Prince Eugene of Savoy: Wikis


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This article refers to the Austrian Habsburg military leader; for the stepson of Napoleon Bonaparte, see Eugène de Beauharnais.
François-Eugène, Prince of Savoy-Carignan
18 October 1663 – 21 April 1736
Prince Eugene of Savoy by Jacob van Schuppen
Place of birth Hôtel Soissons, Paris
Place of death Vienna
Allegiance Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Austrian Habsburgs
Battles/wars Great Turkish War
Battle of Zenta
Nine Years' War
War of the Spanish Succession
Battle of Carpi
Battle of Chiari
Battle of Blenheim
Battle of Turin
Battle of Toulon
Battle of Oudenarde
Siege of Lille
Battle of Malplaquet
Austro-Turkish War of 1716–18
Battle of Petrovaradin
• Battle of Belgrade
War of the Polish Succession

François-Eugène, Prince of Savoy-Carignan (18 October 1663 – 21 April 1736),[1] was one of the most prominent and successful military commanders in modern European history. Born in Paris to aristocratic Savoyard parents, Eugene grew up around the French court of King Louis XIV. He was initially prepared for a career in the church, but by the age of 19 he had determined on a military career. Rejected by Louis XIV for service in the French army, Eugene moved to Austria, and transferred his loyalty to the Habsburg Monarchy.

Spanning six decades, Eugene served three Habsburg emperors – Leopold I, Joseph I, and Charles VI. Eugene first saw action against the Ottoman Turks at the Siege of Vienna in 1683 and the subsequent War of the Holy League, before serving in the Nine Years' War alongside his cousin, the Duke of Savoy. However, the Prince's fame was secured with his crushing victory against the Ottomans at the Battle of Zenta in 1697. Eugene enhanced his standing during the War of the Spanish Succession where his partnership with the Duke of Marlborough secured victories against the French on the fields of Blenheim, Oudenarde and Malplaquet; he gained further success as Imperial commander in northern Italy, most notably at Turin in 1706. Renewed hostilities against the Ottomans in the Austro-Turkish War of (1716–18) consolidated his reputation with victories at the battles of Petrovaradin, and Belgrade.

Throughout the late 1720s Eugene's influence and skilful diplomacy managed to secure the Emperor powerful allies in his dynastic struggles with the Bourbon powers; but physically and mentally fragile in his later years, Eugene enjoyed less success as commander-in-chief of the army during his final conflict, the War of the Polish Succession. Nevertheless, in Austria, Eugene's reputation remains unrivalled. Although opinions differ as to his character, there is no dispute over his great achievements: Eugene helped to save the Habsburg Empire from French conquest; he broke the westward thrust of the Ottomans, liberating central Europe after a century and a half of Turkish occupation; and he was one of the greatest patrons of the arts, whose building legacy can still be seen in Vienna today. Eugene died in his sleep at his home on 21 April 1736 aged 72.


Early life (1663–99)


Hôtel Soissons

Hotel Soissons, Eugene's birthplace. Engraving by Israel Silvestre c. 1650.

Prince Eugene was born in the Hôtel Soissons in Paris on 18 October 1663. Although he was a subject of King Louis XIV Eugene's parents came from Italian families: his mother, Olympia Mancini, was one of Cardinal Mazarin's nieces whom he had brought to Paris from Rome in 1647 to further his, and to a lesser extent, their ambitions. The Mancinis were raised at the Palais Royal along with the young Louis XIV, with whom Olympia formed an intimate relationship. Yet to her great disappointment her chance to become queen passed by, and in 1657 Olympia married Eugene Maurice, Prince of Savoy-Carignan, later Comte de Soissons. Together they had had five sons (Eugene being the youngest) and three daughters, but neither parent spent much time with the children: his father, a brave, unglamorous soldier in the French army spent much of his time away campaigning, while Olympia's passion for court intrigue meant the children received little attention from their mother.[2]

Genealogy of Prince Eugene. Eugene never married and had no children.

The King remained strongly attached to Olympia, so much so that many believed them to be lovers;[3] but her scheming eventually led to her demise. After falling out of favour at court Olympia turned to Catherine Deshayes (known as La Voisin), and the arts of black magic and astrology; but it was a fatal relationship. Embroiled in the affaire des poisons suspicions now abounded of her involvement in her husband's premature death in 1673, and even implicated in a plot to kill the King himself. Whatever the truth Olympia, rather than face trial, subsequently fled France for Brussels in January 1680, leaving Eugene in the care of his father's mother, Marie de Bourbon, Countess of Soissons, and her daughter, the Margravine of Baden, mother of Prince Louis of Baden.[4]

From the age of ten Eugene had been brought up for a career in the church; a personal choice of the King, basing the decision on the young Prince's poor physique and bearing. Certainly Eugene's appearance was not impressive – "He was never good looking …" wrote the Duchess of Orleans, "It is true that his eyes are not ugly, but his nose ruins his face; he has two large teeth which are visible at all times."[5] In February 1683, to the surprise of his family, Eugene declared his intention of joining the army. Now 19 years old, Eugene applied directly to Louis XIV for command of a company in French service, but the King – who had shown no compassion for Olympia's children since her disgrace – refused him out of hand. "The request was modest, not so the petitioner," he remarked. "No one else ever presumed to stare me out so insolently."[6]

Denied a military career in France Eugene decided to seek service abroad. One of Eugene's brothers, Louis Julius, had entered Imperial service the previous year, but he had been immediately killed fighting the Ottoman Turks in 1683. When news of his death reached Paris Eugene decided to flee to Austria in the hope of taking over his brother's command. It was not an unnatural decision: his cousin, Louis of Baden, was already a leading general in the Imperial army, as was a more distant cousin, Maximilian Emmanuel, Elector of Bavaria. On the night of 26 July 1683, Eugene left Paris and headed east.[7]

Great Turkish War

By May 1683 the Ottoman threat to Emperor Leopold I's capital Vienna was very real. The Grand Vizier, Kara Mustafa Pasha – encouraged by Imre Thököly's Magyar rebellion – had invaded with between 100,000–200,000 men;[8] within two months, they were beneath the walls of the Habsburg capital. With the 'Turks at the gates' the Emperor fled for the safe refuge of Passau on the Danube, a more distant and secure part of his dominion.[9] It was at Leopold's camp where Eugene arrived in mid-August.

Although Eugene was not Austrian he did have Habsburg antecedence. His grandfather, Thomas Francis, founder of the Carignan line of the House of Savoy, was the son of Catherine – a daughter of Philip II of Spain – and the great-grandson of the Emperor Charles V. But of more immediate consequence to Leopold was the fact that Eugene was the second cousin of Victor Amadeus, the Duke of Savoy, a connection that the Emperor hoped might prove useful in any future confrontation with France.[10] These ties, together with his ascetic manner and appearance (a positive advantage to him at the sombre court of Leopold),[11] ensured the refugee from the hated French king a warm welcome at Passau, and a position in Imperial service.[10]

Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria (1662–1726). Eugene's patron and mentor during the 1680s and his enemy during the War of the Spanish Succession.

Eugene was in no doubt where his new allegiance lay – "I will devote all my strength, all my courage, and if need be, my last drop of blood, to the service of your Imperial Majesty."[12] This loyalty was immediately put to the test. By September the Imperial forces under the Duke of Lorraine, together with a powerful Polish army under King Sobieski, were poised to strike the Sultan's army investing Vienna. On the morning of 12 September the Christian forces drew up in line of battle on the south-eastern slopes of the Wiener Wald, looking down on the massed enemy camp. After a day-long struggle the Battle of Vienna resulted in the lifting of the 60-day siege, and the Sultan's forces routed and in retreat. Serving under Baden, Eugene distinguished himself in the battle, earning commendation from Lorraine and the Emperor; he later received the nomination for the colonelcy of the Dragoon Regiment Kufstein.[13]

Holy League

In March 1684 Leopold I formed the Holy League with Poland and Venice to counter the Ottoman threat. For the next two years Eugene continued to distinguish himself on campaign against the Turks, and established himself as a dedicated, professional soldier; by the end of 1685, still only 22 years old, he was made a Major-General. However, little is known of Eugene's life during these early campaigns. Contemporary observers make only passing comments of his actions, and his own surviving correspondence, largely to his cousin Victor Amadeus, are typically reticent about his own feelings and experiences.[14] Nevertheless, it is clear that Baden was impressed with Eugene's qualities – "This young man will, with time, occupy the place of those whom the world regards as great leaders of armies."[15]

Recapture of Buda castle in 1686 by Gyula Benczúr. Eugene can be seen on the white horse centre-left.

