Sunday, January 1, 2012

Nicholas II of Russia's Royal Scots Greys Uniform

Britain is the only nation of Europe that retains a degree of the aristocratic cavalry regiments that categorized the Rheinbund period.  Most of these regiments have been amalgamated to form larger units that are not as ineffectual as regiments of dragoons, hussars, lancers, etc. would otherwise be today.  In any event, below is an image of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia's colonel uniform of the Royal Scots Greys, presented to him by his relatives, the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha's (now Windsors) prior to World War I.  It was a curious move to make Nicholas an honorary colonel of the Scots Greys as the regiment had served against Russia very notably in the Crimean War.  The Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons) now form a part of the Carabiniers and Greys (amalgamated in 1971).

A very fine uniform I'd say!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Salzburg: An Austrian City With A Unique History

Salzburg is nestled on the banks of the Salzach River.

Salzburg is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but, in fact, the city has an interesting history and, until recently, was not considered a part of Austria.  Salzburg, like many other German cities, including Trier, Wurzburg, Worms, Speyer, etc. was ruled by a prince-bishop from the Middle Ages straight through to 1803, when Salzburg was secularized along with many other small or episcopal states as part of the German Act of Mediatization.  In fact, the ruler of Salzburg was an archbishop, among the most famous of whom was Count Hieronymus von Colloredo, the last Archbishop of Salzburg, infamous for his feuds with Mozart.  In 1805, Salzburg was granted to Austria, but only four years later, it was removed from Hapsburg rule and granted to Bavaria.  Fascinatingly, Salzburg was geographically associated with Bavaria prior to this time and, first calling himself a native of Salzburg, Mozart allegedly considered himself to be Bavarian when asked about his nationality.  Bavarian rule of Salzburg was to be short, as brief as Napoleon's dominance over Europe.  After the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Salzburg was definitively granted to Austria, of which it has been an inalienable part ever since.  Salzburg picturesque location, on the banks of the Salzach River with mountains in the distance, has long been associated with the film The Sound of Music.

Mozart's birthplace in Salzburg

Thursday, April 14, 2011

British Hussar's Uniform

There's nothing better than a well-preserved Hussar's uniform.  The specimen below comes from the Regiment of 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Austrian Uhlan Uniforms: 1809 - 1825

Austria was not a member of the Rheinbund but, in fact, was the nation at war with Napoleon the longest.  However, the pattern for the Austrian Uhlan uniform was similar to that of other German states, in particular Bavaria, where these types of units were called chevau-legers lanciers (or just chevau-legers).  The same naming convention applied to nations with French-installed rulers like Berg and Westphalia.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Scala Regia and the Swiss Guards

Nothing quite says the Vatican like the distinctive attire of the Papal Guards: The Swiss Guard.  Interestingly, the Pope was not the only one to have a Swiss Guard as the Bourbon Kings of France also had their Cent Suisses.

Click Images To Enlarge

The Scala Regia (Royal Stair) in Rome

Need a break from the Confederation of the Rhine/Germany?  Take a look at one of the occasionally forgotten architectural wonders of Renaissance Rome: the Scala Regia, which was constructed by Bernini in 1663-1666.  The stair is part of the Pope's personal areas in the Vatican, the Apostolic (or Vatican) Palace.