Ecole Militaire, Brienne


In 1779, nine-year-old Napoleon arrived at military school in Brienne.  Barely speaking French in a heavy Corsican accent, he faced five years of isolation, austerity and mockery.  Yet, despite his ardent Corsican nationalism, it was here he became a Frenchman.  He also became an impassioned reader of history, devouring Plutarch’s Lives and demanding access to what the limited library could offer.  Of all his studies, he excelled most at mathematics, pointing him to a career in the artillery.   Thus, the boy became the man.

Years later, as a triumphant general, he tried to buy the grand chateau he could see on the hill above his school yard.  The family refused to sell, but today Brienne, a village about three hours from Paris, embraces all things Napoleon as it hopes to enlarge its tourist trade.  Even the local drug store is named Pharmacie Napoléon.

On display in the museum housed in the remains of his old school, Napoleon’s admission papers illustrate how the French of his day regarded Corsicans as foreigners. In a letter to Napoleon’s father, the school authorities ask for a French translation of Napoleon’s mother’s name.  Charles Bonaparte responded, “There is no translation for “Maria-Letizia Ramolino.”

 

10 Comments

  • Pingback: Finding Napoleon » Napoleon’s Corsican Grotto

  • December 26, 2011 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    ME INTERESA MUCHO LA VIDA DE NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.
    ADEMAS , MI BISABUELO, POLACO , ESTUDIÓ EN LA ESCUELA MILITAR DE BRIENNE Y
    SEGÚN LA HISTORIA FAMILIAR , ERA PRIMO DE MARIA WALESKA -NO SÉ SI ESTA CORRECTAMENTE ESCRITO ESTE APELLIDO.
    EL NOMBRE DE MI BISABUELO ERA NICOLAS MUNTAABSKI.

  • mrodenberg
    January 1, 2012 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Gracias por sus comentarios muy interesantes. El apellido se escribe Maria Walewska. Esta mujer dio a luz a un hijo de Napoleón de una manera que están relacionados con Napoleón! Por favor, siga leyendo mi blog.

  • Pingback: Finding Napoleon » Bonaparte or Buonaparte?

  • September 8, 2014 - 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Hello, You are wrong when you say about Napoleon become a Frenchman & BIRD PLACE CORSICAN, it’s wrong that : This father is Le comte of Marbeuf, Louis. Who more riche than the King of France. (it’s Louis Phillippe who cut the page of register of Saint-Seve in Britany “part of France”, manor of Penn ar Venn. There Napoleon is born there & his father return him at the age of two years in Corsica.(Napoleon dont liked the Corsica who he told “is betray people”, it’s one reason he refuse to fight with the Vendeans,” rist his head” he loved this Giant people about extermination “Génocide”. Leatizia is not a Corsica, she are origin of Genoa/Napolitan people.,she just born in Corsica. she have 4 childs with MARBEUF.
    Napoleon made married with Joséphine with a wrong bird paper of brother Nabulion, made by charles Bonaparte, his brother is a importance priest, he do this wrong paper of bapteme 1771. (the story about Napoleon is wrong on many point) dont speak with any people. all liars,( because all dont know true story and dont want that you tiking are not cultivated)
    you must read many book about this ! like the one Napoleon, son of Comte of Marbeuf, (fils du Comte de Marbeuf) IN FRENCH , difficult to found (2006) maybe on eBay.fr, so, sorry for my bad English.
    Guitton de la verrie (Vendéans wars survived family of 1793 & more)

  • mrodenberg
    September 10, 2014 - 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for writing. There are so many different opinions about Napoleon and I’m always interested in hearing them. I have read some that agree with you and if I get a chance I’ll search out the book you recommend.

    All the best,
    Margaret

  • Ernest Wahl
    February 9, 2016 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Napoleon was not the son of Compte de Marbeuf avoiding to Broers.

    Ernest Wahl

  • mrodenberg
    February 12, 2016 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    Hello, thanks for your comment. I agree, but there are so many rumors and propaganda about so many aspects of Napoleon and his family’s lives that it’s difficult to parse out the truth. For instance, I just picked up a recently-published novel about Napoleon’s second wife, Marie Louise, and was shocked to see that its premise included a completely fictional incestuous relationship between Napoleon and his sister Pauline. Even though it’s a novel, I’m sure that many people who read it will assume that’s the truth. It seems no scandal or crime is too small or too large to be attributed to Napoleon!

  • Antonio
    March 8, 2016 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    Napoleon Bonaparte (see: buona – parte, like good – part) comes from a family of Cargese (Ajaccio) in Corsica.

    Furthermore, although it seems incredible, it is perhaps true, there are important sources from which it appears that Napoleon’s ancestors have family roots or relations with the imperial family of Komnenos (see: Byzantine Empire of Trebizond ~ 1461 AD, last emperor: David Komnenos).

    A.S.P.

    Sources:
    1. Memoirs of Madame Junot (Duchesse D’Abrantès) – Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, 1769-1821, France — History Consulate and First Empire, 1799-1815,
    https://archive.org/stream/memoirsofmadamej03abra#page/n9/mode/2up

    2. Madame Junot – Duchess d’ Abrantes (bio): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laure_Junot,_Duchess_of_Abrantes

    3. Cargèse, Corsica, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carg%C3%A8se

    4. Napoleon Father: Carlo Buonaparte. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlo_Buonaparte

    5. Byzantine Empire of Trebizond, David Comnenos
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_of_Trebizond
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_of_Trebizond

  • mrodenberg
    March 31, 2016 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    Interesting! Thanks for the source references. You do have to be a bit careful trusting the writings of some of Napoleon’s contemporaries who often had a bone to pick with him or needed to demonstrate loyalty to the restored king. Vincent Cronin’s bio of Napoleon has a good listing of why some should be trusted and others not. So does the more recent Napoleon A Life by Andrew Roberts.

    Thanks for your comment. Are you from the same lineage?

    Margaret

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