Eugene, Prince of Savoy
Eugene, Prince of Savoy
Born Oct. 18, 1663, in Paris; died Apr. 21, 1736, in Vienna. Prince, Austrian general and statesman, field marshal (1693), and generalissimo (1697).
Eugene was the son of Prince Maurice of Savoy, the commander in chief of the Swiss forces in French service. He volunteered to serve in the Austrian Army and distinguished himself in the battle of Vienna in 1683 against the Turks. In 1689 he became commander of the Austrian forces in Italy and inflicted a series of defeats on the French troops. As commander in chief of Austrian forces in Hungary, he crushed the Turks at Zenta in September 1697, forcing them to conclude the Peace of Karlowitz of 1699. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) he commanded Austrian forces in the Netherlands and Italy and won a series of victories over the French and French-Bavarian forces: at Blenheim (near Hochstadt) in 1704, at Turin in 1706, and near Malplaquet in 1709, but he was defeated by the French marshal C. L. Villars near Denain in 1712. During the Austro-Turkish war of 1716-18, forces under Eugene’s command crushed the Turks at Peterwardein in 1716 and occupied Belgrade in 1717.
Eugene of Savoy became chairman of the War Council (Hofkriegsrat) in 1703 and then chairman of the Privy Council under the emperor. In these posts, he exerted an important influence on policy and carried out a program of Germanization in the lands newly annexed by Austria. While stadholder of the Austrian Netherlands (1714-24), Eugene suppressed the anti-Hapsburg movement. He supported a policy of collaboration with Russia and Prussia against France.
Eugene of Savoy was personally brave and had great composure and endurance; in spite of his strict discipline, he enjoyed the favor of his subjects. His strategy was based on the principle of combining resolute action with careful preparation while always taking circumstances into consideration. He carried out a series of reforms in the army, including an increase in its size and improvement in its command and in supplies and equipment. Eugene was unscrupulous in his methods and acquired a huge fortune. He built luxurious palaces in Vienna, including the Belvedere, and collected a unique library and a collection of art treasures.
WORKSMémoires du prince Eugène de Savoie écrits par lui-même. Paris, 1811.
REFERENCESGolitsyn, N. S. Velikie polkovodtsy istorii. Part 2: “Evgenii Savoiskii.” St. Petersburg, 1875.
Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, vols. 1-21. Vienna, 1876-92.
Braubach, M. PrinzEugen von Savoyen, vols. 1-5. Vienna, 1963-65.