In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Prince Eugene of Savoy

  • Introduction
  • Biographies and Published Documents
  • Printed Primary Sources
  • Eugene’s Military Career in Context
  • The Turkish Wars
  • The War of the Spanish Succession
  • Eugene and the Habsburg Monarchy
  • Eugene and the Austrian Leadership
  • Diplomacy
  • The British Alliance
  • The House of Savoy and Habsburg Italy
  • The Austrian Netherlands and the Dutch Alliance
  • Eugene’s Intellectual Life
  • Patron of the Arts and Architecture

Military History Prince Eugene of Savoy
Caleb Karges
  • LAST MODIFIED: 22 August 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791279-0238


Prince Eugene of Savoy (b. 1663–d. 1736) was a military commander, administrator, and diplomat in the service of the Austrian Habsburg emperors. He descended from a cadet branch of the Italian Dukes of Savoy known as Savoy-Carignan. He grew up in Louis XIV’s France, where he aspired to a military career. Denied a commission by the Sun King, Eugene joined the Austrian army in the campaign to relieve Vienna of a Turkish siege in 1683. He steadily rose through the ranks during the Great Turkish War (1683–1699) until he received independent commands. He commanded Austrian forces alongside his relative, Victor Amadeus II of Savoy, in Italy during the Nine Years’ War (1689–1697). Transferred back to the Balkans, he decisively defeated the Ottomans at Zenta (1697). He led the Austrian invasion of Italy that began the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), and his campaigns in Lombardy included the battles of Carpi (1701), Chiari (1701), Cremona (1702), and Luzzara (1702). He then returned to Vienna during the Austrian crisis of 1703 and was named president of the Imperial War Council (Hofskriegsrat) by Leopold I, a position he held until his death. He commanded alongside John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, at the Battle of Blenheim (1704). He returned to Italy to defeat the French at Turin (1706) and attacked Toulon (1707). He then campaigned alongside Marlborough in the Low Countries fighting the battles of Oudenaarde (1708) and Malplaquet (1709). After Great Britain’s withdrawal from the Grand Alliance, Marshal Villars defeated Eugene at Denain (1712). Eugene also served as a diplomat for the emperor, participating in negotiations in the Low Countries, and visited England in 1712, attempting to prevent Marlborough’s fall. He negotiated the Treaties of Rastatt and Baden (1714) ending the conflict between France and the Holy Roman Empire. In the subsequent Austro-Turkish War (1716–1718), he led Austrian forces to victory over the Ottomans at Petrovaradin (1716) and Belgrade (1717). He spent the intervening years building his residences throughout the monarchy, collecting artworks, patronizing intellectuals, administrating the Austrian army, and actively participating in the life of the Imperial court. His final campaigns were against the French during the War of the Polish Succession (1733–1735). He died in 1736 as one of the richest men in Europe, having accrued vast estates through his lifelong service to the Austrian emperors.

Biographies and Published Documents

The many biographies and published documents of Prince Eugene are the best place to start research on his career. Some attempt to treat with all aspects of this multifaceted man, while others concentrate on his military career. Heller 1848 is the first extensive reproduction of selections of Eugene’s military correspondence found in Austrian archives. The multivolume Feldzüge 1876–1892 reproduces extensive amounts of Eugene’s correspondence and features commentary by Austro-Hungarian staff officers covering Eugene’s military career from the 1690s to the 1730s. One will find the most authoritative and exhaustively researched biographies written in German. Arneth 1864, a three-volume work, is one of the first and most comprehensive modern biographies of Eugene that draws extensively from the Viennese archives. It is superseded by Braubach 1963–1965 as the authoritative work on the subject, as Braubach conducted extensive research throughout Europe. Most works in other languages draw extensively from these German-language biographies and sources, often aiming to popularize the content of the German sources in their own languages. Drawing extensively from Arneth, MacMunn 1934 is a dated popular-level biography that focuses heavily on campaigning. Henderson 1964 is an older but still helpful one-volume biography in English that integrates Arneth’s work with then current scholarship. Kunisch 1986 contains many essays on aspects of Eugene’s career. McKay 1977 is the best scholarly biography written in English that draws extensively from Braubach and supplements with British archival materials. Written in Italian, Paoletti 2001 is the best 21st-century work on Eugene. Kunisch 1986 is a German-language collection of essays on aspects of Eugene’s career set in the context of late-20th-century scholarship.

  • Arneth, Alfred. Prinz Eugen von Savoyen: Nach den handschriftlichen Quellen der kaiserlichen Archive. 3 vols. Vienna: Wilhelm Graumüller, 1864.

    Drawing from archival sources in Vienna, Arneth’s three-volume work stood as the authoritative biography of Prince Eugene for a century. Its archival basis still makes it a valuable resource.

  • Braubach, Max. Prinz Eugen von Savoyen: Eine Biographie. 5 vols. Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 1963–1965.

    DOI: 10.1515/9783486816907

    The most comprehensive and authoritative biography of Prince Eugene. Built upon a lifetime of research on the subject, Max Braubach trawled European archives for everything written by Eugene.

  • Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen: Nach den Feld-Acten und anderen authentischen Quellen. 20 vols. Vienna: Verlag des K.K. Generalstabes, 1876–1892.

    Written and edited by members of the Austro-Hungarian generals’ staff, each volume focuses on one year of campaigning in Prince Eugene’s career and contains two parts. The first half of a volume contains a comprehensive analysis of the military and political situation for all belligerents in the conflict, an overview of all the campaigns in that year, and a collection of relevant documents. The second half (Supplement-Heft) reproduces Prince Eugene’s correspondence in the year contained in Austrian archives.

  • Heller, Friedrich Jakob, ed. Militarische Korrespondenz des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen: Aus Österreichischen Original-Quellen. 2 vols. Vienna: Carl Gerold, 1848.

    A collection of Eugene’s military correspondence drawn from the Austrian Kriegsarchiv. Superseded by the Feldzüge.

  • Henderson, Nicholas. Prince Eugene of Savoy: A Biography. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1964.

    Utilizes much of the scholarly research from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries to paint a comprehensive portrait of Prince Eugene in a single-volume biography. Draws extensively from Arneth and the Feldzüge.

  • Kunisch, Johannes, ed. Prinz Eugen von Savoyen und seine Zeit: Eine Ploetz-Biographie. Freiburg: Verlag Ploetz, 1986.

    A collection of essays by German-speaking scholars on various aspects of Eugene’s life and career. Some are contextual, such as Bernhard Sicken’s essay on warfare and Gustav Otruba’s on economics. Others deal with specific themes in his life, such as his patronage of the arts, his friendship with Marlborough, and his career fighting the Ottomans.

  • MacMunn, Lt. Gen. Sir George. Prince Eugene: Twin Marshal with Marlborough. London: Sampson Low, Marston, 1934.

    An older popular-level work that focuses on Eugene’s campaigns and draws from much from 19th-century German scholarship

  • McKay, Derek. Prince Eugene of Savoy. London: Thames & Hudson, 1977.

    Still the most authoritative scholarly biography of Eugene in English. McKay’s book condenses the work of Max Braubach and supplements it with his own research in British and Austrian archives.

  • Paoletti, Ciro. Il Principe Eugenio Di Savoia. Gaeta, Italy: Stabilimento grafico militare, 2001.

    Still drawing from German works, Paoletti’s book utilizes archival sources in Italy to augment and correct traditional views of Prince Eugene. Places military campaigns in their larger context and integrates research from the second half of the twentieth century to help further the understanding of Eugene’s life and career.

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