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Hussars Force Monks from a Marienfelde Cloister to Drink to Frederick II ("the Great") in the Year 1758 (c. 1800)
After Frederick II scored a stunning victory at Roßbach against a superior force of French and imperial troops, his fame and reputation soared across Germany and in Europe as a whole. Enthusiasm for the philosopher-soldier-king earned him the epithet “the Great” and may have prompted the Prussian hussars depicted below to force monks in a monastery near Marienfeld (now in Berlin) to drink to Frederick’s health. The intimidation depicted in the scene reflects the Protestant triumphalism of the Prussian soldiers, since the Austro-Prussian rivalry was widely perceived as a confrontation between Catholicism and Protestantism. The writing on the bottom margin reads, “Long live the King of Prussia” [“Es lebe der König von Preußen”]. Copy of a drypoint (c. 1800) by Christian Geyser (1772-1846) after an etching by Daniel Chodowiecki (1726-1801), who signed with the pseudonym I. Vogel.