Robert III de La Marck

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A 19th century portrait from the Palace of Versailles

Robert III de La Marck (1491, Sedan, Ardennes – 1537), Seigneur of Fleuranges, Marshal of France and historian, was the son of Robert II de La Marck; Duke of Bouillon, Seigneur of Sedan and Fleuranges, whose uncle was the celebrated William de La Marck, The Wild Boar of the Ardennes. Self-styled "The Young Adventurer," he was one of Francis I's close companions in the last years of Louis XII's life, and remained close after Francis ascended the throne.

A fondness for military exercises displayed itself in his earliest years, and at the age of ten he was sent to the court of Louis XII, and placed in charge of the count of Angoulême, afterwards King Francis I. In his twentieth year he married a niece of the cardinal d'Amboise, but after three months he quit his home to join the French army in the Milanese. With a handful of troops he threw himself into Verona, then besieged by the Venetians; but the siege was protracted, and being impatient for more active service, he rejoined the army. He then took part in the relief of Mirandola, besieged by the troops of Pope Julius II, and in other actions of the campaign.

In 1512 the French being driven from Italy, Fleuranges was sent into Flanders to levy a body of 10,000 men, in command of which, under his father, he returned to Italy in 1513, seized Alessandria, and vigorously assailed Novara. But the French were defeated, and Fleuranges narrowly escaped with his life, having received more than forty wounds. He was rescued by his father and sent to Vercelli, and thence to Lyon.

Returning to Italy with Francis in 1515, he distinguished himself in various affairs, and especially at Marignano, where he had a horse shot under him, and contributed so powerfully to the victory of the French that the king knighted him with his own hand. He next took Cremona, and was there called home by the news of his father's illness. In 1519 he was sent into Germany on the difficult errand of inducing the electors to give their votes in favor of Francis; but in this he failed. The war in Italy being rekindled, Fleuranges accompanied the king there, fought at Pavia (1525), and was taken prisoner with his royal master. The emperor, irritated by the defection of his father, Robert II, sent him into confinement in Flanders, where he remained for some years.

During this imprisonment he was created marshal of France. He employed his enforced leisure in writing his Histoire des choses mémorables advenues du règne de Louis XII et de François I, depuis 1499 jusqu'en l'an 1521. In this work he designates himself Jeune Adventureux. Within a small compass he gives many curious and interesting details of the time, writing only of what he had seen, and in a very simple but vivid style. The book was first published in 1735, by Abbé Lambert, who added historical and critical notes; and it has been reprinted in several collections. The last occasion on which Fleuranges was engaged in active service was at the defence of Péronne[disambiguation needed], besieged by the count of Nassau in 1536. In the following year he heard of his father's death, and set out from Amboise for his estate of La Marck; but he was seized with illness at Longjumeau, and died there in December 1537.

See his own book in the Nouvelle collection des mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de France (edited by J. F. Michaud and J. J. F. Poujoulat, series i, vol. v. Paris, 1836 seq.).

References[edit]

  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • Hackett, Francis. Francis the First. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran & Co.,
  • Konstam, Angus. Pavia 1525: The Climax of the Italian Wars. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1-85532-504-7.