Victory title

Victory title

A victory title is an honorific title adopted by a successful military commander to commemorate his defeat of an enemy nation. This practice was first used by Ancient Rome and is still most commonly associated with the Romans, but it has also been adopted as a practice by many modern empires, especially Napoleonic, British and Russian.

Roman victory titles

Victory titles were treated as Latin "cognomina" and were usually the name of the enemy defeated by the commander. Hence, names like "Africanus" ("the African"), "Numidicus" ("the Numidian"), "Isauricus" ("the Isaurian"), "Creticus" ("the Cretan"), "Gothicus" ("the Goth"), "Germanicus" ("the German") and "Parthicus" ("the Parthian"), seemingly out of place for ardently patriotic Romans, are in fact expressions of Roman superiority over these peoples. Literally, this would be akin to calling generals Erwin Rommel "Rommel the African", George S. Patton, Jr. "Patton the German" and H. Norman Schwarzkopf "Schwarzkopf the Iraqi"; however, the correct sense were better expressed as "Rommel of African "fame", "Patton of German "fame", "Schwarzkopf of Iraqi "fame" and so forth. Some victory titles were treated as hereditary, while others were not passed on.

The practice of awarding victory titles was well-established within the Roman Republic. The most famous grantee of Republican victory title was Publius Cornelius Scipio, who for his great victories in the Second Punic War was awarded by the Roman Senate the title "Africanus" and is thus known to history as "Scipio Africanus" (his adopted grandson Scipio Aemilianus Africanus was awarded the same title after the Third Punic War and is known as "Scipio Africanus the Younger"). Other notable holders of such victory titles include Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus, who was replaced by Gaius Marius in command-in-chief of the Jugurthine War, Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus, who commanded Roman anti-pirate operations in the eastern Mediterranean and was father of Julius Caesar's colleague in his second consulate (Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus in 48 BC), and Marcus Antonius Creticus, another anti-piratical commander and father of Caesar's master of the horse, Mark Antony (of Egyptian fame).

The practice continued in the Roman Empire, although it was subsequently amended by some Roman Emperors who desired to emphasise the totality of their victories by adding "Maximus" ("the Greatest") to the victory title ("e.g.", "Parthicus Maximus", "the Greatest Parthian"). This taste grew to be rather vulgar by modern standards, with increasingly grandiose accumulations of partially fictitious victory titles.

"See also:" List of Imperial Victory Titles

*In a broader sense, the term victory title is sometimes used to describe the "repeatable" awarding of the invariable, style of Imperator (Greek equivalent Autokrator; see those articles), which is the highest military qualification (as modern states have awarded a non-operational highest rank, sometimes instituted for a particular general), but even when it marks the recipient out for one or more memorable victories (and the other use, as a permanent military command for the ruler, became in fact the more significant one), it does not actually specify one.

Medieval victory titles

After the fall of Rome, the practice continued in modified form, notably with
*the first Carolingian emperor of the Franks, Charlemagne, styling himself "Dominator Saxonorum" ("Dominator of the Saxons") after subduing by force the last major pagan people in the empire, henceforward transformed into a stem duchy (under its own ducal dynasty, but vassal to the Holy Roman Emperor)

Modern victory titles

Later, the term would again be applied to titles awarded in commemoration of a major military victory, but now in the guise of a feudal aristocratic title, often hereditary, but only in appearance: an actual fief was not required, indeed they often were granted in chief of a battlefield where the awarding Monarch simply had no constitutional authority to grant anything validly under local law.

This new form also was even more specific than the Roman practice. Instead of naming the enemy -which could well need to be repeated- it linked the name of a battle, which was almost always unique. A further level of protection was available by naming a nearby place, such as 'Austerlitz' which Napoleon declared "sounded" better than the alternative.

