Napoleon (2000) s01e02 Episode Script

Mastering Luck

On May 5, 1796 Bonaparte led his victorious armies into Milan.
He was greeted by the Milanesi as a heroic liberator the general who freed them from their Austrian rulers.
"We come to break your chains," Bonaparte proclaimed.
"Our only quarrel is with the tyrants who have enslaved you.
" He was more than a general now.
He had made himself the head of a provisional Italian government.
With an exalted sense of his own destiny he was determined to follow his star to the heights of power.
"Great men become great because they have been able to master luck," Bonaparte said.
"What the vulgar call luck is a characteristic of genius.
" PART TWO: MASTERING LUCK "I shall be frantic if I do not have a letter from you tonight" Bonaparte wrote Josephine.
"500 or 600 of the prettiest wome in Milan have tried to please me but I could see only you, think only of you" "I value victory only because it gives you pleasure" "How happy I would be if I could assist at your undressing" "Remember that there has never been a love like mine" "The little, firm white breast" "It will last as long as my life" "I'll never forget the little black forest" "A thousand kisses upon your eyes, your lips, your tongue everywhere.
" Bonaparte desperately wanted his wife to join him in Italy but Josephine refused to leave Paris.
She was spending her time with a dapper young army lieutenant.
She's cheating on Napoleon with a young officer infinitely more seductive than Napoleon.
She's not in love with Napoleon.
She's afraid of the bored in Italy, because in Paris it's a life of parties, a life of luxury.
Finally, after weeks of Bonaparte's pleading letters Josephine left Paris for Italy.
"She wept," wrote one witness "as though she were going to a torture chamber.
" She arrived at Milan's Serbelloni Palace to find that her husband had filled it with flowers in her honor.
There they spent the third night of their married life together.
After 48 hours, Bonaparte went back to doing what he did best: making war.
The Austrian army, with fresh reinforcements was still a threat.
Now Bonaparte dealt them a series of crushing blows finishing them off in January 1797 in a three-day battle at Rivoli, 60 miles west of Venice.
His victories in Italy began the legend of his invincibility immortalized in a series of romantic paintings: Bonaparte was not only a warrior; he was also a shrewd propagandist.
From his first triumphs Bonaparte understood that it's not enough to win victories.
He uses images to make sure that his victories in Italy are widely publicized in France.
He understood that art is also a means of propaganda.
He orders a painting after a victory.
He dictates the theme, the layout of the characters He even orders the dimensions of the frame.
From the very beginning, Napoleon gave himself an image.
He created his own history.
He created his own newspapers: France and the Army of Italy and theNewspaper of the Army of Italy which exalt his victories.
Bonaparte himself actually wrote some articles.
He himself wrote "Bonaparte flies like lightning and strikes like a thunderbolt.
" While Bonaparte's fame grew in France he was wearing out his welcome in Italy.
When he met armed resistance he order towns sacked, villages burned, rebels shot.
Many Italians now began doubting the general who said he fought in the name of liberty but was sending convoys of gold and silver back to his government in France along with some of the great treasures of Italian art.
Works by Michelangelo, Titian, Raphael the four ancient bronze horses from St.
Mark's Basilica in Venice all would soon find a home in a new museum in Paris that would one day be called the Louvre.
While he ruled in Italy Bonaparte never stopped chasing Austrians.
Just two months after his victory at Rivoli he had driven them from northern Italy crossed the Alps into Austria itself and by April 7, 1797, was within 75 miles of Vienna.
Stunned by the advancing French armies the Austrian Emperor sued for peace.
Bonaparte himself negotiated with the Austrian diplomats.
He wanted Belgium, the left bank of the Rhine and a new republic to be allied with France carved out of northern Italy.
When the Austrians objected to his demands he turned on them in a rage.
He flung to the ground a treasured porcelain tea service.
"This is what will happen to your empire," he shouted.
"Your empire is nothing but an old maidservant accustomed to being raped by everyone.
" Bonaparte, the Austrian delegation reported to Vienna had "behaved like a madman.
" There are a lot of legends about this.
Napoleon was hot-tempered sometimes with violent physical reactions.
And when the negotiations dragged on too long Napoleon became agitated, started pacing back and forth smacked into a small table and overturned a tea service.
Whether by rage, insult, or shrewd diplomacy Bonaparte got what he wanted and he had dictated the terms of the treaty himself without instructions from the government in Paris.
He saw that his intelligence, his abilities were more than just military.
