Empress Maria Theresa (1740-80) – curriculum vitae

Empress Maria Theresa (1740-80) – curriculum vitae

Emperor Charles VI died suddenly in 1740 r. leaving no male heir. His daughter then ascended the throne, Maria Teresa. It happened thanks to the so-called. a pragmatic sanction, an act adopted thanks to the efforts of the ruler, a guaranteeing his daughter the right to inherit. The beginning of the reign was difficult, as evidenced by the words of Maria Teresa herself: “I didn't have any money, nor credits, nor the army, nor experience or knowledge. I also couldn't count on anyone else's advice, for all the ministers were busy watching, in what direction things will go”. Despite the inauspicious beginnings, the empress soon amazed the male surroundings, taking risks and fighting. She could not find support in her husband, which indeed fenced very well, he was shooting, he hunted and seduced women, but otherwise it was useless.

Throughout Europe, Maria Teresa was called the "virgin empress”, obviously not in the literal sense, as evidenced by even sixteen children born into the world. It was about that, that it was completely out of date, in which adultery was common and natural. Empress, brought up by the Jesuits, she was deeply religious. She insisted on a shared marriage bed, which was a serious inconvenience for her husband, anyway, in those days the spouses had rather separate bedrooms. Perhaps her husband's extramarital antics contributed to his calling in the fall 1747 r. the so-called. public morality commission. Its members had the right to search homes and arrest any man, who was caught with an opera singer, a dancer or any woman of suspected reputation. Sinful women were punished by imprisonment or exile.

And although the commission broke up after six months, it caused quite a stir, making control in many actors. This fate was even shared by Casanova.

Maria Teresa, just like her son Józef II, she was an avid reformer. Thanks to her, one of the best was created, for those times, education systems in Europe imposing compulsory education on both boys, as well as girls. The empress, however, did not follow liberal views, as evidenced by her bitter anti-Semitism. In Vienna, there were only approx. 500 Jews, and Maria Teresa considered them a plague anyway, and finally in 1777 r. she banished everyone, while stating: “I know no greater social scourge than these people – they are scammers and usurers. They make people beggars, they run dirty business, to which an honest man abhors. That's why they have to go away, and everyone should stay away from them, as possible”. Usually she talked with Jews behind a screen (which did not prevent her from unscrupulous use of their money in the construction of Schonbrunn). The only exception was for baptism, Josepha of Sonnenfelsa, who was one of her chief advisers.

In the first period of her reign, Maria Teresa was considered a person who liked fun and entertainment – she played cards and danced at all times. Her behavior changed after her husband died unexpectedly 18 of August 1765 r. Since then, the ruler lived in constant mourning, wearing short hair and giving up jewelry and makeup. Apparently for the next 30 years, she participated in the Holy Mass every day. in the Imperial Crypt at the foot of the deceased husband's tomb. W 18. on each day of each month and throughout August, she devoted herself to silent prayer. After the death of Franciszek Stefan, she immediately appointed her co-reigning son, Joseph, who gradually took over the daily exercise of imperial duties. She gained so much weight in her old age, that she had great difficulty walking, so she rarely left the Schonbrunn area. She had trouble breathing and forbidden to close the palace windows at all, although the winds and rains caused deep rheumatic changes in her, preventing writing letters to children, why she had devoted herself with enthusiasm before.

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