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Montecucculi

MONTECUCCULI (MONTECUCCOLI), RAIMONDO, COUNT OF (1609-1680), prince of the holy Roman Empire and Neapolitan duke of Melfi, Austrian general, was born on the 21st of February 1608/9, af - the castle of Montecucculo in Modena. His family was of Burgundian origin and had settled in north Italy in the 10th century. At the age of sixteen Montecucculi began as a private soldier under his uncle, Count Ernest Montecucculi, a distinguished Austrian general (d. 1633). Four years later, after much active service in Germany and the Low Countries, he became a captain of infantry. He was severely wounded at the storming of New Brandenburg, and again in the same year (1631) at the first battle of Breitenfeld, where he fell into the hands of the Swedes. He was again wounded at Liitzen in 1632, and on his recovery was made a major in his uncle's regiment. Shortly afterwards he became a lieutenant-colonel of cavalry. He did good service at the first battle of Nordlingen (1634), and at the storming of Kaiserslautern in the following year won his colonelcy by a feat of arms of unusual brilliance, a charge through the breach at the head of his heavy cavalry. He fought in Pomerania, Bohemia and Saxony (surprise of Wolmirstadt, battles of Wittstock and Chemnitz), and in 1639 he was taken prisoner at Melnik and detained for two and a half years in Stettin and Weimar. In captivity he studied, not only military science, but also geometry in Euclid, history in Tacitus, and architecture in Vitruvius, and planned his great work on war. On his release he distinguished himself again in Silesia. In 1643 he went to Italy, by the emperor's request, and made a successful campaign in Lombardy. On his return to Germany he was promoted lieutenant-field-marshal and obtained a seat in the council of war. In 1645-46 he served in Hungary against Prince Rakoczy of Transylvania, on the Danube and Neckar against the French, and in Silesia and Bohemia against the Swedes. The victory of Triebel in Silesia won him the rank of general of cavalry, and at the battle of Zusmarshausen in 1648 his stubborn rearguard fighting rescued the imperialists from annihilation. For some years after the peace of Westphalia Montecucculi was chiefly concerned with the business of the council of war, though he went to Flanders and England as the representative of the emperor, and to Sweden as the envoy of the pope to Queen Christina, and at Modena his lance was victorious in a great tourney. In 1657, soon after his marriage with Countess Margarethe Dietrichstein, he took part in, and after a time commanded, an expedition against Rakoczy and the Swedes who had attacked the king of Poland. He became fieldmarshal in the imperial army, and with the Great Elector of Brandenburg completely defeated Rakoczy and his allies (peace of Oliva, 1660). From 1661 to 1664 Montecucculi with inferior numbers defended Austria against the Turks; but at St Gotthard Abbey, on the Raab, he defeated the Turks so completely that they made a truce for twenty years (Aug. i, 1664). He was given the Golden Fleece, and became president of the council of war and director of artillery. He also devoted much time to the compilation of his various works on military history and science. He opposed the progress of the French arms under Louis XIV., and when the inevitable war broke out received command of the imperial forces. In the campaign of 1673 he completely out-manoeuvred his great rival Turenne on the Neckar and the Rhine, and secured the capture of Bonn and the junction of his own army with that of the prince of Orange on the lower Rhine. He retired from the army when, in 1674, the Great Elector was appointed to command in chief, but the brilliant successes of Turenne in the winter of 1674 and 1675 brought him back. For months the two famous commanders manoeuvred against each other in the Rhine valley, but on the eve of a decisive battle Turenne was killed and Montecucculi promptly invaded Alsace, where he engaged in a war of manoeuvre with the great Conde. The siege of Philipsburg was Montecucculi's last achievement in war. The rest of his life was spent in military administration and literary and scientific work at Vienna. In 1679 the emperor made him a prince of the empire, and shortly afterwards he received the dukedom of Melfi from the king of Naples. Montecucculi died at Linz on the 16th of October 1680, as the result of an accident. With the death of his only son in 1698 the principality became extinct, but the title of count descended through his daughters to two branches, Austrian and Modenese. As a general, Montecucculi shared with Turenne and Conde the first place amongst European soldiers of his time. His Memorie delta guerra profoundly influenced the age which followed his own; nor have modern conditions rendered the advice of Montecucculi wholly valueless.

AUTHORITIES. The Memorie della guerra, etc., was published at Venice in 1703 and at Cologne in the following year. A Latin edition appeared in 1718 at Vienna, a French version at Paris in 1712, and the German Kriegsnachrichten des Fursten Raymundi Montecuccoli at Leipzig in 1736. Of this work there are MSS. in various libraries, ana many memoirs on military history, tactics, fortification, etc., written in Italian, Latin and German, remain still unedited in the archives of Vienna. The collected Opere di Raimondo Montecuccoli were published at Milan (1807), Turin (1821) and Venice (1840), and include political essays and poetry.

See Campori, Raimondo Montecuccoli (Florence, 1876); Spenholtz, Aureum vellus seu catena, etc. (Vienna, 1668) ; memoir prefaced to the Memorie (Cologne edition) ; this appears also in v. der Groeben's Neuer Kriegsbibliothek, vi. 230 (Breslau, 1777); Morgenstern, Oesterreichs Helden (St Polten, 1782); Schweigerd, Oesterreichs Helden (Vienna, 1853); Paradisi, Elogio storico del conte Raimondo Montecucculi (Modena, 1776); Schels, Oesterreichische militarische Zeitschrift (Vienna, 1818, 1828 and 1842); Pezzl, Lebensbeschreibung Montecucculis (Vienna, 1792); Hormayr, Oesterreichischer Plutarch, XIII. (Vienna, 1808); Reifly, Biographie der beriihmtesten Feldherrn Oesterreichs (Vienna, 1813); Wiirzbach, Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums, etc., pt. 19 (Vienna, 1868) ; Teuffenbach, Vaterldndisches Ehrenbuch (Vienna and Teschen, 1877); Die Hofkriegsraths, prasidenten (Vienna, 1874); Weingartner, Heldenbuch (Teschen, 1882); Grossmann, Archiv fur ost. Geschichte (Vienna, 1878); also supplement to Militar. Wochenblatt (Berlin, 1878); Organ des militarwissenschaftl. Vereins (Vienna, 1881); Reale institute veneto di scienze, viii. 5, 6 (Venice, 1881); Rivista militare Italiana (March and April 1882); Allgemeine deutsche Biographic, vol. xxii. (Leipzig, 1885). Important controversial works are those of Turpin and Warnery, two distinguished soldiers of the 18th century ( Commentaires sur les memoires, etc. (Paris), 1769, and Commentaires sur les comm. . . . du comte Turpin, Breslau, 1777). A critical estimate of Montecucculi's works will be found in Johns Gesch. der Kriegswissenschaften, ii. 1162-1178 (Leipzig, 1890).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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