In June 1686 the Duke of Lorraine besieged Buda (Budapest), the centre of the Ottoman occupation in Hungary. After resisting for 78 days the city fell on 2 September, and Turkish resistance collapsed throughout Hungary as far as Transylvania and Serbia. Further success followed in 1687 where, commanding a cavalry brigade, Eugene made an important contribution to the victory at the Battle of Mohács on 12 August. Such was the scale of their defeat the Ottoman army mutinied, a revolt which spread to Constantinople – the Grand Vizier was executed and Sultan Mehmed IV deposed. Once again Eugene's courage earned him recognition from his superiors who granted him the honour of personally conveying the news of victory to the Emperor in Vienna.[16] For his services Eugene was promoted to Lieutenant-General in November 1687; he was also beginning to gain wider recognition. King Charles II of Spain bestowed upon him the Order of the Golden Fleece, while his cousin, Amadeus, provided him with money and two profitable abbeys in Piedmont.[17] However, Eugene's military career suffered a temporary setback in 1688 when, on 6 September, the Prince suffered a severe wound to his knee by a musket ball during the Siege of Belgrade. It was not until January 1689 that he could return to active service.[17]

Interlude in the west: Nine Years' War

Just as Belgrade was falling to Imperial forces under Max Emmanuel in the east, French troops in the west were crossing the Rhine into the Holy Roman Empire. Louis XIV had hoped that a show of force would lead to a quick resolution to his dynastic and territorial disputes with the princes of the Empire along his eastern border, but his intimidatory moves only strengthened German resolve, and in May 1689 Leopold I and the Dutch signed the Grand Alliance aimed at repelling French aggression.[18]

The Nine Years' War was professionally and personally frustrating for the Prince. Initially fighting on the Rhine with Max Emmanuel – receiving a slight head wound at the Siege of Mainz in 1689 – Eugene subsequently transferred himself to Piedmont after his cousin Amadeus had joined the Grand Alliance in 1690. Promoted to general of cavalry he arrived in Turin with his friend the Prince of Commercy; but it proved an inauspicious start. Against Eugene's advice Amadeus insisted on engaging the French at Staffarda, and suffered a serious defeat – only Eugene's handling of the Savoyard cavalry in retreat saved his cousin from disaster.[19] Eugene remained unimpressed with the men and their commanders throughout the war in Italy. "The enemy would long ago have been beaten," he wrote to Vienna, "if everyone had done their duty."[20] So contemptuous was he of the Imperial commander, Count Caraffa, he threatened to leave Imperial service.[21]

In Vienna Eugene's attitude was dismissed as the arrogance of a young upstart, but so impressed was the Emperor by his passion for the Imperial cause he promoted him to Field-Marshal in 1693.[22] When Caraffa's replacement, Count Caprara, was himself transferred in 1694, it seemed that Eugene's chance for command, and decisive action, had finally arrived. But Amadeus, doubtful of victory and now more fearful of Habsburg influence in Italy than he was of French, had begun secret dealings with Louis XIV aimed at extricating himself from the war. By 1696 the deal was done, and Amadeus transferred his troops, and his loyalty, to the enemy. Eugene was never to trust his cousin again; although he continued to pay due reverence to the Duke as head of his own family, their relationship would forever remain strained.[23]

Military honours in Italy undoubtedly belonged to the French commander Marshal Catinat, but Eugene, the one Allied general determined on action and decisive results, did well to emerge from the Nine Years' War with an enhanced reputation.[23] With the signing of the Treaty of Ryswick in September/October 1697, the desultory war in the west was finally brought to an inconclusive end, and Leopold I could once again devote all his martial energies into defeating the Ottoman Turks in the east.


Eugene at the Battle of Zenta (detail). Oil by Ferencz Eisenhut.

The distractions of the war against Louis XIV had enabled the Turks to recapture Belgrade and reinvade Hungary. On the advice of the President of the Imperial War Council, Rüdiger Starhemberg, Eugene was eventually offered supreme command of Imperial forces to face the threat from the new Sultan, Mustafa II.[24] This was Eugene's first truly independent command – no longer need he suffer under the excessively cautious generalship of Caprara and Caraffa, or be thwarted by the deviations of Amadeus; but on joining his army he found it in a state of 'indescribable misery'.[25] Confident and self-assured the Prince of Savoy (ably assisted by Commercy) set about restoring order and discipline.[26]

Newly inspired, Eugene's army intercepted the Ottoman Turks crossing the River Tisza at Zenta on 11 September 1697. Because the Imperial forces had arrived in front of the enemy late in the day – the Turkish cavalry had already crossed the river – Eugene, despite instructions from Vienna not to engage the enemy, decided to attack immediately.[27] The Austrian general formed his army into a crescent to attack the Turkish entrenchments.[28] The vigour of the assault wrought terror and confusion amongst the enemy, and for the loss of some 500 men Eugene inflicted over 30,000 casualties, annihilating the Turkish army. Although the Ottomans lacked western organisation and training the Savoyard Prince had revealed his tactical skill, his capacity for bold decision, and his ability to inspire his men to excel in battle against a dangerous foe.[29]

Zenta turned Eugene into a European hero, and with victory came reward. Land in Hungary, given him by the Emperor, yielded a good income, enabling the Prince to cultivate his newly-acquired tastes in art and architecture (see below); but for all his new-found wealth and property he was, nevertheless, without personal ties or family commitments. Of his four brothers only one was still alive at this time. His fourth brother, Emmanuel, had died aged 14 in 1676; his third, Louis Julius (already mentioned) had died on active service in 1683, and his second brother, Philippe, died of smallpox in 1693. Eugene's remaining brother, Louis Thomas – ostracized for incurring the displeasure of Louis XIV – travelled Europe in search of a career before arriving in Vienna in 1699. With Eugene's help Louis found employment in the Imperial army, only to be killed in action against the French in 1702. Of Eugene's sisters, the youngest had died in childhood. The other two, Marie Jeanne-Baptiste and Louise Philiberte, led dissolute lives. Expelled from France Marie joined her mother in Brussels before eloping with a renegade priest to Geneva with whom she lived unhappily until her premature death in 1705. Of Louise little is known after her early salacious life in Paris, but in due course she lived for a time in a convent in Savoy before her death in 1722.[30]

The Battle of Zenta proved to be the decisive victory in the long war against the Turks, but Leopold I's interests now turned west to Spain and the imminent death of Charles II, inducing the Emperor to terminate the conflict with the Turks and sign the Treaty of Karlowitz on 26 January 1699.[31]

Mid life (1700–20)

War of the Spanish Succession

Europe at the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession. Eugene fought primarily in northern Italy in the early years of the war, then later in the Low Countries.

With the death of the infirm and childless Charles II of Spain on 1 November 1700, the succession of the Spanish throne and subsequent control over her empire once again embroiled Europe in war – the War of the Spanish Succession. On his deathbed Charles II had bequeathed the entire Spanish inheritance to Louis XIV's grandson, Philip, duc d'Anjou. This threatened to unite the Spanish and French kingdoms under the House of Bourbon – something unacceptable to England, the Dutch Republic, and Leopold I, who had himself a claim to the Spanish throne.[32] From the beginning the Emperor had refused to accept the will of Charles II, and he did not wait for England and the Dutch Republic to begin hostilities. Before a new Grand Alliance could be concluded Leopold I prepared to send an expedition to seize the Spanish lands in Italy.

Prince Eugene crossing the Alps, 1701. Coloured copperplate engraving.

Eugene crossed the Alps with some 32,000 men in May/June 1701. After a series of brilliant manoeuvres the Imperial commander defeated Catinat at the Battle of Carpi on 9 July. "I have warned you that you are dealing with an enterprising young prince," wrote Louis XIV to his commander, "he does not tie himself down to the rules of war."[33] On 1 September Eugene gained further success against Catinat's successor, Marshal Villeroi, at the Battle of Chiari, in a clash as destructive as any in the Italian theatre.[34] But as so often throughout his career the Prince faced war on two fronts – the enemy in the field and the government in Vienna.[35] Starved of supplies, money and men, Eugene was forced into unconventional means against the vastly superior enemy. During a daring raid on Cremona on the night of 31 January/1 February 1702 Eugene captured the French commander-in-chief, yet the coup was less successful than hoped: Cremona remained in French hands, and Marshal Vendôme, whose talents far exceeded Villeroi's, became the theatre's new commander. Villeroi's capture caused a sensation in Europe, and had a galvanising effect on English public opinion. "The surprise at Cremona," wrote the diarist John Evelyn, "… was the greate discourse of this weeke", but appeals for succour from Vienna remained unheeded, forcing Eugene to seek battle and gain a 'lucky hitt'.[36] The resulting Battle of Luzzara on 15 August proved inconclusive. Although Eugene's forces inflicted double the number of casualties on the French the battle settled little except to deter Vendôme trying an all-out assault on Imperial forces that year, enabling Eugene to hold on south of the Alps.[37] With his army rotting away, and personally grieving for his long standing friend Prince Commercy who had died at Luzzara, Eugene returned to Vienna in January 1703.[38]

President of the Imperial War Council

Eugene's European reputation was growing (Cremona and Luzzara had been celebrated as victories throughout the Allied capitals), yet because of the condition and morale of his troops the 1702 campaign had not been a success.[39] Austria itself was now facing the direct threat of invasion from across the border in Bavaria where the state's Elector, Maximilian Emanuel, had declared for the Bourbons in August the previous year. Meanwhile in Hungary a small-scale revolt had broken out in May and was fast gaining momentum. With the monarchy at the point of complete financial breakdown Leopold I was at last persuaded to change the government. At the end of June 1703 Gundaker Starhemberg replaced Gotthard Salaburg as President of the Treasury, and Prince Eugene succeeded Henry Mansfeld as the new President of the Imperial War Council (Hofkriegsratspräsident).[40]

As head of the war council Eugene was now part of the Emperor's inner circle, and the first president since Montecuccoli to remain an active commander. Immediate steps were taken to improve efficiency within the army: encouragement and, where possible, money, was sent to the commanders in the field; promotion and honours were distributed according to service rather than influence; and discipline improved. But the Austrian monarchy faced severe peril on several fronts in 1703: by June Marshal Villars had reinforced the Elector of Bavaria on the Danube thus posing a direct threat to Vienna, while Vendôme remained at the head a large army in northern Italy opposing Guido Starhemberg's weak Imperial force. Of equal alarm was Francis II Rákóczi's revolt which, by the end of the year, had reached as far as Moravia and Lower Austria.[41]

Joint victor at Blenheim

The Duke of Marlborough greeting Prince Eugene of Savoy [mounted] after their victory at Blenheim by Robert Alexander Hillingford.

