hand in Czech affairs is fund amentally Germanizing because the authority of the Church and its papacy flows through the German portion of the empire, and not, for example, the Italian or Burgundian sections. Clearly geography holds the answer as to why this is the case, but this does not make the fact any less critical. It is also important to recall that the Czech church was officially subordinate to the archdiocese of Mainz. Importantly, this authority was strongly questioned a few years later, and the relationship between Mainz and Prague has remained a topic of contention for historians. 12 Spytihn Bohemia had done all that was necessary to link itself to the Roman Church, and indeed it had not. Accor ding to Wolverton, a striking aspect of Czech society at this time and earlier was the dominance of Germans among the monasteries of Bohemia and Moravia. 13 A good example of this is the monastery of Ostrov, who took its first abbot from Niederalteich in 100 0. 14 It is one thing to acknowledge this reality, but an entirely different thing altogether to import further influence from the west in order to fix what Spytihn s own domestic clergy were deemed incapable of doing. s wish that ducal authority be given to his eldest son, to the detriment of all others. He did not, however, have much time to 12 Wolverton (2001), 115, best explained in Graus (1969). 13 Wolverton (2001), 123. 14 CDB no. 41.


60 enforce this. Upon taking the throne at the young age of twenty four, he seems to have attempted to frighten his brother Vratislav, who was given only half of Moravia by his shrewd father. He did this by holding a large assembly of the Czech nobility at Chrudim in Moravia, most likely in an attempt to advertise the authority of his office to his brother within the latter s own territory. 15 Since his other three brothers were all underage, they were not perceived to pose the same threat to Spytihn s rule as Vratislav. As a result of the political pressure placed on Vratislav, he fled the country and went into Hungary s reign as duke was unremar kable despite numerous actions and decisions that should by all means have been memorable. Coinciding with a to increase the independence of his duchy while strengthening t he national Church. Despite great effort to rid his land of Germans, he found that he could not be as successful in promoting the Church without them. Germans remained a significant force despite their ouster. As such, he and his rule in many ways symboliz e the constant struggle of the Czech duke s to balance the necessary the integration with the empire (and by consequence Germans) and their long desired sovereignty. Even his dedication to the well being of the Church was set back as his successor shared th e opposite view as he on the Latin script. Vratislav was a strong proponent of the Slavonic, a radical divergence s policies. Nonetheless, there were some lingering effects of his r ule. The new cathedral at Prague stood as a testament to the endurance of the Czech church within the country. 15 Wolverton (2001), 197


61 Ascension of Vratislav II (r. 1061 92) 16 There can be no certainty over what involvement, if any, Vratislav had in his older brother s death. W hat is known, however, is that he managed to be the first of the remaining brothers on the scene despite his relative distance from Prague. Vratislav only returned to his homeland from Hungary when the brother who had caused him so much anxiousness died. R egardless of any foul play, Vratislav s reign is marked by a consolidation of sovereignty away from the empire. This was accomplished by a combination of good timing, personal charisma, and canny political decisions that ensured the reliance upon the Czech s by both Emperor and pope. Vratislav was never afraid to test the boundaries of his authority and would frequently question the exact relationship between the empire and Bohemia through use of his ducal authority over portions of the empire. Despite a pro clivity for political aggression, Vratislav proved himself an indispensable ally to the empire, one upon which heavily rested the security of the emperor s position. At the same time, he was also able to ingratiate himself to the popes, particularly Gregor y VII. Most impressively he, he managed to do this during a time where the empire was at war with itself over the relationship between Pope and Emperor. In short, to be a staunch friend to both was not only incredibly difficult to manage, but something whi ch only Vratislav himself was able to do. Upon assuming the throne, Vratislav immediately showed a propensity to wield his ducal authority as a weapon. When Vratislav was forced to leave his pregnant wife


62 her prisoner. s wife s foot to his own. 17 pregnant to move safely and fatally injure d herself and the fetus during travel. Cosmas When Vratislav assumed the throne, he bore a certain resentment against the man and soon had an opportunity for revenge. new church and make the city joyful with his presence. Vratislav seems to first have with Bishop Severus of Prague shortly thereafter, news came to him that his county had been taken from him and given to another by Vratislav s command. At this, the bishop advised the out of favor cou nt to flee Bohemia, which Cosmas believes saved the imprudent man from the loss of his eyes and the foot used to shackle Vratislav s wife. 18 This shows that Vratislav was not afraid of resentment against him on behalf of his nobles, a stark change from a ce ntury earlier. In other instances of shrewd use of authority, Vratislav hindered the ambitions of his siblings in very much the same way his older brother had done. Take for example the nature of Vratislav s relationship with his younger brother Geb hard. As related in the intro, a 16 As with 17 Cosmas 2.15, 133. 18 Ibid 2.19, 138.


