Elisabeth Klingler Röist

Chose any one of the paintings that you fell in love with yesterday and write the back story behind the painting. In other words imagine the artist, the sitter, the event that produced this painting and describe the painting itself with as much rich detail as you possibly can. 

Francesco Xanto Avelli’S beautiful plate depicting an allegory for the sack of Rome inspired me to investigate the event in further detail and write a creative piece from the perspective of someone there at the event. I conducted further research into the sack to learn about the individuals involved. While reading, I came across Kaspar  Röist who was the commander of the Swiss Guard at the time who defended the entry of Saint Peter’s Basillica while the Pope escaped. All 147 of his men were killed and he was badly wounded and took refuge in his home where he was followed by the Spaniards and killed in front of his wife. This event inspired me to write in the perspective of his wife, Elisabeth Klingler Röist.

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 My brave husband, my Kaspar. Defending our Pope from those evil wretches on the steps of the Basillica; defending our faith from those red-clad devils; defending our livelihood from those who theive all that is good. I know he will return. God is watching over this Holy fight and if by all misfortune he falls, Saint Peter will call him to those glorious gates where he will be rewarded for the protection of all that is good. But dear God if it be in your will, bring him back to me, Amen. Kaspar is all I have, I have no sons to protect me; no daughters to weep with me and my parents, well I do not know if they live. I must stay positive. He will be back in my arms soon after succeeding on those blessed steps of the Basillica. 


Those cursed steps of the Basillica! Woe to any man who dared to defend them- all of them dead! My Kaspar wounded and in surrender returned to me only to have been followed by all that is evil in the world into my house. Kaspar, my brave husband; Kaspar who provided for me; Kaspar who loved me- killed, neigh, slaughtered in front of mine own eyes. I cannot leave my hiding place in my chambers for fear of death or worse- to be confronted by the bloodied and beaten body lying on the kitchen floor. It is unbearable. There is supposed to be comfort in the fact that he died protecting the Pope but… all I find is despair and darkness and questioning- why Lord have you done this? Why was he cut down in front of his poor wife his poor… widow? That tragic thump plays over in my mind.

Will I ever find peace? Will I ever find sleep? Will I ever find hope? Will I ever find God?

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