Page:The voice of an oppressed people.pdf/46

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hemia even became Electors of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Luxemburg dynasty (Charles IV. and his son, Wenceslaus) succeeded in being elected Emperors. In the thirteenth century Bohemia began to push southwards, and Premysl Otokar II. (1253–78) incorporated the Austrian duchies into his kingdom. Rudolf of Habsburg defeated Ottokar, strengthened Austria, and not only became Emperor himself, but laid the foundations of the Habsburg dynasty. Yet Bohemian imperialism was not checked by Rudolf; under the Luxemburg dynasty Lusatia and Silesia were acquired, and even the Margravate of Brandenburg was, for a time, joined to Bohemia.

Bohemia was quite independent, though German historians often treat it as part of Germany. The king was sovereign in his State, but received investiture from the Emperor. In earlier times the princes of Bohemia paid a small tribute to the Emperor, and the church of Bohemia was dependent upon the Archbishop of Regensburg, until, in 973 the Bishopric of Prague (1344 Archbishopric) was founded. Though much smaller than Germany, Bohemia, having her power centralized and being well-administered, succeeded in maintaining complete independence against the temporal pretensions of the Empire.

Though the mediaeval Empire did not rest upon a national principle, it nevertheless oppressed the non-German peoples and Germanised them, ruler and State being alike German. The Church supported and aided Germanisation, though Latin, her own peculiar language, was also the language of the administration and diplomacy. The Kings of Bohemia acquired German lands and imported German colonists, whose devotion they secured by the grant of special privileges. Germany was dangerous by reason of her numbers, and sometimes her culture; but Bohemia was able to resist because she knew how to use her forces, and because she had a culture of her own, which was not inferior to the German. Yet it must be conceded that the Bohemian Court