A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from Latin: sedere, lit.'to sit'. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, defensive position. An opportunity for negotiation between combatants is not uncommon, as proximity and fluctuating advantage can encourage diplomacy; the art of conducting and resisting sieges is called siegecraft, or poliorcetics. A siege occurs when an attacker encounters a city or fortress that cannot be taken by a quick assault, which refuses to surrender. Sieges involve surrounding the target to block the provision of supplies and the reinforcement or escape of troops; this is coupled with attempts to reduce the fortifications by means of siege engines, artillery bombardment, mining, or the use of deception or treachery to bypass defenses. Failing a military outcome, sieges can be decided by starvation, thirst, or disease, which can afflict either the attacker or defender.
This form of siege, can take many months or years, depending upon the size of the stores of food the fortified position holds. The attacking force can circumvallate the besieged place, to build a line of earth-works, consisting of a rampart and trench, surrounding it. During the process of circumvallation, the attacking force can be set upon by another force, an ally of the besieged place, due to the lengthy amount of time required to force it to capitulate. A defensive ring of forts outside the ring of circumvallated forts, called contravallation, is sometimes used to defend the attackers from outside. Ancient cities in the Middle East show archaeological evidence of having had fortified city walls. During the Warring States era of ancient China, there is both textual and archaeological evidence of prolonged sieges and siege machinery used against the defenders of city walls. Siege machinery was a tradition of the ancient Greco-Roman world. During the Renaissance and the early modern period, siege warfare dominated the conduct of war in Europe.
Leonardo da Vinci gained as much of his renown from the design of fortifications as from his artwork. Medieval campaigns were designed around a succession of sieges. In the Napoleonic era, increasing use of more powerful cannon reduced the value of fortifications. In the 20th century, the significance of the classical siege declined. With the advent of mobile warfare, a single fortified stronghold is no longer as decisive as it once was. While traditional sieges do still occur, they are not as common as they once were due to changes in modes of battle, principally the ease by which huge volumes of destructive power can be directed onto a static target. Modern sieges are more the result of smaller hostage, militant, or extreme resisting arrest situations; the Assyrians deployed large labour forces to build new palaces and defensive walls. Some settlements in the Indus Valley Civilization were fortified. By about 3500 BC, hundreds of small farming villages dotted the Indus River floodplain. Many of these settlements had planned streets.
The stone and mud brick houses of Kot Diji were clustered behind massive stone flood dikes and defensive walls, for neighbouring communities quarrelled about the control of prime agricultural land. Mundigak in present-day south-east Afghanistan has defensive walls and square bastions of sun-dried bricks. City walls and fortifications were essential for the defence of the first cities in the ancient Near East; the walls were built of mudbricks, wood, or a combination of these materials, depending on local availability. They may have served the dual purpose of showing presumptive enemies the might of the kingdom; the great walls surrounding the Sumerian city of Uruk gained a widespread reputation. The walls were 9.5 km in length, up to 12 m in height. The walls of Babylon, reinforced by towers and ditches, gained a similar reputation. In Anatolia, the Hittites built massive stone walls around their cities atop hillsides, taking advantage of the terrain. In Shang Dynasty China, at the site of Ao, large walls were erected in the 15th century BC that had dimensions of 20 m in width at the base and enclosed an area of some 2,100 yards squared.
The ancient Chinese capital for the State of Zhao, founded in 386 BC had walls that were 20 m wide at the base. The cities of the Indus Valley Civilization showed less effort in constructing defences, as did the Minoan civilization on Crete; these civilizations relied more on the defence of their outer borders or sea shores. Unlike the ancient Minoan civilization, the Mycenaean Greeks emphasized the need for fortifications alongside natural defences of mountainous terrain, such as the massive Cyclopean walls built at Mycenae and other adjacent Late Bronze Age centers of central and southern Greece. Although there are depictions of sieges from the ancient Near East in historical sources and in art, there are few examples of siege systems that have been found archaeologically. Of the few examples, several are noteworthy: The late 9th-century BC siege system surrounding Tell es-Safi/Gath, consists of a 2.5 km long siege trench and other elements, is the earliest evidence of a circumvallation system known in the world.
