The Swedish State Trophy Collection
The Swedish State Trophy Collection is one of Sweden's oldest historical collections, but it was not incorporated into the Army Museum until 1960. The founding of the collection extends over approximately 80 years, starting with the Swedish entry into the Thirty Years' War in 1630 and ending with the finish of the Great Northern War in 1721. Some trophies were also taken in the battle at Svensksund in 1790 during the reign of Gustav III, and a further few during the Napoleonic Wars.
A trophy is a symbol of victory, and trophies were captured during wars to be used as a tool of propaganda between nations. They served as physical evidence of victory. A victory could be celebrated with a triumphal procession during which the trophies were displayed, and with a thanksgiving service in which the captured trophies were displayed and Te Deum laudamus was sung. The Battle of Narva took place in November 1700. The victory was celebrated in Stockholm in February 1701, and the complete town was festooned with decorations.
The collection contains approximately 4,300 items and consists of colours, standards, maritime flags, guns, musical instruments and keys. The collection is one of the largest of its kind, and several fortuitous circumstances have led to it being preserved. Similar collections in other countries have been subject to subsequent wars, revolutions, fire, etc. More than one third of the trophies are Russian, and just over 80% of these were captured in a single battle, the Battle of Saladen in 1703.
The collection contains famous royal colours such as the Polish national ensign and the personal standard of the Cossack hetman, Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Other items in the collection include infantry colours from the period of Emperor Ferdinand II and Emperor Ferdinand III, and most of the colours and standards captured at the Battle of Lund in 1676 and the Battle of Narva in 1700. Some colours are unidentified blank cloths (without a motif), while others are simple patterned standards whose provenance has not been determined.