Joachim Murat

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Murat, Joachim

(zhōäshăN` mürä`), 1767–1815, marshal of France, king of Naples (1808–15). He left his theological studies to enter the army and fought in Egypt under Napoleon, whom he helped (1799) in the coup of 18 Brumaire. Having married (1800) Napoleon's sister Caroline BonaparteBonaparte
, Ital. Buonaparte , family name of Napoleon I, emperor of the French. Parentage

Napoleon's father, Carlo Buonaparte, 1746–85, a petty Corsican nobleman, was a lawyer in Ajaccio.
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, he was made grand duke of Berg (1806) and in 1808 was chosen to succeed Joseph Bonaparte as king of Naples. A brilliant and dashing cavalry leader, Murat played an important part in Napoleon's victories, in the Russian campaign (1812), and in the battle of Leipzig (1813). After Leipzig, however, he reached (1814) an agreement with Austria in order to save his own throne. During the Hundred Days he deserted his new allies and again joined Napoleon. Defeated by the Austrians at Tolentino, he fled to Corsica after Napoleon's fall. In an attempt to regain Naples he was arrested and executed.


See H. Cole, The Murats (1972).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Murat, Joachim


Born Mar. 25, 1767, in La Bastide-Fortuniére, now La Bastide-Murat, Lot; died Oct. 13, 1815, in Pizzo, Calabria. French military figure; marshal of France (1804); duke of Berg and Cleves (1806); king of Naples (from 1808). Son of an innkeeper.

Murat enlisted in the cavalry in 1787 and was promoted to officer in 1792. He distinguished himself during the suppression of a royalist mutiny on Oct. 4, 1795, and became an adjutant under Napoleon Bonaparte. Murat was promoted to brigadier general for distinction in the Italian campaign of 1796 and major general for the expedition to Egypt in 1799. As commander of the grenadiers, Murat assisted Bonaparte in his seizure of power on 18 Brumaire (Nov. 9), 1799. In 1800 he married Napoleon’s sister Caroline. Murat fought in all the Napoleonic wars and displayed outstanding abilities in commanding cavalry units and exceptional bravery. In 1808 he cruelly suppressed an uprising in Madrid. After becoming king of Naples, Murat tried to pursue an independent policy, but from 1810 this caused a deterioration in his relations with Napoleon.

In the 1812 campaign in Russia, Murat commanded the 28th Cavalry Corps and was defeated at Tarutino. After Napoleon’s departure for France, he commanded the retreating Napoleonic army. In 1813 he fought in the battles of Dresden and Leipzig. He went, subsequently, to Naples and in January 1814, in an attempt to retain the throne, entered into a secret alliance with Austria and Great Britain, thereby betraying Napoleon. However, at the Congress of Vienna of 1814–15, Murat’s claims received no support, and in the Hundred Days he sided with Napoleon, was defeated in Italy, and escaped to Corsica. Later he landed with a small detachment in Calabria in an attempt to regain the throne but was captured, sentenced by an Austrian court martial, and shot.


Sukhomlinov, V. A. Miurat Ioakhim—Napoleon korol’ Obeikh Sitsilii. St. Petersburg, 1896.
Gamier, J. P. Murat, roi de Naples. Paris, 1959.
Lucas-Dubreton, J. Murat. Paris, 1944.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
He uncovers the fiction of rational and competent reforms under both Joseph Bonaparte and Joachim Murat's "modernizing" administrations.
Steinitz, for instance, brings an ingenious Louis XVI writing desk which doubles up as a dressing table, formerly in the Rothschild collection at the Chateau de Ferrieres, a pair of Empire ormolu-mounted porphyry vases which once belonged to Prince Joachim Murat, Marshal of France and King of Naples, and a Regence aramanth armoire by Charles Cressent.
Roman gladiators would reportedly salute the Roman Emperor with "Hail Caesar, those who are about to die salute you," a remarkably generous tribute under the circumstances, whilst the writer and politician Erskine Childers kindly advised the firing squad at his execution "Come close boys, it will be easier for you." Similarly, Joachim Murat, French cavalry commander and king of Naples, said to the men just about to pull the trigger, "Soldiers, save my face; aim at nay heart.