Talk:William Tell

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There should be references to the William Tell Overture and to the various TV versions Lee M 00:26, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

There is now. (Not by me!) --Andrew 13:06, Mar 5, 2005 (UTC)

Origin of the legend[edit]

The origins of the william tell tales is talked about here.


How is it that we have specific dates for the event, but that the main participant is of doubtful existence? What is the ultimate source of the date? Stan 00:57, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Personally wheter he existed or not I think this is a swiss version of King Arthur ;P

I'm a Swiss historian and I can't confirm this date 18th November 1307. The Legendary of Wilhelm Tell tells us that those actions take place befor the uprising or revolution in the year of Swiss Foundation - this year was 1291! The Swiss national day is the 1st August. That means that the Swiss Confederation was allready 16 years old in 1307.

you certainly don't sound like a Swiss historian. The point is not the date given on the Federal Charter (the only source of the 1291 figure), the point is, what date is given by Tschudi. Can you, then, confirm or disconfirm that Tschudi mentions the 1307 date? dab () 14:03, 18 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

spending 30 seconds on google yields a few references, Mr. Historian, including an image of the 1307 date on the Tell sculpture of Altdorf. [1]

Der Bundesbrief von 1291 ist jedenfalls nicht die schriftliche Urkunde vom Rütli, sondern ein Vorläufer des Rütlibundes, während schon die älteste Tradition die Taten Tells und den Rütlischwur auf das Jahr 1307 datiert. Erst um 1890 beschloss das Bundesparlament gegen den Widerstand der Urkantone, Rütlischwur und Bundesbrief gleichzusetzen und am 1. August 1891 eine 600-Jahr-Feier abzuhalten. Die Urner errichteten 1895 das Telldenkmal in Altdorf und meisselten darauf zum Trotz nochmals die althergebrachte Jahreszahl 1307 ein.


Tschudi legte die Ereignisse in die Jahre 1301-07, den Bundesschwur auf Mittwoch vor Martini (8.11.) 1307 und die Erstürmung der Burgen auf Neujahr 1308. Damit schuf er die zeitl. Verbindung zur Ermordung des verhassten, als habsüchtig und tyrann. geltenden Kg. Albrecht I. und die bis ins 19. Jh. gültige Datierung.

dab () 14:10, 18 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You are right with your comments about Tschudys Legend, i was wrong - sorry for that! I really thought that the actions of Wilhelm Tell were before the "Bundesbrief". But I couldn't find a prove about Tschudy and his date of 1307 either, only that Wilhelm Tell fought in the Morgarten Battle 1315, according Tschudys writings.

hard to say what happened anyway... Tschudi has 1307 for the Apfelschuss and 1354 for Tell's death. If Tell was 25 in 1307, he would have died at 72, quite an age for jumping in a mountain river. There will be a historical core to all this, but, like Arnold Winkelried, these legends went unrecorded for more than a century, and there is no way of telling what was added during that time. The similarity to Egil is just a little bit too much of a giveaway, I think, but that doesn't change the fact that the revolt against Habsburg that culminated in Moorgarten 1315 was historical :) dab () 18:58, 18 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Who was Gessler working for? There were no Habsburg emperors until the 1450s. Was it King of the Romans Albert I of Germany? --Countakeshi (talk) 05:06, 10 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I would like to suggest a change in wording. I have the impression that the term "saga" is used here as a translation for German "sage". That is incorrect (check the wikipedia entry for saga). It would be better to use the term legend. HH

How Far?[edit]

For petesake, how far was Tell from the target? That's the entire crux of the matter, but NOBODY even offers a wild guess. If he stood six paces from his son, no big deal. If he was 50 paces, using a 14th century weapon, that could be a huge deal. BT August 26 '06.

look, the event is legendary; it if never even took place, it is futile to speculate about hte distance, don't you think? () qɐp 18:35, 26 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. (talk) 16:34, 6 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you read the story you can infer the approx distance for your self - Tell first tried to refuse, prayed to god for help and decided to kill Gessler if he killed his son. therefore it clearly was a big deal to him. (talk) 16:34, 6 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Birth and death dates[edit]

Someone added fictitious birth and death dates [3]. I have removed them again. First, there were unsourced, and second, it is unknown whether this mythical figure existed at all. Any birth/death dates are pure speculation and based at best on the legend itself. At best, one could add a (sourced!) statement saying that according to the legend, he was born/died at such-and-such dates. Lupo 08:04, 15 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Book burned in Altdorf[edit]