It was built by Hazael of Aram Damascus, as part of his siege and conquest of Philistine Gath in the late 9th century BC (mentio
Cavalry or horsemen are soldiers or warriors who fight mounted on horseback. Cavalry were the most mobile of the combat arms. An individual soldier in the cavalry is known by a number of designations such as cavalryman, dragoon, or trooper; the designation of cavalry was not given to any military forces that used other animals, such as camels, mules or elephants. Infantry who moved on horseback, but dismounted to fight on foot, were known in the 17th and early 18th centuries as dragoons, a class of mounted infantry which evolved into cavalry proper while retaining their historic title. Cavalry had the advantage of improved mobility, a man fighting from horseback had the advantages of greater height and inertial mass over an opponent on foot. Another element of horse mounted warfare is the psychological impact a mounted soldier can inflict on an opponent; the speed and shock value of the cavalry was appreciated and exploited in armed forces in the Ancient and Middle Ages. In Europe cavalry became armoured, became known for the mounted knights.
During the 17th century cavalry in Europe lost most of its armor, ineffective against the muskets and cannon which were coming into use, by the mid-19th century armor had fallen into disuse, although some regiments retained a small thickened cuirass that offered protection against lances and sabres and some protection against shot. In the period between the World Wars, many cavalry units were converted into motorized infantry and mechanized infantry units, or reformed as tank troops. However, some cavalry still served during World War II, notably in the Red Army, the Mongolian People's Army, the Royal Italian Army, the Romanian Army, the Polish Land Forces, light reconnaissance units within the Waffen SS. Most cavalry units that are horse-mounted in modern armies serve in purely ceremonial roles, or as mounted infantry in difficult terrain such as mountains or forested areas. Modern usage of the term refers to units performing the role of reconnaissance and target acquisition. In many modern armies, the term cavalry is still used to refer to units that are a combat arm of the armed forces which in the past filled the traditional horse-borne land combat light cavalry roles.
These include scouting, skirmishing with enemy reconnaissance elements to deny them knowledge of own disposition of troops, forward security, offensive reconnaissance by combat, defensive screening of friendly forces during retrograde movement, restoration of command and control, battle handover and passage of lines, relief in place, breakout operations, raiding. The shock role, traditionally filled by heavy cavalry, is filled by units with the "armored" designation. Before the Iron Age, the role of cavalry on the battlefield was performed by light chariots; the chariot originated with the Sintashta-Petrovka culture in Central Asia and spread by nomadic or semi-nomadic Indo-Iranians. The chariot was adopted by settled peoples both as a military technology and an object of ceremonial status by the pharaohs of the New Kingdom of Egypt as well as the Assyrian army and Babylonian royalty; the power of mobility given by mounted units was recognized early on, but was offset by the difficulty of raising large forces and by the inability of horses to carry heavy armor.
Cavalry techniques were an innovation of equestrian nomads of the Central Asian and Iranian steppe and pastoralist tribes such as the Iranic Parthians and Sarmatians. The photograph above left shows Assyrian cavalry from reliefs of 865–860 BC. At this time, the men had no spurs, saddle cloths, or stirrups. Fighting from the back of a horse was much more difficult than mere riding; the cavalry acted in pairs. At this early time, cavalry used swords and bows; the sculpture implies two types of cavalry. Images of Assyrian cavalry show saddle cloths as primitive saddles, allowing each archer to control his own horse; as early as 490 BC a breed of large horses was bred in the Nisaean plain in Media to carry men with increasing amounts of armour, but large horses were still exceptional at this time. By the fourth century BC the Chinese during the Warring States period began to use cavalry against rival states, by 331 BC when Alexander the Great defeated the Persians the use of chariots in battle was obsolete in most nations.
