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Augustus III of Poland

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Royal titlesEdit

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.

BiographyEdit

 
Augustus, aged 19 years in 1715 by Nicolas de Largillière

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] Faced with a hereditary Catholic succession for Saxony, Prussia and Hanover attempted to oust Saxony from the directorship of the Protestant body in the Reichstag, but Saxony managed to retain the directorship.[3]

 
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 childrenEdit

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 sixteen children:[1][2][clarification needed]

LegacyEdit

In 1733, the composer Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated the Kyrie–Gloria Mass in B minor, BWV 232 I (early version), 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.[6] Bach's title of 'Koeniglicher Pohlnischer Hoff Compositeur' ('Royal Polish Court Composer,' and court composer to the Elector of Saxony) is engraved on the title page of Bach's famous Goldberg Variations.

GalleryEdit

AncestryEdit

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  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. ^ Kalipke, Andreas (2010). "The Corpus Evangelicorum". In Coy, J.P.; Marschke, B. Benjamin; Sabean D.W. (eds.). The Holy Roman Empire, Reconsidered. Berghahn. pp. 228–247.
  4. ^ "Christine", Saxony Albert, NL: Royalty guide, 1735, archived from the original (JPEG) on 28 February 2008.
  5. ^ "Elisabeth", Saxony Albert, NL: Royalty guide, 1736, archived from the original (JPEG) on 28 February 2008.
  6. ^ "Missa in B Minor ("Kyrie" and "Gloria" of the B Minor Mass)". World Digital Library. 1733. Retrieved 8 August 2013.

External linksEdit

  • Bach, Johann Sebastian, "Mass in B Minor", Cue points, Oregon Bach festival, archived from the original (Adobe Flash) on 23 July 2011, retrieved 21 August 2011.
Augustus III of Poland (Frederick Augustus II of Saxony)
Born: 17 October 1696 Died: 5 October 1763
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Stanisław I
King of Poland
1733–1763
Succeeded by
Stanisław II August
Preceded by
Frederick Augustus I
Elector of Saxony
1733–1763
Succeeded by
Frederick Christian