Sources about the Life and Times of Ludwig II


The following digital copies illuminate key aspects in the kingdom of Bavaria during the reign of the king between 1864 and 1886. These testimonials are tied to these times and need to be understood in their chronological context. Their selection was influenced in particular by their value as sources and by the accessibility of the respective objects.

Accession to the Throne, 1864

On 10 March 1864, King Maximilian II of Bavaria (1811-1864) died surprisingly after a short illness, probably a sepsis. Therefore, the eighteen-year-old Crown Prince Ludwig, who had just started his studies at Munich University, succeeded to the throne without being prepared for his new office. Bavaria received him with enthusiasm, nevertheless. His youth and his frequently described beauty set him off pleasantly from the hesitancy and almost Prussian sobriety connected for most subjects with the personality of the late King Maximilian.

Among intellectuals and politicians though, worries prevailed. The Bavarian foreign policy threatened the sovereignty of the state because of the simmering conflict between Prussia and Austria and made the death of Maximilian particularly tragic. Therefore, it was feared, and not without reason, that the politically inexperienced youth might not be able to rise to the challenges of the times.

The map of Munich presented here shows the Bavarian capital in the year 1863, i.e. a year before Ludwig II succeeded to the kingship. The city had then not yet grown very much beyond the expansions added under Maximilian I Joseph (1756-1825) and Ludwig I (1786-1868, r.1825-1848) and illustrates the city’s "pettiness", which Ludwig II always found so objectionable.

On the death of Maximilian, a collection of poems eulogising the king was published. They were composed for the most part by poets from the innermost royal circle (among them "Nordlichter" [northeners] such as Geibel). They attest to the dismay of this group of people with whom the late king had entertained a particularly close relationship.

Of particular intensity is the speech addressed to King Ludwig II by the influential theologian Ignaz von Döllinger (1799-1890) during the obsequies. In this rhetorical masterwork, Döllinger offered his own interpretation of the duties of a ruler and implored his king to continue the policy of his father. The speech was disseminated in numerous editions, even though Döllinger’s personal influence on Ludwig was going to remain negligible.

Plan der königlichen Haupt- und Residenz-Stadt München im Jahre 1863

  • München

Friedrich Bodenstedt
Ferdinand Fränkel

Gedichte von F[riedrich] Bodenstedt, Emanuel [von] Geibel, Jul[ius] Große, Aug[ust] Radnitzky, Oscar v. Rewitz, M[artin] E[duard von] Schleich, Her[mann von] Schmid; in den Tagen der Trauer um den allgeliebten König Maximilian II. gesammelt und dem dankbaren Volke zur Erinnerunng dargebracht.

München : 1864

Ignaz von Döllinger

Zum Gedächtniß Seiner Majestät des Königs Maximilian II. und seiner Regierung.
Rede, gehalten vor Seiner Majestät dem Könige Ludwig II. in der S. Cajetans=Hofkirche am 15. März 1864.
Sechste Auflage

München, 1864

Eduard von Ambach [Hrsg.]

Der junge Staatsbürger.
Ein zeitgemäßes nützliches Buch für Söhne des bayerischen Volkes zur Erkenntniß und Aneiferung der Pflichten gegen Gott, unsern angestammten Fürsten König Ludwig II. und das gesammte deutsche Vaterland.

Dritte Auflage

Regensburg, 1875 (Nachdruck der Auflage München 1867)

The King and his Court

The attitude of Ludwig II towards his life as king was ambivalent. On the one hand, he was definitely appreciative of the display of splendour, which he enjoyed on diverse opportunities up to the 1870s; on the other hand, he thoroughly disliked the daily life at court as well as the members of the aristocracy with only a few exceptions.

The digital copies gathered here together as examples illustrate three aspects of the life of Ludwig II. Apart from the general "Hofgeschichte" (court history) up to the year 1876, printed sheet music stands for the king’s unsuccessful engagement, while the excerpts from his diary highlight his complicated emotional life.

