VILLARS, CLAUDE Loris HECTOR, DITKE OF (1653- 1734), French general, was born at Moulins on 8th May 1653. After spending some time at the college of Juilly, lie became a page of the grand .curie, and then entered the army as a volunteer. Ile first saw service in Holland under Louis XIV, and later under Conde, Turenne, and Luxembourg in Germany, where in 1674 he obtained the command of a troop of horse. Hostilities being brought to a close by the peace of Nimeguen in 1678, he was sent as ambassador to the courts of Vienna and Munich, in which capacity he greatly distinguished himself. In 1702 he received the command of an army in order to succour the elector of Bavaria, who bad espoused the cause of France in the War of Succession. On 14th October lie routed at Friedlingen Louis of Baden, the Austrian commander. In the beginning of the following year he captured Kehl and effected a junction with the army of the elector. He then conceived the daring project of marching on Vienna. The united forces defeated the Austrians under Count Styrum at Hochstiidt, but his skilfully-conceived project, which had every prospect of success owing to the scattered state of the Austrian forces, had to be abandoned on account of the pusillanimous eon-duct of the elector. Villars was next sent to subdue the Camisards, the Protestants of the Cevennes, a task which he completed by a judicious combination of military skill and clemency. In 1705 the north-eastern frontier, which was threatened by Marlborough, was defended by Villars with such skill and ability that Marlborough was completely baffled in his attempts to penetrate into France, and even compelled to retreat. Villars took advantage of this opportunity to march into Alsace, where lie captured several towns along with great quantities of war materials belonging to Marlborough and Prince Eugene. These advantages were, however, counterbalanced by Villeroy's defeat at Ramillies. After two short campaigns in 1707-8 Villars was sent (in 1709) to Flanders to oppose Marlborough and Prince Eugene. He was, however, defeated at Malplaquet and severely wounded. The weak state of his health, the consequence of his wound, prevented him during the next two years from engaging in active service. In 1712 Villars, at the head of an army raised with great difficulty by the French, defeated the Austrians under Albemarle in a brilliant action at Denain, compelled Prince Eugene to raise the siege of Landrecies, and took several fortresses and towns. This brilliant campaign raised again the almost desperate fortunes of France and led to the treaty of Utrecht (1713) and the peace of Bastadt (1714). For many years after this Villars exerted great influence at court, until he was finally supplanted by Fleury. In 1733 the war with Austria again broke out, and in the following year Villars, although over eighty years of age, was sent to take command in Italy. But after some successes he demanded his recall, either in consequence of his increasing infirmities or of disgust at the conduct of his ally, the king of Sardinia ; he died on his way back to France, at Turin, on 17th June 1734.