Spytihněv I, Duke of Bohemia

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Spytihněv I
Duke of Bohemia
Spitygniew I.jpg
Fresco, Rotunda of St Catherine, Znojmo
PredecessorBořivoj I
SuccessorVratislaus I
Bornc. 875
Noble familyPřemyslid dynasty

Spytihněv I (c. 875 – 915), a member of the Přemyslid dynasty, was Duke of Bohemia from 894 or 895 until his death.[1]


He was the eldest son of Duke Bořivoj I, the first historically documented Bohemian ruler, and his wife Ludmila. Spytihněv and his younger brother Vratislaus were still minors at the time of their father's death about 889, and the Bohemian lands were placed under the regency of their suzerain, the Great Moravian ruler Svatopluk I.

After Svatopluk died in 894, an inheritance conflict arose between his sons Mojmír II and Svatopluk II. Spytihněv took advantage of the situation to free himself from Moravian vassalage: according to the Frankish chronicle Annales Fuldenses, he appeared at the Imperial Diet (Reichstag) in Regensburg in 895 and paid homage to the East Frankish King Arnulf of Carinthia. He reinforced the Přemyslid rule in Central Bohemia around present-day Prague, having several castles erected along the borders of his realm at Mělník, Libušín, Tetín, Lštění, and Boleslav. He also continued the extension of Prague Castle as the administrative centre of the rising Přemyslid duchy as a replacement for the early medieval gord of Levy Hradec.

Spytihněv further strengthened ties with East Francia by forming an alliance with Margrave Luitpold of Bavaria, who in 898 fought against Mojmír II with the result that Bohemia finally separated from the Greater Moravian realm. Designed to protect Bohemia against the ravages of Hungarian invasions, the alliance with East Francia also opened Bohemia to Carolingian culture and paved the way for the eventual triumph of Roman Catholicism in Czech spiritual affairs.

He was probably buried in the Church of the Virgin Mary in Prague Castle, as were many members of the royal Přemyslid dynasty during this period.


  1. ^ Jan Klapste (11 November 2011). The Czech Lands in Medieval Transformation. Brill. p. 361. ISBN 978-90-04-22646-3.

Spytihněv I, Duke of Bohemia
Born: ~875 Died: 915
Preceded by
Bořivoj I
Duke of Bohemia
c. 894–915
Succeeded by
Vratislaus I