He had become not only a great general but also possibly a future statesman.
And everybody realizes it, not only in Italy, but in France.
At the end of 1797, 28-year-old Napoleon Bonaparte returned to Paris and handed the government a treaty which brought a fragile peace to the continent of Europe.
Now only Great Britain remained at war with France.
In just one and one-half years, he had taken his dispirited, tattered soldiers marched them hundreds of miles and defeated the army of the empire of Austria without ever losing a battle.
People performed plays in his honor.
There were more and more engravings of him.
He's a national hero.
The French were hungry for a hero someone who could put an end to the political chaos into which the Revolution had descended.
One government after another had come and gone.
Now they lived under a new one: the Directory.
The Directory was an unstable, fragile parliamentary government that commanded no confidence.
All of France turned toward Bonaparte wondering what he would do next.
"What I have done up to now is nothing," he said privately.
"I am only at the beginning of the course I must run.
"I can no longer obey; I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.
" But Bonaparte waited.
"The fruit," he told an aide, "is not yet ripe.
" The Directory is not as weak as it would seem.
In 1797, Bonaparte cannot organize a coup.
But he is afraid that he will go out of fashion and be forgotten so he has to look for another expedition that will allow him to display his military powers without too much risk.
While Bonaparte waited for the right moment to seize power he set his sights on new glories in the exotic East.
He eluded a British fleet and on July 1, 1798, landed with 35,000 soldiers in Egypt.
France was still at war with Great Britain and Bonaparte hoped to disrupt British trade routes to India.
In 1798, Egypt was still a source of wonder to most Europeans: the suqs crowded with Turks and Jews, Syrians and Greeks the minarets sounding the call of an alien religion the Sphinx with its broken nose buried in the sand up to its neck.
Bonaparte finds himself in a country of legends, myths and a great history.
But it was really madness on his part because all of the military calculations at the time held that it was impossible for a European army to conquer the East.
It is completely absurd.
The Egyptian expedition is probably the craziest expedition in the history of France.
Bonaparte quickly captured Alexandria and then on July 3 led his soldiers across the desert toward Cairo and a looming battle.
For centuries, the Egyptians had been part of the Turkish Empire ruled by the fiercest warriors in the Middle East: the Mamelukes.
Remarkable for their courage, pride and cruelty the Mamelukes waited fearlessly for the French armies.
One Mameluke prince called them "donkey boys.
" "I will cut off their heads," he said "like watermelons in the fields.
" They weren't afraid of Napoleon at all.
The Mamelukes were brought up with fierce principles of courage and chivalry.
Fear was not part of their tradition.
After marching two weeks across the desert Bonaparte's armies came within sight of the pyramids and 10,000 Mamelukes drawn up on horseback across the sands.
"Soldiers," Bonaparte said "from the height of these pyramids 40 centuries look down upon you.
" The Mamelukes charged.
"They start," it was said, "like lightning and arrive like thunder" The Mamelukes are beautiful, magnificent their horses rearing, plunging.
Napoleon himself recognizes their courage.
Bonaparte's men stood in tight formation and held their fire until the Mamelukes reached within 50 paces of their ranks.
The Mamelukes charged the cannons with their sabers and their horses with arms from the Middle Ages.
It was a meeting between the Europe of the future and the Egypt of the past.
Napoleon just organized his army into five gigantic squares.
These are men kneeling and standing and firing so you got a continual rolling fire.
The Mamelukes rode around the squares and were shot at by that square and by this square.
The French lost 30 men.
The Mamelukes lost probably 5,000 or 6,000.
The Battle of the Pyramids was over in an hour.
Three days later, Bonaparte his army into Cairo.
"I was full of dreams," he said.
"I saw myself founding a new religion "marching into Asia, riding an elephant a turban on my head, and in my hand the new Koran.
" But Bonaparte's dreams of empire were quickly shattered.
The British admiral Horatio Nelson caught the French fleet anchored off the Egyptian coast, and blew it to pieces.
Bonaparte and 35,000 soldiers were trapped in Egypt.
The only link that he had with France were his ships his fleet of warships.
You can imagine what a disaster this was.
He was forced to stay in Egypt and live with the Egyptians to find his bread and water in Egypt.
And even find ammunition for his weapons in Egypt to live in Egypt.
While Bonaparte was marooned in Egypt his wife was buying a new home a manor house six miles from Paris called Malmaison.
There Josephine enjoyed over 300 acres of gardens, woods and fields and the companionship of her lover.
