emperor joseph ii

anonymous asked:

Do you have any thoughts on who would be the closest historical comparison for Aegon V, in regards to being a sort of doomed idealist?

The world is full of doomed idealists. But the first historical figure I think of when I think of Aegon V is Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor and the least successful of the three “enlightened despots” of eighteenth century Europe (alongside Catherine the Great and Frederick the Great). Though he ruled as Emperor for nearly 25 years, only in the last 10 did Joseph really begin to implement the program of reforms he desired for his empire (the first 15 he had spent co-ruling with his formidable mother, the Empress Maria Theresa). Over the course of his reign, the Emperor issued an average of 690 decrees a year, targeting a wide variety of areas for reform. In 1781, Joseph formally abolished serfdom, giving serfs personal freedom (although not rights over the lands they had worked). Joseph also attempted to implement a more fair and egalitarian tax system to be administered throughout his empire. Despite the Habsburg monarchy being traditionally one of the most entrenched Catholic powers in Europe, Joseph granted wide religious freedom to Protestants, Jews, and Greek Orthodox within the Empire, and severely limited the power of the Catholic Church in his domains, dissolving monasteries and ecclesiastical tribunals (so much so that even the Pope came to protest, albeit without success). Education was made compulsory, and censorship largely abolished.

Unfortunately, Joseph’s reforms, well-intentioned or not, were not met with the sort of praise he might have expected. The nobility refused to comply with his taxation reforms and the changing relationship between landowner and land worker. Former serfs as well as landowners rejected the requirement that the newly liberated serfs be paid in cash, as their economy was largely based on barter. Non-German peoples in the Empire resented Joseph’s insistence on centralizing governance in Vienna and implementing German as the official language. In a number of provinces, rebellions broke out, and Belgium even (briefly) succeeded in declaring independence. Weeks before his death, Joseph II repealed a majority of his reforms (save the freedom of the serfs, religious toleration, and the banning of certain religious orders). The Emperor, despondent at his lack of success in reforming his empire, was said to have suggested that his epitaph read “Here lies Joseph II, who failed in all he undertook”, though this did not come to pass (insert some joke about his last failure being the failure to ensure his own epitaph read according to his wishes).

There are obvious differences, of course. Joseph was not an unlikely prince to succeed, but was the eldest son of Empress and her consort Francis I (although he was born in the midst of the War of the Austrian Succession, a conflict over his mother’s right to succeed to the Habsburg possessions of her father, Charles VI). Joseph’s desire for reform came not from living peasant experience but from reading the works of Enlightenment philosophers, and his reforms also aimed for an increase in the state’s power, something I think was not as much on Aegon’s mind. Both of Joseph’s marriages were dynastic arrangements, and he fathered no children who survived childhood (his elder daughter Maria Theresa died aged 7, while his younger daughter Maria Christina died the day of her birth, as did her mother). The differences between the Seven Kingdoms and the Holy Roman Empire culturally and politically are considerable as well. But, Joseph is still interesting to consider as a possible influence on Aegon V.

- NFriel


More art for the underrated, I say! Joseph II as the real historical figure is seriously fashionable cool, but his character in the Amadeus film? WAY COOL.  I prithee watch it if you haven’t already.
(By the way, this is the best surreptitious catchphrase ever–it’s good for ANY setting when you want to sneak in a quote without anyone ever knowing… then you can be smug about yourself later.)  I totally don’t wish this was a legit meme


Mozart/Grieg - Sonata no.16, K.545 [arr. two pianos]

Mozart’s C major piano sonata is famous for being a simple piece, its simplicity specially for Mozart’s own students. Like Beethoven’s Für Elise Bagatelle, this piece is considered a mile stone for piano students everywhere, one of the first pieces by a “major composer” that is charming enough for anyone to enjoy. Grieg took it upon himself to add a second piano part, to include more texture and color to the work, as well as elevating the Classical sonata with more Romantic harmonies. The idea makes me smile because I remember the famous quote from Emperor Joseph II in the 1984 film Amadeus, “There are simply too many notes…just cut a few and it will be perfect” [to which Mozart’s character replies, “Which few did you have in mind?”]. While the sonata is balanced on its own, including a second piano and “extra notes” really does produce something…magical. I don’t know, maybe it’s my own bias for the niche repertoire of piano duos. 


1. Allegro

2. Andante

3. Rondo

The 1782 Toleranzedikt

In 1782, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II issued the Edict of Tolerance, through which he sought to end most persecutory practices towards the Jewish people. The edict allowed for Jews to attend universities and schools, and eliminated a tax that had previously only been levied against Jews and cattle.