63 e request of his younger, to the study of letters so that he could tend to the bishopric of Prague after the death of Severus. 19 At this, Vratislav immediately tonsured his younger brother and made him a deacon of the cathedral. Cosmas sees this as a testimonial to the dedication of Vratislav to the Church of Prague and to the duke s piety. In fact, he probably meant this story to have moral value. For the most part, howe ver, Vratislav remained content (though certainly cautious) as to the ambitions of his younger brothers Conrad and Otto. Cosmas does not comment on the autocratic nature of Vratislav s forceful direction of Gebhard s future. Nevertheless, Vratislav s act ions strongly suggest that he was afraid of Gebhard s possible ambition. s solution to the sharing no ducal authority and ensuring that no family member had the ability to challenge the duke in any way. hostage taking of his brother s wife. Vratislav just stifled resistance better and more dramatically too, if we are to believe Cosmas. Bishop Gebhard and the Creation of the See of Olomouc While this action clearly s et the tone for the ongoing battle of wills between Vratislav and Gebhard, their relationship became increasingly entwined with internal Czech politics, secular as well as religious. In 1063, Vratislav moved to exercise his secular ducal authority over the Church by creating the entirely new diocese of Olomouc, 19 Ibid 2.18, 137.


64 ostensibly to serve Moravia better. For all of Moravia s existence since its reconnection to Bohemia, it had been under the jurisdiction of the see of Prague, itself subordinate to the archdiocese of Mainz. Vratislav did this with the consent of Bishop Severus of Prague; notably absent were the permission of the pope and Archbishop Siegfried of Mainz. 20 Whether or not Mainz was even consulted is unknown, and causes one to question the level of oversigh t that the archdiocese retained over Prague by the Vratislav s time. Indeed, Siegfried expressed support in 1073 for Gebhard s idea of doing away with the partition and return to the single see of Prague 21 this suggests that despite a lack of approval, Vrat islav was able to get his way regardless of the feelings of his superior. At some point shortly after the diocese s creation, Siegfried would have had to have personally consecrated Jan, the first bishop of Olomouc, whatever the archbishop s own feelings o n the matter were. Gebhard also seems to have not been consulted in any way. Given that Vratislav was proposing to halve the authority of his proposed position, the younger brother seems to have remained quiet. This of course triggers a certain degree of skepticism as to why Vratislav decided to exercise his secular authority over the diocese. It is very possible that this was an additional part of a grander scheme against his brother, driven by Vratislav s own fear. Although Gebhard s grooming for the eve ntual head of the Church of Prague was explicitly confirmed by Vratislav in 1061, the duke contradicted his own stated wishes on the matter upon the death of Bishop Severus in 1067. Hastening toward Prague after news of the bishop s death, the younger brot hers Conrad and Otto retrieved 20 Wolverton (2001), 132. 21 CDB no. 61.


65 Gebhard, who was in Poland at the time, 22 in order to ensure that Gebhard would take up his office as expected. Here, Vratislav acted in a way that is difficult to comprehend. Instead of raising Gebhard to bishop as his brothe rs requested, the duke looked toward a hitherto unreferenced man named Lanzo. Cosmas records him as a German from Saxony, partially showing Vratislav s desire to continue the relationship with Germany. 23 Vratislav once more underscores the prevalence of Ger mans in Czech society. As one would expect, Conrad and Otto, the Moravian brothers of the duke, were not pleased with this news. When describing Vratislav s rationale for this sudden change of heart, Cosmas only says that it was part of a grander scheme: man, guileful at feigning and dissembling situations, like a little fox that has not fled 24 What that scheme is, however, is left up to the interpretation of the reader. We cannot be certai n, but it seems that he is implying that Vratislav desired poor relations with both Gebhard in Prague as well as Conrad and Otto in Moravia. In some way, garnering this familial animosity was an intentional and necessary step to take for Vratislav. This c ould mean one of several things. Fear of Vratislav may have been meant to act as negative reinforcement to the brothers should they chose to go against his wishes. Perhaps Vratislav wanted this anger directed at him so that the duke could act more swiftly and decisively against his brothers should the need arise. Finally, it also could motivate a brother to act irrationally and take arms against the duke, thereby giving Vratislav an expedient route to remove a complex problem with little recourse. Lisa 22 Cosmas 2.22, 140. 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid 2.22, 141.


