Albrecht von Wallenstein

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Wallenstein

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Wallenstein
after an engraving by Peter de Jode.

Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius Baron von Waldstein or Wallenstein (24 September 1583 – 25 February 1634) came from an old Bohemian family, whose name can already be found in the twelfth century. He was born on September 15, 1583 and was born two months prematurely. His parents were Protestants, and he soon lost both of them, his father when he was ten, his mother when he was twelve. His home, Albrecht Slavata, had him taught in the school of the Bohemian Brethren Parish, but a second Oheim, John of Ricam, took him away from there and took him to the noble Jesuit confust in Olomouc, where Father Pachta took him to the Catholic Church.

The legends spread among the people about the high-rising and defiant sense of Wallenstein also dealt with his childhood. It was said that he had once dreamed at the school in Goldberg that teachers and students, even the trees of the forest, had bowed to him, and when he told this dream, he was vividly mocked.

From Olomouc he went on a journey; with a rich young nobleman from Moravia, he made the European cavalier to Holland, England, France and Italy. Her learned companion was the mathematician and astrologer Verdungs, a Franconian; through him and Professor Argoli in Padua, Wallenstein was initiated into the secret sciences of the stars and Kabbalah. After his return, he served the Emperor Rudolf against the Turks and King Ferdinand under Dampierre against the Venetians. In this campaign, he was already able to set up a dragoon regiment at his own expense, because he had made a fortune by marrying a wealthy old widow. Lucreia of Landeck was the name of the woman; in order to win his inclination, she had given him a love potion that almost brought him death. She lived by his side for only a few months.

After the campaign against Venice, emperor Mathias elevated him to the rank of baron and appointed him colonel, court war councillor and chamberlain. At the outbreak of bohemian unrest, his abilities were already recognized; the Bohemians wanted to make him their general. However, he remained loyal to the emperor and fled from Olomouc with the war chest to Vienna. In the year of the Battle of Prague, he received the title of Imperial Count, and after the Peace of Nicolsburg the Emperor gave him the lordship of Friedland, bordering Silesia and Lusatia, which consisted of nine cities and fifty-seven villages and castles; since then he has only been called the »Friedländer«. He also became prince of the empire. His fortune corresponded to the princely dignity; he had gradually become the richest landlord of Bohemia through the purchase of confiscated goods, which were to be had at a ridiculous price. He ran the Güterschacher in the greatest style, because he also sold again. In order to make this vacancy of noble possessions understandable, it is necessary to point out the cause.

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Wallenstein and the Thirty Year’s War in the style of Hieronymus Bosch

When Ferdinand succeeded his cousin Mathias in 1619, he was already forty-one years old, a small, corpulent gentleman of healthy physical condition and moderate lifestyle. The dominant trait of his being was piety. Khevenhüller describes him how he once met the bearers of the holy sacrament during a hunt, repented and followed bare-faced to the camp of the dying man. What Philip II was to Spain, he wanted to be to Germany. “Better a desert than a country full of heretics,” was his motto. The priests were the voice of God for him, and he worshipped each one as an unearing appearance. “If a priest and an angel stand in my way at the same time,” he is said to have once said, “I will first show my reverence to the priest”. Of course, this only applied to the Spanish aristocratic clergy, who professed the system of unconditional extermination of heretics. He heard two masses every day in the imperial chapel, on Sunday also the mass in the church, a German and an Italian sermon and in the afternoon vespers; during the Advent season he did not miss an early mass, and he took part in all processions on foot. His councillors of conscience, the Jesuits Lamormain and Weingärtner, had his whole heart in his hands and directed it as the Order wanted. He was strong by his stubbornness. He endured all misfortune with the patience of the hatred he felt against the heretics; all the self-inflicted misfortune caused by a lack of good faith seemed to him to be a temporary test of God. He was the irreconcilable enemy of the Protestants in Germany and Bohemia; the revenge he wanted to take on them was the center of his thoughts and feelings.

After the death of Emperor Mathias, the Bohemian Protestant army moved against Vienna. Ferdinand was in the Hofburg. He was without soldiers and without money. He seemed lost. His councillors urged him to flee to Tyrol, even the Jesuits voted for compliance. Ferdinand refused. The situation was terrible; Bullets flew into the imperial windows, Ferdinand had to leave his living room. He prayed against his enemy. Taking advantage of his affliction, sixteen Protestant lords of the Austrian estates appeared before him and demanded that he give his consent to the union with the Bohemians. Ferdinand refused to sign the pamphlet. Then Andreas Thonradtel grabbed the emperor by the Wamsknöpfen and called out to him: “Nandl, give yourself, you have to sign.” At that moment, trumpets were blaming in the courtyard; it was the Dampierre cuirassiers who had entered the city through the water gate. They saved the emperor. Fear and a guilty conscience drove the lords of the Protestant noble church out of Vienna. The Bohemian general had missed the opportunity, and Ferdinand quickly and boldly decided to travel to Frankfurt and be crowned emperor there. But it was precisely at this time that the Bohemians in Prague denied him the royal dignity. They horrified him as a hereditary enemy of freedom of conscience, as a slave of Spain and the Jesuits, and they elected elector Frederick of the Palatinate as king in his place, an unfortunate step that took the bitterness of all three religious parties to the extreme, because Frederick was a Calvinist, and according to Luther’s word, the Calvinists were seven times angrier than the papal ones.

Frederick was a beautiful, handsome and gallant man of twenty-three years. When he received the news at Amberg that he had become king, he was affected and could not make a decision. Only on the third letter of the Bohemians he traveled to Prague and was now in good spirits. He relied on his powerful father-in-law, the King of England, he relied on the help of the German cities, the Huguenots in France and the Graubündtner, who promised him to block the passports of the Spanish armies, and most of all he relied on his youth.

But he was a lost man from the beginning. He was probably at the head of a Protestant union, but much more powerful was the union of catholic princes, which was joined out of hatred against the Calvinists by the Protestant Elector John of Saxony, and when even the King of France sent envoys to the princes of the Union to dissuade them from Frederick, they made their peace with the Catholic League, and abandoned by all, Frederick saw the enemies storming against him from all sides. He had not been able to win over the Bohemian lords; he had not understood how to be respected by these aristocrats, who wanted a king only for appearances, and that he was bending their crooked things straight for them. They had only their feudal rights, freedoms and privileges in mind, called the emperor a blind dog, the Duke Max the Bavarian sow and the Elector of Saxony the perfidious, drunken block, and when Frederick once at seven o’clock in the morning to a council meeting, he was told that at such a time of day they could not come, man had to have his rest after work.

