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"Why did Napoleon make himself emperor in 1804?" Topic

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basileus6614 Jun 2013 3:37 p.m. PST

The way I understand your position. Is each circumstance is unique. It can never be repeated.

Yes and no. It's unique, and can't be repeated, but it goes beyond: the meanings of the past can't be fully grasped in the present, ergo anything we can think about the past will be necessarily incorrect.

But that I think there are patterns to human behavior that are more powerful than the superficial trappings of culture.

Culture is what we use to explain ourselves and our behavior. Actually, it is a lot stronger than it has been imagined to be by positivist and marxist historians.

The differences exist. But they dont invalidate the parallels

I told before (please, don't force me to look after the message! It was in another long, long thread!) that I don't mind if the parallel is taken backwards, i.e. the Napoleonic invasion of Russia is compared with the Swedish invasion of Russia one hundred years earlier, because it is plausible and there are enough circumstancial evidence available to believe that Napoleon had in mind the narratives of the Swedish experience when he prepared his own operation.

On the other hand, I find pointless and even absurd to stablish parallelisms between, say, the Mongols and the Nazis. Neither culturally, nor their expectations, goals, social organization, internal dynamics of power, communications, in other words, nothing at all they were even slightly similar. When a historian starts with things like: Gengis Khan did as Hitler did, it is either he doesn't know too much about Gengis or Hitler (or both) or that he is too lazy to look for better ways to make understand his readers the level of destruction caused by the Mongol invasions upon the peoples they attacked. And that is in my humble opinion, bad history.

But they are all in the foremost league of leaders and imperialists

See? You are using a modern concept, Imperialism, to describe actions of people that would have been utterly mistified by it. It would have been incomprehensible for Gengis, Caesar or Alexander. Hell! Probably even Napoleon would have had problems to grasp its meaning! And he was closer in time to the concept.

Each of them acted according to their own, particular, historical needs and ideas. Trying to put them under the same overarching explicative theory won't lead to very convincing results, I am afraid.

Possibly my feather weight mind is sparring with a heavy weight here

Wish I would be a "heavy weight"! You give me too much credit, my friend…

and my apologies for not being able to finish my earlier post. My daughter isn't very well. I could not get time to fully develop what I was trying to say.

Please, don't apologise. Family, and especially kids, come first. This is just a silly Internet debate, not something really important. Hope she gets better soon.

Best regards

basileus6614 Jun 2013 3:47 p.m. PST

Would it be ok to insult Mr Hitler?

Do it.


Nothing happened.

That is the problem: that nothing happened.

Explain how under his leadership and orders the German army created special extermination groups that lead to the assassination of more than 1.42 million people in what Timothy Snyder calls the Bloodlands (Belarus, Ukraine and Eastern Poland) between June 1941 and March 1942. Probably, you will get better moral impact, even if you have managed to avoid manifesting the physical disgust that such an evil deed did provoke in you. And moreover: anyone that would try to defend Hitler would be forced to deal first with the evidence of what Hitler did, instead of dealing just with your sentiments about Hitler.

Flecktarn14 Jun 2013 3:48 p.m. PST

Gazzola, you need to relax a little, dude. You are taking this all too seriously; go out, have a drink, get laid, develop a sense of humour, and see all of this stuff in its proper perspective. You really are too wound up in defending the reputation of someone who has been dead for a very long time.

Actually, don't do those things; you are far more fun as you are:).

Just to be serious for a moment, you posted earlier:

"I disagree with anyone insulting great historical characters."

Well, Hitler was certainly a great historical character so, logically and in the interests of consistency, you have to disagree with me describing him as a short-arsed, single-bollocked halfwit as that is certainly an insulting thing to call anyone.

Arteis14 Jun 2013 5:56 p.m. PST

Wish I would be a "heavy weight"! You give me too much credit, my friend…

If anyone in this discussion deserves the title of heavyweight, it is you Basileus. Your postings are always erudite, thought-provoking and fair to both sides of a debate. You look dispassionately at the evidence, and you also place your comments in context of the deeper philosophy of how history works.

Furthermore, your postings are generally polite, not tending to drift off into the snide sarcasm that most posters here tend to do when they're being disagreed with (I'm talking about both sides here, and even myself).

