Napoléon Bonaparte (born "Napoleone di Buonaparte"; August 15, 1769 May 5, 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during The French Revolution and the French Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814, and again for a hundred days, in 1815. Napoleon dominated European affairs for over a decade while leading France in The Napoleonic Wars. Befitting the name of the events, he won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, rapidly gaining control of a united continental Europe, creating a land empire of a size and dimension that had not been witnessed (in the west) since the end of the Western Roman Empire. One of the greatest military commanders in history, his campaigns are still studied at military schools worldwide, and he remains one of the most celebrated and controversial political figures in Western history. In civil affairs, Napoleon consolidated the foundational liberal reforms of the Revolution in France, and through his conquests was spread across Europe and the world. His lasting legal achievement, the Napoleonic Code, has been adopted in various forms by a quarter of the world's legal systems.
Napoleon was born on Corsica, just one year after the island had passed to France from the Genoese Republic, to a relatively modest family of noble Italian ancestry from Tuscany. Serving in the French army as an artillery officer, he earned his military spurs fighting to defend the nascent French Republic from the rest of Europe, who invaded France to try and put the deposed Bourbons (the French royal family) back on the throne. During the Directory period, a group of French liberals sought to engineer a coup d'état and approached Napoleon for military help. Napoleon not only participated in the coup, he pulled one on his fellow conspirators. The events happened in November 1799 (18 Brumaire in the French Revolutionary Calendar, by which it has become proverbial). He became First Consul of the Consulate and gradually extended his political control over France. In his early years, he brought an end to the French Revolutionary Wars and negotiated peace with Austria and later with England. It was during this time that he worked on the development of his famous Civil Code. The Senate eventually declared him Napoleon I, Emperor of the French in 1804, setting the stage for the French Empire.
Napoleon invaded Austria in a preemptive action to check the formation of an Anglo-Austrian alliance, after the English declared war on France. Eventually, the coalitions did form against France, leading him to go on a Europe-wide conquest, which he repeatedly won on land, forcing several attempts at peace with only England resisting him as a result of its island defenses and naval dominance.
He's pretty remarkable in European history that he came from relatively modest surroundings. His father was a minor regional noble on an island even educated people forgot existed most of the time. As the son of a backwater Impoverished Patrician, he would not have been more than a footnote in history, mostly just a name on some obscure family tree. In other circumstances, he might have had a shot at becoming a general (his noble ancestry being impeccably oldnote ), but not as early as he did, and his campaigns would not have been nearly as wide-ranging. Or in other words, when he started his military career in 1785, the best he could have hoped for in the history books was something along the lines of "oh yes, this Bonaparte character did a good campaign for Louis XVI fighting the Prussians in the Flemish War of 1813, which forced the cession of Hainaut to France in the Treaty of Rotterdam the following year." But the Revolution, its reforms, and the instability of the era allowed him, as it did so many other young men of his time, the opportunity of a millennium.
He embodied the ideal of meritocracy in a continent and society dominated by aristocratic hierarchy and which grew even more hostile to encroachments on their privileges upon the arrival of the Revolution and its many children, a group with which Napoleon never failed to include himself in despite doing everything he could (up to marrying Marie Antoinette's niece) to get away from it. He lived by Asskicking Equals Authority and was seen as the ultimate Romantic hero by the likes of Stendhal (who as a young man served in the Grand Army and followed L'Empereur to Russia and Waterloo) as well as a Villain with Good Publicity.
He was one of the defining figures of the 19th century, but whether that was a good or bad thing was a struggle even while he was still active. Some famous anti-Napoleonites such as Leo Tolstoy would go so far as to describe him as a murderous snake, while admirers such as Victor Hugo would emphasize his badass career which no one can ever repeat. Ludwig van Beethoven originally dedicated his 3rd Symphony to him, then angrily gouged out the dedication upon his coronation; a young Simón Bolívar once saw him at a distance and had an almost religious experience. With two exceptions early in his career, the only way to defeat him was to make sure you outnumbered him (and even that wouldn't guarantee it). Near the end, his opponents would literally design entire campaign strategies around avoiding fighting him directly and targeting his weakest subordinate commanders. When asked to name the greatest military leader of his time, one of his final opponents The Duke of Wellington said, "In this age, in past ages, in any age, Napoleon."
His downfall began in 1812 with a disastrous invasion in Russia, followed by defeat in the 1813 Battle of Leipzig, the largest battle in Europe before World War I. This defeat led Napoleon to Abdicate the Throne in 1814, with France restored to the toppled Bourbon regime, and Napoleon imprisoned on the Italian island of Elba in 1814. This should have been the end of him as far as everyone was concerned, but a series of political failures such as the returning Bourbon dynasty's reactionary policies, resentment by younger French officers who felt they would not have access to the social mobility that early Napoleonic veterans had benefited from, as well as rumors within Elba that Napoleon would potentially be sent even further away, led him to make a daring escape and comeback in March of 1815.