The last recorded use of chariots as a shock force in continental Europe was during the Battle of Telamon in 225 BC. However, chariots remained in use for ceremonial purposes such as carrying the victorious general in a Roman triumph, or for racing. Outside of mainland Europe, the southern Britons met Julius Caesar with chariots in 55 and 54 BC, but by the time of the Roman conquest of Britain a century chariots were obsolete in Britannia; the last mention of chariot use in Britain was by the Caledonians at the Mons Graupius, in 84 AD. During the classical Greek period cavalry were limited to those citizens who could afford expensive war-horses. Three types of cavalry became common: light cavalry, whose riders, armed with javelins, could harass and skirmish.
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke was a Prussian field marshal. The chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years, he is regarded as the creator of a new, more modern method of directing armies in the field, he is described as embodying "Prussian military organization and tactical genius." He is referred to as Moltke the Elder to distinguish him from his nephew Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, who commanded the German Army at the outbreak of World War I. Moltke was born in Parchim, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, son of the German Generalleutnant in Danish service Friedrich Philipp Victor von Moltke. In 1805, his father settled in Holstein, but about the same time was left impoverished when the French burned his country house and plundered his townhouse in Lübeck, where his wife and children were during the War of the Fourth Coalition of 1806-1807. Young Moltke, grew up under difficult circumstances. At nine he was sent as a boarder to Hohenfelde in Holstein, at age twelve went to the cadet school at Copenhagen, being destined for the Danish army and court.
In 1818 he became a page to the king of Denmark and a second lieutenant in a Danish infantry regiment. At twenty-one, Moltke resolved to enter the Prussian service, in spite of the loss of seniority. In 1822 he became a second lieutenant in the 8th Infantry Regiment stationed at Frankfurt an der Oder. At twenty-three he was allowed to enter the general war school, where he studied the full three years, graduating in 1826. For a year Moltke had charge of a cadet school at Frankfurt an der Oder he was for three years employed on the military survey in Silesia and Posen. In 1832 he was seconded for service on the general staff at Berlin, to which he was transferred in 1833 on promotion to first lieutenant, he was at this time regarded as a brilliant officer by his superiors, including Prince William a lieutenant-general. Moltke was well received in the best society of Berlin, his tastes inclined him to historical study and to travel. In 1827 he had published The Two Friends. In 1831 he wrote an essay entitled Holland and Belgium in their Mutual Relations, from their Separation under Philip II to their Reunion under William I.
A year he wrote An Account of the Internal Circumstances and Social Conditions of Poland, a study based both on reading and on personal observation of Polish life and character. In 1832 he contracted to translate Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire into German, for which he was to receive 75 marks, his object being to earn the money to buy a horse. In eighteen months he had finished nine volumes out of twelve, but the publisher failed to produce the book and Moltke never received more than 25 marks. In 1835 on his promotion as captain, Moltke obtained six months leave to travel in south-eastern Europe. After a short stay in Constantinople he was requested by the Sultan Mahmud II to help modernize the Ottoman Empire army, being duly authorized from Berlin he accepted the offer, he remained two years at Constantinople, learned Turkish and surveyed the city of Constantinople, the Bosphorus, the Dardanelles. He travelled through Wallachia and Rumelia, made many other journeys on both sides of the Strait.
In 1838 Moltke was sent as an adviser to the Ottoman general commanding the troops in Anatolia, to carry on a campaign against Muhammad Ali of Egypt. During the summer Moltke made extensive reconnaissances and surveys, riding several thousand miles in the course of his journey, he visited and mapped many parts of the Ottoman Empire. In 1839 the army moved south to fight the Egyptians, but upon the approach of the enemy, the general refused to listen to Moltke's advice. Moltke took charge of the artillery. In the Battle of Nezib on 24 June 1839, the Ottoman army was beaten. With great difficulty, Moltke made his way back to the Black Sea, thence to Constantinople, his patron, Sultan Mahmud II, was dead, so he returned to Berlin where he arrived, broken in health, in December 1839. Once home Moltke published some of the letters he had written as Letters on Conditions and Events in Turkey in the Years 1835 to 1839; this book was well received at the time. Early the next year he married a young English woman, Maria Bertha Helena Burt, the daughter of John Heyliger Burt esq. of St. Croix in the Danish West Indies, who married his sister Augusta.
