Maximilian II. Emanuel (Bavaria)

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Joseph Vivien : Elector Max Emanuel of Bavaria as general (1706; Munich residence ).
The elector can be seen with an allonge wig and armor, with a blue Bavarian sash and marshal's baton in front of the city of Bergen ; the page in the background is probably his filius illegitimus , later Comte de Bavière .

Max Emanuel's signature:
Signature Maximilian II. Emanuel (Bavaria) .PNG

Maximilian II. Emanuel ( Ludwig Maria Joseph Kajetan Anton Nikolaus Franz Ignaz Felix , short Max Emanuel ; * July 11, 1662 in Munich ; † February 26, 1726 ibid) was a Wittelsbacher and since 1679 Elector of Bavaria . During the Great Turkish War , he made a name for himself as a general in the imperial service. The Ottomans called him "the blue king" because of his blue uniform jacket, which could be seen far across the battlefields. During the Palatinate War of Succession in 1692 he became governor-general of the Spanish Netherlands . He held this post until 1706. His hopes for at least part of the Spanish inheritance led him to enter into an alliance with Louis XIV at the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession . In the first years of the war he acted as its ally quite offensively, but without achieving any successes worth mentioning. After the devastating defeat in the Battle of Höchstädt in 1704, he had to leave Bavaria. In 1706 he was even given an imperial ban. After the end of the war he was able to resume his rule in Bavaria. He tried to find a balance with the House of Habsburg and tried to strengthen the position of the House of Wittelsbach in the empire.

From a cultural point of view, the rule of Max Emanuel, who was the builder of many castles and an important art collector, marked the transition from the Italian high baroque to the French-influenced Regency style, from which the Bavarian Rococo was increasingly developed by local artists.


Max Emanuel was born as the eldest son of the Elector couple Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelheid in the Bavarian capital. As a token of gratitude for the long-awaited birth of the heir to the throne, his mother later received the means for the construction of Nymphenburg Palace as a gift, which her son significantly expanded and used as a summer residence . The Munich Theatine Church was also built on the occasion.


Start of government

After the death of her father stepped Max Emanuel in 1679, initially to 1680 under the tutelage of his uncle, Maximilian Philipp von Leuchtenberg , the government in the Electorate and modernized the Bavarian army on the French model. Due to the Imperial War Constitution of 1681, Bavaria was also obliged to provide troops for the Imperial Army , so the Bavarian Army was created as a standing army. The nationalization of the war system also became an important element of the Elector's absolutist power politics. Kaspar von Schmid , who together with Korbinian von Prielmayr had shaped Bavaria's neutrality policy under Max Emanuel's father, remained secret council chancellor .

Loyalty to the emperor and successes in the Turkish war

Statue of Max Emanuel ( Conqueror of Belgrade ), Munich

In terms of foreign policy, Max Emanuel then changed Bavaria's course: his father, Elector Ferdinand Maria , was still trying to keep Bavaria out of the conflicts between the great powers. Max Emanuel, on the other hand, aggressively intervened in European politics.

The state treasure he had accumulated by his father made him interesting for both the Roman-German Emperor Leopold I and the French King Louis XIV . At first, like his father, he pursued a policy of neutrality between Versailles and Vienna. The Reunionspolitik Louis XIV. Caused to approach the emperor. Against the background of the Turkish threat and France's expansionary policy, both sides concluded a defense agreement in 1683, which was supplemented a short time later by a military agreement.

When the Turks besieged Vienna in the Great Turkish War in 1683, the Bavarian Elector came to the emperor's military aid with around 11,000 soldiers. With Bavarian participation, Emperor Leopold I and the Polish King Sobieski succeeded in liberating Vienna from the Turks (September 12). He was one of the few princes who personally took part in the battle. Even after the liberation of Vienna, Maximilian Emanuel and the Bavarian troops fought in the Great Turkish War . His soldiers took part in the capture of Gran in 1683 . A year later he took part in the unsuccessful attack on Ofen (today's Budapest / Hungary).

Maria Antonia of Austria

Since Leopold I wanted to bind the Elector more firmly to the House of Habsburg , he reluctantly agreed to his marriage (July 15) to his daughter Maria Antonia in 1685 . This marriage was of international importance because the Archduchess was a possible heir to the Spanish throne after the death of King Charles II of Spain. Charles II and the Cortes did not agree to the renunciation of inheritance. Maximilian Emanuel was thus able to claim the Spanish inheritance in the name of his wife, along with descendants of Leopold and Louis XIV .

