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Wenceslaus I
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    (circa 907-September 28, 935)
    Born in Prague, Czech Republic
    Duke of Bohemia (921-35)
    Assassinated at the instigation of his brother, Boleslaus the Cruel
    Venerated as a martyr and a saint
    Patron saint of the Czech Republic
    Feast day is September 28
    Subject of the carol ‘Good King Wenceslaus’
    It is tough to tell which stories about him are true and which are pious legends.
    As part of his efforts to promote Christianity in Bohemia, he reportedly had flogged any guests at royal banquets who failed to join in the saying of grace.
    He had to pay tributes to King Henry I the Fowler to avoid being conquered by the Saxons.
    There is debate over whether he was assassinated in 929 or 935.
    He can be easily confused with King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, who ruled three centuries later.
    English speakers would probably have no idea who he was if it hadn’t been for the song ‘Good King Wenceslaus.’
    He had a reputation for giving generously to widows and orphans.
    He was murdered on the way to mass and died on the steps of a church.
    He forgave his brother as he was dying.
    Although he was only a duke in life, Holy Roman Emperor Otto I posthumously declared him a king.
    His statue in Wenceslaus Square is a popular meeting spot in Prague.

Credit: C. Fishel

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