Coronation of Napoleon I

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Coronation of Napoleon
Jacques-Louis David - The Coronation of Napoleon (1805-1807).jpg
DateDecember 2, 1804
(11 Frimaire XIII)
Location Notre-Dame de Paris, Paris
Participants Napoleon and others

The coronation of Napoleon as Emperor of the French took place on Sunday December 2, 1804 (11 Frimaire, Year XIII according to the French Republican Calendar) at Notre-Dame de Paris in Paris. It marked "the instantiation of modern empire" and was a "transparently masterminded piece of modern propaganda". [1]

Emperor of the French title used by the House of Bonaparte

Emperor of the French was the monarch of the First French Empire and the Second French Empire.

Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral in Paris, France

Notre-Dame de Paris, referred to simply as Notre-Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. The cathedral is consecrated to the Virgin Mary and considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Its pioneering use of the rib vault and flying buttress, its enormous and colourful rose windows, as well as the naturalism and abundance of its sculptural decoration set it apart from the earlier Romanesque style. Major components that make Notre Dame stand out include one of the world's largest organs and its immense church bells.

Contents

The stool that was part of a set made for the reception of Napoleon by the corps legislatif after his coronation as emperor. Made in the workshop of Jacob-Desmalter, designed by Bernard Poyet, 1805. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London This stool was part of a set made for the reception of Napoleon by the corps legislatif after his coronation as emperor. Made in the workshop of Jacob-Desmalter. Designed by Bernard Poyet. 1805 CE. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London.jpg
The stool that was part of a set made for the reception of Napoleon by the corps legislatif after his coronation as emperor. Made in the workshop of Jacob-Desmalter, designed by Bernard Poyet, 1805. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Napoleon wanted to establish the legitimacy of his imperial reign, with its new royal family and new nobility. To this end, he designed a new coronation ceremony unlike that for the kings of France, which had emphasized the king's consecration (sacre) and anointment and was conferred by the archbishop of Reims in Reims Cathedral. [2] Napoleon's was a sacred ceremony held in the great cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris in the presence of Pope Pius VII. Napoleon brought together various rites and customs, incorporating ceremonies of Carolingian tradition, the ancien régime and the French Revolution, all presented in sumptuous luxury. [3]

Napoleon 19th century French military leader and politician

Napoleon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.

Coronation ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or his or her consort with regal power

A coronation is the act of placement or bestowal of a crown upon a monarch's head. The term generally also refers not only to the physical crowning but to the whole ceremony wherein the act of crowning occurs, along with the presentation of other items of regalia, marking the formal investiture of a monarch with regal power. Aside from the crowning, a coronation ceremony may comprise many other rituals such as the taking of special vows by the monarch, the investing and presentation of regalia to the monarch, and acts of homage by the new ruler's subjects and the performance of other ritual deeds of special significance to the particular nation. Western-style coronations have often included anointing the monarch with holy oil, or chrism as it is often called; the anointing ritual's religious significance follows examples found in the Bible. The monarch's consort may also be crowned, either simultaneously with the monarch or as a separate event.

Coronation of the French monarch

The accession of the King of France to the royal throne was legitimized by a ceremony performed with the Crown of Charlemagne at Notre-Dame de Reims. In late medieval and early modern times, the new king did not need to be annointed in order to be recognized as French monarch but ascended upon the previous monarch's death with the proclamation "Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi"!

On May 18, 1804, the Sénat conservateur vested the Republican government of the French First Republic in an Emperor, and preparations for a coronation followed. Napoleon's elevation to Emperor was overwhelmingly approved by the French citizens in the French constitutional referendum of 1804. Among Napoleon's motivations for being crowned were to gain prestige in international royalist and Catholic circles and to lay the foundation for a future dynasty. [2] :243

The Sénat conservateur was an advisory body established in France during the Consulate following the French Revolution. It was established in 1799 under the Constitution of the Year VIII following the Napoleon Bonaparte-led Coup of 18 Brumaire. It lasted until 1814 when Napoleon Bonaparte was overthrown and the Bourbon monarchy was restored. The Sénat was a key element in Napoleon's regime.

