A rare 300-year-old sword – that belonged to an officer at the Battle of Blenheim where Winston Churchill’s ancestor the Duke of Marlborough defeated the Bavarians – is on display in a German castle.
The remarkable 300-year-old blade, dating back to the beginning of the 1700s and covered with the inscription ‘Vivat Maximilian Emanuel’, has recently enriched the ‘Battle of Blenheim’ collection at Hochstadt Castle in the German state of Bavaria.
Considering the expensive engraving on the weapon, which honoured Maximilian II Emanuel, who served as Elector of Bavaria between 1679 and 1726, experts from the Bavarian Palace Administration believe it belonged to a Bavarian officer.
Historians are certain it was used in the Battle of Blenheim where the Bavarian army stood on the side of the French against the victorious coalition of British and Austrian troops under the lead of the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Savoy of the Austrian Habsburg dynasty in 1704.
The Duke of Marlborough, also known as General John Churchill, who was one of the main commanders in the battle, was an ancestor of former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
After realising the dangers of the Franco-Bavarian coalition, Churchill marched his forces south to the town of Blindheim, which was traditionally known as Blenheim, to help England’s allies (Scotland, Austria, Prussia, Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Homburg, and the Dutch Republic) win the battle.
The victory at Blenheim marked a turning point in the Spanish War of Succession, which was the first international conflict between the European powers and gave birth to the concept of a ‘European balance of power’. The battle resulted in over 25,000 dead or wounded.
The Bavarian Palace Administration, who purchased the officer’s blade from a historical weapons expert, revealed that decorated weapons such as this are rare and invaluable, and need to be preserved.
Bavarian Palace Administration spokespersons Ines Holzmuller and Franziska Wimberger announced that the sword is on display alongside other contemporary weapons such as handguns, match guns and flintlocks at the ‘Battle of Blenheim 1704’ exhibition from 5th July.
Other exhibits on display include flags, clothing, leaflets and paintings, while additional audio stations and animations serve to “bring the past into the present”.
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: James King, Agency: Newsflash
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