Who says French Revolution, says Napoleon and thus Waterloo.
The Battle of Waterloo took place on 18 June 1815.
The French under command of Napoleon were defeated by the Anglo-allied and the Prussian armies.
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The French had 73.000 soldiers and 41.000 casualties, the other side had 118.000 soldiers and 24.000 casualties.
The battle of Waterloo ended Napoleon’s rule and the French Empire.
The battle also sets the start for a peaceful period in Europe called Pax Britannica.
The Lion of Waterloo
The Lion’s Mound was built between 1824 and 1826 on the battlefield.
The Legend says ….
The Brits forced the French soldiers to build the monument after the battle.
The canons used in the battle were melted into a lion.
The lion resting his paw on a sphere represents the British Empire rulling over the world.
King William I of the Netherlands ordered the construction of a monument to commemorate the location where his son William II (prince of Orange) was injured during the battle.
The lion is the coat of arms of the dutch monarch and symbolizes courage.
The Lion was made from nine iron parts and assembled at the monument site.
The monument represents the victory of the Monarchies in Europe.
The Medici Lions
Lions with a sphere under their paws are called “Medici Lions”.
They refer to a specific set of marble lions once located at the Villa Medici in Rome.
The Lions were removed when the House of Medici was replaced by the House of Lorraine.
Coincidentally, Napoleon ordered copies of the two Medici lions to be placed at the villa Medici in 1803.
Napoleon was born in Corsica in a modest noble Italian family in 1769 and died under British house arrest in 1821.
He became Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814.
He’s Italian as in Napo… Leone … di… Buono… Aparte but he changed his name.
His mother abandoned him at the age of 9 at the military academy and will see him again when he turns 16.
He is mocked and bullied at the academy because of his Italian accent, short stature and low social origin.
He has no friends or family and spends his free time reading military strategies.
He joins the army after the academy and climbs the ladder through victories on the battlefields.
He’s a disrupter: he applies new military strategies (modern warfare), he criticises the military establishment and will eventually kick over the political establishment in Europe.
The political context is in his favour as theres’a revolution going on in France.
The French Revolution
The French Revolution sets an end to the French Ancien Regime …. the almighty kings representing God on earth.
Napoleon represents the French Revolution in the collective consciousness but he wasn’t the architect, he was just the sales manager.
The revolutionaries don’t particularly like Napoleon but they need his skills to guarantee the success of the revolution in France (avoiding the re-establishment of the Ancien Regime) and export the concept to Europe.
Napoleon moves through Europe like a “flipper ball” fighting established powers wherever he can.
Napoleon’s ego grew with the job to a point that he promotes himself as “Emperor”, so the title of Marketing Manager of the Revolution may be more accurate.
Was he good or bad? We know of the “good” values and changes brought by the French Revolution but Napoleon killed millions on his way and abandoned his armies several times to save his own life or for personal matters.
Could it have been done differently? Is it possible to make an omelet without breaking eggs?
What about …. how many people were killed during the Ancient Regime and what about royal practices such as “prima nocta“?
Talking about prima nocta, Napoleon had an affair with the wife of one of his officers when he was in Egypt.
To remove the obstacle, Napoleon sent the officer away while keeping the wife for himself.
The Brits found out about this officer. They managed to capture the ship on which he was travelling and briefed him about the situation between Napoleon and his wife.
The poor fellow was devastated.
The Brits, of course, had the courtesy of bringing the officer back to Napoleon’s camp “illico presto … manu militari” so that the officer was able to find Napoleon busy with his wife.
A scandal followed.
What did you expect, Napoleon was an Italian raised by the French.
The Bio Revolution
What can we learn from Napoleon and ze French Revolution?
A revolution needs the following:
A favourable context, a collective willingness to break from the past and from established powers. A favourable public opinion to switch from one to the other.
A series of events leading to a “transition”. Eventually, a revolution starts with disobedience.
A genuine leader who is a “true” disrupter and thus not someone who has links with the established powers. No house cats or sweet water sailors.
A kind of manifest.
The Lion of Waterloo in times of Corona