Boleslaus I, Duke of Bohemia
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|Boleslaus I, Duke of Bohemia|
Boleslaus I the Cruel
|Father||Vratislaus I of Bohemia|
|Died||967 or 972|
Boleslaus I the Cruel, also called Boleslav I (Czech: Boleslav I. Ukrutný) (c. 915 – 15 July, 967 or 972), was the ruler (kníže, literally "prince," but usually translated as "duke") of Bohemia from 935 to his death. He was the son of Vratislaus I and the younger brother of his predecessor, Wenceslaus I.
Boleslav is notorious for the murder of his brother Wenceslaus, through which he became Duke of Bohemia. Wenceslaus was murdered during a feast; at precisely that time Boleslav's son was allegedly born. He received a strange name: Strachkvas, which means "a dreadful feast". Being remorseful for what he had done, Boleslav promised to devote his son to religion and educate him as a clergyman.
Despite the fratricide, Boleslav is generally respected by Czech historians as an energetic ruler who significantly strengthened the Bohemian state and expanded its territory. The pro-Christian religious policies pursued by Wenceslaus do not appear to have been a cause for Boleslav's fratricide, since Boleslav in no way impeded the growth of Christianity in Bohemia, and in fact actually sent his daughter Mlada, a nun, to the Pope in Rome to ask permission to make Prague a bishopric.
One of Boleslav's major concerns was the tribute paid yearly to the East Frankish kings. He stopped the payment shortly after he ascended the throne, which led to the prolonged war with King Otto the Great. This conflict, presumably consisting of border raids (the general pattern of warfare in this region at the time), reached its conclusion in 950 when Boleslav signed a peace treaty with Otto. Despite being undefeated, he promised to resume the payment of the tribute. Five years later, the armies of Czechs and Germans allied against the Magyars in the victorious Battle of Lechfeld on 10 August 955. Boleslav had also helped Otto to crush an uprising of Slavs on the Lower Elbe in 953.
After the Battle of Lech, the rest of the huge Magyar army turned to Bohemia, where it was crushed by Boleslav. Because of this victory, Boleslav freed Moravia from Magyar raids and expanded his territory to Upper Silesia and Lesser Poland. To strengthen the Bohemian-Polish alliance, Boleslav's daughter Dobrawa married the pagan Piast prince Mieszko I in 965, and helped bring Christianity to Poland. Boleslav's wife may have been Biagota. He was succeeded by his oldest son Boleslaus the Pious.
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Boleslaus I, Duke of BohemiaBorn: c. 915 Died: 967 or 972
|Duke of Bohemia