The Bourbon regime sent a detachment of the Fifth Regiment to intercept and arrest Napoleon at a town called Laffrey. There, Napoleon cemented his legend by confronting the soldiers (who had been his until a year ago), then ripping open his jacket and crying, "If any of you will shoot your Emperor, then here I am!" After a moment, the men cried out "Vive l'Empereur!" and fell in behind him. By the time he reached Paris, most of the units sent to stop him had defected back to his flag. He returned to power, ruling for a hundred days during which he made overtures towards liberalism, such as bringing in critic Benjamin Constant to write a new liberal constitution with checks-and-balances, press freedoms as well as limits on his own power in civilian matters. But the Congress of Vienna convened to shape a post-Napoleonic Europe were having none of it, and branded him an Outlaw. This forced Napoleon to making his Last Stand at Waterloo which proved to be his final decisive defeat.
Much as he feared, the other European nations sent him further away to St Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean where he was expected to die forgotten and powerless (personally, Napoleon wanted to emigrate to America and live out his days in genteel retirement). He did die there eventually of stomach cancer.note But he would not be forgotten to say the least. In his retirement, Napoleon spent his time dictating his memoirs which were published posthumously and which on his death, became bestsellers in Europe, followed in turn with other accounts by visitors who enjoyed the spectacle of a former world conqueror made into a harmless, decaying old man who spent his days gardening and passing snide comments on the English governor which were generally unfair. His remains were brought back to France and buried in the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris in 1840, on the initiative of Adolphe Thiers and King Louis-Philippe.
Napoleon was a master of propaganda and so successful at it, that much of how we see his career and legend, and his own life, derives from his own words and fabrications. The French printing presses under his rule could go so far as to fabricate entire battles solely for the purpose of glorifying the Emperor. In the field, he kept a staff of artists in his entourage (as did the Duke of Wellington) to capture and romanticise his victories as they took place. In many ways, Napoleon's legend increased after his defeat and death, leaving behind a legacy that would cause much problems in France, where the army periodically invoked Napoleonic grandeur to try and take power, resulting in his nephew coming to power as Napoleon III in 1848, and then later attempted coup d'etat by the likes of General Boulanger. This legacy of grandeur (what is referred to as "la gloire") became valuable as a garb to obscure the reality that Napoleon's downfall marked the end of France as an international great power and culminated in an occupation by foreign powers for five years (the longest until World War II). Never again would France be able to singularly challenge the great powers of Europe on its own, its post-Napoleonic individual successes would come from invading and colonizing weaker and smaller nations outside Europe, while its European successes were achieved with the aid of coalitions and alliances (including with the British who were gracious after finally coming out on top of the centuries long Anglo-French rivalry), while eventually the illusion of its status as the pre-eminent land power in Western Europe would end with the Franco-Prussian War, which was a long-term consequence of the rise of German nationalism formed to combat and repel Bonaparte.
Although generally recognised as the greatest general of his day by his enemies, he was prone to ignoring (what hindsight shows to be) good ideas with "It Will Never Catch On," dismissing both the utility of the rifle (which cost his troops in Spain, see Sharpe) and Robert Fulton's steamship (see Quotes page). His tried-and-tested tactics earned him some decisive victories, but their predictability after their use in two decades of war, especially once his enemies started modernizing their armies to match his, and adopted some new technologies (such as the rifles used by the British in the Peninsular War) was a major reason for his final defeat. History debates whether he was a brilliant leader or Corsica's greatest gangster.
France naturally celebrates his victories and he's a symbol of nationalistic pride not unlike Joan of Arc, but they also acknowledge that his triumphs ran directly contrary to the principles of the Revolution that gave birth to him, although they also note that in many ways Napoleon consolidated and extended its reforms across Europe, chief among them being the deghettoization of Jews. On the other hand, Napoleon reversed the abolition of slavery,note sent a disastrous expedition to Haiti whose only "success" is the dishonorable and perfidious capture of Toussaint L'Ouverture, as well as triggering a major revolt in Guadaloupe where freedmen under the leadership of Louis Delgrès committed mass suicide rather than return to slavery. The fact that both these individuals are in the Pantheon of contemporary France indicates that many of his actions constitute Old Shame for contemporary France. Likewise, the few pro-women reforms in the otherwise macho French Revolution, such as women's rights to divorce, and inheritance, were reversed and overturned by him which needless to say does little to endear him.