66 Wolv erton does not believe that such a scheme was intentional on Vratislav s part, but rather that his plan to have Lanzo instead of Gebhard simply backfired on him. 25 Wolverton seems to be intentionally glossing Cosmas s words on the matter, or at least not gi ving them the credit they deserve. On the issue, Cosmas explicitly states that something else [ie his plan to raise Lanzo to bishop] to his brothers with his mout 26 This must imply that something motivated Vratislav to act in this way. Involvement in the Saxon Rebellion Vratislav never faced a scenario that tested his relationship with the empire until he had already ruled for over a decade. In 1073, the young King Henry IV, his reign now firmly under his own control, managed to alienate Saxony, one of the most important duchies of the empire, through numerous nave policies towards the Saxons. First, he spent a great deal of his time there in his palace at Gos lar, which both caused a great deal of a strain to the countryside which had to provide for him as well as angering the population by having the king s eye so consistently gazing upon a single territory. 27 This overstay of his welcome was made particularly worse by his own ethnic leanings the Salian family came from Swabia. The king was very much an outsider to the Saxons and most certainly not welcomed as a beloved lord. Henry managed to isolate himself further through his alleged impiety, most 25 Wolverton (2001), 139. 26 Cosmas 2.22, 141. 27 G. A. Loud in Lampert (2004), 2.


67 particular impiety through his simoniacal behavior. What most enraged the Saxons, however, was his aggressive campaign of castle building within Saxony. Castles would have been consider ed an imperial tool to reassert Henry s authority over Saxony. The king had a penchant for garrisoning these new, military fortifications with Swabian ministeriales (a class of serf knight unique to Germany at this time). This habit reaffirmed the belief t hat the emperor had an agenda against Saxony. Frutolf of Michelsberg, who generally took a favorable view of Henry during this time, says that the Saxons endeavored to build strongholds of their own since they had very few in the region. It was strictly th e fact that it was imperial directive and not a Saxon one to which the Saxons objected. 28 Henry stubbornly refused to meet with those who took umbrage to his policies, and fled his personal castle in Saxony, the Harzburg, to Worms. 29 Enraged, the Saxons wen t to the Harzburg and looted the grave of Henry s infant son, whose body have been interred there to act as a sort of religious tourist attraction to bring wealth into Saxony (i.e., as a tool to aid the Saxons). 30 Ultimately this stalled the rebellion as po pular opinion turned against the revolting Saxons for this unholy action. 31 The peace lasted only for a matter of months and by early 1074, Henry had taken the offensive against Saxony. With support from influential and wealthy nobles like Otto of Nordheim, whom Henry had wronged in the past by stripping him of his duchy of Bavaria and corresponding title, Saxony and neighboring Thuringia were able to effectively fight the emperor until 1075 due to the emperor s poor standing among his nobles. 28 Frutolf 1073, 41. 29 Berthold 1073, version 2, 129. 30 Frutolf,. 42.


68 Vratislav fir st appears in the narrative in 1075, Frutolf, Berthold, and Lampert all agree on Vratislav s role in the conflict. 32 Bruno of Magdeburg writes in his De Bello Saxonico incorrectly and with intent to insult Henry that Vratislav was Henry s only ally. 33 The in tended insult here is that Henry was so unpopular that he had to rely on the help of non Germans in order to preserve his authority. It is clear, however, that Bruno was exaggerating other pro Saxon and pro reformist chroniclers record the aid of Swabia, L ower Lotharingia, and Bavaria in the same offensive. 34 Regardless, Vratislav stood out from the rest of those who supported Henry. Lampert wrote that Vratislav s contingent was so large and mighty that it was deemed by the emperor able to enforce his wishes 35 Thankfully for Henry, military effort at Langensalza his first involvement in internal imperial affairs was successful Vratislav s role is clearly decisive. Interestingly, Cosmas makes no mention of this entire invol vement whatsoever. It is unlikely that he simply had not heard of Vratislav s campaign within the empire and this omission is probably best explained by Cosmas not believing that these internal matters within the empire were important to the internal struc ture of Bohemia. 31 Lampert,184 5. 32 Frutolf, 43, Lampert, 215, Berthold, 136. 33 Bruno of Magdeburg, 16, 24. 34 Berthold 1074, 135 6. 35 Lampert, 250.


