Augustus II the Strong

Aŭgust Mocny. Аўгуст Моцны (H. Rodakowski, XIX).jpg
Augustus II's signature
Augustus II the Strong (German: August II. der Starke; Polish: August II Mocny; Lithuanian: Augustas II; 12 May 1670 – 1 February 1733) of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin was Elector of Saxony (as Frederick Augustus I), Imperial Vicar and elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.

Augustus' great physical strength earned him the nicknames "the Strong", "the Saxon Hercules" and "Iron-Hand". He liked to show that he lived up to his name by breaking horseshoes with his bare hands and engaging in fox tossing by holding the end of his sling with just one finger while two of the strongest men in his court held the other end.

In order to be elected King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Augustus converted to Roman Catholicism. As a Catholic, he received the Order of the Golden Fleece from the Holy Roman Emperor.

As Elector of Saxony, he is perhaps best remembered as a patron of the arts and architecture. He established the Saxon capital of Dresden as a major cultural centre, attracting artists from across Europe to his court. Augustus also amassed an impressive art collection and built lavish baroque palaces in Dresden and Warsaw.

His reigns brought Poland some troubled times. He led the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the Great Northern War, which led to the Russian Empire strengthening its influence in Europe, especially within Poland. His main pursuit was bolstering royal power in the Commonwealth, characterized by broad decentralization in comparison with other European monarchies. He tried to accomplish this goal using foreign powers and thus destabilized the state.

Augustus was born in Dresden on 12 May 1670, the younger son of the Elector Johann Georg III and Anne Sophie of Denmark. As the second son, Augustus had no expectation of inheriting the electorate, since his older brother, Johann Georg IV, assumed the post after the death of their father on 12 September 1691.

This page was last edited on 19 February 2018, at 09:37.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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