Vauban was the greatest military architect of the seventeenth century, and possibly the greatest of all time. The forts he constructed or inspired are still found throughout continental Europe, their massive and complex bastions, ravines and glacis being precisely calculated to expose any attacking forces to withering concentrations of canon and rifle fire.

Son of a minor nobleman of the same name, Vauban showed a precocious interest in mathematics. He enrolled in the army of the Prince du Condé during his revolt against Mazarin in 1651, was captured by the royal army and changed sides, earning his laurels at the sieges of cities and fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands (1653-8), notably those of Sainte-Menehoulde, …

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Clark, Robert. "Sébastian Le Prestre de Vauban". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 October 2005
[, accessed 25 November 2015.]