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Lv 7
Kevin7 asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

can someone tell me about the Swiss guard of the Vatican?

2 Answers

  • connie
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The Swiss Guards in the Vatican:

    January 22nd, 1506, is the official date of birth of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, because on that day, towards the evening, a group of one hundred and fifty Swiss soldiers commanded by Captain Kasparvon Silenen, of Canton Uri, passed through the Porta del Popolo and entered for the first time the Vatican, where they were blessed by Pope Julius II. The prelate Johann Burchard of Stras­bourg, Master of Pontifical Ceremonies at that time, and author of a famous chronicle, noted the event in his diary. In actual fact Pope Sixtus IV made a previous alliance in 1497 with the Confederates, which forsaw the possibility of recruiting mercenaries, and he had barracks built for them near where there is, still today, the small Church of St. Pellegrino, in Via Pellegrino in Vatican City. Later, renewing the old pact, Innocent VIII (1484-1492) also desired to make use of them against the Duke of Milan. And Alexander VI also engaged Confederate soldiers during the time of the alliance between the Borgia family and the King of France. While the Borgias were so powerful the so called Italian Wars began in which the Swiss soldiers were always present, in the front line, at times for France, and at others to support the Holy See or the Holy Roman Empire ruled by a German sovereign. When the Swiss mercenaries heard that Charles VIII, King of France, was planning a great expedition against Naples, they flocked to enlist. Towards the end of the year 1494, thousands of them were in Rome, passing through with the French army, which in February of the following year, occupied Naples. Among the participants in that expedition against Naples, there was also Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, future Pope Julius II, who under Pope Alexander VI had left Italy and gone to France. He was well aquainted with the Swiss, because some twenty years earlier he had been granted as one of many benefices, the Bishopric of Lausanne. A few months later however, Charles VIII was forced to abandon Naples in all haste and he barely succeeded in forcing a blockade and escaping to France. In fact Pope Alexander VI had connected Milan, Venice, the Germanic Empire and Ferdinand the Catholic to form a barrier against the French.

    Admission requirements:

    Roman Catholic

    Swiss citizen

    Good moral character

    Attended military school in Switzerland

    Betwee 19-30 years old

    At least 174 cm tall

    Not married

    Professional diploma or high school degree

    Loyalty oath

    Daily Life:

    The normal routine of the Guard's day is that every day two thirds of the staff are engaged in mounting guard at the entrances to the Apostolic Palace. That is in the Courtyard of St. Damaso, the Belvedere Courtyard, on the floors of the various "Loggias", in the Sala Regia, in front of the Secretary of State offices, and also in front of the entrance to the Pope's private apartment, as well as at the external entrances, which are the Petrine Gate (formerly the Holy Office gate) at the Arch of the Bells, the Bronze Door and the St. Anna Gate. The Guard serves not only as a Guard of Honour but also keep order every time the Pope is in public, that is for liturgical celebrations in St. Peter's Basilica, at the General Audiences, during visits to the Pope by Heads of States or Governments, Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors. However, the day is not only given to these official duties; there is also the life of the Guard itself, that requires a series of inspections, briefings, marches and shooting practice. And of course time must be found for various group activities: the band, drums, choir and last but not least, sport: soccer matches against other Vatican teams such as the Vatican Security Corps, table-tennis and courses in self-defence. With all this physical and mental activity by relatively young men, it is obvious that the Quarters need a well run kitchen to provide for the Guard members in the most suitable manner. This task is admirably carried out by the Albertine Sisters, Servants of God. By way of conclusion, it would seem appropriate to mention that, once their service has ended, all those who have served with whatever title or grade in the Swiss Guard in the Vatican, remain in close contact with each other through the "Ex-Guardsmann Association" which publishes a regular bulletin, the "Exgardist". The members gather periodically for regional and federal meetings, and the latter are usually, if possible, attended by the Commandant and the Chaplain. However, the most important meeting is the one which takes place in the Vatican every year on May 6th, on the occasion of the "Swearing in" of the new recruits. Around them, on that day, hundreds of people come and go in the Guard's Quarters; relatives of the Guards in service as well as many ex-Guardsmen and their