69 Defeater of Anti King Rudolf of Rheinfelden Above all, Henry IV was most indebted to Vratislav for his service against anti from Saxony), Henry declared Pope Gregory VII (r. 1073 85) deposed on account of being unfit to hold the position. 36 Gregory s response to his own deposition was predictable he excommunicated Henry and all of those who served him, including the bishops whom Henry had invested. While Henry was quick to attempt to make amends, 37 the problems caused for the emperor by his excommunication remained. His excommunication served as an additional rallying point around whose banner more rebels against the emperor would rally. One of the chief among these new rebels was Archbishop Siegfried of Mainz. Siegfried attempted to use his authority to the detriment of Henry upon the latter s expulsion from the church. In early 1077, Rudolf was elected king at Forchheim by all of the chief members of the rebellion (Duke Berthold of Carinthia, Otto of Nordheim, Bishop Adalbero of Wrzburg, and many others 38 ) to be the true king and Henry IV was declared deposed. It did not matter that Henry was restored to communion because this d id not directly imply that he had been reinstated as king. Frutolf claims that Gregory 39 On March 21 st Rudolf was anointed by Siegfried at Mai nz. The same year, Vratislav was again called upon to interfere in internal imperial 36 Frutolf 1076, 46 37 Henry was rece ived back into the church taking penance at the Italian castle of Canossa. 38 Frutolf 1077, 47, for a full list, see Robinson (1979), 721.


70 affairs. Berthold of Reichenau records that Vratislav was present in Henry s campaign during the fall and winter of 1077 against Swabia, Rudolf s duchy. Here, Berthold ex defended by Czechs, not Germans. 40 In January 1080, Vratislav took the field against R udolf himself and achieved much personal glory for his actions. Frutolf, being pro imperial, records Vratislav s valor after the latter routed the Saxons and personally captured Rudolf s lance. 41 Pro reformist Berthold on the other hand, denounces Vratislav 42 Berthold also accuses Vratislav of pillaging church land. Vratislav and Bohemia of course had no direct personal stake in this quarrel between imperial and reformist factions. The Ch urch of Prague had long enjoyed a certain independence from the happenings within the empire and it was unlikely that the religious reforms intended by Gregory would have affected in any substantial way the role of the Church in the Bohemian lands. Vratisl av s assistance was likely called upon by his lord rather than offered. Still, the strength which Vratislav used on behalf of his emperor was astounding. Until this point in Czech history, no Czech army had been so feated Henry III s army in 1041 but only through geographical advantage and cleverness and his resistance was quickly stifled by another, larger army. It seems that under Vratislav Czech military strength greatly increased from the days of his predecessors This is somewhat surprising for a duke who 39 Ibid. 40 Berthold, 190. 41 Frutolf, 50.


71 took about fourteen years to engage in any sort of military endeavor, which shows that the duke must have been preparing for some sort of military involvement. What specifically the duke was preparing for is a h arder question to answer as Vratislav could not have anticipated the many political nuances within the empire. Regardless, it is nearly certain that something made the duke desire a more threatening military arm armies do not become internationally formida ble by accident. Offensive against Austria In 1081, Vratislav began one of his most ambitious endeavors, the invasion of the Margravate of Austria under Liutpold II (r. 1075 95). This invasion of a portion of the empire shows both Vratislav s ambition a nd the political state of the German empire. Vratislav did this with the obvious permission of Henry IV. This is because Liutpold had revolted against the emperor shortly before his Italian expedition in 1081, leaving Henry surrounded by more foes than he had expected. 43 It is nearly impossible to imagine that Vratislav would have been able to conduct an offensive against Germans within the empire without the emperor s support. Certainly Henry would otherwise have objected to such a campaign within his own t erritorial authority if the political climate were different. Bohemia became directly involved in this struggle the same time as Liutpold s revolt as a result of an independent squabble between Liutpold and Conrad of Moravia. Moravia, specifically the sou thern portion which faced Austria had for a long while been 42 Berthold 1080, 241. 43 Von Knonau, 462 7.


72 under continuous nightly raids from Austrian looters. At the same time, Austria experienced much the same from Moravia. Cosmas attributes this to geography as the border between the two was flat e xcept for a small, easily fordable river. 44 Taking a rather sober view, Cosmas does not support either side in what he sees as a conflict that worked toward the detriment of both lords. Vratislav involved himself in the dispute at his brother s request and quickly took the initiative with no effort to hide his motives to the Austrian margrave. Sending a message to Liutpold to announce the imminent war, Vratislav brazenly marched a Czech army (which consisted of a number of Bohemians 45 ) into his enemy s territory. invade western Austria at the same time as the Czech army invaded from the north. 46 Flanked by foes all around, Liutpold s resistance was unsuccessful and the battle ended in a decisive victory for the Czechs. Relations with the Church and Papacy Vratislav s reign over Bohemia c oincided with the pontificates of thee popes Gregory VII (r. 1075 85), Victor III (r. 1086 7), and Urban II (r. 1088 1099) but only Vratislav s relationship with Gregory VII has begun to be understood by historians, owing to a lack of sources describing th ese other relationships. Despite pro imperial 44 Cosmas 2.35, 157. 45 Ibid 157. 46 Ibid.


