WENCESLAUS IV

1 2003 Dějiny English
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Ann from Svidnice who was the third wife of king Charles IV finally gave birth to the inheritor of the throne. This even was of course very eagerly awaited by the Czech country. It was expected that this heir of the throne would also secure high level governing power in becoming a strong and capable successor to his father. But fate decided otherwise. In all likelihood, somewhat excessive care for the long awaited heir proved to be rather detrimental. The result of it was that Wenceslaus found his liking in irresponsible, less exacting and less painstaking life. Naturally, such attitudes did not correspond to the traditional king's positive features.

Actually, when Wenceslaus was crowned in 1363, he was only two years old. His father entertained great hopes for his son. After Charles' death in 1378, Wenceslaus was, after all, the sovereign ruler, but he had to do so jointly with his foster brothers. Of course, such an arrangement couldn't ever result in a first-class co-operation, as everyone of them was utterly eager to take over the charge, particularly because all of them were fond of power.

Zikmund was the name of Wenceslaus' younger brother, who was propitiously called the ,Red Fox". This proved to be fitting name for him. It is generally known that he took Wenceslaus prisoner and transported him thereafter to Vienna. As for the rest, the narration about Wenceslaus' imprisonment and his subsequent very cunning escape from the jail is of common knowledge.

This then resulted in Wenceslaus' reinstatment to the throne. His barber, Susan, was supposed to help him flee from the jail, and in doing so, she helped him at the same time to regain his royal throne afresh. That's why there is the symbol of the tiny kingfisher bird who got tainted in the whirling device. The latter was later on applied as a symbol for the watering spa business. Moreover, Wenceslaus included it in those days in his collection of favorite symbols.

The long tradition of narratives relating to Wenceslaus' wanton drinking bouts at the royal court, and many of his night adventures in Prague's streets and taverns, were all causing the king to draw closer to himself numberless individual beings. In doing so, he actually showed his human relationship towards the people. Such an attitude was generally judged as an expression of a real humanness. This though has been appreciated even nowadays. One of the many legends tells us about some dishonest bakers, who as a punishment were plunged into the waters of the river Vltava, clad only in their shirts. Another one tells us about Wenceslaus' ramblings in company of the Master of a Sharp Sword, i.e. of the Prague executioner, or about the conjuror Zit. All such legends, malicious gossip or trustworthy narrations contributed to create a rather queer atmosphere around the successor to the throne. The more so, as his father Charles IV elevated the lofty dignified level not only to a noble king's throne, but especially to a powerful emperor's throne. Such enormous difference was also evaluated by the available nobility who created the opposition. However, we feel the same way even nowadays. In the last analysis, because of such behavior, Wenceslaus didn't prove to be worthy of the high level and standards of his father.

Wenceslaus had also some conflicts with the Prague university. Notwithstan-ding, his Kutna Hora Decree is undoubtedly considered to be a highly sympathetic action. On its strength, he asserted the Czech voting rights, which were in a great majority as compared to those of foreigners. On the other hand, Wenceslaus' relationship, which he maintained in respect to ecclesiastic politics, was most problematic. That is to say, their interferences with state politics were, in his opinion, rather disproportionate, to say the least. Anyway, problems with the religious zealots were already taking place. After all, the Church itself was definitely not at all a well of purity. Haliographic legends described the whole conflict as a completely private non-political action. In those days, the king asked for the disclosure of confessional secrets. He had his own reasons for such an attitude. Especially when the devout John from Pomuk, who was to be proclaimed later on to be a saint, refused to tell the suspecting king what his wife confided to the confessor's pious ear. It had to be a really serious conflict indeed. Otherwise, even then the king couldn't venture such an act of murdering his wife's confessor. Up to the present day, both sides for and against such an historical terrible act expounded it according to their own point of view. Consequently, the actual one hundred percent truth remains buried in some place or other.

Actually, Wenceslaus was also quite a civilian person, if judged beyond his royal tainted majesty. Even he as a king was haunted by his personal problems, worries and actions. First, he married Johanna from Bavaria who was five years older than himself. Thereafter, he got married to Sophia who was at that time only just thirteen years old. The latter possessed a specially distinguished characteristics which means that she had the ability to ingratiate herself to everyone.

Sophia lived at her castle in Kunratice. Only remainders of its peripheral masonry have been preserved up to the present day. Wenceslaus was fond of spending some portions of his time at this castle, because those were the times, which were free from worries. Moreover, in so doing, he was also able to unburden himself over there of the heavy royal duties. It was in this place, where he passed away.

Wenceslsaus' death was mainly caused by the very bad news, which a messanger brought him, concerning the tenacious Hussites' fighting. For him, this communication was such a powerful shock that it caused him serious mental agony from which he never recovered. Accordingly, the countries of the Czech crown lost their sovereign. In view of the fact that at that time, any throne successor whatsoever wasn't determined as yet, the whole country was plunged during the course of subsequent years, into considerable disputes and tough wars. The Hussites' dogged and passionate bellicosity spread irreconcilably on a rather large scale. Even the memories of King Wencelaus could not calm the agitated people. Up to the present day, memory of the popular Wenceslaus is well-deserved and lively, even though some parts of his life were not so exemplary.

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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