    Source(s): families pass a day of true and festive friendship. The official dress uniform is of blue, red, orange and yellow with a distinctly Renaissance appearance. While usually attributed to Michelangelo, Commandant Jules Repond (1910-1921) created the current uniforms in 1914. While a painting of the Swiss Guard bearing Pope Julius II on a litter (by Raphael) is often cited as inspiration for the Swiss Guard uniform, the actual uniforms worn by those soldiers are of the style which appears by today's standards as a large skirt, a common style in uniforms during the Renaissance. A very clear expression of the modern Swiss Guard uniform can be seen in a 1577 fresco by Jacob Coppi of the Empress Eudoxia conversing with Pope Sixtus III. It is clearly the precursor of today's recognizable three-colored uniform with boot covers, white gloves, a high or ruff collar, and either a black beret or a black Comb morion (silver for high occasions). Sergeants wear a black top with crimson leggings, while other officers wear an all-crimson uniform. The regular duty uniform is more functional, consisting of a simpler solid blue version of the more colorful tri-color grand gala uniform, worn with a simple brown belt, a flat white collar and a black beret. For new recruits and rifle practice, a simple light blue overall with a brown belt may be worn. During cold or inclement weather, a dark blue cape is worn over the regular uniform. The original colors (blue and yellow) were issued by Pope Julius II taking his family (Della Rovere) colors. Pope Leo X added the red to reflect his family's Medici colors. Headwear is typically a black beret for daily duties, while a black or silver morion helmet with red, white, yellow and black, and purple ostrich feather is worn for ceremonial duties, the former for guard duty or drill; the latter for high ceremonial occasions such as the annual swearing in ceremony or reception of foreign heads of state. The tailors of the uniforms work inside the Swiss Guard barracks. The Renaissance style uniform weighs 8 pounds, and may be the heaviest uniform in use by any standing army today. They are also the most complicated to construct; one uniform takes 32 hours to complete. oh I did not see that Staisil had answered above!
  • 1 decade ago

    Swiss Guards, Swiss mercenaries who fought in various European armies from the 15th cent. until the 19th cent. These mercenaries, who were not volunteers, were put at the disposal of foreign powers by treaties (called capitulations) between the Swiss diet, the separate cantons, and the foreign power concerned, in return for money payments. As a result of the traditional alliance between Switzerland and France—dating from the Everlasting Peace of 1516—the Swiss mercenaries played their most important role in the military history of France. Francis I used some 120,000 Swiss levies in his wars, and in the battle of Pavia (1525) his personal guard, the Hundred Swiss, was slain before Francis was captured by the Spanish. Under Louis XIV, the Swiss troops were organized in two categories: the king's military household and the ordinary Swiss regiments. The most famous episode in the history of the Swiss Guards was their defense (Aug. 10, 1792) of the Tuileries palace in Paris in the French Revolution. Some 500 men of the regiment were massacred by the invading mob. Their heroic stand is commemorated by the Lion of Lucerne, the impressive monument by Thorvaldsen at Lucerne, Switzerland. The French revolutionists abolished Swiss troops, but Napoleon I obtained (1803) several Swiss regiments, which were virtually annihilated in the Russian campaign of 1812. Swiss troops were used in the Bourbon restoration, and many of them were massacred in the July Revolution of 1830, after which they were permanently abolished. The Swiss constitution of 1874 forbade all military capitulations and recruitment of Swiss by foreign powers, although volunteering in foreign armies continued until absolutely prohibited in 1927. An exception to the ruling of 1874 is the Swiss Guard of the Vatican, founded in 1505 by Pope Julius II, which is the personal guard of the pope. Recruited from the Catholic cantons of central Switzerland, the Swiss Guard at the Vatican is garbed in colorful costume of Renaissance design.

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