1903 Maienfeld


Actual 45 mm size by Richard Kissling / Huguenin, Le Locle

Obverse.

Of noble birth, one of indomitable Benedikt Fontana, of steady lionhearted, mustering rally of the fiery ardent mats, valiant soldiers of Three Leagues, at Battle of Malserhide. Stood of truly a dignified upright, left hand over mortal abdomen death wound, worthy “Captain Glory” leads the defiance lasting of final breaths.

Stony steady arm of blade outstretched, dominant lead of this fateful momentous assail, grim pained yet yearning resolve struck evidently on His bearded face. Sparing only solitary heed over the fallen kinsman at feet, fateful retreat yet never an opinion, only forward the time is now.

The Benedikt Fontana Monument, 1450-1499", raised in Fontana Park, Chur in 1903, by sculptor Richard Kissling.

Reverse.

Glorious Swiss Cross, of stylized emanate rays of free rights and liberty, allegory of dear cherished values of Confederacy, couplet blazons notable coat of arms, seal emblems of Maienfeld, and cantonal Grison of insignias of the Three Leagues side-by-side.

Embosoming flora laurels of triumph, honors granted to champions of the shot compete.

Background.

“In 1499 May 22nd Battle of Calven, Benedikt Fontana earned himself the title of Captain Glory when he died in the Battle of Calven. Although the fighting troops were under the command of the Zurich captain Dietrich Freuler, Fontana went down in history as a hero, as Freuler suddenly began to hesitate with the attack when the situation became critical. Fontana, however, saw that there was no way back. He quickly took command and commanded the attack. The battle ultimately won by the Graubünden, while Fontana left his life.

About his death the following story is told: Benedikt Fontana was badly injured by an enemy bullet, while he stormed as a captain at the head of the Graubünden troops to the Austrians. Struggling with death, he held the wound on his abdomen with his left hand while he aimed his sword at the enemy with his right hand. Turning his face towards the comrades, he spurred on to victory with the last of his strength:

"Hei fraischgiamank meiss matts, cun mai ais be ün hom da fear, quai brichia guardad, u chia hoatz Grischuns e Ligias u maa non plü!"—"Go on, my boys, I'm just one man, do not care about me. Today is for the Grisons and the Leagues, or never!"

This had obviously been useful, for the Grisons had routed the Habsburgs.

The Battle of Calven took place on, at the exit of the Val Müstair in the Grisons (now part of Switzerland) to the Vinschgau in County of Tyrol (now part of Italy) between the forces of king Maximilian I of the House of Habsburg and those of the free federation of the Three Leagues of the Grisons. The Habsburg army of 12,000 Swabian Landsknechte and knights, Tyrolian soldiers, Italian mercenaries, heavily outnumbered the Leagues’ 6,300 infantry. It was the decisive battle in the southern Grisons of the Swabian War.

The defeat of the Habsburg troops, put in end to King Maximilian's attempt to gain control over the Val Müstair and its passes. His allies of the Swabian League refused to send more soldiers to the Grisons, which was of no interest to them. Maximilian returned to Lake Constance, and subsequently shifted to the northern border of the Old Swiss Confederacy.”

In memory of, the self-sacrificing heroics of Benedikt Fontana, Captain Glory, at the momentous Battle of Calven of 1499 May 22nd, where against the odds, the Three Leagues were victorious against the vastly larger Habsburg army.

 

1899 Wohlen     1901 Luzern     1901 Hergiswil     1902 Zug    

 


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