It was a happy union. In 1840 Moltke had been appointed to the staff of the 4th Army Corps, stationed at Berlin and he published his maps of Constantinople, jointly with other German travellers, a new map of Asia Minor and a memoir on the geography of that country, he became fascinated by railroads and he was one of the first directors of the Hamburg-Berlin railway. In 1843 he published an article What Considerations should determine the Choice of the Course of Railways?. In 1845 Moltke published The Russo-Turkish Campaign in Europe, 1828–1829. In that year, he served in Rome as personal adjutant to Prince Henry of Prussia, which allowed him to create another map of the Eternal City. In 1848, after a brief return to the General Staff in Berlin, he became Chief of the Staff of the 4th Army Corps, of which the headquarters were at Magdeburg, where he remained seven years, during which he rose to Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel. In 1855 Moltke served as personal aide to Prince Frederick, he accompanied the prince to England, as well as to Paris and to S
George S. Patton
George Smith Patton Jr. was a General of the United States Army who commanded the U. S. Seventh Army in the Mediterranean theater of World War II, the U. S. Third Army in France and Germany following the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Born in 1885 to a family with an extensive military background that spanned both the United States and Confederate States armies, Patton attended the Virginia Military Institute and the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, he studied fencing and designed the M1913 Cavalry Saber, more known as the "Patton Saber", was sufficiently skilled in the sport of modern pentathlon to compete in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. Patton first saw combat during the Pancho Villa Expedition in 1916, taking part in America's first military action using motor vehicles; as part of the newly formed United States Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces he saw action in World War I, commanding the U. S. tank school in France before being wounded while leading tanks into combat near the end of the war.
In the interwar period, Patton remained a central figure in the development of the Army's armored warfare doctrine, serving in numerous staff positions throughout the country. Rising through the ranks, he commanded the 2nd Armored Division at the time of the American entry into World War II. Patton led U. S. troops into the Mediterranean theater with an invasion of Casablanca during Operation Torch in 1942, soon established himself as an effective commander through his rapid rehabilitation of the demoralized U. S. II Corps, he commanded the U. S. Seventh Army during the Allied invasion of Sicily, where he was the first Allied commander to reach Messina. There he was embroiled in controversy after he slapped two shell-shocked soldiers under his command, was temporarily removed from battlefield command, he was assigned a key role in Operation Fortitude, the Allies' disinformation campaign for Operation Overlord. Following the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, Patton was given command of the Third Army, which conducted a successful rapid armored drive across France.
Under his decisive leadership the Third Army took the lead in relieving beleaguered American troops at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, after which his forces drove deep into Nazi Germany by the end of the war. During the Allied occupation of Germany Patton was named military governor of Bavaria, but was relieved over his aggressive statements towards the Soviet Union and trivializing denazification, he commanded the United States Fifteenth Army for more than two months. Injured in an auto accident, he died in Germany twelve days on December 21, 1945. Patton's colorful image, hard-driving personality and success as a commander were at times overshadowed by his controversial public statements, his philosophy of leading from the front and ability to inspire troops with attention-getting, vulgarity-ridden speeches, such as a famous address to the Third Army, met with mixed receptions, favorably with his troops but much less so among a divided Allied high command. His strong emphasis on rapid and aggressive offensive action proved effective, he was regarded by his opponents in the German High Command.