In 1867, during Ludwig’s engagement with his cousin Sophie Charlotte in Bayern (1847-1897), the renowned Jewish cantor and composer Max Georg Löwenstamm (1814-1884) published a collection of Hebrew songs, which were intended to celebrate the planned wedding of the king. The breakup of the engagement on 7 October 1867 turns this print into a particular rarity.

In 1925, Erwin Riedinger (1870-1936), stepson of Johann von Lutz (1826-1890), who had been decisively involved in the deposition of the king, published the "diary of Ludwig II, king of Bavaria" under the pen name Edir Grein. The text – classified at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek as one of the remota – combines compromising excerpts from the king’s diaries with polemical commentaries by Riedinger. Since the original diaries of Ludwig II were destroyed in WWII together with numerous other documents of the Geheime Hausarchiv (Secret Family Archive of the Wittelsbachs), the pamphlet constitutes a source of a certain value despite its obvious flaws but should not be used without knowledge about the research by Franz Merta.

Luise von Kobell (1828-1901), daughter of the Munich mineralogist and popular writer Franz von Kobell (1803-1882) descended from the upper bourgeoisie in Munich. In 1857, she wed the young jurist August von Eisenhart (1826-1905). When her husband became court secretary to Ludwig II in 1869, she moved with him into an apartment within the Munich Residence. Up to the dismissal of her husband in 1876, she belonged to an extended circle of the royal household.

Among the many writings, which Kobell published under her maiden name, the volume of memories Unter den vier ersten Königen Bayerns (Under the Four First Kings of Bavaria) is of particular renown. Above all the sections on Ludwig II reveal the author as an accurate observer and shrewd chronicler. Authors such as Gottfried von Böhm (1845-1926) accused Kobell and her husband of political ambition and of a tendency to exaggerate their own importance; perhaps, for this reason, Kobell’s memories end with the husband’s dismissal. For the period up to the year 1876, her descriptions turn out to be one of the most colourful depictions of the court life under Ludwig II.

Max Georg Löwenstamm

Jubelklänge zur allerhöchsten Vermählungsfeier Seiner Majestät Ludwig des Zweiten, König von Bayern, mit Ihrer kgl. Hoheit der Prinzessin Sofie Charlotte Auguste, Herzogin in Bayern

München, (1867)

Edir Grein [d.i. Erwin Riedinger] (Hrsg.)

Tagebuch-Aufzeichnungen von Ludwig II., König von Bayern

Schaan / Liechtenstein, 1925

Luise von Kobell (Band 1)

Unter den vier ersten Königen Bayerns
nach Briefen und eigenen Erinnerungen

München, 1894

Luise von Kobell (Band 2)

Unter den vier ersten Königen Bayerns
nach Briefen und eigenen Erinnerungen

München, 1894


The Bavarian Constitution assured the king of wide-ranging power even after the changes introduced in 1848. Therefore, the king had the right of independent appointment and dismissal of his ministers as well as of being heard in matters of government. For a dynamic ruler it would have been quite possible to dominate Bavarian politics. Ludwig II, however, only in the rarest of cases could muster the will to assert himself fundamentally against his government. Although he dealt with the files, which had to be presented to him, quickly and diligently up to his deprivation of power – a sharp contrast to his father Maximilian II – beyond that he only rarely got involved with politics. Only in the field of the arts and of court ceremonial as well as in matters that concerned his sovereignty as king, he developed his own initiatives.

As regards parliament, Ludwig II behaved with reservation, even with disapprobation, out of his own understanding of majesty. The appointment of ministers on the basis of a parliamentary majority of the Bavarian Patriots he declined – despite a great conformity in content – apart from two half-hearted and unsuccessful attempts. Instead, he rather relied on the "kleindeutsch"-Prussian minority of the Progress Party. The collected king’s speeches and addresses in the Bavarian regional parliament illustrate his refusal of such (limited) democracy, above all when comparing the few and short speeches of Ludwig with those held by other Bavarian rulers.

Three autobiographical writings may serve as examples for Bavarian politics under Ludwig II.