The city was the most uncertain. Every day a few people were murdered. Adultery and fornication became a plague. The serious-minded found themselves offended by Frederick’s penchant for the French language, French customs and fashions. He was ridiculed when he drove through the city in the evening in a sledge in red velvet fur, with a white hat and yellow feathers. But most of all, he spoiled his cause by allowing the iconoclaslas. Everywhere the altars were destroyed, the crucifixes smashed, the tombs of the patron saints torn open and robbed, the devices taken away, the beautiful fabrics burned and the carved woodwork chopped. When the large stone crucifix on the Vltava Bridge was to fall, an uproar arose, and the guard had to be ordered to throw into the river anyone who dared to touch the statue.

So things stood when Max and Tilly approached, the ardent Catholics who were burning with zeal to wrest the Bohemian capital from the clutches of the heretic. The season had advanced, it started to get rough and cold. General Boucquoy was against quick measures, but Tilly shouted at all times in the War Council, where he always used to crumpl or tear something apart with indignation and impatience: “Prague, Prague.” In the early fog of 8 November, the League army finally stood in front of Prague. The morning was bitterly cold, the ground frozen. Once again, Boucquoy did not want to dare the decisive blow. Then a Spanish Carmelite monk appeared, tore a picture of Mary mutilated by the Bohemians from his robe and held it up. Duke Max shouted loudly: “Holy Mary!” and “Holy Mary” became the field cry of the day. It was noon, and the sun was emerging from the mists. The advance to the battle took place in mass quadrangle of the foot people, the cavalry moved along on both wings. The Bohemian cannons shot into the squares, and the Hungarian horsemen made an attack. Boucquoy and Duke Max, who were in the back of the army, stopped the fleeing with the sword in their fists. Now the cavalry colonel Pappenheim led his cuirassiers against the Hungarians. A young Polish Lancier stabbed the horse of the Duke of Anhalt, who was allied with Bohemia. He fell and was caught. This coincidence was decisive. The Hungarians fled, their escape confused the whole Bohemian battle order, and the Neapolitans stormed the redoubts and took the batteries. The battle was over after an hour. A single hour had decided the fate of Bohemia, indeed the fate of Germany, for centuries.

In the royal Tiergarten, Pappenheim had fought against a select group of young nobles. Covered with countless blows and stab wounds, he fell and lay unconscious among corpses and horses throughout the cold November night. The next morning a Croat came over him. He bit him in the finger because the beautiful ring he was wearing didn’t want to be peeled off any other way. The hearty biting of the wild man brought Pappenheim back to life. He looked darkly at the Croat and asked, “Guy, what do you want?” The Croat replied, “You have good clothes on, you must die.” Although half-dead, Pappenheim gave him a huge slap in the face, but then promised to reward him well if he led him to a wound doctor. The Croat willfahrte.

The morning after the night of terror, Frederick, the Winter King, got into the touring car, abandoned everything, crown, jewels, archive and secret chancellery, and drove via Breslau and Berlin to Holland.

The emperor’s revenge was brilliant. He waited; he waited for seven months. He wanted to make the Bohemian country lords carefree and lure the birds safely into the yarn. He succeeded only too well. Max and Tilly had guaranteed amnesty. Tilly advised not to drive the estates to despair; but the clever ones who directed the emperor were of the opinion that people who have a guilty conscience do not take desperate steps, but that such people love to duck.

One day, forty-eight heads of the uprising were suddenly arrested and imprisoned on the Hradčany. Ferdinand still had his doubts about whether he should deal with the rebels in the Spanish way. The Jesuit Lamormain put an end to spinning by declaring that he took everything on his conscience. The next morning, the blood messenger was on his way to Prague to deliver the imperial orders to the governor.

At four o’clock in the morning, the bang of a Carthusian from Hradčany sounded. The prisoners, accompanied by a squadron of horsemen and two hundred musketeers, were led down to the old town in covered wagons. The place of execution was directly in front of the town hall, opposite the Theinkirche, where the golden Hussite chalice with the sword stood. The scaffold was covered with red cloth; on a stage under a canopy sat the governor and eleven commissariats ordered by the emperor. It was a rainy June morning, but to the consolation of the martyrs, a beautiful rainbow stretched over the Lorenzberg.

The executioner beheaded twenty-four people within four hours, three were topped. They were all Protestant heads except for that of Count Czernin, who was Catholic. He had to die because they wanted to save the appearance that the blood court was not a persecution of religion, but a political measure. It was mostly very old people who were executed; ten of them counted together for over seven hundred years.

The emperor did the rest for the victims: he prayed while they were executed. For this purpose, he had made a pilgrimage to Mariazell, lay on his knees in front of the image of the Mother of God and pleaded that the Bohemians would be led back into the bosom of the church that alone made everyone before their death.

Eleven months after the Bloody Day, Ferdinand had a general pardon proclaimed. Those who felt guilty should accuse themselves in order to receive imperial forgiveness. The birds ran into the yarn. Seven hundred and twenty-eight gentlemen of the nobility, knights and barons, surrendered voluntarily. Their goods were immediately confiscated. Partly whole, partly half, partly a third. There was a lack of money in the imperial cabinet. The confiscated assets amounted to the sum of forty-three million guilders, an enormous sum for that time. It allowed the emperor to continue the war. All goods came into other hands. The whole acquis changed. One hundred and eighty-five noble families and many thousands of middle-class families left their homeland and migrated abroad, and all of Bohemia, all of Moravia and all of Austria were made Catholic again by force.

The Thirty Years War

Wallenstein’s share of the rebel loot was almost a third. Its wealth played an important role in the events of the time. For when war arose in Germany, when the King of Denmark joined forces with Mansfeld and the Duke of Brunswick, when Holland, England and France were preparing to help the Protestants against the House of Habsburg, the Emperor saw himself without sufficient means to equip and pay a large army. Wallenstein, who had meanwhile gained courtly relations by marrying Countess Harrach, the daughter of a favorite of the emperor, offered himself a helper. Wallenstein wanted to wage the war on a grand scale. The emperor ordered him to recruit an army of twenty thousand men. He turned this down. He wanted to provide an army of forty to fifty thousand men, because such an army, he said, would know how to feed itself. He then received the authority for this number and at the same time the unlimited supreme command as generalissimo of the emperor. A few months passed, and the army was together. His name beckoned; not only unemployed and hungry people came under his flags, but also men of the highest rank came as officers. The headquarters of the army was in Eger.

