Napoleon on Camelback in the Musée Fesch

After seeing the photo of me riding an elephant, one of this blog’s readers asked if Napoleon had ridden a camel during his Egyptian Campaign (1798). Yes, Melanie! Here’s a photo I took of a small bronze statue of the Man himself on camelback. It’s displayed in the Musée Fesch in Ajaccio, Corsica, Napoleon’s hometown.

The Musée Fesch is named after Napoleon’s uncle, Cardinal Joseph Fesch, who was his mother’s half-brother. A great collector of art and artifacts, the wily Cardinal acquired considerable wealth during Napoleon’s reign.

After Napoleon’s fall, he retired to Rome with his sister, Madame Mère, as Letizia Bonaparte was known. There the two fell under the spell of an Austrian clairvoyant. The woman convinced them that angels had rescued Napoleon from exile in St Helena and were holding him in safety until time came for him to rise into power again. I’ve often wondered if the clairvoyant was an Austrian spy charged with keeping Napoleon’s mother and uncle from promoting plots for Napoleon’s escape from St Helena.

All of which proves (at least to me) that there is almost no end to the interesting stories about Napoleon and his family.


  • Victor Blair
    February 24, 2013 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Napoleon’s mother was literally brainwashed with this idea. That was why she chose Antommarchi for the job of being his doctor. She believed that he was on his way home while he was requesting a doctor, otherwise more thought would have been put into the choice.


  • mrodenberg
    February 24, 2013 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    Victor, this story fascinates me. Do you know of any good sources to find out more about the clairvoyant? I often find it mentioned but never with detail. To me, it’s no coincidence that the Austrians sent Count Neipperg to seduce Empress Marie Louise after Waterloo.

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