The strongly paraphrased records of Eduard von Bomhard (1809-1886) – from 1864 to 1867 minister of justice – thereby illuminate the idealistic beginnings of Ludwig’s reign, i.e. a phase that quickly came to an end with the defeat in the Deutsche Krieg (German War).
In comparison, the political career of Count Otto von Bray-Steinburg (1807-1899) covered a much longer period; the published sections of his papers, however, limit themselves in particular to his time as foreign secretary and as chairman in the council of ministers 1870/71. During this time, Bray-Steinburg led the accession negotiations between Bavaria and the Deutsche Reich, however, without being able to assert himself against the political dexterity of Otto von Bismarck.

A special place take the three-volume Denkwürdigkeiten (memorabilia) of Prince Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst (1899-1901). He had been a member of the chamber of the Imperial Assembly in Bavaria since 1846. In 1849, he was for a short time imperial envoy to the national assembly in London. After the Bavarian defeat 1866, Ludwig appointed the prince as chair of the ministerial council, not least for the moderately "kleindeutsch" Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst entertained good contacts to the Prussian court. In 1870, after a vote of no confidence of the regional parliament he tendered his resignation. After the foundation of the Deutsche Reich, Chlodwig became engaged in federal politics as Reichstagsabgeordneter (member of the imperial parliament), German envoy to France and imperial governor in Elsaß-Lothringen. From 1894 to 1900 he was the third German Reichskanzler (imperial chancellor), even though the real power lay from c.1897 with Bernhard von Bülow (1849-1929).

The records of the prince are – since he died before having a chance to edit them for publication – despite the interventions of the editor of a particular impressiveness and precision, even though they are by no means free of subjectivity. As scion of a princely family formerly under the direct rule of the emperor, Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst considered himself on a par with the rulers of his time. For this reason, he judged monarchs such as Ludwig II, but also Emperor Wilhelm II, who did not recognise this fact, in a particularly merciless manner. Therefore, his records from the phase of his imperial chancellorship were published only after monarchy had been abolished.

Landtagsarchivariat (Hrsg.)

Die Thronreden und Adressen im bayerischen Landtag während der Zeit von 1819-1892 (I.-XXXI. Landtag)
Auf Veranlassung der Bibliothekkommission des Landtags als Probedruck des General-Repertoriums über die Landtagsverhandlungen herausgegeben

München, 1893

Ernst von Bomhard

Staatsminister a.D. Eduard von Bomhard, Staatsrat i.o.D. und Reichsrat der Krone Bayern.
Ein Lebens- und Charakterbild, verfaßt nach den Tagebuchaufzeichnungen Eduard von Bomhards

München und Berlin, 1913

Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst (Band 1)

Denkwürdigkeiten des Fürsten Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst

herausgegeben von Friedrich Curtius
Stuttgart und Leipzig, 1906

Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst (Band 2)

Denkwürdigkeiten des Fürsten Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst

herausgegeben von Friedrich Curtius
Stuttgart und Leipzig, 1906

Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst

Denkwürdigkeiten der Reichskanzlerzeit
herausgegeben von Karl Alexander von Müller
Stuttgart, 1931
(Deutsche Geschichtsquellen des 19. Jahrhunderts; 28)

Otto von Bray-Steinburg
N.N. [Hrsgg.]
Karl Theodor von Heigel [Vorwort]

Graf Otto von Bray-Steinburg.
Denkwürdigkeiten aus seinem Leben

Leipzig, 1901

The Wars of German Unification 1866 and 1870/71

In the context of the contrast between Prussia and Austria-Hungary, the kingdom of Bavaria ruled by King Maximilian tried to establish a "third Germany" of the southern and central German states under the auspices of Bavaria. At the death of Maximilian, this project had almost failed. Nonetheless, the young Ludwig II adhered to it, while Minister Ludwig von der Pfordten (1811-1880) continued in office.

