Pope's guards celebrate 500 years
In that time they have protected 42 successive popes, although more recently the Vatican has been guarded by Italian security forces and plainclothes police. But personal safety of the pope is still the guards' full responsibility.
The guards first arrived in Rome on 22 January 1506. At that time, Helvetian soldiers were employed as mercenaries, renowned for their courage and their loyalty.
There were many famous battles, but their most notable hour came in 1527, during the sack of Rome. Almost the entire guard was massacred by troops of the Holy Roman emperor Charles V on the steps of St Peter's Basilica.
comments powered by Disqus
- Judith Kelleher Schafer, 72, a historian of slavery and prostitution, dies
- Northwestern celebrates Garry Wills with a book in his honor
- Conservatives go after UCLA's historian James Gelvin
- Laura Hillenbrand writes her masterpieces despite suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- New PBS DVD From Henry Louis Gates Jr. Explores African Influence on the Caribbean