73 leanings, Vratislav remained remarkably close to Gregory. Although Vratislav s decisive ly participated against the military forces of those who supported Gregory, Vratislav managed to construct for himself a di plomatic niche which no one else in the Empire (or even in Italy) managed successfully. Simply put, Vratislav managed to maintain close ties with the empire and papacy despite these two factions hatred of one another. Gregory VII first became directly in volved with Vratislav in 1073, at the beginning of his pontificate. On account of the grievous harm done by Bishop Gebhard to Bishop Jan of Olomouc, 47 Gregory personally supported Vratislav s desire to reprove his younger brother. We know this from a letter written by Gregory to Vratislav this same year in which Gregory sends two papal legates to Bohemia. 48 Cosmas says that they were correct errors, reprove the disobedi ent, upbraid unbelievers, and strike the negligent with anathema in the pope 49 As far as we know, these two legates are the first to be sent to Bohemia. Gregory further addressed the matter on Vratislav s side when he wrote to Bishop Gebhard deman ding him to answer to the pope in person at Rome. 50 Gregory wrote another seventeen letters to Vratislav, Gebhard, and others on this matter between 1073 and 1080. They show a strong desire on behalf of the new pope to build strong ties with Bohemia, but a lso with Vratislav personally since Gregory was interfering in what was in all reality a familial matter. 51 The dates of these letters show 47 See page 1 of intro for a more detailed account of this narrative. 48 CDB no 62, 63 4. 49 Cosmas 2.29, 150. 50 CDB no. 65 6, 68 70. 51 s to the Czechs can be found in CDB nos. 62 73, 75 7.


74 the papal privilege received by Vratislav throughout both his war against the reform minded Saxons (1075) as well as his war against the explicitly reformist anti king Rudolf of Rheinfelden and his pan German army (1077). Although the relationship would have been expected to sour much more and at a much sooner date due to the Czech duke s avid wielding of secular power, Vratislav was never issued anything stronger than a friendly warning. But Vratislav never actually took the field against an army directly supported by the pope, and while all three examples of Vratislav s interference on behalf of the emperor involved th e suppression of supporters of papal reform, none of them had been officially endorsed by the pope. In the most obvious example, Rudolf of Rheinfelden had not been recognized by Gregory as legitimate king in 1079 when Vratislav intervened against him on th e emperor s behalf. In was not until early 1080 at one of the Lenton synods that Gregory declared Henry deposed and the new king to be Rudolf of Rheinfelden. Notably, Vratislav did not take up arms against the anti king once he had papal support. Another p ossible explanation for the surprisingly good relationship between the Czech duke and the pope is that the duke was a charismatic and diplomatic man. Personal magnetism seems to have been one of Vratislav s stronger personality traits. This is suggested el sewhere by the fact that he was the first duke since Boleslav II to avoid war with Hungary, partially but certainly not wholly a result of his friendship with Andrew I (r. 1047 60) and his daughter Adelaide, whom he took as his wife in 1057. With this in m ind, it is not at all hard to believe that Vratislav s personality endeared him to many, including the most bitter of enemies. It is also worth highlighting that Vratislav refused to acknowledge the authority of imperial anti upporters of Henry did. We know this


75 Vratislav s reign in which the anti pope complained to Vratislav about the latter s repeated disregard for the authority of the false pope. 52 That Vratislav never took up arms against an army supported by the papacy and that he refused to recognize the anti pope of his emperor must be related to the broader context of Czech German relations. These two examples of pro papal leanings flew in the face of Vratislav s imperial duties and are consequently also tools Vratislav used to define the relationship of his duchy to the Empire. On one final note clarifying both the relation ship between these two figures, regory highlighted desire for a unique sort of Czech independence, this time from the universal Church. Immediately upon taking the throne in 1061, Vratislav expelled the German monks brought in by his brother xiled Czech monks in order to promote the Slavonic script. 53 Jumping forward almost two decades to 1080, the matter of use of the Slavonic script was brought to Gregory s attention when Vratislav asked for papal support of his intended reform. Gregory s opi nion on the matter did not vary from his ninth and tenth century counterparts only the Latin script will suffice, with no exception. 54 Vratislav did not heed Gregory s orders. He kept the Slavonic monks in place and they only left upon being exiled once m ore after Vratislav 52 CDB, no. 94. 53 Vita Minor of St. Prokop, 148. 54 CDB, no. 81