When an aide dared to tell Bonaparte the truth the general was crushed.
"The veil is torn," he wrote his brother.
"I am tired of grandeur.
ll my feelings have dried up.
"I no longer care about my glory.
At 29, I have exhausted everything.
" Furious, he took the wife of one of his officers for a mistress.
His friends called her "the general's Cleopatra.
" Cut off from France, Bonaparte remained undaunted.
Installed in a palace in Cairo he imagined himself an Eastern potentate following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great.
He came to Egypt at the head of an army and suddenly he found himself at the head of a nation.
And it's not just any nation; it's Egypt.
Egypt was an enigma to Europeans.
Bonaparte saw a chance to be the first to unravel its mysteries.
Along with his army, he had brought with him a remarkable group of mathematicians, artists map makers and engineers.
They set about producing a monumental document: A Description of Egypt, 24 volumes of text and pictures.
They studied the crocodile and the ibis music and mummies surveyed temples and tombs and measured the dimensions of the Sphinx.
One scientist found a new species of blue water lily another an unknown Nile fish.
The most dramatic discovery of all was a big black stone with some puzzling inscriptions.
the Rosseta Stone, would prove to be the key to the ciphering Egyption hieroglyphics.
The monumental volumes that were published by the scientists that went along with Napoleon to Egypt laid the foundation for the study of Egyptology today.
"The true conquests," Bonaparte wrote "the only ones that leave no regret are those that have been wrested from ignorance.
" In February 1799, Bonaparte took 13,000 soldiers into Syria.
The sultan of Turkey had declared war on the French infidels, and Bonaparte went on the offensive.
After a quick victory at Jaffa, he assaulted Acre where he was forced to lay siege to the well-fortified city.
Attack after attack failed, claiming the lives of hundreds of French soldiers.
Hundreds more were struck down by the bubonic plague.
Bonaparte abandoned the siege and retreated to Cairo with a dispirited army of sick and wounded men.
The army was terribly demoralized.
They began asking themselves "What are we doing here in Egypt? "There is no threat to the Republic.
"Our colleagues are dying of the plague, dysentery or in combat against a determined enemy.
" But Bonaparte refused to admit the extent of the disaster.
"I am returning to Cairo with many prisoners and flags" he proclaimed.
"I razed the ramparts of Acre.
There is not a stone left standing".
The Egyptian campaign is a real nightmare for the soldiers but Bonaparte glorified it in his propaganda in France.
Sellers sold pictures with palm trees, with pyramids with a general covered by plumes who harangues his troops who massacres the Mamelukes.
All of this speaks to the imagination.
On August 23, 1799, Bonaparte secretly set sail for home abandoning more than 30,000 soldiers with little more than an apologetic message: "Extraordinary circumstances alone have persuaded me to pass through enemy lines and return to Europe.
" France was once again at war with Austria, Britain and Russia.
Civil war continued to tear the country apart.
The government in Paris was in disarray.
Already there were rumors of an impending coup.
Bonaparte dreamed of rescuing France but feared he had not moved fast enough.
"All great events hang by a hair," he told an aide.
"I believe in luck, but the wise man neglects nothing which helps his destiny.
" On October 9, 1799, he landed in France and found himself greeted by cheering crowds.
The campaign in Egypt, a military disaster had been a propaganda triumph.
In the theaters, what's being shown? The expedition to Egypt, the victory of the Pyramids.
When he arrives, he's considered the man of the hour.
His genius was to come to France and say "You need a savior.
Here I am.
" The French people believed that Napoleon was destined to do great things.
In all the engravings of the period you see the two frigates which brought Napoleon from Egypt and above the first frigate, a star.
Napoleon himself was also convinced that he was destined to do great things.
And he believed it firmly, almost fatalistically.
By October 16, Bonaparte was in Paris.
First he would settle with Josephine.
With his steady rise to fame and power the dynamic between the inexperienced soldier and the sophisticated society woman had shifted.
Bonaparte was determined to divorce his wife.
He returned home, locked himself in his room and refused even to see her.
"I will never forgive her," he said, "never.
" But Josephine was just as determined to win him back.
She climbed the stairs to his room and begged him to let her in.
Bonaparte puts his fists in his ears.
He refuses to hear her.
And she bangs on the door and cries, "I have loved only you.
" But Bonaparte kept saying, "No, no, no.
" Napoleon is forced to hear his wife crying, begging swearing that she will never do it again promising that she will never do it again but just open the door.