It's fairly common to see Napoleon as a tyrant and a precursor to 20th-century dictators, but the balanced historical verdict falls in the middle. It cannot be doubted that Napoleon proved willing, even indifferent, to sacrificing thousands and later millions purely in pursuit of his own greatness. But it's pointed out by more than a few historians that despite being the namesake, the Napoleonic Wars weren't entirely his fault,note and that the conflicts often triggered and kept re-occurring because neighboring powers broke treaties they signed with him first, mostly because they refused to see him as anything other than a Corsican upstart, which more or less meant that he had to stay on the war footing. Napoleon's reforms did much to better the lives of his subjects and soldiers and in his own way, he sought to enforce the building of stable Europe, as well as support limited national sovereignty. Poles remember him fondly as an ally in their struggle for independence - to this day Napoleon is the only foreigner mentioned in the Polish anthem, of course that might be because the Polish national anthem was written during the Napoleonic era and that the short-lived Duchy of Warsaw increased in value in the century of suppression that followed.
Napoleon's meritocratic reforms led to erosion and modification of Europe's aristocracy, by which bureaucrats working in his satellite states, as well as lawyers and other civil servants, and of course his own soldiers, could attain ranks based on their work rather than their background and lineage. In practise, this meritocracy rarely extended to the lowest classes and Napoleon was more or less cultivating a new elite reforming the existing aristocracy rather than overthrowing itnote . But Europe was conservative and reactionary enough that it was enough to make Napoleon seem as "Robespierre on Horseback" or "the Corsican Ogre". A despot though he may have been, he was much loved by a good number of his people and his most loyal troops. The Napoleonic Code consolidated the reforms of the Revolution and codified many of its liberal reforms, the consummation of several attempts and false starts that left only someone like Bonaparte in a position to oversee it.
Opinions are all over the place about the guy, but the fact remains that he certainly created a large legacy, for better and for worse:
- The Napoleonic Code (or French Civil Code), which is still in use and constantly modernized. Essentially replaced feudal legal systems, which differed greatly according to region and the whims of local courts.
- The Code has also been extensively exported to other countries, either directly by French colonialism or indirectly by inspiring local jurists. Most notably, the civil laws of Quebec and Louisiana are heavily based on the Napoleonic system. (The sheer amount of relearning that has to happen between a lawyer's undergraduate education—which would mostly cover American common Law, and law school—which would cover the Louisianan legal system, means that the Louisiana State Bar Exam has one of the lowest pass rate in the country.)
- The lycée, a three-year course of further secondary education for children between the ages of 15 and 18 which leads to:
- The baccalauréat, the main qualification required to pursue university studies in France.
- Looting of artefacts from other countries for domestic museums (making him an Adventurer Archaeologist).
- The Rosetta Stone's discovery, allowing for Egyptian hieroglyphics to be read.
- Emancipation of the Jews.
- Doubling the size of The United States by selling French claims west of the Mississippi. The American agents had requested only a small piece of it, which he refused, only to counter-offer the entire territory. Some sources say he did this not only because the British blockade made it useless to him, but also so that the United States would become more of a threat to Britain. They did, but only briefly.
- Spread of nationalism: the idea that you owed more to your nation than to your king or lord.
- His campaigns and battles are still studied by military students to this day.
- Haitians justifiably hate him for sending the Leclerc Expedition to destroy the regime of Toussaint "Le Napoléon Noir"note Louverture (in which it succeeded) and reimpose slavery in their country (in which it failed). Of course, it was in response to the Leclerc Expedition that Haiti declared indepedence (a step Toussaint never took for various reasons), and none of this kept Haiti from adopting a variant of the Napoleonic Code after independence, so take that as you will.
Another notable aspect of Napoleon is his love-life, which was known publicly even during his time in career and the source for tabloid fodder, which Napoleon personally encouraged because he saw it as another aspect of building his Cult of Personality, with the Emperor as The Casanova or Chivalrous Pervert and/or Ladykiller in Love. The reality is fairly amusing since for most of his youth, he was considered ugly, especially in France where he was seen as a Corsican boor whose accent wasn't right and more or less struck out with girls because he was seen as unclean and vulgar (he was poor and down-and-out between 1794-1796 and much given to swearing and other coarse words at inopportune times) and spent his spare time with prostitutes. His first marriage and first true love was Josephine de Beauharnais, the great love of his life, visible in the many letters of their early courtship which survived. Their early passion eventually cooled as a result of mutual infidelities but remained in place until for political reasons he married the Austrian Archduchess Marie-Louise.note He had at least half-a-dozen serious extramarital or premarital affairs and numerous shorter liaisons, and fathered at least three children, all sons (one with Eléonre Denuelle, a member of the entourage of one of his sisters, one with one of his favorite mistresses, the Polish noblewoman Marie Walewska, and one with his second wife Marie-Louise).