Russian Empire

Victory titles were popular in the Russian Empire in the period between the reigns of Catherine the Great and Nicholas I of Russia. As early as 1707, after Alexander Menshikov occupied Swedish Ingria (Izhora) during the Great Northern War, Peter I of Russia officially designated him Prince Izhorsky. Other Russian victory titles, sometimes for whole campaigns rather than specific battles, include:

*1775 — "Chesmensky" ("Chesmean") for Count Aleksey Orlov for his victory in the naval Battle of Chesma;
*1775 — "Zadunaisky" ("Transdanubian") for Count Pyotr Rumyantsev for his crossing the Danube during the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774;
*1775 — "Krymsky" ("Crimean") for Prince Vasily Mikhailovich Dolgorukov for his victories in the Crimea during the said war;
*1783 — His Serene Highness Prince "Tavrichesky" for Grigori Potemkin for his annexation of the Crimea and New Russia (Taurida was the ancient Greek name of the area; see also Tauride Palace);
*1789 — "Rymniksky" for Alexander Suvorov for his victory in the Battle of Rymnik;
*1799 — Prince "Italiysky" ("Italian") for Suvovov, for having cleared Northern Italy from the French republican forces;
*1813 — His Serene Highness Prince "Smolensky" for Mikhail Kutuzov for his defeat of Napoleon at Krasnoi near Smolensk during Napoleon's invasion of Russia;
*1827 — Count "Erivansky" for Ivan Paskevich for his capture of Erivan in Armenia during the Russo-Persian War, 1826-1828;
*1829 — "Zabalkansky" ("Transbalkanian") for Count Ivan Dibich for having crossed the Balkan Mountains during the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829;
*1831 — His Serene Highness Prince "Varshavsky" ("Warsawian") for Paskevich for having taken Warsaw during the November Uprising;
*1855 — "Karssky" for Count Nicholas Muravyov for his capture of Kars after the Siege of Kars;

Furthermore, similar titles were awarded for comparable merits to the empire, e.g. in 1858 — "Amursky" for another Nicholas Muravyov, who had negotiated a new border between Russian and China along the Amur River under the Treaty of Aigun.


First Empire

As Napoleon I Bonaparte, the founder of the dynasty and only ruler (be it twice, interrupted by his Elba period, still with the protocollary rank of Emperor) of France as "premier Empire", owed his success, both his personal rise and the growth of his empire, above all to his military excellence, it is hardly surprising that he bestowed most gratified honours on his generals, mainly the impressive number that got raised to the supreme army rank of "maréchal" (marshal).

The revival of the original victory title, created for a specific victory, was an ideal form, and all incumbents were victorious marshals (or posthumously, in chief of the widow).

The highest of these titles were four nominal principalities, in most cases awarded as a 'promotion' to holders of ducal victory titles:
*Marshal Davout, "Prince d'Eckmühl" – 1809, (extinct 1853) – also "duc d'Auerstaedt" (see below)
*Marshal Masséna, "Prince d'Essling" – 1810 – also "duc de Rivoli"
*Marshal Ney, "Prince de la Moskowa" – 1813, (extinct 1969) – also " duc d'Elchingen" – "Bataille de la Moskowa" is the French name for the Battle of Borodino
*Marshal Berthier, "Prince de Wagram" – 1809, (extinct 1918) – also "duc de Valengin", and "Prince de Neuchâtel" (a sovereign title granted in 1806), neither of which were victory titles.

Next in rank were ten dukedoms:
*Marshal Ney, "duc de Elchingen" – 1808, (extinct 1969) – also "Prince de la Moskowa"
*Marshal Lefebvre, "duc de Dantzig" – 28 May 1807, (extinct 1820) – Dantzig was then still a city republic, which became part of Prussia after Napoleon's defeat, and is now Gdansk in Poland
*Marshal Junot, "duc d'Abrantès" – 1808, (extinct 1859 but extended in female line in 1869, again extinct 1985)
*Marshal Davout, "duc d'Auerstaedt" – 1808, (extinct 1853, extended to collaterals) – also "prince d'Eckmühl"
*Marshal Augereau, "duc de Castiglione" – 1808, (extinct 1915)
*Marshal Lannes, "duc Montebello" – 1808
*Marshal Marmont, "duc de Raguse" – 1808, (extinct 1852) – present-day Dubrovnik, on the Croatian coast; conquered as part of Napoleon's own Italian kingdom, soon part of France's imperial enclave the Illyrian province
*Marshal Masséna, "duc de Rivoli" – 1808 – also "Prince d'Essling"
*Marshal Kellermann, "duc de Valmy" – 1808, (extinct 1868)
*Marshal Suchet, "duc d'Albufera" – 1813.

