Napoleon Bonaparte – A Legend

By | November 11, 2018

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Found in the collection of the Musée de l'Histoire de France. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Battle of Aboukir, 25 July 1799, 1806. Artist: Gros, Antoine Jean, Baron (1771-1835)

Napoleon has been recognized worldwide as a military genius. Many films have been made about him and he has had many streets, towns, and even ships named after him.

Napoleon was a legacy, not only in politics but also in culture. Rising up rapidly through the military ranks, he became a general at the young age of 24 and by age 26, was already in his first military campaign against Austria and winning almost every battle.

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As a young child, it was his mother who was a very strict disciplinarian with him as he was a rambunctious child. When he was just nine years old, he enrolled in a religious school in January of 1779 and later, in May of that same year, transferred to a military academy. Interestingly, he spoke and read Corsican rather than French as that was his mother tongue. It was later, at the age of 10, that he learned to speak French and became fluent in it.  While a young adult, he had wanted to become a writer and actually wrote a romantic novella. His physical appearance was quite captivating and when his contemporaries met him in person, they were surprised by his small and thin stature based upon his reputation. Described by some as having a dark complexion as well as dark black hair, others have described him as having an average appearance with reddish blonde hair.