Napoleon did not fire on the pyramids of Giza in his campaign in Egypt

The controversial historical certainty in the film “Napoleon”

Napoleon Bonaparte, The famous French EmperorHe became one of the most famous political figures in history. Now, Ridley Scott, director of films like “Alien” and “Gladiator,” has. Biography film About the history of the Conqueror.

Since the film’s premiere, some scenes from the film have been shown It aroused controversy due to its uncertain historical reality. Among them is a scene in which Napoleon and his army fire on the pyramids of Giza. In an interview with The Times of London, Scott admitted that he wasn’t sure the emperor did it, but it was a quick way to show it. Capture of Egypt.

In fact, in one of his attempts to expand his empire, Napoleon began a military campaign in Egypt. However, according to Encyclopedia of world historyThe French army ended up failing and Egypt remained under the control of the Ottoman Empire.

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Napoleonic campaign against Egypt

At the end of the eighteenth century The French Republic already dominated Western Europe. In his desire to make it stronger than the United Kingdom, Napoleon (who was an army general at the time) decided to He proposed the conquest of Egypt. This was because the British Empire was superior to the French in naval matters, making it unlikely to be attacked.

Napoleon in Egypt (1863) by Jean-Léon Gérôme. / Wikimedia Commons

The Encyclopedia of World History notes that “the insatiably ambitious Bonaparte, of course, had his own motives, wanting to emulate his hero Alexander the Great and build an Eastern empire.”

Shortly after, the French Council approved Napoleon’s proposal. The Emperor gathered the necessary resources and An army of 38 thousand soldiers With the best soldiers in France. On his way to Egypt, Napoleon easily captured the island of Malta, where half the people commanding it were French.

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Upon his arrival in Egypt, Napoleon planned to present himself as a God-sent liberator, as the Egyptian citizens were dissatisfied with Ottoman policies at the time. It took only one day for the French army to capture Alexandria, the city in which they landed. Furthermore, although Napoleon’s forces were weakened by weather conditions, they were able to defeat other factions of the Ottoman army.

The end of the campaign and its importance in Egypt

Napoleon’s army was severely weakened at the Battle of the Nile, and from then on Napoleon’s intentions to invade Egypt waned (although he already occupied a significant portion of the territory). In 1799 He decided to conquer other regions of Syria and eventually returned to Alexandria To leave for France.

“Without announcing to anyone his intention to leave Egypt, Bonaparte sailed on August 23 with only a small number of officers and scholars, and left the rest in Alexandria. Within 41 days he returned to France, and by the end of the year, he had control of the French government,” states the Encyclopedia of World History.

Napoleon and His Army in Egypt (1867) by Jean-Léon Gérôme. / Wikimedia Commons

Finally, though, Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt It did not have much political importanceYes, it was cultural. Along with his army, Napoleon took several scholars and scholars to explore the regions. Among the most important results reached by the campaign Rosetta StoneEssential for understanding Egyptian writing.

This text was written by Iñaki Arreola, a Mexican journalist interested in urban culture, art and coexistence with nature. He collaborates as an editor at National Geographic en Español.

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