Dissension between Villars and the Elector of Bavaria had prevented an assault on Vienna in 1703, but in the Courts of Versailles and Madrid ministers confidently anticipated the city's fall.[42] The Imperial ambassador in London, Count Wratislaw, had pressed for Anglo-Dutch assistance on the Danube as early as February 1703, but the crisis in southern Europe seemed remote from the Court of St. James's where colonial and commercial considerations were more to the fore of men's minds.[43] Only a handful a statesmen in England or the Dutch Republic realised the true implications of Austria's peril; foremost amongst these was the English Captain-General, the Duke of Marlborough.[44]

By early 1704 Marlborough had resolved to march south and rescue Vienna, personally requesting the presence of Eugene on campaign so as to have "a supporter of his zeal and experience".[45] The Allied commanders met for the first time at the small village of Mundelsheim on 10 June and immediately formed a close rapport – the two men becoming, in the words of Thomas Lediard, 'Twin constellations in glory'.[46] This professional and personal bond ensured mutual support on the battlefield, enabling many successes during the Spanish Succession war. The first of these victories, and the most celebrated, came at the culmination of the 1704 campaign on 13 August at the Battle of Blenheim. Eugene had commanded the right wing of the Allied army, holding the Elector of Bavaria's and Marshal Marsin's superior forces, while the English commander-in-chief broke through Marshal Tallard's centre. Inflicting over 30,000 casualties the battle proved decisive: Vienna was saved and Bavaria was knocked out of the war. Both Allied commanders were full of praise for each other's performance; Eugene's holding operation, and his pressure for action leading up to the battle proved crucial for the Allied success.[47]

In Europe Blenheim is regarded as much a victory for Eugene as it is for Marlborough, a sentiment echoed by Sir Winston Churchill (Marlborough's descendant and biographer) who pays tribute to – "the glory of Prince Eugene, whose fire and spirit had exhorted the wonderful exertions of his troops."[48] France now faced the real danger of invasion, but Leopold I in Vienna was still under severe strain: Rákóczi's revolt was a major threat; and Guido Starhemberg and Victor Amadeus (who had once again switched loyalties and rejoined the Grand Alliance in 1703) had been unable to halt the French under Vendôme in northern Italy – only Amadeus' capital, Turin, held on.

Turin and Toulon

Eugene returned to Italy in April 1705, but his attempts to move west towards Turin were thwarted by Vendôme's skilful manoeuvres. Lacking boats and bridging materials, and with desertion and sickness rife within his army, the outnumbered Imperial commander was helpless. Leopold I's assurances of money and men had proved illusory, but desperate appeals from Amadeus and criticism from Vienna goaded the Prince into action, resulting in the Imperialists' bloody defeat at the Battle of Cassano on 16 August.[49] However, with the accession of Joseph I to the Imperial throne in May 1705, Eugene at last began to receive the personal backing he desired. Joseph I proved to be a strong supporter of Eugene's supremacy in military affairs; he was the most effective emperor the Prince served and the one he was happiest under.[50] Promising support, Joseph I persuaded Eugene to return to Italy and restore Habsburg honour.

Eugene's march to relieve the Siege of Turin 1706.

The Imperial commander arrived in theatre in mid-April 1706, just in time to organise an orderly retreat of what was left of Count Reventlow's inferior army following Vendôme's victory at the Battle of Calcinato on 19 April. Vendôme now prepared to defend the lines along the river Adige, determined to keep Eugene cooped up in the Alps in the east while the Marquis de la Feuillade threatened Turin. However, feigning attacks along the Adige Eugene descended south across the river Po in mid-July, outmanoeuvring the French commander and gaining a favourable position from which he could at last move west towards Piedmont and relieve Savoy's capital.[51] (See map on left).

Events elsewhere were now to have major consequences for the war in Italy. With Villeroi's crushing defeat by Marlborough at the Battle of Ramillies on 23 May, Louis XIV recalled Vendôme north to take command of French forces in Flanders. It was a transfer that Saint-Simon considered something of a deliverance for the French commander who was "now beginning to feel the unlikelihood of success [in Italy] … for Prince Eugene, with the reinforcements[52] that had joined him after the Battle of Calcinato, had entirely changed the outlook in that theatre of the war."[53] The duc de Orléans, under the direction of Marsin, replaced Vendôme, but indecision and disorder in the French camp led to their undoing. After uniting his forces with the Duke of Savoy at Villa Stelloni in early September, Eugene attacked, overwhelmed, and decisively defeated the French forces besieging Turin on 7 September; subsequently Louis XIV's army was forced from northern Italy, and the whole of the Po valley fell under Allied control. Eugene had gained a victory as signal as his colleague had at Ramillies – "It is impossible for me to express the joy it has given me;" wrote Marlborough, "for I not only esteem but I really love the prince."[54]

The Imperial victory in Italy marked the beginning of 150 years of Austrian rule in Lombardy, and earned Eugene the Governorship of Milan, but the following year was to prove a disappointment for the Prince and the Grand Alliance as a whole. The Emperor and Eugene (whose main goal after Turin was to take Naples and Sicily from Philip duc d'Anjou's supporters), reluctantly agreed to Marlborough's plan for an attack on Toulon – the seat of French naval power in the Mediterranean. However, disunion between the Allied commanders – the Duke of Savoy, Eugene, and the English Admiral Shovell – doomed the Toulon enterprise to failure. Although Eugene favoured some sort of attack on France's south-eastern border, it was clear he felt the expedition impractical, and had shown none of the "alacrity which he had displayed on other occasions."[55] Substantial French reinforcements finally brought an end to the venture, and on 22 August 1707, the Imperial army began its retirement. The subsequent capture of Susa could not compensate for the total collapse of the Toulon expedition and with it any hope of an Allied war-winning blow that year.[56]

Oudenarde and Malplaquet

Prince Eugene at Oudenarde (detail) by Jan van Huchtenburg. Eugene had long employed Huchtenburg to depict his battle scenes.

At the beginning of 1708 Eugene successfully evaded calls for him to take charge in Spain (in the end Guido Starhemberg was sent), thus enabling him to take command of the Imperial army on the Moselle and once again unite with Marlborough in the Spanish Netherlands.[57] Eugene (without his army) arrived at the Allied camp at Assche west of Brussels in early July providing a welcome boost to morale after the early Allied losses of Bruges and Ghent. " … our affairs improved through God's support and Eugene's aid, "wrote the Prussian General Natzmer, "whose timely arrival raised the spirits of the army again and consoled us."[58] Heartened by the Prince's confidence the Allied commanders devised a bold plan to engage the French army under Vendôme and the duc de Burgundy as it prepared to besiege Oudenarde.[59] The ensuing battle on 11 July was a resounding success for the Allies which Marlborough – although in overall command – considered a joint achievement. "Prince Eugene and I," wrote the Duke, "shall never differ about our share of the laurels."[60]

Duke of Marlborough (1650–1722) by Adriaen van der Werff. Eugene became Allied commander-in-chief following Marlborough's dismissal in 1711.

Marlborough now favoured a bold advance along the coast to bypass the major French fortresses, but fearful of unprotected supply-lines the Dutch and Eugene favoured a more cautious approach. Marlborough acquiesced and resolved upon the siege of Vauban's great fortress, Lille. While Marlborough commanded the covering force, Eugene oversaw the siege of the town which surrendered on 22 October; however, it was not until 10 December that the resolute Marshal Boufflers yielded the citadel. Yet for all the difficulties of the siege (Eugene was badly wounded above his left eye by a musket ball, and even survived an attempt to poison him) the campaign of 1708 had been a remarkable success. The French were driven out of almost all the Spanish Netherlands. "He who has not seen this," wrote Eugene, "has seen nothing."[61]

The recent defeats, together with the severe winter of 1708–09, had caused extreme famine and privation in France; but the conditions demanded by the Allies during the subsequent peace talks (principally that Louis XIV should use his own troops to force Philip V off the Spanish throne), were completely unacceptable to the French. Lamenting the collapse of the negotiations, and aware of the vagaries of war, Eugene wrote to the Emperor in mid-June 1709 – "There can be no doubt that the next battle will be the biggest and bloodiest that has yet been fought."[62]

After the fall of Tournai on 3 September[63] the Allied generals turned their attention towards Mons. Marshal Villars, recently joined by Boufflers, moved his army south-west of the town and began to fortify his position. Marlborough and Eugene favoured an engagement before Villars could render his position impregnable; but they also agreed to wait for reinforcements from Tournai which did not arrive until the following night, thus giving the French further opportunity to prepare their defences. Notwithstanding the difficulties of the attack, however, the Allied generals did not shrink from their original determination.[64] The subsequent Battle of Malplaquet, fought on 11 September 1709, was the bloodiest engagement of the War of the Spanish Succession. On the left flank, the Prince of Orange led his Dutch infantry in desperate charges only to have it cut to pieces; on the other flank, Eugene attacked and suffered almost as severely. But sustained pressure on his extremities forced Villars to weaken his centre, thus enabling Marlborough to breakthrough and claim victory. Villars was unable to save Mons, which subsequently capitulated on 21 October, but his resolute defence at Malplaquet – inflicting up to 25% casualties on the Allies – may have saved France from destruction.[65]

Treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt

Following his victory in northern Italy, Eugene fought primarily in the Low Countries during the War of the Spanish Succession.

