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September 6, 1808

Discussion in '"Today in History", Literature & Media Review' started by Martin Antonenko, Sep 6, 2022.

  1. Martin Antonenko A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    King of Naples...


    On September 6, 1808, Napoleon's marshal and cavalry leader Joaquim Murat solemnly enters Naples to take power there as the new king...:

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    Of course, for this day he had a new one of those extravagant uniforms made for which he is famous...:

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    And of course he can be painted in it several times - the painting shows Mount Vesuvius in the background.

    Murat is a bit disappointed - he had hoped to become king of Spain, but the emperor chose his brother Joseph over him...

    The new king, although brave but intellectually rather simple, is accompanied by his extremely clever but rather extravagant wife Caroline, a sister of Emperor Napoleon...:

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    And since Murat mostly listens to them, relying on French law and experienced Italian officials, his reign - here his coat of arms...

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    ... seen quite positively by the Neapolitans to this day. In any case, it wasn't as criminal and thoroughly corrupt as today's city government made up of politics and Camorra (although the transitions are quite fluid!).

    Officially, Napoleon appointed Murat "King of the Two Sicilies" (marked yellow in the following map)...

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    ...however, he can only rule on the mainland of the Italian boot - the British are based in Sicily...

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    ... well entrenched behind a wall of wood and cannons - namely the ships of the Royal Navy, which is always ready for battle in Messina...:

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    Nevertheless, anyone who thinks that the "King of Naples" was just a kind of mayor with a crown is wrong! Murat's dominions covered almost half of Italy!

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    On the side, so to speak, he is still active as marshal and cavalry commander of the French Grande Armée. He personally led his last attack for Napoleon on October 14, 1813 with 8,000 horsemen south of Leipzig against the center of the allies at Güldengossa...:

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    He then hastily leaves the French army to try to save "his" kingdom of Naples for himself through the Napoleonic collapse.

    He makes a deal with England and Austria pledging to fight France with 30,000 men, which he actually does!

    In return, his contractors guarantee him his rule - a guarantee not worth the scrap of paper it's written on!

    Murat leads his troops...

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    ...against a relative of all things, namely Eugéne de Beauharnais...:

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    You know each other well and maneuver around a bit, but no battle ensues.

    Nonetheless, Murat's maneuvers tie up French troops in Italy that Napoleon lacks elsewhere, with the King of Naples doing his part to overthrow the Emperor!

    Now his contractual partners England and Austria are dropping their masks and at the same time all support for King Murat!

    He turns his army around on the heel, so to speak, occupies the Papal States (it's rich, waging war costs money and you have security!) and attacks the Austrians!

    In two battles on April 12th at Ferrara and on May 2nd at Tolentino...

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    ...the Neapolitan army is ruffled by the Austrian superiority, Murat flees to France.

    But being king was too much fun!

    So Murat travels to Corsica undetected and secretly gathers a troop. It's not big, but it still takes six ships to bring all the brigands to Italy.

    Of course things will go wrong!

    Barely on land, the brigade of brigands is surrounded and disarmed (they are soon allowed to walk again) and Murat goes to prison...:

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    One of his predecessor (and successor), the Bourbon King Ferdinand I.

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    ...hand-picked military court sentences him to death!

    As Murat stands in front of the peloton on October 13, 1815 (exactly two years to the day since he last fought for Napoleon!), his last words are:

    "Soldiers, aim for the heart, not the face!" Did I already say that the man was extremely vain...?

    Then he gives the order to fire himself.

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    By the way, Murat's body is missing - the huge cenotaph in the Pére Lachaise cemetery in Paris is empty...

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    The Neapolitans obviously liked him, the ostentatious foppish man with his jeweled beautiful wife suited them!

    And that's why they left his monument intact in a wall niche of the Palazzo Reale to this day...:

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  2. Nap A Fixture

    Country:
    England
    A man of many different uniforms and very very flamboyant

    Napoleonic splendour at its best

    Cheers Martin

    Nap

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