The Napoleon and Napoleon Delusion are both named after him but neither of them apply to him in any way. For instance he can't by definition have had a Napoleon Delusion. Since, you know, he was Napoleon. Contrary to popular belief, he was not actually short, at least not especially.note The famous hand-in-jacket pose, much used and parodied by actors portraying him, can be seen in the page picture, by the French painter Jacques-Louis David. The trope Hands in Pockets is the reasoning behind this famous pose, in reality Napoleon didn't always do this pose except in portraits, like many other famous people at that time.
Tropes associated with Napoleon Bonaparte in fiction:
- Badass Longcoat: Napoleon has been and still is portrayed in his iconic redingote grise (grey overcoat).
- Malicious Misnaming: In French literature of the time, seeing him being referred as "Buonaparte" (the original Italian/Corsican spelling of his surname) instead of "Bonaparte" is an infaillible clue the text has been written with hostile intents.
Napoleon appears in the following works:
- This commercial for Iowa tourism, the connection being that Iowa was part of the Louisiana Purchase.
- A French ad for March of the Penguins (in French La Marche de l'empereur — literally, "the march of the emperor") has a man praising the movie to a coworker, describing it as the story of "hundreds of emperors" marching through Antarctica, sometimes sliding on their belly to go faster, getting attacked by a seal once, and swapping eggs after mating during several hours. The baffled coworker imagines scenes where the "emperors" aren't emperor penguins but a crowd of Napoleons.
- Code Geass: In the show's alternate history, he conquered the British Isles, forcing the Britannian royalty to flee to North America. Though it is rumored he was poisoned by a Britannian assassin, the Europeans themselves say that he was executed by his own people in order to prevent him from becoming a tyrant.
- Coincidentally, the lands he helped conquer survive in the form of the EU...which Britannia ends up wiping out largely offscreen.
- He shows up very briefly in Hetalia: Axis Powers (at least the anime version), wherein he wages battle and gets apprehended in less than a minute. Given that each Hetalia anime episode is only five minutes long, minus half a minute for the theme song, that's actually not an insignificant amount of time. And in-context, it's meant to show just how inept and inconsistent France is when it came to war. Needless to say, he wasn't happy.
- Napoleon has actually showed up in quite a few manga, even starring in some. Among them is a manga called Eikou no Napoleon Eroica, a sequel to The Rose of Versailles starring Napoleon and featuring characters from the other manga. Also, Napoleon showed up in the manga version of The Rose of Versailles, having a brief cameo at the Estates-Généreaux while on a leave (he was a second lieutenant garrisoned at Auxonne with the Régiment de La Fère), with Oscar noting his eyes showed iron will and great ambition, and then, in the clothes of his coronation, in the third to last page as the hero France was waiting for.
- Speaking of The Rose of Versailles, a young Napoleon shows up in the inspired anime La Seine no Hoshi, trying to tell a group of Corse rebels that the times weren't mature for a revolt and, after most of them got killed by the French Guards, helping the last survivor's escape by taking down half a dozen French Guards by dropping a lamp on them from nowhere (the Guards were on a boat, and the lamp set it on fire).
- On the shonen manga side, there's the simply titled Napoleon◊... drawn in a similar style to Fist of the North Star.
- A clone of him shows up in Afterschool Charisma and he is best friends with the main character.
- While he doesn't appear as such in Dominion Tank Police, the protagonist saw fit to name her mini-tank Bonaparte after him.
- In "Across the Ages!", first published in Strange Adventures #60, Napoleon, Columbus and Cleopatra are brought to the year 1955 by a time traveler making an unscheduled layover. It happens to be Columbus Day, and Napoleon is infuriated that his fellow traveler gets a whole parade in his honor. So Nappy checks a local library to see how history has remembered him—and finds nothing in the card catalog! He was looking under the original spelling of his name, "Buonaparte." Once the librarian helps him out, Napoleon is pleased to learn there's an entire room devoted to books about "Bonaparte."
- Alan Ford:
The Conspirer: "Here says that Napoleon died in 1821!"
- In Grand Holidays, Bob Rock, taken prisoner by the Conspirer, "confess" he's working for Napoleon Bonaparte. The Conspirer buys it and take it seriously until a helpful henchman passes him a history book.
- A later episode has the Number One narrating the French Revolution and Napoleon's rise to power and campaigns in Italy. It's not a very gratifying portrait, showing Napoleon starting from a dirt-poor, scrawny opportunist and growing into a depressed leader who doesn't rub his stomach because of illness but because he's just hungry. He even considers surrender to Italy to get feed, and is outraged when Italy surrender first.
- Wilhelm Busch demonstrates how to draw him. Here..