By the close of 1710 Marlborough and Eugene had cleared nearly the whole of France's protective ring of fortresses; yet there had been no glorious battlefield victory, and this was to be the last year that the two Allied commanders would work together. Following the death of Joseph I on 17 April 1711 his brother Charles, the pretender to the Spanish throne, became emperor. In England the new Tory government declared their unwillingness to see Charles VI also become King of Spain, a sentiment shared by the Dutch and Germans. In January 1712 Eugene arrived in England hoping to divert the government away from its peace policy, but Queen Anne and her ministers remained resolute. He had also arrived too late to save the Duke of Marlborough who, seen by the Tories as the main obstacle to peace, had already been dismissed. Yet the Austrians made some progress – in 1711 the Hungarian revolt finally came to end. Although Eugene would have preferred to crush the rebels Joseph I had offered lenient conditions, leading the Treaty of Szatmár on 30 April.[66]

Portrait of Eugene by Godfrey Kneller. Engraving after the lost portrait in London in 1712.

Hoping to influence public opinion in England and force the French into making substantial concessions, Eugene prepared for a major campaign. However, on 21 May 1712 – when the Tories felt they had secured favourable terms from their private negotiations with the French – the Duke of Ormonde (Marlborough's successor) received the so-called 'restraining orders' forbidding him to take part in any military action.[67] Although Eugene took the fortress of Le Quesnoy in early July, before besieging Valenciennes and Landrecies, Marshal Villars, taking advantage of Allied disunity, outmanoeuvred Eugene and defeated the Earl of Albermarle's Dutch garrison at Denain on 24 July. The French followed the victory by seizing the main Allied base at Marchiennes before reversing their earlier losses at Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain. In one summer the whole forward Allied position laboriously built up over the years to act as the springboard into France had been precipitously abandoned.[68]

With the death of his close friend and political ally, Count Wratislaw, Eugene became undisputed 'first minister' in Vienna and took the lead in pressing Charles VI towards peace, but last minute demands at the Utrecht conference proved a step too far for the Emperor and his ministers.[69] Reluctantly, Eugene prepared for another campaign, but lacking finance and supplies, his prospects in 1713 were poor. Positioning himself on the Rhine, and with vastly superior numbers, Villars was able to keep Eugene guessing as to his true intent. Through successful feints and stratagems Landau fell to the French commander in August, followed in November by Freiburg.[70] With Austrian finances exhausted and the German states reluctant to continue the war, Charles VI was compelled to enter into negotiations. Eugene and Villars (who had been old friends since the Turkish campaigns of the 1680s) initiated talks on 26 November. Eugene proved an astute negotiator, and gained favourable terms by the Treaty of Rastatt signed on 7 March 1714. Despite the failed campaign in 1713 the Austrian prince was able to declare that, "in spite of the military superiority of our enemies and the defection of our Allies, the conditions of peace will be more advantageous and more glorious than those we would have obtained at Utrecht."[70]

Austro-Turkish War

Turkish military ambitions had revived after 1711. With their victory over Peter I of Russia it soon became clear that the Turks intended to attack Hungary. In 1714 Sultan Ahmed III broke the Peace of Karlowitz, declared war on the Venetians, conquered the Morea, and laid siege to Corfu.[71] After the Porte rejected an offer of mediation Charles VI despatched Eugene to Hungary at the head of a relatively small, but professional army. Of all Eugene's wars this was the one in which he exercised most direct control; it was also a war which, for the most part, Austria fought and won on her own.[72]

By early August 1716 the Ottoman Turks, some 120,000 men under the sultan's son-in-law, the Grand Vizier Damat Ali Pasha, were marching from Belgrade towards Eugene's position at Petrovaradin. After resisting calls for caution and forgoing a council of war, the Prince decided to attack immediately on the morning of 5 August with over 60,000 men.[73] The Turkish janissaries had some initial success, but after an Imperial cavalry attack on their flank, Ali Pasha's forces fell into confusion. As many as 30,000 Turks may have been killed in the chaos, including the Grand Vizier who had personally entered the mêlée. Eugene proceeded to take the Banat fortress of Temesvár in mid-October 1716 (thus ending 164 years of Turkish rule), before turning his attention to the next year's campaign and to what he considered the main goal of the war, Belgrade.[74]

Prince Eugene at the Siege of Belgrade. Artist unknown. Pope Clement XI honoured him with the gift of a papal hat and bejewelled sword for his victories and his service to Christendom.

Situated at the confluence of the Rivers Danube and Save, Belgrade held a garrison of 30,000 men under Mustapha Pasha. The siege progressed steadily, but by the first days of August 1717 a huge Turkish field army under Halil Pasha (150,000–200,000 strong) had arrived on the plateau east of the city to relieve the garrison.[75] News spread through Europe of the imminent destruction of the Imperial army, yet Eugene had no intention of lifting the siege.[76] With his men suffering from dysentery, and continuous bombardment from the plateau, Eugene, aware that a decisive victory alone could extricate his army, decided to attack the relief force. On the morning of 16 August 40,000 Imperial troops marched through the fog, caught the Turks unawares, and routed Halil Pasha's army; a week later Belgrade surrendered effectively bringing an end to the war. The victory was the crowning point of Eugene's military career and had confirmed him as the leading European general; his ability to snatch victory at the moment of defeat had shown the Prince at his best.[77]

Prince Eugene by Jacob van Schuppen.

Quadruple Alliance

While Eugene fought the Turks in the east, unresolved issues following the Utrecht/Rastatt settlements led to hostilities between the Emperor and Philip V of Spain in the west. Charles VI had refused to recognise Philip as the Spanish king; in return Philip V had refused to renounce his claims to Naples, Milan, and the Netherlands which had transferred to the house of Austria following the Spanish Succession War. Philip V was roused by his influential wife, Elizabeth Farnese, daughter of the Duke of Parma, who personally held dynastic claims in the name of her son Don Charles to the duchies of Tuscany and Parma.[78] Representatives from a newly-formed Anglo-French alliance – determined on European peace for their own dynastic securities – called on both parties to recognise each other's sovereignty. But Philip V remained intractable. On 22 August 1717 Philip's chief minister, Alberoni, effected the invasion of Austrian Sardinia in what seemed like the beginning of the reconquest of Spain's former Italian empire.[79]

Eugene returned to Vienna from his recent victory at Belgrade (before the conclusion of the Turkish war) determined to prevent an escalation of the conflict, complaining that, "two wars cannot be waged with one army";[80] only reluctantly did the Prince release some troops from the Balkans for the Italian campaign. Rejecting all diplomatic overtures Philip V unleashed another assault in June 1718, this time against Savoyard Sicily as a preliminary to attacking the Italian mainland. Realising that only the British fleet could prevent further Spanish landings, and that pro-Spanish groups in France might push the regent Orléans into war against Austria, Charles VI had no option but to sign the Quadruple Alliance on 2 August 1718, and renounce his claim to Spain.[81] Philip V and Elizabeth, however, remained resolute.

Although Eugene could have gone south after the signing of the Treaty of Passarowitz brought an end to the Turkish war, he chose instead to conduct operations from Vienna; but Austria's military effort in Sicily proved derisory – Eugene's chosen commanders, Zum Jungen, and later Count Mercy, performed poorly.[82] It was only from pressure exerted by the French army advancing into the Basque provinces of northern Spain in April 1719, and the British Navy's attacks on the Spanish fleet and shipping, that compelled Philip V and Elizabeth to dismiss Alberoni and join the Quadruple Alliance on 25 January 1720. Nevertheless, the Spanish attacks had strained Charles' government, causing tension between the Emperor and his Spanish Council[83] on the one hand, and the conference,[84] headed by Eugene, on the other. Despite Charles VI's own personal ambitions in the Mediterranean it was clear to the Emperor that Eugene had put the safeguarding of his conquests in Hungary before everything else and that military failure in Sicily also had to rest on Eugene. Consequently the Prince's influence over the Emperor declined considerably.[85]

Later life (1721–36)

Governor-General of the Netherlands

Charles VI (1685–1740), by Johann Gottfried Auerbach. While archduke he had been the Allied candidate for the Spanish throne as 'Charles III'. Eugene served Charles for the last 25 years of his life.

Eugene had become governor of the Netherlands – now the Austrian Netherlands – in June 1716, but he was an absent ruler, directing policy from Vienna through his chosen representative the Marquis de Prié.[86] De Prié proved unpopular with the local population and the guilds who, following the Barrier Treaty of 1715, were obliged to meet the financial demands of the administration and the Dutch barrier garrisons; with Eugene's backing and encouragement civil disturbances in Antwerp and Brussels were forcibly suppressed. After displeasing the Emperor over his initial opposition to the formation of the Ostend Company, de Prié also lost the support of the native nobility from within his own council of state in Brussels, particularly from the Marquis de Mérode-Westerloo. One of Eugene's former favourites, General Bonneval, also joined the nobles in opposition to de Prié, further undermining the Prince. When de Prié's position became untenable Eugene felt compelled to resign his post as governor on 16 November 1724. As compensation Charles VI conferred on him the honorary position as vicar-general of Italy, worth 140,000 gulden a year, and an estate at Siebenbrunn in Lower Austria said to be worth double that amount.[87] But his resignation distressed him, and to compound his concerns Eugene caught a severe bout of influenza that Christmas, marking the beginning of permanent bronchitis and acute infections every winter for the remaining twelve years of his life.[88]

Eugene's Stadtpalais, Himmelpfortgasse, Vienna, where Eugene conducted most of his business.

