Prince Eugene, the Noble Knight

Homosexuality Politics Power

Prince Eugene of Savoy at the Battle of Temeschburg

The gentleman on the white Arab is Prince Eugene of Savoy, probably the most famous commander of the House of Habsburg. The latter may have been perpetually broke but, like many Catholics, they did know how to put on a good show.

Raised in France, Louis XIV denied the Prince a commission, ostensibly, because Eugene was too small and fragile. However, the fact that his mother had been banished from France for poisoning her husband and questions about Eugene’s sexual orientation cannot have been helpful.

Eugene entered the service of the emperor to defeat the French and their Ottoman allies in Italy, Hungary, the Voivodina, Southern Germany, Alsace, and the Low Countries. Taking his obligations as commander seriously, Prince Eugene usually participated in assaults and was wounded 13 times.

The Prince never married and there appear to be reports about his homoerotic escapades as a young man. When we exclude people for who we are then our armed forces are missing out on superior talent.

If we lift Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, we may not have to miss out on commanders who will defeat our enemies and earn 13 Purple Hearts.

5 thoughts on “Prince Eugene, the Noble Knight

  1. Actually there are rather many famous GLBT military people. Most famous of course is Alexandre the great, but my personal favorite is Suliman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman empire in the 18th century, and his longtime lover and the commander of his army Ibrahim Pasha. First because he had a great name, and also because he conquered large tracks of land on three continents while still carrying out important internal social reforms. Also the great name. Also of interest, somewhat famously during the early ’50s there was a great purge (read witch hunt) of gays in the military, since they were believed to obviously be communists, or something. When then General Eisenhower ordered the leader of the WACs (er, Women’s Army Corps for you civilians) in Europe to start a full scale investigation she flat out told him that they’d lose at least a third of there staff, including many of the most valuable members, and including herself, so perhaps he didn’t want to look too closely. He decided to go ahead and take her advice and just, got so much thoroughly investigate the matter.

  2. Homosexuality was in fact largely excepted in early Ottoman society (at least among the upper classes), which may have been in part because of their love of weird Sufi sects, some of which believed in having large gay orgies until you see god. Although, Suliman was actually bisexual, having also been famously madly in love with his wife Roxelana. Which I think is really cool because bisexuals get hardly any history time since it is largely assumed that all married men who had sex with men were merely married for social/dynastic reasons.

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