Artifacts

Silver medal of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Battle of Waterloo, by Emile Rogat


This is the commemorative medal issued by the English after Waterloo. The fallen eagle, depicted on the back, is surrounded by vultures, representing the British, Austrians, Russians and the Dutch armies. It was designed and engraved by a Frenchman, hoping to sell it on the British market.

Can it really be true that the 200th anniversary is a few months away?

The Red Cloak


The spoils of war go on display:
Items seized at the Battle of Waterloo including Napoleon's red cloak are to go on display at Windsor Castle to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle.
The ankle-length cloak was worn by Napoleon on the night before the French defeat and was looted from his carriage after the victory by Allied troops.
The embroidered red felt cloak has been in the Royal Collection since 1837.
A great deal of treasure was left on the battlefield, and then discarded during the retreat. How much of it ended up in private hands, I wonder.

The Chappe Telegraph


The Chappe telegraph was yet another modern convenience that began during the French Revolution and then quickly died off when someone came along and "invented" the actual telegraph.

Claude Chappe's invention worked wonders:
Napoleonic semaphore was the world's first telegraph network, carrying messages across 19h-Century France faster than ever before. Now a group of enthusiastic amateurs are reviving the ingenious system. 
Before the web, before the computer, before the phone, even before Morse code, there was le systeme Chappe. 
Not for the first time or for the last, at the end of the 18th Century France made an important technological advance - only to see it overtaken by newer science. 
In this case, it was the world's first ever system of telegraphy.

In the event of the breakdown of technology and electronic communications, we could easily go back to this system:

Of course, no one is willing to actually learn how to use it, except for the people in France restoring the system. Brilliant.

Another Napoleonic Era Artifact Disappears Into Private Hands


Yet another artifact from the age of Napoleon vanishes into the hands of a private collector. Will it ever be seen again? What else, out there in private hands, is there?

I don't know what value such a ring would be to the people of France; it's not as if every jewel from that era ended up in the hands of the state. Far from it--numerous items have been lost to history in the aftermath of the overthrow of Napoleon's government. How many treasures were carted away by the victors? We'll never know.