Cold war

The 1720s saw rapidly changing alliances between the European powers and almost constant diplomatic confrontation, largely over unsolved issues regarding the Quadruple Alliance. Charles VI was determined to hold on to his Spanish titles (infuriating France and Britain as much as Philip V), and was refusing to remove the remaining legal obstacles to Don Charles' eventual succession to the duchies of Parma and Tuscany. Yet in a surprise move Spain and Austria moved closer with the signing of the Treaty of Vienna in April/May 1725.[89] In response Britain, France, and Prussia joined together in the Alliance of Hanover to counter the danger to Europe of an Austro-Spanish hegemony.[90] For the next three years there was continual danger of war between the western powers and the Austro-Spanish bloc.

From 1726 Eugene gradually began to regain his political influence. With his many contacts throughout Europe Eugene, backed by Schönborn the Imperial vice-chancellor, managed to secure powerful allies and strengthen the Emperor's position. In August 1726 Russia acceded to the Austro-Spanish alliance; Frederick William of Prussia followed suit in October by defecting from the Allies and signing a mutual defensive treaty with the Emperor.[91] However, concluding that the best way to secure her son's succession to Parma and Tuscany now lay with Britain and France, Elizabeth Farnese abandoned the Austro-Spanish alliance in 1729 with the signing of the Treaty of Seville. Following Eugene's determined lead to resist all pressure Charles VI sent troops into Italy to prevent the entry of Spanish garrisons into the contested duchies. By the beginning of 1730, therefore, Eugene, who had remained bellicose throughout the whole period, was again in control of Austrian policy.[92]

A change to the ministry in Britain now led to a new re-alignment. Concerned that war with Austria would only benefit the Bourbon powers, Robert Walpole forced the belligerent Secretary of State Charles Townshend to resign, and moved to reform the Anglo-Austrian alliance, leading to the signing of the Second Treaty of Vienna on 16 March 1731.[93] Eugene had been the Austrian minister most responsible for the alliance, believing once again it would provide security against France and Spain. The treaty compelled Charles VI to sacrifice the Ostend Company (a rival to the English and Dutch trading companies) and accept, unequivocally, the accession of Don Charles to Parma and Tuscany. In return King George II as King of Great Britain and Elector of Hanover guaranteed the Pragmatic Sanction, the inheritance rights of the Emperor's daughters. It was largely through Eugene's diplomacy that in January 1732 the Imperial diet also guaranteed the Pragmatic Sanction which, together with the Treaties with Britain, Russia, and Prussia, marked the culmination of Eugene's diplomacy. But the Treaty of Vienna had infuriated the court of King Louis XV: the French had been ignored and the Pragmatic Sanction, which would increase Habsburg influence, guaranteed. The Emperor also intended his daughter and heiress, Maria Theresa, to marry Francis Stephen of Lorraine, which would present an unacceptable threat on France's border. By the beginning of 1733 the French army was ready for war: all that was needed was the excuse.[94]

War of the Polish Succession

Prince Eugene by Johann Kupetzky. Shown here in late middle age.

In 1733 the Polish King and Elector of Saxony, Augustus the Strong, died. There were two candidates for his successor: first, Stanislaus Leszczyński, the father-in-law of Louis XV; second, the Elector of Saxony's son, Augustus, supported by Russia, Austria, and Prussia. The Polish succession had afforded Louis XV's chief minister, Fleury, the opportunity to attack Austria and take Lorraine from Francis Stephen. In order to gain Spanish support France backed the succession of Elizabeth Farnese's sons to further Italian lands.

Eugene entered the War of the Polish Succession as President of the Imperial War Council and commander-in-chief of the army, but he was severely handicapped by the quality of his troops and the shortage of funds; now in his seventies, the Prince was also burdened by rapidly declining physical and mental powers. France declared war on Austria on 10 October 1733, but without the funds from the Maritime Powers – who, despite the Vienna treaty, remained neutral throughout the war – Austria could not hire the necessary troops to wage an offensive campaign. "The danger to the monarchy," wrote Eugene to the Emperor in October, "cannot be exaggerated".[95] By the end of the year Franco-Spanish forces had seized Lorraine and Milan; by early 1734 Spanish troops had taken Sicily.

Eugene took command on the Rhine in April 1734, but vastly outnumbered he was forced onto the defensive. In June Eugene set out to relieve Philippsburg, yet his former drive and energy was now gone. Accompanying Eugene was a young Frederick the Great, sent by his father to learn the art of war. Frederick gained considerable knowledge from Eugene, recalling in later life his great debt to his Austrian mentor, but the Prussian prince was aghast at Eugene's condition, writing later, "his body was still there but his soul had gone."[96] Eugene conducted another cautious campaign in 1735, once again pursuing a sensible defensive strategy on limited resources. However, his short-term memory was by now practically non-existent, and his political influence disappeared completely – Gundaker Starhemberg and John Bartenstein now dominated the conference in his place. Fortunately for the Emperor, though, Fleury was determined to limit the war in its scope and prevent a renewal of the Grand Alliance, and in October 1735 he granted generous peace preliminaries to the Emperor.[97]

Private life and death

Little is known about Eugene's life before 1683. In his early boyhood Eugene belonged to a small, effeminate set. Hostile anecdotal evidence of this period is supplied by the Duchess of Orleans who accused him of homosexual antics with lackeys and pages, calling him 'a slut' and declared that 'he often played the woman with young people'. But her remarks about Eugene were made years later, and only then after he had severely mauled the armies of her brother-in-law, Louis XIV.[5] Eugene's behaviour may have been a result his mother's lax household and her own failure to show any affection towards him, but once he had left France in 1683 there are no further accusations of homosexuality.[98]

During the last 20 years of his life Eugene had a relationship with one woman, Eleonora Batthyány.[99] Much of their acquaintance remains speculative (Eugene never mentions her in any of his surviving letters), but although they lived apart most foreign diplomats were convinced that Eleonora was his mistress. Eugene and Eleonora were constant companions, meeting for dinner, receptions and card games almost every day till his death. Eugene's other friends such as the papal nuncio, Passionei, made up for the family he still lacked. For his only surviving nephew, Emmanuel, the son of his brother Louis Thomas, Eugene arranged a marriage with one of the daughters of Prince Liechenstein, but Emmanuel died of smallpox in 1729. With the death of Emmanuel's son in 1734, there were no close male relatives left to succeed the Prince. His closest relative, therefore, was Louis Thomas's unmarried daughter, Princess Victoria of Savoy-Carignan, whom Eugene had never met and, as he had heard nothing but bad of her, made no effort to do so.[100]

Eugene returned to Vienna from the War of the Polish Succession in October 1735, weak and feeble; when Maria Theresa and Francis Stephen married in February 1736 Eugene was too ill to attend. After playing cards at Countess Batthyány's on the evening of 20 April he returned to his bed at the Stadtpalais. When his servants arrived to wake him the next morning, 21 April 1736, Prince Eugene was found dead after choking from phlegm in his throat; presumably after suffering from pneumonia. Eugene's heart was buried with those of others of his family in Turin. His remains were carried in a long procession to St. Stephen's Cathedral, where the body was interred in the Kreuzkapelle.[101]

Patron of the arts

Portrait of Prince Eugene depicting his love of books. Artist: Jacob van Schuppen.

Eugene's rewards for his victories, his share of booty, his revenues from his abbeys in Savoy, and a steady income from his Imperial offices and governorships, enabled him to contribute to the landscape of baroque architecture.[102] Eugene spent most of his life in Vienna at his Winter Palace, the Stadtpalais, built by Fischer von Erlach. The palace acted as his official residence and home, but for reasons that remain speculative the Prince's association with Fischer ended before the building was complete, favouring instead Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt as his chief architect.[103] Eugene first employed Hildebrandt to finish the Stadtpalais before commissioning him to prepare plans for a palace on his Danubian island at Ráckeve. Began in 1701 the single-story building took twenty years to complete; yet, probably because of the Rákóczi revolt, the Prince seems to have visited it only once – after the Siege of Belgrade in 1717.[104]

Upper Belvedere palace, Vienna

Of more importance was the grandiose complex of the two Belvedere palaces in Vienna. The single-storey Lower Belvedere, with its exotic gardens and zoo, was completed in 1716. The Upper Belvedere, completed between 1720 and 1722, is a more substantial building; with sparkling white stucco walls and copper roof it became a wonder of Europe. Eugene and Hildebrandt also converted an existing structure on his Marchfeld estate into a country seat, the Schlosshof, situated between the Rivers Danube and Morava.[105] The building, completed in 1729, was far less elaborate than his other projects but it was strong enough to serve as a fortress in case of need. Eugene spent much of his spare time there in his last years accommodating large hunting parties.[106]

In the years following the Peace of Rastatt Eugene became acquainted with a large number of scholarly men. Given his position and responsiveness they were keen to meet him: few could exists without patronage and this was probably the main reason for Gottfried Leibniz's association with him in 1714.[107] Eugene also befriended the French writer Jean-Baptiste Rousseau who, by 1716, was receiving financial support from Eugene. Rousseau stayed on attached to the Prince's household, probably helping in the library, until he left for the Netherlands in 1722.[108] Another acquaintance, Montesquieu, already famous for his Persian Letters when he arrived in Vienna in 1728, favourably recalled his time spent at the Prince's table. Nevertheless, Eugene had no literary pretensions of his own, and was not tempted like de Saxe or Marshal Villars to write his memoirs or books on the art of war. He did, however, become a collector on the grandest scale: his picture galleries were filled with 16th and 17th century Italian, Dutch and Flemish art;[109] his library at the Stadtpalais crammed with over 15,000 books, 237 manuscripts as well as a huge collection of prints (of particular interest were books on natural history and geography). "It is hardly believable," wrote Rousseau, "that a man who carries on his shoulders the burden of almost all the affairs of Europe … should find as much time to read as though he had nothing else to do."[110] At Eugene's death his possessions and estates, except those in Hungary which the crown reclaimed, went to his niece, Princess Victoria, who at once decided to sell everything. The artwork was bought by Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia. Eugene's library, prints and drawings were purchased by the Emperor in 1737 and have since passed into Austrian national collections.[101]


Eugene's monument in Heldenplatz, Vienna, by Anton Dominik Fernkorn.