Even though it was obvious that the Bavarian army was no match for the Prussian armed forces, Bavarian politics risked a war, which duly broke out after the escalation of the Schleswig-Holstein crisis in 1866. Despite Bavaria being no more than a sideshow, the Bavarian army suffered damaging defeats against the Prussian units. Only Bismarck’s considerations prevented major Bavarian losses of territory during the peace treaty at Prague. However, Bavaria consequently had to enter secret alliances with the Norddeutsche Bund (Northern German Alliance).

Bismarck’s unification policy came to its conclusion during the German-French War of 1870/71. Although Ludwig II was against the war and anticipated its consequences, he tried to take the political initiative and to maintain thereby at least the sovereignty of Bavaria. The Bavarian army responded therefore particularly quickly to the summons to relieve the allies. Subsequently, the king failed, however, to prevent Bavaria’s accession to the Deutsche Reich (German Empire); in addition, he had to offer the imperial crown to the odious Prussian king by means of the "Kaiserbrief" (emperor’s letter), which Bismarck had already composed for him. In the new Deutsche Reich, Bavaria kept some of its special privileges that could not disguise the country’s loss of power. This personal defeat, which was felt very deeply by Ludwig II, constituted the decisive moment when the king completely retreated from the public sphere.

The available digitised documents allow for insights into the upheavals of these years. Maps illustrate the position of Bavaria within Germany before and after the war of 1866; an eyewitness report about the military events near Bad Kissingen published anonymously contrasts with the apologetic official account of the achievements of the Bavarian army.
The events of the German-French War of 1870/71 are represented by products entirely under the spell of German unification, such as a pack of cards depicting Bavarian uniforms or a ballad on the battle of Wörth, celebrating the new brotherhood in arms between Prussian and Bavarian troops. Regesta edited by the historian Erich Brandenburg (1868-1946) illustrate the complicated accession negotiations at Versailles; finally, tables composed by Felix von Blocken represent the integration of Bavaria into the new Deutsche Reich, which included the introduction of new measurements and weights as well as a new currency, the mark.

Übersichts-Karte von Deutschland nach der Abstimmung vom 14. Juni 1866

Besonderer Abdruck aus W. Liebenow's Schul-Atlas.

Berlin, [1866]

Das Treffen bei Kissingen, Winkels und Nüdlingen, am 10. Juli 1866.
Nach eigenen Wahrnehmungen und verbürgten Mittheilungen zusammengestellt.
Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte Kissingens.

Kissingen, 1866

Generalquartiermeister-Stab [Bearb.]

Antheil der Königlich Bayerischen Armee am Kriege des Jahres 1866

München, 1868

Heinrich Kiepert
J. Sulzer

H. Kiepert's Karte von Deutschland nach den Friedensschlüssen zu Berlin und Prag (August 1866) mit Bezeichnung der früheren Grenzen, sowie der neuen Erwerbungen des Preussischen Staats

Berlin, s.a. [nach 1866]

Organisations-Karte von Deutschland, enthaltend die neue politische Eintheilung des norddeutschen Bundes mit der preussischen Monarchie und der Südstaaten ; nebst der Angabe aller bis jezt (sic!) eröffneten Eisenbahnen und genauen statistischen Mittheilungen

München, [1866]

Karl Ferdinand Weiland

Das Königreich Bayern

Weimar, s.a. [nach 1866]

Bayerische Militärkarte - Bayerische Uniformenkarte

(unterschiedliche Bezeichnungen in der Literatur, Bezeichnung nicht gesichert)

Nürnberg, [um 1870]

Christian Wanner [Musik]
Julius Lohmeyer [Text]

Nach der Schlacht von Wörth
Ballade... für Bariton mit Begleitung durch Pianoforte

München, [1870]

Erich Brandenburg
Gerhard Seeliger (Hrsgg.)

Quellensammlung zur deutschen Geschichte
Band 5

Erich Brandenburg (Hrsg.)
Briefe und Aktenstücke zur Geschichte der Gründung des Deutschen Reiches (1870-1871)

Leipzig und Berlin, 1911

Heft I:
Vorverhandlungen (bis zur Eröffnung der Konferenzen in Versailles 23. Oktober 1870)

Erich Brandenburg
Gerhard Seeliger (Hrsgg.)