French First Republic Republic governing France, 1792–1804

In the history of France, the First Republic, officially the French Republic, was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, although the form of the government changed several times. This period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, and, finally, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power.

A referendum concerning the establishment of the French Empire was held in France in November 1804. The officially announced result showed a nearly unanimous French electorate approving the change in Napoleon Bonaparte's status from First Consul to Emperor of the French. About seven million voters were called to participate, of which 47.20% did.

Preparations

When Pope Pius VII agreed to come to Paris to officiate at Napoleon's coronation, it was initially established that it would follow the coronation liturgy in the Roman Pontifical. However, after the Pope's arrival, Napoleon persuaded the Papal delegation to allow the introduction of several French elements in the rite – such as the singing of the Veni Creator for the monarch's entrance procession, the use of Chrism instead of the Oil of Catechumens for the anointing (although the Roman anointing prayers were used), placing the sacred oil on the head and hands rather than the right arm and back of the neck, and the inclusion of several prayers and formulas from the French Coronation of Kings ceremonial, to bless the regalia as it was delivered. In essence, French and Roman elements were combined into a new rite unique to the occasion. [4] Also, the special rite composed ad hoc allowed Napoleon to remain mostly seated and not kneeling during the delivery of the regalia and during several other ceremonies, and reduced his acceptance of the oath demanded by the Church in the beginning of the liturgy to one word only.

Arrival of Napoleon at Notre-Dame for his coronation Percier et Fontaine 003.jpg
Arrival of Napoleon at Notre-Dame for his coronation

Not wanting to be an Old Regime monarch, Napoleon explained: "To be a king is to inherit old ideas and genealogy. I don't want to descend from anyone."

Ceremony

Commemorative coin with the image of Pius VII on the obverse and Notre Dame de Paris on the reverse. Note that the date on the reverse is given both according to the Gregorian and French Revolutionary calendars. Medaille celebrant le sacre de Napoleon Ier par Pie VII.jpg
Commemorative coin with the image of Pius VII on the obverse and Notre Dame de Paris on the reverse. Note that the date on the reverse is given both according to the Gregorian and French Revolutionary calendars.
The coronation balloon Early flight 02561u (6).jpg
The coronation balloon

According to Louis Constant Wairy, Napoleon awoke at 8:00 a.m. to the sound of a cannonade, he left the Tuileries at 11:00 a.m. in a white velvet vest with gold embroidery and diamond buttons, a crimson velvet tunic and a short crimson coat with satin lining, a wreath of laurel on his brow. [5] :54 The number of onlookers, as estimated by Wairy, was between four and five thousand, many of whom had held their places all night through intermittent showers that cleared in the morning. [6] :301

Louis Constant Wairy (1778–1845) was valet to Napoleon, Emperor of the French.

Velvet type of pile fabric

Velvet is a type of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are evenly distributed, with a short dense pile, giving it a distinctive soft feel. By extension, the word velvety means "smooth like velvet." Velvet can be made from either synthetic or natural fibers.

Satin Smooth, lustrous fabric, usually of silk or synthetic fiber, woven with a long-float satin binding in warp or weft

Satin is a weave that typically has a glossy surface and a dull back, one of three fundamental types of textile weaves along with plain weave and twill. The satin weave is characterized by four or more fill or weft yarns floating over a warp yarn, four warp yarns floating over a single weft yarn. Floats are missed interfacings, for example where the warp yarn lies on top of the weft in a warp-faced satin. These floats explain the high luster and even sheen, as unlike in other weaves, the light reflecting is not scattered as much by the fibres. Satin is usually a warp-faced weaving technique in which warp yarns are "floated" over weft yarns, although there are also weft-faced satins. If a fabric is formed with a satin weave using filament fibres such as silk, polyester or nylon, the corresponding fabric is termed a satin, although some definitions insist that the fabric be made from silk. If the yarns used are short-staple yarns such as cotton, the fabric formed is considered a sateen.