You're right, this would need a source. If I only remembered where I got that from... :-( At least I think I wrote that... yup, on March 29, 2005. Here's another mention of this, by one Charles E. Ritterbrand in a speech given on August 1, 2004. I'll keep looking, though... Lupo 21:20, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Here, in the section "Le pamphlete de von Haller"]. Lupo 21:26, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
well done, thank you Lupo. --dab (𒁳) 13:35, 11 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

1350 or 1354?[edit]

Dab, the 1350 in the German article seems to be the result of some error. Until December 4, 2006, they had also 1354. Then some edit went wrong and garbled it. In the next edit on december 5, 2006, it was "fixed" to 1350. That is wrong. According to Meyer's Konversationslexikon, Tschudi has 1354. I'll change that back and add the ref. Lupo 22:59, 11 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Besides, they also have the November 18, 1307 date... seems to come from Tschudi, too. Lupo 23:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

you are right of course. I was aware I was doing something dodgy. But to be perfectly honest, knowing that this article is in your competent hands, I sort of raised the question knowing that you would sort it out. This isn't how I should have done it, the proper way would have been making the observation on the talkpage -- sorry. --dab (𒁳) 11:07, 12 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Universal Appeal?[edit]

So is William Tell particularly revered by German-speaking Swiss people, or is he a hero throughout the Confederation? The answer might be an appropriate item for the article. Cranston Lamont (talk) 17:42, 11 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


did anyone notice the similaaties to the biiblical book of Esther with idea of the hero not bowing when an opressor told hi to bow, then the tyrant issued an evil decree because of the defiance but the decree didnt work and it ended up as the villian dying? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:57, 27 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

william tell conrad phillips[edit]

despite your excellent and informative summary i am amazed you did not mention the 60s tv series starring Conrad Phillips he helped continue the legend of Tell as much as anyone in fact i recall at the time he conrad was as popular in switzerland as tell himself and was highly regarded for his portrayal whether the real tell existed is open to question but in the hearts of many an english child he did thanks to Conrad Phillips yours Boulevarde —Preceding unsigned comment added by Boulevarde (talkcontribs) 00:25, 11 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, the WILLIAM TELL television film series was made in the late 1950s. DavidRayner (talk) 08:51, 6 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Team Fortress 2[edit]

Is it noteworthy that there is an achievement in the game Team Fortress 2 called William Tell overkill? It requires the player to shoot an enemy with a bow pinning his head to the wall with the arrow.

I think something like this is better mentioned at Team Fortress. Lupo 13:51, 18 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What Merging?[edit]

"Aegidius Tschudi from Glarus merged several earlier accounts of the William Tell myth into the story that is summarized above." All elements of the story in your summary are already present in the weisse Buch von Sarnen and in the Kronika von der loblichen Eydtgenossenschaft. Therefore, the sentence quoted can not be true. I suggest that this sentence be deleted. (talk) 14:48, 6 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

rephrased. Of course the source cited, Bergier p. 16, does not make reference to the "summary above" in this article, so strictly speaking you are right and the sentence was inaccurate. --dab (𒁳) 16:48, 8 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why "William"?[edit]

I grew up hearing the story of William Tell. Now as an adult, I find he was not British. So why does he have an English name? (talk) 22:54, 21 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Because, as is often the case when a non-English story is translated into English, the names involved are also Anglicised. In this case the "story" is an article in the English-language Wikipedia, but the very first line gives the Swiss versions of his name thus:
William Tell (in the four languages of Switzerland: German: Wilhelm Tell; French: Guillaume Tell; Italian: Guglielmo Tell; Romansh: Guglielm Tell).
{The poster formerly known as} (talk) 14:01, 2 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, William seems wrong.2601:806:4301:C100:F8A3:8FAC:81CD:B8D3 (talk) 23:38, 9 June 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's not wrong, it's just common English usage. The Wikipedia name policy states: "Use commonly recognisable names: It's quite normal for a name to differ in different languages. The French say Marie Stuart, the Germans Maria Stuart, the Italians Maria Stuarda and English-speakers Mary Stuart. There are endless examples of this. Think of the different forms of the name Christopher Columbus, Cristoforo Colombo, Cristobal Colon ecc. I was told that in Sweden King Kong is called Kong King. I hope it's true. METRANGOLO1 (talk) 19:14, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]