- In the Asterix album "The Big Fight" a doctor shows Asterix and Obelix a mad Gaul dressed as Napoleon and says: "He thinks he is someone, but we don't know yet who he is?"
- The album "Asterix in Corsica" is full with references to the fact that Napoleon was Corsican.
- The final battle of "Asterix and the Belgians" has multiple references to Waterloo.
- Nero dresses like him in the comic strip series Nero in the album "De Draak van Halfzeven" after losing his memory in a car crash. He even goes to Waterloo trying to re-do the battle.
- Meneer Pheip also thinks he's Napoleon in the Nero album "De Dolle Vloot".
- In the Jommeke album De hoed van Napoleon Napoleon's hat is stolen from a museum by a collector and Jommmeke and his friends have to find it and bring it back.
- In De Kiekeboes album Een koud kunstje Napoleon was apparently frozen in the 19th century and unthawed in our time. A group of French conspirators want him to take over the world again, but the emperor manages to flee.
- Napoleon's head-in-a-jar is preserved alongside Alexander the Great's, Julius Caesar's and a Martian conqueror's to serve as tactical advisors to Dracula in Requiem Vampire Knight.
- The Powerpuff Girls story "Micro Managing" (issue #68) had the Micro Puffs (three mischievous sprite versions of the girls from another dimension) brainwashing Bubbles and Buttercup each while they're sleeping that each of them should be the leader of the team. When they do it to Bubbles first, Blossom passes it off as a "Napoleon complex."
- Scooby-Doo Mystery Comics #23 (Gold Key, February 1974) had "Napoleon Lives!," in which a medium presumably brings Napoleon to the present. He launches a grass roots army of hobos to start another global conquest. When the mystery is solved, the medium confesses that he hired a guy to portray Napoleon, but the schmuck actually believes he is Napoleon.
- The Fate/stay night fanfic Nerve Damage has him as one of the Archer-class Servants and give Gilgamesh a desperate run for his money by the judicious use of all the artillery of the Grande Armee.
- He plays an important role in the alternate history Frozen/Tangled fanfic Ice on the Rhine, in which he forges an alliance with Queen Elsa, utilizing her winter powers to bolster his Grande Armée and make himself into an even more formidable conqueror. However, despite having a nigh unbeatable ice sorceress on his side, he's still vanquished in the end and sent away to St. Helena, just as he was in real life.
- The male half of the Big Bad Duumvirate of Seven Days in Sunny June, Prince Divine Right, is a descendant of Napoleon, who had a kid by a descendant of Baldisare de Calvacanti. He believes that, because of this shared lineage, it is his "divine right" to be "Emperor of all" (his words) and is very proficient and knowledgeable in dark magic to help him accomplish this.
- Entrevue de Napoléon et du Pape (Meeting bewteen Napoleon and the Pope), 1897, by the Lumière brothers, is aknowledged to be the first film about him.
- Napoléon, 1927, by French director Abel Gance, starring Albert Dieudonné in the title role. The film was reworked on several occasions. He directed Austerlitz in 1960, which deals specifically with the battle and stars Pierre Mondy as Napoleon.
- According to Guinness, Napoleon has been portrayed more times in film than any other historical character (depending on much of a "historical" character you consider Dracula to be).
- The central character of Waterloo, Sergei Bondarchuk's film about the battle, which came out in 1970. He is played by Rod Steiger.
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure introduced Napoleon note to ice cream (loved it), bowling (he did poorly), a water park named "Waterloo" (he enjoyed himself) and Risk (Rage Quit over his Waterloo strategy).
- Adieu Bonaparte is a Franco-Egyptian co-production directed by Youssef Chahine that deals with Napoleon's invasion of Egypt. French theatre director and character actor Patrice Chéreau plays Napoleon, looking quite similar to the Emperor's portraits. Since its directed by an Egyptian, it has a highly critical look at Napoleon seeing his Egyptian invasion as the beginning of his megalomania, portraying the atrocities that accompanied the legitimate scientific achievements of the expedition.
- In Quills, Napoleon (whose feet are shown dangling off the floor when he sits on his throne) is dissuaded from ordering the Marquis de Sade executed for his writing, and instead orders him treated by the esteemed "alienist" Dr. Royer-Collard (Michael Caine). Turns out, death might have been kinder.
- Time Bandits: The bandits wind up in Italy during Napoleon's invasion. Napoleon himself, played by Ian Holm, is too busy obsessing over his raging Napoleon complex to appreciate his victory. He insists on watching "little things hitting each other" at a local theater until he meets the bandits and is overjoyed to discover people shorter than him. He immediately promotes them all to generals.
- The Anglo-French film Monsieur N puts a particular emphasis on Napoleon's exile on St. Helena and the impact this has on both the French captives and their British watchers.