econd Empire

Although Napoleon III never came close to his predecessor's military genius, is even rather remembered for defeats, he loved tying in to numerous aspects of the First Empire, so he not only revived many of its institutions and reestablished titles Napoleon I had awarded, but also made some new ones.

Probably for lack of memorable military exploits, this included only two victory titles, both of ducal rank:
*Malakoff (from the Crimea War) for maréchal Pélissier in 1856, extinct 1864
*Magenta (from the Campaign of Italy; a newly invented dye was named for the same battle) for maréchal de MacMahon in 1859.

British Empire

Many victory titles have been created in the Peerages of Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Examples include:
*Admiral Sir Adam Duncan, victor of the Battle of Camperdown, was created "Viscount Duncan of Camperdown" in 1797. (His son was later created Earl of Camperdown.)
*Admiral Sir John Jervis, victor of the Battle of Cape St Vincent, was created "Earl of St Vincent" in 1797, and was further created "Viscount St Vincent" in 1801.
*Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Wellesley (later the 1st Duke of Wellington), victor of the Battle of Douro, was in 1809 created "Baron Douro" as the subsidiary title granted to him with the Viscountcy of Wellington (see below). He was later, in 1814, created "Marquess Douro" as the subsidiary title granted to him with the Dukedom of Wellington.
*General Sir Robert Napier, who commanded the Abyssinian Expedition of 1868 and captured the fortress of Magdàla, was created "Baron Napier of Magdala" in 1868.
*Field Marshal Sir John French, the first commander of the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War, was created "Earl of Ypres" in 1922.
*Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, in honour of his 1942 victory in the Egyptian town of El Alamein against Rommel's Afrikakorps, was created "Viscount Montgomery of Alamein" in 1946.
*Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, victor of the Battle of North Cape, was created "Baron Fraser of North Cape" in 1946.
*Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, who oversaw the recapture of Burma from the Japanese, was created "Viscount Mountbatten of Burma" in 1946 and "Earl Mountbatten of Burma" in 1947.