When I read most people's posts here, I think "yep, he's just pushing the same old barrow". I can guess what tack they are going to take because of their agendas, and I read their postings as light entertainment.

Your postings, however, don't seem to have an agenda to push (other than a desire for good history), and always cause me to reflect deeply. I've never been a university student, but if I was, I would be pleased to have you as my 'heavyweight' teacher.

le Grande Quartier General Supporting Member of TMP14 Jun 2013 8:05 p.m. PST

Well, this thread has certainly digressed from the original question- A question that is fascinating by itself- but unanserable without an interview with the Emperor himself.
It seems the rest of the thread, and perhaps the 'answer' to it, is a delightful bag of tea, steeped in conjecture.

forwardmarchstudios14 Jun 2013 8:11 p.m. PST

I second LGQG- I just noticed that this threat has gotten over two hundred posts I knew some fireworks must be crackling over here.

TelesticWarrior15 Jun 2013 2:55 a.m. PST

But that I think there are patterns to human behavior that are more powerful than the superficial trappings of culture. History moves in cycles of unification and seperation.
Edwulf, I have probably completely mis-understood the thrust of what you are saying here but perhaps you are on to something. You got me thinking about Historical patterns of behaviour as they are related to Jungian archetypes (which is something I have studied recently). Think of the archetypes as like grand 'templates' which exist outside of ordinary time and space but exert their effect on them as 'organisers'. Perhaps it has some bearing on the original question from which we have digressed; "Why did Napoleon make himself emperor in 1804?"
Many of you will probably laugh at what I am saying, but I have always found it fascinating to see the same patterns of events rising and falling throughout Time (which can be viewed as cycles of "unification and seperation", or centralisation and diversification, centrifugal or centripedal). This will perhaps sound very odd because modern humans are used to thinking of Time as a kind of 'arrow' moving gradually in one direction, but this is actually a relatively new concept (possible since the domination of the Christian world-view on our collective psyche). The ancients, however, were united in their conception of history as a series of repeating cycles.

One such cycle;
1. Hereditary system of rule (often oppressive)
2. Revolution/Rebellion
3. Republic (often based on Freedom or the Rights of Man, or claiming to be).
4. Corruption of an idea & the slide into Empire & Empire-building.
5. Fall of the Empire.
(The latter stages of the cycle are often centred on one powerful individual such as a Ceasar or a Napoleon or a Hitler.)

I can see this basic pattern repeating through history in the case of
-Imperial Rome
-Revolutionary France
-Nazi Germany
-Modern day United States
-and as a semi-humorous aside in the Star Wars mythos (I say "semi" humurous because George Lucas based his saga heavily on the world-view offered up by the great comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell in his epic 'The Hero with a thousand faces'. Campbell's work is based heavily on the idea of repeating archetypes and mythological motifs that Lucas used in Star Wars, such as the "Hero-twins" & the Initiation via "descent into the cave".)

Whether you have read Jung or not, or agree with him or not, the idea of the collective unconscious and the archetypes is indeed a fascinating one.

In this sense, there definitely is a point to studying history, and we CAN learn from it. Note that I am not disagreeing with what Basileus is saying or contradicting what I said earlier that it is pointless to directly compare historical figures from different era's of time. But I think it is possible that different historical periods and even individuals can manifest the same universal archetypes (and combine them with cultural items that are novel only to that time) on multiple occasions.

Flecktarn15 Jun 2013 3:31 a.m. PST


I am not sure why anyone would laugh at your post.

It may be interesting to examine the classical Chinese concept of "shi", which is often translated as "time", but actually means something akin to "timeliness" or "seasonality", there being no classical Chinese word for "time".

Classical Chinese culture did not mark what we now call time from any single point but from repeated historical beginnings such as the foundation of a dynasty or a similar key event in the history of a royal family.

However, I wonder if you are arguing for something beyond this rather mundane difference in views of time and are suggesting that Bonaparte's translation to Napoleon was in some way a requirement of a cyclical process?

TelesticWarrior15 Jun 2013 5:06 a.m. PST

Good question Flecktarn, I'll answer it later because I have to go out for a friend's birthday now.

