Louis de Bourbon, duc de Bourgogne

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Louis, Duke of Burgundy

Louis , Dauphin of France , Duke of Burgundy (born August 6, 1682 in Versailles , † February 18, 1712 in Marly-le-Roi ), was the eldest son of the French heir to the throne Louis de Bourbon and his wife Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria . He led French troops in the War of Spanish Succession at the Battle of Oudenaarde .


The Duke of Burgundy was the eldest grandson of Louis XIV and brother of Philip V of Spain. Another brother was Charles de Bourbon , Duke of Berry. As a child stubborn and irascible, the upbringing of François Fénelon changed him from the ground up and made him a beacon of hope for the French monarchy. Fénelon wrote his famous educational novel Les aventures de Télémaque for him .


The wedding of 1697

In 1696, Louis XIV sought to bring the War of the Palatinate Succession to an end and, for this purpose, to separate Viktor Amadeus II of Savoy as the first opponent from the enemy coalition through peace talks . After tough negotiations, the Treaty of Turin , which was initially kept secret and signed on June 29, 1696, resulted in a separate peace between the French king and the Duke of Savoy, which included the marriage of his daughter Maria Adelaide to the Dauphin de Viennois . Maria Adelaide was a granddaughter of Philippe d'Orléans , the brother of Louis XIV.

On October 15, 1696, Maria Adelaide, only eleven years old, crossed the Guiers river near Le Pont-de-Beauvoisin without taking a retinue with her. The Duke de Brionne picked her up in a carriage and traveled with her inland. On November 4, 1696, King Louis XIV personally expected her in Montargis, south of Paris. Since Maria Adelaide was still too young, she was initially not married and kept away from her future husband. It was not until December 7, 1697 that the wedding with the Duke of Burgundy took place in Versailles.

His intellectual abilities and willingness to work far exceeded his father, the Grand Dauphin. Thanks to his intellectually and emotionally excellent instruction, the young Duke of Burgundy was soon considered to be extremely intelligent and politically gifted. At the age of twenty, he was admitted to the Conseil d'en haut (High Council) by the King in 1702, a privilege that his father was only allowed to do at the age of 30.

Military command

The treatise Éléments de géométrie , 1713, dedicated to the late Dauphin

In the middle of the War of the Spanish Succession, in the campaign of 1708, the Duke of Burgundy was given supreme command of an army in Flanders that was to operate closely with that of the Duke of Vendôme. Marshal Vendôme had managed to capture Ghent and Bruges surprisingly quickly by July 5th . The two French armies then threatened the province of Brabant and the fortified city of Oudenaarde , 55 km from Brussels in eastern Flanders, was the next target of their operations. The Duke of Burgundy wanted to secure his army on the left bank of the Scheldt near Gavre by means of entrenchments and to advance with an army corps on Menin. Vendôme, however, insisted on crossing the Scheldt together in order to attack the enemy on the other bank directly. On July 11th, the battle of Oudenaarde against the combined forces under the Duke of Marlborough was lost due to a lack of coordination between the two generals . The French went back under the protection of the walls of Ghent, but the victors could break into northern France. To protect the fortress of Lille , Marshal Boufflers was able to strengthen the garrison to 15,000 men by July 28th. The army of the Duke of Burgundy remained standing on the Scheldt to watch, but could not prevent the loss of the fortress to the imperial family under Prince Eugene at the beginning of December.

His early death in February 1712 of measles (or scarlet fever , historians disagree) was a great loss for the French monarchy. The deadly epidemic of 1712 also killed his wife and son Louis de Bretagne, who was born in 1707. Since his father had died unexpectedly of smallpox the previous year, his son Ludwig , who was born in 1710 and later became King Louis XV, became the new Dauphin and heir to the throne.


Maria Adelaide of Savoy

Louis de Bourgogne married Princess Maria Adelaide of Savoy in 1697 , who twice (through her grandfathers, Duke Charles Emanuel II of Savoy and Philippe I de Bourbon, duc d'Orléans ) his second cousin and (through her great-grandmothers Duchess Christine of Savoy and Queen Henrietta Maria of England ) was third degree. From this connection three sons were born:

  1. Louis (June 25, 1704 - April 13, 1705), Duke of Brittany
  2. Louis (January 8, 1707 - March 8, 1712), Duke of Brittany
  3. Louis XV (February 15, 1710 - May 10, 1774), Duke of Anjou and later King Louis XV. from France.


Due to the high hopes he seemed to be entitled to, on the one hand, and his premature death on the other, Louis was occasionally glorified by poetry and historiography in the following years, also under the unfavorable impression that the government of his son, King Louis XV., Had on his contemporaries made. Voltaire, for example, celebrated him in his henriade with the verses:

"Quel est ce jeune prince en qui la majesté
Sur son visage aimable éclate sans fierté?
D'un œil d'indifférence il regarde le trône:
Ciel! Quelle nuit soudaine à mes yeux l'environne!
La mort autour de lui vole sans s 'arrêter;
Il tombe aux pieds du trône, étant près d'y monter.
Ô mon fils! des Français vous voyez le plus juste;
Les cieux le formeront de votre sang auguste.
Grand Dieu! ne faites-vous que montrer aux humains
Cette fleur passagère, ouvrage de vos mains?
Hélas! que n'eût point fait cette âme vertueuse!
La France sous son règne eût été trop heureuse:
Il eût entretenu l'abondance et la paix;
Mon fils, il eût compté ses jours par ses bienfaits;
Il eût aimé son peuple. Ô jours remplis d'alarmes
Oh! combien les Français vont répandre de larmes,
Quand sous la même tombe ils verront réunis
Et l'époux et la femme, et la mère et le fils! "

"Who is the young prince, from whose face
The Majesty speaks so nobly and without pride?
He is not attracted by the splendor of the throne on which he looks ...
O Heaven! What night suddenly turns gray!
Death's wing rustles around him, he does not let go;
he even thrusts him into the grave at the foot of the throne. -
My son, you see the righteous of the French,
Heaven has made him
grow from your high trunk. So will you, great God, from the flower Brief splendor
Only show the people the work that you have done?
What deeds would this Edl once have done
! Oh, too well! France would advise him through him.
He would have brought peace and prosper;
his whole life he would only consecrate
his people ; he would have loved his people. O day of bitter pains!
O what grief then fills the hearts of the French,
When once, united in the same royal tomb, we weep for husbands and wives
, son and mother ! "


Louis XIII , King of France (1601–1643)
Louis XIV King of France (1638–1715)
Anna of Austria (1601–1666)
Louis de Bourbon Dauphin of France (1661–1711)
Philip IV , King of Spain (1605–1665)
Maria Teresa of Spain (1638–1683)
Isabella (Élisabeth) of Bourbon (1602–1644)
Louis de Bourbon (1682-1712)
Maximilian I , Elector of Bavaria (1573–1651)
Ferdinand Maria Elector of Bavaria (1636–1679)
Maria Anna of Austria (1610-1665)
Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria (1660–1690)
Viktor Amadeus I , Duke of Savoy (1587–1637)
Henriette Adelheid of Savoy (1636–1676)
Christina of France (1606–1663)


  • Henri Druon: Le duc de Bourgogne et ses frères (= Histoire de l'éducation des princes dans la maison des Bourbons de France , vol. 2), Paris 1897.
  • Jules Michelet : Louis XIV et le Duc de Bourgogne ( Histoire de France , vol. 16), Paris 1879.

Web links

Commons : Louis de Bourbon  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Voltaire, La Henriade , 7th Canto; The Henriade ... , translated by Friedrich Schröder, Brockhaus, Leipzig 1843, p. 102, verse 399-416.