76 55 Thus, Vratislav used his ducal authority to bring about the res urgence of the sc ript within Bohemia The use of the Slavonic script went against the explicit desires of both empire and papacy, yet it seems that neither had the means to rebuke Vratislav. The Slavonic script represented a distinctly non German means of interacting with Scripture and his fervent desire to reinstate this script, then, can be seen as an active attempt to define the distinction between the Empire and his duchy, as well as Germans (or even Poles) and Czechs. In no way is this less significant than s perhaps more obvi ous attempt to do the same through his expulsion of Germans. King Vratislav By 1082, Vratislav had firmly established himself as a protector of imperial authority on three separate occasions. First, Vratislav served as staunch ally to the emperor during the Saxon Revolts and Henry happily placed his complete reliance in the duke. Second, he fought and achieved immense personal glory against the reform papacy through his decisive defeat of anti king Rudolf of Rheinfelden. Finally, the Czech duke served as an enforcer of imperial overlordship in suppressing revolts against the emperor s rule, as exemplified through the example of the uprising of Margrave Liutpold of Austria. As a result of this heretofore unrivaled service to the emperor by a Czech duke, V ratislav was rewarded by the raising his status from duke to king by Henry IV via the 55 Wolverton (2001), 134


77 emperor s own hand at Mainz. 56 Lisa Wolverton takes a rather conservative view of this cal of Vladislav II (reigned as duke from 1140 58, then as king from 11 58 Otakar (reigned as king from 1198 1230), whose crownings she describes as the r esult of conscious policies and deliberate negotiation. 57 It is true that Henry IV most likely did not envision himself so indebted to Vratislav for the Czech s services and the emperor almost certainly had not intended to elevate the duke to a position of greater prestige and authority before the events of 1075 and after. However, to say that the crowning was a happy accident is to ignore Czech motivation in providing such service to the emperor. While Vratislav may not have hoped for the title of king, he certainly must have desired the freedoms that came with it namely increased sovereignty from the empire. Summary Vratislav s reign cannot be described as wholly subservient to imperial order, especially when one considers how he overstepped ducal autho rity in order to commit such brazen acts as the reinstatement of the Slavonic script, directly disregarding numerous and longstanding papal and imperial orders against such policy. The radical partition of the diocese of Prague is another such example. One of the most illuminating aspects of the unique political situation of Bohemia at this time was Vratislav s equally 56 Cosmas 2.37, 160. 57 Wolverton (2001), 252.


78 good relationship with Pope Gregory VII which must have gone against the wishes of his lord and emperor. Additionally, Vratislav still part icipated in military endeavors against Germans after his crowning, but in none of these instances on behalf of the king. 58 Instead, they were campaigns to avenge the honor of two slain Czech nobles as well as to incorporate German territory into Bohemia. Th ese actions do not support the idea that Vratislav was merely a powerful pawn of Henry. Perhaps most efficacious in dispelling any ideas of imperial subservience on behalf of Vratislav is the difference of opinion between the emperor and the newly crowned king shortly after the latter s anointment. As a result of what Cosmas describes as imperial manipulation on behalf of Gebhard against his brother and for his own benefit as bishop of Prague, the emperor redefined the papal letter that effected the creati on of the diocese of Prague in 973 and invoked an imperial privilege to once again define the borders of the diocese as including the territory then overseen by the diocese of Olomouc. 59 In no uncertain language, Henry forced Vratislav to merge the two dioc eses back together to be administered from Prague. While it seems that Vratislav initially complied with these demands, he reneged shortly thereafter by recreating the diocese of Olomouc in 1090 and raising his friend and chaplain Vecel to the rank of bish op of Moravia. 60 This went directly against the wishes of the emperor, but Henry does not seem to have been able to do anything about it, or overlooked it on account of Vratislav s past service to him. This shows in no uncertain terms the lengths to which V ratislav would go to get his way, even if it meant going directly against the emperor s orders. 58 Cosmas 2.39 40, 164 8. 59 Ibid 2.37, 160 2. 60 Cosmas 2.40, 168.