Peeler15 Jun 2013 6:42 a.m. PST

Basileus, good point well made & I agree. I was referring to a previous poster decrying insulting 'great historical figures' – sadly I'd say that Hitler fits into that, and wondered if it was ok to insult him, barsteward that he clearly was.

Peeler15 Jun 2013 6:45 a.m. PST

Gazzola – The Crimean war – and Britain was involved in that too – er, yeah they were. As was France, Russia & Turkey. And someone else from Italy was it? Why only mention Britain? Do we have a bit of Brit disliking going on here? :)

Gazzola15 Jun 2013 7:38 a.m. PST


You have to have a sense of humour to read some of the posts made here, especially yours. They are so funny.

Er, I already insulted Hitler by saying he was an insult to mankind. That was rare for me. And as much as I dislike him I don't need the cowardly buzz of throwing personal insults at him. I never knew him personally and thankfully did not live during his lifeltime. And what we think and say certainly won't change history.

However, you would not have said anything had you been living in Germany during the Nazi period. The same with other historical characters. Easy to insult when they are not around to come knocking at your door. Very brave and very big.

As far as I'm concerned, as I have stated in other threads, throwing childish and silly insults at great historical characters shows a lack of respect for those who lived and made history and risked their lives doing so.

But we know that most of those who insult great historical characters, do so more to provoke those who might admire them. As I've already said in another thread, I've not seen them or anyone else call Wellington a Tory tart or Pinocchio because of his big nose. I wonder why?

Those doing the insulting probably don't have any respect for anyone or anything and therefore do not deserve any respect themselves.

Gazzola15 Jun 2013 7:42 a.m. PST


Not a Brit dislike but a dislike of people pretending only Napoleon and France were Empire building before during and after the Napoleonic period. And of course, Britain was only in India and elsewhere for the good of the people.

BullDog6915 Jun 2013 8:47 a.m. PST


OK so now you are saying it's OK to 'insult' historical figures: you just said you did it and I wouldn't for a moment imagine that you are arrogant enough to think you are the only one allowed to do it, so it's all rather like the "3rd person preface saga" I'm not sure what point you are making.

I do agree with one point in your post, in that there is little to be gained from 'insulting' such people as it won't change anything… but surely you can see that if we critically analyse them and point out their mistakes, flaws and unpleasant features / extremist views etc, we are not 'insulting' them?
If I say, for example, that King Lobengula was a 'massively obese murdering brute', am I 'insulting' him, or drawing attention to the fact that he was, well, quite simply, a massively obese, murdering brute?

Aside from a couple of 'tongue-in-cheek' comments, all I see anyone saying about Napoleon on here is pointing out similarly negative points about his character. Surely you can agree that Napoleon, like any major figure in history, is deserving of some criticism?

You might have seen some of the comments thrown at Field Marshall Haig on this site over time: butcher / blood thirsty moron / thick-headed donkey / upper class mass murderer those sort of pleasantries… and this about a man who never started any wars, and who played a major part in winning the Great War.
I think Napoleon actually gets off very lightly in comparison, and most threads about him seem to be fairly civilised, unless one is especially thin-skinned and determined to take 'offense' from the tiniest thing.

As a point of interest, which other historical can we 'insult' (ie. not hero worship) without upsetting you?

Pol Pot?
Idi Amin?

Perhaps it would be easier if you would simply provide the list I asked for?

Gazzola15 Jun 2013 4:46 p.m. PST


Those who use such insults do not upset me they disappoint me. But like I say, some people have no respect for anyone, living or dead. You get used to them.

Like I've said before, I find it perfectly acceptable for people to criticise the achievements of historical characters.

However, I do find it sad that some feel that to get their point over, criticising their achievements is just not enough, as if, because they can't have a pop at them because they are long dead, and because they probably would not have the courage to do so anyway, were they alive, they have to resort to personal insults.

Does it make them feel better to do so? Is it a case of they can't change history but look what they can say about them, without any fear? Or do they simply do it in the hope they will provoke someone?

Anyway, it might be hard for you to understand but stick at it and I'm sure you will get there in the end.

Gustav15 Jun 2013 6:29 p.m. PST

pffft… humbug Gazz.

reality is that many exalted personages discussed here were treated irreverently in their day and still are.

