- 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 Romeand 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 Warwas awarded by the Roman Senatethe title "Africanus" and is thus known to history as "Scipio Africanus" (his adopted grandson Scipio Aemilianus Africanuswas awarded the same title after the Third Punic Warand is known as "Scipio Africanus the Younger"). Other notable holders of such victory titles include Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus, who was replaced by Gaius Mariusin 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 Isauricusin 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.
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 vassalto 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.
Victory titles were popular in the
Russian Empirein the period between the reigns of Catherine the Greatand Nicholas I of Russia. As early as 1707, after Alexander Menshikovoccupied Swedish Ingria(Izhora) during the Great Northern War, Peter I of Russiaofficially designated him Prince Izhorsky. Other Russian victory titles, sometimes for whole campaigns rather than specific battles, include:
*1775 — "Chesmensky" ("Chesmean") for Count
Aleksey Orlovfor his victory in the naval Battle of Chesma;
*1775 — "Zadunaisky" ("Transdanubian") for Count
Pyotr Rumyantsevfor his crossing the Danubeduring the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774;
*1775 — "Krymsky" ("Crimean") for Prince
Vasily Mikhailovich Dolgorukovfor his victories in the Crimea during the said war;
*1783 — His Serene Highness Prince "Tavrichesky" for
Grigori Potemkinfor his annexation of the Crimeaand New Russia( Tauridawas the ancient Greek name of the area; see also Tauride Palace);
*1789 — "Rymniksky" for
Alexander Suvorovfor 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 Kutuzovfor his defeat of Napoleon at Krasnoi near Smolenskduring Napoleon's invasion of Russia;
*1827 — Count "Erivansky" for
Ivan Paskevichfor his capture of Erivanin Armenia during the Russo-Persian War, 1826-1828;
*1829 — "Zabalkansky" ("Transbalkanian") for Count
Ivan Dibichfor having crossed the Balkan Mountainsduring the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829;
*1831 — His Serene Highness Prince "Varshavsky" ("Warsawian") for Paskevich for having taken
Warsawduring the November Uprising;
*1855 — "Karssky" for Count Nicholas Muravyov for his capture of
Karsafter 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 Riverunder the Treaty of Aigun.
Napoleon IBonaparte, 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:
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.
Napoleon IIInever 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 Pélissierin 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.
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 Forcein 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 Alameinagainst 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 designationrather 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 Kitchenerof 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 Forcein 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 Lordand 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 MarshalSir 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.
Austrian empiretitles 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 Habsburgrulers of Austria also granted victory titles. This was particularly common during World War I. Examples include:
Colonel GeneralViktor 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 GeneralJosef Roth, who played a decisive role in the Battle of Limanowain 1914, when the Austro-Hungarian Armyrepelled a Russian breakthrough, was ennobled as Freiherr ( baron) in 1918 with the style of "Freiherr Roth von Limanowa-Lapanow".
Major GeneralIgnaz Trollmann, whose XIX. Corps helped to conquer the Lovćenmountain near Kotorin 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
Habsburgrulers of Hungary also granted victory titles. Miklós Horthywas, as Regentof Hungaryafter World War I, not authorized to grant noble titles, but had the right to confer the Order of Vitézwhich 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
Craiovaduring the Turkish wars.
Sándor Szurmaywas created baron by King Charles IV with the predicate "de Uzsok" or "Uzsoki". He was the hero of the battle of Uzsokduring World War I.
Colonel General Stefan Sarkotić, the Commanding General in Bosnia and Herzegovina during World War I, was ennobled as a Hungarian baronand the style of "Baron Sarkotić von Lovćen" in early 1917 after Trollmann's XIX. Corps had conquered the Lovćenmountain near Kotor.
Gyula Csesznekywas granted the title of " vitézMilványi" by Regent Horthy because of his bravery at Miluanivillage during the reannexation of Northern Transylvania. His title was later confirmed by Tomislav II., the designated king of Croatia, as Baron Cseszneky de Milvány.
*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 Waterlooin 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 Siciliesagainst 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 Naplesto 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).
*titles including "protector", such as
List of nicknames of European Royalty and Nobility
François R. Velde. [http://www.heraldica.org/topics/france/napoleon.htm#victory Napoleonic Titles and Heraldry: Victory Titles] , [http://www.heraldica.org/ www.heraldica.org]
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