Wallenstein was born to be a war prince. He performed in the highest pomp and impressed with his luxury, with a shiny splendour that dazzled everyone who approached him. He knew how to arouse the strongest passions of the people and thereby make them service to death and life. His rewards were royal, his table offered inexhaustible pleasures. Under the only condition of the strictest discipline, he let all the debauchery of his soldiers go. His camp was the funniest soldiers could have. He tolerated a huge train of servants, troßbuben, carters and women, only priests he did not tolerate in the camp. Buyers of all denominations and of every state approached him. His keen eye recognized the fittest at first glance; the meanest man was able to achieve the highest position. Every heroic act was distinguished by promotion and gifts, but the coward had to die, and the disobedient was given the order, which was considered a court martial: Let the beast hang.

He despised the people. They were only tools for his purposes. When Gustav Adolf once had him proposed before a battle that in the extreme case they should pardon each other, he replied: “The troops should either combat or creep.”

Already his appearance instilled reverence and shyness: a long, haggard, proud figure, the face always serious, pale or yellow, the forehead high and commanding, the black hair briefly cut off and upwards, the eyes small, black and fiery-piercing, the look dark and full of suspicion, lips and chin covered with a strong purr and gag bead. His usual costume was a riding skirt of Elensleder, over it a white wams, coat and leg dresses of scarlet fever, a wide, Spanish-style curled neck collar, Korduan boots lined with fur because of the podagras, and a long, red feather on the hat.

No matter how loud it may be in the camp, everything in its vicinity had to be quiet, its immediate surroundings had to keep the deepest calm. He could not stand the rattle of cars or voices in the an aneroom. It is said that he had a valet tied up, who woke him up without orders, and had an officer secretly killed because he had stepped in front of him with loudly clanging spurs. He was always immersed in himself, weaving and brooding in himself, occupied only with his plans and designs. He researched tirelessly and was constantly active, but always only out of himself and repelling foreign influences. He could not even stand to be seen when he gave his orders; when he walked through the alleys of the camp, the soldiers had to pretend not to notice him. A whimsical horror invaded the people when his haggard figure passed ghostly. There was something mysterious, solemn and anxious about him. He stepped wrapped in these spells, and they formed a nimbus around him. The soldier stiffly and firmly believed that the general was in alliance with dark forces, that the stars told him that he could not bark a dog, hear a rooster crow, that he was bulletproof and stabbed, and above all that he had captured the Fortuna by his flags. The Fortuna, who was his goddess, became the goddess of the whole army.

Wallenstein was a man of the hottest temperament, but outwardly he was always cold and calm. “Let me diligently coin,” he once wrote to his captain in the Duchy of Friedland, “that I may not have the cause to punish such things, for I hear that this will not be complied with, as I commanded, which probably smokes in my noses. I’m not used to ordering one thing often.” He was extremely taciturn and spoke very little, but then emphatically. He spoke least of himself. The most fervent ambition flared silently and silently in his chest; He sacrificed everything to him in cold blood. He was a master at adjustment; no one knew about his intentions, and he owed many of his successes to the fact that he never gave anything in writing about important matters. He was forty-two years old when he took command.

In the autumn of 1625, Wallenstein marched against the King of Denmark. He wintered in Halberstadt, which he had conquered. In the campaign of the following year he defeated Count Mansfeld at the Dessau Bridge. Then he regained Silesia to the Emperor, conquered the Danish possessions and Mecklenburg, which became his duchy. In gratitude for this, and because he presented the emperor with a lot of money, Ferdinand gave him the Duchy of Sagan and sold him the lordship of Priebus for a low sham price. He was also appointed General of the Baltic and Oceanic Seas. Austria wanted to become a naval power. Everything seemed to be on the right track, Denmark was down, the Hanseatic cities were willing to help the emperor, only the fortress Stralsund resisted. Wallenstein besieged this city for half a year; although he swore that he would take her, and if she was tied to heaven with chains, he had to leave unfinished things. This failure undermined his reputation in northern Germany. The emperor also lost faith in his insurmountability. Now the princes appeared with their complaints about the unprecedented pomp of the upstart. A cry of distress arose over the intolerable arson with which the general haunted the defeated countries. Until then, everyone, stunned by his fabulous happiness, had remained silent, but now their lips opened and poured into curses against the tyrant, who reveled in abundance at the expense of the general misery. While thousands died of starvation all around, while many citizens and peasants disembodied themselves in order to escape the misery, every cavalry master of the Wallenstein soldiers lived like a prince, and in Silesia, where the brother attacked the brother, the parents their children in order to slaughter them out of hunger, the arrogance of the mercenaries was greatest. The houses were looted and demolished, entire villages burned, the women desecrated, the men’s noses and ears cut off; Officers who had recently been impoverished had three to four hundred thousand guilders of cash.

But the whole of Germany still obeyed Wallenstein’s beckon. He stood there like a sole ruler. The most incomprehensible thing about the incomprehensible man was that the more the enemies dwindled, the more eagerly he operated the armor. The army numbered first fifty thousand, then one hundred thousand, finally one hundred and fifty thousand men. This terrible armada of the emperor aroused jealousy and fear in all the princes. The electors and the pope, the aristocrats of the empire and the Jesuits stood up against it, but the soul of all advice against the overpowering emperor was Cardinal Richelieu, who in a report to Pope Urban VIII bluntly demanded the removal of Wallenstein.

Wallenstein
after an engraving by Peter de Jode.

This report, filled with the deepest pfäffic cunning, spoke of Austria as a “bestia with many heads”, from which the cut off grow again and again; Violence bears no fruit, one must turn the tide and take advantage of the emperor’s piety. In this way, one had to exploit his fear of God, that he was incited to reclaim the church property confiscated since the Treaty of Passau; so he would make enemies of all Protestant princes forever. Furthermore, one must take advantage of one’s piety by stirring one’s conscience and his compassion because of the evil leadership of the war people. Then France should send a large army to Germany, need violence where violence is needed and should not be sparing with the promise of religious freedom.

The Pope agreed with these proposals, and the Emperor was slowly ensnared. His confessor told him that the Passau and Augsburg religious peaces were invalid because they had been concluded without the Pope’s consensus. Then the emperor issued the infamous Eed of Restitution, which made everything that had become Protestant for seventy-seven years Catholic again, and immediately the strictest execution took place. Although the North German Protestants declared that they would rather throw away the law and custom and turn Germania back into the old forest wilderness than admit that the edict would be carried out, they were forced to do so by the imperial armies. Constantly, the troops lay in all the countries of the Protestants, with the exception of Kursachsen, which was still considered too powerful, and robbed them. Every complaint was derisively dismissed, and the word was asked: The Emperor would rather the Germans beggars than rebels.

Meanwhile, Wallenstein followed his designs in silence. The day came when he openly expressed his thoughts: “You don’t need princes and electors anymore. Jetzo it is time to take the guest hat off of them. In Germany, only the emperor should be master.” This language sounded terribly to the ears of the German princely aristocracy. Wallenstein’s plan was to expel all the little imperial princes with malice or violence, to parcel out their estates and to lend them to the officers of his army. In part, this had already happened. The new empire was to be based on the soldiers’ nobility.