In the further course of the Turkish war, Max Emanuel acquired the reputation of an outstanding general through great bravery. In the campaign against the Ottomans of 1685 Maximilian Emanuel served as sub-general. In the following year he himself was in command of a small army for a short time before he was again placed under Charles V of Lorraine in the attack in Ofen . A storm attack on Mount Harsan, in which Maximilian Emanuel's troops also took part, led to the conquest of the city in 1686. The following year he held his own command again for some time, before supply problems led to a union with Lorraine again. In the Battle of Mohács , the right wing he led together with Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden-Baden made a decisive contribution to the imperial victory.

Since the autumn of 1687, the elector has been pushing for the post of commander-in-chief to be transferred and threatened to terminate the alliance. In July 1688, Leopold gave in and the Elector of Bavaria was given the command in Hungary. He succeeded in liberating Belgrade . The elector himself fought in the front ranks and was wounded several times. In this battle alone, 5000 of 33500 Bavarian soldiers and 7000 Turkish fighters died. As a result, he became known as the “Blue King” (Turkish Mavi Kral ) - as he was called because of his blue uniform - and conqueror of the Turks throughout Europe. In gratitude, he was made a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece . However, the war costs, which were not fully covered by the emperor's subsidies, put a heavy burden on Bavaria's financial strength. From 1689 to 1697, Bavarian troops are also tied up in the Palatinate War of Succession .

Governor General of the Spanish Netherlands

Although the elector had resumed diplomatic relations with France, the Cologne diocese dispute , in which he supported his brother Joseph Clemens of Bavaria , and the associated start of the Palatinate War of Succession again led to the break in relations. Maximilian Emanuel fought against the French on the Middle and Upper Rhine in 1690. A year later he supported Viktor Amadeus of Savoy and took Carmagnola .

The siege of Namur in 1695

At the instigation of the emperor and Wilhelm III. King Charles II of Orange appointed him governor-general of the Spanish Netherlands on December 12, 1691 . By using Bavarian funds for the Netherlands, he contributed to a further deterioration in the budget situation in the electoral state. He held splendid court in Brussels to demonstrate his potential inheritance claim to Spain. Due to the lack of male descendants, the rule of the Habsburgs over the lands of the Spanish crown was drawing to a close at the end of the 17th century and the Spanish succession became the subject of general attention in European diplomacy. In fact, Charles II made Max Emanuel's son, Elector Prince Joseph Ferdinand , the universal heir of the Spanish Empire. His early death in 1699, the cause of which could never be clarified (in Versailles, for example, it was said that it had been brought about by poison from Vienna), meant a catastrophe for Max Emanuel's ambitious plans for advancement.

In the meantime Maximilian Emanuel had supported the Allies in the Dutch theater of war. Among other things, he took part in the reconquest of Namur in 1695. However, he could not prevent the French from bombing Brussels and, in particular, from destroying the center of the city. The poor financial situation forced him to wage war carefully. After the Peace of Rijswijk in 1697, his minister Jan van Brouchoven carried out various reforms. The plan to reopen the Scheldt estuary to shipping failed due to resistance from England and the Netherlands. The governor-general became increasingly unpopular and in 1699 had to forcibly suppress an uprising led by the guilds by Bavarian troops.

Change of fronts

When in the last will of Charles II a grandson of Louis XIV. And nephew of Max Emanuel, the Bourbon Philip V , was surprisingly named the sole heir of Spain, the War of Spanish Succession broke out in 1701 . This time the elector took the French side ( Bavarian diversion in the War of the Spanish Succession ). As governor-general, he allowed the French troops to occupy the Spanish fortresses in the Netherlands and forged an alliance with France. A short time later he returned to Bavaria. Although Bavaria only had 1.1 million inhabitants at the time, Max Emanuel maintained an army of 27,000 men. Max Emanuel tried in vain to persuade the Archbishop of Mainz and Imperial Chancellor Lothar Franz von Schönborn for a neutrality of the empire. In 1702, Louis XIV promised to compensate Maximilian Emanuel in the event of an occupation of Bavaria. The elector pushed in vain for a kingdom from the Spanish inheritance.