Welly, the Fat Prince, as well as Boney were all given a hard time in the press of the day. Why not? If you disagree and want to make a point then I think irreverence, satire and humour is a perfectly valid. It is a useful tool to draw distinctions to exemplify one's point of view.

Even if one makes wildly inaccurate jokes, claims or analogies at least that demonstrates to all your subjective bias.

On the other hand to claim some moral superiority because one does not "insult" great men is hilarious.

Peeler15 Jun 2013 7:16 p.m. PST

Those who insult have no respect – well, yes I do have respect for proper, decent people who did the right thing. I have no respect for those who did the wrong thing – as in my opinion Napoleon, Hitler. Those sort of people don't deserve respect.
Gazz – answer the Crimean question which you avoided. You brought that war up & you said "and Britain was involved in that too" yet you fail to mention – or criticise the other countries involved – why so?

Flecktarn15 Jun 2013 8:59 p.m. PST

Gazzola, old fruit,

You really do need to stop making so many assumptions; while they are somewhat amusing, they do weaken and cloud whatever argument you are trying to make and, when that argument is as unclear and fragmented as yours seems to be, that is a real disadvantage.

Why did I describe Buonaparte/Bonaparte/Napoleon as the Corsican dwarf? Well, firstly because I have a sense of humour and it amuses me to do so and, secondly, because it so clearly pushes at least one of your buttons and it is quite amusing to observe you becoming so self-righteous and pompous.

When someone becomes as hung up as you do over something as trivial as light hearted ridicule of a long dead historical figure, it is quite revealing from a professional perspective. If I was acting in a professional capacity, I would make some recommendations to you but, as I am not, I will continue to observe you with some amusement and a little bit of concern for you.

Gazzola16 Jun 2013 4:24 a.m. PST


'morally superior' interesting that you think that.

The abuse is used by people to provoke and who have little respect for people who made history, possibly because they will never make history themselves and the dead can't reply.

Gazzola16 Jun 2013 4:40 a.m. PST


Interesting that you tie Napoleon in with Hitler – that suggests you have a biased mentality.

You feel Napoleon was a bad person like Hitler. That's your choice. I completely disagree with you. Even the other leaders of the period gave Napoleon respect. Funny how you can't?

As for the Crimean War – what is wrong with you? Is it because dear old blighty has been mentioned? Can't you take criticism about the Brits?

But look at the posts again, it was in response to the assumption that there was peace after Napoleon, as if the Crimean war did not happen and further wars after that. And Britain was part of the Crimean War. As you point out, so were France, Russia and Turkey. Get over it man!

Gazzola16 Jun 2013 4:50 a.m. PST


I think you need to observe yourself, after admitting that you do so to provoke people. What a childish and immature mind you must have. And people think posters come here to discuss, debate and share information. Well done for bursting that bubble!

You also try to fob it off because you say you have a sense of humour. Funny that because you sound really piddled off with my posts am I pushing your buttons by any chance?

And I do not recall you using insults against Wellington or any of the other Napoleonic period leaders. Perhaps you could throw a few out, you know, like calling Wellington Pinocchio, Blucher a raving pregnant elephant, that sort of thing. That would show how consistant you are and that you really believe what you say. How about it?

Peeler16 Jun 2013 4:58 a.m. PST

Gazz, I pointed out the other countries involved in the Crimean war – you only mention Britain. You, Sir, are anti-British & pro Napoleon. And blucher clearly had mental problems when he thought he was pregnant with an elephant, have some care in the community man!

Now, its Sunday, have yourself a lie down :)

Gazzola16 Jun 2013 5:04 a.m. PST


Er, I think you need to lie down, judging by your rant. Anti-British? You are so funny. I think you are biased towards anything British and just can't cope with any criticism about dear old blighty or the Brits.

Yes, exactly, Blucher had mental problems and Wellington had a big nose. I used them only as examples of how other historical characters can be insulted, should anyone feel low enough to do so. So I think you should direct your anger towards those who feel it is okay to insult the dead.

Yes, quite correct, it is Sunday and Father's day too.

Edwulf16 Jun 2013 7:22 a.m. PST

Though forgive me for straying off topic.
Yes something like what I meant.
Societies unite and band together then fragment.

