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Battle of St. Quentin (1557)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Battle of St. Quentin
Part of the Italian War of 1551–1559
Emanuele Filiberto vince i Francesi a San Quintino.png

Yield of the French to the Duke of Savoy Emanuele Filiberto
Date10 – 27 August 1557
Result Habsburg Spanish victory
Spanish Empire
 Duchy of Savoy
 Kingdom of France
Commanders and leaders
Savoy Emmanuel Philibert
Spain Ferrante I Gonzaga
Spain Lamoral, Count of Egmont
Spain Julián Romero
Kingdom of France Louis Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers
Kingdom of France Anne de Montmorency
7,000 English troops[2]
Casualties and losses
1,000 10,000 casualties (3,000 killed and 7,000 captured)[1] or 14,000[3]

The Battle of Saint-Quentin of 1557, was a decisive engagement, during the Italian War of 1551–1559, between the Kingdom of France and the Habsburg empire, at Saint-Quentin in Picardy. A Habsburg Spanish force under Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy defeated a French army under the command of Duke Louis Gonzaga and Duke Anne de Montmorency.


The battle took place on the Feast Day of St. Lawrence 10 August.[2] Philibert, with his English allies,[a][b] had placed St. Quentin under siege. Montmorency with a force of around 26,000 men marched to St. Quentin to relieve the city.[2] Facing a force twice their size, Montmorency attempted to gain access to St. Quentin through a marsh, but a delayed French withdrawal allowed the Spanish to defeat the French and capture Montmorency.[2]

During the battle the Saint-Quentin collegiate church was badly damaged by fire.[7]

After the victory over the French at St. Quentin, "the sight of the battlefield gave Philip a permanent distaste for war"; he declined to pursue his advantage, withdrawing to the Spanish Netherlands to the north,[2] where he had been the Governor since 1555. The Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis ended the war two years later.[8]

Feast of Saint Lawrence

Being of a grave religious bent, Philip II was aware that 10 August is the Feast of St Lawrence, a Roman deacon who was roasted on a gridiron for his Christian beliefs. Hence, in commemoration of the great victory on St Lawrence’s Day, Philip sent orders to Spain that a great palace in the shape of a gridiron should be built in the Guadarrama Mountains northwest of Madrid. Known as El Escorial, it was finally completed in 1584.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Henry Kamen, Philip of Spain (1997) gives a brief account based on contemporary sources, noting that Spanish troops constituted about 10% of the Habsburg total. Kamen claims that the battle was "won by a mainly Netherlandish army commanded by the non-Spaniards the duke of Savoy and the earl of Egmont".[4] On the other hand, Geoffrey Parker states that Spanish troops were decisive in defeating the French at St. Quentin owing to their high value, as well as in defeating the Ottomans at Hungary in 1532 and at Tunis in 1535, and the German protestants at Mühlberg in 1547.[5]
  2. ^ England had entered the war at the behest of Phillip II, on 7 June 1557.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Bonner 1992, p. 35.
  2. ^ a b c d e Tucker 2010, p. 518.
  3. ^ a b Nolan 2006, p. 756.
  4. ^ Kamen 1997, p. 28.
  5. ^ Parker 1989, p. 41.
  6. ^ Leathes 1907, p. 92.
  7. ^ Klaiber 1993, p. 186.
  8. ^ Wilson 2016, p. 742.


  • Bonner, E.A. (1992). "Continuing the 'Auld Alliance' in the Sixteenth Century". In Simpson, Grant G. (ed.). The Scottish Soldier Abroad, 1247-1967. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Kamen, Henry (1997). Philip of Spain. Yale University Press.
  • Klaiber, Susan (1993). Guarino Guarini's Theatine Architecture. Columbia University Press.
  • Leathes, Stanley (1907). "Habsburg and Valois". In Ward, Adolphus William (ed.). The Cambridge Modern History. 10. Cambridge University Press.
  • Nolan, Cathal J. (2006). The Age of Wars of Religion, 1000-1650: An Encyclopedia of Global Warfare and Civilization. 2. Greenwood Publishing Group.
  • Parker, Geoffrey (1989). España y la rebelión de Flandes. Nerea.
  • Tucker, Spencer C., ed. (2010). "August 10, 1557". A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. II. ABC-CLIO.
  • Wilson, Peter H. (2016). Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire. Harvard University Press.

This page was last edited on 1 July 2021, at 09:23
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