Augustus III of Poland

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Augustus III
1715 - Auguste III de Pologne.jpg

Coat of Arms of Wettin kings of Poland.svg
Augustus III
by Hyacinthe Rigaud
King of Poland
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Reign 1734 – 5 October 1763
Predecessor Stanisław Leszczyński
Successor Stanisław August Poniatowski
Elector of Saxony
Predecessor Frederick Augustus I
Successor Frederick Christian
Spouse Maria Josepha of Austria
Issue
Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony
Maria Amalia, Queen of Spain
Maria Anna Sophia, Electress of Bavaria
Prince Franz Xavier
Maria Josepha, Dauphine of France
Carl, Duke of Courland
Maria Christina, Abbess of Remiremont
Albert, Duke of Teschen
Clemens Wenceslaus, Archbishop of Trier
Maria Kunigunde, Abbess of Essen
House House of Wettin
Father Augustus II the Strong
Mother Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Born 17 October 1696
Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Died 5 October 1763(1763-10-05) (aged 66)
Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Burial Dresden, family vault at Katholische Hofkirche
Signature
Religion Lutheranism (by birth)
Roman Catholicism (by conversion)

Augustus III (Polish: August III, (Lithuanian: Augustas III); 17 October 1696 – 5 October 1763) was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1734 until 1763, as well as Elector of Saxony in the Holy Roman Empire from 1733 until 1763 as Frederick Augustus II (German: Friedrich August II). Augustus, the heir to Augustus II the Strong, had secured the Polish throne following a war of succession against partisans of Stanisław I Leszczyński. The Russian Empire, which had assisted him in his bid to succeed his father, prevented him from installing his family on the Polish throne, supporting instead the aristocrat Stanisław August Poniatowski. During his reign, Augustus spent little time in Poland and was known to prefer recreation to ruling.

Royal titles[edit]

Royal titles in Latin: Augustus tertius, Dei gratia rex Poloniae, magnus dux Lithuaniæ, Russiæ, Prussiæ, Masoviæ, Samogitiæ, Kijoviæ, Volhiniæ, Podoliæ, Podlachiæ, Livoniæ, Smolensciæ, Severiæ, Czerniechoviæque, nec non-hæreditarius dux Saxoniæ et princeps elector.

English translation: August III, by the grace of God, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Ruthenia (i.e. Galicia), Prussia, Masovia, Samogitia, Kiev, Volhynia, Podolia, Podlaskie, Livonia, Smolensk, Severia, Chernihiv, and also hereditary Duke of Saxony and Prince-elector.

Biography[edit]

Augustus, aged 19 years in 1715

Augustus was the only legitimate son of Augustus II the Strong, Prince-Elector of Saxony and king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth who belonged to the Albertine line of the House of Wettin. His mother was Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth. Groomed to succeed his father as king of Poland, Augustus converted to Catholicism in 1712; when publicly announced, this caused discontent among the Protestant Saxon aristocracy.[1][2]

Royal Monogram Of King Augustus III of Poland

Upon the death of Augustus II in 1733, Augustus inherited the Saxon electorate and was elected to the Polish throne, with the support of the Russian Empire and the Holy Roman Empire. He was opposed by the forces of Stanisław I Leszczyński, who had usurped the throne with Swedish support during the Great Northern War. Reigning from 1706 until 1709, Stanisław was overthrown after the Swedish defeat at Poltava. Returning from exile in 1733 with the support of Louis XV of France, Stanisław sparked the War of the Polish Succession, which concluded in 1738 with a victory for Augustus's Russian and Imperial allies.[1]

As King, Augustus was uninterested in the affairs of his Polish–Lithuanian dominion, focusing instead on hunting, the opera, and the collection of artwork (see Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister). He spent less than three years of his thirty-year reign in Poland, where political feuding between the House of Czartoryski and the Potocki paralysed the Sejm (Liberum Veto), fostering internal political anarchy and weakening the Commonwealth. Augustus delegated most of his powers and responsibilities in the Commonwealth to Heinrich von Brühl, who served in effect as the viceroy of Poland.

Augustus's eldest surviving son, Frederick Christian of Saxony, succeeded his father as Elector. A Russian-supported coup d'état in Poland, instigated by the Czartoryskis, resulted in the election of Stanisław August Poniatowski as king of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania on 7 September 1764. Reigning under the name Stanisław II, Poniatowski was the son of the elder Stanisław Poniatowski, a powerful Polish noble and a onetime agent of Stanisław I; he was a lover of Catherine II of Russia and as such enjoyed strong support from that Empress's court.

August was portrayed by Ernst Dernburg in the 1941 film Friedemann Bach.

Marriage and children[edit]

In Dresden on 20 August 1719, Augustus married Archduchess Maria Josepha of Austria, the eldest child of Joseph I, the Holy Roman Emperor. They had fifteen children:[1][2]

Trivia[edit]

In 1733, the composer Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated the Missa, BWV 232a (Kyrie and Gloria of what would later become his Mass in B Minor) to Augustus in honor of his succession to the Saxon electorate, with the hope of appointment as Court Composer, a title Bach received three years later.[5]

Gallery[edit]

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Flathe, Heinrich Theodor (1878), "Friedrich August II., Kurfürst von Sachsen", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German) (Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot) 7: 784–86 .
  2. ^ a b Staszewski, Jacek (1996), August III. Kurfürst von Sachsen und König von Polen (in German), Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, ISBN 3-05-002600-6 .
  3. ^ "Christine" (JPEG), Saxony Albert, NL: Royalty guide, 1735 .
  4. ^ "Elisabeth" (JPEG), Saxony Albert, NL: Royalty guide, 1736 .
  5. ^ "Missa in B Minor ("Kyrie" and "Gloria" of the B Minor Mass)". World Digital Library. 1733. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 

External links[edit]

  • Bach, Johann Sebastian, "Mass in B Minor" (Adobe Flash), Cue points, Oregon Bach festival .
Augustus III of Poland
Born: 17 October 1696 Died: 5 October 1763
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Stanisław Leszczyński
King of Poland
1733–1763
Succeeded by
Stanisław August Poniatowski
Preceded by
Frederick Augustus I
Elector of Saxony
as Frederick Augustus II

1733–1763
Succeeded by
Frederick Christian