The defeat in the Battle of Höchstädt in 1704 forced Maximilian Emanuel to leave Bavaria

In 1702 he had the city of Ulm occupied in order to secure the connection between Bavaria and France. In the following year Neuburg on the Danube was taken after a siege and Regensburg was occupied afterwards . French troops were sent to Bavaria so that Maximilian Emanuel could attack Tyrol . The goal of advancing to Italy in order to unite with the French under Louis II Joseph de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme , failed. In Tyrol, Maximilian Emanuel also encountered popular resistance to Bavarian rule. This forced Bayern to withdraw. In September 1703 Max Emanuel won the First Battle of Höchstädt with the French under Claude-Louis-Hector de Villars against the Imperial Army and Prussia . Mediation efforts arose from various quarters, but the elector did not respond. Instead, he took Augsburg at the end of 1703 and Passau at the beginning of the next year . A winter campaign to Upper Austria did not produce any noteworthy success. In new negotiations, mediated by Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden-Baden , Maximilian Emanuel made a change of alliances dependent on a royal title. Leopold I. did not go into this. In July 1704 Max Emanuel's generals Maffei and Arco then lost the battle at Schellenberg . With this victory of the British, Dutch and Imperial forces over Bavaria and the subsequent capture of Donauwörth , the Danube line was broken and the Electorate of Bavaria was left to the Allies.

On August 13, 1704, over 100,000 soldiers faced each other in the Second Battle of Höchstädt , of whom around 25,000 died or were wounded. France and the allied Bavaria lost this battle. The elector fled to the Netherlands. Bavaria was occupied by the imperial. First, his wife was Therese Kunigunde of Poland nor the rule over the Rentamt Munich left before even here the Habsburgs in 1705, in violation of the Treaty of Ilbesheim the administration took over. At the same time, on May 16, 1705 Munich was occupied by 3,200 men of the imperial and Palatinate troops. Leopold I died on May 5th and his son, Emperor Joseph I , immediately took a more energetic course. The suffering of the population erupted in an uprising that was bloodily suppressed in 1705 during the Sendlinger Murder Christmas and at Aidenbach .

Maximilian Emanuel, meanwhile, continued to fight on the French side. Together with François de Neufville, duc de Villeroy , he lost the battle of Ramillies in 1706 . This meant that Brussels could be occupied by the Allies. The plans to make him king of Hungary in connection with the uprising of Francis II Rákóczi were unsuccessful.

Exile and Duke of Luxembourg

In 1706 Maximilian Emanuel and his brother Joseph Clemens , the elector of Cologne, were imposed an imperial ban. The Upper Palatinate had meanwhile come to Max Emanuel's Palatine cousin Johann Wilhelm , who also assumed the more respected ( fourth ) electoral dignity.

In 1708 Maximilian Emanuel once again led troops into the Rhineland without this having had any notable success. After that he received no more command from Louis XIV. After most of the Spanish Netherlands was occupied in 1709 after the battle of Malplaquet , Maximilian Emanuel went to France. In view of the Allied occupation, it was a mere gesture when his nephew Philip V of Spain appointed him ruler of the Spanish Netherlands in 1711. His rule in the Namur , Luxembourg , Charleroi and Nieuwpoort area depended entirely on French aid.

With the other side he negotiated about an exchange of Bavaria for the Spanish Netherlands. For that he was ready to switch sides. These attempts also failed because of the resistance of his brother Joseph Clemens. Maximilian Emanuel had already tried unsuccessfully in 1709 to exchange his claims to Bavaria with the rule of Milan , Mantua and Sardinia with the Habsburgs. A turning point only got underway in 1711 after the sudden death of Emperor Joseph I, when the Habsburg aspirant to the throne in Spain as Charles VI. now also became the new emperor. Thus, instead of a French one, an Austrian hegemony in Europe was to be feared. Therefore England left the alliance of the emperor's Hague Alliance in 1713 and made peace with France. Even in the Peace of Utrecht , Max Emanuel planned in vain to preserve the kingdoms of Sardinia and Sicily in exchange for the renunciation of Bavaria.

