Marshal de Villars: Commanding at 81 years of age

November 10, 2014

Claude Louis Hector de Villars, Prince de Martigues and Marshal de Villars. Painted by Hyacinthe Rigaud.

Claude Louis Hector de Villars, Prince de Martigues and Marshal de Villars. Painted by Hyacinthe Rigaud.

In 1734, Louis XV declared war on the House of Austria and the Marshal de Villars was chosen to command the combined armies of France, Spain, and Sardinia that were fighting in Italy. In clashes before Pizzigitone, when an officer cautioned that he was exposing himself to many dangers, the Marshal replied:

— “You would be correct if I were your age. But at 81 years of age, not much life can possibly remain for me, so I should not spare myself when presented with a chance to have a glorious death.”

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Jacques Necker, Galerie de l’ancienne cour (Maestricht: J. E. Dufour, 1787), Vol. 2, 72.

(Nobility.org translation).

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 436

 

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