Murat, Joachim, king of Naples

BORN 25 Mar 1767, La Bastide-Fortunière (near Cahors), Lot - DIED 13 Oct 1815, Pizzo, Calabria
CAUSE OF DEATH executed by firing squad
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 39 (Murat family tomb; cenotaph))

Joachim Murat came from a family of innkeepers. He studied at the Lazarist seminary in Toulouse, but entered the army instead of becoming a priest. After a mutiny he was fired and he started a grocery shop. In 1790 he returned to the army. In 1794 he was in Paris when Barras and Bonaparte needed a volunteer to return some artillery from Sablons. He offered his services and returned with 40 pieces of material. In 1796 Bonaparte made him brigade chief and one of his aide-de-camps. He went to Italy with Napoleon and distinguished himself there. He was sent to the latter's wife Joséphine to convince her to join her husband. But when Murat visited Jósephine they soon became lovers.

Murat also fought in Alexandria (1798) and Acre (1799). At the Battle of Aboukir he captured Pasha Mustapha himself. During this battle a bullet split his jaw. Napoleon promoted him to general and in 1800 Murat married his sister Caroline. In 1804 Murat became a marshal and in 1805 a prince.

In 1805 he headed the cavalry against the Austrians. Against the emperor's commands he entered Vienna on November 11th, 1805. He fought at the Battle of Austerlitz and in 1808 he entered Madrid. Napoleon gave him the crown of Naples in 1808. He reformed his kingdom and it's army. But there were tensions between him and Caroline and between him and Napoleon as well. In 1812 Napoleon asked him join to his Russian campaing and in 1812 he was put in command of the Grand Armée when Napoleon returned to Paris. He wanted to return to his kingdom and left the Grand Armée, asking the emperor for forgiveness afterwards and commanding the army that was defeated in Leipzig in 1813.

After the fall of Napoleon he was recognized by Austria and England as king of Naples if he provided them with an army of 30.000 men. By agreeing to this he turned himself against Napoleon. But immediately after Napoleon left Elba for France Murat declared war on Austria and soon he occupied Rome. He was defeated by Neipperg at Tolentino on April 21th, 1815. The Bourbon king Ferdinand returned to the throne of Naples and Murat fled to France. Napoleon didn't want to see him and Murat went to Corsica, where he brought a group of 600 soldiers together with whom he wanted to invade Italy, just like the emperor had invaded France. But after he landed at Pizzo he was taken prisoner and executed soon afterwards.

• Daughter: Murat, Laetitia Josephine
• Wife: Bonaparte, Carolina (1800-1815)

Related persons
• was the lover of Beauharnais, Joséphine de
• was the lover of Denuelle, Eléonore
• was painted by Gérard, François, baron
• employed Hayez, Francesco
• worked for Napoleon I Bonaparte
• was admired by Rossetti, Gabriele Pasquale Giuseppe
• was painted by Stieler, Joseph


The grave of Joachim Murat at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (19 Nov 2006)


Statue of Joachim Murat at the Palazzo Reale di Napoli.
Picture by Androom (15 Feb 2020)


Murat, Laetitia Josephine

Published: 16 Nov 2007
Last update: 26 Jan 2022