Vladislaus II, Duke of Bohemia

For other monarchs with similar names, please see Ladislaus II (disambiguation)
Vladislaus II
Duke of Bohemia
Reign 1140 1158
Predecessor Sobeslaus I
Successor Frederick
King of Bohemia
Reign 1158 1172
Coronation 1158, Regensburg
Predecessor Vratislaus II
Successor Ottokar I
Born c. 1110
Died 18 January 1174(1174-01-18) (aged 63–64)
Meerane, Germany
Burial Prague, Strahov Abbey
Spouse Gertrude of Babenberg
Judith of Thuringia
Issue Frederick, Duke of Bohemia
Ottokar I, King of Bohemia
Vladislaus III, Duke of Bohemia
House Přemyslid dynasty
Father Vladislaus I, Duke of Bohemia
Mother Richeza of Berg
Religion Roman Catholicism

Vladislaus II or Vladislaus I (king) (Czech: Vladislav II./I.,[1] c.1110 18 January 1174) was the second King of Bohemia from 1158. Before that, he had been Duke of Bohemia from 1140. When he abdicated in 1172, the royal title was not yet hereditary.

Vladislav was the son of Vladislav I and Richeza of Berg. He was married twice, first to Gertrude of Babenberg and then to Judith of Thuringia.

Early years

He was an adventurous youth. Having no expectation of reaching the throne during the reign of his uncle Soběslav I, he moved to Bavaria. He returned at the death of Soběslav in 1140 and, with the help of his brother-in-law, the king of Germany, Conrad III, he was elected Duke of Bohemia by the Bohemian nobility.

At first, Vladislav had to contend with the claims of his cousin, the son of Soběslav who was also named Vladislav. At Soběslav's request, Emperor Lothair II recognised the rights of his son at the Diet of Bamberg in May 1138. Then, in June, the nobility affirmed them at Sadská. Another diet at Bamberg confirmed the succession of the son of Vladislav, however, in April 1140. The local dukes Conrad II of Znojmo, Vratislaus II of Brno, and Otto III of Olomouc, gave him trouble. They were excommunicated by Jindřich Zdík, bishop of Olomouc, who was then driven out of his diocese. The territorial dukes then defeated Vladislav through treason at Vysoká on 22 April 1142, but their siege of Prague failed. Vladislav kept his throne with the assistance of Conrad III of Germany, whose half-sister Gertrude of Babenberg he married.

The second king of Bohemia

In 1147, Vladislav accompanied Conrad on the Second Crusade, but halted his march at Constantinople and subsequently returned.[2] On his way back to Bohemia, he passed through Kiev and Kraków. In return for military support against free northern Italian cities (especially Milan) for the emperor Frederick Barbarossa (Conrad's successor), Vladislav was elected king of Bohemia on 11 January 1158. He thus became the second Bohemian king to boast the royal dignity after Vratislaus II.

He was also invested with Upper Lusatia at Regensburg and his coronation was celebrated in a second ceremony at Milan on 8 September. Vladislav was a firm ally of the emperor Frederick. He duly accompanied him to Milan in 1158. During the Italian expeditions of 1161, 1162, and 1167, Vladislav entrusted the command of the Czech contingent to his brother Duke Děpold I of Jamnitz and his son Frederick.

After the revolt of the Moravian dukes, Vladislav gradually took control of the strongholds of Moravia: Brno with the death of Vratislaus II in 1156, Olomouc with the death of Otto III (in spite of the claims of Soběslav, the son of Duke Soběslav, who was imprisoned), and finally Znojmo with the death of Conrad II. Vladislav also intervened in Hungary in 1163 on behalf of the emperor. He married his second son, Sviatopluk, to a Hungarian princess and had diplomatic contact with Emperor Manuel I Comnenus of Byzantium.

In 1167, Daniel I, bishop of Prague since 1148 and Vladislav's greatest advisor, died. As a result, relations between the kings of Bohemia and Germany were strained. When his son Adalbert (Vojtěch) III became archbishop of Salzburg in 1169, the emperor suspected him of supporting Pope Alexander III.


Eager to impose his son Frederick on the throne of the still-elective duchy of Bohemia, he abdicated without either the consensus of the Bohemian noblemen or the emperor's permission. Frederick kept the throne for less than one year before yielding his place to Soběslav II, the elder son of Soběslav I.

Vladislav lived in Thuringia in the lands of his second wife, where he died in January 1174. He was buried in the Cathedral of Meissen. His reign was marked by the founding of numerous Premonstratensian and Cistercian abbeys in Bohemia, as well as the construction of a stone bridge across the Vltava River in Prague: the construct was named the Judith Bridge in honour of Vladislav's second wife. The bridge was destroyed in a flood in 1342 and the Charles Bridge was built in its place.

Family and children

By his first wife, Gertrude of Babenberg (died 4 August 1150), he had the following issue:

By his second wife, Judith of Thuringia (married 1155), daughter of Louis I, Landgrave of Thuringia, he had the following issue:



  1. František Palacký: Dějiny národa českého v Čechách i v Moravě, book XVII
  2. Mahoney 2011, p. 44.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Soběslav I
Duke of Bohemia
Title next held by
Title last held by
Vratislaus II
King of Bohemia
Title next held by
Ottokar I
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