The Eternal Alliance
9 January 2020
The ancient Roman town of Arae Flaviae, present-day Rottweil, has an alliance with the Eidgenossenschaft of thirteen Orte (or cantons) since 1519. The town had already the status of zugewandter Ort since 1467.
Rottweil and Mülhouse are the only cities with this status that are not part of modern Switzerland.
Twelve of the thirteen Orte ratified the eternal alliance (ewiger Bund) with Rottweil in 1519: Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Zug, Glarus, Freiburg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen and Appenzell.
Basel did not sign, although the city was mentioned in the treaty. The reason is still topical: because of the emperor’s court in Rottweil.
The commercial city of Basel was cautious because of the jurisdiction of foreign judges (fremde Richter). This issue also played a role the Schwabenkrieg or Schweizerkrieg in 1499. The Peace Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 mentioned this issue again.
The allies swore eternal trüw, liebe und fründtschafft. Indeed, the eternal treaty was never denounced and Rottweil assisted the Eidgenossen in 1476 (successful in the battle of Murten against the Duke of Burgundy and less successful in the battle of Marignano against the French King and his allies in 1515).
The Eidgenossenschaft assisted Rottweil after the two world wars of the last century. The relationship was not entirely wrinkle-free either. Here, too, the Reformation and the sphere of influence of the Catholic Habsburg monarchy were the main causes.
When Rottweil was (involuntarily) annexed to the Duchy of Württemberg in 1802, she actually lost her status as an ally. Legally, however, the eternal alliance was never terminated.
The ‘Swabian Eidgenossen’ (Schwäbische Eidgenossen) still commemorate and cherish the ties with the old Orte, just as the Orte maintain good ties with Rottweil.
The city of Brugg (canton of Aargau) even closed one of the first international city treaties with Rottweil in 1913.