Wenceslaus, who apparently did not have a first name, was the Duke of Bohemia and lived from 907 until his assassination in 935. He was killed at the ripe old age of 28, by his own brother, Boleslav the Cruel, who was gifted with a first and middle name. Old for those days, I’m told.
The boy had huge family issues. The biggest were the religious differences between his parents. Daddy, Vratislav the first, was raised Christian. Momma, Drahomira, was the daughter of a big time pagan tribal chief. I assume it was a political alliance, since those were the “thang” with nobility back then. Drahomira had to be baptized before the wedding, which probably did not sit well with her judging from later goings on.
Wenceslaus’ dad died when Wencie was only thirteen years old. His dad’s mom, Granny Ludmila, who was also a Saint, raised him from then on as a Christian.
Drahomira was definitely P.O.’d with this turn of events. She was working full time to get support from the nobility. This was likely difficult since she was actually from out of town and probably spoke with a funny accent. At any rate, she did not have enough of the quality time she would have liked with her son, which her MIL was taking to fill his head with all these Christian ideas. I’m guessing the brother, Boleslav was “meh” about religion.
Finally saying “Enough!” Drahomira hired someone to strangle Ludmila, which apparently cost about the same as it does today.
Through it all, Wenceslaus tended to favor daddy’s side of the family and was described in histories from the time as very pious, humble, highly educated and exceptionally intelligent for his time.
Even after Ludmila’s unwilling exit, Drahomira did not turn her son back to pagan ways. Probably because she was in charge of running the country and had trouble finding quality time with her kids.
Wenceslaus assume his position as the Duke of Bohemia around 924. He had his momma exiled, likely to avoid all the potential for maternal back seat ruling.
He consecrated a rotunda to St. Vitus in Prague. This is probably where all the dances were held. It’s even still here today as St. Vitus Cathedral.
Let’s not forget the brother, Boleslave, who was Boleslave “the Cruel.” One day, Boleslav pretended to cozy up to his bro by inviting him to dinner. But Boleslav and three of his homies killed Wenceslaus when he was on his way to church. And then Boleslav became the new Duke of Bohemia. And he was never a king either.
Immediately after his death, Wenceslaus’ fans hung together like a cult and promoted him as a saint and a martyr. They were so persistent and aggressive with their P.R. That several centuries later, Pope Pius II declared the cult’s four biographies to be fact.
One biography, written in 1119 says:
“But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you; for, as is read in his Passion, no one doubts that, rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so that he was considered, not a prince, but the father of all the wretched.”
Wenceslaus was not a king. But he was a nice guy, except for exiling his mom and all.
Some enterprising person saved his skull:
Happy History, Hons!,