House of Lobkowicz

Polyxena, The Lady blessed with a high intellect

It is well known that the private correspondence between Polyxena, born Pernstein (1566–1642), and her second husband Zdeněk Vojtěch Popel, Prince Lobkowicz, survives mostly in Spanish. But apart from the tongue of her mother, Polyxena also used other languages, including Czech, in her documents. Her Czech correspondence with the Moravian intellectual Karel the Elder of Žerotín (1564–1636) is particularly remarkable. Žerotín was the most outstanding figure in the Protestant opposition of the Bohemian Crown Lands against the Counter-Reformation efforts of the Holy Roman Emperor. Though devoutly Roman Catholic Polyxena and staunchly Protestant Karel stood on opposing sides politically, their relationship was always full of mutual respect. The most famous and illustrative testament to this is Karel’s letter to Polyxena of April 1599, in which he openly praises Polyxena’s intellectual qualities. In another letter from the same period Karel addresses Polyxena as The Lady blessed with a high intellect.

Exhibited are two unpublished letters dated 1608 and 1610.


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