Blaise de Lasseran-Massencôme, seigneur de Montluc  

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Blaise de Lasseran-Massencôme, seigneur de Montluc (or Blaise de Montluc) (c. 1502July 26 1577) was a marshal of France.

He was born at the family seat near Condom in the modern département of Gers. Despite being the eldest son of a good family, he had, like most gentlemen of Gascony, to rely on his sword. He was the brother of Jean de Montluc. He served first as a private archer and man-at-arms in Italy, with Bayard for his captain, fought all through the wars of King Francis I of France, and was knighted at the battle of Ceresole (1544), to which victory he had brilliantly contributed as adviser to the young Duke of Enghien.

Having apparently enjoyed no patronage, he was already middle-aged. From then on, however, his merits were recognized. His chief feat was the famous defence of Siena (1555) which he related himself. When the religious wars broke out in France, Montluc, a staunch royalist, held Guyenne for the king. Henry III made him in 1574 marshal of France, an honour which he had earned by nearly half a century of service and by numerous wounds. He died at Estillac near Agen.

Montluc's eminence above other soldiers of his day is due to his Commentaires de Messire Blaise de Montluc (Bordeaux, 1592), in which he described his fifty years of service (1521-1574). This book, the "soldier's Bible" (or "breviary," according to others), as Henry IV called it, is one of the best of many books of memoirs produced by the unlearned gentry of France at that time. It is said to have been dictated, which may account for the unusual vivacity and picturesqueness of the style.

The Commentaires are to be found conveniently in the collection of Michaud and Poujoulat, but the standard edition is that of the Société de l'histoire de France, ed. by M. de Ruble (5 vols, 1865-1872). See Rüstow, Militarische Biographien, v. i. (Zürich, 1858).

Blaise de Montluc condemned the development of the infantry firearm saying:

"Would to heaven that this accursed engine [the arquebus] had never been invented, I had not then received those wounds which I now languish under, neither had so many valiant men been slain for the most part by the most pitiful fellows and the greatest cowards..."




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