Wenceslas - Wenceslaus

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'Good King Wenceslas' is known to most English-speaking Christians, as the eponym of a Christmas carol. The name, originally the Slavonic Václav in Czech, Wacław or Więcesław in Polish, or Vyacheslav in Russian, among others, means "greater glory", being composed of the elements ventie 'more, greater' and slav, 'glory'. Wenceslas is a transliteration into the Roman alphabet of one ot these names, most usually of the Czech form 'Václav', borne famously by 'Saint Wenceslas, 'the Good' (907-929), who was killed by followers of his brother Boleslav in a dispute over allegiance to Henry the Fowler (876-936), King of East Francia, or Germany, and the place of Christianity in the state.

  • The usual spelling of the name in British English is Wenceslas. This is the spelling used by J.M.Neale in the original composition of the carol
  • The usual spelling of the name in American English is Wenceslaus, with an extra '-u-'.
    • The German equivalent is Wenzel.

After the saint (Wenceslas I, Duke of Bohemia), there was a Duke Wenceslas II (1137–after 1192), who ruled for only three months before being deposed, and later Kings of Bohemia Wenceslas I (1230–1253), Wenceslas II (1278–1305), Wenceslas III (1305–1306) and Wenceslas IV (1378–1419), as well as some members ofthe ruling classes of other countries.