24th January 1712
17th August 1786
Frederick II was the third Hohenzollern king, reigning over the Kingdom of Prussia from 1740 until 1786. Frederick's achievements during his reign included his military victories, his reorganization of Prussian armies, his patronage of the Arts and the Enlightenment in Prussia, and his final success against great odds in the Seven Years' War. He became known as Frederick the Great (Friedrich der Große) and was nicknamed Der Alte Fritz ("Old Fritz") by the Prussian people.
Frederick was a patron of music as well as a gifted musician who played the transverse flute. He composed 100 sonatas for the flute as well as four symphonies. The Hohenfriedberger Marsch, a military march, was supposedly written by Frederick to commemorate his victory in the Battle of Hohenfriedbergduring the Second Silesian War. His court musicians includedC. P. E. Bach, Johann Joachim Quantz, Carl Heinrich Graun and Franz Benda. A meeting with Johann Sebastian Bach in 1747 in Potsdam led to Bach's writing The Musical Offering.
Frederick also aspired to be a Platonic philosopher king like theRoman emperor Marcus Aurelius. The king joined theFreemasons in 1738 and stood close to the FrenchEnlightenment, corresponding with some of its key figures, such as Voltaire. The personal friendship of Frederick and Voltaire came to an unpleasant end after Voltaire's visit to Berlin and Potsdam in 1750–1753, although they reconciled from afar in later years.