An award-winning biographical film released in 1970, helped solidify his image as an American folk hero. George Smith Patton Jr. was born on November 11, 1885 in San Gabriel, California, to George Smith Patton Sr. and his wife Ruth Wilson. Patton had a younger sister, nicknamed "Nita." As a child, Patton had difficulty learning to read and write, but overcame this and was known in his adult life to be an avid reader. He was tutored from home until the age of eleven, when he was enrolled in Stephen Clark's School for Boys, a private school in Pasadena, for six years. Patton was described as an intelligent boy and was read on classical military history the exploits of Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as those of family friend John Singleton Mosby, who stopped by the Patton family home when George S. Patton was a child, he was a devoted horseback rider. Patton married Beatrice Banning Ayer, the daughter of Boston industrialist Frederick Ayer, on May 26, 1910, in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts.
They had three children, Beatrice Smith, Ruth Ellen, George Patton IV. Beatrice Patton died in 1954. Patton never considered a career other than the military. At the age of seventeen he sought an appointment to the United States Military Academy. Patton applied to several universities with Reserve Officer's Training Corps programs. Patton was accepted to Princeton College but decided on Virginia Military Institute, which his father and grandfather had attended, he attended the school from 1903 to 1904 and, though he struggled with reading and writing, performed exceptionally in uniform and appearance inspection as well as military drill. While Patton was at VMI, a senator from California nominated him for West Point, he was an initiate of the Beta Commission of Kappa Alpha Order. In his plebe year at West Point, Patton adjusted to the routine. However, his academic performance was so poor that he was forced to repeat his first year after failing mathematics. Patton excelled at military drills, he was cadet sergeant major during his junior year, the cadet adjutant his senior year.
He joined the football team, but he injured his arm and stopped playing on several occasions. Instead he tried out for the sword team and track and field and specialized in the modern pentathlon, he c
Battle of Isandlwana
The Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879 was the first major encounter in the Anglo–Zulu War between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom. Eleven days after the British commenced their invasion of Zululand in South Africa, a Zulu force of some 20,000 warriors attacked a portion of the British main column consisting of about 1,800 British and native troops and 400 civilians; the Zulus were equipped with the traditional assegai iron spears and cow-hide shields, but had a number of muskets and old rifles. The British and colonial troops were armed with the modern Martini-Henry breech-loading rifle and two 7-pounder mountain guns deployed as field guns, as well as a Hale rocket battery. Despite a vast disadvantage in weapons technology, the Zulus overwhelmed the British, killing over 1,300 troops, including all those out on the forward firing line; the Zulu army suffered anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 killed. The battle was a decisive victory for the Zulus and caused the defeat of the first British invasion of Zululand.
The British Army had suffered its worst defeat against an indigenous foe with vastly inferior military technology. Isandlwana resulted in the British taking a much more aggressive approach in the Anglo–Zulu War, leading to a reinforced second invasion and the destruction of King Cetshwayo's hopes of a negotiated peace. Following the scheme by which Lord Carnarvon had brought about Confederation in Canada through the 1867 British North America Act, it was thought that a similar plan might succeed in South Africa and in 1877 Sir Henry Bartle Frere was appointed as High Commissioner for Southern Africa to instigate the scheme; some of the obstacles to such a plan were the presence of the independent states of the South African Republic and the Kingdom of Zululand, both of which the British Empire would attempt to overcome by force of arms. Bartle Frere, on his own initiative, without the approval of the British government and with the intent of instigating a war with the Zulu, had presented an ultimatum to the Zulu king Cetshwayo on 11 December 1878 with which the Zulu king could not comply.
When the ultimatum expired a month Bartle Frere ordered Lord Chelmsford to proceed with an invasion of Zululand, for which plans had been made. Lord Chelmsford, the Commander-in-Chief of British forces during the war planned a five-pronged invasion of Zululand consisting of over 15,000 troops in five columns and designed to encircle the Zulu army and force it to fight as he was concerned that the Zulus would avoid battle, slip around the invaders and over the Tugela, strike at Natal. Lord Chelmsford settled on three invading columns with the main centre column, now consisting of some 7,800 men comprising the called No. 3 Column, commanded by the Colonel of the 24th Richard Glynn, Durnford's No.2 Column, under his direct command. He moved his troops from Pietermaritzburg to a forward camp at Helpmekaar, past Greytown. On 9 January 1879 they moved to Rorke's Drift, early on 11 January commenced crossing the Buffalo River into Zululand; the backbone of the British force under Lord Chelmsford consisted of twelve regular infantry companies: six each of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 24th Regiment of Foot, which were hardened and reliable troops.
