Eugene of Savoy: He captured part of the sultan’s harem, ended up with a severed heart

When Prince Eugene of Savoy died in his Belvedere castle in Vienna in April 1736, the story spread that on the same night that this famous military leader exhaled, a huge lion died in his mansion by the castle. Although this story seems to be fictional, it illustrates very well the personality of the prince. Already during his lifetime, he was talked about as one of the greatest military leaders of all time. He was born on October 18, 1663, and by winning battles he was able to change the map of Europe in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

The Sun King’s left?

Although Eugene of Savoy is known in connection with the Habsburg monarchy, he was in fact a native Frenchman. He was born in Paris as the son of General Eugene Maurice, Prince of Savoy-Carignan and Count of Soissons, and his wife, Olympia Mancini. But there was an unpleasant whisper about his birth.

“Since it was said that the then French King Louis XIV, King of the Sun, had an affair with Eugene’s mother as a young man, there were rumors that Eugene was the king’s left-hander,” the Britannica server said. Louis XIV denied, moreover, the king’s relationship with Eugene’s mother ended long before Eugene of Savoy was conceived.

By the way, Eugene’s mother Olympia Mancini was a famous intriguer. Although she was originally just a noblewoman from an insignificant Italian family, due to the fact that she was the niece of the French Cardinal Mazarin, she came to the French royal court. Here she was very happy to take part in various conspiracies. Thanks to them, she was able to catch her husband with the title of prince. But she ended infamously – she herself became a victim of intrigue, was accused of weeding and had to flee France.

Trilingual signature

If it were a little less rebellious, European history could have developed completely differently. Eugene of Savoy’s father was planning a career as a priest for his son. However, the wayward young man did not like this very much and longed much more for a military uniform. But when, at the age of twenty, he offered his services to the French king, the monarch allegedly rejected him rather indiscriminately.

“Eugene thus left both the court and France, offering his art and talent to the Habsburg Emperor Leopold I, who just needed every man to help him defeat the Turks,” the Britannica server said. It is difficult to say how much Louis XIV he regretted the decision, especially when Eugene defeated the French troops several times in later years.

Although he became Austrian, Eugene never forgot his French and Italian roots. This was reflected in his signature. “Eugene spoke German very poorly, and he could not write in German at all. He had French and Italian under his skin. Whenever he signed documents prepared by his secretaries in German, he left his signature in a very specific form – he signed himself as Eugenio von Savoye. Eugenio is in Italian, von in German and Savoy in French, “points out the Military History Now server.

Capture: 1. soldiers, 2. property, 3. wife…

Very soon after Eugene entered the service of the Habsburgs, it became clear how capable a man he was. He advanced at rocket speed in the army, as did the list of battles won by his name. In one of them, he secured really interesting prey.

“One of the greatest military successes of the Prince of Savoy was achieved at the Battle of Zenta in 1697, a clash that decisively ended the years of war between Austria and the Ottoman Empire. The troops on both sides were about the same size, but Eugene’s soldiers lacked supplies and equipment. Nevertheless, they managed to defeat the Turks in such a way that 30,000 victims remained on the Turkish side and only five hundred on the Austrian side, “the Military History Now server recalls.

The Turks fled and left behind a really interesting “property”. “Eugene’s troops grabbed herds of camels, chests full of gold and also a harem – ten sultan’s wives,” outlines the Military History Now website.

Shot thirteen times

Eugene of Savoy was not one of those commanders who would let the hardest work rob their men and then just grab a decoration. Like his ally in the fight against the French, the English nobleman and military leader John Churchill, the Earl of Marlborough, with whom Savoy became friends, always stood at the head of his troops.

“In Blenheim, the Prince of Savoy even allegedly shot two of his own soldiers, who hesitated to strengthen the army’s determination. Eugene was always in the middle of a battle, one of the observers even considered it practically a miracle that he was able to survive. In total, Savoy was shot or otherwise injured thirteen times during his military career, “states the Military History Now website.

Vampire stories

Central and Western Europe allegedly owes Eugene of Savoy not only for his rescue from the Turkish invaders, but also for the emergence of vampire stories.

“Eugene of Savoy won one area for Austria in today’s Serbia. Fifteen years after the battle, suspicious deaths and illnesses began to take place in the village, which the locals associated with one of the villagers, Arnold Paolo. He had died a few weeks earlier, and the villagers claimed to have become a vampire. The ensuing investigation, led by Austrian military doctor Johann Fluckinger and who wrote down the details of vampire exorcism, became one of the first vampire stories ever heard in Western Europe, “said Military History Now.

Mysterious prince

Interestingly, although there are many writings and records about Eugene of Savoy about his military career. You can read about the smallest details about his battles, almost nothing is known about his private life.

“He never married and left no notes of personal life,” recalls the American Delegation of Savoy Orders. However, he seems to have loved art and architecture, as evidenced by his Belvedere Castle. , and due to the magnificence of the Belvedere in comparison with the Hofburg, Vienna began to be spoken of as the only city where the subject lived better than his emperor.

Cut out heart

Although Prince Eugene of Savoy is buried in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, his whole body is not there. “Before the funeral, his heart was carved and the organ sent to Turin, Italy, where it was buried in the tomb of the remains of his Savoy ancestors,” says the American Delegation of Savoy Orders website.



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