79 Thus, Vratislav had ulterior motives in his willingness to serve the emperor, including his increased authority. Whether or not he specifically desired the tit le of king is something of a moot point he undoubtedly sought the liberties that he received through his anointment as well as the reputation that went along with it. In this way, Lisa Wolverton s understanding, that the coronation was something unintentio nal and unplanned, is only h alf correct. The kingmaking was definitely an accident, but only for the Empire. For Vratislav and for Bohemia, it was exactly what they had desired since the


80 Conclusion The period from the founding of the diocese of Prague in 973 to Vratislav II s crow ning in 1086 is best viewed as a formative introduction to a relationship with the German empire that extended in some form or another until 1918, barring the two hundred year independence from 1421 to 1620 that resulted from Hussite rebellions in the late Middle Ages. With the cumulative history of the Czechs in the second millennium in mind, it can be easy to take the events of this period for granted, as the relationship between the two became more antagonistic in the modern era. Because of the agendas o f the nineteenth century, however, the period discussed in this study remains today one of the most poorly understood aspects of Czech history, while at the same time it represents one of the periods most directly relevant to the formation of Czech identit y and culture even up to the present day. Beginning with the Boleslav II s weakening of Czech German relations and the I Chrobry calculated strengthening of German Polish ties, Bohemia encountered its first true challenge to its existence since nominally joining with the empire in 895. On account of what may have been popular backlash against the founding of the b ishopric of Prague, Boleslav II was unable to ingratiate himself with the empire ever again. I have identified the resistance to standard Christian doctrine encountered by St. Adalbert, second bishop of Prague, as an important cause of weakened Czech stand ing in relation with the empire. In an event that would reverberate for at least a century with important nobility and clergy, the fortunes of Bohemia reached their nadir with its conquest by I Chrobry of Poland in 1003. Though he only held the duchy for a


81 year, the repercussions of s conquest could be directly felt many generations later. These events guided the way in which Bohemia intereacted with the empire. From the depos ition of saw the existence of a strong but cautious relationship with Germany to be a positive influence on Czech society. In 1004, I Chrobry s reign over Bohemia was cut short by the arrival of the exiled younger brother of the deposed Boleslav III, Jaromir. Upon petitioning the emperor for help, Jaromir arrived in Prague at the head of a German army and began his reign as duke very willing to involve himself on behalf of the emper or, particularly in Henry s war against Poland. But Jaromir s reign should not be considered one of servility to the empire, as Thompson suggests. Jaromir s endeavors on behalf of the empire directly contributed to normalization and betterment of the statu s of Bohemia in the international environment. At the same time, Jaromir must also have noticed that falling out of favor with the Germans meant disaster for Bohemia, and consequently desired stronger ties to the empire. The duke seems to have consciously manipulated Bohemia s political situation and by ingratiating himself with the empire he did several things for his duchy. He increased the security of Bohemia against foreign invasion by joining more closely with a powerful ally. At the same time, he deli berately used this relationship to take vengeance upon Bohemia s oppressors during the year long Polish rule of 1003 4. This can be proven by Jaromir s rather forthright demand to Henry II to engage in military hostilities with Poland or risk losing the in creasingly influential Czech duke s support. The plan worked, and Jaromir demonstrated beyond any doubt that the relationship between Germany and Bohemia was far from the one way flow of influence


82 that was asserted by the nineteenth century historians on b oth sides. From the beginning of Jaromir s reign, Czech dukes were made to walk a delicate balancing act between furthering their relationship with the empire and preserving Czech sovereignty. This is because, historically, actively accepting imperial inf luence led to the disappearance of many cultures. Notably, only two Slavic groups on the peripheries of the empire, the Czechs and the Poles, were ever fully able to resist the corrosive element of Germanization. 1 Of the two, only the Czechs managed to ret ain their culture through the active acceptance of certain Germanizing elements, such as missionaries, monastic structure, and standard church doctrine. Certain aspects of Czech political culture remained distinctly Czech throughout this time frame, such a s the hereditary title of duke and the effective appointment of their own bishops. The Czech dukes at this time all identified their varying needs for closer ties with Germany. At the same time, they remained divided on how best to preserve Czech culture a nd each took took a slightly different approach. usurped his brother s dukedom and sent Jaromir into exile once again, and reigned for nearly a quarter of a century starting in 1012. His reign up until 1024 (that is, the part of his reign that corresponds to the end of the Ottonian dynasty) was very similar to Jaromir s. The new duke showed himself willing to fight on behalf of the emperor when it meant that Poland, Bohemia s old foe, would suffer. When Henry II demanded s release of Mieszko, son of the antagonistic I Chrobry of Poland, the 1 Certain Slavic groups within the modern borders of Germany, such as th e Sorbs, survive t oday Howe ver, only Poles and Czechs (and eventually Slovaks) have had enough cultural agency to construct their concepts of nationhood. In the eleventh century, many of these groups had begun to disappear.