In addition, there were 2,500 local African auxiliaries of the Natal Native Contingent, many of whom were exiled or refugee Zulu. They were led by European officers, but were considered of poor quality by the British as they were prohibited from using their traditional fighting technique and inadequately trained in the European method as well as being indifferently armed. There were some irregular colonial cavalry units, a detachment of artillery consisting of six field guns and several Congreve rockets. Adding on wagon drivers, camp followers and servants, there were more than 4,000 men in the Number 3 Column, not including Durnford's Number 2 Column; because of the urgency required to accomplish their scheme, Bartle Frere and Chelmsford began the invasion during the rainy season. This had the consequence of slowing the British advance to a crawl; the Zulu army, while a product of a warrior culture, was a militia force which could be called out in time of national danger. It had a limited logistical capacity and could only stay in the field a few weeks before the troops would be obliged to return to their civilian duties.
Zulu warriors were armed with assegai thrusting spears, known in Zulu as iklwa, knobkierrie clubs, some throwing spears and shields made of cowhide. The Zulu warrior, his regiment and the army drilled in the personal and tactical use and coordination of this weapons system; some Zulus had old muskets and antiquated rifles stockpiled, a few of which were carried by Zulu impi. However, their marksmanship was poor and supply of powder and shot dreadful, maintenance non-existent and attitude towards firearms summed up in the observation that: "The generality of Zulu warriors, would not have firearms – the arms of a coward, as they said, for they enable the poltroon to kill the brave without awaiting his attack." The British had timed the invasion to coincide with the harvest, intending to catch the Zulu warrior-farmers dispersed. Fortuitously for Cetshwayo, the Zulu army had begun to assemble at Ulundi, as it did every year for the First Fruits ceremony when all warriors were duty-bound to report to their regimental barracks near Ulundi.
Cetshwayo sent the 24,000 strong main Zulu impi from near present-day Ulundi, on 17 January, across the White Umfolozi River with the following command to his warriors: "March attack at dawn and eat up the red
Genghis Khan was the founder and first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death. He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia. After founding the Empire and being proclaimed "Genghis Khan", he launched the Mongol invasions that conquered most of Eurasia. Campaigns initiated in his lifetime include those against the Qara Khitai and Khwarazmian, Western Xia and Jin dynasties; these campaigns were accompanied by large-scale massacres of the civilian populations – in the Khwarazmian and Western Xia controlled lands. By the end of his life, the Mongol Empire occupied a substantial portion of Central China. Before Genghis Khan died, his grandsons split his empire into khanates. Genghis Khan died in 1227 after defeating the Western Xia. By his request, his body was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in Mongolia, his descendants extended the Mongol Empire across most of Eurasia by conquering or creating vassal states in all of modern-day China, the Caucasus, Central Asia, substantial portions of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia.
Many of these invasions repeated the earlier large-scale slaughters of local populations. As a result, Genghis Khan and his empire have a fearsome reputation in local histories. Beyond his military accomplishments, Genghis Khan advanced the Mongol Empire in other ways, he decreed the adoption of the Uyghur script as the Mongol Empire's writing system. He practiced meritocracy and encouraged religious tolerance in the Mongol Empire, unified the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia. Present-day Mongolians regard him as the founding father of Mongolia. Genghis Khan was known for the brutality of his campaigns, is considered by many to have been a genocidal ruler. However, he is credited with bringing the Silk Road under one cohesive political environment; this brought easy communication and trade between Northeast Asia, Muslim Southwest Asia, Christian Europe, expanding the cultural horizons of all three areas. Genghis Khan was related on his father's side to Khabul Khan and Hotula Khan, who had headed the Khamag Mongol confederation and were descendants of Bodonchar Munkhag.
