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2022-04-29

Libice nad Cidlinou - Slavnik fortified settlement

Libice nad Cidlinou is a municipality and village in Nymburk District in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 1,300 inhabitants. It is one of the oldest settlements in Bohemia. Libice nad Cidlinou is located 5 km southeast of Podebrady town at the confluence of the Cidlina and Elbe rivers.

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A) inner fort B) in front of the castle
 

Libice emerged in the 9th century as the capital gord of the Slavník family. They were of possible White Croat origin, and their lands were part of White Croatia. Archaeological digs begun in the nineteenth century show that the material culture was highly developed by the end of the first millennium AD. Libice began as a castle, and fortifications and the ruins of a stone church have survived to the present day.

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In 995 Libice was stormed by Bohemian Duke Boleslaus II, who killed most of the Slavník family and annexed Slavník´s teritory. Only three Slavniks survived.

1) Adalbert of Prague  956 – 23 April 997, was a Bohemian missionary and Christian saint. He was the Bishop of Prague and a missionary in the Hungary, Poland, and Prussia, who was martyred in his efforts to convert the Baltic Prussians to Christianity.

2) Radim Gaudentius was Archbishop of Gniezno and the first Polish archbishop.
Radim was an illegitimate son of Bohemian Prince Slavník, and thus the half-brother of Adalbert of Prague. In 989, the two journeyed to Rome where they joined the Benedictine monastery of Sts. Boniface and Alexius on the Aventine, with Radim adopting the name Gaudencius or Gaudentius. He accompanied Adalbert on his fatal journey to Prussia in 997.

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In front is a sculpture with Radim and Adallbert in the background are the foundations of the Slavník church.
 

Surviving the mission fatal to his half-brother, back in Rome he related the events of the journey to Abbot John Canaparius, who wrote a biography of Adalbert, and worked to promote his canonization.

Historians are not certain with regards to his date of death, suggesting a range of 1006 to 1022. His date of birth is also an estimate, in the range of late 960s to early 970s.

3) Soběslav or Soběbor c. 950 – 1004 was the brother of Saint Adalbert of Prague (Vojtěch), son of Střezislava and Slavník and a friend of Polish king, Boleslaus the Brave. He was equally powerful as the Přemyslid dynasty in his time, to whom he took a rather confrontational attitude. Even minting his own coinage, which had previously been the privilege of the Přemyslid court in Prague. Presumably the minting of coins began to take place after the episcopal election of Vojtěch. Likely in 995 fighting occurred between Slavník dynasty and Přemyslid dynasty soldiers. This prompted Soběslav to take his grudge against the Přemyslids to the Emperor. While he was in Germany, on the 27th or the 28th of September, Přemyslid soldiers attacked the Slavník stronghold of Libice nad Cidlinou killing all members of the Slavník dynasty present. Soběslav then took part in an Imperial expedition against pagan Slavs, and then went to Boleslaus the Brave to obtain sanctuary in Poland. In 1004, Soběslav led the Charváts tribe and died on a bridge over the Vltava river in Prague in a battle between a Polish force retreating after besieging Prague Castle, and a Imperial-cum-Bohemian expeditionary force.