83 Czech duke refused and demanded that Henry reconsider his order. to this plan because he knew that Mieszko would harbor a g rudge that would work to the detriment of Bohemia while the German portion of the empire would remain essentially unaffected. He was right: after being made to release his captive, Bohemia almost immediately suffered from heavy Polish assaults from the nor th. Although his manipulation of the relationship between Bohemia and the empire was clearly not as s intent was clear. After this incident, he would not be as fierce of a supporter of the empir e. With the change of German dynasties from the Ottonian to the Salian in 1024, Historians have been slow to distinguish between the two very different halves of ch s reign. While the first half, from 1012 to 1024, showed a clear desire to work through the framework of Imperial overlordship to Bohemia s benefit, the second half of t fear of new Polish aggression come true even though he had work ed to prevent it. Despite attempted to make amends for the betterment of Bohemia, namely through the r ecapture of Mieszko who by this time had become a violent enemy of the empire. H e was unsuccessful at renewing the relationship within his lifetime. After a well documented pillaging of Poland i n 1040, punishing the Poles yet again for their year long probably the result of Conrad s anti Czech leanings being passed down from father to


84 son. In fact, the new emperor Henry III (r. 1039 after Bohemia s offensive against Poland. According to Cosmas, the quarrel between lav managed to retain his duchy, paid only the tribute that was missing during their wartime endeavors, and kept the territory in Poland that Bohemia had claimed. In the end, the result for Bohemia was far from negative and it seems that from 1042 until his death in 1055 s relationship w ith the empire was friendly and jovial. T he war and its potential consequences seem to have been merely a misunderstanding and did not represent a serious weakening of the relationship between Bohemia and the empire. n, the short lived 61). While his reign was short, it was marked by his radical decision to expel of all Germans from Bohemia, how impossible it was to separate Bohemi a from its Germanizing influence. Germans made up so much of the ecclesiastical and monastic hierarchy that expelling them all would practically have meant a return to the pagan ways of the past. actually balanced his expulsion of German s by importing more Germans in order to Although his reign was s experience clearly demonstrates the complex relationship between Bohemia and the German empir e, specifically the permeation of German religious influence at all levels of Czech society. Our final point of consideration is the reign of Vratislav, the first Czech duke to elevate his duchy to a kingdom and bring it a level of prestige it had never b efore seen. s sons, Vratislav, assumed the


85 reigns of Bohemia. As a result of the increasing isolation of the new emperor, Henry IV (r. 1056 1106), from his nobility and the German clergy, Bohemia was in a unique po sition to ingratiate itself with the empire. At the same time, it could afford to do so with no negative consequences to the Czechs, who were able to prevent the erosion of their own territorial authority, maintain cultural cohesion, and even (somewhat con tradictorily) retain a high standing with the Church at Rome. On three separate occasions, in 1075, 1077, and 1082, Vratislav took the field against those attempting to overthrow the emperor. In each case his interference on behalf of Imperial interests p roved decisive. In the Saxon war, Vratislav s appearance on the battlefield in 1075 prevented a potentially messy political situation for the emperor. Two years later, he defeated the anti king Rudolf of Rheinfelden at Forchheim. Finally, Vratislav showed how he had become the emperor s champion against resistance in the eastern empire by quelling the revolt of Margrave Liutpold of Austria. Effectively outsourcing internal German strife, Vratislav assumed an invaluable role as defender of the empire. It would be a mistake however, to conclude like most historians that Vratislav s interference on behalf of his emperor was subservience. Vratislav was doing much more for both himself and Bohemia than simply acting as an imperial pawn. Even Wolverton fai make Vratislav s crowning any less important. Vratislav showed himself throughout his reign to be highly diplomatic and aware of the deeper consequences of his actions. Vratislav s coronation was far from an accident, at least from the point of view of the


86 Czech duke. Whether or not Henry appreciated the inevitable outcome of relying on so much Czech support is unclear. Vratislav surely knew what he wanted from having made himself indispensable to the emperor. This should be more than enough to dispute any notion that the raising of Bohemia to a kingdom the culmination of Vratislav s reign was an accident. Furthermore, it set a precedent of Bohemian kingship that would become permanent only a century later.


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