Among the interesting details
of the Battle of White Mountain, the last stand of 30,000 Bohemians led by the mystical and strange Frederick V, Elector Palatine, Elected King of Bohemia, who ruled from a diamond throne in Prague from the early fall of 1619 to the bitter frosts of November, 1620, where Frederick kisses the boots of Ambrogio Spinola, 1st Marquis of the Balbases, on the fields of Bílá hora, includes the following:
In September, Imperial forces were amassed to destroy the armies of the Protestant Union standing guard over Prague. These forces were composed of recruits from the Spanish Netherlands and Alsace, France. Though it is unknown what side he was on, one of those Frenchmen was Descartes. René Descartes. Are you fucking kidding me Simonf? No.
René Descartes may not have fought at all, though it was observed that he had observed it at least. Prior to the battle he had served with the Protestants, but in “Cogito, Ergo Sum”, a biography, author Robert Watson cites the earlier biographer Baillet as saying Descartes, 19 years old, was deeply consumed in a geometry rivalry with the mathematician Faulhaber while cavorting with none other than Elizabeth Stuart, Winter Queen of Bohemia.
Elizabeth’s and Frederick’s marriage was strategic, of course. She was the daughter of James (VI, I), King of Scotland and then of England. Basically James was a stonecold gangster and her function was to contribute to his foreign policy. These are the individuals who saw the 30 Years’ War accumulating from the observation deck. It was at this time and place that Descartes received his first visions. Soon after he would return to France and begin mapping his own mind. Well kept, perhaps, but cowardly. With Frederick V in exile, King James chose to wed his son, Charles, to a Protestant and engineer war against Spain and the Habsurg Empire.