- This article is excerpted from Le Figaro Histoire' "Napoleon, History and Legend". Discover in this issuehow the Napoleonic myth was born during the emperor's lifetime and continues to this day with undiminished power.
"Napoleon, History and Legend" Figaro History
At the beginning of 1810, the musician Etienne Nicolas Méhul and the litterateur Antoine Vincent Arnault created a Triumphal Song to celebrate the marriage of the Emperor to Marie-Louise of Habsburg-Lorraine. Its chorus ended with a heady line, repeated twenty times by the chorus: "Napoleon is back!" Perhaps Arnault's words are running through the minds of connoisseurs today, as the cinemas welcome Ridley Scott's Napoleon, as it could have been hummed in 2021, during the commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the Emperor's death, in 2015, for the Waterloo commemoration, in 2012 – and all the way to Moscow! – for the Russian campaign in 2004, for the coronation in 1969, for the one of his birth, in the first twenty years of the twentieth century for the centenaries of his great deeds. At each commemorative station, there will be a newspaper or a columnist repeating – without knowing it – the refrain of the Triumphal Song.
Napoleon is periodically...
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