Winkelried, Arnold von

Winkelried, Arnold von ärˈnôlt fən vĭngˈkəlrēt [key], d. 1386, Swiss hero. His action at the battle of Sempach (July 9, 1386) is credited in legend with the Swiss defeat of the Austrians under Duke Leopold. According to the legend, Winkelried saved the battle by throwing himself against the Austrians and gathering against his breast all the spears within reach. He fell dead but he had breached the enemy ranks, and his compatriots rushed to victory. There has been much argument as to the truth of this legend, and the debate has been referred to facetiously as the “second battle of Sempach.” In 1886 a monument to Winkelried was erected on the battlefield.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Swiss History: Biographies