1897 Altdorf


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

Obverse.

Stalwart Wilhelm Tell, of robust burly hefty stature, dressed in accustomed hooded alpine hunter’s tunic, donned familiarly of rich facial bearded, brawny shoulders heaved over of a large heavy crossbow, trusty companion of both hunt and shot compete. Of dignified composure, glance towards eastwards, amplifies a most charismatic disposition.

At an unhurried trod he walked in pace, arm over the shoulders of his youngling boy. His son, attired simply in alpine tunic, cradle a grasp on Wilhelm’s hand, at pace easy gait of walking, look up gladsome admirably.

The Wilhelm Tell Memorial Monument bronze statue inaugurated on August 28, 1895 at the foot of an old tower, in the market place of Altdorf, Canton of Uri, by sculptor Richard Kissling, Zürich.

Inscriptions.

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 Tell as long as the mountains stand on their base.

Reverse.

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 brace of flora branches, oaken and laurels, garland of victory embrace champions of the shot compete.

Background.

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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