Actual 45 mm size by Huguenin, Le Locle
Helvetia (allegory of the Confederacy) dressed in a delicate gown flowing in the gentle breeze, steps out across the alpine meadow with her unshod feet towards a uniformed soldier. Her upbraided hair lends her a stately air of grace.
Dignified in stature, she does the schwurhand, solemn oath gesture in traditional depictions of the Rütlischwur, with her left hand pointing to the heavens, and her right places with loving grace onto the fore-stock chamber of the soldier’s rifle.
In gladsome acceptance of this most welcoming gesture, mirthful grin on his wrinkly bearded face, the soldier strides on with a gratified disposition, having received the blessing from the heavens through her. With renewed vigor, both leather-gloved hands grasping his most faithful rifle, he glances much obliged at her with a smile and received in return, a tender knowing look from her.
In the distant peaceful River Aare, are the townhouses of Olten with its famed covered bridge. The spire of the Tower of Olten rises above all, amidst the mountainous Wisenberg presiding for centuries over the the township and along these heavily forested lands.
Herz und Hand Dem Vaterland – Heart and Hand for The Fatherland
Stylized rays brilliantly in all directions from the venerable Cross, allegory of the Confederacy, depicting the everlasting unity and brotherhood of man, and the most cherished virtues of independence and free liberties.
Nestled within victorious laurel branches for the champions, over the instruments of contest, and the heraldic shields of the venue, are a couplet of heraldry blazons. One representing the three Fir Trees of Olten and the other displaying the proud emblem colors of the canton of Solothurn. Laying upon a X-cross of sharpshooters’ guns, marked by the stock of past ages, the flintlock musket, and of present times, Perkussionsstutzer rifle.
At the end of the 3rd century, a fortification was built at the bridgeheads. This fortress was abandoned in the 4th century, and later replaced by a larger castle, comparable to late Roman fortresses protecting crossings of the Aar at Solothurn and Brugg.
The medieval settlement was built on the foundations of the Roman castle. It is first mentioned in 1201, as Oltun. It was in possession of the counts of Frohburg in the 13th century, passing to Kyburg in 1377 and to Habsburg in 1384. Olten passed under the administration of Basel in 1407, which invested in infrastructure, which was however destroyed in fires in 1411 and 1422. Basel lost interest in rebuilding the town again after the 1422 fire, and sold the settlement to Solothurn in 1426.
Throughout the medieval period, Olten was little more than a fortified bridgehead with some services (blacksmiths, taverns). Olten lost its city rights in 1653 as punishment for its support of the rebels in the Swiss Peasant War. This resulted in a lasting tradition of resistance against authority in Olten, and the town welcomed as liberators the French troops in the 1798 invasion. In 1814, Solothurn suppressed another rebellion of Olten patriots against the Swiss Restoration.
In celebration of the Schützenfest held in 1897 in the town of Olten in the Canton of Solothurn.