The Emperor

Of course, the emperor was not very inclined to remove a man who wanted to realize such an ideal of power for him. At the Regensburg Princes’ Day in June 1630, Ferdinand found himself in a desperate situation. The princes urged him to reduce the excess swollen army and to dismiss the intolerable dictator, the author of the general misery. If the emperor refused, they threatened to ally themselves with the Protestants and with France. On the other hand, Wallenstein offered to take the princes in Regensburg by surprise and render them harmless. Quite other plans hovered before his bold spirit, and he just waited for the emperor to approve of them. He wanted to go for the emperor against the pope. Rome had not been plundered for a hundred years, he was told, it must now be much richer. He had moved to southwestern Germany against a hundred thousand men of his army and wanted to turn not only against France and Italy, but also against the Catholic princes of Germany. He and his minions incessantly urged the emperor to give his consent to military operations. But the emperor did not give up the princes as Wallenstein wanted, he gave up Wallenstein as the princes wanted. The papal nuncio Rocci succeeded in changing Ferdinand’s mind; He succeeded with the help of the finest diplomat of the time, the Capuchin Father Joseph, a man who, as his companion Lord of Leon said, had no soul at all, but only shoals into which everyone who negotiated with him had to get into. The emperor signed the friedlander’s deposition order and at the same time lifted his right hand off his arm. The moment everything was up for grabs, he gave up everything. Ecclesiastical politics has never celebrated a greater triumph.

Two of Wallenstein’s old friends, the Court Chancellor Werdenberg and the Hofkriegsrat Westenberg, were instructed to deliver the deposition order to him. They met him at his headquarters in Memmingen, apparently deep in astrological studies, in reality completely preoccupied with the thought of taking the German princes by surprise. He received and entertained the imperial councils splendidly. For a long time there was talk of indifferent things, the gentlemen did not dare to come out with the language. Wallenstein took some papers off the table and said: “These documents contain the naturalness of the Emperor and the Elector of Bavaria. From them you can see that I know your mission. The stars show that the spirit of the elector dominates that of the emperor. From this origin I do not attribute any guilt to the emperor. It hurts me that imperial majesty throws away the noblest stone from his crown with the abdication of the troops, it hurts me that imperial majesty has taken care of me so little, but I will do obedience.”

Wallenstein now withdrew to Gitschin, the capital of his Duchy of Friedland, in solitude. Thirty regiments were abdicated from his army, the rest united with Tilly.

But now a savior arose for the endangered Protestantism in the person of Gustav Adolf of Sweden, the Snow Majesty, as the lords in Vienna called him, who of course did not yet know what heat this ice king would make them. Among the Protestants he was called the Gold King because of his blond hair and beard, and they also called him the lion from midnight in their believing hope.

Gustav Adolf was of unusually high stature, strong bone structure and great well-being, so that only a strong horse could carry him. His grey-blue eyes looked under the wide forehead with friendly expression. His attitude and decency were truly princely, his whole appearance bore the imprint of confidence and openness, and his melodious voice instilled confidence. He exercised great power over the minds, his tongue was eloquent, and his entertainment full of grace and lewdness. He loved the sciences, his favorite book was the Book of War and Peace by Hugo Grotius, which he always carried with him. Since his youth, only war had appealed to him, he was born a hero and ruler. He was pious and godly, but he was also wise; his diplomacy kept pace with his heroism. His businessmen were highly paid, a network of Swedish envoys and spies was spread across the European courts, and his cabinet was so distinguished by its impenetrable secrecy that the French envoys constantly complained that they could never get behind the real intentions of the Swedes. When Gustav came to his camp for negotiations, Gustav let foreign ministers and officers elicit their secrets over wine, usually using a Scottish colonel who could tolerate too much while still keeping his mind.

Gustav Adolf

Gustav Adolf came to Germany with only fourteen thousand men; the imperial power was at least twice as strong. But he had a lot of support from Wallenstein’s dismissed Armada, and he relied on the sympathy of the people; in all the cities he passed through, one blew from the towers: now comes the Pagan Savior. He took Szczecin, called back the Mecklenburgers of Wallenstein from time to time to obedience to the old dukes, stormed Frankfurt an der Oder, tried, admittedly in vain, to obtain an alliance between the Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg, and sent, since Magdeburg was in great need, one of the colonels of his forty German companies, Mr. Dietrich von Falkenberg, to the besieged city. Falkenberg, a very brave nobleman, disguised himself as a skipper and crept through Pappenheim’s flocks into the city, where he soon took over the post of commander. Pappenheim tried to bribe him by offering a large sum, but he replied: “If the Pappenheim needs a mischievous man, he may look for him in his own bosom.”

But the city was unstoppable. Tilly had arrived with thirty thousand men outside the walls and conquered all the outer works, but he had learned that the King of Sweden was nearby, and therefore wanted to lift the siege. Only Pappenheim insisted on a consternation in the War Council. The following day, the city fell. Pappenheim became her murder burner. In order to drive away the enemies, he had some houses set on fire, the wind blew into the flames, which now seized everything. Angry that the conflagration deprived them of their hoped-for spoils, the imperial troops beat to death anyone who came in their way. Some League officers, outraged by the diabolical rage of the Croats, Hungarians and Walloons, came before Tilly and asked him to stop the carnage. Tilly replied with a sinister face: “Three hours of looting is the rule of war. The soldier wants to have something for trouble and danger.” Pappenheim wrote to Munich: “Magdeburg’s virginity is gone. We conquered it with a storming hand, I caught the bishop, Falkenberg was knocked down along with all the citizens, so in the wehr. What had been hidden from the people in the cellars or floors is all burned. I stop, there were over twenty thousand people and certainly since the destruction of Jerusalem no more gruesome work and punishment of God has been seen.” To the Emperor in Vienna he wrote: “Nothing has gone away from me and my riddle companions with this wonderful Viktori, but that we had no Your Imperial Majesty and the imperial women’s room as spectators.”

That was the Magdeburg wedding, as the imperial soldiers called it. The cathedral had been spared from the flames, in it mass was read and the tedeum was sung.

But the war people sang:»Magdeburg, you proud maid,Have the emperor failed to dance,Now dance with the old servant,Just do you right.”

