Saint Wenceslaus (Václav); Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia

Born in 907, Wenceslaus was a member of the Přemysl dynasty that would rule Bohemia from the ninth century to 1306. His father was the founder of the Přemyslids, Bořivoj I, the duke of Bohemia from 870 to 889 who installed Christian values in his son. Wenceslaus’ mother, Drahomíra, came from a pagan background but was baptized when she married Bořivoj, according to some sources. Wenceslaus was an impressionable 13 years old when his father died, and then it was paternal grandmother, Ludmila of Bohemia turn to raise him.

However, Drahomíra argued with Christian subjects and aspired to gain recognition from the nobility. Because Ludmila had encouraged Wenceslaus in Christian beliefs, Drahomíra had Ludmila killed September 15, 921by strangled by them with her veil. Drahomíra then assumed the role of regent and immediately initiated measures against the Christians. When Wenceslaus was 18, those Christian nobles who remained rebelled against Drahomira. The uprising was successful, and Drahomira was sent into exile to Budeč.

After Wenceslaus took over the government at age 18, he scored an impressive victory against the rebel duke of Kouřim, Radislav. Ever since the Great Moravian Empire had been destroyed in 902, Saxon duke and East Frankish King Henry the Fowler (Jindřich I. Ptáčník) had posed a threat to the Czech lands, so his relationship with Bohemia was of great significance. When Henry the Fowler took office, he gave many privileges to Bavarian duke Arnulf the Bad. The Saxon duke expanded his territory, threatening Bohemia even more. Wenceslaus longed for the Czech principality to become independent.Read More »