Napoleon Bonaparte considered Eugene one of the seven greatest commanders of history.[111] Although later military critics have disagreed with that assessment Eugene was undoubtedly the greatest Austrian general.[112] He was no military innovator, but he had the ability to make an inadequate system work. He was equally adept as organizer, strategist and tactician, believing in the primacy of battle and his ability to seize the opportune moment to launch a successful attack.[112] "The important thing," wrote de Saxe in Reveries on the Art of War, "is to see the opportunity and to know how to use it. Prince Eugene possessed this quality which is the greatest in the art of war and which is the test of the most elevated genius."[113]

Eugene was a disciplinarian – when ordinary soldiers disobeyed orders he was prepared to shoot them himself – but he rejected blind brutality, writing, "you should only be harsh when, as often happens, kindness proves useless."[114] On the battlefield Eugene demanded courage in his subordinates, and expected his men to fight where and when he wanted; his criteria for promotion were based primarily on obedience to orders and courage on the battlefield rather than social position. On the whole his men responded because he was willing to push himself as hard as them. However, his position as President of the Imperial War Council proved less successful. Following the long period of peace after the Austro-Turkish War, the idea of creating a separate field army or providing garrison troops with effective training for them to be turned into such an army quickly was never considered by Eugene. By the time of the War of the Polish Succession, therefore, the Austrians were outclassed by a better prepared French force. For this Eugene was largely to blame – in his view (unlike the drilling and manoeuvres carried out by the Prussians under Frederick William) the time to create actual fighting men was when war came.[114] But although Frederick the Great had been struck by the muddle during the Polish war, and by the vision of Eugene as an example of the appalling decrepitude which could overtake military men, he later ameliorated these harsh judgements. "If I understand anything of my trade," commented Frederick in 1758, "especially in the more difficult aspects, I owe that advantage to Prince Eugene. From him I learnt to hold grand objectives constantly in view, and direct all my resources to those ends."[115] To historian Christopher Duffy, it was this awareness of the 'grand strategy' that was Eugene's legacy to Frederick.[115]

To his responsibilities Eugene attached his own personal values – physical courage, loyalty to his sovereign, honesty, self-control in all things – and he expected these qualities from his commanders. Eugene's approach was dictatorial, but he was willing to co-operate with someone he regarded as his equal, such as Baden or Marlborough. The result was an austere figure, inspiring respect and admiration rather than affection.[116] The huge equestrian statue in the centre of Vienna commemorates Eugene's achievements. Inscribed on one side, 'To the wise counsellor of three Emperors', and on the other, 'To the glorious conqueror of Austria's enemies'.[111]

Image gallery

See also


  1. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica puts the death of Eugene on 24 April. This is incorrect.
  2. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 9–10
  3. ^ Somerset: The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Infanticide and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV, 252
  4. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 9
  5. ^ a b Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 9
  6. ^ Heer: The Holy Roman Empire, 228. This was a clear infringement of taboo which Louis could not tolerate. Other reasons are also speculated. Louvois, Louis' secretary of State for War, detested Eugene's mother after she had rejected a proposed marriage between her daughter and his son.
  7. ^ Heer states Eugene's departure date was 21 July.
  8. ^ Childs: Warfare in the Seventeenth Century, 133. Childs puts the number at 100,000; John Wolf, as high as 200,000.
  9. ^ Stoye: The Siege of Vienna, 114
  10. ^ a b Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 12
  11. ^ Churchill: Marlborough: His Life and Times, Bk. 1, 467
  12. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 13
  13. ^ MacMunn: Prince Eugene: Twin Marshal with Marlborough, 32
  14. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 22
  15. ^ MacMunn: Prince Eugene: Twin Marshal with Marlborough, 35
  16. ^ MacMunn: Prince Eugene: Twin Marshal with Marlborough, 39. Leopold responded with a gift of a portrait of himself set in a diamond encrusted frame
  17. ^ a b McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 27
  18. ^ Lynn: The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667–1714, 192–193
  19. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 33
  20. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 32
  21. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 33
  22. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 34. His promotion, however, had as much to do with the lack of good Imperial commanders as much as Eugene's proven ability thus far. There were more than 20 other Field-Marshals in Imperial service at that time.
  23. ^ a b McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 37
  24. ^ Spielman: Leopold I of Austria, 165
  25. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 43
  26. ^ Spielman: Leopold I of Austria, 166
  27. ^ Coxe: History of the House of Austria, II, 455
  28. ^ Coxe: History of the House of Austria, II, 456
  29. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 43
  30. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 50–51
  31. ^ Coxe. History of Austria, II, 457
  32. ^ Wolf: The Emergence of the Great Powers: 1685–1715, 59
  33. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 60
  34. ^ Coxe: History of the House of Austria, II, 483
  35. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 67
  36. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 64
  37. ^ Lynn: The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667–1714, 276
  38. ^ Spielman: Leopold I of Austria, 188
  39. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 66. Eugene was in no doubt the blame lay with Leopold and his ministry, namely Henry Mansfeld and Gotthard Salaburg.
  40. ^ Spielman: Leopold I of Austria, 189
  41. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 73
  42. ^ Chandler: Marlborough as Military Commander, 124
  43. ^ Chandler: Marlborough as Military Commander, 125
  44. ^ Chandler: Marlborough as Military Commander, 126
  45. ^ Churchill: Marlborough: His Life and Times, Bk. 1, 731
  46. ^ Lediard: The Life of John, Duke of Marlborough, I, 199
  47. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 87
  48. ^ Churchill: Marlborough: His Life and Times, Bk. 1, 865
  49. ^ Coxe: History of the House of Austria, III, 15
  50. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 94
  51. ^ Coxe: History of the House of Austria, III, 17
  52. ^ The Duke of Marlborough had supplied Eugene with 10,000 reinforcements, as well as a loan of £250,000.
  53. ^ Saint-Simon. Memoirs, 303
  54. ^ Churchill: Marlborough: His Life and Times, Bk. 2, III, 182. Eugene took little interest in Milan: he never returned after 1707.
  55. ^ Coxe: History of the House of Austria, III, 28
  56. ^ Chandler: Marlborough as Military Commander, 199
  57. ^ Eugene's army was made up almost entirely of Germans paid for by Britain and the Dutch.
  58. ^ Churchill: Marlborough: His Life and Times, Bk. 2, III, 350
  59. ^ Lynn: The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667–1714, 319
  60. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 162
  61. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 117: When King Louis XIV heard about Eugene's wound, he remarked, "I certainly don't want Prince Eugene to die but I should not be sorry if his wound stopped him taking any further part in the campaign."
  62. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 171
  63. ^ Chandler 249. Coxe says the citadel fell on 4 September. Chandler describes the siege as one of the hardest fought and least pleasant of modern history. This time, Marlborough conducted the siege while Eugene commanded the covering force.
  64. ^ Coxe: History of the House of Austria, III, 58
  65. ^ Lynn: The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667–1714, 335
  66. ^ Lynn gives the signing date as 1 May
  67. ^ Wolf: The Emergence of the Great Powers: 1685–1715, 89. Although the Tory ministers did not inform Eugene of the restraining orders, they did inform Marshal Villars. In October 1712 the Tory government even communicated to the French what they knew of Eugene's war plans.
  68. ^ Lynn: The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667–1714, 352–354
  69. ^ The Treaty of Utrecht was signed on 12 April 1713. Last minute demands for the cession of Luxembourg to the Elector of Bavaria, as well as the restoration of Bavaria, the withdrawal of Imperialists from Mantua and the immediate formal recognition of Philip V as King of Spain, were too much for Charles VI.
  70. ^ a b Lynn: The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667–1714, 357
  71. ^ Coxe: History of the House of Austria, III,100
  72. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 160
  73. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 223. McKay states 70,000; David Chandler in The Art of War in the age of Marlborough, states 63,000.
  74. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 163
  75. ^ Coxe: History of the House of Austria, III, 102
  76. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 165
  77. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 166
  78. ^ Coxe: History of the House of Austria, III, 106
  79. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 170
  80. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 170.
  81. ^ Coxe: History of the House of Austria, III, 108
  82. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 172. Isolated Spanish troops held on around Palermo till the end of 1719, while no expedition could even be attempted on Sardinia.
  83. ^ The Spanish Council consisted of Spaniards and Italians who had followed Charles VI from Spain after the Spanish Succession war. The most senior member of the council and an implacable enemy of Eugene was the Archbishop of Valencia, Antonio Folch de Cardona; but the most important members were Count Stella and the Marquis Ramon de Rialp. The council controlled Charles VI's lands in Italy.
  84. ^ The conference discussed foreign policy and was usually held in one of Eugene's palaces.
  85. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 177
  86. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 180. Eugene was reluctant to leave his palaces and friends: it would probably have meant his resignation from his chief interest, the war council.
  87. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 186. De Prié stood down in the spring of 1725 to avoid dismissal.
  88. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 187
  89. ^ Philip V and Elizabeth approached Austria to exploit Charles VI's isolation, and his differences with the Maritime Powers over the Ostend Company. They intended to conclude marriage alliances for their two sons to the Emperor's daughters, aiming to bring their children control of Habsburg hereditary lands and most of Italy.
  90. ^ Hatton: George I, 274–275: Sweden, Denmark, and the Dutch Republic signed the Treaty of Hanover in 1727.
  91. ^ Coxe: History of the House of Austria, III, 139. The Allies failed to support Frederick William's claims to Jülich-Berg.
  92. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 219
  93. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 221–222
  94. ^ McKay & Scott: The Rise of the Great Powers: 1648–1815, 136–137
  95. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 278
  96. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 239
  97. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 240
  98. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 10
  99. ^ There was one reference to another woman before Batthyány. The Swedish minister in Vienna makes reference to Countess Maria Thürheim. There is, however, no evidence for or against this suggestion.
  100. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 203
  101. ^ a b McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 243
  102. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 189. Eugene's presidency of the Imperial War Council was probably worth 100,000 gulden a year, while his governorships of Milan and the Netherlands were likely to have brought in 150,000 gulden annually.
  103. ^ There is no indication of a quarrel with Erlach, just a desired change in style. Hildebrandt had accompanied Eugene in Italy as his siege engineer in 1695–96 and made Imperial court engineer in 1701.
  104. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 193
  105. ^ Eugene had purchased this land in 1726.
  106. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 195. Maria Theresa brought the Schlosshof in 1755.
  107. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 199. The leading German philosopher got to know the Prince during his visit to Vienna in 1714, trying to persuade Charles VI to found an Academy of Science.
  108. ^ Rousseau had not been long in the Netherlands before he joined the conspiracy to remove Eugene from the post of Governor General.
  109. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 256. Amongst the list of artists who worked for Eugene was the Italian, Giuseppe Maria Crespi.
  110. ^ Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, 259
  111. ^ a b Henderson: Prince Eugen of Savoy, xi. The others were Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Gustavus Aldolphus, Turenne, and Frederick the Great.
  112. ^ a b McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 246–247
  113. ^ Saxe, Maurice de. Reveries on the Art of War, 119
  114. ^ a b McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 228–232
  115. ^ a b Duffy: Frederick the Great: A Military Life, 17
  116. ^ McKay: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 248