The ceremony started at 9 a.m. when the Papal procession set out from the Tuileries led by a bishop on a mule holding aloft the Papal crucifix. [7] The Pope entered Notre Dame first, to the anthem Tu es Petrus, and took his seat on a throne near the high altar. [5] Napoleon's and Joséphine's carriage was drawn by eight bay horses and escorted by grenadiers à cheval and gendarmes d'élite. [8] The two parts of the ceremony were held at different ends of Notre Dame to contrast its religious and secular facets. An unmanned balloon, ablaze with three thousand lights in an imperial crown pattern, was launched from the front of Notre Dame during the celebration. [7]

Napoleon in coronation robes by Francois Gerard Francois Gerard - Napoleon I 001.JPG
Napoleon in coronation robes by François Gérard

Before entering Notre Dame, Napoleon was vested in a long white satin tunic embroidered in gold thread and Josephine similarly wore a white satin empire-style dress embroidered in gold thread. During the coronation he was formally clothed in a heavy coronation mantle of crimson velvet lined with ermine; the velvet was covered with embroidered golden bees, drawn from the golden bees among the regalia that had been discovered in the Merovingian tomb of Childeric I, a symbol that looked beyond the Bourbon past and linked the new dynasty with the ancient Merovingians; the bee replaced the fleur-de-lis on imperial tapestries and garments. The mantle weighed at least eighty pounds and was supported by four dignitaries. [6] :299 Josephine was at the same time formally clothed in a similar crimson velvet mantle embroidered with bees in gold thread and lined with ermine, which was borne by Napoleon's three sisters. [nb 1] There were two orchestras with four choruses, numerous military bands playing heroic marches, and over three hundred musicians. [6] :302 A 400-voice choir performed Paisiello's "Mass" and "Te Deum". Because the traditional royal crown had been destroyed during the French Revolution, the so-called Crown of Napoleon, made to look medieval and called the "crown of Charlemagne" for the occasion, [5] :55 was waiting on the altar. While the crown was new, the sceptre was reputed to have belonged to Charles V and the sword to Philip III.

Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1806 Ingres, Napoleon on his Imperial throne.jpg
Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1806

The coronation proper began with the singing of the hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus , followed by the versicle, "Lord, send forth your Spirit" and response, "And renew the face of the earth" and the collect for the Feast of Pentecost, "God, who has taught the hearts of your faithful by sending them the light of your Holy Spirit,..." After this the prayer, "Almighty, everlasting God, the Creator of all..." [nb 2] During the Litany of the Saints, the Emperor and Empress remained seated, only kneeling for special petitions. The Emperor and Empress were both anointed on their heads and on both hands with chrism–the Emperor with the prayers, "God, the Son of God..." [4] [nb 3] and "God who established Hazael over Syria...", [4] the Empress with the prayer, "God the Father of eternal glory..." – while the antiphon Unxerunt Salomonem Sadoc Sacerdos... ("Zadok the priest...") was sung. The Mass then began. At Napoleon's request, the collect of the Blessed Virgin (as the patron of the cathedral) was said in place of the proper collect for the day. After the epistle, the articles of the imperial regalia were individually blessed, [nb 4] and delivered [nb 5] to the Emperor and Empress. [nb 6]

The coronation of Napoleon and Josephine also differed in this respect from the pattern observed in other Western coronation rites: usually, in joint coronations of sovereign and consort, the sovereign is first anointed, invested with the regalia, crowned and enthroned, and only then is a similar but simplified rite of anointing, investiture, coronation and enthronement of the consort performed. However, for the Coronation of Napoleon and Josephine, each of those steps was performed jointly, so that Josephine was anointed immediately after Napoleon, and each item of regalia was delivered to her immediately after being given to him, a procedure that found no precedent either in the Roman Pontifical or in the French Ceremonial.

