The Bohemian King Přemysl Otakar II

Slav Epic

King Premsyl Otaker II of Bohemia (1924) by Alphonse MuchaPrague City Gallery

Wenceslaus I lef a rich heritage to his son Přemysl Otakar II (1253–1278). The Bohemian lands flourished and the Přemysl belonged among the most powerful European rulers. 

The town of Kutná Hora supplied an abundance of silver and thanks to the resulting profits and his generosity, Přemysl Otakar II was referred to as the
Golden King.

After Austria, the Bohemian empire acquired Styria, the Cheb region, Carinthia, Carniola and other territories. For a long time, Přemysl’s greatest rival was Béla IV of Hungary of the House of Árpád.

Their disputes culminated with the Battle of Kressenbrunn on 12 July 1260. After the action of Přemysl’s legendary “Iron Cavalry”, which earned him the nickname “Iron King”, the Hungarians took flight.

Přemysl occupied Bratislava and Béla had to negotiate peace with him. After the victory Přemysl Otakar II wanted to maintain permanent peace with the House of Árpád with the help of political marriages.

Having divorced Margaret of Austria, he married Béla IV’s granddaughter, Kunigunde. He also arranged the marriage of Béla’s second born son (also named Béla) to his (Přemysl’s) niece, Kunigunde of Brandenburg.

The wedding took place on 25 October 1264 near Bratislava. During the wedding, Přemysl showed to the whole world that his reputation was not deceptive. We can see the most powerful European ruler of the 13th century in a tent city built specially for the wedding.

He is greeting his former rivals warmly in the tent where the ceremony took place. There is Daniel of Galicia, Serbian King Stefan Uroš V with both of his sons, Dragutin and Milutin, the voivodes of Croatia, Bosnia...

...Transylvania and Bulgaria, and princes, counts and knights from Germany, Poland, Eastern Europe and the Balkan. Přemysl Otakar II was the most seriously considered candidate for the Roman Emperor but the electors gave preference to the then unimportant Prince, Rudolf I.

The peace achieved through marriages did not last long. In 1273 the Hungarians invaded Moravia again and in 1276 Přemysl Otakar II had to confront the army of the new Roman Emperor.

The peace which he was forced to make with Rudolf cost him many territories. Moreover, he was opposed by many Bohemian noblemen. 

Eventually, Přemysl Otakar II was defeated and killed in the Battle on the Marchfeld on 26 August 1278.

Credits: Story

Written on the basis of the "Catalogue for the Exhibition 'The Slav Epic' by Alphonse Mucha"
Published in 2022 by the Municipal Cultural Centre of Moravský Krumlov, náměsti T. G. Masaryka 40, 672 01 Moravský Krumlov

Written by: Bc. Pavla Červinková. Language and history proofreading: Mgr. Šárka Kočí.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Google apps