Humanities

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 8th Duke of Wellington


If you're following this sort of thing, please note that the title will continue:
The 8th Duke of Wellington has died at his home in Hampshire, aged 99.
Arthur Valerian Wellesley died peacefully at Stratfield Saye Estate, near Basingstoke, surrounded by his family, a spokesman said.
Also known as the Prince of Waterloo, the duke was a descendant of the 1st Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo.

Gamers Will Sustain History


I don't know what to vote for, but history isn't kept alive in books. It's kept alive in the popular culture--movies, music, art and now games.

Computer gaming is still in an infancy stage that requires a lot of imagination and suspension of disbelief. The games being played today will seem like the games of twenty years ago--and so on and so forth. As the sophistication level of gaming increases, so will the integration of history.

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.

History Repeating Itself Over and Over Again

Fouche, Napoleon's dreaded Chief of Police
All of this talk about being under surveillance and privacy--please. We are mere amateurs when it comes to keeping track of what people say and do.

Here are two wonderful pieces of history from Alan Forrest:

What recourse did anyone have under the rule of law? None. And America is the originator of evil in the world? They used to say that about Napoleon as well. His enemies were everywhere and he knew it.

The police state is over two hundred years old, and counting. It certainly did not begin with Napoleon, but his chief of police, the dreaded Fouche, is the predecessor of so many bad men of history that it is impossible to count them all.


And so, we must conclude that even the President is being spied upon. And, remember. Only Americans do bad things to their people.

Don't Make This


Steven Spielberg's adaptation of AI ruined it; I hope they don't make this project.

Napoleon, and the era in which he lived, would be great fodder for untold numbers of stories and a miniseries and films and whatnot; the subject matter is definitely worth mining. Is there any enthusiasm for what Spielberg would accomplish here? I doubt it.

If Kubrick envisioned the project as a film, and if he had the scale of Barry Lyndon in mind, then any deviation from that will require padding and changes that would dilute his original intention. Add in Spielberg's penchant for melodramatic nonsense, and you have the makings of a ruined project that adds nothing of value. Of course, it could go the other way and be brilliant, but I doubt it. I probably won't ever see Lincoln simply because I cannot abide the historical stylings of Doris Kearns Goodwin. I'm probably alone in this sentiment.

Kubrick's vision should stay with his legacy. Who could possibly reinterpret his work properly?

The Importance of Little Details


Well, that's not a real cannon.

It's a picture of one taken at Disneyland Paris. You can see that it has been cast or fabricated to look real, but it isn't.

Or is it?

If you were going to go out and get a fake cannon, where would you go? And why wouldn't you just buy an old one and dress it up and make it look real.

This is the actual coat worn daily by Napoleon:



But, then again. What's genuine and what's fake?

The reason why this project has, literally, taken forever is that I have so much source material to go through and I'm doing this so that I can get most of this right.

Whose Slippers?


Scattered all throughout Europe are trunks and chests full of treasures; of this I am certain. When something like this is examined, the question I always want to know is, what's missing? What were the really valuable items that ended up being pawned off during the war (s) and what was filched out of there by a thieving relative?

Items from two or three hundred years ago are commonplace enough in small museums in Germany; really, you can go to any stadt museum and see excellent pieces. I'm sure it's that way throughout the continent; maybe not, but I suspect that there are trunks needing a good dusting all over. Perhaps that is oversimplified and overly romantic.

In America, if it's a hundred and twenty years old or more, people lose their mud over such an "antiquity." The American way is to tear it down, pave it over, get rid of it. We do not preserve much of anything in this country.

To call Napoleon's sister a princess is to acknowledge her marriage to a man of limited title who abandoned her for a mistress; she became Paulette when the family arrived in France and was loyal to her brother to the end of his days.



I think that the article should have reflected more of her status as a wholly created royal with the same commoner's blood as her brother. If you consider the painting above, someone had to have been cruelly inclined to give her too long of a neck. What an unflattering portrait.

The Aftermath of Waterloo

The Scots Greys Charging at Waterloo

The Chasseurs project crawls along at a rather slow pace. But, it does move along, so that's something to be happy about. Each and every element needs to fit together, and finding the pieces has been a long, drawn-out process.

The aftermath of Waterloo has always interested me. After the armies shattered themselves, the French abandoned the field. The chase was on; Napoleon fled before his forces and tried to find somewhere to go. He ended up surrendering himself to a British sea captain.

This excerpt has some great details:


It would make sense to me to depict this aftermath as a time of chaos and confusion. The staggering number of wounded would mean that The Chasseurs are stuck on the field and unable to retreat. This allows for scenes at the end to take place in a static setting, one that can be transitioned from quickly.

Hegel's Man Crush on Napoleon

Did Hegel Have a Man Crush on Napoleon?

If it wasn't for all of this school work, I would have had some great posts this month.

Big, big sigh...

Steampunk and the Napoleonic Era



As nice as it would be to include some early elements of steampunk (which I adore as a Humanities discipline, and which should get enormous amounts of academic respect) in this project, I don't think I can get away with too much. I would certainly like to show the accoutrements of the dogs in a way that suggests steampunk. Why not?

It's not like it wouldn't have some practical historical application:
Meanwhile, the US inventor Robert Fulton, who would build the first commercial steamship in 1807, gets financial backing from Napoleon to develop the Nautilus, a submersible warship or submarine. Powered by a mechanical crank, it is intended to be used to attach explosive devices to the hulls of enemy ships. Although Fulton's submarine succeeds in tests in 1801, it can't keep up with normal ships. When Napoleon decides the French navy cannot make any practical use of the Nautilus, Fulton tries the British, who also reject it despite another successful test demonstration.
Good enough for me. Steampunk is a go.