By the time the sun rose, Bonaparte had weakened.
The next morning found husband and wife in each other's arms.
Josephine would never take a lover again and while Bonaparte would always insist that he loved her best he would do as he pleased with other women.
Back in France less than a week Bonaparte saw that the time had come to act.
Solemnly deliberating in the Luxembourg Palace the Directory was about to be swept aside.
The debt from eight long years of war was mounting draft evasion rampant.
Bandits roamed the highways in the countryside.
The government seemed powerless.
Already there were schemes to overthrow it.
As the crisis ripened Bonaparte determined to find a way to seize power for himself.
His moment, he knew, had arrived.
He allied himself with one of the plotters a member of the Directory, Emmanuel Sieyes who needed the support of the popular young general.
This coup that Sieyes plans is a parliamentary coup, a political coup.
Sieyes is in charge and force will only be used if something goes wrong.
General Bonaparte is only supposed to have a supporting role in this coup.
Sieyes has a very fantastic attitude about all this.
He realizes that General Bonaparte is absolutely necessary to the success of this of this coup but he quickly comes to feel that Bonaparte might well turn out to be the tail that wags the dog.
On November 9, 1799 Bonaparte and Sieyes set their plot in motion.
It's really a very simple premise that the parliament will put itself out of business.
They will vote in a provisional government that will in effect start over again, draft a new constitution.
They expect that the bayonets will never be unsheathed and a shot will never be fired.
For the coup to have an air of legitimacy Bonaparte and Sieyes wanted the legislators to vote them into power.
They didn't want to seize it.
Bonaparte counted on the help of his brother, Lucien who had been elected president of the lower house of the legislature as a result of his brother's popularity.
But Lucien was powerless to persuade the council to dissolve the government.
They run into real opposition.
The opposition insist that every deputy renewed his oath of allegiance to the existing constitution, which they do.
It takes over 2 hours to do this.
Meanwhile, the key plotters waiting outside in the wings, as it were, are getting very agitated and particularly General Bonaparte who eventually just loses patience and decides that he must intervene to speed things up.
He enters the legislative house, is strictly against the law.
The legislature is barred to any outside military figure.
And what he encounters there is genuine rage.
The members of the Assembly they see these bayonets and the bearskin hats marching down the main aisle with Bonaparte in between them and they begin to shout and scream, "Outlaw him, outlaw him! He's trying to take over the government!" And his brother, Lucien, said, "Wait a minute.
My brother's not trying to take over the government, calm down.
" And they said, "We want him outlawed, we want him outlawed!" Bonaparte never gets to utter a word to the to the deputies.
And he is in effect hustled down by the grenadiers who had come in with him and is quite badly shaken by this.
Bonaparte had bungled.
The coup seemed lost, his chance for power finished.
When some of his own soldiers began to doubt their general's intentions his brother, Lucien, took control of the chaotic situation.
Lucien sees that Napoleon's going to miss the moment.
He has the drums beat, he draws his sword.
He walks over to Napoleon.
He presses the point of the sword Napoleon's chest and he said, "Believe me, soldiers of France "if Napoleon aspired to take over the government to be dictator, I'd run him through.
" The soldiers stormed the assembly hall.
The cowed legislators fled some jumping unceremoniously out the windows.
At 2:00 that morning, a small rump of the council, in league with the plotters reassembled and voted into law a new provisional government with three provisional consuls at its head.
Bonaparte was one of them.
This triumvirate is a only a facade.
The parliamentary coup had become a military coup.
And the strong man is no longer Sieyes; now it is Bonaparte.
Within weeks, Bonaparte outmaneuvered the other consuls rewrote the constitution and made himself head of state under the title "first consul.
" Is the year 1800 began, Napoleon Bonaparte, 30 years old was the most powerful man in France.
"The Revolution," Bonaparte said, "is over.
" And then he added, "I am the Revolution.
" "The Revolution is safe on my watch.
I am the product of the Revolution myself, but the chaos and uncertainty of revolution was going to be over.
People should go back to their private interests their private concerns, and the new government will provide the the order and the stability and the strength to allow that to happen".
War had catapulted Bonaparte into power, now war would help him secure it.
France was still fighting Great Britain and Austria.
Bonaparte conceived a daring plan to catch the Austrians by surprise.
In the spring of 1800, he took his soldiers over the Alps 40,000 men, field artillery trekking across treacherous layers of snow and ice through the Great St.