When the Jurchen Jin dynasty switched support from the Mongols to the Tatars in 1161, they destroyed Khabul Khan. Genghis Khan's father, Yesügei, emerged as the head of the ruling Mongol clan; this position was contested by the rival Tayichi'ud clan. When the Tatars grew too powerful after 1161, the Jin switched their support from the Tatars to the Keraites. Little is known about Genghis Khan's early life, due to the lack of contemporary written records; the few sources that give insight into this period contradict. Genghis Khan's birth name, Temüjin, was derived from the Mongol word temür meaning "of iron", while jin denotes agency. Temüjin thus means "blacksmith". Genghis Khan was born in 1162 in Delüün Boldog, near the mountain Burkhan Khaldun and the rivers Onon and Kherlen in modern-day northern Mongolia, close to the current capital Ulaanbaatar; the Secret History of the Mongols reports that Temüjin was born grasping a blood clot in his fist, a traditional sign that he was destined to become a great leader.
He was the second son of his father Yesügei, a Kiyad chief prominent in the Khamag Mongol confederation and an ally of Toghrul of the Keraite tribe. Temüjin was the first son of his mother Hoelun. According to the Secret History, Temüjin was named after the Tatar chief Temüjin-üge whom his father had just captured. Yesukhei's clan was Borjigin, Hoelun was from the Olkhunut sub-lineage of the Khongirad tribe. Like other tribes, they were nomads. Temüjin's noble background made it easier for him to solicit help from and consolidate the other Mongol tribes. Temüjin had three brothers Hasar and Temüge, one sister Temülen, two half-brothers Begter and Belgutei. Like many of the nomads of Mongolia, Temüjin's early life was difficult, his father arranged a marriage for him and delivered him at age nine to the family of his future wife Börte of the tribe Khongirad. Temüjin was to live there serving the head of the household Dai Setsen until the marriageable age of 12. While heading home, his father ran into the neighboring Tatars, who had long been Mongol enemies, they offered him food that poisoned him.
Upon learning this, Temüjin returned home to claim his father's position as chief. But the tribe abandoned the family, leaving it without protection. For the next several years, the family lived in poverty, surviving on wild fruits, ox carcasses and other small game killed by Temüjin and his brothers. Temujin's older half-brother Begter began to exercise power as the eldest male in the family and would have the right to claim Hoelun as wife. Temujin's resentment erupted during one hunting excursion when Temüjin and his brother Khasar killed Begter. In a raid around 1177, Temujin was captured by his father's former allies, the Tayichi'ud, enslaved with a cangue. With the help of a sympathetic guard, he escaped from the ger at night by hiding in a river crevice; the escape earned Temüjin a reputation. Soon, Jelme and Bo'orchu joined forces with him, they and the guard's son Chilaun became generals of Genghis Khan. At this time, none of the tribal confederations of Mongolia were united politically, an
Albrecht von Wallenstein
Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein von Waldstein, was a Bohemian military leader and nobleman who gained prominence during the Thirty Years' War, in the Catholic side. His outstanding martial career made him one of the most influential men in the Holy Roman Empire by the time of his death. Wallenstein became the supreme commander of the armies of the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand II and was a major figure of the Thirty Years' War. Wallenstein was born in Heřmanice into a poor Protestant noble family, he acquired a multilingual university education across Europe and converted to Roman Catholicism in 1606. A marriage in 1609 to the wealthy widow of a Bohemian landowner gave Wallenstein access to considerable estates and wealth after her death at an early age in 1614. Three years Wallenstein embarked on a career as a military contractor by raising forces for the Emperor in the war against Venice. Wallenstein fought for the Catholics against the Protestant Bohemian revolt in 1618 and confiscated and was awarded further estates after the defeat of the rebels at White Mountain in 1620.
