Well, not quite so much

France’s most illustrious Italian import was Napoleon Bonaparte, who came from a family of Tuscan nobles and was born in Corsica as it changed hands from Genoa to France.

The nobility came because Papa made good wasn’t it? Rather than it being a long familial line, it was an appointment to – umm, tax collecting? – which ennobled Papa and thus gained free fees at the military school for Nappy?

18 comments on “Well, not quite so much

  1. According to wikiknowitall:

    The ancestors of Napoleon descended from minor Italian nobility of Tuscan origin who had come to Corsica from Liguria in the 16th century.

  2. Its interesting how revolutionary times, like a turn of the soil throw up talent that would otherwise have been unnoticed. Cromwell springs to mind , Napoleon obviously but Nigel Farrage is undoubtedly a politician of extraordinary talent , Theresa May, by contrast, reeks of a rotting ancien regime.
    I `m sure Tim could tell us about creative destruction in economic theory but the same pattern holds for the punctuated equilibrium of evolution .
    Western civilisation itself emerged form what is known as the dark age of the ancient world in which static theocratic societies (like Egypt ) were up-ended in a long period of barbarian conflict

  3. “France’s most illustrious Italian import.”

    Got me thinking on a tangent. Which should it be : Ireland’s most illustrious English import was Arthur Wellesley? Or England’s most illustrious Irish import was Arthur Wellesley.

  4. @Hallowed Be,

    The Illustrious Duke denied being Irish with the famous quote that even if a man was born in a stable that did not make him a horse.

    It also means that millions of immigrants born here aren’t British.

  5. I’d say Ferdinand Porsche was Germany’s most illustrious Austrian import.

    Ireland’s most illustrious British import was St. Patrick (people have to be reminded that St Patrick was NOT Irish).

  6. @witchie ah so presumably he would also have held being born in Corsica doesn’t make you corse. Whenever Boney is mentioned i think of the Duke i think because of the amazing factoid that after he beat Boney on the battlefield he slept with his mistress. He also did it the right way round… successful military career… then successful political career. Rather than the continental model of having a successful political and military career upto the point when it ends in disaster.

  7. The Illustrious Duke denied being Irish with the famous quote that even if a man was born in a stable that did not make him a horse.

    It’s attributed to him but it was actually used to deride him by Daniel O’Connell.

  8. Two snippets about Napoleon. One, the remark made by his former mistress, the actress Mlle Georges, after being taken over by Wellington: “Mais Monsieur le Duc etait par beaucoup le plus fort”.

    Two, Y chromosome analysis shows that Napoleon’s paternal ancestry was not Italian at all, but Syrian or possibly Lebanese.

  9. Off topic but spud is gushingly fulsome in praise of his own new look of beard and new glasses.

    Certainly, anything that hides his sweaty flabby face is going to be an improvement but could someone who can still post on his site point out that he now looks like Penfold from Dangermouse.

  10. That’s cruel AndrewC. I’m not sure Penfold or Dangermouse would wish to be associated with a comedy cartoon character.

  11. Modern Italy didn’t come into being until 1861, so Corsican.

    ” I’d say Ferdinand Porsche was Germany’s most illustrious Austrian import.”

    Wasn’t he a Czech?

  12. @Gamecock “people have to be reminded that St Patrick was NOT Irish”

    Indeed. In fact he was taken to Ireland as a slave. Where do I collect my slavery ictimhood badge?

  13. @jgh
    +1 for Clare in the Community, an astonishingly non-PC prog by BBC standards. I see The Gravy Train (think Yes Minister goes to the Berlaymont) is available on All4.

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