Přemysl Otakar II.. Who He Was and How He Is Portrayed in Band's Music
Přemysl Otakar II. (1233–26th August 1278), also known as Ottokar II, was the fifth king on the Czech throne. Using his military and political skills and his wives' status, he became the most important ruler in the Central Europe. He was the King of Bohemia from 1253 until his death in 1278. He also held the titles of Margrave of Moravia from 1247, Duke of Austria from 1251 to 1276, Duke of Styria from 1261 to 1276, and Duke of Carinthia and Margrave of Carniola from 1269 to 1276. He was called the "The Iron King" because of his "Iron Cavalry" (the army of knights on horses), and "The Golden King" for his wealth (although he was wealthy mainly because of the Czech silver). His biggest military success was the Battle of Kressenbrunn 1263 where he beat the Hungarian king Béla. While trying to achieve the Central European hegemony, he had to fight with the first well-known Habsburg, Prince Rudolph the Habsburg. The conflict ended at the Battle on the Marchfeld where the Czech army lost and Ottokar II died. The course of the battle and the political background is, however, quite mysterious. Some argue that the King of Bohemia was betrayed by some Czech aristocrats (The House of Vítkovci, Zavis of Falkenstein, Milota of Dedice...).
(Author's note: It is not easy to know what happened 700 year ago when we often do not even know what is happening all over the world right now)
After the Battle on the Marchfeld, the Czech kingdom was about to go through very dark times. The chaos ruled the country and the land was plundered through and through. Kunigunda of Halych, a daughter of a Russian prince and Hungarian princess and the widow of Ottokar II, was jailed in the Bezděz Castle with her young son and future king Wenceslaus II of Bohemia who later took the Czech kingdom back and avenged his father. All this is reflected in lyrics of Tarantula's song "Kunhutin pláč" (The Lamentations of Kunigunda).
The story of Ottokar, Kunigunda and Wenceslaus was used by many artists during medieval times (for example by troubadours and minnesangers). The rise and fall of Ottokar II was also written about in Austrian, Spanish and, of course, Czech literature. Even in Dante's Divine Comedy. The story motif is also a part of the famous Czech composer Bedřich Smetana's opera Braniboři v Čechách (The Brandenburgers in Bohemia).