However, Joseph II also demanded that Jews give up their languages and banned Hebrew and Yiddish from being published in official documents or taught in schools, in favor of the national language. Judaism was branded the “quintessence of foolishness and nonsense.” Moses Mendelssohn responded to the edict by writing, “Such a tolerance… is even more dangerous play in tolerance than open persecution.“

Anecdotes about Frederick the Great (pt. 1)

After the Battle of Roßbach (1757) Frederick noticed a French grenadier fighting against some Prussian hussars trying to take him prisoner. “Do you think that you are invincible?”, Frederick asked the brave Frenchman. The grenadier answered: “Yes Sire, I would be invincible under your command.”


During a fast troop movement, Frederick once found himself face to face with an Austrian hussar, without the Prussian troops being near their king. The hussar was aiming at him, when Frederick suddenly called to him: “Stop it! You forgot to use your gunpowder!” The Austrian quickly looked at his weapon to check it - and was captured by the arriving Prussians.


Frederick was leading his troops through Lusatia, when he noticed that some of his men did not always keep their backs straight, so he rode up to them and shouted: “Straighten your backs, boys!” The soldiers answered: “Straighten your back, too, Fritz!” and Frederick just laughed and rode away.


Frederick had several pictures of Emperor Joseph II in his rooms. When he was asked about it, Frederick answered: “This is just a young man on which you always have to keep an eye.”


The wife of the Emperor Joseph II. was taken from him in a few days by an attack of smallpox of the most virulent kind. Her coffin had recently been deposited in the vault of the imperial family. The Archduchess Josepha, who had been betrothed to the King of Naples, at the instant she was quitting Vienna received an order from the Empress not to set off without having offered up a prayer in the vault of her forefathers. The Archduchess, persuaded that she should take the disorder to which her sister-in-law had just fallen a victim, looked upon this order as her death-warrant. She loved the young Archduchess Marie Antoinette tenderly; she took her upon her knees, embraced her with tears, and told her she was about to leave her, not for Naples, but never to see her again; that she was going down then to the tomb of her ancestors, and that she should shortly go again there to remain. Her anticipation was realised; confluent smallpox carried her off in a very few days…..

Memoirs of Marie Antoinette - Madame Campan

On this day in history, 29th of November 1780, death of Empress Maria Theresa (Maria Theresia) at the age of 63, in Hofburg Palace, Vienna. She was the was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Transylvania, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma. By marriage, she was Duchess of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Holy Roman Empress.

Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, had sixteen children, including the Queen of France, the Queen of Naples and Sicily, the Duchess of Parma and two Holy Roman Emperors, Joseph II and Leopold II. Out of the sixteen, nine or ten of them did not make it to adulthood. She had eleven daughters, ten of which were named Marie, and five sons. Though she was expected to cede power to Francis and Joseph, both of whom were officially her co-rulers in Austria and Bohemia,Maria Theresa was the absolute sovereign who ruled by the counsel of her advisers. Maria Theresa promulgated financial and educational reforms, with the assistance of Count Friedrich Wilhelm von Haugwitz and Gerard van Swieten, promoted commerce and the development of agriculture, and reorganised Austria’s ramshackle military, all of which strengthened Austria’s international standing.

Pictured: Herzog Albert und Erzherzogin Marie Christine shows to the family painting they brought from Italy (Maria Theresa is in black), 1776. Friedrich Heinrich Füger

Louise-Marie of France (15 July 1737 – 23 December 1787) was the youngest of the ten children of Louis XV and his wife, Maria Leszczyńska. As a daughter of the king, she held the rank of a fille de France. From 1740 she was known as Madame Louise.


Louise was born at Versailles on 15 July 1737, and was at first known as “Madame Septième" (one of her seven older sisters died before her birth) or "Madame Dernière”, later “Madame Louise”. She was sent to be raised at the Abbey of Fontevraud with Louis’ three other young daughters, Victoire, Sophie and Thérèse (who died at Fontevraud at the age of eight). On 20 December 1738 she was baptised at Fonevraud; her godfather was François-Marc-Antoine de Bussy, seigneur de Bisé; her godmother was Marie-Louise Bailly-Adenet, first woman of the chamber to her sister Madame Thérèse.When Louise reminded a nun at the convent that she was the daughter of the King, the nun replied: “And I am the daughter of God”.

None of King Louis’ projects for Louise’s marriage came to fruition, and she sought sanctuary from the world in her religion. In 1748, there were rumours that Louis would have her engaged to Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the throne of England.

Monastic life

In 1770, to general amazement, Louise asked her father to allow her to become a Carmelite nun. She believed that becoming a nun would compensate for her father’s lax morals. Louise joined the convent at Saint-Denis,where the order’s rule was obeyed strictly, taking the name Thérèse of Saint Augustine. On 10 September 1770, she took the habit. On 1 October 1771, she gave her vows and was fully accepted into the order.

