Portrait of August II (1670-1733), King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (1697-1704; 1709-1733), Elector of Saxony (as Frederick August I) from 1694 to 1733
Augustus II the Strong (German: August II. der Starke and Friedrich August I. von Sachsen; Polish: August II Mocny; 12 May 1670 – 1 February 1733) of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin was Elector of Saxony (as Frederick Augustus I), Imperial Vicar and elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Augustus' great physical strength earned him the nicknames "the Strong", "the Saxon Hercules" and "Iron-Hand". In order to be elected King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Augustus converted to Roman Catholicism. As a Catholic, he received the Order of the Golden Fleece from the Holy Roman Emperor. As Elector of Saxony, he is perhaps best remembered as a patron of the arts and architecture. He established the Saxon capital of Dresden as a major cultural centre, attracting artists from across Europe to his court. Augustus also amassed an impressive art collection and built lavish baroque palaces in Dresden and Warsaw. His reigns brought Poland some troubled times. He led the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the Great Northern War, which led to the Russian Empire strengthening its influence in Europe, especially within Poland. His main pursuit was bolstering royal power in the Commonwealth, characterized by broad decentralization in comparison with other European monarchies. He tried to accomplish this goal using foreign powers and thus destabilized the state.
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