Otakar II of Bohemia

From Academic Kids

Otakar II (also spelled Ottokar or Přemysl Otakar/Ottokar) (c. 1230 August 26, 1278) was a king of Bohemia (1253 1278). He was a son of King Wenceslaus I of the Premysl dynasty, and through his mother, Kunigunde, was related to the Hohenstaufen family, being a grandson of the German king, Philip of Swabia.

During his father's lifetime he ruled Moravia, but when in 1248 some discontented Bohemian nobles acknowledged him as their sovereign, trouble arose between him and his father, and for a short time Otakar was imprisoned. However, in 1251 the young prince secured his election as duke of Austria, where he strengthened his position by marrying Margaret († 1267), sister of Duke Frederick II, the last of the Babenberg rulers of the duchy and widow of the German king, Henry VII. Some years later he repudiated this lady and married a Hungarian princess.

Both before and after he became king of Bohemia in succession to his father in September 1253 Otakar was involved in a dispute with Bela IV, king of Hungary, over the possession of Styria, which duchy had formerly been united with Austria. By an arrangement made in 1254 he surrendered part of it to Bela, but when the dispute was renewed he defeated the Hungarians in July 1260 near Kressenbrunn and secured the whole of Styria for himself, owing his formal investiture with Austria and Styria to the German king, Richard, Earl of Cornwall.

The Czech king also led two expeditions against the Prussians and founded Knigsberg (Czech: Krlovec) later capital of Prussia, named upon him.

In 1269 he inherited Carinthia and part of Carniola, and having made good his claim, contested by the Hungarians, on the field of battle, he was the most powerful prince within empire when an election for the German throne took place in 1273. But Otakar was not the successful candidate. He refused to acknowledge his victorious rival, Rudolph of Habsburg, and urged the pope to adopt a similar attitude, while the new king claimed the Austrian duchies. Matters reached a climax in 1276. Placing Otakar under the ban of the empire, Rudolph besieged Vienna and compelled Otakar in November 1276 to sign a treaty by which he gave up Austria and the neighbouring duchies, retaining for himself only Bohemia and Moravia. Two years later the Czech king tried to recover his lost lands, he found allies and collected a large army, but he was defeated by Rudolph and killed at the Battle of Drnkrut and Jedenspeigen on the March on August 26, 1278.

Ottokar was a founder of towns and a friend of law and order, while he assisted trade and welcomed German immigrants. He is a famous figure both in history and in legend. He was called the "Iron and Gold King" throughout Europe and Dante described him in the Divine Comedy as one of the greatest contemporaries. He is also the protagonist of a tragedy by the 19th century playwright Franz Grillparzer. His son and successor was Wenceslaus II.


Preceded by:
Wenceslaus I
King of Bohemia Succeeded by:
Wenceslaus II
Preceded by:
Frederick I of Baden
Duke of Austria Succeeded by:
Rudolph I
bg:Отакар II (Бохемия)

cs:Přemysl Otakar II. de:Přemysl Ottokar II. eo:Přemysl Otakar la 2-a ja:オタカル2世 no:Ottokar II pl:Przemysł Ottokar II ru:Прежемысл


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