List of Marshals of France

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Marshal of France (French: Maréchal de France, plural Maréchaux de France) is a French military distinction, rather than a military rank, that is awarded to generals for exceptional achievements. The title has been awarded since 1185, though briefly abolished (1793–1804) and briefly dormant (1870–1916). It was one of the Great Officers of the Crown of France during the Ancien Régime and Bourbon Restoration, and one of the Grand Dignitaries of the Empire during the First French Empire (when the title was Marshal of the Empire, not Marshal of France).

Marshal of France
Maréchal de France
CountryFrance France
Service branchArmy
NATO rankOF-10
Next higher rankNone
Next lower rankArmy general[a]

A Marshal of France displays seven stars on each shoulder strap. A marshal also receives a baton: a blue cylinder with stars, formerly fleurs-de-lis during the monarchy and eagles during the First French Empire. The baton bears the Latin inscription of Terror belli, decus pacis, which means "terror in war, ornament in peace".

Between the end of the 16th century and the middle of the 19th century, six Marshals of France were given the even more exalted rank of Marshal General of France: Biron, Lesdiguières, Turenne, Villars, Saxe, and Soult.

Terror belli...
...decus pacis
Modern-day baton, belonging to one of the four Marshals of France during World War II (Leclerc, de Lattre, Juin and Kœnig)


The title derived from the office of marescallus Franciae created by King Philip II Augustus of France for Albéric Clément (circa 1190).

The title was abolished by the National Convention in 1793. It was restored as Marshal of the Empire during the First French Empire by Napoleon I. Under the Bourbon Restoration, the title reverted to Marshal of France, and Napoléon III kept that designation.

After the fall of Napoleon III and the Second French Empire, the Third Republic did not use the title until the First World War, when it was recreated as a military distinction and not a rank.

Contrarily to ranks, which are awarded by the army, the distinction of Marshal of France is awarded by a special law voted by the French Parliament. For this reason, it is impossible to demote a Marshal. The most famous case is Philippe Pétain, who was awarded the distinction of Marshal of France for his generalship in World War I, and who was stripped of other positions and titles after his trial for high treason due to his involvement with collaborationist Vichy France: due to the principle of separation of powers, the court that judged him did not have the power to cancel the law that had made him a Marshal in the first place.

The last living Marshal of France was Alphonse Juin, promoted in 1952, who died in 1967. The latest Marshal of France was Marie Pierre Kœnig, who was made a Marshal posthumously in 1984. Today, the title of Marshal of France can only be granted to a general officer who fought victoriously in war-time.

Direct CapetiansEdit

Philip II, 1180–1223Edit

Louis IX, 1226–1270Edit

Philip III, 1270–1285Edit

Philip IV, 1285–1314Edit

Louis X, 1314–1316Edit

Philip V, 1316–1322Edit

Charles IV, 1322–1328Edit


Philip VI, 1328–1350Edit

John II 1350–1364Edit

Charles V, 1364–1380Edit

Charles VI, 1380–1422Edit

Charles VII, 1422–1461Edit

  • Amaury de Séverac, Lord of Beaucaire and of Chaude-Aigues (died 1427), Marshal of France in 1424
  • Jean de Brosse, Baron of Boussac and of Sainte-Sévère (1375–1433), Marshal of France in 1426
  • Gilles de Rais, Lord of Ingrande and of Champtocé (1404–1440), Marshal of France in 1429
  • André de Laval-Montmorency, Lord of Lohéac and of Retz (1408–1486), Marshal of France in 1439
  • Philippe de Culant, Lord of Jaloignes, of La Croisette, of Saint-Armand and of Chalais (died 1454), Marshal of France in 1441
  • Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, Seneschal de Limousin (1390–1461), Marshal of France in 1454

Louis XI, 1461–1483Edit

Charles VIII, 1483–1498Edit


Louis XII, 1498–1515Edit


Francis I 1515–1547Edit

Henry II 1547–1559Edit

Francis II 1559–1560Edit

Charles IX, 1560–1574Edit

Henry III 1574–1589Edit


Marshal baton during the monarchy

Henry IV 1589–1610Edit

Louis XIII, 1610–1643Edit

Louis XIV, 1643–1715Edit

Louis XV, 1715–1774Edit

Louis XVI, 1774–1792Edit

First EmpireEdit

Graphic representation of a Marshal's baton during the First French Empire

Napoleon I, 1804–1814/1815Edit

Throughout his reign, Napoleon created a total of twenty-six Marshals of the Empire:[5]

The names of nineteen of these have been given to successive stretches of boulevards encircling Paris, which has thus been nicknamed the Boulevards des Maréchaux (Boulevards of the Marshals). Another three Marshals have been honored with a street elsewhere in the city. The four Marshals banned from memory are: Bernadotte and Marmont, considered as traitors; Pérignon, stricken off the list by Napoleon in 1815; and Grouchy, regarded as responsible for the defeat at Waterloo.


Louis XVIII, 1815–1824Edit

Charles X, 1824–1830Edit

July MonarchyEdit

Louis-Philippe 1830–1848Edit

Sylvain-Charles, comte Valée (1773-1846). Portrait by Joseph-Désiré Court

Second RepublicEdit

Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, 1848–1852Edit

Rémi Joseph Isidore Exelmans by Charles-Philippe Larivière

Second EmpireEdit

Napoleon III, 1852–1870Edit

Third RepublicEdit

Raymond Poincaré, 1913–1920Edit

Alexandre Millerand, 1920–1924Edit

Fourth RepublicEdit

Vincent Auriol, 1947–1954Edit

Fifth RepublicEdit

François Mitterrand, 1981–1995Edit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Not a rank, but a position and style


  1. ^ Steven Runciman, The Sicilian Vespers: A History of the Mediterranean World in the Later Thirteenth Century, (Cambridge University Press, 2000), 93.
  2. ^ Frederic J. Baumgartner, Henry II: King of France 1547–1559, (Duke University Press, 1988), 56.
  3. ^ Marek, Miroslav. "italy/cybo2.html".[self-published source][better source needed]
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol 23, Ed. Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 719.
  5. ^ R.P. Dunn-Pattison Napoleon's Marshals Methuen 1909 - Reprinted Empiricus Books 2001