Vladislaus II, Duke of Bohemia

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For other monarchs with similar names, please see Ladislaus II (disambiguation)
Vladislaus II
Duke of Bohemia
Reign 1140 – 1158
Predecessor Sobeslaus I
Successor Frederick
King of Bohemia
Reign 1158 – 1172
Coronation 1158, Regensburg
Predecessor Vratislaus II
Successor Ottokar I
Spouse Gertrude of Babenberg
Judith of Thuringia
Issue Frederick, Duke of Bohemia
Ottokar I, King of Bohemia
Vladislaus III, Duke of Bohemia
House Přemyslid dynasty
Father Vladislaus I, Duke of Bohemia
Mother Richeza of Berg
Born c. 1110
Bohemia
Died 18 January 1174(1174-01-18) (aged 64)
Meerane, Germany
Burial Prague, Strahov Abbey
Religion Roman Catholicism

Vladislaus II or Vladislaus I (king) (Czech: Vladislav II./I.,[1] c.1110 – 18 January 1174) was the second King of Bohemia from 1158. Before that he had been Duke of Bohemia from 1140. When he abdicated in 1172, the royal title was not yet hereditary.

Vladislav was the son of Vladislav I and Richeza of Berg. He was married twice, first to Gertrude of Babenberg and then to Judith of Thuringia.

Early years[edit]

He was an adventurous youth and, having no possibility of reaching the throne during the reign of his uncle Soběslav I, he moved to Bavaria. He returned at the death of Soběslav in 1140 and, with the help of his brother-in-law, the king of Germany, Conrad III, he was elected prince of Bohemia.

At first, he had to contend with the claims of his cousin, the son of Sobeslav, also named Vladislav. By Soběslav's request, the Emperor Lothair II had recognised the rights of his son at the Diet of Bamberg in May 1138, then, in June, the nobility affirmed them at Sadská. Another diet at Bamberg confirmed the succession of the son of Vladislav, however, in April 1140. The local dukes, Conrad II of Znojmo, Vratislaus II of Brno, and Otto III of Olomouc, gave him trouble. They were excommunicated by Henry Zdik, bishop of Olomouc, who was then driven out of his diocese. The territorial dukes then defeated Vladislav through treason at Vysoká on 22 April 1142, but their siege of Prague failed. Vladislav kept his throne through the help of Conrad III of Germany, whose half-sister Gertrude of Babenberg he married.

The second king[edit]

In 1147, he accompanied the king on the Second Crusade, but halted his march at Constantinople. On his way back to Bohemia he passed through Kiev and Kraków. Thanks to his military support against free northern Italian cities (especially Milan) for Conrad's successor, the emperor Frederick Barbarossa, Vladislav was elected king of Bohemia on 11 January 1158, becoming the second Bohemian king to boast such an imperial title after Vratislaus II.

He was also invested with Upper Lusatia at Regensburg and his coronation was celebrated in a second ceremony at Milan on 8 September. Vladislav was a firm ally of Barbarossa. He duly accompanied him to Milan in 1158. During the Italian expeditions of 1161, 1162, and 1167, Vladislav entrusted the command of the Czech contingent to his brother Duke Děpold I of Jamnitz and his son Frederick.

After the revolt of the Moravian dukes, Vladislav gradually took control of the strongholds of Moravia: Brno with the death of Vratislaus II in 1156, Olomouc with the death of Otto III (in spite of the claims of Sobeslav, the son of Duke Sobeslav, who was imprisoned), and finally Znojmo with the death of Conrad II. Vladislav also intervened in Hungary in 1163 on behalf of the emperor. He married his second son, Sviatopluk, to a Hungarian princess and had diplomatic contact with Manuel I Comnenus. In 1164, he even married his six-year-old daughter Helena to Peter, son of Manuel.

In 1167, Daniel I, bishop of Prague since 1148 and Vladislav's greatest advisor, died. As a result, relations between the kings of Bohemia and Germany were strained. When his son (Vojtech) Adalbert III became archbishop of Salzburg in 1169, the emperor suspected him of supporting Pope Alexander III.

Abdication[edit]

Eager to impose his son Frederick on the throne of the still-elective duchy of Bohemia, he abdicated without either the consensus of the Bohemian noblemen or the Emperor's permission. Frederick kept the throne for less than one year, before yielding the place to Soběslav II, the elder son of Soběslav I.

Vladislav lived in Thuringia in the lands of his second wife, where he died in January 1174. He was buried in the Cathedral of Meissen. His reign was marked by the founding of numerous Premonstratensian and Cistercian abbeys in Bohemia, as well as the construction of a stone bridge across Vltava in Prague: the construct was named Judith Bridge in honour of Vladislav's second wife.

Family and children[edit]

By his first wife, Gertrude of Babenberg (died 4 August 1150), he had the following issue:

By his second wife, Judith of Thuringia (married 1155), daughter of Louis I, Landgrave of Thuringia, he had the following issue:

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ František Palacký: Dějiny národa českého v Čechách i v Moravě, book XVII
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Soběslav I
Duke of Bohemia
1140–1158
Vacant
Title next held by
Frederick
Vacant
Title last held by
Vratislaus II
King of Bohemia
1158–1172
Vacant
Title next held by
Ottokar I