Der Obelisk von Meyriez, l'obélisque de Meyriez. Photo/Foto: TES.

De obelisk of Meyriez

Lord Byron 1788-1824) wrote in 1816:

“While Waterloo with Cannae’s carnage vies, Morat and Marathon twin names shall stand;
They were true Glory’s stainless victories,
Won by the unambitious heart and hand
Of a proud, brotherly, and civic band….”.

The Battle of Murten (Morat in French, canton of Freiburg/Fribourg) was one of the decisive turns in European history. It followed the battle of Grandson on 2 March 1476. The Confederation (Eidgenossenschaft) of Swiss cantons defeated the mighty army of Charles the Bold (1433-1477), Duke of Burgundy.

On 22 June 1476, they defeated the Duke again at Murten. The following year, at Nancy (5 January 1477), Duke Charles (1433-1477) lost his third battle and life.

The victories of the Confederacy paved the way for the rise of the Habsburgs. Mary of Burgundy (1457-1482), the heir of Charles the Bold and later wife of Emperor Maximilian I of Austria (1459-1519), inherited the rich Flemish and Dutch regions.

The French king was the other profiteer. His small and ramshackle kingdom had lost its most formidable competitor, and the third kingdom of Burgundy (after 443-534 and 888-1032) was not to be.

The Eidgenossenschaft was the military superpower but politically a small confederation. Nevertheless, it defeated the Habsburgs in 1499 (Swabian War/Schwabenkrieg).

Political hubris led to the defeat at Marignano in 1515 against the French king and ended their military supremacy. The era of Swiss mercenaries was a mighty army of about 1.5 million men until 1848.