Often the victory is commemorated in the territorial designation rather than the peerage itself. Examples include:
*Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, victor of the Battle of the Nile, was created "Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk", in 1798, and (by this time a Vice-Admiral) was further created "Viscount Nelson, of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk". He was created Duke of Bronte by the Neapolitan king in 1799 and "Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Hilborough in the County of Norfolk" in August 1801. After his victory and death at the Battle of Trafalgar, his brother was created "Earl Nelson, of Trafalgar and of Merton in the County of Surrey", and "Viscount Merton, of Trafalgar and of Merton in the County of Surrey", in 1805, in his honour.
*Lady Abercromby, widow of Sir Ralph Abercromby, victor of the Battle of Aboukir, who had died of wounds received in that battle, was created "Baroness Abercromby, of Aboukir and of Tullibody in the County of Clackmannan", in 1801, in honour of her late husband.
*Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Wellesley (later the 1st Duke of Wellington), victor of the Battle of Talavera, was created "Viscount Wellington, of Talavera and of Wellington in the County of Somerset", in 1809.
*Major-General Sir Herbert Kitchener, in recognition of his victory in the Battle of Omdurman, was created "Baron Kitchener, of Khartoum and of Aspall in the County of Suffolk" (Khartoum being the less obscure but relatively near capital of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan), in 1898, and (by this time a full General) was further created "Viscount Kitchener of Khartoum, of Khartoum and of the Vaal in the Colony of Transvaal and of Aspall in the County of Suffolk" (having been Administrator of Transvaal and of the Orange River Colony in 1901), in 1902, and (by this time a Field Marshal) was further still created "Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and of Broome, of Khartoum and of Broome in the County of Kent", in 1914.
*Field Marshal Sir John French, the first commander of the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War, was created "Viscount French, of Ypres and of High Lake in the County of Roscommon", in 1916.
*Admiral of the Fleet Sir David Beatty, the First Sea Lord and formerly Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet during the last years of the First World War, was, as one of the subsidiary titles granted to him with the Earldom of Beatty, created "Baron Beatty, of the North Sea and of Brooksby in the County of Leicester", in 1919.
*Field Marshal Sir Edmund Allenby, victor of the Battle of Megiddo, was created "Viscount Allenby, of Megiddo and of Felixstowe in the County of Suffolk", in 1919.
*Field Marshal Sir William Birdwood, best known as the commander of the ANZACs in the First World War, was created "Baron Birdwood, of Anzac and of Totnes in the County of Devon", in 1938.
*Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, a senior British general in the Second World War, was created "Baron Wilson, of Libya and of Stowlangtoft in the County of Suffolk", in 1946.
*Field Marshal Sir Julian Byng, who played an important role in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, was created "Baron Byng of Vimy" and was later promoted to a viscountcy.


In the Austrian empire titles of nobility could be amended with territorial designations, the so-called "predicates". These were granted usually named after the estates of the family in question, but sometimes the Habsburg rulers of Austria also granted victory titles. This was particularly common during World War I. Examples include:
* Colonel General Viktor Dankl, who in 1914 defeated Russian forces in the Battle of Kraśnik. When he was made a Graf (count) in 1918, he received the title of "Graf Dankl von Krasnik".
* Colonel General Josef Roth, who played a decisive role in the Battle of Limanowa in 1914, when the Austro-Hungarian Army repelled a Russian breakthrough, was ennobled as Freiherr (baron) in 1918 with the style of "Freiherr Roth von Limanowa-Lapanow".
* Major General Ignaz Trollmann, whose XIX. Corps helped to conquer the Lovćen mountain near Kotor in 1916, was ennobled as Freiherr (baron) in 1917 with the style of "Freiherr Trollmann von Lovcenberg".


The Hungarian system was much like the one employed in Austria. Titles of nobility could be amended with territorial designations, also called "predicates". These were granted usually named after the estates of the family in question, but sometimes the Habsburg rulers of Hungary also granted victory titles. Miklós Horthy was, as Regent of Hungary after World War I, not authorized to grant noble titles, but had the right to confer the Order of Vitéz which also carried noble predicates. Examples of victory titles in Hungary include:
* General Baron Pál Kray de Krajova et Topolya received the predicate "de Krajova" or "Krajovai" after he conquered the Romanian town of Craiova during the Turkish wars.
* Sándor Szurmay was created baron by King Charles IV with the predicate "de Uzsok" or "Uzsoki". He was the hero of the battle of Uzsok during World War I.
* Colonel General Stefan Sarkotić, the Commanding General in Bosnia and Herzegovina during World War I, was ennobled as a Hungarian baron and the style of "Baron Sarkotić von Lovćen" in early 1917 after Trollmann's XIX. Corps had conquered the Lovćen mountain near Kotor.
* Gyula Cseszneky was granted the title of "vitéz Milványi" by Regent Horthy because of his bravery at Miluani village during the reannexation of Northern Transylvania. His title was later confirmed by Tomislav II., the designated king of Croatia, as Baron Cseszneky de Milvány.