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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

EUGENE OF SAVOY [[[Francois Eugene Vidocq|FRANCOIS EUGENE]]], Prince (1663-1736), fifth son of Prince Eugene Maurice of Savoy-Carignano, count of Soissons, and of Olympia Mancini, niece of Cardinal Mazarin, was born at Paris on the 18th of October 1663. Originally destined for the church, Eugene was known at court as the petit abbe, but his own predilection was strongly for the army. His mother, however, had fallen into disgrace at court, and his application for a commission, repeated more than once, was refused by Louis XIV. This, and the influence of his mother, produced in him a lifelong resentment against the king. Having quitted France in disgust, he proceeded to Vienna, where his relative the emperor Leopold I. received him kindly, and he served with the Austrian army during the campaign of 1683 against the Turks. He displayed his bravery in a cavalry fight at Petronell (7th July) and in the great battle for the relief of Vienna. The emperor now gave him the command of a regiment of dragoons. At the capture of Buda in 1686 he received a wound (3rd August), but he continued to serve up to the siege of Belgrade in 1688, in which he was dangerously wounded. At the instigation of Louvois, a decree of banishment from France was now issued against all Frenchmen who should continue to serve in foreign armies. "The king will see me again," was Eugene's reply when the news was communicated to him; he continued his career in foreign service.

Prince Eugene's next employment was in a service that required diplomatic as well as military skill (1689). He was sent by the emperor Leopold to Italy with the view of binding the duke of Savoy to the coalition against France and of cooperating with the Italian and Spanish troops. Later in 1689 he served on the Rhine and was again wounded. He returned to Italy in time to take part in the battle of Staff arda, which resulted in the defeat of the coalition at the hands of the French marshal Catinat; but in the spring of 1691 Prince Eugene, having secured reinforcements, caused the siege of Coni to be raised, took possession of Carmagnola, and in the end completely defeated Catinat. He followed up his success by entering Dauphine, where he took possession of Embrun and Gap. After another campaign, which was uneventful, the further prosecution of the war was abandoned owing to the defection of the duke of Savoy from the coalition, and Prince Eugene returned to Vienna, where he soon afterwards received the command of the army in Hungary, on the recommendation of the veteran count Riidiger von Starhemberg, the defender of Vienna in 1683. It was about this time that Louis XIV. secretly offered him the baton of a marshal of France, with the government of Champagne which his father had held, and also a pension. But Eugene rejected these offers with indignation, and proceeded to operate against the Turks commanded by Kara Mustapha. After some skilful manoeuvres, he surprised the enemy (September 11th, 1697) at Zenta, on the Theiss. His attack was vigorous and daring, and the victory was one of the most complete and important ever won by the Austrian arms. Formerly it was often stated that the battle of Zenta was fought against express orders from the court, that Eugene was placed under arrest for violating these orders, and that a proposal to bring him before a council of war was frustrated only by the threatening attitude of the citizens of Vienna. This story, minute in details as it is, is entirely without foundation. After a further period of manoeuvres, peace was at length concluded at Karlowitz on the 26th of January 1699.

Two years later he was again in active service in the War of the Spanish Succession. At the beginning of the year 1701 he was sent into Italy once more to oppose his old antagonist Catinat. He achieved a rapid success, crossing the mountains from Tirol into Italy in spite of almost insurmountable difficulties (Journal d. militdrwissensch. Verein, No. 5, 1907), forcing the French army, after sustaining several checks, to retire behind the Oglio, where a series of reverses equally unexpected and severe led to the recall of Catinat in disgrace. The incapable duke of Villeroi, who succeeded to the command of which Catinat had been deprived, ventured to attack Eugene at Chiari, and was repulsed with great loss. And this was only the forerunner of more signal reverses; for, in a short time, Villeroi was forced to abandon the whole of the Mantuan territory and to take refuge in Cremona, where he seems to have considered himself secure. By means of a stratagem, however, Eugene penetrated into the city during the night, at the head of 2000 men, and, though he found it impossible to hold the town, succeeded in carrying off Villeroi as a prisoner. But as the duke of Vendome, a much abler general, replaced the captive, the incursion, daring though it was, proved anything but advantageous to the Austrians. The generalship of his new opponent, and the fact that the French army had been largely reinforced, while reinforcements had not been sent from Vienna, forced Prince Eugene to confine himself to a war of observation. The campaign was terminated by the sanguinary battle of Luzzara, fought on the 1st of August 1702, in which each party claimed the victory. Both armies having gone into winter quarters, Eugene returned to Vienna, where he was appointed president of the council of war. He then set out for Hungary in order to combat the insurgents in that country; but his means proving insufficient, he effected nothing of importance. The collapse of the revolt, however, soon freed the prince for the more important campaign in Bavaria, where, in 1704, he made his first campaign along with Marlborough. Similarity of tastes, views and talents soon established between these two great men a friendship which is rarely to be found amongst military chiefs, and contributed in the fullest measure to the success which the allies obtained. The first and perhaps the most important of these successes was that of Hochstadt or Blenheim on the 3rd of August 1704, where the English and imperial troops triumphed over one of the finest armies that France had ever sent into Germany.

But since Prince Eugene had quitted Italy, Vendome, who commanded the French army in that country, had obtained various successes against the duke of Savoy, who had once more joined Austria. The emperor deemed the crisis so serious that he recalled Eugene and sent him to Italy to the assistance of his ally. Vendome at first opposed great obstacles to the plan which the prince had formed for carrying succours into Piedmont; but after a variety of marches and counter-marches, in which both commanders displayed signal ability, the two armies met at Cassano (August 16, 1705), where a deadly engagement ensued, and Prince Eugene received two severe wounds which forced him to quit the field. This accident decided the fate of the battle and for the time suspended the prince's march towards Piedmont. Vendome, however, was recalled, and La Feuillade (who succeeded him) was incapable of long arresting the progress of such a commander as Eugene. After once more passing several rivers in presence of the French army, and executing one of the most skilful and daring marches he had ever performed, the latter appeared before the entrenched camp at Turin, which place the French were now besieging with an army eighty thousand strong. Prince Eugene had only thirty thousand men; but his antagonist the duke of Orleans, though full of zeal and courage, wanted experience, and Marshal Marsin, his adlatus, held powers from Louis XIV. which could not fail to produce dissensions in the French headquarters. With equal courage and address, Eugene profited by the misunderstandings between the French generals; and on the 7th of September 1706 he attacked the French army in its entrenchments and gained a victory which decided the fate of Italy. In the heat of the battle Eugene received a wound, and was thrown from his horse.

His recompense for this important service was the government of the Milanese, of which he took possession with great pomp on the 16th of April 1707. He was also made lieutenant-general to the emperor Joseph I.

