Soběslav I, Duke of Bohemia

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Soběslav I
Sobieslaw I.jpg
Duke of Bohemia
Reign12 April 1125 14 February 1140
Predecessor Vladislaus I
Successor Vladislaus II
Died14 February 1140(1140-02-14) (aged 64–65)
Spouse Adelaide of Hungary
Issue Wenceslaus II
Udalrich II
Maria of Bohemia
Soběslav II
House Přemyslid dynasty
Father Vratislaus II
Mother Świętosława of Poland
Religion Roman Catholicism

Soběslav I (also "Sobeslaus"; c.1075 – 14 February 1140) was Duke of Bohemia from 1125 until his death. He was a member of the Přemyslid dynasty, the youngest son of Vratislaus II (d. 1092), by his third wife Świętosława of Poland.

Přemyslid dynasty dynasty

The Přemyslid dynasty or House of Přemyslid was a Czech royal dynasty which reigned in the Duchy of Bohemia and later Kingdom of Bohemia and Margraviate of Moravia, as well as in parts of Poland, Hungary, and Austria.

Vratislaus II of Bohemia Duke and king of Bohemia

VratislausII, the son of Bretislaus I and Judith of Schweinfurt, was the first King of Bohemia as of 15 June 1085, his royal title granted as a lifetime honorific from Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV that did not establish a hereditary monarchy. Before his elevation to the royal dignity, Vratislaus had ruled Bohemia as duke since 1061.

Świętosława of Poland Queen of Bohemia

Świętosława of Poland was the third wife of Duke Vratislaus II of Bohemia and the first Queen of Bohemia as of 1085.



Soběslav is first documented about 1107, when he and his elder brother Duke Bořivoj II were expelled by their Přemyslid relative Svatopluk of Olomouc and fled to the court of their maternal cousin Duke Bolesław III Wrymouth of Poland. After Svatopluk was assassinated during the Battle of Głogów in 1109, Bořivoj's attempts to regain the Bohemian throne failed. In the following fratricidal war that followed the battle, Bořivoj's younger brother Vladislaus I prevailed, backed by King Henry V of Germany. Later the brothers reconciled and Soběslav was vested with rule at Brno and Znojmo in Moravia from 1115 until 1123, when tensions between the brothers rose again and Soběslav was once more expelled.

Bořivoj II, Duke of Bohemia Duke of Bohemia

Bořivoj II was the Duke of Bohemia from 25 December 1100 until May 1107 and from December 1117 until 16 August 1120. He was the younger half-brother and successor of Bretislaus II. His father was Vratislav II of Bohemia, his mother Świętosława of Poland.

Svatopluk, Duke of Bohemia Duke of Bohemia

Svatopluk the Lion was Duke of Bohemia from 1107 until his assassination in 1109. His rule was overshadowed by the fierce conflict around the Bohemian throne in the 12th century.

Bolesław III Wrymouth duke of Poland between 1107 and 1138

Bolesław III Wrymouth, was a Duke of Lesser Poland, Silesia and Sandomierz between 1102 and 1107 and over the whole Poland between 1107 and 1138. He was the only child of Prince Władysław I Herman and his first wife Judith, daughter of Vratislaus II of Bohemia.

Nevertheless, as the last surviving son of Vratislaus II, he succeeded to the ducal throne after Duke Vladislaus' death in 1125. From the beginning, his rule was contested by Otto II the Black, the younger brother of Svatopluk, who gained support not only from Vladislaus's widow Richeza of Berg, but also from King Lothair III of Germany. Soběslav therefore was an adversary of the German monarchy throughout his reign and began by using the divisiveness of the 1125 election of King Lothair against rival Duke Frederick II of Swabia to further Bohemian independence.

Otto II the Black

Otto II the Black, a member of the Přemyslid dynasty, ruled as a Moravian prince in Olomouc from 1107 and in Brno from 1123 until his death.

Richeza of Berg was Duchess of Bohemia from 1111 to 1117 and again from 1120 until 1125, by her marriage with the Přemyslid duke Vladislav I.

Imperial election election of a Holy Roman Emperor

The election of a Holy Roman Emperor was generally a two-stage process whereby, from at least the 13th century, the King of the Romans was elected by a small body of the greatest princes of the Empire, the prince-electors. This was then followed shortly thereafter by his coronation as Emperor, an appointment that was normally for life. Until 1530, emperors were crowned by the Pope. In 1356, the Emperor Charles IV promulgated the Golden Bull, which became the fundamental law by which all future kings and emperors were elected.

