Mozart &
Material Culture


The Swiss Guard, the Vatican honour guard and de facto military, traces its origin to the fifteenth-century alliance between Pope Sixtus IV (reigned 1471-1488) and the Swiss Confederacy. It was officially constituted on 22 January 1506 with the arrival at the Vatican of a cohort of 150 Swiss soldiers under the command of Kasparvon Silenen. After 1559, the Swiss Guard ceased to be a combat unit, serving chiefly as a ceremonial guard.

Mozart Relevance

Mozart and his father may have first encountered the Swiss Guard on 14 April 1770.

Bibliographic Reference
David Alvarez, The Pope's Soldiers: A Military History of the Modern Vatican (Lawrence, KS, 2011);