While it is famous today, the Lion Monument enjoyed great fame in the 19th century and harks back to a very different era, when nation states were just emerging in Europe. The stone sculpture dates from 1821 and was created by Lukas Ahorn to a design by Berthel Thowaldsen. It shows a dying lion, in an allegory for over eight hundred Swiss mercenaries who died in service in 1792. They belonged to the Swiss regiment which served French king Louis XVI, and were defending the Tuileries in Paris where the French royal family were living during the French revolution against revolutionaries. The royal family had long since fled, so the mercenaries were defending an empty palace. The inscription gives the names of the officers killed and the approximate numbers of soldiers.