Louise became prioress of the convent 25 November 1773. She served as prioress from 1773 to 1779, and a second term from 1785. She interceded with her father to allow Austrian Carmelites persecuted by the Emperor Joseph II to enter France. While at the convent, she tried her best to make sure that the other nuns treated her as an equal rather than the daughter of a king. As a child, she had an accident that affected her knee. As a result, she found it difficult to kneel, but when she was offered assistance, she refused. On 26 May 1774, two weeks after the death of her father, she was visited at Saint-Denis by her nephew, King Louis XVI.

She died at Saint-Denis, suffering from a stomach complaint. Her last words were the following:

Au paradis! Vite! Au grand galop!“ ("To paradise! Fast! At the great gallop!)

Along with other royal tombs at Saint-Denis, her remains were desecrated during the French Revolution. Pope Pius IX declared her venerable on 19 June 1873. Her life is celebrated on 23 December.

Emperador Rodolfo II del Sacro Imperio Romano Germánico y Archiduque de Austria
Imperator Rudolphus II Sacri Imperii Romani et Archidux Austriae
Kaiser Rudolf II. des Heiligen Römischen Reiches und Erzherzog von Österreich
Emperor Rudolf II of the Holy Roman Empire and Archduke of Austria
Empereur Rodolphe II de le Saint Empire Romain Germanique et Archiduc d'Autriche

Joseph Heintz der Ältere (1564-1609), 1594.

According to the memoirs of the Prince de Ligne, the Emperor [Joseph II] was astonished that considering the ‘surroundings of the Queen and the air of license which reigned at the Court, she had preserved her virtue. Her tact impressed him as much as her majesty. It was as impossible to forget it as to forget himself. In her presence too much freedom [of behavior] could not be risked, nor too naughty a story be told.’

–Marie Antoinette by Dorothy Moulton Mayer

On this day in history, February 20th, in 1790, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II died in Vienna. He was just 48 years old and had ruled for 25 years.

He had been married twice, but only his first marriage produced children, two short lived daughters. Thus he was succeeded by his younger brother, Leopold II.

Joseph was buried in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna, in tomb 42. He asked for his epitaph to read “Here lies Joseph II, who failed in all he undertook.”

Grand Duchess Maria Fyodorovna, future Empress of Russia, consort of Pavel I.

“My son has returned very much taken with his princess. I confess to you that I am enchanted with her. She is precisely that which is desired; shapely as a nymph, a complexion the colour of the lily and the rose, the most beautiful skin in the world, tall, but still graceful; modesty, sweetness, kindness, and innocence are reflected in her face … The whole world is enchanted with her … she does everything to please … In a word, my princess is everything that I desired. So there, I am content”. - Empress Ekaterina II

“The Grand Duke (Pavel) is greatly undervalued abroad. His wife is very beautiful and seems created for her position. They understand each other perfectly. They are clever and vivacious and very well educated, as well as high-principled, open, and just. The happiness of others is more to them than wealth … The Grand Duchess is more natural. She has great influence over her husband, loves him and rules him. She will certainly play an important part some day … The more I learn of the Grand Duchess, the greater is my admiration. She is exceptional in mind and heart, attractive in appearance and blameless in conduct. If I could have met a princess like her ten years ago, I should have been most happy to marry her.” - Emperor Joseph II of Austria


On June 29th, 1875, Ferdinand I of Austria died. He was second child and oldest son of Francis II and his second wife, Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily.

Due to the centuries of inbreeding among the royal families of Europe, particularly prevalent among the branches of the Habsburg family, he was born with multiple physical and mental problems. A younger sister, Maria Anna, also suffered from similar issues.  He succeeded his father as Emperor upon his death with a regent’s council ruling in his stead, though he was never officially declared incapable of ruling.

He was married to Maria Anna of Sardinia, but it’s though very unlikely the marriage was ever consummated and the couple had no children.

During the revolution of 1848, he was persuaded to abdicate in favour of his nephew, who would go on to rule for nearly 70 years as Franz Joseph I. Ferdinand and his wife lived in retirement together after that, and he died in Prague at the age of 82.

He was buried in Tomb 62 in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna. Maria Anna outlived him by nine years, dying in 1884, and was buried next to him in Tomb 63.

Joseph II, Emperor of Holy Rome

Joseph was the brother of Marie Antoinette, and when he became Emperor, he sought to change laws, like promote more tolerance for religions. He was a monarch ahead of his time.  During his reign, he had to deal with foreign affairs with legendary leaders like Catherine the Great and Frederick II of Prussia. His wife, Isabella of Parma, apparently had a romantic “affair” with his sister, Maria Catherine.

Overall, he seems like a cool person! And look at those eyes.