PREMYSL OTAKAR II

2 2003 Dějiny English
obálka čísla

Premysl Otakar II used to be called the Great, or even the Greatest, the Famous, the Strong and the Astounding because of his superior qualities. Besides, he was also named as the Iron and the Golden King. He did not resemble to his grandfather at all, whose name was Premysl Otakar I. Howbeit, the faces of the hitherto preserved stone sarcofagi were strikingly identical. However, as the sculptors were at that time not allowed to see the buried kings, they had no alternative but to create the respective kings' likenesses based on their own idealized imaginations of dignified men with proud faces. None the less, the available anthropogical researches nowadays enable us already a long time ago to identify both skulls and figure out that the two faces were in fact diametrically different. While the grandfather Premysl I. had a rather diminuative face, his grandson Premysl II. had a somewhat longer face, and his nose was not cut in at its root which attributed him a much more dignified appearance. Though, such circumstantial comparisons could lead us astray, so that we could plunge into excessively minute details. Additionally, the dark faces and the dark hair and beards serve us well to identify more precisely the famous King Premysl II.

As is well known, Premysl II. grasped his reigning power quite rigorously and successfully right at the start. Because of that, he was a very favorite sovereign in the then existing European constellation. Regretfully, such greatness proved after all to be for him a detrimental factor, as he had to pay for it by his life. Inasmuch as at that time diplomatic fights for the Empire Crown were afoot, and of course, Premysl II. had to wrangle with all remaining contenders. As a result, it even brought in its wake many battles, and the one which took on Moravian field sealed his fate by his dying there. Such reality foreshadowed the subsequent hard times of many years for Bohemia, as the German armies of Brandenburg invaded it at that time.

Premysl II. was endowed with quite vital capacities. His royal worries and care of the illegitimate relationships encumbered his activities considerably. Nevertheless, because of this fact, he didn't neglect secular merry-making and revelry, either those of family or amorous ones. When he was a twenty years old prince, he was obliged to enter into a diplomatic marriage by wedding more than fifty years old Margaret of Banberg, which was understandably not at all to his liking. Consequently, the king's bed was shared with many younger beauties. Such circumstances brought about a lot of illegitimate descendants, whose gradually increasing number became rather untoward. Historically, this was the first case of an official Premysl's mistress, which was at that time recorded as a sequel of his highly fruitful progenitorship. The young king was under obligation to prove that it was not his own but his wife Margaret's inability to secure a nation's heir. In order to achieve such a goal, he got officially assigned an young lady-love Anezka (Agnes), and he did his utmost to demonstrate his capabilities of a man. Unfortunately, because of the illegitimate character of thus begotten children, Premysl was unable to secure a desirable successor of his throne. It did not suffice that the respective lady's extraction was the well esteemed Austrian nobility House of Kuenrings. Owing to her eccentric pageboy's hairdress, she became quickly famous and got a nickname "Thumblet". For sure she was much closer to the young king than the less good-looking, and what is more, aging wife Margaret. Premysl, who was at that time twenty-seven years old, had to undergo very lenghty and unpleasant negotiations of both religious and political diplomatic matters. After all, he finally succeeded in getting a divorce agreement. Soon thereafter, he took as new wife a beautiful Kunhuta, who was definitely much more attractive, and in addition was a member of the Hungarian governing family. In regard to this new liaison, another rather important reality took priority over the previous relationship. That is to say, Kunhuta's amorous correspondence has been well preserved, in which she was writing love letter to Premysl, whom she enormously admired, by dictating them to her scribe.

The king was constantly keeping his eye on the final aims of his aspirations to be attained on a rather high level. Those were precisely the reasons why he did so much for their fulfilment. However, it was just due to his greatness that he was doomed to downfall. Contenders on the European political scene paid very careful heed to his ambitious plans with increased observation and saw to it that he was deleted from this "tournament".

Thus perished a brave man on the Moravian battle field. He had already previously acquired a nickname of Iron and Golden King, but he was not allowed to fetch another nickname as Great. Although, indeed, he really was great in many respects.

Vladimir Pechar
Translated by Charles Opatrny

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