• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
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  • W
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  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • Eugene, prince of Savoy

    lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.5pt;font-family:"Meridien-Medium","serif"; color:black'>(16631736)

    Imperial field marshal and statesman

    Prince Eugene of Savoy was a military genius and

    wise statesman. Dedicated, ascetic, and self-disciplined,

    he believed in the European mission of

    the Habsburg empire, its role in holding Christian

    Europe together. He was born in Paris in October

    1663, the son of Prince Eugene Maurice of

    Savoy-Carignan, count of Soissons, who was in

    the service of France. His mother was an Italianborn

    niece of the powerful Cardinal Mazarin,

    although she was dissolute and eventually was

    banished from the court. The boy grew into a

    man physically weak and unprepossessing, not

    tall at all, but he transformed himself into a puritanical

    Spartan. Louis XIV thought that he would

    become a clergyman, but all the young man

    wanted was a military commission, the application

    for which Louis XIV personally rejected. So

    in 1683 Eugene went off to Vienna to serve

    LEOPOLD I, the Holy Roman Emperor. He was

    Eugene, prince of Savoy 359

    befriended by the Austrian chancellor, and his

    military career developed rapidly. He mastered

    the art of war in the school of Duke Charles V of

    Lorraine and eventually became the first soldier

    of the empire.

    Prince Eugene served in the Turkish Wars

    (168399) and the WAR OF THE LEAGUE OF AUGSBURG

    (168897). He participated in saving

    Vienna from the Turks in 1683, then in the capture

    of Budapest (1686) and the siege of Belgrade

    (1688). His military leadership was rewarded

    with an appointment to field marshal in the

    imperial army. In 1697 he proved himself as a

    commanding general after he succeeded Augustus

    II the Strong as commander in chief of the

    imperial army in Hungary, where at the Battle of

    Zenta, he defeated a Turkish army three times

    larger than his own, ending the Turkish war.

    Although the Habsburg monarchy emerged

    from the Turkish Wars considerably stronger,

    Prince Eugene became one of the strongest advocates

    for centralized institutions and a standing

    army. He and other advisers wanted to make the

    Chancellery (Hofkammer) and the Military Council

    (Hofkriegsrat) into instruments for centralized

    administrative, fiscal, and military control. Eugene

    became president of the Council of War.

    During the first campaign of the War of Spanish

    Succession (170114) Prince Eugene commanded

    the Austrian troops in Italy, where he

    conducted a brilliant campaign against the

    French army, but the lack of money prevented

    him from having the necessary soldiers and

    equipment to support his campaign against Marshal

    Vendôme. Leopold then called upon the

    Grand Alliance with England and the Netherlands

    to meet the threat from France. The

    Anglo-Dutch army under the command of John

    Churchill, duke of Marlborough, came to the

    assistance of Prince Eugene at the Danube, and

    they defeated the Franco-Bavarian forces at the

    BATTLE OF BLENHEIM (1704). In 170506 Eugene

    again defeated the French and drove them out

    of Italy. Eugene and Marlborough developed a

    strong friendship and continued to cooperate in

    battles against the French at Oudenarde and

    Lille (1708) and Malplaquet (1709). The allies

    abandoned the new emperor, CHARLES VI, concluding

    a separate peace at Utrecht (1713).

    Prince Eugene then counseled the emperor to

    end the war with France, which Eugene negotiated

    in the Peace of Rastatt and Baden (1714).

    Eugene continued to serve the monarchy,

    and when war broke out again with the Turks

    the emperor Charles appointed him commander

    of the army in Hungary, where he defeated

    them at Peterwardein (1716), Temesvár (1716),

    and Belgrade (1717). The war was concluded

    with the Treaty of Passarowitz in 1718. By 1730

    he was too old to successfully lead an army, but

    over his objections AUSTRIA became involved in

    the War of the Polish Succession (173335), and

    his command of the army on the RHINE defended

    Bavaria but little else.

    The other area to which Eugene devoted considerable

    energy was the cultural life of the era.

    He became one of the largest collectors and most

    appreciative patrons of the arts. His extensive

    library, his art gallery, his magnificent palaces,

    his friendships, especially with the greatest intellectual

    of the period, Gottfried Wilhelm LEIBNIZ

    (16461716), manifest the same disposition to

    conquer the arts that he displayed in the arena

    of war. In 1736 Prince Eugene died and was

    buried in St. Stephens Cathedral.

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