Prussian Occupation of Bamberg during the Seven Years War (c. 1760)
During the Seven Years War (1756-63), Frederick II (“the Great”) of Prussia (r. 1740-86) faced an overwhelming force of Austrian, Saxon, French, and Russian troops. His only source of assistance was Britain, which provided him with essential, but not continuous, support. Prussia’s resources were strained to the limit. As a result, Frederick’s forces often dispensed with niceties when it came to requisitioning provisions, and their actions tended to show an utter disregard for the legal status of cities and other governing units within the Holy Roman Empire. This painting depicts one of four instances during the Seven Years War, when Prussian troops in search of supplies forcibly occupied the Bishopric of Bamberg, which was formally independent apart from its subjection to imperial overlordship. The town’s status within the Holy Roman Empire did not protect it from such incursions and actually made them more likely, since the Empire was aligned against Frederick. Oil painting, unknown artist, c. 1760.