- Love and Death. Boris Greshenko tries to assassinate him. Fails miserably, of course.
- He makes a brief wordless cameo at the very end of the film version of Scaramouche.
- In the 1954 film Desirée, which is about the relationship between him and Desirée Clay, he's portrayed by Marlon Brando.
- In Anthony Adverse, Star-Crossed Lovers Anthony and Angela are separated for good when he finds out she has become Bonaparte's mistress.
- The Doctor Who Expanded Universe World Game.
- His alleged Napoleonic sympathies are what sends Edmond Dantes to jail in The Count of Monte Cristo. Bonaparte himself is a secondary character. However, Alexandre Dumas on a personal level disliked Napoleon because of his conflict with his father, General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas.
- In Les Misérables, Marius Pontmercy becomes a Napoleon fanboy after learning that his late father fought at Waterloo. The battle is described in detail in the book.
- The author Stendhal was a soldier in Napoleon's Italian campaign and naturally has a rather high opinion of him. He regarded post-Napoleonic France under the Bourbons as two-faced, hypocritical and reactionary. In his famous The Charterhouse of Parma he describes the Battle of Waterloo in one of the most realistic battle scenes ever written. This inspired Tolstoy.
- He and his invasion of Russia plays a big role in War and Peace. Tolstoy tells his low opinion on him in his Author Tracts.
- Featured in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Though he never appears onscreen, much of the first part of the book has the magicians using their magic to aid the British army against Napoleon.
- He is a prominent figure in Jeanette Winterson's The Passion, wherein he has a midget horse groomsman, a lewd Irish priest for a lookout, and a whole staff of cooks making chicken 24/7 because he eats them whole and doesn't want to wait if he happens to want one. He's a bit Ambiguously Bi, as well, given his unresolved sexual tension with Henri, his small, young male chef.
- A significant background figure in the Temeraire series, and starts making personal appearances from the third book on.
- Sharpe: Sharpe meets him in exile on St Helena in Sharpe's Devil; despite having fought his armies for years, Sharpe takes quite a liking to l'Empereur. Lord Cochrane plans to bust him out of the island and set him up as Emperor of a "United States of South America", but Napoleon died before they could try. (The second sentence consists of real, historical events).
- Horatio Hornblower: Since a large number of books are set during the Napoleonic Wars, Bonapart plays a significant role in the background of the series, and his death is a plot point in one of the later books.
- A Lucian Member of the Cahill Family in The 39 Clues.
- A major antagonist in Orson Scott Card's The Tales of Alvin Maker series, which takes place in a fantastical Alternate History version of 19th century America. He's introduced as a Corsica colonel who was stationed in Canada by France's monarchist government, but later succeeds in uniting Western Europe under one government (possibly permanently). He's said to have a supernatural "knack" for making people obey him and seeing others' intentions.
- Fate/strange fake: He is mentioned when Flat Escardos speculates that if he can acquire a portrait of Napoleon, he could use it as a catalyst to summon him as a Servant. Annoyed, Lord El-Melloi II says if he was Napoleon, he'd rather face the firing squad than serve an annoying twerp like Flat. Flat ends up using some knives as a catalyst to summon Jack the Ripper instead.
- Jack-of-All-Trades features Verne Troyer as Napoleon.
- In Red Dwarf Rimmer is very much an admirer of Napoleon. In the episode "Better Than Life", Rimmer meets (a simulation of) Napoleon and gets his autograph, much to Rimmer's elation and to Lister's amusement.
- Sharpe: Sharpe saw him briefly through the powder smoke at Waterloo.
- The Doctor Who story "The Reign of Terror" sees companions Ian and Barbara have a close encounter with Napoleon.
- The French TV miniseries, aptly titled Napoléon, is a 2002 epic that covered the life and times of l'Empereur (played by Christian Clavier) from his meager beginnings to his death. It was the most expensive miniseries made in Europe at the time.
- In Bewitched, he was summoned to the present by accident after a failed attempt to create a Napolean pastry using magic.
- Appeared in I Dream of Jeannie after Tony expressed how he'd have wanted to have talked to him; Jeannie takes him too literally, and transports them back to Napoleon's time period so he can do so.
- Went up against and lost to George Washington during season 3 of Deadliest Warrior.
- Napoleon's numerous romances were the subject of the aforementioned 1974 British TV miniseries Napoleon and Love. His relationship with Josephine was chronicled in the 1987 US miniseries Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story, starring Armand Assante and Jacqueline Bisset as the titular lovers.
- He has a cameo in an episode of The Time Tunnel set during the Reign of Terror.
