Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


ANDRIEU, Bertrand: France, 1804, Lead-filled Bronze, 68 mm
Obv: Bust of Napoleon (r)    NAPOLEON EMPEREUR
Rev: Uniface
Signed:  ANDRIEU F.
Lead-filled bronze cliché, part of boxed set
Ref: Forrer I, p53; Bramsen 299; Julius 1222; TN. 1.1; Weiss BW392

Napoleon I (1769-1821), French general, consul and emperor, was born in Corsica as Napoleone Buonaparte. After the outbreak of the French Revolution (1789-1799), Napoleon became president of the Jacobins. At the start of the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802) he was promoted to brigadier general and soon afterwards was given command of the French army in Italy. After a series of victories, including those against Austria and Sardinia, he marched on Vienna, forcing Austria to cede the Austrian Netherlands to France. In 1798 Napoleon launched an invasion of Egypt, where he suffered his first defeat at the hands of Admiral Horatio Nelson. Napoleon returned to Paris, overthrew the Directory and set up the Consulate. As first consul Napoleon established a military dictatorship, although his "enlightened despotism" brought about needed administrative and judicial reforms, including the issuing of the Code Napoleon. Napoleon is chiefly remembered, however, as one of the greatest military commanders in history. His victory over the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo led to the Treaty of Luneville which established the Rhine as the eastern border of France. The Treaty of Amiens concluded the French Revolutionary Wars, and Napoleon was shortly thereafter proclaimed emperor. His Napoleonic Wars resulted in some of History's greatest triumphs and defeats. He lost to Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, but Napoleon's Grand Army scored crushing victories against Austro-Russian forces at the battles of Austerlitz and Ulm. He captured the Kingdom of Naples, crushed the Prussian Army at the Battle of Jena, occupied Portugal and annexed some German states. His invasion of Russia was a disaster, however, and his empire began to crumble. In 1814, Napoleon was exiled to the Island of Elba, but he escaped and returned to France, overthrowing the Bourbon King Louis XVIII. His power soon ended though with his defeat by the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He died in exile on the Island of St. Helena. (from EWH)

LINK  to painting Napoleon on his Imperial Throne by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (from WebMuseum)