Clemens August of Bavaria

Clemens August of Bavaria (German: Clemens August von Bayern) (17 August 1700 – 6 February 1761) was a member of the Wittelsbach dynasty of Bavaria and Archbishop-Elector of Cologne.

Clemens August of Bavaria
Archbishop of Cologne
Clemens August of Bavaria as Grand Master of Teutonic Knights.PNG
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Term ended1761
PredecessorJoseph Clemens of Bavaria
SuccessorMaximilian Frederick of Königsegg-Rothenfels
Personal details
Born(1700-08-17)17 August 1700
Died6 February 1761(1761-02-06) (aged 60)


Clemens August (Clementus Augustus) was born in Brussels, the son of Elector Maximilian II Emanuel of Bavaria and Theresa Kunegunda Sobieska and the grandson of King John III Sobieski of Poland. His family was split during the War of the Spanish Succession and was for many years under house arrest in Austria; only in 1715 did the family become re-united.

His uncle Joseph Clemens, Elector and Archbishop of Cologne, saw to it that Clemens August received several appointments in Altötting, the Diocese of Regensburg, and at the Prince-Provostry of Berchtesgaden, and he soon received papal confirmation as Bishop of Regensburg, and later of Cologne.

As Archbishop of Cologne, he was one of the Electors, a Prince-Bishop of Münster, Hildesheim, and Osnabrück, and a Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.

According to Jan Swafford, Clemens August did not owe his position of power to his "talent, intelligence or reason. In each of his exalted posts, Clemens August was splendidly brainless and incompetent, not in the least interested in governing anything. As Elector in Bonn, his attention would be given largely to pleasure in the form of ladies, music, dancing, and erecting monuments to his glory and munificence." (2014)

Clemens August, who mostly sided with the Austrian Habsburg-Lorraine side during the War of the Austrian Succession, personally crowned his brother Charles VII emperor at Frankfurt in 1742. After Charles's death in 1745, Clemens August then again leaned toward Austria. Over time, Clemens August changed more frequently the alliances, as of Allied of Austria or France, also under the influence of his frequently changing First Ministers and high donations.

He died in Festung Ehrenbreitstein in 1761. In March 1761, shortly after his death, Pope Clement XIII rejected the succession of Clemens August's brother Cardinal John Theodore of Bavaria as Archbishop and Prince-Elector of Cologne since the pope entertained some doubt on John Theodore's "moral conduct". This was the end of the reign of the Wittelsbach in Cologne after 178 years of continuous rule. In his will, Clemens August donated only to his successor as Elector and the court chamber of the Electorate of Cologne, but not the Elector of Bavaria. His nephew Maximilian III. Joseph then tried to challenge the will before the Supreme Court of Appeal, however, this failed on 23 January 1767.

Cultural legacyEdit

Clemenswerth Palace near Sögel built as a hunting lodge for Clemens August

Clemens August patronised the arts; among others he ordered to build the palaces of Augustusburg and Falkenlust in Brühl, North Rhine-Westphalia, listed on the UNESCO cultural world heritage list, and the church of St Michael in Berg am Laim in Munich. Ludwig van Beethoven's Flemish grandfather became a musician in Bonn during the reign of Clemens August.

Illegitimate childrenEdit

Clemens August and his mistress Mechthild Brion had a daughter:

  • Anna Marie zu Löwenfeld (1735–1783) who married Franz Ludwig, Count of Holnstein (1723–1780), son of Clemens August's brother Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor

External linksEdit



Alessandro Cont, La Chiesa dei principi. Le relazioni tra Reichskirche, dinastie sovrane tedesche e stati italiani (1688-1763), preface of Elisabeth Garms-Cornides, Trento, Provincia autonoma di Trento, 2018, pp. 57-92, Jan Swafford, 'Beethoven, anguish and triumph', Boston, 2014, p. 6


  1. ^ " - France". Retrieved 2012-05-28.

External linksEdit

Clemens August of Bavaria
Born: 1700 Died: 1761
Catholic Church titles
Regnal titles
Preceded by Prince-Bishop of Regensburg
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prince-Bishop of Paderborn
Succeeded by
Prince-Bishop of Münster
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prince-Archbishop of Cologne
Prince-Bishop of Hildesheim
Title next held by
Frederick William of Westphalia [de]
Preceded byas administrator Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück
Title next held by
Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
as administrator
Preceded by Grand Master of the Teutonic Order
Title next held by
Charles Alexander of Lorraine