Slavník dynasty

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Foundations of the church in the Slavniks' gord Libice nad Cidlinou, Central Bohemia
St. Adalbert (Vojtěch) and his brother Gaudentius (Radim). The statues in Libice

The Slavniks/Slavníks[1] or Slavnikids (Czech: Slavníkovci; German: Slawnikiden; Polish: Sławnikowice; Croatian: Slavnikovići) was a powerful dynasty in Bohemia during the 10th century. It governed Zličané, one of the oldest Czech tribes. The center of the principality was the gord of Libice located at the confluence of the rivers Cidlina and Elbe (Labe). The Slavníks competed with the Přemyslids for control over Bohemia and eventually succumbed to them.

The founder of the dynasty was prince Slavník (†981) who lent his name to the whole family. He had consanguinity with the Saxon kings. His wife was Střezislava, a woman of remarkable beauty, allegedly from the Přemyslid house. Slavník had at least 7 sons, among whom two – Vojtěch (Adalbert) and the illegitimate Radim (Gaudentius) – later became saints. According to Cosmas' Chronicle, Slavník was a happy man all his lifetime.

Slavník dynasty was supposedly related to the Babenbergs, the Přemyslid dynasty, and was friendly with the Polish kings.

Slavník's heir was his son Soběslav who rushed to consolidate the princedom's independence. For instance, he began to coin money in Libice, known among numismatists as the silver senars, in spite of the primacy of Prague, and took other separatist measures. This was a direct challenge to Boleslav II, head of the Přemyslid family, who was determined to add the Slavniks lands to his kingdom. Since the Přemyslid dynasty could not afford any mighty rivals, Boleslav II with confederates stormed Libice and massacred all of the family on September 28, 995. They found and killed Slavniks even in a church. It is believed that murderers belonged to the Vršovci powerful Czech family. Only three Slavniki family members survived because they were not present in Libice at that time: Soběslav, Radim (Gaudentius), the later archbishop of Gniezno (Hnězdno) and future catholic saint Adalbert (Czech: Svatý Vojtěch, Polish: święty Wojciech), who damned the murderers[citation needed](Vršovci) in a church (the saint according to the legend was very impulsive) for their cruelty, then he escaped from Bohemia to Hungary and Poland, where he acted as a missionary, murdered by Old Prussians.

In 996, when Strachkvas Přemyslid was going to assume a bishop office in Prague, he suddenly died during the ceremony itself. Some historians suggest[citation needed] that Strachkvas could have been poisoned by Slavniks survivors of the Libice massacre.

The strength of the two dynasties' conflict is also demonstrated by the fact that Czech (Přemyslid) rulers initially refused to ransom Saint Adalbert's (Slavnikid) body from Prussians who murdered him, so it was purchased by Boleslaus I the Brave, king of Poland. All or some of saint Adalbert's relicts were in 1039 forcibly transported into Prague and buried in the St. Vitus Cathedral, some possibly hidden by Polish and, according to Roczniki Polskie, in 1127 were recovered in Poland and declared authentic, however some with reliquary were stolen in 1923.

Family members[edit]




  1. ^ First variant (without diacritic mark) is more common in English-language literature

Further reading[edit]

In Czech
  • Turek, Rudolf (1946). Slavníkova Libice (Slavník's Libice). Praha: Orbis. 
  • Třeštík, Dušan (1997). Počátky Přemyslovců. Vstup Čechů do dějin (530–935) (The dawn of the Přemyslids. Ingoing of the Bohemians into history (530–935). Praha: NLN. ISBN 80-7106-138-7. 
  • Třeštík, Dušan (ed.); Žemlička Josef (ed.) (1998). Svatý Vojtěch, Čechové a Evropa (St. Adalbert, Bohemians and Europe). Praha: NLN. ISBN 80-7106-237-5. 
  • Lutovský, Michal; Petráň Zdeněk (2005). Slavníkovci. Mýtus českého dějepisectví (Slavniks. The myth of the Czech historiography). Praha: Libri. ISBN 80-7277-291-0. 
  • Sláma, Jiří (1995). "Slavníkovci – významná či okrajová záležitost českých dějin 10. století? (The Slavniks – an important or marginal matter of Bohemian history in 10th century?)". Archeologické rozhledy. XLVII (2): 182–224. 
  • Hásková, Jarmila (1995). "Slavníkovci ve výpovědi svých mincí (The Slavniks in the testimony of their coins)". Archeologické rozhledy. XLVII (2): 225–230. 
  • Lutovský, Michal (1995). "Několik poznámek k problematice slavníkovské domény (Some notes to problems of Slavniks' domain)". Archeologické rozhledy. XLVII (2): 239–245. 
In German
  • R. Тurеk. Die fruhmittelalterlichen Stammegebiete in Bohmen. Praha, 1957, S. 23—25, 184—191.
  • Josef Teige: "Blätter aus der altböhmischen Genealogie. Slavnikiden /Die Vrsovcen /Die Herren von Lichtenburg". Damböck, 2005.