A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Napoleon's Battle Sword For Sale

My favorite period of history to study is the English Regency. Of course, during the same time period Napoleon Bonaparte was taking over the Continent, so most people know the period as the Napoleonic Era.

Any article, book, story about this time period captures my attention quite easily. I was interested to see this article today:

AP: Napoleon's battle sword up for auction---

FONTAINEBLEAU, France - After more than 200 years in the family, the gold-encrusted sword Napoleon carried into battle in Italy will be auctioned off Sunday, across the street from one of his imperial castles.

The intricately decorated blade is 32 inches long and curves gently — an inspiration Napoleon drew from his Egyptian campaign, auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat said.

"He noticed that the Arab swords, which were curved, were very effective in cutting off French heads" and ordered an imitation made upon his return, Osenat explained.
What fascinating information!

Napoleon's Battle Sword

More about the sword:

The sword was worn by Napoleon — who was not yet emperor at the time — into the battle of Marengo in June 1800, where he launched a surprise attack to push the Austrian army from Italy and seal France's victory, Chataignier said.

After the battle, Napoleon gave the sword to his brother as a wedding present, and it was passed down through the generations, never leaving the family, according to the auction house.

Today the sword is owned by eight direct descendants of Napoleon, including Prince Victor Napoleon, Chataignier said. The auction house will hold the auction in view of Fontainebleau castle south of Paris, constructed by Napoleon as a quiet retreat.

Strong enough for battle, the sword is uncommonly ornate, with geometric designs in gold covering the hilt and most of the blade.
You can follow the timeline of the Egypt Campaign here. The French landed at Alexandria, Egypt on 1 July 1798 and took the city on 2 July 1798. A French soldier discovered the famous Rosetta Stone only 17 days later, on 19 July 1798.

Of course, Napoleon eventually lost (again) to Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, at Waterloo, Belgium, on 18 June 1815.

I would love to own this sword (or at least see it!).

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