- The made-for-TV movie Blackadder Back and Forth featured the Battle of Waterloo as a major plot point. Blackadder's time machine accidentally landed on and killed the Duke of Wellington, handing Napoleon the victory and guaranteeing French dominance over Britain. He manages to set it right on a second try.
- The 1974 television miniseries Napoleon and Love, where he's played by Ian Holm.
- Ludwig van Beethoven dedicated his third symphony to Napoleon when he was First Consul. When he heard the news that Napoleon declared himself emperor, he crossed out the title and dedication in a rage, allegedly exclaiming: "So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!"
- Power Metal band Judicator has a concept album about Napoleon's 100 Days campaign titled King of Rome.
- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed his famous Ouverture 1812 to commemorate Russia's victory on Napoleon's army.
- Novelty act Napoleon XIV (a pseudonym of songwriter Jerry Samuels) was a One-Hit Wonder with his 1966 insanity anthem "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!", which spawned an album of the same name with more of his... rather unique songs, including an answer by Josephine XV (real name Bryna Raeburn) called "I'm Happy They Took You Away, Ha-Haaa!". Rather confusingly, a different Josephine (whose real identity is unknown) also did an answer song called "They Took You Away (I'm Glad, I'm Glad)".
- The British traditional song "Boney Was A Warrior" mocks him.
- Napoleon's defeat is mentioned in "Waterloo" by ABBA.
- A reproduction of Napoleon sitting on his chair, painted by Eugene Delaroche, can be seen on the wall behind Bill Cosby on the cover of his album I Started Out as a Child.
- Napoleon Complex by The Divine Comedy plays him up as a ruthless dictator, as though he had something to prove.
Who was the true inventor of
The infamous circular firing squad?
Who has all the brains,
But none of the stature?
Who'd make Margaret Thatcher
Look like Mary Magdalene?
- Napoleon is one of the leaders in Through The Ages. Once played, he provides 1 military action, while the tactics bonus of the strongest army player has is added to the civilization's strength again. If used with the right military tactics, this provides a massive edge, forcing everyone else to pour resources into their militaries to even keep up. Somewhat a nod to Napoleon's status as a Memetic Badass, the card isn't all that powerful by itself, however its sheer potential alone is terrifying.
- The young Napoleon appears in Assassin's Creed: Unity. He and main character Arno run into each other when they raid Louis XVI's office at the same time and strike up a friendship of sorts. Impressively, in a series where everyone was part of the two warring ancient conspiracies, Napoleon managed to become emperor on his own.
- He's the star and central character of Napoleon: Total War.
- Cossacks II : Napoleonic Wars and its expansion Battle for Europe.
- It was possible to kill him in the final mission of the English campaign in Empire Earth. In skirmish games, he's the Industrial era's Warrior hero, giving a huge defense boost to nearby units.
- He is the AI personality of the French civilization in Age of Empires III.
- He is the leader of the French in Civilization I, IV (with Louis XIV as the other option), Revolution, and V. In V, he's an incredible backstabber; no matter how well you get along, if you show weakness, the French army will swarm your borders.
- The Hearts of Iron IV alternate history mod The Gates of Versailles takes place in an alternate World War II where the Napoleonic Wars ended in a stalemate and France remained under the House of Bonaparte. While Napoleon himself is dead by the time the game rolls around, his 21-year old great-great-great grandson Napoleon VI has recently been crowned Emperor of the world superpower after his father Napoleon V died just before the game begins.
- A really cartoony version, looking like a large blue bird, appears in Psychonauts. He took over Fred Bonaparte, his descendant's mind, as an unwanted Split Personality, causing a halfway Napoleon Delusion. Weirdly it gets some of the Napoleonic details correct including his death by stomach cancer and that upon being defeated he gives you Worthy Opponent tributes.
- There's a Game Boy Advance game about Napoleon, but it was only released in Japan (where it was called Napoleon) and France (where it was called L'Aigle de Guerre). There is an English fan translation patch for the French version though. It's one of the very few RTS games on the system and it actually works very well. It does take some liberties (how appropriate) with the story though, since Napoleon's army ends up fighting yetis and ogres later on.
- Napoleon's body is brought back to life in the present day at the beginning of Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure. He goes on to be the Big Bad.
- In The Ancient Art of War, Napoleon is a general prone to underestimating his enemy.
- The Pokémon Empoleon from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Its name is a combination of emperor (as in both The Emperor and "emperor penguin"), pole (as in "South Pole")... and, you guessed it, Napoleon.
- In Vampire Night, Bathe'lemy is inspired by and modeled after Napoleon, given that the story is set in an alternate version of the modern-day France where that still akin to The French Revolution.
- He is one of the earnable battle arena characters in Elemental Story.
