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Count Ernst Mansfeld: one of the first media stars

Posted by: | November 19, 2009 | No Comment |

When people think of media stars, what comes to mind are the stars of Hollywood either on TV shows, movies, or in sports.  Whether it is Brad Pitt in his new movie, or Lebron James dominating the sport of basketball, these are considered media stars.

But who would have thought that one of the first media stars was from the year 1624?  Yes, 1624.  This person was Count Ernst Von Mansfeld from Germany.  Count Ernst Von Mansfeld was a German mercenary who fought for the Protestants in the Thirty Years War.  He gained his earliest military experiences in Hungary with his half-brother Charles, who was also a popular soldier, and held a high command in the imperial army. Later he served under the Archduke Leopold, until Leopold joined the enemy of the house of Habsburg.

Although Mansfeld was a Roman Catholic,  he still allied himself with the Protestant princes, and during the earlier part of the Thirty Years War he was one of their foremost champions.

Count Ernst Mansfeld

Count Ernst Mansfeld

From 1621-1625, the “Palatinate phase” of the Thirty Years War, Mansfeld played an important role.  This “Palatinate phase” was one of the most important parts of this war.  During this time period, he helped Frederick V to defend his countries, the Upper and Rhine Palatinate.

Due to his commitment and great heroics during this war, Mansfeld was well received by crowds gathered in London cheering him on and following him in the streets.  It was here where early English newspapers labeled him a “media star” in 1624.

Ernst Mansfeld getting a generous greeting from a crowd in London, 1624

Ernst Mansfeld getting a generous greeting from a crowd in London, 1624

He ended up paying three visits to London and one to Paris, where he was hailed as a hero by the people.  James I actually wanted to reward Mansfeld with more men for his army and money, but he traveled too much and was in the heat of battle.

Mansfeld was getting a lot of recognition and popularity due to his contributions in the Thirty Years War.  So, when you think of a media star in today’s world, think of who started it all.  This would surprise anyone.

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