Friedrich II of Prussia


Frederick the Great

Friedrich II of Prussia (Friedrich der Große, Frederick II, Frederick the Great -- January 24, 1712 - August 17, 1786) was the Hohenzollern king of Prussia, from 1740-86. Friedrich preferred to speak French; rather than German. He was one of the so-called "enlightened monarchs".

Frederick had a vision for an independent Germany, but this didn't come to pass until Bismarck started and won several wars a century later. Frederick led the Prussians during the War of the Austrian Succession and during the Seven Years' War.

He married Elisabeth Christine von Braunschweig-Bevern.

Frederick succeeded his father Frederick William I (the "Soldier King").

His nephew Friedrich Wilhelm II succeeded him as King of Prussia.

Frederick had a great fondness for music, and in particular he played the flute to an acceptable standard. He was responsible directly or indirectly for the writing of many pieces of flute music, and also wrote over a hundred pieces himself. His court musicians included C. P. E. Bach and Johann Joachim Quantz. A meeting with Johann Sebastian Bach in 1747 led to Bach writing The Musical Offering. Frederick also befriended Voltaire.

Preceded by:
Frederick William I
List of Kings of Prussia

Succeeded by:
Frederick William II

Quotes

  • "[The monarch] is a perpetual sentinel, who must watch...enemies of the state...it is not that he should remain the shadow of authority, but that he should fulfill [his] duties."
  • "Hier muss ein jeder nach seiner Fason selig werden." ("Every man must go to heaven in his own way.")

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