Second battle at Chlumec

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Second battle at Chlumec
Part of: Bohemian inheritance dispute
King Lothar III.  fights against the Bohemians at Chlumec.  Illustration of an edition of the Historia septem sapientum, around 1450.
King Lothar III. fights against the Bohemians at Chlumec.
Illustration of an edition of the Historia septem sapientum , around 1450.
date February 18, 1126
place near Chlumec (Kulm), Eastern Ore Mountains
output Victory of the Bohemians
Parties to the conflict


Moravia - Olomouc
Holy Roman Empire


Duke Soběslav I.

Duke Otto II.
King Lothar III.

The Second Battle of Chlumec was the culmination of an inheritance dispute over the Duchy of Bohemia and took place on February 18, 1126 near the place Chlumec u Chabařovic (German: Kulm) on the southern edge of the Eastern Ore Mountains. Bohemian troops under Soběslav I triumphed over King Lothar III. and his Moravian ally Otto the Black .


Bohemia experienced a period of political instability at the beginning of the 12th century. The Dukes of the House of Přemyslid changed quickly. Břetislav I introduced the seniorate law in the 11th century , according to which the oldest male member of the dynasty was entitled to the throne. With each new duke, the remaining candidates moved up the hierarchy. The more the gender ramified, the more difficult it became to implement the seniorate rules. At times there were several dukes officially recognized by the emperor next to each other. In practice, the Prague throne was ascertained by those who could actually assert their claims and bring the Bohemian nobility on their side.

After the death of Vladislav I in 1125 there were two aspirants to the throne: Vladislav's brother Soběslav I and Otto the Black , who ruled over a large part of Moravia . After Vladislav had reconciled with his brother on his deathbed, the nobility decided in favor of Soběslav and made him duke on October 1, 1125. Otto had not only lost the controversy for the throne, but also lost part of his Moravian possessions. However, he still had a potential ally up his sleeve, the newly elected Roman-German King Lothar III. from Supplinburg .

At the end of November 1125, Lothar III decided. at a meeting with Bavarian greats in Regensburg to support Otto the black, who, according to the chronicler Otto von Freising , had offered him a lot of money. Soběslav, on the other hand, did not come to Regensburg personally, but merely sent negotiators. The meeting ended with an ultimatum for the delegation of the elected duke: the king threatened armed intervention by Saxon troops if the nobility did not drive out Soběslav themselves.


In the winter of 1125/1126, Soběslav prepared for the upcoming war. He secured sacred support from the Bohemian patron saint by having a miraculous standard made. It consisted of the standard of St. Adalbert , which was found by his chaplain in the church of Vrbčany and attached to the lance of St. Wenceslas . At the Kulmer Steig , the probable route of the Saxon armies through the border mountains, he had barriers put up and set up camps hidden in the woods, in which he concentrated his fighters. The winter was extremely hard and snowy. Temperatures rose in mid-February, however, and the incipient melting of the snow should make it even more difficult for enemy troops to move.

On February 18, Lothar's army crossed the border and advanced to the Bohemian side in thick snowstorms. The troop strength is estimated at around 2000-3000 fighters, which were faced by 3000-4000 Bohemians. The route of the troops and the location of the battlefield cannot be reconstructed beyond doubt from the sources. It seems likely that the Saxons descended from the Nollendorfer Höhe through the valley of a mountain stream, either the Tellnitz or the Eulabach , towards Kulm. Lothar had divided his army into two groups. The vanguard , which comprised around 200 knights with escort and was supposed to clear the way for the main army, was under the command of Otto the Black. This vanguard attacked the Bohemian troops in a narrow valley between two steep mountains near Kulm. In addition, there must have been a second battle with the main body of the army, probably at a different location. According to local tradition, this should have taken place on Lotarův vrch ( Lotterberg ) near Jílové (German: Eulau). The way back to the Nollendorfer Pass was cut off for the king. He was trapped with the rest of his troops and took up a defensive position on a hill.

Overall, the battle ended in the king's crushing defeat. While Soběslav lost only three fighters according to the chroniclers, on the side of Lothar III. 500 knights have died. Otto the Black fell and many Saxon warriors were taken prisoner. Among the prisoners were also high-ranking nobles such as Albrecht the Bear and Count Ludwig von Thuringia. Soběslav went to the king's emergency camp with some greats and took the Duchy of Bohemia as a fief from him before he let him go and let the prisoners free. The official feudal act was a binding gesture that ended the state of war.


As Soběslav of Lothar III. Taking Bohemia as a fief, the victor submitted to the vanquished. At first glance, this seems contradictory, but the outcome of the battle actually brought advantages for both sides: Lothar strengthened his position in the empire, especially against the Hohenstaufen , Soběslav gained prestige for his rule on an international scale.

The Bohemian chronicles, on the other hand, do not focus so much on the person of the duke. The victory at Kulm is described by them as the merit of the whole community, who as familia sancti Venceslai (servants of St. Wenceslas) was granted victory through the intercession of the patron saint. In this context, the construction of a Romanesque rotunda , which Soběslav had built on the summit of nearby Říp and consecrated to St. Adalbert , also falls . It is considered one of the first Czech national monuments. In these aftermaths of the Battle of Kulm, a new version of the medieval idea of ​​state and rule becomes visible, in which the ruler not only fights for himself but for the whole country and is made responsible for its well-being.

More battles at Chlumec


  • Vratislav Vaníček: Soběslav I. Přemyslovci v kontextu evropských dějin v letech 1092–1140 (= Historická pamět̕ , Velká řada, volume 14). Paseka, Praha / Litomyšl 2007, ISBN 978-80-7185-831-7 , especially pp. 165–197 ( Czech ).

Web links

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