Last dress of Napoleon's Coronation / Countess Berenger, wife of Count Jean Berenger (1767-1850) Robe de la comtesse Berenger au sacre de Napoleon.PNG
Last dress of Napoleon's Coronation / Countess Bérenger, wife of Count Jean Bérenger (1767–1850)

For the crowning, as recorded in the official procès-verbal of the Coronation [9] the formula Coronet vos Deus..., a variation to the plural of the traditional French formula Coronet te Deus (God crown you with a crown of glory and righteousness...) - a formula that is also proper to the English Coronation rite – was used exclusively, instead of the Roman formula Accipe coronam... (Receive the crown...). This differed to the usage of the French royal coronations, in which both formulas – the Roman Accipe coronam regni... and the Anglo-French Coronet te Deus... – were recited successively. While the Pope recited the above-mentioned formula, Napoleon turned and removed his laurel wreath and crowned himself and then crowned the kneeling Joséphine with a small crown surmounted by a cross, which he had first placed on his own head. [4] The crowning formula was varied to use a plural form ("Coronet vos..." instead of "Coronet te..."), precisely because the Coronation of Josephine followed immediately after the assumption of the Crown by Napoleon. As for the omitted Roman formula Accipe coronam..., which depicted the monarch as receiving his crown from the Church, its use would have clashed with Napoleon's decision to crown himself. Historian J. David Markham, who also serves as head of the International Napoleonic Society, [10] alleged in his book Napoleon For Dummies "Napoleon's detractors like to say that he snatched the crown from the Pope, or that this was an act of unbelievable arrogance, but neither of those charges holds water. Napoleon was simply symbolizing that he was becoming emperor based on his own merits and the will of the people, not because of some religious consecration. The Pope knew about this move from the beginning and had no objection (not that it would have mattered)." [11] British historian Vincent Cronin wrote in his book Napoleon Bonaparte: An Intimate Biography "Napoleon told Pius that he would be placing the crown on his own head. Pius raised no objection." [12] At Napoleon's enthronement the Pope said, "May God confirm you on this throne and may Christ give you to rule with him in his eternal kingdom". [nb 7] Limited in his actions, Pius VII proclaimed further the Latin formula Vivat imperator in aeternum! ("May the Emperor live forever!"), which was echoed by the full choirs in a Vivat, followed by "Te Deum". After the Mass was finished, the Pope retired to the Sacristy, as he objected to presiding over or witnessing the civil oath that followed, due to its contents. With his hands on the Bible, Napoleon took the oath:

I swear to maintain the integrity of the territory of the Republic, to respect and enforce respect for the Concordat and freedom of religion, equality of rights, political and civil liberty, the irrevocability of the sale of national lands; not to raise any tax except in virtue of the law; to maintain the institution of Legion of Honor and to govern in the sole interest, happiness and glory of the French people. [2] :245

The text was presented to Napoleon by the President of the Senate, the President of Legislature and the most senior President of the Council of State. After the oath the newly appointed herald of arms proclaimed loudly: "The thrice glorious and thrice august Emperor Napoleon is crowned and enthroned. Long live the Emperor!" [13] During the people's acclamations Napoleon, surrounded by dignitaries, left the cathedral while the choir sang "Domine salvum fac imperatorem nostrum Napoleonem"—"God save our Emperor Napoleon".

After the coronation the Emperor presented the imperial standards to each of his regiments. According to government tallies, the entire cost was over 8.5 million francs.[ citation needed ]

In addition to David's paintings, a commemorative medal was struck with the reverse design by Antoine-Denis Chaudet. In 2005, a digital depiction of the coronation was made by Vaughan Hart, Peter Hicks and Joe Robson for the "Nelson and Napoleon" Exhibition at the National Maritime Museum. [14]