The attempt which he made against Toulon in the course of the same year failed completely, because the invasion of the kingdom of Naples retarded the march of the troops which were to have been employed in it, and this delay afforded Marshal de Tesse time to make good dispositions. Obliged to renounce his project, therefore, the prince went to Vienna, where he was received with great enthusiasm both by the people and by the court. "I am very well satisfied with you," said the emperor, "excepting on one point only, which is, that you expose yourself too much." This monarch immediately despatched Eugene to Holland, and to the different courts of Germany, in order to forward the necessary preparations for the campaign of the following year, 1708 (see Spanish Succession, War Of The).

Early in the spring of 1708 the prince proceeded to Flanders, in order to assume the command of the German army which his diplomatic ability had been mainly instrumental in assembling, and to unite his forces with those of Marlborough. The campaign was opened by the victory of Oudenarde, to which the perfect union of Marlborough and Eugene on the one hand, and the misunderstanding between Vendome and the duke of Burgundy on the other, seem to have equally contributed. The French immediately abandoned the Low Countries, and, remaining in observation, made no attempt whatever to prevent Eugene's army, covered by that of Marlborough, making the siege of Lille. The French governor, Boufflers, made a glorious defence, and Eugene paid a flattering tribute to his valour in inviting him to prepare the articles of capitulation himself, with the words "I subscribe to everything beforehand, well persuaded that you will not insert anything unworthy of yourself or of me." After this important conquest, Eugene and Marlborough proceeded to the Hague, where they were received in the most flattering manner by the public, by the states-general, and above all, by their esteemed friend the pensionary Heinsius. Negotiations were then opened for peace, but proved fruitless. In 1709 France put forth a supreme effort, and placed Marshal Villars, her best living general, in command. The events of this year were very different to those of previous campaigns, and the bloody battle of Malplaquet, though a victory for Marlborough and Eugene, led to little result, and this at the cost of enormous losses. The Dutch army, it is said, never recovered from the slaughter of Malplaquet; indeed, the success was so dearly bought that the allies found themselves soon afterwards out of all condition to undertake anything. Their army accordingly went into winter quarters, and Prince Eugene returned to Vienna, whence the emperor almost immediately despatched him to Berlin. From the king of Prussia the prince obtained everything which he had been instructed to require; and having thus fulfilled his mission, he returned into Flanders, where, excepting the capture of Douai, Bethune and Aire, the campaign of 1710 presented nothing remarkable. On the death of the emperor Joseph I. in April 1711, Prince Eugene, in concert with the empress, exerted his utmost endeavours to secure the crown to the archduke, who afterwards ascended the imperial throne under the name of Charles VI. In the same year the changes which had occurred in the policy, or rather the caprice, of Queen Anne, brought about an approximation between England and France, and put an end to the influence which Marlborough had hitherto possessed. When this political revolution became known, Prince Eugene immediately repaired to London, charged with a mission from the emperor to reestablish the credit of his illustrious companion in arms, as well as to re-attach England to the coalition. The mission having proved unsuccessful, the emperor found himself under the necessity of making the campaign of 1712 with the aid of the Dutch alone. The defection of the English, however, did not induce Prince Eugene to abandon his favourite plan of invading France. He resolved, at whatever cost, to penetrate into Champagne; and in order to support his operations by the possession of some important places, he began by making himself master of Quesnoy. But the Dutch, having been surprised and beaten in the lines of Denain, where Prince Eugene had placed them at too great a distance to receive timely support in case of an attack, he was obliged to raise the siege of Landrecies, and to abandon the project which he had so long cherished. This was the last campaign in which Austria acted in conjunction with her allies. Abandoned first by England and then by Holland, the emperor, notwithstanding these desertions, still wished to maintain the war in Germany; but Eugene was unable to relieve either Landau or Freiburg, which were successively obliged to capitulate; and seeing the Empire thus laid open to the armies of France, and even the Austrian hereditary states themselves exposed to invasion, the prince counselled his master to make peace. Sensible of the prudence of this advice, the emperor immediately entrusted Eugene with full powers to negotiate a treaty of peace, which was concluded at Rastadt on the 6th of March 1714. On his return to Vienna, Prince Eugene was employed for a time in political matters, and at this time he exchanged the government of the Milanese for that of the Austrian Netherlands.

It was not long, however, before he was again called on to assume the command of the army in the field. In the spring of 1716 the emperor, having concluded an offensive alliance with Venice against Turkey, appointed Eugene to command the army of Hungary; and at Peterwardein he gained (5th of August 1716) a signal victory over a Turkish army of more than twice his own strength. In recognition of this service to Christendom the pope sent to the victorious general the consecrated hat and sword which the court of Rome was accustomed to bestow upon those who had triumphed over the infidels. Eugene won another victory in this campaign at Temesvar. But the ensuing campaign, that of 1717, was still more remarkable on account of the battle of Belgrade. After having besieged the city for a month Eugene found himself in a most critical, if not hopeless situation. He had to deal not only with the garrison of 30,000 men, but with a relieving army of 200,000, and his own force was only about 40,000 strong. In these circumstances the only possible deliverance was by a bold and decided stroke. Accordingly on the morning of the 16th of August 1717 Prince Eugene ordered a general attack, which resulted in the total defeat of the enemy with an enormous loss, and in the capitulation of the city six days afterwards. The prince was wounded in the heat of the action, this being the thirteenth time that he had been hit upon the field of battle. On his return to Vienna he received, among other testimonies of gratitude, a sword valued at 80,000 florins from the emperor. The popular song "Prinz Eugen, der edle Ritter," commemorates the victory of Belgrade. In the following year, 1718, after some fruitless negotiations with a view to the conclusion of peace, he again took the field; but the treaty of Passarowitz (July 21, 1718) put an end to hostilities at the moment when the prince had well-founded hopes of obtaining still more important successes than those of the last campaign, and even of reaching Constantinople, and dictating a peace on the shores of the Bosporus.

As the government of the Netherlands, up to 1724 held by Eugene, had now for some reason been bestowed on a sister of the emperor, the prince was appointed vicar-general of Italy, with a pension of 300,000 florins. Though still retaining his official position and much of his influence at court, his personal relations with the emperor were not so cordial as before, and he suffered from the intrigues of the Spanish or anti-German party. The most remarkable of these political intrigues was the conspiracy of Tedeschi and Nimptsch against the prince in 1719. On discovering this the prince went to the emperor and threatened to lay down all his offices if the conspirators were not punished, and after some resistance he achieved his purpose. During the years of peace between the treaty of Passarowitz and the War of the Polish Succession, Eugene occupied himself with the arts and with literature, to which he had hitherto been able to devote little of his time. This new interest led him to correspond with many of the most eminent men in Europe. But the contest which arose out of the succession of Augustus II. to the throne of Poland having afforded Austria a pretext for attacking France, war was resolved on, contrary to the advice of Eugene (1734). In spite of this, however, he was appointed to command the army destined to act upon the Rhine, which from the commencement had very superior forces opposed to it; and if it could not prevent the capture of Philipsburg after a long siege, it at least prevented the enemy from entering Bavaria. Prince Eugene, having now attained his seventy-first year, no longer possessed the vigour and activity necessary for a general in the field, and he welcomed the peace which was concluded on the 3rd of October 1735. On his return to Vienna his health declined more and more, and he died in that capital on the 21st of April 1736, leaving an immense inheritance to his niece, the princess Victoria of Savoy.

Of a character cold and severe, Prince Eugene had almost no other passion than that of glory. He died unmarried, and seemed so little susceptible to female influence that he was styled a Mars without a Venus. That he was one of the great captains of history is universally admitted. He was strangely unlike the commanders of his time in many respects, though as a matter of course he was, when he saw fit to follow the accepted rules, equal to any in careful and methodical strategy. The special characteristics of his generalship were imagination, fiery energy, and a tactical resolution which was rare indeed in the 18th century. Despising the lives of his soldiers as much as he exposed his own, it was always by persevering efforts and great sacrifices that he obtained victory. His almost invariable success raised the reputation of the Austrian army to a point which it never reached either before or since his day. War was with him a passion. Always on the march, in camps, or on the field of battle during more than fifty years, and under the reigns of three emperors, he had scarcely passed two years together without fighting. Yet his political activity was not inconsiderable, and his advice was always sound and well-considered; while in his government of the Netherlands, which he exercised through the marquis de Prie, he set himself resolutely to oppose the many wild schemes, such as Law's Mississippi project, in which the times were so fertile. His interest in literature and art has been alluded to above. His palace in Vienna, and the Belvedere near that city, his library, and his collection of paintings, were renowned. Prince Eugene was a man of the middle size, but, upon the whole, well made; the cast of his visage was somewhat long, his mouth moderate and almost always open; his eyes were black and animated, and his complexion such as became a warrior.

See A. v. Arneth, Prinz Eugen (3 vols., Vienna, 1858; 2nd ed., 1864); H. v. Sybel, Prinz Eugen von Savoyen (Munich, 1868); Austrian official history, Feldziige des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen (Vienna, 1876); Malleson, Prince Eugene (London, 1888); Heller, Militdrische Korrespondenz des Prinzen Eugens (Vienna, 1848); Keym, Prinz Eugen (Freiburg,. , 1899); Osterr. militeirische Zeitschrift (" Streffleur"); Ridler's Osterr. Archiv fie?' Geschichte (1831-1833); Archivio storico Italico, vol. 17; Mitteil. des Instituts fiir Osterr. Geschichtsforschung, vol. 13.

The political memoirs attributed to Prince Eugene (ed. Sartori, Tubingen, 1812) are spurious; see Bohm, Die Sammlung der hinterlassenen politischen Schriften des Prinzen Eugens (Freiburg, 1900).

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