The Swiss Guards of The Pope...

Discussion in 'Medieval' started by Martin Rohmann, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    A. Short History:

    On January 22, 1506, the first 150 mercenaries (out of a total of 190) of the newly founded Pontificia Cohors Helvetica, (also called Cohors Pedestris Helvetiorum) arrive in the Vatican.

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    They are the first of the Pope's famous Swiss Guard!

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    The names of their captains have also been handed down to us: they were called Peter von Herenstein ...

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    ...and Kaspar von Silenen...:

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    The founder of the Swiss Guard is Pope Julius II,

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    .. who not only went down in church history by this but also because the construction of St. Peter's Basilica began during his pontificate (also in 1506).

    At the beginning of the year, the Pope asked the so-called "Tag Stating", the assembly of emissaries from the Swiss Confederation, whether they would provide him with a contingent of Swiss "travelers" to protect the Vatican, as mercenaries were known at the time.

    At that time the Swiss were considered the best soldiers in the world, disciplined, brave and loyal - and at that time many rulers considered themselves Swiss guards, including the French kings!

    The Confederates were happy to agree.

    Now he had to - chronically clammy! - Pope solve another problem: How should he pay his guardsmen?

    What was available in the Vatican money bag was already planned for the monster project St. Peter's Basilica.

    But shepherd Julius was lucky, there were sponsors who had more gold than hair on their heads! The stone-rich Augsburg merchants Jakob and Ulrich Fugger paid the wages!

    What they gave was enough to pay the 190 guardsmen for several years.

    The first 190 mercenaries served the Pope until May 6, 1527, when most of them paid off, so to speak:

    On this day the looting of Rome ("Sacco di Roma") by German lansquenets and Spanish and Italian mercenaries took place ...:

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    Pope Julius II managed to escape to Castel Sant'Angelo with healthy skin!

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    When covering his escape, more than three quarters of the troops (147 out of 189 men) and one captain gave their lives!

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    **continued next post**
  2. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    B. Uniform and more Details

    Incidentally, Micheangelo did NOT design the uniforms of the Swiss Guard Uniforms, as can often be read, and nobody had to invent the color combination, they already existed!

    But one after anonther:

    There is a work and drill uniform ...:

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    ... as well as the large service uniform ...

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    ... to which a shoulder coat is worn in winter ...:

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    For parades, the troop put on the so-called "gran-gala" uniform, which included harnesses and helmets with feathers in the "Spanish style" ...:

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    There are the following differences:

    For the officers, the uniform is made of red velvet, with light green silk puffs ...:

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    For higher NCO's, sergeants ("Feldwaibel" and "Wachtmeister") : black doublet, red puff sleeves with black stripes, red trousers with burgundy stripes...:

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    Lower NCO's as Corporals are recognizable by two red ribbons below the knees of the puff pants ...:

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    For the enlisted guards (including music band): doublet in the colors yellow, red and blue with red puff sleeves with blue and yellow stripes, red puff pants with blue and yellow stripes ...:

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    The colors are those of the coat of arms of the Medici family - the founding Pope Julius II. belonged to this family ...:

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    The Swiss Guard recruits have to meet a number of admission requirements:

    Thedy have to be Catholic male, Swiss citizen, between 19 and 30 years old, at least 1.74 m tall and athletic.

    In addition, they must have an impeccable reputation, have completed a middle school or apprenticeship as well as the recruit school of the Swiss Army.

    As halberdiers and deputy corporals, they must not be married; if they marry, they are offered an apartment, but the number is limited.

    After serving for at least 26 months, they can quit their service, after which the Vatican citizenship will be revoked to them.

    Since 1825, the Swiss canton of Valais has provided the most guardsmen with 693, 80 guardsmen came from Naters in Upper Valais alone.

    In addition to rapiers and halberds, the Swiss Guard also has modern weapons at its disposal to perform the guard duties in the Vatican. Among other things, the Glock 19 pistols ...
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    ...and Glock 26...

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    ...the assault rifle 90 from the Swiss manufacturer SIG ...

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    ... and the German submachine gun MP5 from "Heckler & Koch" ...:

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    What else the Swiss Guard has in their arsenal has been kept secret since the Pope assassination in 1981!


    Cheers
    Nap likes this.
  3. Nap A Fixture

    Country:
    England
    Thanks for posting this Marin

    A unit we don't often see in the hobby

    Nap

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