Bernard Pass.
Not since the Carthaginian general Hannibal had an army attempted such an outlandish offensive.
It's 10,500 feet high.
They dragged their guns in pine trees they hollowed out like canoes.
And they took off across the mountains.
On May 20, Bonaparte made the crossing himself.
Jacques-Louis David memorialized the adventure in his heroic portrait of Napoleon mounted on a gleaming stallion.
In fact, Bonaparte crossed the Alps riding a sure-footed mule.
It took the General and his army just 6 days.
On the morning of June 14 he faced the Austrians at Marengo 45 miles from Milan.
By the end of the day there were 6,000 French casualties but nearly twice as many Austrians had been killed or wounded.
The French had won.
"My power depends on my glory," Bonaparte said "and my glory on my victories.
" Early the next year the emperor of Austria ordered a halt to the fighting and signed a treaty with France.
Great Britain followed the year after.
For the first time in ten years, all of Europe was at peace.
Bonaparte had been in power just six months.
And the people of France had seen other political regimes which had lasted only a year.
They said, "Well, Bonaparte might not last either.
" After Marengo, things changed.
Ordinary people, as well as people in the ruling class now thought Bonaparte would last.
Now Bonaparte moved to consolidate his rule.
At his urging, the French constitution was again amended and at 33, Bonaparte became first consul for life with near-dictatorial powers, a king in all but name.
The more power that Bonaparte gets, the more he wants.
And it escalates step by step, never too much at once, always step by step, gradually and always with Napoleon looking back and saying "Remember, I am going to protect the gains of the Revolution.
They're safe with me.
" In a certain way, Bonaparte was reassuring.
He was a supreme authority, a charismatic leader.
His system of government was more reassuring for this era than a democracy.
As the 19th century began Bonaparte set out to prove that he could govern as well as he could fight.
"A newborn government," he told his secretary "must dazzle and astonish.
" He built new parks bridges and quays along the Seine canals, reservoirs and roads.
"He would make Paris", he said, "the loveliest city that ever was, or ever could be" and France, the greatest country on eart.
Launching a series of sweeping political, economic and legal reforms he laid the foundation for a new France.
He's a man who acts with fantastic speed.
France is going to be completely reorganized in two years.
When he seizes power in France, he already has a complete idea of what a modern country should be.
All of French society came under his gaze.
He set in place a strong, centralized government with a tightly structured, far-reaching bureaucracy, organized a new system of state secondary schools, "lycée", established a central bank, the Bank of France.
Slowly the economy revived, and with it, prosperity.
All of Europe was in awe.
The great artists and thinkers of the day: Goethe, Hegel, Byron, Beethoven saw in Bonaparte the embodiment of the ideals and hopes of the Revolution.
You have to understand the prestige of Bonaparte as first consul.
He is the equivalent for Europe of what Washington was for the United States.
He oversaw the codification of a new system of laws which abolished feudal privileges and established the equality of every man before the law.
Bonaparte's Civil Code remains the basis of French law to this day.
The rights and duties of citizens that's an invention of the Revolution.
But they were not codified in a central text.
It was necessary that these rights and duties become the basis of a grand legal system for the society to function effectively.
In 1801, Bonaparte signed an agreement with the Pope the Concordat, making Catholicism the dominant but not exclusive religion of France.
He had no personal use for religion but he understood its political value.
"If I governed a nation of Jews," he said "I should restore the Temple of Solomon.
Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.
" Bonaparte ruled with the carrot and the stick.
To reward men of accomplishment he created a special mark of esteem, the Legion of Honor.
"My motto has always been," he said "a career open to all talents, without distinctions of birth.
" He believed in equality: a man should have the chance to rise on the basis of his ability, just as he had done.
But he had no patience with those who demanded liberty.
He ruled with an iron hand crushing anyone who dared speak out against him making a sham of parliament and free elections.
Napoleon believed in government for the people but notbythe people.
He took the French back to what they probably wanted at the time which was a a friendly monarchy, a benevolent monarchy or at least it gave the appearance of being benevolent.
Bonaparte's France was a police state with Joseph Fouché the head of the secret police.
Fouché had, it was said, "a heart as hard as a diamond a stomach of iron, and a tearless eye.
" Fouché did Bonaparte's bidding.
He shut down plays and newspapers and kept a vast network of spies.
You go to a salon, there's a spy.
You go to a brothel, there is a spy.
You go to a restaurant, there is a spy.
