Thursday, December 2, 2010

Napoleon Bonaparte Declairs Himself the French Emperor in 1804

On this very day in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of the French. Napoleon’s coronation was described as being a sight to remember.

It was noted that Napoleon wanted his coronation to be held at the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, which was damaged during the French Revolution. Due to the persistence of Napoleon, the cathedral was saved from demolition and redecorated for his coronation in 1804.

On the day of Napoleon’s coronation, there were over a dozen processions, which included Napoleon's grand Army and the Papacy. Pope Pius VII, along with the cardinals, rode to the coronation in gaily decorated coaches pulled by elegantly decorated horses. The last procession was of course Napoleon’s royal coach that was ornamented with gold and a capital N imprinted on the side. Napoleon was dressed in  purple velvet embroidered with gems and gold. His beloved Josephine was at his side throughout the entire procession, robed in silk and sparkling gems. It was documented that it took over an hour for all the carriages to reach the cathedral.

There's some contervacy among historians bast an a heresay some that when the time came for the Pope to crown Napoleon, Napoleon grabbed the crown from the Pope’s hand and crowned himself. I don’t know if this is a myth or fact but it was apparently started by the Duchess d’Abrantes. However, it was known that Napoleon planned all along to avoid accepting the Pope as his overlord.

What I found to be interesting was that Napoleon’s crown was a new crown made to look Medieval with dozens of antique Roman cameos. The crown was said to have cost 8,000 Francs. In order to commemorate the coronation of Napoleon I, a medal was struck portraying Napoleon in a Caesar like profile on the heads of the medal. On the back was an illustration of the ancient Frankish custom that acknowledged Napoleon as the new chief by raising him up on a shield. This symbolized the peoples support of Napoleon, which was represented by a Roman senator and his military.

To read more on Napoleon's coronation, click on this link:

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting :) I read some books years back about Josephine and her story (can't remember what they were called or who wrote them of course). It was such a fascinating era though!