The fractured kingdoms/ tribes of Britain. Saxon, Pict, Celt. The start off as tribes. They expand into petty kingdoms, then into 4 main kingdoms, then into one centralized power. They peak. Now they begin to fragment. Ireland. Northern Ireland. Scotland next? In the future maybe well see London or Mercia break away. This process is facilitated by human behavior and the will of strong leaders/ personalities.

Other patterns might be followed a left wing/ Right wing swing.
One of my favorite history teachers compared this pattern to a pendulum. Some countries swing from the left to right. At first the swings are extreme and the differences pronounced but eventually they stabilize in the middle. UK specific perhaps.

These are all related to human nature. And while culturally the gulf between me a Georgian British citizen and an Anglo Saxon are vast our human behavior is not so. We are prone to the same vices (wine, women and song). Thus I think history can be repeated. It will never be exactly the same. There will always be some period specific flavour. But the pattern, dictated by human behavior will be be the same. The further back we go the voices from commen men are rarer and quieter. But when found they do not sound much different to me or others I've met.

Anyway. Beer has influenced the length of this post. Sorry about that.

Gustav16 Jun 2013 12:20 p.m. PST

Think i would have to agree with you edwulf.

Never have liked the "great man" of history meme. the past was filled with ordinary men like ourselves who occasionally managed extraordinary things. Most were never in the position to do so. i would suggest that there are more similarties than differences between us and our ancestors as we are all prey to the same human condition. Hence history can and does often repeat in patterns although the detail is often very different. Micro Vs Macro.
Eg do not enter into a land war in Russia:-)

Gustav16 Jun 2013 12:45 p.m. PST

Insults as a form of parody or satire has long been a protected form of free speech for us mere common folk you know.

Flecktarn16 Jun 2013 2:01 p.m. PST

Gazzola, you old banana:),

You have missed your calling. You should have become a comedian; you really would have had them rolling in the aisles:)).

"Childish and immature"? This is a forum for grown men (mostly) who play war with toy soldiers; by any reasonable standard we are all childish and immature:). To make it worse, I spent today running around a wood with my two sons and a load of other, mostly adult, males, shooting each other with guns that fire little plastic balls. So, childish and immature? I am guilty as charged and hope to remain so for as long as I live, especially if the alternative is pomposity and a lack of humour.

Piddled off with your posts? Far from it; you are a beacon of amusement and joy in what can be an otherwise dull forum. Keep it up, old chap; you are one of the few posters on here who can make me chuckle.

As for insulting other historical figures, we have not really been discussing them, although I did mention GroFaZ (apologies for missing out the umlaut!) in rather insulting terms. I do not hold Wellyboot in very high esteem, although that is more because of his subsequent political career than his military exploits, which were generally first rate. Blucher may have been marking mad but I have a certain fondness for him, mainly due to his utterly single-minded determination to get rid of the Corsican dwarf.

Your apparent need to defend against those who "insult the dead" is rather fascinating; I do wish that you would answer Bulldog69's question as to whether the likes of Stalin, Himmler, Pol Pot and Idi Amin should enjoy similar protection. However, I still think that you are rather overly tense about what is really just a bit of light hearted japery.

BullDog6917 Jun 2013 1:33 a.m. PST


It would be a lot easier for me to understand your ever-changing position if you would answer my questions. I note, for example, that despite saying a moment earlier that you insult Hitler, you now claim that other people who do such things 'disappoint you'.

You can perhaps understand why these contradictions make it so hard to keep up with you.

Please can you address the example I used in describing King Lobengula and comment on my example of Field Marshall Haig. Even better, perhaps you could provide the list I requested as this would help me greatly in understanding those you consider deserving of unconditional hero-worship, and those who are fair game for negative criticism?

Gazzola17 Jun 2013 3:38 a.m. PST

Flecktarn & BullDog

Firstly, I do not consider playing games, paintball or whatever in the woods or wargames on the table, with adults or with your children and grandchildren, as childish or immature. I call it fun. So why that was brought up is plain stupid and a waste of space.

But you both seem to have a problem with my dislike of people bravely insulting the dead. That is my viewpoint. I find it disrepectful. You don't – end of. Get over it.

