Ottokar I of Bohemia

Ottokar I
Duke of Bohemia; later King of Bohemia

Contemporary relief carving of Ottokar I in the tympanum of St George's Convent, Prague
Reign 1192–1193
Coronation 1203, Prague
Born c. 1155
Died 15 December 1230 (aged 75?)
Burial St. Vitus Cathedral
Spouse Adelheid of Meissen
Constance of Hungary
Wenceslaus I, King of Bohemia
Dagmar, Queen of Denmark
Anne, Duchess of Silesia
Saint Agnes
House Přemyslid dynasty
Father Vladislaus II, Duke of Bohemia
Mother Judith of Thuringia

Ottokar I (Czech: Přemysl I. Otakar; c. 1155 1230) was Duke of Bohemia periodically beginning in 1192, then acquired the title King of Bohemia, first in 1198 from Philip of Swabia, later in 1203 from Otto IV of Brunswick and in 1212 from Frederick. He was a member of the Přemyslid dynasty.

Early years

Ottokar's parents were Vladislaus II, Duke of Bohemia, and Judith of Thuringia.[3] His early years were passed amid the anarchy that prevailed everywhere in the country. After several military struggles, he was recognized as ruler of Bohemia by Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI in 1192. He was, however, soon overthrown for joining a conspiracy of German princes to bring down the Hohenstaufen dynasty. In 1197, Ottokar forced his brother, Duke Vladislaus III Henry, to abandon Bohemia to him and to content himself with Moravia.

Taking advantage of the civil war in Germany between the Hohenstaufen claimant Philip of Swabia and the Welf candidate Otto IV, Ottokar declared himself King of Bohemia. This title was supported by Philip of Swabia, who needed Czech military support against Otto (1198).

In 1199, Ottokar divorced his wife Adelheid of Meissen, a member of the Wettin dynasty, in order to marry Constance of Hungary, the young daughter of Hungarian King Béla III.

In 1200, with Otto IV in the ascendancy, Ottokar abandoned his pact with Philip of Swabia and declared for the Welf faction. Both Otto and Pope Innocent III subsequently accepted Ottokar as the hereditary King of Bohemia.

Golden Bull of Sicily

Philip's consequent invasion of Bohemia was successful. Ottokar, having been compelled to pay a fine, again ranged himself among Philip's partisans and still later was among the supporters of the young King Frederick II. In 1212 Frederick granted the Golden Bull of Sicily to Bohemia. This document recognised Ottokar and his heirs as Kings of Bohemia. The king was no longer subject to appointment by the emperor and was only required to attend Diets close to the Bohemian border. Although a subject of the Holy Roman Empire, the Bohemian king was to be the leading electoral prince of the Holy Roman Empire and to furnish all subsequent emperors with a bodyguard of 300 knights when they went to Rome for their coronation.

Ottokar's reign was also notable for the start of German immigration into Bohemia and the growth of towns in what had until that point been forest lands. In 1226, Ottokar went to war against Duke Leopold VI of Austria after the latter wrecked a deal that would have seen Ottokar's daughter (Saint Agnes of Bohemia) married to Frederick II's son Henry II of Sicily. Ottokar then planned for the same daughter to marry Henry III of England, but this was vetoed by the emperor, who knew Henry to be an opponent of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. The widowed emperor himself wanted to marry Agnes, but by then she did not want to play a role in an arranged marriage. With the help of the pope, she entered a convent.


Ottokar and Constance, from the Landgrafenpsalter (1211–13)

Ottokar was married first in 1178 to Adelheid of Meissen (after 1160 - 2 February 1211), who gave birth to the following children:

In 1199, he married Constance of Hungary (1181 – 6 December 1240), who gave birth to the following children:



  1. Sommer, Petr; Třeštík, Dušan; Žemlička, Josef (2009). Přemyslovci. Budování českého státu (in Czech). a kol. Praha: Nakladatelství Lidové noviny. p. 209. ISBN 978-80-7106-352-0.
  2. France 2006, p. 233.
  3. Wihoda 2015, p. 298.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ottakar I.". Encyclopædia Britannica. 20 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 367–368. 

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ottokar I Premysl.
Preceded by
Duke Wenceslaus II
Duke of Bohemia
Succeeded by
Bretislaus III of Bohemia
Preceded by
Vladislav Jindřich
Duke of Bohemia
Succeeded by
himself as king
Preceded by
Vladislaus II of Bohemia
King of Bohemia
Succeeded by
Wenceslaus I
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