Quellensammlung zur deutschen Geschichte
Band 5

Erich Brandenburg (Hrsg.)
Briefe und Aktenstücke zur Geschichte der Gründung des Deutschen Reiches (1870-1871)

Leipzig und Berlin, 1911

Heft II:
Hauptverhandlungen in Versailles

Felix von Blocken

Die neuen Maße und Gewichte in Tabellen und bildlicher Darstellung, letztere in Thondruck ausgeführt, nebst lithographierten Abbildungen der im Verkehre nothwendigen Waagen.
Mit für Bayern, Preußen, Baden und Württemberg geltenden gesetzlichen Bestimmungen u.s.w., insbesondere auch der Zusammenstellung der Verhältnißzahlen für die Umrechnung der bisherigen Maße und Gewichte für sämmtliche Staaten des deutschen Reiches, dann für alle europäischen Staaten und für die vereinigten Staaten von Nord=Amerika,
nebst einem Angange, enthaltend das spezifische Gewicht der Körper, die Eigenschaften der verschiedenen Waagen und die Münzkunde.

Regensburg, 1871

Theatre and Music

No longer generally known is the great commitment of Ludwig II to the Hof- und Nationaltheater (Court and National Theatre) in Munich that was financed by the royal exchequer. During his entire reign, Ludwig took a very detailed interest in the repertoire and stage productions at "his" stages (in particular at today’s Staatsoper [State Opera], later as well at the Theatre on Gärtnerplatz and at the Alte Residenztheater [Old Residence Theatre/Cuvilliés Theatre). Among other things, he arranged for model performances of the collected works of William Shakespeare, of most works by Schiller and Goethe, but also of then rarely staged authors such as Lope de Vega (1868-1946) and Cálderon de la Barca (1600-1681). Ludwig set particular store by the performance of the respective texts in their entirety without cuts as well as by the use of stage music and of a sumptuous set design. During his time, the Munich stage, therefore, numbered among the leading ones in Germany and was comparable to the (more fully researched) Meiningen Court Theatre.

Special renown attained the so-called "royal" or "separate" performances. Between 1872 and 1885, Ludwig financed more than 200 performances (drama, opera and ballet), staged and enacted entirely for himself. Among these works were the operas by Richard Wagner and Christoph Wilibald Gluck (1714-1787) as well as plays about French, English and mediaeval history. Many of the works put on stage were not or only to an extent also performed in public. In addition, selected authors wrote, translated or revised a series of theatre plays especially for thesse separate performances – in accordance with the demands and under the intensive critique of the king.

After Ludwig’s death diverse actors and playwrights felt obliged to publish their own descriptions about the separate performances and about the king’s other activities in the fields of theatre and opera. Among these descriptions stand out – apart from the remarkable book by Karl August von Heigel (1835-1905) – the respective works of Karl von Perfall and Ernst von Possart. Perfall (1824-1907) was intendant of the Bavarian Court Theatre between 1867 and 1892 and, as such, responsible for the execution of his king’s wishes concerning the programme and design. His very sober report – more a collection of tables and sources – was published in 1894, most likely with the aim of vindicating his time in service, which had been cut short two years previously by Possart’s intrigue.

Ernst von Possart (1841-1921) had already made a name for himself as an actor of character parts and occasional poet, when he became main director in 1873 (theatre manager in 1878) at the Munich Royal Theatre. His highly emotional, from today’s point of view probably rather exaggerated acting was to Ludwig’s taste so that he got to play central parts in nearly all royal performances of theatre plays. His most important part will have been that of Narzissus in the eponymous play by Emil Brachvogel (1824-1878), which the king had performed for himself every year on the eve of the death of Louis XV of France. From 1893 to 1905 he was – as Perfall’s successor – intendant of the Bavarian Royal Theatres. As such, he was decisively involved in the construction of the Munich Prinzregententheater (Prince Regent Theatre). His memoirs, published in 1916, became very popular at the time, not least for their trenchant style.

