Did you know purple ostrich feathers are part of the Pontifical Swiss Guard Uniform? The Pontifical Swiss Guard are a group of men that live in Vatican City and are responsible for the safety of the Pope. The Pontifical Swiss Guard was established in 1506 by Pope Julius II. This group of individuals are one of the oldest military units in continuous operation.
(Pope’s). The Pontifical Swiss Guard has a rich history, a variety of lengthy requirements and duties, and unique uniforms. When Julius II became Pope in 1503, he asked that he provided with a constant total of 200 Swiss mercenaries. This was made possible through the financing of the German merchants who had invested in the Pope and saw it fit to protect their investment. In September 1505, the first 150 soldiers started their march towards Rome and entered the city on January 22, 1506, which is considered the day the Pontifical Swiss Guards were founded.
(History). There has been a few times in history when the Pontifical Swiss Guards have had a need to fight with all they have. The first time was in 1527 when Emperor Charles V’s soldiers were in the midst of sacking Rome when they attempted to invade Saint Peter’s Basilica. At the time, the Swiss Guards held the soldiers back long enough for Pope Clement VII to escape to a fortress nearby. Pope Clement stayed there for eight days surrendering.
After this attack happened, 150 of the 189 Papal Swiss Guards had died to insure the Pope’s safety. (Rogoway).Many people try to become Pontifical Swiss Guards, but due to the requirements it is hard to become one of the approximately 135 total. An applicant has to be a single male between the ages of 19 and 30. An individual is allowed to marry if they are at least 25 and have served three years already and commit to another three years of service with a rank of at least Corporal. The minimum term of service is usually two years. They must be Roman Catholic and a citizen of Switzerland. Also, to become a Pontifical Swiss Guard and individual has to be a least 5’8″.
In addition to all this criteria you have to have a high school or professional diploma. If an individual becomes a Pontifical Swiss Guard they have four main duties: accompany the Pope wherever he goes, protect the college of cardinal during papal transitions, guard the entrances of Vatican City, and perform any other security and honorary services. Another part of the Pontifical Swiss Guard Uniform are the weapons. During parades Pontifical Swiss Guards can be seen using halberds and swiss short swords. But, if the Swiss Guards ever got into a serious fight they would use Glocks (pistols), handguns and assault rifles.
(10).The Pontifical Swiss Guards have a standard uniform of blue, red, and yellow. This uniform was first introduced in 1914 and was inspired by the original uniform. The uniform doesn’t change based on rank except for different models of halberds. Corporals have a red braid on their cuffs and use a halberd that is more spear like. For daily work headwear is typically a black beret. For ceremonial duties their headgear is red, white, yellow, and black.
The headgear also consists of purple ostrich feathers. Sergeants have close to the same uniform as ordinary guardsman except they have black tunics and red pants. They also have a different pattern on their armor that has a gold cord across the chest. They also have a red plum on their helmets.
The Sergeant major is the only exception and has a white plum on their helmet (Uniform). Citation Page”The Uniform of the Swiss Guards”. The Roman Curia.http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/swiss_guard/swissguard/divisa_en.htmRogoway, Tyler.
“The Pope has a Small but Deadly Army of Elite Warriors”. Foxtrot Alpha. https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.
com/the-pope-has-a-small-but-deadly-army-of-elite-warriors-1733268646″10 things you didn’t know about the Vatican City”. Telegraph Media Group.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/lists/surprising-facts-about-the-vatican-city/swiss-guard/”History”. The Pontifical Swiss Guard.http://www.
guardiasvizzera.va/content/guardiasvizzera/en/storia.html”The Pope’s Private Army – 10 Cool Facts About the Vatican’s Swiss Guards”..
Military History Nowhttp://militaryhistorynow.com/2014/12/08/the-popes-private-army-10-cool-facts-about-the-vaticans-swiss-guards/