Friday, 24 February 2012

Napoleon, Science and the Egyptian Campaign

Hels's blog is entitled "ART and ARCHITECTURE, mainly", so although I follow it I have not included a permanent link here.

Her latest blog, posted tomorrow (she is in Australia!), is well worth reading by anyone interested in Napoleon's remarkable career.

It references work published some time ago by the International Napoleonic Society about L' Institut d’Égypte which Napoleon set up to carry out research during his military campaign. It is a fascinating blog about a scientific project that is not well known, planned let us remind ourselves when Napoleon was still less than 30 years old.

It reminded me again of the inadequacy of the labels that his detractors in particular have used to describe Napoleon. He was a very complex man, which is perhaps partly the source of his fascination for contemporaries and generations since, but for all that he was a product of the times in which he lived: enlightened despotism, revolution, and above all a child of the Enlightenment.


Hels said...

Thank you :)

People think of Napoleon as being a hugely successful military man but rarely a man with "an enquiring open mind, great organisational abilities and a capacity for hard work which we tend to associate with genius."
You are quite right! And where he needed experts to research and write papers in scientific areas he didn't understand, he called those scientists in AND PAID FOR THEM.

John Tyrrell said...

How sad that the Institute and all its treasures have now gone up in flames.

Ironic in a way; Napoleon had such an aversion to popular revolts.