Historical and Commemorative Medals
  Collection of Benjamin Weiss



DUVIVIER, Jean: France, 1714, Bronze, 60 mm
Obv: Bust of Louis Hector (r)    LUD. HECT. DUX DE VILLARS FR. PAR ET MARESCALLUS.
Rev: Mars and Minerva, facing, holding victory laurels.    UNI DEBEMUS UTRAMQUE.
Signed: DU VIVIER F. / DU VIV. F.
Ref: Forrer p. 294;  Nocq 15;  Weiss BW105

Claude Louis Hector de Villars (1653-1734), Marshal of France, was one of the greatest generals in French history. As a soldier he stands above all his contemporaries and successors in the 18th century, and is held in the same esteem as Marlborough and Frederick. His fame rests largely in his military prowess in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). This war was precipitated by the death of the last Habsburg king of Spain, Charles II, who died without an heir. The war, which marked the emergence of Britain as a maritime and colonial power, pitted an alliance of Britain, Austria, the Dutch Republic, and Denmark against France, Spain and Bavaria in order to contain the expansion of France under Louis XIV. Villars was a major force in this war. Though gravely wounded at the Battle of Malplaquet, he out maneuvered and decisively defeated Eugene of Savoy in the battle of Denain. This victory saved France and led to the negotiated peace of Rastadt, which this medal commemorates. The Treaty of Rastadt (1714) was a peace agreement between Louis XIV of France and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, who had laid claim to the Spanish throne, leading to the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession. After tiring of the many battles, the combatants entered into the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), in which Philip V, grandson of Louis XIV, was recognized as king of Spain. However, although Charles renounced his claim to the Spanish throne, he did not recognize the legitimacy of the Bourbon claimant Philip V. In the Treaty of Rastadt, Charles finally acceded to the arrangements made at the Peace of Utrecht. Under the provisions of Rastadt, Charles gained territories in northern Italy in return for accepting the loss of Spain.

LINK to biography of Claude Louis Hector de Villars (from Wikipedia)