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11. - 12. století

Sobeslas I

A powerful Czech duke from the Premyslid dynasty
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He was the youngest son of Vratislas II, the first King of Bohemia. Even though he ascended the throne at a relatively advanced age, he was a very energetic man.
Right from the beginning of his rule he tried to liberate Bohemia from the imperial domination of the Holy Roman Empire. For this he took advantage of the disputes that had arisen after the election of the Emperor Lothair. The conflict detonated when Sobeslas decided to deposit the rather unreliable Otto II the Black from the head of the Moravian margrave. The latter immediately fled to seek help from the Emperor, who, despite the difficult situation, complied saying that nobody could bypass the imperial investiture (interfere in the affairs of succession in a subordinate country). The subsequent invasion, which was supposed to deposit Sobeslas from the throne and reinstate Otto II, ended with a great battle near Chlumec. Otto II was killed in the forest at the border and the

German troops were severely defeated. Even the Emperor was captured, only to be released by Sobeslas upon promise that he wouldn’t assault the country again. In the end, both men reconciled, conscious of the superiority in power of the Empire.
In the late 1120’s, the duke was facing a strong opposition formed around bishop Meinhard and the descendants of Otto II of Olomouc. But the duke exposed the plot in 1130 and he dealt with the conspirators in an especially harsh manner.
In the 1130’s, the duke led quarrels against Poland with oscillating success, but despite this situation Sobeslas was able to strengthen the importance of the Czech state on the international level. After having seemingly ensured that his son would take command after him, Duke Sobeslas died in 1140.
We can undoubtedly say the he was amongst the most capable dukes of Bohemia and that during his reign, Bohemia was a respected country on the international level.


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