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Montluc

MONTLUC (or MONLUC), BLAISE DE LASSARAN-MASSEN- , SEIGNEUR DE (c. 1502-1577), marshal of France, was born about 1502, at the family seat near Condom in the modern department of Gers. He was the eldest son, and his family was a good one, but. like most gentlemen of Gascony, he had to trust to his sword. He served first as a private archer and man-at-arms in Italy, with Bayard for his captain, fought all through the wars of Francis I., and was knighted on the field of Cerisoles (1544), to which victory he had brilliantly contributed as adviser to the young duke of Enghien. Having apparently enjoyed no patronage, he was by this time a man of middle age. Thenceforward, however, his merits were recognized. His chief feat was the famous defence of Siena (1555), which he has told so admirably. When the religious wars broke out in France, Montluc, a staunch royalist, held Guyenne for the king. Henry III. made him in 1574 marshal of France, an honour which he had earned by nearly half a century of service and by numerous wounds. He died at Estillac near Agen in 1577. Montluc's eminence above other soldiers of his day is due to his Commentaires de Messire Blaise de Montluc (Bordeaux, 1592), in which he described his fifty years of service (1521-1574). This book, the " soldier's Bible " (or " breviary," according to others), as Henry IV. called it, is one of the most admirable of the many admirable books of memoirs produced by the unlearned gentry of France at that time. It is said to have been dictated, which may possibly account in some degree for the singular vivacity and picturesqueness of the style.

The Commentaires are to be found conveniently in the collection of Michaud and Poujoulat, but the standard edition is that of the Societe de I'histoire de France, ed. by M. de Ruble (5 vols., 1865- 1872). See Riistow, Militarische Biographien, v. i. (Zurich, 1858).

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

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