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German History in Documents and Images
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A Soldier’s Wife Begging (1764)
As the great Danzig-born artist Daniel Chodowiecki (1726-1801) shows in this etching, the casualties of the long mid-century wars extended beyond the fighting troops, whose rank-and-file were recruited or hired from the lower strata of society. Even if they avoided wounds or death in battle, their wives and children frequently suffered economic deprivation in their absence. Here, a soldier’s wife dressed in her fallen husband’s uniform jacket and hat, begs for alms while holding her newborn. Etching by Daniel Chodowiecki (1726-1801), 1764.