Schwarzenberg

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Name: Schwarzenberg 
Location: Vienna
Country: Austria
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Story by: Guenther Netal

When I visited the Palais von Schwarzenberg in the summer of 1994, I was given a private tour of it. The inside of the Palais was very interesting place.

In 1716 Prince Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg commissioned Johann Fischer von Erlach-together with Lucas von Hildebrand the most significant builders of European Baroque, to complete the Palais and Gardens. It was finished in 1732.

In it I saw two wall size paintings of Peter Paul Reuben. They adorn the walls of the room which was named after him Ruben -Saal." One of the paintings is called Ganymede-which without any doubt has been painted by the master himself, while Romulus and Remus even though coming from the master's atelier, might have been partly executed by his students.

On my walk through the Palais I saw further works of art, such as several still life of Franz Werner Tamm (1658 -1724) In the dining hall there is also a collection of early 17 century Maissen vases, various goblins as well as a collection of East Asian Chinese artifact. The ceiling frescos in the marble hall were painted by Daniel Gran between 1722 and 1726. The marble hall also contains the only original baroque picture gallery in Vienna; it holds works by Carree, Tamm, Hamilton, Horteman, Wouverman, Lingelbach, Weyk and some other unknown
masters.

The vast gardens covering over 15 acres, were planned by Jean Trehet and built by the younger Fischer von Erlach on four levels of terraces with various ponds. The painting Vienna View from Belvedere-by Bernardo Belotto dite  Canelotto which is displayed at the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum-is a marvelous example of what the gardens must have looked like in the 18 century. Today they still contain stone vases designed by Fischer von Erlach and also two groups of sculptures he Four Season and the rape of the Sabine Woman by
Lorenzo Martielli.

The Palais von Schwarzenberg is a hotel now. It belongs to the Chateaux & Relais chain of hotels. It is a very exclusive place. To stay there costs around $300 a night. Upon the completion of the tour, I went and sat on the terrace, had a cup of coffee and a piece of the chocolate pistachio cake that was the specialty of the house. It was really a lovely place to sit, and listen to the birds with the sun shining down on me.  The traffic noises of the city were so far away that I could barely hear them while I sat there eating my cake and drinking my coffee.

Story about the Palais:

Agincourt, Battle of, military engagement during the Hundred Years' War, fought in France on October 25, 1415, between an English army under King Henry V of England and a French one under Charles d'Albret (died 1415), constable of France.  Prior to the action, which took place in a narrow valley near the village of Agincourt (now Azincourt, in Pas-de-Calais Department), Henry, a claimant to the French throne, had invaded France and seized the port of Harfleur. At the time of the action, Henry's army, weakened by disease and hunger, was en route to Calais, from which Henry planned to embark for England. In the course of the march to Calais the English force, which numbered about 6000 men, for the most part lightly equipped archers, was intercepted by d'Albret, whose army of about 25,000 men consisted chiefly of armored cavalry and infantry contingents. The English king, fearful of annihilation, sought a truce with the French, but his terms were rejected.

In the battle, which was preceded by heavy rains, the French troops were at a disadvantage because of their weighty armour, the narrowness of the battleground, the muddy terrain, and the faulty tactics of their superiors, notably in using massed formations against a mobile enemy.  The French cavalry, which occupied frontal positions, quickly became mired in the mud, making easy targets for the English archers. After routing the enemy cavalry, the English troops, wielding hatchets, billhooks (a type of knife), and swords, launched successive assaults on the French infantry. Demoralized by the fate of their cavalry and severely hampered by the mud, the French foot soldiers were completely overwhelmed. D'Albret, several dukes and counts, and about 500 other members of the French nobility were killed; other French casualties totaled about 10,000. English losses numbered fewer than 200 men. French feudal military strategy, traditionally based on the employment of heavily armored troops and cavalry, was completely discredited by Henry's victory. Although Henry returned to England after Agincourt, his triumph paved the way for English domination of most of France until the middle of the 15th century.

This victory was attributed to the English long bow. An archer could shoot three arrows a minute. Historian estimated that at one time over 5,000 arrows darkened the skies during this battle. The armour which the French knights wore, was no longer any protection against these arrows, since the archers were using armour piercing arrow heads.

During the Middle Ages the most notable European archers were the English. Medieval ballads celebrate their feats in hunting, fighting, and, for the first time in recorded history, sport. Outside Europe, in the same period, peoples of the Middle East excelled in archery. Accounts of European travelers during the Renaissance indicate that the bow and arrow was the most important weapon used in the Far East, the Americas, Central Africa, and the Arctic regions.

The introduction of gunpowder gradually made the bow and arrow obsolete, especially in western Europe. In the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English in 1588, for example, 10,000 English troops were experimentally equipped with firearms, while the Spanish relied on archers; the success of the English forces played a major role in convincing military theorists that archery had become a relatively inefficient method of waging war. Nevertheless, peoples of the Far East employed archers in warfare as recently as the 19th century, and the use of the bow and arrow in hunting and intertribal fighting continues in central Africa and South America up to the present day.

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