Gustav Adolf had not wanted to dare anything to relieve Magdeburg; in a protective pamphlet, he shifted the blame to the two electors. Finally he moved in front of Berlin and demanded a certain explanation. The Elector Georg Wilhelm was his brother-in-law, but he was entirely in the hands of his minister, Count Schwarzenberg, and he was in the soldier of the Jesuits. The Elector wanted to sit quietly and feared losing land and people, and he feared the emperor’s superiority. However, Gustav Adolf forced him to come to his camp, sign the alliance, and then occupied Berlin and Spandau. Then he moved south towards the old Tilly, and in those heart fields of Germany, near Leipzig, where the German fates have been fought out several times, the decision was now to be made.

Tilly had his headquarters in a remote house outside Leipzig, he only realized afterwards that it was the gravedigger’s house. He had issued his orders in a room containing pyramids of skulls and bones. A gloomy premonition seized him, even Pappenheim bleached.

On the morning of the day of the slaughter, Tilly sent the Pappenheimer out with two thousand cuirassiers to recognose. But the heated man engaged in a skirmish, and to save him, Tilly had to unfold his entire force. His peoples wore white ribbons on helmets and hats and white bandages around their arms; he himself commanded in a strange costume, in a green-silk sleeping skirt; on his head he had a beret with colorful feathers, and he rode his little mold.

The King of Sweden developed all his war genius and showed the superiority of his light foot people. He made against the advancing Imperial Front, turned with the top of his column against the hills where their guns stood, and shot Tilly with his own cannons. The cavalry was defeated from the field, the foot people fled, and only five Walloon regiments fought their way through with their old father Tilly under the protection of the night in closed order. Tilly stared at herself, her eyes full of tears. He already had three grazing shots. In Halle he met the Pappenheimer, who had again fought with the highest bravur and fourteen Swedes had been knocked down partly, partly because his sword had been broken, crushed like a bear in his arms. The Swedes captured the entire imperial camp, all the guns and over a hundred flags.

Now a different mood set in in Vienna; the court shrines and women, Jesuits and Capuchins no longer measured themselves to whip the “new enemy”, as Gustav Adolf called it, across the Baltic Sea with rods or to see the Snow King drag when it approached the south. Gustav Adolf’s victory was a crushing blow to the emperor and Catholics. King Sigismund of Poland complained that he could not understand why our Lord God had become Lutheran. Fear and oppression grew when the Swede moved through the »Pfaffengasse« into the Reich, took Erfurt, Würzburg, Hanau and Frankfurt, liberated the Palatinate, negotiated with Bavaria, conquered Augsburg and broke all resistance with Suveräner power.

In May 1632 he made his entry into Munich, and in his company was the expelled Bohemian king. He celebrated Pentecost in Augsburg; a chronicle tells of this: “On the holy day of Pentecost, the king did not attend the public service, but had his court preacher Doctor Fabricius preach in his cabinet. In the evening, however, at the table he got an abrupt desire to dance, so that the daughters of the sexes appeared in the Fugger houses, with which both the king and the princely persons present amused themselves for several hours with English and German dances.” Gustav Adolf was a great friend of women; he wanted to kiss a beautiful Augsburg woman; her name was Jakobine Lauber and he liked it very much, but she fought back and tore off the king’s collar.

In these peaceful days came the news that Wallenstein was approaching the King of Sweden.

Wallenstein had lived in proud peace and quiet in Gitschin and in Prague. Already from Memmingen he had taken care of his new castle and wrote to his governor: “See that the two chapels, mine and my wibe, will be finished this year; let the altars be made in it, as well as the five altars in the church, so that I myself can perform the divine service there. So you can see evenly that all rooms are finished and provided with beautiful pictures, because in this I rely solely on you. So you will also see that the garden is made and a lot of fontane made by yourself. The loggia can be quickly decorated with dwarf vaults and lavor di stucco. Tell the builder that right in the middle of the square in front of the loggia there must be a mighty fontana, where all the water will run, then from it, that the water will divide into the right and left hand, and make the other fontanen run. I think I will be a Gitschin in mid-October and remain there; Therefore, you can see that the building is finished and the rooms are being cleaned and furnished with damask, sammet and golden leathers. Let me also turn on bitter wormwood must, which is dulce picante, so that I may have it the more heavenly. Have all the stables made, as well as the playground and the ball house.”

In Prague, Wallenstein lived with royal expense, but for his person, as in the camp, in the deepest seclusion. For the palace he had built on the Lesser Town, a hundred houses had been demolished to make room. All roads that formed the entrances were closed with chains. Six portals led to the palace; in the castle courtyard stood a bodyguard of fifty on the richest dressed hellebardieren. His court numbered a thousand people. Count Paul Liechtenstein was at the top as Oberhofmeister, a Count Harrach was Oberstkämmerer, a Graf Hardegg Oberststallmeister. Twenty-four chamberlains served the Friedlander’s serenity, wore, like those of the emperor, the golden keys, and sixty noble boys from the noblest houses were around him, all dressed in light blue velvet with gold. Also, many of his former officers lived with him, to whom he gave solder and free table. Each meal consisted of a hundred bowls. In the marble stables, over a thousand horses from marble cribs ate, and when he traveled, it was no different than in fifty four-horse chariots. In the ballroom of the Prague Palace, he had himself painted as a triumphant, pulled by four sun roses, a star above the laurel-crowned head. The long rows of rooms were decorated with astrological and mythological figures. From a round room, a secret staircase led to a bathing grotto made of artificial stalactite. From this grotto one stepped into a high portico and from there into the garden with its fountains and fish-rich canals.

Wallenstein’s fortune was enormous for that time. His annual income has been estimated at six million guilders; he drew them partly from the capitals he had in the banks of Venice and Amsterdam, partly from the Bohemian and Moravian estates and the Principality of Sagan. He ceaselessly issued insightful dispositions for his possessions, sought to preserve the Jesuits in the good through large foundations and called capable men into his service. But he only interacted with very few people; the Italian astrologer Seni lived with him, with whom he spent many nights in zealous studies, and his only confidants were his brother-in-law Adam Terzka and his mother, who was particularly worthy to him because of their high wisdom. His health had suffered from the war strains, he had to live moderately, and since he was plagued by the Podagra, he could only walk propped up on an Indian cane.

