Actual 45 mm size by H. Bovy, C. Richard, E. Lossier, Geneva
The plate-armored Musketeer sentry-guard, slender rapier blade sheathed at scabbard, sturdy arquebus clasped buttress to arms, hearkening back to distinguished erstwhile hero-savior Isaac Mercier, is at strict vigilance of a strut march on the Old City walls rampart, unfailingly safeguarding the treasured independence and faithful liberties of the great city of Geneva.
Prominent bulwark cannon sights outwards, reminiscent of the legendary defense by its brave citizens' repelling of the infamous L'Escalade clandestine assault by the House of Savoy in 1602. Never to be forgotten their fragile freedom so nearly lost that day.
Beveled blazon the coat-of-arms, depicting quondam origins, Imperial Eagle and key of St. Peter proudly symbolizing since the 15th century, the status of Geneva as Reichsstadt and as Episcopal seat respectively.
In the background lies the gothic Saint Pierre Cathedral, medieval seat of the prince-bishop of the Diocese of Geneva since 4th-century, bears silent witness to multifarious episodes across her exalted illustrious history.
In ardent and passionate defense of her sovereignty (as the great House of Savoy perceptually threatened her annexation), in 1519 she allied with Fribourg, in 1526 she allied with Bern and in 1584 she formed an alliance with the Swiss cantons. Eventually, in 1814 Canton of Geneva formally became part of the Suisse Confederation.
“TOUT POUR LA PATRIE” - “All for the Motherland”
Heraldic coat of arms of the Confederacy, upon blazon of Geneva, a crowned Imperial Eagle arising with outstretched wings and talons at ready, beside the key of St. Peter, because he holds the “keys of heaven”. The oak and laurel branches of the winners, stylized brilliant rays divergent in all directions honoring triumphant victors of the shooting competition.
“UN POUR TOUS, TOUS POUR UN” – “All for One, One for All”
“On December 11 and December 12 (Old Style) 1602—the darkest night of the year—the forces of the Duke of Savoy, under the command of the seigneur d'Albigny, and those of Charles Emmanuel's brother-in-law, Philip III of Spain, launched an attack on the city-state of Geneva. The troops marched along the Arve River at night and assembled at Plainpalais, just outside the walls of Geneva, at 2 o'clock in the morning.
The original plan was to send in a group of commandos (300) to open the city gate and let the other troops in. The Geneva citizens defeated the invaders by preventing them from scaling the wall using cannon fire, and by fighting in the streets against the few who managed to climb over (a climb in French is an escalade). The alarm was raised, the church bells were rung and the Genevese were alerted.
The night guard Isaac Mercier succeeded in cutting the rope holding up the portcullis, thus foiling the plan to open the main city gate. The populace fought alongside their town militia and the duke's 2000-plus mercenaries were defeated. The Genevese lost 18 men in the fighting; the Savoyards suffered 54 fatalities and the troops had to retreat. Thirteen invaders who had been taken prisoner, including several well-born gentlemen, were summarily hanged the following day as brigands, since they could not be treated as prisoners of war, peace having been repeatedly sworn on the part of Savoy.
After the defeat (and after a retaliation campaign by Geneva against Savoy, known as the contre-Escalade, that failed to meet its objectives), the Duke of Savoy accepted a lasting peace, sealed by the Treaty of St. Julien of July 12, 1603. The story of L'Escalade is told in a song called "Cé qu'è l'ainô", written in a Franco-Provençal dialect around 1603 by an unknown author. The song has become the "national" anthem of Geneva.“
In memory of the great event l'Escalade of 1602, where Genevadefenders and citizens fought fearlessly, and put to flight the invading forces of House of Savoy who threatened the free city’s liberty and sovereignty.