Everywhere there are spies of the police.
Everyone listens to what you say.
It's impossible to express yourself unless Napoleon wants you to.
The press is under his thumb.
He controls the press.
There were 60 or 70 newspapers in Paris in 1799 and there will be only four in 1814.
"I had been nourished by reflecting on liberty" Bonaparte said, "but I thrust it aside when it obstructed my path.
" While Bonaparte ruled France Josephine gracefully assumed the role of First Lady but she preferred the quiet seclusion of Malmaison to France's magnificent palaces.
In deference to his wife Bonaparte made Malmaison his countryside seat of government.
He worked seven days a week often 18 hours a day, month after month.
But if it could be said that he ever relaxed it was at Malmaison, with Josephine.
It was Bonaparte's haven of peace where he could always find tranquillity and calm and Josephine was always there, ready to serve him.
She was very soft and gentle which was important for Napoleon.
She was the anti-Napoleon.
In 1803, France was still at peace and Bonaparte was her absolute master.
When he looked across his borders the only country he had to fear was Great Britain Britain, with the greatest navy in the world Britain, immensely rich.
France and Great Britain had signed a treaty of peace but no one expected it to last.
Even before the treaty was signed, one observer said: "Peace in a week, war in a month.
" England, England, always England.
There is always a profound antagonism between the sea and the land, between the strength of the Continent represented by Napoleon and the strength of the sea and international trade represented by England.
It was inevitable that war between France and England would resume The treaty is a misnomer it's really a truce.
You still have two great powers at odds with each other fighting for influence, fighting for supremacy and they've basically fought to a draw at this point.
On May 18, 1803, when Great Britain declared war on France few were surprised.
The two armies peered at each other across the English Channel neither willing to risk battle France held at bay by the British navy Britain afraid to send soldiers to fight on the Continent.
But as Bonaparte waited and readied his troops his confidence in himself and in his star remained unshaken.
His victories had already made France larger than it had ever been.
He was the most feared man in Europe and his authority at home remained unchallenged.
34 years old, he was as powerful as any of the Bourbon kings who had come before him.
All he lacked was a crown.
Now he decided he wanted one.
He wished to be a king.
His idea is that given what France has achieved in the world it ought to be considered as a kind of empire with Napoleon Bonaparte as the emperor.
This would put him on an equal footing with the monarchs of Europe.
He would no longer be an upstart, he would be one of the club.
As first consul he seemed to have all the power he needed except for one important thing: he wanted his regime to endure.
If he dies, everything that he's accomplished dies with him.
In making an empire, he wants to be certain that what he's done will endure.
It's especially a way of saying that the changes that took place because of the Revolution are irreversible.
On December 2, 1804 the imperial procession made its way through Paris.
A Senate proclamation and a vote of the people both carefully arranged by Bonaparte himself had given him what he wanted.
He was about to become an emperor.
"As soon as a man becomes a king he is set apart from all other men," Bonaparte said.
"I always felt that Alexander the Great's idea "of pretending to be descended from a god was inspired by a sure instinct for real politics.
" In spite of the cold a half million cheering spectators lined the streets.
Bonaparte himself had meticulously planned every detail.
The great cathedral, hung with pennants and tapestries and decorated like a Roman temple seemed more like a theater than a church.
But Bonaparte wanted his elevation to glow with the aura of religion.
The Pope had been brought from Italy to sanctify the occasion.
He has the genius of making the Pope come to Paris which gives everything a sacred air.
It is God who confirms that the changes that took place during the Revolution are forever established.
Slowly, Bonaparte and Josephine walked toward the two thrones that awaited them.
His mantle, adorn with gold and precious jewels and weighing 80 pounds, was supported by his brothers.
He looked, one spectator said, "like a Caesar on a Roman coin.
" A little more than ten years before the French had beheaded a king, now they were crowning an emperor.
Borne upon the great tide of the French Revolution and the wars that followed in its wake Bonaparte had turned his genius as a general and a statesman to the domination of France.
Soon he would turn toward the conquest of Europe.
Already he was planning an invasion of Great Britain to make him master of the island nation that dared defy him.
Confidently, Bonaparte lifted the imperial crown and brought it to rest on his own head.
Then, he moved toward Josephine and crowned her his empress.
"I am the instrument of Providence," Napoleon said.
"she will use me as long as I accomplish her designs, then she will break me like a glass.
" Created, Adapted and syncronyzed by @Goanzaloo.