Other monarchies

*The Spanish crown has awarded similar titles, such as Duque de Ciudad Rodrigo (hereditary) for the English Viscount Wellington (later Duke of Wellington); in fact it even created similar titles for peace-time merits to the state, such as a well-negotiated peace treaty.
*So did the Portuguese kingdom, as Duque da Vitória (Duke of Victory), Marquês de Torres Vedras (from the Lines of Torres Vedras) and Conde de Vimeiro (from the Battle of Vimeiro) for the same Duke of Wellington.
*The Dutch crown, then of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, created the first Duke of Wellington Prince of Waterloo in 1815.
*In Italy, reunited as kingdom under the Savoy house of Piemonte-Sardinia:
**Cialdini, the Piedmontese general, received the victory title of Duke of Gaeta (ironic since this had been the chief of a Napoleonic "duché grand-fief"), which in 1860 it was the scene of the last stand of Bourbon king Francis II of the Two Sicilies against the forces of United Italy, whose 12,000 men in the fortress, after Garibaldi's occupation of Naples, stubbornly resisted, but 1861-02-13 capitulated after the withdrawal of the French fleet made bombardment from the sea possible, thus sealing the annexation of the Bourbon Kingdom of Naples to the Piedmontese Kingdom of Italy.
**In 1922, General Armando Diaz, Commander-in-Chief of the Italian Army during World War I, was given the title of "Duca della Vittoria" (Duke of the Victory) and Admiral Paolo Thaon di Revel, Chief of Naval Staff the title of "Duca del Mare" (Duke of the Sea).

ee also

*titles including "protector", such as Defensor Perpétuo
*List of nicknames of European Royalty and Nobility


François R. Velde. [ Napoleonic Titles and Heraldry: Victory Titles] , []

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Victory Through Air Power — is a 1942 book by Alexander P. de Seversky, and a 1943 Walt Disney Technicolor [cite web|url=|publisher=imdb|title=Victory Through Air Power (1943)|accessdate=2006 09 06] animated feature film based on the book …   Wikipedia

  • Victory (novel) — Victory: An Island Tale is a novel by Joseph Conrad first published in 1915. Once regarded as comparatively minor amongst Conrad s works, Victory has grown in reputation. Its depiction of the central character, Axel Heyst, and his renunciation of …   Wikipedia

  • Victory Christian Fellowship — is a church based in the Philippines and part of the Every Nation group of churches. Their mission statement [ [ Why We Exist] ] is to honor God and advance His kingdom through church planting, campus… …   Wikipedia

  • Victory Road (2010) — Logo officiel de Victory Road 2010 Généralités Fédération(s) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Victory or death — and its equivalents, is used as a motto or battle cry : It is given as the translation of the heraldic motto of several Scottish clans : Clan MacDougall BUAIDH NO BAS ( Victory or death ) Clan MacNeil BUAIDH NO BAS ( Victory or death )… …   Wikipedia

  • Victory Forge Military Academy — Victory Forge, located in Port St. Lucie, is a 12 month program which purports to utilize military style components for behavior modification. The target audience is rebellious and troubled adolescent males under the age of 18. The academy is… …   Wikipedia

  • Victory by Any Means — ( VBAM ) is a generic wargaming campaign system.History Victory by Any Means began its existence in 2000. Originally a freelance project slated for publication by Agents of Gaming, who at the time held the Babylon 5 wargaming license, the… …   Wikipedia

  • Victory Memorial Gardens — are located on the banks of the Wollundry Lagoon in the central business district of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia. The five acres of land were formerly the site of the Old Police Barracks and Police Paddock, where all of the police… …   Wikipedia

  • Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day — ( hr. Dan pobjede i domovinske zahvalnosti) is a public holiday in Croatia which is held as a memorial to its War of Independence. It is celebrated on August 5. On that date in 1995 the Croatian Army took the city of Knin during Operation Storm,… …   Wikipedia

  • Victory over Japan Day — (V J Day, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, or V P Day) is a name chosen for the day on which the Surrender of Japan occurred, and subsequent anniversaries of that event. The term has been applied to both the day on which the initial… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.