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Murat, Joachim (1767–1815)

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Marshal of France (1804–15) and King of Naples (1809–15). The son of a Gascon inn-keeper, Murat was educated in a seminary but enlisted with the cavalry in 1787. He was promoted from the ranks in 1792. He provided the cannon used by Napoleon Bonaparte to suppress the royalist Vendémiaire Rising (see napoleon i ) in 1795 and thereafter the fates of the two men were entwined. Murat assisted in the coup of brumaire , and his marriage to Caroline, Napoleon's sister, in 1800 established him even more firmly within the Bonaparte circle. He distinguished himself as a daring cavalry commander with good tactical, if limited strategic, abilities. He commanded French forces in Spain, brutally suppressing the Madrid uprising of May 1808, an incident captured in one of Goya's paintings, before replacing his brother-in-law (see bonaparte, joseph ) as king of Naples. He was with Napoleon on the fateful Russian campaign of 1812 (see moscow, retreat from ), assuming command of the Grande Armée when the Emperor left for Paris. He rallied to Napoleon during the hundred days , but his offer of assistance was rebuffed and he played no part at waterloo . Following Napoleon's exile to St Helena, Murat tried to recover his throne in Naples but was captured and executed by firing squad. It was characteristic that he himself gave the order to shoot. (See also napoleonic wars ; peninsular war ) ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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