Karl von Perfall

Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der königlichen Theater in München
25. November 1867 - 25. November 1892

München, 1894

Ernst von Possart

Erstrebtes und Erlebtes
Erinnerungen aus meiner Bühnentätigkeit

Dritte Auflage

Berlin : 1916

Richard Wagner

One of the first official acts of the young king was to track down the revered composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) and to bring him to Munich. For Wagner, who at the time was hiding from his creditors the encounter with Ludwig II became the turning point of his life. From now on, he was well provided for financially.

The close relationship between the monarch and the composer, which found its peak in the triumphal premiere of Tristan and Isolde on 10 June 1865, soon led to problems between Ludwig and his cabinet as well as the (in particular Munich) high society. On 10 December 1865, Wagner was forced to leave Munich and Bavaria for the time being. Ludwig’s patronage of Wagner continued, however, up to the composer’s death – without it the completion of the Ring of the Nibelung or the institution of the Bayreuth Festival cannot be imagined.

Between 1936 and 1939, the Bayreuth city librarian Otto Strobel (1895-1953) – from 1932 custodian of the Wagner family archive – edited the correspondence between Ludwig II and Richard Wagner for publication. The documents assembled here as examples attest to the unique relationship between these two highly idiosyncratic characters.

Wittelsbacher Ausgleichs-Fonds
Winifred Wagner [Hrsgg.]
Otto Strobel [Bearb.]

König Ludwig II. und Richard Wagner.

Erster Band: 1864-1866
Karlsruhe in Baden, 1936

Wittelsbacher Ausgleichs-Fonds
Winifred Wagner [Hrsgg.]
Otto Strobel [Bearb.]

König Ludwig II. und Richard Wagner.

Zweiter Band: 1866-1872
Karlsruhe in Baden, 1936

Wittelsbacher Ausgleichs-Fonds
Winifred Wagner [Hrsgg.]
Otto Strobel [Bearb.]

König Ludwig II. und Richard Wagner.

Dritter Band: 1872-1883
Karlsruhe in Baden, 1936

Wittelsbacher Ausgleichs-Fonds
Winifred Wagner [Hrsgg.]
Otto Strobel [Bearb.]

König Ludwig II. und Richard Wagner.

Vierter Band: Ergänzende Urkunden
Karlsruhe in Baden, 1936

Wittelsbacher Ausgleichs-Fonds
Winifred Wagner [Hrsgg.]
Otto Strobel [Bearb.]

König Ludwig II. und Richard Wagner.

Fünfter Band: Nachtrags-Band
Karlsruhe in Baden, 1939

Königstragödie (Royal Tragedy) 1886

King Ludwig II had not appeared in public since the Königsmanöver (royal manoeuvre) in August 1875, but had retreated completely to his castles. Since his brother Otto (1848-1916) was considered "benighted", Ludwig’s royal representative duties were taken on entirely by diverse Wittelsbach princes, in particular by Prince Luitpold (1821-1912) and by his sons, with whom the king had, however, a conflicting relationship.

From then on, the positive presence of the king in public was limited to his widespread portraits as well as to diverse writings and lyrics celebrating the monarch, including Ludwig II. und das Bayernland (Ludwig II and Bavaria), presented here and based on a text by the dialect poet Peter Auzinger (1836-1914). On their own, they were unable to prevent that Ludwig turned ever more into an invisible yet much-talked-about person.

When in 1885/1886, finally a state crisis developed against the background of the king’s personal debt, during which Ludwig considered the dismissal of his government, the ministers led by Johann von Lutz on the one side and the Wittelsbach agnates under Prince Luitpold on the other came to an agreement. The renowned professor Bernhard von Gudden (1824-1886) gave the medical estimate, which has remained contested to this day, that provided the excuse for the disenfranchisement of the king (not allowed in this form by the Bavarian Constitution). In a second attempt, Ludwig was put under house arrest at Schloss Neuschwanstein on 11 June 1886. Diverse attempts to prevent his fall from power (including suggestions to flee to Austria, petitions for help directed at Bismarck, counter proclamations) were doomed to fail for Ludwig’s passivity. The king was taken to Schloss Berg, where he – in analogy to his brother at Schloss Fürstenried – was supposed to be interned. On the evening of Pentecost Sunday, on 13 June 1886, King Ludwig II and Bernhard von Gudden died under mysterious circumstances in the Würmsee (today Starnberger See/Lake Starnberg).