- In Fate/Grand Order, Napoleon is an Archer-class Servant wielding a HUGE cannon that doubles as a gatling gun and laser as a weapon. Unlike most popular culture, he's depicted as a tall, buff man, not a shorty. However, it is implied that if he's summoned as a Rider, he will appear short. In addition to this, Napoleon embodies all of the legends told about him (like how he is the reason the Great Sphinx doesn't have a nose) and his revolutionary spirit, manifesting as someone who will act upon people's expectations about him. Story-wise, he appears in the second Lostbelt Gotterdammerung as Chaldea's major ally in restoring Proper Human History, fighting alongside them against Valkryies, giants, and gods while at the same time flirting with the resident Crypter Ophelia Phamrsolone and getting into a Cock Fight with her Servant who is actually the fire giant Surtr himself, and even gets a chance to save Ophelia from Surtr by blowing his head off with his NP before dying encouraging Chaldea to fight on.
- Pauline Bonaparte is the protagonist of Banner of the Maid, but her more famous brother turns up as a Guest-Star Party Member from time to time.
- In the second game of the Europa Universalis series, depending on your choices during historical events, he appears near the every end of the game as one of the most overpowered leaders in the game, both as a ruler and a military leader, with maximum scores in all attributes but diplomacy.
- The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!: being a recovering megalomaniac herself, Galatea developed a fangirl crush on the historical Napoleon during her stay in Paris.
- Napoleon is a reoccurring character in Hark! A Vagrant. Initially drawn entirely normal-sized for his first appearance, he is later drawn comically small because it's funny. One comic mentions the origins of falsely regarding Napoleon as short while still portraying him as comically short, which caused one soldier to be terrified of the The Duke of Wellington's size by a leap of logic.
- The American Dream: An American Officer ISOTed to the Revolutionary War: Because the Bonaparte family moves to the United States, Napoleon and his siblings grow up as Americans, with Napoleon going by Nathaniel instead. He serves in the military and in Congress, eventually becoming President.
- Look to the West: Napoleon proper doesn't exist, but an alternate history sibling of his is taken with his family when they flee Corsica for England. There he is bestowed with the Anglicized name "Leo Bone." He joins the Royal Navy, and eventually becomes the non-monarch head of Restored Royal France. And much crosstime irony is had for all.
- There are timeslines on AlternateHistory.com that imagine Napoleon triumphant in one way or another. Depending on the writer, this generally leads to his descendants either ruling a French superpower or a quasi-fascist nightmare (example: contrast Napoleon's Victory to British Imperialism of the 19th Century).
- In Epic Rap Battles of History, he faces off against Napoleon Dynamite.
- Bugs Bunny once met Napoleon in the 1956 Looney Tunes short, "Napoleon Bunny-Part."
- In one episode of The Fairly Oddparents, he gives Timmy his danish (which he keeps in his coat) as part of Cupid's scavenger hunt.
- Playing on the height stereotype, the Brain is mistaken for him in an episode of Pinky and the Brain. The real Napoleon in that episode is shown as having the same size as Brain. Brain also sings of him in A Meticulous Analysis of History.
- In The Magic School Bus episode about friction, he makes an extremely short and extremely silly cameo in Dorothy Ann's physics lecture—as does the entire British Army. (Dorothy Ann did not actually intend this—she initially used a generic person, but switched to Napoleon at Arnold's insistence.)
- In Histeria!, he looks and sounds like Hervé Villechaize. He keeps a tambourine in his coat.
- Rocko's Modern Life: Napoleon, what's left of him, cheers Rocko on when he decides to meet the girl of his dreams at the top of the Eiffel tower.
- His clone in Clone High is a short and short-tempered shopkeeper who makes Abe and Gandhi's Christmas holidays a living hell. "MANGEZ LA VERRE!!!" note
- In Time Squad Napoleon is shown as a man who doesn't actually talk but makes these tweeting noises as if he spoke French, and is totally "whipped" by his wife Josephine, she demands that he should stop conquering and take care of the kids while she goes off to community college.
- In the Schoolhouse Rock! cartoon "Elbow Room", a midget-sized Napoleon does the hand-in-jacket gesture before pulling out a map of the Louisiana Territory, which he passes to Thomas Jefferson.
- Celebrity Deathmatch uses a time machine to bring a child-size version of him to the present to fight an equally child-size Joe Pesci in a pre-school-themed fight where his secret weapon is "Le Hand", the hand in his famous pose having been marinating in his armpit since his own time period. He wins by showing it up Pesci's nose and dumping him into a toy box.
- In an episode of Pinky and the Brain set during the Napoleonic Wars, Brain gets accidentally mistaken by Napoleon and decides to run with it to take control of France, and eventually the world. Of course, things get complicated when the real deal (who is just as tiny as Brain) shows up.