In the Peace of Rastatt and the Peace of Baden in 1714 , the French pushed through Max Emanuel's reinstatement as Elector of Bavaria. His efforts to get more areas failed. After the restitution of Elector Max Emanuel, until the Elector's return on April 10, 1715, his Lord Chamberlain, Count Maximilian Johann Franz von Preysing, heads the electorate as director of the Privy Council. Shortly after his return, Max Emanuel signed a subsidy and friendship treaty with France.

Second government era in Bavaria

Max Emanuel by Giuseppe Volpini , around 1720, Bavarian National Museum

Only after the Peace of Baden did Max Emanuel see his wife and children again on April 3, 1715 in Lichtenberg Castle near Landsberg am Lech . After the return of Elector Max Emanuel, the Secret Council Chancellery was expanded to its previous size and staffing in 1715. Max Emanuel then appointed neither a new Council Chancellor nor a Vice Chancellor of the Secret Council until the end of his government.

Despite his alliance with France, the elector tried to come to an understanding with Emperor Charles VI. In 1717 he made Bavarian troops available for the Turkish War . He connected this with the intention of profiting from the inheritance disputes to be expected in Austria after the death of the emperor. The marriage of the Bavarian Elector Karl Albrecht to Maria Amalia of Austria also served this goal . The recognition of the Pragmatic Sanction and the Archduchess' renunciation of inheritance were secondary to him. He strengthened the influence of the Wittelsbachers in the empire by making a significant contribution to the fact that his son Clemens August von Bayern was able to occupy several episcopal seats. Among them was the Archdiocese of Cologne with the associated course vote. Johann Theodor of Bavaria also occupied several bishopric seats . With the Wittelsbach house union of 1724, the internal family dispute, in particular with the ruling line of Elector Karl III in the Electoral Palatinate . Philip to be settled. This also included the clerical Wittelsbach princes. As part of the Wittelsbach House Union, a settlement finally came about on the long-controversial question of the vicariate, which stipulated that Bavaria and the Palatinate should jointly exercise the Rhenish vicariate in future . During the second reign of Max Emanuel, it was important to overcome his political isolation from the time of the Spanish War of Succession in the empire. However, despite all efforts, the country was burdened with high debts.

In the second reign he also took up the buildings of Nymphenburg Palace and the " New Schleissheim Palace ", which had been discontinued during the war . To this end, he had Dachau Castle extensively rebuilt and Fürstenried Castle built. With his architects Joseph Effner and later François de Cuvilliés , the French influence in court architecture increased after the Italian baroque art had dominated the court for decades. Max Emanuel was also an art collector: he bought 101 paintings for 90,000 Brabant guilders, twelve of which were works by Peter Paul Rubens , which today form the basis of the Alte Pinakothek . For his court music, he obtained the instruments from the French purveyor to the court, Pierre Naust in Paris. The East Asian collection of the Munich residence today contains over 500 pieces of precious porcelain from China and Japan as well as lacquer work, most of the exhibits were acquired by Max Emanuel.

Death and succession

At the end of his life, Max Emanuel had been suffering from stomach problems with vomiting and difficulty swallowing for a long time. At the beginning of 1726 the disease got worse and worse. At around 5 a.m. Max Emanuel suffered a stroke with left hemiplegia and died shortly before 7 p.m.

He was buried in a coffin in the princely crypt in the Theatine Church built by his father. Also in the crypt his heart and entrails rest separately in a pewter vessel.

Throughout the 18th century, Bavaria had to struggle with the enormous debt burden caused by Max Emanuel, which repeatedly led to the verge of national bankruptcy and restricted its leeway. The successor Karl Albrecht took over a debt burden of 26 million guilders , which he then increased.

Marriages and offspring

Max Emanuel's coffin in the Theatine Church

Elector Max Emanuel married Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria , daughter of Emperor Leopold I and his wife, the Infanta Margareta Theresa of Spain , on July 15, 1685 in Vienna . The marriage had three children:

  • Leopold Ferdinand (born May 22, 1689 in Munich, † May 25, 1689 ibid), Prince Elector of Bavaria
  • Anton (* / † November 28, 1690 in Munich), Prince Elector of Bavaria
  • Joseph Ferdinand Leopold (1692–1699), Prince Elector of Bavaria and Prince of Asturias

After her death, he became engaged to Princess Leopoldine Eleonore of the Palatinate , daughter of Elector Philipp Wilhelm of the Palatinate , in March 1693 , who died three weeks later.