See also

Notes

  1. There is an anecdotal account that just as Josephine reached the top of the steps of the high altar to be crowned, Napoleon's sisters deliberately gave her mantle a sudden tug which momentarily caused her to lose her balance, but she did not fall as her sisters-in-law had intended.[ citation needed ]
  2. With the substitution of the word "emperor" for "king" and the addition of the words "and of his consort" to the original prayer from the Roman Rite; a similar, but more elaborate prayer, specifically mentioning the " kingdoms of the Franks, the Burgundians, and of Aquitania" existed in the traditional French royal coronation rite. [4]
  3. A translation of this prayer may be found at Coronation of the Hungarian monarch
  4. The blessings for the sword, rings, gloves, the Hand of Justice and the scepter were taken from the Cérémoniel françois, while the blessing of the orb was special composed for the occasion. [4]
  5. The forms for the delivery of the sword, rings, gloves, Hand of Justice and the scepter were also from the Cérémoniel françois, while that for the delivery of the mantles and the Orb were also specially composed for the occasion. [4]
  6. The forms for the delivery of the rings and the mantles were in the plural, since they were given to the Emperor and Empress simultaneously. [4]
  7. This enthronement formula was a new composition, different from all the variations of the traditional "Sta et retine..." formula usually employed in Western Coronation rites; even the starting words of the formula were different, and in all probability the traditional prayer was abandoned because it specified too clearly that the monarch received the Throne from the bishops and was a mediator between clergy and people. The new formula used for Napoleon's enthronement avoided any mention of this.

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Coronation of the British monarch ceremony (specifically, initiation rite) in which the monarch of the United Kingdom is formally invested with regalia and crowned at Westminster Abbey

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Regalia privileges and the insignia characteristic of a sovereign

Regalia is a Latin plurale tantum word that has different definitions. In one rare definition, it refers to the exclusive privileges of a sovereign. The word originally referred to the elaborate formal dress and dress accessories of a sovereign, but now the word usually refers to any type of elaborate formal dress and dress accessories.

Austrian Crown Jewels

The Austrian Crown Jewels is the regalia and vestments worn by the Holy Roman Emperor, and later by the Emperor of Austria, during the coronation ceremony and other state functions. The term refers to the following objects: the crowns, sceptres, orbs, swords, rings, crosses, holy relics, and the royal robes, as well as several other objects connected with the ceremony. The collection dates from the 10th to the 19th centuries and reflects more than a thousand years of European history. It is kept at the Imperial Treasury in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.

Enthronement

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Crown of Napoleon

The Crown of Napoleon was a coronation crown manufactured for Napoleon and used in his coronation as Emperor of the French on December 2, 1804. Napoleon called this crown the "Crown of Charlemagne", which was the name of the ancient royal coronation crown of France that had been destroyed during the French Revolution. This name allowed Napoleon to compare himself to the famed mediaeval monarch Charlemagne, King of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor.

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<i>The Coronation of Napoleon</i> painting completed in 1807 by Jacques-Louis David

The Coronation of Napoleon is a painting completed in 1807 by Jacques-Louis David, the official painter of Napoleon, depicting the coronation of Napoleon I at Notre-Dame de Paris. The painting has imposing dimensions, as it is almost 10 metres (33 ft) wide by a little over 6 metres (20 ft) tall. The work is held in the Louvre in Paris.

Coronation of the Hungarian monarch ceremony

The Coronation of the Hungarian monarch was a ceremony in which the king or queen of the Kingdom of Hungary was formally crowned and invested with regalia. It corresponded to the coronation ceremonies that occurred in other European monarchies. While in countries like France and England the king's reign began immediately upon the death of his predecessor, in Hungary the coronation was absolutely indispensable as if it were not properly executed, the Kingdom stayed "orphaned". All monarchs had to be crowned as King of Hungary in order to promulgate laws there or exercise his royal prerogatives in the territory of Kingdom of Hungary. Since the Golden Bull of 1222, all Hungarian kings had to take a coronation oath during the coronation procedure, where the new monarchs had to agree to uphold the constitutional arrangement of the country, to preserve the liberties of his subjects and the territorial integrity of the realm.

Coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor

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Coronations in Asia

Coronations in Asia in the strict sense are and historically were rare, as only few monarchies, primarily in Western Asia, ever adopted the concept that the placement of a crown symbolised the monarch's investiture. Instead, most monarchies in Asia used a form of acclamation or enthronement ceremony, in which the monarch formally ascends to the throne, and may be presented with certain regalia, and may receive homage from his or her subjects. This article covers both coronations and enthronement.

Coronations in Europe

Coronations in Europe were previously held in the monarchies of Europe. The United Kingdom is the only monarchy in Europe that still practices coronation. Current European monarchies have either replaced coronations with simpler ceremonies to mark an accession or have never practiced coronations. Most monarchies today only require a simple oath to be taken in the presence of the country's legislature.

Coronation of the Serbian monarch

The accession of the Serbian monarch was legitimized by coronation ceremony. The coronation was carried out by church officials.

Coronation of the Emperor of Brazil

The coronation of the Emperor of Brazil was the religious rite of consecration during which the monarchs of the Empire of Brazil were solemnly blessed, anointed, crowned, invested with the other items of the imperial regalia and enthroned, according to the usages of the Catholic Church, the Empire's official, established Church. The coronation of the Brazilian monarch confirmed the accession of a new emperor to the throne, and corresponded to similar rites that took place in other Christian monarchies. The two Brazilian emperors, Pedro I and Pedro II underwent the ceremony of coronation, on 1 December 1822 and 18 July 1841, respectively. Those remain the two sole acts of coronation that took place in the South American continent.

Coronation of the Sweden monarch

Swedish monarchs were crowned in various cities during the 13th and 14th centuries, but from the middle of the 15th century on in either the Cathedral in Uppsala or Storkyrkan in Stockholm, with the exception of the coronation of Gustav IV Adolf, which took place in Norrköping in 1800. Earlier coronations were also held at Uppsala, the ecclesiastical center of Sweden. Prior to Sweden's change into a hereditary monarchy, the focus of the coronation rite was on legitimising an elected king.

Coronation of Bokassa I

The Coronation of Bokassa I as the Emperor of Central Africa took place on 4 December 1977 at a sports stadium in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Empire. It was the only coronation in the history of the Empire—a short-lived one-party state and self-proclaimed monarchy—which was established in 1976 by Jean-Bédel Bokassa, military dictator and president-for-life of the Central African Republic.

References

  1. Porterfield, Todd Burke; Siegfried, Susan L. (2006). Staging empire: Napoleon, Ingres, and David. Penn State Press. p. 4. ISBN   978-0-271-02858-3 . Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 Englund, Steven (2005-04-30). Napoleon: A Political Life. Harvard University Press. ISBN   978-0-674-01803-7 . Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  3. Dwyer 2015
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Woolley, Reginald Maxwell (1915). Coronation Rites. Cambridge University Press. pp. 106–107.
  5. 1 2 3 Junot, Laure, duchesse d'Abrantès (1836). Memoirs of Napoleon, his court and family. 2. R. Bentley. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  6. 1 2 3 Wairy, Louis Constant (1895). Recollections of the private life of Napoleon. 1. The Merriam company. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  7. 1 2 Napoleon's Coronation as Emperor of the French Georgian Index
  8. Bernard Picart, "Histoire des religions et des moeurs de tous les peuples du monde, Volume 5", Paris, 1819, p.293
  9. Procèsverbal de la cérémonie du sacre et du couronnement de LL. MM. l'Empereur Napoléon et l'impératrice Joséphine. de l'imprimerie impériale. 1805.
  10. "J. David Markham Napoleonic History - Welcome to Napoleonic History!".
  11. Markham, J. David, Napoleon for Dummies, 2005, p. 286
  12. Cronin, Vincent, Napoleon, 1971, p. 250
  13. Sloane, William Milligan (1910). The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Century Co. p. 344. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  14. Peter Hicks (10 December 2009). "Coronation and consecration of Napoleon I" via YouTube.

Further reading