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Marshal Schomberg (1615–1690) – “The Ablest Soldier of His Age”

International Soldiering and the Formation of State Armies in Seventeenth-Century Europe

In the Series
Studies in Spanish History 

Author Text to Follow

Schomberg held high command in British, Portuguese, and French armies. But it is as second-in-command to William of Orange during the Glorious Revolution that he is chiefly remembered. He died at the famous battle of the Boyne, a fitting end to a very public, international and honourable career that highlights so many of the problems and changes of the age in which he lived.

Frederick Herman von Schomberg was born into a prominent noble family in the Palatinate in 1615. He was a truly international figure: his father negotiated the marriage of Britain’s Princess Royal (James I’s daughter, Elizabeth) to the Elector Palatine of the Rhine. Having an English mother and a German father, he would go on to marry a French Huguenot lady, and fight in the armies of more than six nations.

His career spans the mercenary system of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) through to the formation of Europe’s first true standing national armies during William III’s wars in the 1690s. He was involved in the international politics and diplomacy of Louis XIV’s reign, and that king’s relations with Britain and the Netherlands in particular. He was also deeply concerned in the plight and exile of the Huguenots in France, and their later international presence in the armies of William of Orange. As a committed Protestant, he suffered the same prejudices in France as they, and his feeling for them is a vital comment on the strength of religious feeling among many high-ranking military leaders at the time.

This is the first book-length, scholarly appraisal of the man since 1789, and the first ever in English based on new research.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-903900-60-4
Hardback Price: £22.95 / $69.50
Release Date: March 2005
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-903900-61-1
Paperback Price: £22.95 / $35.00
Release Date: March 2005
Page Extent / Format: 272 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: Pictures, engravings and original settings of panegyrics


List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Schomberg Chronology/Pedigree
Note on Text and Dates
Frédéric Armand, Duc de Schomberg; Frederick Herman, first
Duke of Schomberg; Meinhard, third Duke of Schomberg


1 Antecedents

2 The Netherlands

3 France

4 Portugal

5 England

6 Dutch War

7 Revocation

8 Ireland

9 Schomberg’s Heirs


Schomberg Genealogy
Sixteen Quarters of Nobility of Charles von Schomberg, styled Marquis of Harwich
Petition of the Protestants of France
Panegyrick to the Memory of Schomberg
Present State of Christendom

While Schomberg’s ambitions often aimed higher than his capacity to realize them, his was a life filled with risk taking on and off the battlefield. Despite his best efforts, he was never fully able to translate his successes on the battlefield into real political power, though he amassed many honors and titles as well as much property during his long career. Schomberg was a transitional figure who served many masters as a military entrepreneur during an age when national identities and professional armies began to take shape. With its appendices of contemporary documents, a family genealogy, and excellent bibliography, this fine biography of ‘the ablest Soldier of His Age’ should appeal broadly to scholars and students interested in seventeenth-century European politics and war.

For far too long (since 1789) we have awaited a new biography of Marshall Schomberg. Glozier has responded with one in this third book dealing with seventeenth century military history. As Glozier showed in an earlier work, a military career like Schomberg’s after 1648 was becoming increasingly rare as national governments took more control over their armies. The marshal went from being an exemplar of the European officers corps to an exception. We should thank Glozier for producing a biography of one of seventeenth-century Europe’s most well-known soldiers.
Seventeenth-Century News

A couple of articles in English have examined specific aspects of Schomberg’s career, attempt has been made to reassess Schomberg’s entire life in terms of recent scholarship about the nature of early modern warfare, the social and political structures of absolute monarchies, and the character of the international state system after 1648. Matthew Glozier goes some way to remedying this neglect, offers an accessible, campaign-by-campaign account of Schomberg’s military career. It gives due weight to his inflexible Protestant convictions, and Glozier also recognizes the importance of networks of kin and colleagues in securing promotion and facilitating Schomberg’s shifts in service from one state to another.
The International History Review

While not the most celebrated, Frederich Herman von Schomberg was certainly among the most accomplished and broadly experienced milirary leaders of his day. Matthew Glozier’s is the first full-length biography of Marshal Schomberg since Johann Friedrich August Kazner’s two-volume study published in German in 1789. While Glozier’s claim that Schomberg was a ‘central player’ seems hyperbole, it is easy enough to agree that the marshall’s life embodied many representative features of seventeenth-century European military life, politics and aristocratic culture.
Sixteenth Century Journal

The career of Frederick Herman, Duke of Schomberg, takes us back to an era of international soldiering. Born in the Palatinate and killed leading the Huguenot troops of William III at the Boyne in Ireland, he fought with six armies – Portugal, France, Sweden, Brandenburg, Britain, and the Dutch Republic – serving Protestant and Catholic masters indifferently so long as they permitted him to be Protestant. The title by which he continued to be known – Marshal or Maréchal – was bestowed on him by Louis XIV before the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes forced him to leave France definitively. In his day, such an army-hopping and sovereign-hopping career was not unusual, given the permeability of borders and the constant need for experienced officers of whatever nationality. Matthew Glozier takes us through the career of Schomberg, with all its vagaries, linking his military cursus to the familial and financial contexts and consequences of each shift of locale. Glozier masterfully clarifies the complexity of early modern politics – to give one example, the situation in which this German count fought for the Portuguese crown with covert French aid and English army units. This book is a straightforward exposition of an important but neglected life – Schomberg has not had a biographer since Johann Friedrich August Kazner in 1789 – and a good read.
Proceedings of The Huguenot Society

Glozier’s biography effectively weaves together the captivating story of Schomberg’s life and broader political events from the Thirty Years’ War to the Glorious Revolution. This book also includes a detailed chronology, a Schomberg family pedigree, a more complete family genealogy, and three relevant documents: Schomberg’s petition to Louis XIV on behalf of the Huguenots (1685), Luzancy’s panegyric to Schomberg (1690), and a fictional dialogue between the spirits of Schomberg and the duke of Lorraine (1691). Most importantly, Marshal Schomberg, 1615–1690 has succeeded in shedding light on a figure whose dazzling international career deserves much more attention than it has hitherto received.
Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire

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