The legendary Saxon elector Friedrich August I 'the Strong' ruled since his elder brother's early death in 1694. His private cabinet chief, Count von Fleming, left records on the Saxon "sultan's" Machiavellian power play and court life. A crucial part of this was buying the votes of the Polish people to become its king, after converting strictly Lutheran Saxony to Catholicism, against his Prussian wife. This required a tax reform, after breaking the estates' power by uncovering corruption. He won little real power, but imperial trappings and glory. August turned his 'provincial' capital Dresden into the Versailles on the Elbe. A war against Sweden with Russia was nearly fatal.