Stand of the Swiss Guard
||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Sack of Rome (1527). (Discuss) Proposed since November 2016.|
|Stand of the Swiss Guard|
|Part of the Sack of Rome (1527); War of the League of Cognac|
| Habsburg Monarchy
Holy Roman Empire
| Holy See
|Commanders and leaders|
|Charles de Bourbon †||Clement VII
Kaspar Röist †
|20,000+ Spanish mercenaries||189 Papal Swiss Guards|
The Habsburg army, composed of Imperial and Spanish troops, was placed under the command of the Constable of France, the Duc de Bourbon, fallen from grace in France and now serving the enemy. The constable's army, with a large contingent of Lutheran mercenaries, had become increasingly mutinous, and the Emperor was preoccupied with other matters, making him unable to pay them.
As a result of his troops' attitudes, Bourbon decided to attack Rome, known to be filled with potential loot. The city, considered to be the inviolable capital of Christendom, was left almost defenseless, and, when the Pope anxiously ordered the citizens to take up arms, only 500 obeyed. Bourbon's troops quickly overwhelmed the defenders and began to plunder the ancient city. Near St. Peter's Basilica, the Swiss Guard, as the Pope's elite bodyguard unit, deployed. The captain, Kaspar Röist, intended to hold off the attackers long enough for Clement to escape across the Passetto di Borgo.
After the city's sack and the Guards' stand, Rome was subjected to a brief occupation, during which Catholic and Lutheran German troops committed outrages against the population and its religious monuments. Pope Clement, from his nominal confinement in the Castel St. Angelo, was forced to listen to cries of "Long live Luther, pontiff!" The Pope was allowed to incorporate the surviving Swiss into his new, Habsburg-authorized guard, but the Swiss Guard was reinstalled in its entirety after the occupation.
Joined by remnants of the Roman garrison, the Swiss made their stand in a cemetery well within the Vatican. Captain Röist was wounded and then killed by Spanish mercenaries, in full view of his wife. The Swiss fought bitterly, but were immensely outnumbered and almost annihilated. Some survivors, accompanied by a band of refugees, fell back to the Basilica steps. Those who went toward the Basilica were massacred, and just above forty survived. This group of forty, under the command of Hercules Goldli, managed to stave off the Habsburg troops pursuing the Pope's entourage as it made its way across the Passetto to the Castel Sant'Angelo.
In popular culture
- Rao, John C; "The Sack of Rome: 1527, 1776", Seattle Catholic, 27 April 2004. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
- Chrastina, Paul; "Rome Sacked (1527)", Susquehanna Times (2003). Retrieved 21 September 2010.
- "History of the Swiss Guards", Roman Curia, 7 December 2003. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
- "SABATON-The Last Stand (Swiss Guard's Stand)". Youtube. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
|last1=in Authors list (help)