In light of the recent movie (Napoleon, 2024 by Ridley Scott) about Napoleon Bonaparte, here are eight fun facts that reveal interesting facets of this iconic figure:
- Formal Military Training: Despite his later military genius, Napoleon struggled academically at the École Militaire in Paris, graduating 42nd out of 58 students.
- Corsican Nationalist Origins: Initially, Napoleon advocated for Corsica's independence from France, a stark contrast to his later role as a French icon.
- Joséphine's Narrow Escape: His first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais, narrowly avoided execution during the French Revolution, only to become a celebrated socialite and Napoleon's partner.
- The Myth of "Not Tonight, Joséphine": Contrary to popular belief, this phrase probably wasn't uttered by Napoleon. In reality, he was deeply infatuated with Joséphine, even as she had affairs during his military campaigns.
- Height Misconceptions: Napoleon wasn't as short as often portrayed. He was around 5 feet 6 inches tall, which was average for his time.
- Romantic at Heart: He wrote a romance novel titled "Clisson et Eugénie," a tale of passionate lovers separated by war.
- No Fear of Cats: Despite rumors, there's no record to suggest Napoleon had ailurophobia (fear of cats).
- Rosetta Stone Discovery: Napoleon's Egyptian campaign led to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, crucial in deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
These facts provide a glimpse into the complex character of Napoleon, showcasing a blend of military prowess, romantic inclination, and a journey from Corsican nationalist to a French legend.