DOI link for Philosopher-King
King Frederick was always a thoughtful, philosophical person who, in the midst of turbulent events and difficult decisions, reflected upon himself, other men and the human condition, the individual's influence or lack of influence over his fate. He did so in letters, writings, and conversations recorded in sources written by third parties. In this sense, according to the contemporary meaning of the word, he was a philosopher. Philosophy served him as a means of reflecting on the options for practical action. The intellectual climate of his day did not provide the King with the philosophical tools to describe his historic mission, his daring leap into the unknown. Very few of the philosophical stimuli absorbed by Frederick found their way into his essays and other writings. The philosopher would serve to impart a sense of calm which both the statesman and the military commander do not possess in his hour of need.