In his second marriage on January 2, 1695 in Wesel, he married Princess Therese Kunigunde of Poland , daughter of King Johann III. Sobieski of Poland and his wife Marie Casimire Louise de la Grange d'Arquien . The marriage had ten children:

  • nameless son (* / † August 12, 1695 in Brussels), Prince of Bavaria
  • Maria Anna Karoline (1696–1750), Princess of Bavaria, nun in the Munich Clarissin convent
  • Karl Albrecht (1697–1745), Roman-German Emperor and Elector of Bavaria
  • Philipp Moritz Maria (August 5, 1698 - March 12, 1719 in Rome), Prince of Bavaria, posthumously elected Prince-Bishop of Paderborn and Münster
  • Ferdinand Maria Innozenz (1699–1738), Prince of Bavaria, Imperial Field Marshal
  • Clemens August (1700–1761), Prince of Bavaria, Elector and Archbishop of Cologne, Grand and German Master, Prince-Bishop of Hildesheim, Regensburg, Münster, Paderborn and Osnabrück etc.
  • Wilhelm (born July 12, 1701 in Schleissheim, † February 12, 1704 in Munich), Prince of Bavaria
  • Alois Johann Adolf (born June 21, 1702 in Munich; † June 18, 1705 there), Prince of Bavaria
  • Johann Theodor (1703–1763), Prince of Bavaria, Cardinal, Prince-Bishop of Regensburg, Freising and Liège
  • Maximilian Emanuel Thomas (born December 21, 1704 in Munich; † February 18, 1709 there), Prince of Bavaria

He had a son from his mistress Agnes Le Louchier :

He had a daughter from another mistress:

Another child of a mistress is occupied.


Wilhelm V Duke of Bavaria (1548–1626)
Maximilian I Elector of Bavaria (1573–1651)
Renata of Lorraine (1544–1602)
Ferdinand Maria Elector of Bavaria (1636–1679)
Emperor Ferdinand II of Habsburg (1578–1637)
Maria Anna of Austria (1610-1665)
Maria Anna of Bavaria (1574-1616)
Maximilian II. Emanuel Elector of Bavaria
Charles Emanuel I of Savoy (1562–1630)
Viktor Amadeus I of Savoy (1587–1637)
Katharina Michaela of Spain (1567–1597)
Henriette Adelheid of Savoy (1636–1676)
Henry IV King of France (1553–1610)
Christina of France (1606–1663)
Maria de 'Medici (1575-1642)



The Kurfürstenplatz in Munich was named after him in 1915 , and there is also a base sculpture ( monument to Elector Max Emanuel ) on Promenadeplatz in the city center.


Web links

Commons : Max Emanuel  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Further to this Johannes Arndt : Control of rule by the public. The journalistic representation of political conflicts in the Holy Roman Empire 1648–1750. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2013 (publications of the Institute for European History, Mainz, Vol. 224), ISBN 978-3-525-10108-7 , Chapter II.4: Prohibition of Elector Max Emanuel of Bavaria. Pp. 339–394 (preview on Google Books).
  2. ^ Andreas Kraus : History of Bavaria. From the beginning to the present. Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-51540-1 , p. 313 f.
  3. ^ The Vicariate Comparison. (PDF) (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on August 5, 2017 ; accessed on August 4, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Andreas Kraus: From the ostracism of the elector to the conclusion of peace . In: Andreas Kraus (Ed.): Handbook of Bavarian History . founded by Max Spindler. 2nd revised edition. Volume II. Old Bavaria. The territorial state. Beck, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-406-32320-0 , p. 513 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  5. Marcus Junkelmann : Max Emanuel . In: Alois Schmid and Katharina Weigand (eds.): The rulers of Bavaria . 25 historical portraits of Tassilo III. until Ludwig III. Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-48230-9 , pp. 244 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  6. 200 years of the Bavarian Supreme Audit Office. Retrieved May 5, 2017 .
predecessor Office successor
Ferdinand Maria Electorate of BavariaElectorate of Bavaria Elector of Bavaria
Karl I. Albrecht
Fray Antonio de Agurto Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands
Occupied by the British and Dutch
Philip V. Margrave of Namur, Duke of Luxembourg, Brabant, Limbourg and Geldern
Charles VI