The public was surprised by the events in June 1886 despite the openly debated debt crisis. The Rechnungsrat (auditor) Josef Zimmermann collected the representative collection of the decisive editions of the Augsburger Abendzeitung and handed them over to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in 1920.

In the years after the Königstragödie had taken place, several of those involved published their own personal accounts of the events. Among these stands out the book by Franz Carl Müller (1860-1913), one of von Gudden’s housemen, since the author, differently to Hubert von Grashey’s (1839–1914) report, strove for objectivity and did not shy away from (implied) criticism of von Gudden. Müller’s sober account may well be the most precise description of the final days of Ludwig II penned by an eyewitness.

Anton Ortner [Musik]
Peter Auzinger [Text]

Ludwig II und das Bayerland
Partitur (= Kl-St.) u. Stimmen

Augsburg, 1880

Josef Zimmermann

Die Königs-Katastrophe im Jahre 1886 (König Ludwig II. von Bayern)
Gesammelt von Josef Zimmermann.
[Sammlung der darauf bezüglichen. Nummern. der Augsburger Abendzeitung 1886, Nr. 159 - 178]

Augsburg, 1886

Franz Carl Müller

Die letzten Tage König Ludwig II. von Bayern nach eigenen Erlebnissen geschildert

Berlin, 1888


Directly after the tragic death of Ludwig II a flood of writings, articles and books appeared with the aim to describe and interpret the events near Schloss Berg from the most diverse points of view. The devious behaviour of the Lutz government as well as the sudden take-over of the regency by Prince Luitpold (1821-1912) met with the disapproval of the majority of the population and caused the former criticism of Ludwig II to fall silent even among bourgeois-progressive circles. The tragedy, therefore, became a point of departure to reflect the criticism of government and ruling family by means of the memory of Ludwig II across all levels of society.

The Bavarian authorities tried their best to withdraw any pamphlets or articles, which criticised too openly the government or the ruling house headed by Prince Regent Luitpold. Thereby, even an author working outside Bavaria such as Karl May (1842-1912), saw himself constrained to rewrite the end of his colportage novel Der Weg zum Glück (1886-1888), in which he alluded to the possible murder of King Ludwig.

The years after 1886 witnessed an increase of writings about Ludwig. Both the reign of Ludwig II and the monarch himself were idealised, often enough as an indirect criticism of contemporaneous conditions, certainly also as a marketing tool employed by diverse publishers.

The short selection that follows does not aspire to completeness; nonetheless, it hopes somewhat to illuminate this development. The pamphlet published by Ferdinand Heigl (1839-1903) deals with a trial led by the government against one of Heigl’s clients for his critical remarks. The Trauerspiel was published anonymously and sketches out the arrest of the king who is depicted with exaggerated nobility and whose murder is implied. Finally, in Friedrich Rudolph Kreuzer’s Bayernland the life and time of Ludwig II are already – only eleven years after his death – so heavily idealised that they reach their romantic-sensationalist peak.

Ferdinand Heigl

Vor dem Schwurgerichte!
Ein Beitrag zur bayerischen Königstragödie und zur Illustration unserer Konstitutionellen Zustände.

[Ludwig II.] Prozeß gegen M. R. Schulz, Redacteur des 'Journal's' in Bamberg. Vertheidiger: Rechtsanwalt Heigl (Ferdinand) in Bamberg

Bamberg, 1886

Des Baiernkönigs Ludwig II. Leben und Sterben.
Trauerspiel in mehreren Scenen

München, 1892

Friedrich Rudolph Kreuzer

Unser Bayernland in Wort und Bild, ein Denkmal für König Ludwig II.
Nach den besten Quellen und unter Mitwirkung hervorragender Künstler dargestellt

München, [1897]