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Swiss Guard - Five Centuries Protecting Popes

Swiss Guard a history of five centuries protecting Popes

Wearing their distinctive uniforms, members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard leave the interior of St. Peter's Basilica following an event in 2006. At the time, they served the needs of Pope Benedict XV.

Some reports indicate that Michelangelo designed (or helped to design) the Swiss Guard uniforms.  Here's what the Vatican has to say about it:

With the passing centuries there have been a few minor changes, but on the whole the original dress has been maintained.

It is commonly thought that the uniform was designed by Michelangelo, but it would seem rather that he had nothing to do with it. However, Raffaello [Raphael] certainly did influence its development, as he indeed influenced fashion in general in Italy in the Renaissance, through his painting.

The Vatican also tells us that the first contingent of Swiss Guards, numbering 150 men, arrived at the Vatican on the 22nd of January in 1506:

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.

Members of the Swiss Guard are still at their posts, in the Vatican, hundreds of years later.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Jan 16, 2019


Media Credits

Photo by Alberto Luccaroni - online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

 

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