A series of military victories against the Protestants raised Wallenstein's reputation in the Imperial court and in 1625 he raised a large army of 50,000 men to further the Imperial cause. A year he administered a crushing defeat to the Protestants at Dessau Bridge. For his successes, Wallenstein became an Imperial count palatine and made himself ruler of the lands of the Duchy of Friedland in northern Bohemia. An imperial generalissimo by land, Admiral of the Baltic Sea from 21 April 1628, Wallenstein found himself released from service on 13 August 1630 after Ferdinand grew wary of his ambition. Several Protestant victories over Catholic armies induced Ferdinand to recall Wallenstein, who defeated the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus at Alte Veste and killed him at Lützen. Dissatisfied with the Emperor's treatment of him, Wallenstein considered allying with the Protestants. However, he was assassinated at Eger in Bohemia by one of the army's officials, with the emperor's approval. Wallenstein was born on 24 September 1583 in Heřmanice, the easternmost and largest region in what was the Holy Roman Empire, the present-day Czech Republic, into a poor Protestant branch of the Waldstein family who owned Heřmanice castle and seven surrounding villages.
His mother, Markéta Smiřická of Smiřice, died in 1593. They had raised him bilingually – the father spoke German while his mother preferred Czech – yet Wallenstein in his childhood had a better command of Czech than of German, his parents' religious affiliations were Utraquist Hussitism. After their deaths, Albrecht for two years lived with his maternal uncle Heinrich Slavata of Chlum and Košumberk, a member of the Unity of the Brethren, adopted his uncle's religious affiliation, his uncle sent him to the brethren's school at Košumberk Castle in Eastern Bohemia. In 1597, Albrecht was sent to the Protestant Latin school at Goldberg in Silesia, where the then-German environment led him to hone his German language skills. While German became Wallenstein's lingua franca, he is said to have continued to curse in Czech. On 29 August 1599, Wallenstein continued his education at the Protestant University of Altdorf near Nuremberg, where he was engaged in brawls and épée fights, leading to his imprisonment in the town prison.
In February 1600, Albrecht left Altdorf and travelled around the Holy Roman Empire and Italy, where he studied at the universities of Bologna and Padua. By this time, Wallenstein was fluent in German, Czech and Italian, was able to understand Spanish, spoke some French. Wallenstein joined the army of the Emperor Rudolf II in Hungary, under the command of Giorgio Basta, he saw two years of armed service against the Ottoman Turks and Hungarian rebels. In 1604, his sister Kateřina Anna married the leader of the Moravian Protestants, Karel the Older of Zierotin, he studied at the University of Olomouc. His contact with the Olomouc Jesuits was responsible for his conversion to Catholicism in the same year; the contributory factor to his conversion may have been the Counter-Reformation policy of the Habsburgs that barred Protestants from being appointed to higher offices at court in Bohemia and in Moravia, the impressions he gathered in Catholic Italy. However, there are no sources indicating the reasons for Wallenstein's conversion, except for a subjunctive anecdote by his contemporary Franz Christoph von Khevenhüller about the Virgin Mary saving Wallenstein's life when he fell from a window in Innsbruck.
Wallenstein was made a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece. In 1607, based on recommendations by his brother-in-law and another relative, Adam of Waldstein mistakenly referred to as his uncle, Wallenstein was made chamberlain at the court of Matthias, also chamberlain to archdukes Ferdinand and Maximilian. In 1609, Wallenstein married the Czech Lucretia of Víckov, née Nekšová, of Landek, the wealthy widow of Arkleb of Víckov who owned the towns of Vsetín, Rymice and Všetuly/Holešov, she was three years older than Wallenstein, he inherited her estates after her death in 1614. He used his wealth to win favour and commanding 200 horses for Archduke Ferdinand of Styria for his war with Venice in 1617, thereby relieving the fortress of Gradisca from the Venetian siege, he endowed a monastery in his late wife's name and had her reburied there. In 1623, Wallenstein married Isabella Katharina, daug