Aleksander Benedykt Sobieski

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Aleksander Benedykt Sobieski
Prince of Poland
Hyacinthe Rigaud (circle of) - Portrait of Aleksander Benedykt Sobieski - Google Art Project.jpg

POL COA Janina.svg
Painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud
Born9 September 1677
Gdańsk, Poland
Died16 November 1714(1714-11-16) (aged 36)
Rome, Italy
FamilyHouse of Sobieski
FatherJohn III Sobieski
MotherMarie Casimire Louise de la Grange d'Arquien

Aleksander Benedykt Stanisław Sobieski (Polish pronunciation: [alɛˈksandɛr bɛˈnɛdɨkt staˈɲiswaf sɔˈbjɛskʲi]; 9 September 1677[1] – 16 November 1714) was a Polish prince, nobleman, diplomat, writer, scholar and the son of John III Sobieski, King of Poland, and his wife, Marie Casimire Louise de la Grange d'Arquien.[2]

He was a candidate for election to the Polish throne in 1697, following his father's death, but was unsuccessful. In 1702, he declined Charles XII of Sweden's offer to set him up as a rival king to Augustus II of Poland. He died in Rome in 1714, having recently become a Capuchin friar.[3]

Early life and studies[edit]

Aleksander Benedykt Sobieski

In childhood he was highly educated by the most talented scholars and teachers in the country, and by the age of 15 he spoke fluently several languages. In 1691 he accompanied his father on a military expedition to Moldavia where he learnt military tactics and broadened his fighting skills. At the end of his father's life, due to Sobieski's conflict with the eldest son Jakub, he was a to succeed his father to the throne, however, this never took place. In October 1696, while in Paris, he requested an audition with Louis XIV as the marquis of Jarosław. On January 19, 1698, together with his brother, Konstanty Władysław Sobieski, he organized a ball in Warsaw, in the honor of the newly crowned king Augustus II the Strong. Sobieski often accompanied Augustus II on military expeditions, most notably during the September campaign against the Tatars. He later became a close friend and supporter of the king. He was also known to be very fond of the monarch. In October, the same year, Sobieski personally escorted his mother on her trip to Italy.[4]

In November, they were received by Emperor Leopold I and Eleonora Magdalena von Pfalz-Neuburg.

Politics and military career[edit]

In March, 1700, he arrived in Rome and was made a Knight of the Order of St. Michael. In December, from the hands of the French ambassador he received the Order of the Holy Spirit. In summer of 1702, Charles de Caradas, the Marquis du Heron, a member of the Sejm (parliament) in Poland, suggested that Alexander should be seated on the throne of Hungary. Later that year the prince remained in Oława and he didn't accompany his brothers in an expedition to Saxony, however he did travel to Wrocław where he had an affair with the former mistress of Augustus II Anna Aloysia Esterle.

Aleksander fought at the side of Charles XII during his campaign in Saxony, in 1706. After the release of his brothers under the terms of the Treaty of Altranstädt, he halted his engagement in politics.[5]

The arts, later life and death[edit]

In 1710 he settled in Rome. Still in 1709, under the pseudonym Armonte Calidio, he joined the Roman academy Arcadia and the congregation of writers, artists and scholars. During the meetings held in the Arcadian Roman Mansion he often recited his own poetry written in Latin. Aleksander throughout his life was passionate about theater. He created his own version of the Arcadian dramma nobile. In the years 1710-1713 he completed the composition of several operas, in collaboration with the composer Domenico Scarlattim and set designer Filippo Juvarra. Occasionally, he starred in his plays.[6]

A ship from Gdańsk, Printz Alexander von Pohlen, was named after him.

Sobieski died in 1714 and was buried in the Roman Capuchin Crypt.


Marek Sobieski
Jakub Sobieski
Jadwiga Snopkowska
John III Sobieski
Jan Daniłowicz
Zofia Teofila Daniłowicz
Zofia Żółkiewska
Aleksander Benedykt Sobieski
Antoine de La Grange d'Arquien
Henri Albert de La Grange d'Arquien
Anne d'Ancienville
Marie Casimire Louise
Baptiste de La Châtre of Bruillebault
Françoise de La Châtre
Gabrielle Lamy[7]


External links[edit]