1903 Maienfeld

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


Of noble birth, the one and only indomitable Benedikt Fontana, earned his place in history when he courageously rallied the valiant soldiers of Three Leagues, at Battle of Malserhide.

Ferocious in battle, yet with a heart for his comrade in arms, he defends his fallen kinsman at his feet. Retreat was out of the question, the only way was forward, a fight to the death.

Standing upright, his outstretched arm grips his deadly blade, left hand over his mortally wounded abdomen, face grimacing with pain, yet surrender was never on his mind. He was indeed worthy to be called “Captain Glory” leading his troops to victory till he drew his last breath on the battlefield.


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


The glorious Swiss Cross emanates rays of independence and liberty, the cherished values of the Confederacy. The couplet blazons depict side by side the emblems of Maienfeld and cantonal Grison’s insignias of the Three Leagues.

Garlanded by flora laurels of triumph, honouring the champions of the shooting competition.


“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, though Fontana departed this 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 heroism of Benedikt Fontana, Captain Glory of the Three Leagues, at the momentous Battle of Calven of 1499 May 22nd, where against all odds, the Three Leagues were victorious against the vastly larger Habsburg army.







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