The imperial court had corresponded continuously with Wallenstein. After the terrible Battle of Leipzig, one had to think of regaining a man whose credit to the Soldateska was unparalleled, and so Questenberg was sent to Prague to negotiate with Wallenstein for the re-assumption of command. Wallenstein refused. As a result, Prague was lost almost without a stroke of the sword. Don Balthasar Maradas withdrew with the troops to bring them to safety, but had previously had Wallenstein asked for advice; he had replied that he no longer had any command, Maradas should do what he wanted. He then left Prague, moved to Gitschin and sent his wife and cousin Max to Vienna. Max was now sent back by the emperor with a movable letter to Wallenstein; Ferdinand begged that he should not abandon him in the present time of need. That was what Wallenstein wanted. He now went to Znojm to continue negotiations with the emperor. He was comfortable taking command again, but for the time being only for three months. He was penetrated more and more, and so he finally decided to take over the supreme command without time determination, but “in absolutissima forma”. Neither the emperor nor his son should have anything to do with the army; two articles of the treaty gave Wallenstein unlimited power to confiscate the goods of rebellious imperial estates and to punish whom he considered guilty. It was expressly stated that neither the Reichshofrat, nor the Court of Appeal, nor the Emperor himself should be allowed to persuade the slightest in such matters. All this provides proof that Wallenstein set out with unbroken will to set out on his old goal. As an »ordinari recompens« he demanded imperial insurance on an Austrian hereditary land and as »extra ordinari recompens« the upper feudal rule in the conquered countries.

The contract was signed in the same month that Tilly had fallen on the Lech. Its conditions are of such an extraordinary nature that they are unprecedented in world history. Only such a fantastic man as Wallenstein could imagine that he could tighten the rope so tightly without danger. Only a character so full of fatum could take on a fate without an earthquake that hypocritically fulfills every expectation.

A few months passed, and Wallenstein again had a new army of two hundred and fourteen squadrons of cavalry, one hundred and twenty companies of foot soldiers and forty-four cannons. He immediately cleansed Prague and Bohemia of the Saxons and united in Eger with the Duke of Bavaria, who had overthrown him before and now had to recognize him as a warlord. Both moved to Nuremberg, where the Swedish king had entrenched himself. Wallenstein occupied the heights of the Altenberg and also entrenched himself. His plan was not to deliver a battle; he wanted to show Gustav Adolf that he could or could not strike as he wished. For months, Wallenstein stood frozen. Hunger and misery began to rage all around. Gustav Adolf had to fight or give way. He tried a storm on Wallenstein’s lines, but it failed completely. From that day on, he lost his cheerful courage and did not receive it again. He had Wallenstein make peace proposals, but before the answer came, he gave up his camp. He passed Wallenstein, which remained immobile, moved to the Danube and then, following the call for help of the Elector of Saxony, to the Saale. Wallenstein also set himself in motion now; he set fire to his camp, which had a mile and a half in scope. His army was a wandering predatory state. Everywhere the herds were driven away, the fruit trees were knocked down and the villages burned.

Again in the fields near Leipzig the armies met. Wallenstein had written to Pappenheim: “The enemy marches in, the Lord leaves everything standing and lying down and incamines himself here with all the people and pieces, so that He may be with us tomorrow morning.” This order is still kept in the Vienna Archives; it is soaked in the blood of Pappenheim, which fell on the day of Lützen.

Wallenstein had the generals and colonels come to his chariot on the morning of the battle to give the orders, only then did he board his warhorse, but the stirrups had to be wrapped in silk cloths because his feet hurt. There was thick fog all over the climes. Gustav Adolf had also climbed his body and spoke individually to many people of his army. Then, to the bright sound of the trumpets and timpani, he let us sing: “One solid castle is our God” and that other, his favorite song: “Do not despize, you little heap small, although the enemies are willing to destroy you completely”.

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the thirty year’s war in the style of salvator rosa

The battle began. After three hours of effort, several of Wallenstein’s squares were blown up by the Swedish infantry. Then the king preserved the black cuirassiers of Wallenstein with Colonel Piccolomini holding in bare armor in front of it. He ordered the Finnish cavalry regiment to attack them, but received the news that his foot people had been made to give way again. He immediately rushed to the rescue at the head of the Smaland regiment. Only a few were able to follow the rapid advance. Suddenly he found himself in the middle of the black riders. His horse is shot through his neck, and a pistol shot smashes his left arm. His first words were: “It is nothing, follow me.” But the wound was so significant that the bones stared out of the sleeve. He turned to escape from the fray, at the same moment he received a second pistol shot in the back. With a sigh: “My God, my God,” he sinks from the horse, but gets stuck in the stirrup, the horse drags him away with him. His companions fall or flee, only one Page stays with him. He is still alive, the Page does not want to say that it is the king, he himself is wounded to death. The king is deprived of his golden necklace and undressed, he finally shouts: “I am the king of Sweden.” The black cuirassiers want to drag him away. Then the Stenbock Regiment blows up. The cuirassiers flee; since they cannot take the king with them, they shoot through his head and pierce his body with many stitches. He sinks to the earth, the hoof stroke of the horses roars over the corpse.

The wounded, blood-covered, riderless mold of the king, chasing along the Swedish front, announced the misfortune that had happened. Discouraged at first, then spurred on in their pain to take revenge, the Swedes recently attacked, and had it not been for Pappenheim with four fresh regiments on Walplatz, the heroic Bernhard of Weimar would have won by the third afternoon hour. So the battle began anew, but Pappenheim also succumbed to the irresistible violence of the young Bernhard. The imperial army took flight. Wallenstein set up his winter quarters in Prague and had many officers executed because, as he put it, the imperial weapons had suffered indelible ridicule. In Bohemia, his dark fate was to be fulfilled; he was not granted heroic death on the battlefield.

The next morning, among the countless corpses of the battlefield, the Swedes searched for the noblest corpse, that of the king. She was found, stripped naked, barely recognizable from blood and hoof beats, covered with nine wounds, not far from the large stone, which is now still called the Schwedenstein. On the corpse, the soldiers swore to Duke Bernhard to follow him to the end of the world.

The unexpected death of Gustav Adolf stirred up the whole of Europe. The emperor had prayers of thanksgiving sung in all the churches as if he had won the most glorious victory, and he wept at the sight of the bloody Koller with the openings of the shot in his left sleeve that the king had worn in battle. In Madrid, celebrations of joy were held and the death of the king was depicted in drama to the delight of all believers. The Pope, who had quietly welcomed the fact that the emperor had been given a afflict, had a Mass read. The expelled Winter King was shocked by the news of terror, and he died, thirty-six years old; he left behind thirteen underage children, with whom Eleonora, his wife, had to wander for almost thirty years without a home and often without money, haunted by some adventurous love and bloodthirsty hatred.

