Johann Tserclaes, Count
of Tilly (1559 - 1632), known as the Monk in Armor.
Along with Duke Albrecht von Wallenstein of Friedland and
Mecklenburg, he was one of the two chief commanders of the
Holy Roman Empire’s forces in the Thirty Years' War.
Tilly was born in Brabant in 1559.
He had studied for the priesthood and was educated by Jesuits,
but he abandoned the church for the army. He proved himself
a born soldier, and he reorganized the Bavarian Army. Devoted
to the Catholic cause, he was given command of the Catholic
army at the outbreak of the Thirty Year's War. During the
course of that war, he won many notable battles, acting later
on in conjunction with Wallenstein, whom, in 1630, he succeeded
as commander-in-chief of the imperial forces. In the following
year he sacked with merciless cruelty the town of Muenster,
a deed which Gustavus Adolphus was swift to avenge by crushing
the Catholic forces in two successive battles - Breitenfeld
and Rain - in the latter of which Tilly was mortally wounded