Broadside depicting the Destruction of Heidelberg (1689) under the Leadership of French General Mélac (Undated Engraving)
The War of the League of Augsburg (or Palatinate War) was one of Louis XIV's numerous conflicts with the Holy Roman Empire. It lasted from 1688 to 1697 and saw the Palatinate laid waste by French invaders. One of the most dramatic acts of destruction occurred in 1689, when French troops under the leadership of General Ezéchiel Mélac burned most of the city of Heidelberg. The fire engulfed the castle, whose ruins can still be seen today. This illustration was published in a broadside produced as part of a propaganda effort to denounce the French king’s expansionism and his ruthless “scorched earth” policy. Wood engraving by an unknown artist, undated.