While the Swedish chancellor Oxenstjerna, who came to the head of the business after the death of the king, negotiated with Saxony and Brandenburg, while Duke Bernhard reconquered Franks and settled on the Upper Rhine and Field Marshal Horn knocked the imperial troops scattered in Germany out of the field, Wallenstein remained quiet in his winter quarters and increased his army. It was not until mid-May that he left, moved to Silesia, won it back to the emperor, but soon concluded an armistice with the Saxon general Armin, who commanded in Silesia. The same conspicuous ceasefire was renewed a few weeks later. It was the plan of Wallenstein as well as the two electors of Saxony and Brandenburg to establish a third power in the empire, a middle power between the emperor and the Swedes. At that time there was a rumor that all emigrants would get their goods back, that the Jesuits would be expelled from the empire and that the Swedes would be reimbursed for their war costs; it was also said that Wallenstein had conditioned the crown of Bohemia for himself in the secret treaty with Kursachsen. What is certain is that Wallenstein negotiated with France at the same time, through the Crown of Bohemia. Cardinal Richelieu, who had taken a firm foothold in German affairs, had him offered his assistance, a million livres a year and the crown if he wanted to fall away from the emperor. But ambassador Feuquières broke off the negotiations because he believed that Wallenstein only wanted to deceive him and incite the emperor’s enemies against each other. He also came to an agreement with the Swedes and with Duke Bernhard. The distrust at the Viennese court became a tension when he refused to help the Duke of Bavaria against Bernhard of Weimar. He led the army from Silesia to the winter quarters and sent a letter from Pilsen to Vienna, in which he had his colonels give their opinion that a military campaign at this time of year was indocable.

Since Gustav Adolf’s death, the emperor’s contract with Wallenstein had become increasingly annoying. He complained loudly that he had, as it were, a co-king and no more free dispositions in his own country. The Vienna Cabinet broke off traffic with Wallenstein because of the need to confront Duke Bernhard in southern Germany. Since Wallenstein refused to do so, the Duke of Feria was summoned from Italy, and Johann Altringer, one of Wallenstein’s generals, was ordered to unite with the Duke. Altringer wavered at first, but after Feria’s death he let himself be won over by the Viennese court. Full of anger, Wallenstein quoted him in front of him, Altringer refused to obey. Now Wallenstein, in order not to be deposed for the second time, decided to voluntarily resign the supreme command, but wanted to ensure that the promises that had been made to him were fulfilled. Therefore, he gathered all the generals and colonels standing in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia in his camp at Pilsen. There, Field Marshal Illo gave them a banquet, at which the gentlemen were finally so drunk that they smashed chairs and benches, stoves and windows. Illo and Count Terzka, who had an appointment with Wallenstein, flexibly introduced them to the fact that the Oberfeldherr was forced to resign from command because of the infiuity experienced by the Viennese court. This unexpected news dismayed the officers not a little. All of them, at Wallenstein’s word and in the hope of being compensated by him, had recruited their regiments on their own account and added their assets; if Wallenstein fell, they were threatened with ruin. To ensure them, they were now presented with a lapel, and in it the emperor, although not named, was harshly accused. After pleading with Wallenstein, the generals and colonels pledged to stand up for their commander with good and blood, not to be separated from him in any way, to promote his advantage as far as possible and to persecute his enemies.

Forty generals and colonels signed the strange document. But there was also in its midst the traitor Piccolomini, who was at the head of the Italian party, and this party was in league with the Jesuits to overthrow the Friedlander. Wallenstein, however, had an unconditional trust in Piccolomini, because he believed he had read from the stars that he could rely on him. Piccolomini reported the contents of the reverse to Vienna and accused Wallenstein of a dangerous conspiracy. In addition, the Duke of Savoy communicated the content of the negotiations that Wallenstein had conducted with the French court. Wallenstein was accused of the most daring plans. It was said that he had said: “I do not tolerate God, much less will I tolerate Ferdinand”. The Spanish ambassador said: “Why procrastinate? A stab in the back puts an end to the matter.” Ferdinand felt compelled not only to pronounce wallenstein’s second deposition, but also to abandon the man who had saved him the monarchy to the oust revenge of his enemies. Low self-interest was the strongest motive of the catastrophe brought about with all haste, because when the deposition was still a deep secret, the gentlemen argued with bitterness and until the duel over the division of the loot, the goods, the houses, the gardens, even the wagons and horses of Wallenstein and even called with shameless brows even the court itself to the arbiter in their quarrels.

The court, for its part, was extremely devious against the dangerous opponent. He sent a decree to the commanders of wallenstein’s army, in which the dismissal of the Generalobristfeldhauptmann was cautiously indicated, the officers were relieved of their duty, forgiveness was assured for the misstep at the Pilsen banquet with the exception of two ringleaders and the continuation of the imperial benevolence was praised. But for weeks after this decree, the emperor corresponded seemingly quite harmlessly with Wallenstein about official business, still calling him “highly born dear Oheim and Prince” and assuring him with the ordinary courtoisie of his homage and grace.

Meanwhile, the generals and colonels were won one by one and in secret. The Italians, Spaniards and Walloons were soon willing, the Germans, Bohemians, Moravians and Silesians were loyal to the Friedländer, and they were not trusted in Vienna despite the amnesty granted. After a month, a second imperial mandate was issued, which already had a clearer language and was addressed not only to the commanders, but also to all common soldiers. It spoke of the fact that they would be well acquainted with how he, the Emperor, had gifted and adorned his former field captain of Friedland with all sorts of good deeds, graces, freedoms, highnesses and dignities, as not soon with a man of his class; But the same one, out of a wicked mind and undoubtedly long-held intent, spun a conspiracy against him and his house and seduced obrists by reducing the size of the imperial person and stubbornly interpreting his power in the imperial armada. The emperor explains that he has received certain news that Wallenstein had allowed himself to be completely exterminated and had made every effort to carry out such perfidious infidelity and barbaric tyranny, which does not hear such things, nor can be found in scriptis.

Wallenstein only learned where he was when Gallas, Altringer, Maradas, Piccolomini and Colloredo issued orders prohibiting the colonels from accepting orders from Wallenstein, Illo or Terzka in the future. The colonels were instructed to march against Prague to insure themselves of the country’s capital. Wallenstein now had a solemn declaration issued in Pilsen that the former lapel would not have meant the slightest against the emperor and religion. He ordered his troops to also move to Prague, but sent two officers to the emperor with a handwriting in which he offered to go to Danzig or Hamburg; he wished only to keep his ducadi, his duchies.

But it was precisely those ducadi that people wanted very much in Vienna, Wallenstein knew that quite well. He therefore decided to put himself in constitution, in any case, but not in the case that he could not foresee at all, since he was against all calculations. In his deep distress, he now seriously turned to Duke Bernhard of Weimar and had him asked to come to Bohemia. Duke Bernhard did not trust. He exclaimed, “Whoever does not believe in God, man cannot believe him.” And yet time was of the essence. Wallenstein experienced the apostasy of one general after another. Altringer apologized from Frauenberg with illness, Gallas did not come back, Diodati had gone through secretly, thirteen couriers flew to Regensburg and back, finally Duke Bernhard slowly set off. Wallenstein had wanted to go to Prague, the apostasy of the generals had thwarted the plan; he also had to give up his intention to march to Zittau; the third place he chose to contact the Swedes was Eger.

