Marshal of France

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Marshal of France
Maréchal de France
Rank flag
Shoulder and sleeve insignia
Service branchFrench Army
Rank groupGeneral officer
NATO rank codeOF-10
Next higher rankNone
Next lower rankArmy general[a]
Equivalent ranksAdmiral of France
Related articles
HistoryMarshal of the Empire

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 for a period 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).

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.

The distinction of Admiral of France is the equivalent in the French Navy.

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 (c. 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. Under the Bourbon Restoration, the title reverted to Marshal of France, and Napoleon 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 Capetians[edit]

Philip II, 1180–1223[edit]

Louis IX, 1226–1270[edit]

Philip III, 1270–1285[edit]

Philip IV, 1285–1314[edit]

Louis X, 1314–1316[edit]

Philip V, 1316–1322[edit]

Charles IV, 1322–1328[edit]


Philip VI, 1328–1350[edit]

John II 1350–1364[edit]

Charles V, 1364–1380[edit]

Charles VI, 1380–1422[edit]

Charles VII, 1422–1461[edit]

  • 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 (c. 1405 – 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, 1461–1483[edit]

Charles VIII, 1483–1498[edit]


Louis XII, 1498–1515[edit]


Francis I 1515–1547[edit]

Henry II 1547–1559[edit]

Francis II 1559–1560[edit]

Charles IX, 1560–1574[edit]

Henry III 1574–1589[edit]


Marshal's baton during the Bourbon monarchy

Henry IV 1589–1610[edit]

Louis XIII, 1610–1643[edit]

Charles de Schomberg

Louis XIV, 1643–1715[edit]

Sébastien de Vauban

Louis XV, 1715–1774[edit]

Maurice de Saxe

Louis XVI, 1774–1792[edit]

Philippe de Ségur

First Empire[edit]

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

Napoleon I, 1804–1814, 1815[edit]

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

Michel Ney received his marshal's baton on 19 May 1804

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, 1815–1824[edit]

Jacques Lauriston

Charles X, 1824–1830[edit]

July Monarchy[edit]

Louis-Philippe 1830–1848[edit]

Sylvain Charles Valée

Second Republic[edit]

Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, 1848–1852[edit]

Rémi Joseph Isidore Exelmans

Second Empire[edit]

Napoleon III, 1852–1870[edit]

Jacques Louis Randon

Third Republic[edit]

Ferdinand Foch

Raymond Poincaré, 1913–1920[edit]

Alexandre Millerand, 1920–1924[edit]

Fourth Republic[edit]

Vincent Auriol, 1947–1954[edit]

Fifth Republic[edit]

François Mitterrand, 1981–1995[edit]


This distinction was refused by :

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A military rank.


  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]
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol 23, Ed. Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 719.
  5. ^ R.P. Dunn-Pattison Napoleon's Marshals Methuen 1909 – Reprinted Empiricus Books 2001.
  6. ^ Bering, Henrik (February 1, 2013). "The Audacity of de Gaulle". Hoover Institution. Retrieved 2023-06-27.