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14. - 15. století

Wenceslas IV

Roman King and King of Bohemia
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Son and heir to the Roman Emperor Charles IV.
Wenceslas became involved at a very early age in his father’s dynastic marriage policy. He was betrothed as a several months old infant to the daughter of Frederick V of Nuremberg. This was however not the only time he was engaged: within a few years he became in turns the fiancé of the niece of the King of Hungary, the daughter of the Hohenzollerns and he eventually married Joanna of Bavaria at the age of seven.
Wenceslas was the lesser son of a greater father, and although he received first-class education, he grew up as a vacillating and neurotic man, a state also caused by the excessive care and attention he was given.
The king had certainly some unquestionable qualities, but he wasn’t able to face the relentless opposition he was put up to and hid from his responsibilities by engaging in drinking sprees and hunting trips. His powers progressively passed on to his favorites, who were members of the lower nobility, in particular due to the growing conflict

between Wenceslas and the higher nobility and the archbishop Jan of Jenstejn. They led a short-sighted policy, which only nourished the escalation. Discontent was also growing in the Empire, and in 1396, the king was taken captive by the local noblemen. Although he was freed, he accepted their conditions, and in 1400 he was deposited from the throne of the Holy Roman Empire. He was later again imprisoned, this time by his brother Sigismund, and the power of the royal title went on getting weaker. The plague epidemics brought numerous changes on the social level, which later culminated with the escalation of the Hussite movement. King Wenceslas IV initially supported Jan Hus, but he eventually turned away from him, probably because of the campaigns of Hus against the indulgence, which was a source of income for the kingdom. After receiving news of the first defenestration of Prague, he had a brain stroke or an epileptic fit and died shortly after. The Czech kingdom was facing difficult times.


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