Esoteric Philosopher: Study of the Endless Path of Wisdom

H.P.B. And The Battle Of Mentana

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On November 3 she was in the town of Mentana, north and east of Rome. On that day the Battle of Mentana was fought between the Italian patriot Garibaldi and the French. The battle was one of a number of fights fought in Italy's struggle for independence.

The very young Master Blavatsky, but a senior compatriot of Tara Urusvati, in the first ray ashram or Stronghold of Aryvarta, in his previous incarnation had participated in the Battle of Mentana Nov. 3, 1867 in Italy and, received five wounds. It is said or has been suggested that she died or would have died if not for the interjecting hand of M.M and his intervention. Stephen Pugh. SDP.
"HPB told Olcot she was at Mentana. He recalls "In proof of her story she showed me where her left arm had been broken in two places by a sabre stroke, and made me feel in her right shoulder a musket ball, still embedded in the muscle, and another in the leg." In all, five wounds were received and she was picked up out of a ditch for dead. HPB. Sylvia Cranston, pg79.
She fought in the Battle of Mentana as a junior officer of Dragoons (male).
DTB. That was when she was with Garibaldi at the battle of Mentana, I believe.  She was wounded several times and left for dead, but they revived and returned.  It has also been hinted (but I have not found a primary source for this) that at that time there was a change of inner SELF and her body was perhaps reanimated with ANOTHER CONSCIOUSNESS -- which we know of as "HPB" -- and yet the personality retained all the memories of its earlier years.  But we simply are speculating here and are arriving at no useful conclusion.
We also know the her association with Garibaldi and company went so far that she was present as an Officer of Horse Dragoons in the Battle of Mentana, at which the "other side" were the Papal Armies. Her work with the Carbonari in that cause eventually divested the Vatican from its temporal power.
1866-67 Left Russia again and traveled extensively in Balkans, Egypt, Syria, Italy. Returned to Italy in 1867 and paid a short visit to southern Russia. Was present at the battle of Mentana, November 3, 1867, and was wounded.
In 1865 HPB felt the need to continue her travels. Again she journeyed through the Middle East and the Balkans, this time on her way to war-torn Italy. There, in 1867, she was wounded at the Battle of Mentana and, after recovering from her wounds, she was directed by her Master to proceed to India.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was not just an intellectual or theoretical "warrior for light." In 1867 she spent several months traveling in Europe. On November 3 she was in the town of Mentana, north and east of Rome. On that day the Battle of Mentana was fought between the Italian patriot Garibaldi and the French. The battle was one of a number of fights fought in Italy's struggle for independence. Blavatsky participated, with other women, in the battle in support of Garibaldi.
Blavatsky apparently sustained five wounds including being shot in the right shoulder and a broken left arm. (Garibaldi's force, some 4,000 strong, was beaten at Mentana by a combined French and papal force of some 5,000 soldiers, primarily because the French troops made use of the new breech-loading Chassepot musket. This weapon gave them a distinct advantage over Garibaldi's Redshirts. However it is not known if Madame Blavatsky was wounded by such a rifle.)
Helena' s adventures around the world were many and varied. She suffered a terrible illness at Rougodevo in Russia in 1859. Later as a member of Garibaldi' s army she was wounded in the Battle of Mentana in Italy in 1867.

3rd War of Italian Unification  (1866 and 1867)
North & Central Italy    
Austrian -vs- Italian/Sardinian and Garibaldini    
Garibaldini -vs- Papal States
Part of Bismark’s preparation for the Austro-Prussian War was a Prussian-Italian alliance aimed firmly at Austria. The Third War of Italian Unification began when Austria refused to allow Italy to buy Veneto from them, and, concerned about the Italian alliance with Prussia, accused the Italians of strengthening their army in Lombardy. Both sides began to mobilise and, when the Prussians finally declared war on the Austrians on 16th June 1866, the Italians and followed suit.
Although the Italians outnumbered the Austrians about 250,000 to 190,000, this advantage was largely negated by the fact that the Austrians could fight defensively from behind the Quadrilateral forts and had a shorter supply chain through the valley of the Adige. This advantage was also greatly increased by the fact that the Italian army had no clear chain of unified command: Garibaldi unilaterally commanded 20,000 volunteers in the Alps to the north; and the main Italian army was split into two forces commanded by La Marmora and Cialdini, the latter being wildly jealous of the other and refusing to take direct orders. Add the intervention of Vittorio Emanuele, armchair strategist extraordinaire, and it is hardly surprising that no sensible line of attack could be decided upon.
The first fighting was at Custoza: where La Marmora allowed himself to get sucked into an unexpected battle fighting an Austrian force under Archduke Albrecht fighting from prepared positions on higher ground and with internal lines. Casualties were about even in this inconclusive fight; but La Marmora, lacking intelligence (of the military, not cerebral, sort), reacted as if the Italians had suffered a great defeat. This feeling spread throughout the army, and succeeded in demoralising the entire country!
The Austrians, however, did not follow up and, after their northern army was soundly defeated by the Prussians at Sadowa, recalled Albrecht and the bulk of his force to defend Austria itself. The Italians, with the main force now wholly under Cialdini, started forward again, bypassed the Quadrilaterals, and began to take Venetian cities behind them. Garaibaldi also managed to clear the Austrians from some of the Alpine valleys, although he was now leading his men from a carriage after taking a wound to his leg.
Unfortunately for the Italians, this was the high point of their campaign. They lost a naval battle at Lissa despite outnumbering the Austrians twelve ironclads to seven (the Austrians, under von Tegethoff, using the ram rather than their inferior guns) and, when the Prussians broke the terms of their Prussian-Italian alliance and signed a peace treaty with the Austrians, found themselves facing the entire Austrian army of some 300,000 troops!
An armistice was signed on 12th August which led to a treaty that gave Italy control of Veneto and recognition by Austria as a nation. The Third War of Italian Unification had led to political, if not military, gains.
Garibaldi was still, however, not content: the unification of Italy required Rome and the reduced Papal States. The Italian/Sardinian government, recognising that they did not have the backing of the European powers for an invasion, was content to try to negotiate themselves into Rome but, after a year of furious politiking, Garibaldi lost patience and led a volunteer army into the region.
Although the Garibaldini succeeded in capturing the Papal city of Moterotondo, he and his ten thousand volunteers then found themselves facing the Papal army of 15,000 and a newly-arrived French force landing at Civitavecchia, armed with new-fangled breech-loading rifles. Even worse, the Italian/Sardinian government had also announced that it would not tolerate this latest ‘rebellion’, and was planning to send Italian troops to arrest Garibaldi and the volunteers!
With men leaving his army in droves, Garibaldi fought a battle at Mentana: where his 4,000 remaining troops faced a combined Papal and French army of 9,000. Although Garibaldi tried his usually tactics of inspirational charges, the odds were too great, and the volunteers already too dispirited. After suffering a conclusive defeat, Garaibaldi and the survivors were forced to retreat back across the border: Garibaldi being arrested as he attempted to return home to Caprera.
Postscript: Rome was eventually joined to Italy towards the end of the Franco-Prussian war. After the French defeat at Sedan, their troops in Rome were withdrawn to help defend Paris. The Italians ‘seized the day’, and sent an overwhelming force (30,000 plus artillery) into the Papal States and, after a short fight with the Papal army, Rome was formerly annexed to the Kingdom of Italy. The Risorgimento was over.
Jeremy Condick.

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