1897 Altdorf

Actual 45 mm size by Franz Homberg / Richard Kissling, Wolfwyl


Stalwart Wilhelm Tell, of robust and burly stature, and heavily bearded, dressed in typical hooded alpine hunter’s tunic, heaves a large heavy crossbow, his trusty companion of both hunt and shot compete, over his brawny shoulder. His charismatic aura and dignified composure evident as he glances eastwards.

At an unhurried pace, he keeps step with his son, arm over his shoulder. The boy attired simply in an alpine tunic, grasps his father's hand, looking up at him with youthful admiration and a gladsome heart. 


The father and son pair immortalised for posterity in the form of the Wilhelm Tell Memorial Monument bronze statue, was done by the sculptor Richard Kissling and inaugurated on August 28, 1895 at the foot of an old tower, in the marketplace of Altdorf, Canton of Uri.


ERZÆHLEN WIRD MAN VON DEM SCHÜTZEN TELL, SO LANG DIE BERGE STEH'N AUF IHREM GRUNDE.- It will be talked about (in the sense of "stories will be told about") the marksman Wilhelm Tell as long as the mountains stand on their foundation.


Glorious Cross, radiating stylized rays of free liberties and brotherhood, allegory of the Confederacy, raised above the proud couplet blazons emblems of the Canton Uri, and her capital Altdorf. Cradled by flora branches, oaken and laurel leaves, a victorious garland of for worthy champions of the shot compete.


William Tell was known as a strong man, a mountain climber, and an expert shot with the crossbow. In his time, the House of Habsburg emperors of Austria were seeking to dominate Uri. Albrecht Gessler was the newly appointed Austrian Vogt of Altdorf, Switzerland. He raised a pole under the village linden tree, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the townsfolk bow before it. 

Wilhelm Tell visited Altdorf with his young son. He passed by the hat, but publicly refused to bow to it, and was consequently arrested. Gessler was intrigued by Tell's famed marksmanship, but resentful of his defiance, so he devised a cruel punishment. Tell and his son was both to be executed; however, he could redeem his life by shooting an apple off the head of his son Walter in a single attempt. Tell split the apple with a bolt from his crossbow. Gessler then noticed that Tell had removed two crossbow bolts from his quiver, so he asked why. Tell was reluctant to answer, but Gessler promised that he would not kill him; he replied that, had he killed his son, he would have killed Gessler with the second bolt. Gessler was furious and ordered Tell to be bound, saying that he had promised to spare his life, but would imprison him for the remainder of his life.

Tell was being carried in Gessler's boat to the dungeon in the castle at Küssnacht when a storm broke on Lake Lucerne, and the guards were afraid that their boat would sink. They begged Gessler to remove Tell's shackles so that he could take the helm and save them. Gessler gave in, but Tell steered the boat to a rocky place and leaped out. The site is known as the "Tellsplatte"("Tell's slab").

Tell then ran cross-country to Küssnacht with Gessler in pursuit. Tell assassinated him using the second crossbow bolt, along a stretch of the road cut through the rock between Immensee and Küssnacht, which is known as the Hohle Gasse.

Tell's act sparked a rebellion, which led to the formation of the Old Swiss Confederacy.

In memory of, Wilhelm Tell the legendary great hero, of the Old Swiss Confederacy, and very much loved and revered by the Swiss across the history of time.







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