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10. století

Boleslav II

Duke of Bohemia responsible for the slaughtering of the Slavník dynasty
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Boleslav II, who received the epithet “the Pious” from historians specialized in the Middle Ages, was a Bohemian prince. He was nicknamed The Pious for his penchant for founding monasteries and for his piousness, although he was also responsible for the slaughtering of the rival Slavnik dynasty.
Boleslav II was probably the eldest son of Boleslav I and was born sometime around 932. When his father died in 972 (earlier studies indicate 967), he inherited a powerful Central European state which comprised not only Bohemia and most of Moravia but also part of Silesia, of Little Poland, and probably even of Slovakia. The internal system of this politically strong country was based on a “castle network”, on Christianity and on fight-ready military troops. The international status of Bohemia was based on a sort of free union with the emerging Roman Empire and on friendship with Poland, which was reinforced by the marriage of Doubravka, Boleslav’s sister, with the Polish duke Mesek I. The pro-ecclesiastical policy implemented by the Premyslids was strengthened in the early 970’s by the foundation of the country’s first cloister, next to the St George Church in the Prague Castle. Its abbess was the second sister of Boleslav II, Mlada.
In 973, Bohemia acquired religious autonomy with the founding of the first

diocese of Prague. Its first bishop was Dietmar from Saxony, while the second one, Adalbert of the Slavnik dynasty, was named in 982. In the course of his reign, Boleslav II endeavored to preserve friendly relations with the German empire, although it was disrupted several times with war invasions from both sides. Regarding relations with Poland, the death of Doubravka was followed by the estrangement of both countries, which culminated with open enmity and the loss of Silesia and the Cracow region.
Boleslav II had to face the political ambitions of the Slavnik dynasty in his endeavor to complete the unification of the Czech state (although today’s historiography tends to question this fact). Tensions culminated in 995 when Boleslav’s troops attacked and raided the heart of the Slavnik’s power, Libinec nad Cidlinou. Eastern Bohemia was then united to Central Bohemia, or better said it returned under the direct governance of the Prague Premyslids.
During the rule of Boleslav II, Bohemia became an important center of Christian culture. The ruler contributed to the founding of a monastery in Prague in Brevnov. The cult of St Wenceslas became the central theme of religious life, literature and art. Shortly before his death, Boleslav II prompted the founding of the St John cloister in Ostrov u Davle.


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