But if you and BullDog feel better and get a buzz out of insulting them, then carry on doing so. But is says more about you than the characters you are insulting, who, of course, can't reply. And throwing insults at dead people is not going to change history, is it?

I have not said that protection should be given to historical characters – another stupid statement. I agree with Flecktarn on Wellington, but I don't have a need to insult him personally, like those who feel they bravely have a need to insult Napoleon on a personal level.

But, considering this is a Napoleonic thread, we are talking about Napoleonic characters and I disagree with those who bravely throw personal insults at them. And they are usually thrown at Napoleon and you both know it, so why pretend otherwsie by stupidly pretending to 'stand up' for the rights to insult anyone?

And everyone knows that I can't stop anyone insulting any historical character on these threads – I can only offer my viewpoint, which seems to have ruffled your feathers. But if you don't like my view about insulting NAPOLEONIC characters, which seems to be the case – tough. Get over it! Better still, why don't you both go and play cowboys and Indians in the woods or something. I'm sure you'll enjoy it and you can insult each other all day long.

Now I've got better things to do, like some Napoleonic research and painting.

Flecktarn17 Jun 2013 6:00 a.m. PST

Gazzola, Deleted by Moderator

I do find your ever moving viewpoint quite fascinating.

You evidently have a huge problem with people joking about historical figures, yet seem content to make what you regard as a mildly insulting comment about GroFaZ; there is a slight inconsistency there.

However, what is even more intriguing is that you seem to have no problem with insulting people who are alive now, as indicated by your most recent post; to do that while attempting to assert some form of moral superiority is a very amusing and quite revealing attitude.

I do wish that you would reply to Bulldog69's question as it would really help to clarify your position, at least until you shift it again as it seems that you are now only interested in defending Napoleonic characters rather than "the dead" in general; that is quite a change of attitude to make within one post.

Peeler17 Jun 2013 10:37 a.m. PST

So it is ok to insult Hitler? Great. He was a right rotter.

Gazz, of course I'm biased towards Britain – as I am to doing & generally having done – the right thing throughout history – as opposed to your bias towards Napoleon & whatever else.

Flecktarn17 Jun 2013 11:10 a.m. PST


I agree that Britain has generally been pretty decently behaved throughout history compared to most other allegedly civilised countries (with the possible exception of the various Scandanavians, but they are boring); for example, we got rid of the slave trade and were reasonable in running our colonies when compared with the likes of Spain, Belgium and the Cabbage eaters. However, some events in British history such as the Opium Wars, lead me to question your assertion about doing the right thing throughout history.

Chouan17 Jun 2013 12:57 p.m. PST

REading this thread through again, I am curious as to why such a character as Buonaparte should attract such a loyal following, and why he is regarded as such a "great man". A man of moderate military ability, considerable good fortune, no moral code that I can see, beyond his own self promotion, at which he exhibited enormous talent, whose actions bankrupted Europe, lost Spain their South american Empire (good or bad thing, I'm not sure) ensured Britain's economic dominance of the world for the next century, created German and Italian nationalism, and lost untold numbers of lives in the wars that his policies created. A "Great man"?

Gazzola17 Jun 2013 4:03 p.m. PST


Thank you so much for showing your true colours at last, as you did in the Jacobin thread.

Gazzola17 Jun 2013 4:06 p.m. PST


Thank you for admitting your are biased to Britain. It seems it is a time for confessions of the Anti-Nappers. Rather comical really.

Gazzola17 Jun 2013 4:16 p.m. PST


Are you okay? First you see me as a Wombat now as an old teddy bear.

And I have made no reference to anything. My view has been related to historical characters of the Napoleonic period. Others have been trying to move it away from that period.

Er, people who are alive now can reply and insult back, as I do to those who insult me. Dead people can't. Get it?

Morally superior? Get a grip man. It is wargamers, apart from Chouan who is an expert, of course, or so he says, posting things on a discussion forum. Fun, jokes and stuff. Chill out.

Peeler17 Jun 2013 4:53 p.m. PST

Flecktarn, agreed, I should say,"mostly the right thing – usually – more often"etc. Apart from the Scandanavians of course. Though they could be quite bitchy between themselves at times & they are boring :)

Gazz, rather be bias British & more on the right side, than bias Napoleon etc & more on the wrong side.

