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Baron Franz von der Trenck might not now be a household name, but in the eighteenth century, he was notorious for the blood-curdling excesses of the soldiers under his command and an approach to war on behalf of Queen Empress Maria Theresa that appeared to defy the tenets of the age. As one biography described, “The thirty-eight year lifespan of the pandur general Franz Baron von der Trenck was a symphony of violence and death.” On the other side of the Prussian-Austrian conflict, Friedrich von der Trenck was iconic in different ways, with a career that careened from the military under Frederick II, to prison, and lastly to the guillotine in Paris. In service to their monarchs and in pursuit of personal advancement, security, and adventure, the Trenck cousins collided with each other at various points, demonstrating what it meant for nobles to be both architects and victims of fame, reputation, and slander. After Franz's death in prison, Friedrich, for his own reasons, had a hand in shaping the reputation of his cousin as a larger-than-life military man with an affinity for particular types of violence. However, Friedrich was not the only curator of Franz's legacy and others took part during and after Franz's life in the adulteration and appropriation of his life narrative. As a military man, Franz von der Trenck weaponized his own reputation, but its plasticity continued far after his death because he served as a stand-in for a variety of cultural inquiries, anxieties, and hopes beyond military practices and the laws of war. The subtexts of those narratives reveal particular cultural fault lines salient not just in the eighteenth century but also long after, including the constructed, imaginary boundary between the civilized and uncivilized in time and geography. Legends about Trenck drew on tropes about an uncivilized past through the ostensible space between a cultured European center and a wild Slavic or Turkic periphery. The boundary of civilization was not the only theme threaded through stories about Trenck. The nature of his violence was condemned by many and featured in his downfall, but there was also a subterranean admiration for a man who appeared to glorify war as an essential, formative masculine adventure and who romanticized the transgression of rape in war. Beginning with Friedrich and resonating still in twentieth-century nationalist iterations of Trenck is the idolization of a figure who seemed to transcend the petty morality or narrow-mindedness of those who judged him.