Augustus II

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Augustus II

Augustus II, 1670–1733, king of Poland (1697–1733) and, as Frederick Augustus I, elector of Saxony (1694–1733). He commanded the imperial army against the Turks (1695–96), but had no success and was replaced by Prince Eugene of Savoy as soon as he competed for the Polish throne, left vacant by the death of John III. By becoming a Catholic and granting the Polish nobility unprecedented privileges he was elected king with the support of the Holy Roman emperor and the pope. With help from Patkul, Augustus allied himself (1699) with Peter I of Russia and Frederick IV of Denmark for an attack on young Charles XII of Sweden. In the resulting conflict (see Northern War) Augustus invaded Livonia with his Saxon troops but was defeated (1702) by Charles XII. The Treaty of Altranstädt (1706) forced him to renounce the Polish crown in favor of Stanislaus I and to give up his alliance with Russia. After Charles's defeat by the Russians at Poltava (1709), Augustus revived the alliance and recovered Poland. In Poland, where he kept a Saxon force, Augustus was highly unpopular. After his death, the ascension of his son and successor in Saxony, Augustus III, to the Polish throne was unsuccessfully contested by Stanislaus I, who was backed by France. Among Augustus's many mistresses was Maria Aurora Königsmark; her son, Maurice de Saxe, was one of Augustus's innumerable illegitimate offspring. A patron of the arts, Augustus greatly embellished Dresden and created the Meissen china manufactures. He is also called Augustus the Strong.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Augustus II

 

(also Augustus the Strong; Polish, August II Mocny). Born May 12, 1670, in Dresden; died Feb. 1, 1733, in Warsaw. Elector of Saxony under the name Frederick Augustus I (1694–1733). King of Poland (1697–1706, 1709–33).

The son of the Saxon elector John George III, Augustus was elected to the Polish throne upon the death of King Jan III Sobieski. The election of Augustus was largely a result of Russia’s support for his candidacy. Augustus fought against Sweden in the Northern War of 1700–21. Under the Altranstadt Peace, which he concluded with Charles XII in 1706, Augustus was obliged to renounce the Polish crown.

After the defeat of the Swedish Army by Russia at the battle of Poltava in 1709, Peter I helped Augustus regain the Polish throne. Augustus’ desire to impose absolutism on Poland brought him into conflict with the Polish magnates and szlachta (gentry). To thwart the king’s plans, these two groups joined to form the Tarnogród Confederation. The conflict ended with the king’s defeat, which was confirmed by the Niemy, or Silent, Sejm in 1717.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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King Augustus II the Strong sent him to study composition in Vienna under J.