Edwulf17 Jun 2013 5:45 p.m. PST

"I would also submit that Bernadotte was only the 'most successful' because he was dishonorable. He chose to go out on his knees, becoming nothing but a client to Alexander, and not on his feet. How you conduct yourself is also important, not how you finally end up personally. Bernadotte, as well as Marmont, were skunks of the first order"
Kevin Kiley, 2008, TMP link

Though you weren't active in this thread to call him out.

"Marmont was worse than a traitor, he was a self promoting ingrate who had zero loyality to anyone or anything save himself, thus, "raguser."

Bob Coggins there, insulting a dead Marmont. In this thread
TMP link
Note you were active in this thread, but let this and several others insults to the dead Marmont slide.

On a recent thread about good guys/ bad guys I labeled Whitelocke, Cuesta, Loison and Slade as bastards. You were very active in this thread and didn't feel the need to admonish me then for insulting these dead men. ( I still think they are utter cretins by the way). In the same thread dead monarchs are referred to as grubby and as servant killers, no one batted an eye lid at these insults.

So why is it only Napoleon that gets the "he's dead, so must not be insulted"
Far more childish to insult the living, no?

basileus6617 Jun 2013 10:22 p.m. PST

lost Spain their South american Empire

Napoleon's invasion precipitated the drive for independence in South America' Spanish possessions, but didn't cause it. Given the economic situation of Spain in 1808 and the rivalry with Great Britain, it is plausible that South American vice royalties would have won their independence even without the French intervention in Spain.

Read John Lynch's biography of San Martin. It is in English and makes a good analysis of the drive for independence between the South American elites. As you will see, the events in Europe played a secondary role.

Flecktarn17 Jun 2013 10:48 p.m. PST

Gazzola, Deleted by Moderator

You said this:

"It is wargamers, apart from Chouan who is an expert, of course, or so he says, posting things on a discussion forum. Fun, jokes and stuff. Chill out."

Yet earlier, you said this:

"And people think posters come here to discuss, debate and share information. Well done for bursting that bubble!"

Once again, that cursed inconsistency creeps into your posts, or perhaps there are two Gazzolas, although that would be a terrible thing to contemplate.

Flecktarn17 Jun 2013 11:10 p.m. PST

Anyway, let us put our disagreements aside so that we can join together in marking the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo/Mont SaintJean/Whatever Hoffie Thinks That It Should Be Called. After all, who could fail to take the opportunity to commemorate the gallantry of a handful of British soldiers (and a few assorted foreigners) in finally defeating the Corsican dwarf and sending him off to St Helena, where he would end his days in the misery that he so deserved:).

I will watch the film tonight and will cheer heartily when the Imperial Guard break in the face of disciplined British musketry, will celebrate wildly when the Corsican dwarf realises that all is lost, and will laugh out loud at the errors, particularly when the Scots Greys charge across an empty battlefied:). It may be one of the worst films ever made, but it is about the final defeat of the Corsican dwarf so is, in its way, a truly great film! I pinched the idea for that last sentence from Top Gear; apologies to Jeremy Clarkson.

BullDog6917 Jun 2013 11:17 p.m. PST


I am at a loss as to why you refuse to answer my simple and straight forward questions?

If you feel unable to answer them, perhaps you can make a stab at addressing the points Edwulf made and explain your apparent inconsistency (some might even say hypocrisy) over those dead people you choose to defend and those who you are happy to have 'insulted'?

Chouan18 Jun 2013 3:01 a.m. PST

"Thank you so much for showing your true colours at last, as you did in the Jacobin thread."

I've never disguised them or displayed false colours. I can't see anything great about him, and nobody has yet produced an argument that has convinced me. No doubt you'll shortly accusing me of bias; you've already used the rather disrespectful (to Buonaparte) "anti-napper", again.
As a side issue, I can't see that it is acceptable to sneer at and condemn Marmont for his self-serving and self-seeking behaviour, when he was doing exactly the same kind of thing as Buonaparte did throughout his career. If disloyalty is wrong in Marmont, surely it is also wrong in Buonaparte?

