Gustavus was born the eldest son of Charles IX, inheriting the throne at just sixteen in 1611. He was so young that congressional concessions had to be made to the Riksdag (the Swedish Assembly) in order to be granted full governmental control. Along with the throne, Gustavus inherited a number of wars from his father. Charles IX had usurped the throne from Sigismund III, his nephew and also the king of Poland. This resulted in intermittent war with Poland for over 60 years, until 1629. Charles had also attempted an invasion of Russia to put his younger son on its throne, provoking another war with Denmark along the way. The usurpation of the throne also caused much tension with the religious authorities. Combined with the constant and expensive warfare, it made for a very tense internal and external situation for Gustavus. Inheriting three wars in 1611, Gustavus first made peace with Denmark, giving up Sweden’s only port city of Älvsborg in the treaty of Knared in 1613. This caused widespread hatred of the Danish in Sweden, and Gustavus would be wary of Denmark ever since. The war with Poland over the Swedish crown would remain largely inactive, aside from small expeditions. This would leave Russia as the sole war of Gustavus’ concern. It was here that he would learn the skills of warfare, forcing Russia to sign the disadvantageous treaty of Stolbova in 1617, succeeding land to Sweden. Internally, Gustavus got along extremely well with the Assembly, thus being able to establish a working relationship going forward within the Swedish government. During his reign, he saw many new positions developed in the state, as well as new economic possibilities being pursued. In 1620, Gustavus married Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg. Gustavus’ reign would be characterized by his involvement in the thirty years war. Modern debate surrounds his motive for entering the war, ranging from pure economic or political motives, to his image as the protestant hero of the North. Regardless of motive, his importance in the thirty years war was monumental. He led an abnormally strong army, fighting with a style completely foreign to Germany. Following his entrance into the war, he landed in Germany with no formal allies. The Protestant leaders in Germany hated Swedish interference, and it was only after a defeat in Magdeburg that Gustavus started receiving allies. Notably, he allied with Saxony to defeat the forces of Tilly at Breitenfield, 1631. His armies swept through Germany, establishing control of many key areas, such as Mainz, where Gustavus established himself. In 1631, having already seen massive success in Germany with the conquest of Southern Germany on the horizon, Gustavus shifted his focus to the governance of the Protestants. Seeing the futility of a Protestant League due to the selfishness and inability to cooperate of the Protestant princes, Gustavus decided that it was only under his authority that Protestant unity would be possible. There were even fears that Gustavus would force the abdication of Emperor Ferdinand II and declare himself emperor, leading to mistrust among his allies. In 1632, Gustavus’ campaign would hit a critical point, with a series of campaigns near Bavaria. At the Battle of Lutzen on November 6th, 1632, Swedish forces would win a great victory against Wallenstein, but Gustavus would also perish in this battle, when he was separated from his cavalry and shot. Interestingly, the King’s body wasn’t returned to Sweden till 2 years later, the subject of this medal. After his death, the king’s body was brought to Weissenfels, then in spring of 1633, to Wolgast. Only then, in July of the same year, did a fleet bring the body back to Sweden, landing on August 8th, where the body was kept until his monument was prepared. His funeral would finally take place on June 22nd 1634, where these medals were directly distributed amongst the attendants. At an impressive medallic weight of 5 ½ thalers (152.03g), this series of medals (also struck in lower weights)served to commemorate the return of the King’s body to Stockholm. Minted by Sebastian Dadler in Danzig in 1634, the obverse has the armored and crowned body of Gustavus lying on the battlefield of Lutzen, with the battle raging behind as the Swedes drive off the enemy. An angel accompanies them, bearing a sword with the inscription “Even they flee death”, with angels also carrying the king to heaven. Surrounding this scene are the latin titles and honorifics of King Gustav. The reverse has a more active scene, with Gustavus wearing armor and holding a bible and a sword, in a chariot drawn by winged horses over the Hydra, a monster of Greek mythology. He is surrounded by the personification of Faith holding a bible and Courage holding a column, both crowning the king. There are also inscriptions on the reverse describing the heroic deeds of Gustavus, as well as the phrase “triumph in both life and death”. This large and impressive medal serves as a great primary document to the height of Swedish power and the reign of Gustavus Adolphus, a King who would play a pivotal role in shaping the religious and political make of Germany.