On February 22, 1634, at around ten o’clock in the morning, he left Pilsen and moved into Eger on the 24th afternoon between four and five o’clock. In his company were Illo and Terzka with five companies of cuirassiers, five companies from the Old Saxon regiment on horseback, who fell off on the way and marched to Prague, and two hundred foot soldiers. Before he had reached the first night quarters, Colonel Butler joined him with eight companies of dragoons.

Butler was an Irishman by birth and a Catholic. From Pilsen to his quarters in Gladrup von Wallenstein, he had received the order to move his regiment to Prague – with the death penalty. Even this instruction to leave the passports leading from Bohemia to the Upper Palatinate had aroused his suspicions; now he received the new instruction to follow Wallenstein to Eger, and he had to ride with his dragoons ahead of the palanquin of the general. He wrote to Gallas and Piccolomini about his growing suspicion that he was forced to go with Wallenstein, but that he might be forced to take this path out of a special fate of God in order to perform a special heroic act. On the last march, Wallenstein had Butler come to his palanquin and apologized that he had not done more for him; he promised him two regiments and a gift of two hundred thousand thalers. In Eger, Butler had to stay in town with his flags, while his soldiers were ordered to camp in the open field. Wallenstein lived in the house of the mayor Bachhälbel on the market, Terzka and Kinsky with their wives in the back wing of the same house.

The commander of Eger was the lieutenant colonel in Terzka’s regiment, Johann Gordon, a Scotsman and Calvinist. Butler turned to him and to the Oberstwachtmeister Walter Lesly, also a Scotsman. On the night of 24 to 25 February, these three men conspired in the citadel with swords pulled out to immediately clear Wallenstein out of the way. It was agreed that the following evening Gordon should invite the generals to a carnival feast at the castle; in this feast, the deed was to be accomplished. Everything was in a hurry, and Illo had already happily announced that the Swedes would move into Eger the next day.

On February 25, it was a Saturday, Count Terzka gave the officers a banquet. After that, at six o’clock in the evening, he drove with Kinsky, Illo and the Rittmeister Neumann in a carriage to the carnival feast at the castle. They sat down at the table and dined and played funny. After the meal, Gordon and Lesly organized that the upper gate of the city would be opened and a hundred men would be allowed into the city by Butler’s Irish dragoons and as many German soldiers; with them they strengthened the guard at the castle, which was now cordoned off. Meanwhile, the confectionery had been applied. Then Gordon received a fake letter, which was allegedly written by Kursachsen and was now collected. It said that the Elector did not approve of Wallenstein’s intention to fall away from the Emperor, and that he was willing to hand Wallenstein over to the Emperor if he took his power. Gordon passed the letter over to Illo; he read it and shook his head. The others also read him, a quarrel arose; in order to be able to speak more freely, the servants were sent out; she was taken to a secluded room for dinner and locked up there. Now one was alone with the slaughter victims.

As soon as the servants had left, the Italian colonel Geraldino and the Irish captains Deveroux and Macdonald stepped out of the two adjoining rooms of the dining room with thirty-six dragoons. Deveroux shouted loudly: »Viva la casa d’Austria!« And Deveroux: “Who is good imperial?” Butler, Gordon and Lesly were quick to reply: “Vivat Ferdinandus! Vivat Ferdinandus!« Grabbed their swords and each a candlestick from the table and stepped on the side. The Irishmen walked up to the table and threw it over the top. Kinsky was first knocked down, then Illo after a short resistance; Terzka, who had happily obtained his sword, stood in a corner and defended himself manfully. His wams of Elenshaut protected him against several blows, so that the dragoons considered him a frozen; finally some dagger blows hit him in the face, he fell and was slain with the pistons of the muskets. Rittmeister Neumann had fled wounded into the front building and was stabbed outside. The bodies of the murdered were revealed to the dragoons, who stripped them down to their shirts.

Gordon now closed the dining room and stayed with the guard at the castle, Lesly went to the main guard at the market, and Butler occupied Wallenstein’s apartment. It was a dark, unfriendly night, the wind howled and a fine rain clanged on the windows. “It is,” it says in the Frankfurt relations, “to notice particularly that the same night at nine o’clock a frightening shower of wind was raised, which lasts until around midnight. So the firmament was horrified by the gruesome murders and carried an abhorrence.”

Deveroux undertook with twelve men the walk to the duke. The guard at the house let him through because they believed that he had to make a report. In the anteroom he met Wallenstein’s valet, who had just taken a bath and wanted to go to bed, brought the night drink to his master, beer on a golden bowl; Deveroux was from him means not to make any noise. His astrologer Seni had just left Wallenstein; he is said to have warned him from the stars. Wallenstein had heard the noise caused by the installation of the soldiers on the market; he had heard the screams of Countesses Terzka and Kinsky in the back building, for both had already learned of the murder of their men in the castle; he had stepped up to the window and asked the shield guard. Deveroux demanded the key to Wallenstein’s room from the valet, and when the servant refused, he blew up the door with the loud shout: “Rebel! Rebel!” and entered with his murder companions. Wallenstein stood leaning against the table in a night dress. “You must die, rogue!” Deveroux shouted to him. Wallenstein rushed to the window to call for help, Deveroux followed him with the partisan. Wallenstein spread his arms, and without making a sound, the great man received the death blow.

His body was wrapped in a red carpet and taken to the citadel in Lesly’s carriage. There he lay with the four corpses of the other murdered throughout Sunday. On Monday, everyone was taken to Mies at Illo’s castle and buried. Not Neumann at all; because of his blasphemous speeches at the last banquet, that he hoped to wash his hands in the Lords of Austria blood, he was scraped under the gallows.

Wallenstein’s coffin had become too small, and in order for him to have space, his legs had to be broken.

He is silently divorced from life; Mysteriously, he had the plans and designs that nourished his soul enclosed in his deepest chest, and above his life and above his death lies an opaque veil.

The estates of the murdered were all confiscated; of Wallenstein’s possessions, estimated at fifty million guilders, most of it fell to the emperor. The renegade generals were richly rewarded, the murderers made their fortune and became respected people, but all wallenstein’s followers were ostracized and twenty-four colonels and captains were executed in Pilsen.


This article about the life of Wallenstein was translated from the original German in Deutsche Charaktere und Begebenheiten (German Characters and Events), collected
and edited by Jakob Wassermann. Wassermann’s books were banned by the Nazis.

By Translator Mike

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