When Soběslav decided to remove Otto II from Olomouc, the despoiled prince recoursed to the German king. Lothair III declared that no one could succeed to the Bohemian throne without Imperial investiture and proceeded to invade on behalf of Otto II. This, however, was dangerous to the interests of the local nobility, and they rallied around Soběslav. On 18 February 1126, the German and Moravian troops under Lothair met the Bohemian forces at the Battle of Chlumec, a frontier fortress at the border with the March of Meissen. Soběslav routed and captured King Lothair, while Otto II was killed in battle. However, the relationship between the two countries returned to the former vassal-suzerain relationship, as King Lothair was released on condition of Soběslav's investiture with Bohemia.

Olomouc City in Czech Republic

Olomouc is a city in Moravia, in the east of the Czech Republic. Located on the Morava River, the city is the ecclesiastical metropolis and was a historical capital city of Moravia, before having been sacked by the Swedish army during the Thirty Years' War. Today, it is the administrative centre of the Olomouc Region and the sixth largest city in the Czech Republic. The city has about 100,000 residents, and its larger urban zone has a population of about 480,000 people.

Vassal person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe

A vassal is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch, in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support by knights in exchange for certain privileges, usually including land held as a tenant or fief. The term is applied to similar arrangements in other feudal societies.

Throughout his reign, Soběslav continued to possess the Olomouc duchy, but his rule in Bohemia was again undermined by his nephew Bretislaus, son of Soběslav's eldest brother Duke Bretislaus II (d. 1100). Young Bretislaus referred to the principle of agnatic seniority and had the support of the Moravian dukes Conrad II of Znojmo and Vratislaus II of Brno, as well as of the church party under Bishop Meinhard of Prague. In June 1130, the conspiracy was discovered and thwarted with much bloodshed. The dukes survived and continued to rule, but Bretislaus was blinded. Upon the accession of his brother-in-law King Bela II of Hungary in 1131, he became entangled in an armed conflict with Duke Bolesław III of Poland, who supported Bela's rival Boris Kalamanos.

Agnatic seniority is a patrilineal principle of inheritance where the order of succession to the throne prefers the monarch's younger brother over the monarch's own sons. A monarch's children succeed only after the males of the elder generation have all been exhausted. Agnatic seniority essentially excludes females of the dynasty and their descendants from the succession. Contrast agnatic primogeniture, where the king's sons stand higher in succession than his brothers.

Conrad II of Znojmo

Conrad II of Znojmo, a member of the Přemyslid dynasty, was a Bohemian prince who ruled in the Moravian principality of Znojmo from 1123 to 1128 and again from 1134 until his death.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Prague archdiocese

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Prague (Praha) is a Metropolitan Catholic archdiocese of the Latin Rite in Bohemia, in the Czech Republic.

Conrad III of Hohenstaufen, elected King of the Romans in 1138, tried to amend relations between the thrones of Bohemia and Germany. At the Reichstag of Bamberg in the same year, he gave Soběslav the hereditary dignity of the archcupbearer of the Holy Roman Empire and the promise to vest his eldest son Vladislaus with Bohemia upon his death. The duke's reign saw the foundation of many new German colonies in Czech lands in the course of the Ostsiedlung (German eastward expansion}.

Conrad III of Germany King of Germany

Conrad III was the first King of Germany of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. He was the son of Duke Frederick I of Swabia and Agnes, a daughter of the Salian Emperor Henry IV.

King of the Romans title used by medieval German monarchs (for the monarch of the ancient Roman kingdom, use Q55375123)

King of the Romans was a title used by Syagrius, then by the German king following his election by the princes from the time of Emperor Henry II (1014–1024) onward. The title was predominantly a claim to become Holy Roman Emperor and was dependent upon coronation by the Pope.

Bamberg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Bamberg is a town in Upper Franconia, Germany, on the river Regnitz close to its confluence with the river Main. A large part of the town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.

Soběslav died on 14 February 1140 at Hostinné Castle. The succession intended for his son failed, as the Bohemian estates raised his nephew Vladislaus II, the son of his elder brother and predecessor Duke Vladislaus, to the ducal dignity with the approval of Conrad III.

Marriage and issue

About 1123 Soběslav married Adelaide, daughter of Prince Álmos of Hungary. The marriage produced at least five children:

  1. Vladislaus (d. 1165), Duke at Olomouc, married an unnamed daughter of Albert the Bear
  2. Maria (1124/25-1172)
  3. Soběslav II (~1128-1180), Duke of Bohemia
  4. Udalrich II (1134–1177), Duke at Olomouc
  5. Wenceslaus II (1137–1192), Duke of Bohemia


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Regnal titles
Preceded by
Vladislaus I
Duke of Bohemia
Succeeded by
Vladislaus II