Chouan18 Jun 2013 3:06 a.m. PST

"Read John Lynch's biography of San Martin. It is in English and makes a good analysis of the drive for independence between the South American elites. As you will see, the events in Europe played a secondary role."
Thanks for the pointer.

Gazzola18 Jun 2013 3:57 a.m. PST


Yes, you said the same about the film in another thread. I might watch it myself. But when you watch it remember that, using your joke langauge-Pinocchio and the pregnant elephant would be forgotten if it wasn't for Napoleon and the interest he created and always will create.

And I believe Spielberg is making a series on Napoleon, so no worried about Wellignton and Blucher being forgotten, eh?

TelesticWarrior18 Jun 2013 4:11 a.m. PST

"A man of moderate military ability" (Chouan on Napoleon)

Hahahaha nice to see that it is still comedy season on the Napoleonic Discussion board. Gazzola it looks like you were right about the true colours thing. I think you are wasting your time on a number of people on this thread.

"I've never disguised them or displayed false colours. I can't see anything great about him, and nobody has yet produced an argument that has convinced me."
And nobody ever will. Convincing arguments and evidence have no power over people who have no desire at all to be convinced.

Gazzola18 Jun 2013 4:16 a.m. PST


Deleted by Moderator

You seem unable to accept that I find it shows a lack of respect to use personal insulting terms when referring to Napoleon. Those doing the insulting do not do so when referring to other Napoleonic characters. Why is that, do you think?

If those using insulting terms against Napoleon have used them when referring to Wellington, Blucher etc please let me know.

Chouan18 Jun 2013 4:31 a.m. PST

""A man of moderate military ability" (Chouan on Napoleon)"

Well, so far I've seen no attempts to persuade me otherwise. Many assertions but little of worth. I'm sure that there must be some truth behind the belief in his greatness that has been shown; perhaps expressions of faith rather than anything else. As I said elsewhere, I started with the usual, conventional pro-Buonaparte stance, with a view that Buonaparte must have been a great man. I can remember arguing with my late father that he only lost Waterloo through misfortune, and through the incompetence of others. But the more I've read the more it seems that he was a very lucky opportunist, with a constant view of his own "destiny" and self-advancement, whose luck ran out in the end. There have been many like him; some regarded as "great men" others not. But nothing has been presented that supports this view of his "greatness". Yet there are those who sing his praises and condemn those who do not, without being able to show any evidence of greatness in the man, either as a military leader, or as anything else.
My current profession involves my seeking analysing and assessing argument and evidence in students' work. It's very nature means that I'm open to persuasion, but unsupported assertions I don't rate very highly.
A man who leads an army into a major campaign without either proper logistical preparation or without understanding the nature of the conflict he is entering into is, I would suggest, a man of no more than moderate military ability. If the aim of a campaign is unachievable, for example, then it doesn't matter how many battles are won if the campaign still ends in defeat. Starting that campaign on those terms is, again, the action of no more than moderate ability.

Gazzola18 Jun 2013 4:37 a.m. PST


Yes, Chouan is just a biased Anti-Napper and nothing else. Not worth debating anything with him. Closed minds never are. Deleted by Moderator But he is funny as were the previous Anti-Nappers. He is not the first 'expert' Anti-Napper who has posted here and I doubt he will be the last. And everyone is entilted to their viewpoints, so we will just have to put up with him.

It jus goes to show how Napoleon is creating a stir, even 200 years afater his fall. Fantastic, isn't it. And who would ever hear of Wellington, Blucher and the other minor historical characters without the interest in the great man. People should learn to appreciate him and be thankful.

But yes, it is getting a bit boring now talking with some of the other posters. Enough time has been wasted, I think. I might watch the Waterloo film instead or one of the documentaries on Austerlitz and Jena.

BullDog6918 Jun 2013 5:20 a.m. PST


Once more, you have failed to answer my questions.

Why is that?

Any one would think you find it easier to make sarcastic remarks about Chouan than to defend your earlier outlandish statements / ever shifting position.

Re. moderate ability:
Invading Russia with half a million men and staggering out a few months later with only about 30,000… I think the phrase 'moderate ability' might actually be overly generous, though await your explanation as to how that campaign demonstrated your hero's martial brilliance.

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