Posted on December 18, 2013
A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse. Poor King Gustavus Adulphus of Sweden was having a pretty good time of it with his army pushing down from the north all the way to Augsburg in southern Germany. His mission was to get more freedoms for the Protestants (Lutherans) in otherwise Catholic countries. His efforts were part of the Thirty Years War that we all read about in high school history class and remember so clearly, don’t we?
Actually, he did a pretty good job, but before long the Catholics gathered their strength and countered with the Counter-Reformation. Quite a number of people died in all this religious struggle – roughly one third of Europe, and most everybody else impoverished. In the end they called a truce to the whole matter in 1648 which allowed each nobleman to choose the religion that his subjects would be allowed to follow. The results of this are quite evident today, nearly 400 years later. In some places whole towns are split down the center – Catholics on one side and Protestants on the other.
The horse. I almost forgot the horse. Gustavus was pushing south having one success after another gallantly riding his horse, as you see here in an undoubtedly true to life reanactment.
In the Battle of Rain, a village not far from Ingolstadt, the great opponent, Catholic General Tilly, was mortally injured, which put his forces into panic mode and full disarray. But in the same battle, Gustavus’ horse was also killed. Gustavus got away and lived for another day, so to say. He died in battle late that year, in November 1632.
The Catholic enemy nonetheless managed to get hold of the horse. It was stuffed and today is on display in the City Museum of Ingolstadt.