Murat, Joachim (zhōäshăNˈ müräˈ) [key], 1767–1815, marshal of France, king of Naples (1808–15). He left his theological studies to enter the army and fought in Egypt under Napoleon, whom he helped (1799) in the coup of 18 Brumaire. Having married (1800) Napoleon's sister Caroline Bonaparte, he was made grand duke of Berg (1806) and in 1808 was chosen to succeed Joseph Bonaparte as king of Naples. A brilliant and dashing cavalry leader, Murat played an important part in Napoleon's victories, in the Russian campaign (1812), and in the battle of Leipzig (1813). After Leipzig, however, he reached (1814) an agreement with Austria in order to save his own throne. During the Hundred Days he deserted his new allies and again joined Napoleon. Defeated by the Austrians at Tolentino, he fled to Corsica after Napoleon's fall. In an attempt to regain Naples he was arrested and executed.
See H. Cole, The Murats (1972).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.