Column of the Goddess

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The Column of the Goddess is the popular name given by the citizens of Lille (France) to the Memorial of the Siege of 1792. The memorial is still in the center of the Grand′ Place (central square) of Lille, and has been surrounded by a fountain since around 1990.

Lille Prefecture and commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Lille is a city at the northern tip of France, in French Flanders. On the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium, it is the capital of the Hauts-de-France region, the prefecture of the Nord department, and the main city of the European Metropolis of Lille.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Contents

Siege of Lille
Part of the French Revolutionary War
Siege de Lille 1792.JPG
The Austrian bombardement of Lille in October 1792. Painting by Louis Joseph Watteau on The Siege of Lille
DateSeptember/October 1792
LocationLille, France
Result French victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg France Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Austria

The siege

The siege of September 1792 was one of the many battles fought during the French Revolutionary Wars and considered a major event in the city's history by its inhabitants, despite its relatively low military significance on a wider scale.

The French Revolutionary Wars began in April 1792.

A few months earlier, in April 1792, French forces in the same area did not conduct themselves well - fleeing after a skirmish with Austrian forces and afterwards killing their own commander, Théobald Dillon. [1] This might have made the Austrians expect an easy victory, which as it turned out was not the case. [2]

Théobald Dillon was count of Dillon and an Irish-born general in the French army. He was the grandson of Arthur Dillon, the nephew of the bishop Arthur Richard Dillon and the cousin of general Arthur Dillon.

An Austrian army of 20,000 men besieged the city of Lille. [3] Then the city was attacked by Albert Casimir, Duke of Teschen. For nine days and nights, the Austrians bombarded the city without intermission, but had ultimately to raise the siege, faced with the determined resistance of the citizens, led by Mayor François André. The Austrians destroyed many houses and the main church (Saint-Etienne) of the city, which was on the Grand′ Place (today the Place du Général de Gaulle). "The siege of Lille in 1792 was, from a purely military perspective, not a significant event. It is clear that contemporaries sought to exaggerate both the scale and the importance of the Austrian attack on Lille." [4]

Albert Casimir, Duke of Teschen German collector

Prince Albert Casimir of Saxony, Duke of Teschen was a German prince from the House of Wettin who married into the Habsburg imperial family. He was noted as an art collector and founded the Albertina in Vienna, one of the largest and finest collections of old master prints and drawings in the world.

François André French politician

François André is a French politician representing the Socialist Party. He was re-elected to the French National Assembly on 18 June 2017, representing the department of Ille-et-Vilaine.

The monument

"Column of the Goddess", erected to commemorate the Lille citizens' stand against the Austrian army Lille colonne deesse.jpg
"Column of the Goddess", erected to commemorate the Lille citizens' stand against the Austrian army
Column of the Goddess on Grand Place Lille gd place colonne.jpg
Column of the Goddess on Grand Place

The church was never to be re-built and the Grand' Place of Lille is still one of the few local central places without either a church or a belfry (unlike similar cities such as Bruges and Brussels).

Bruges Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country.

Brussels Capital region of Belgium

Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region. Brussels is the most densely populated and the richest region in Belgium in terms of GDP per capita. It covers 161 km2 (62 sq mi), a relatively small area compared to the two other regions, and has a population of 1.2 million. The metropolitan area of Brussels counts over 2.1 million people, which makes it the largest in Belgium. It is also part of a large conurbation extending towards Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Walloon Brabant, home to over 5 million people.

Hyacinthe Jadin composed his Marche du siège de Lille in 1792, in the direct aftermath of the siege. For many years there was, however, no physical monument in the city itself. Some fifty years later, the local authorities became aware that nothing had been made to commemorate the 50th birthday of this event. They decided on the building of a memorial, just in time to lay the first stone in September 1842, but it was not before 1845 that the memorial was finished.

Hyacinthe Jadin was a French composer who came from a musical family. His uncle Georges Jadin was a composer in Versailles and Paris, along with his father Jean Jadin, who had played bassoon for the French Royal Orchestra. He was one of five musical brothers, the best known of whom was Louis-Emmanuel Jadin.

The memorial consists of a column topped by a statue. The column was designed by the architect Charles Benvignat, while the statue was sculpted by Théophile Bra as an allegory of the besieged city wearing a mural crown. It was nicknamed the Goddess by the inhabitants of Lille soon after the erection of the memorial, as some local poems suggest.

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References

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-17. Retrieved 2014-03-17.;
  2. Rickard, J (8 January 2009), Battle of Baisieux, 29 April 1792,

Coordinates: 50°38′13″N3°3′48″E / 50.63694°N 3.06333°E / 50.63694; 3.06333