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Thread: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

  1. #1
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    Default Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    Hi all,

    I KNOW this sounds strange but consider this:

    Some lady friend of either low or high nobility (sorry I know) who was Greek, made a memoir of Napoleon's father and family, if I'm not mistaken.

    This lady mentioned that the Buonoparte family, the family's real last name, spoke Greek in their household with this lady. Incidentally, 'Buonoparte" means "Good/Beautiful Part/Portion"

    Researchers have found that Greeks from the Mani peninsula of Greece moved to Corsica and setteled there.

    In Greek, Kalomeridi or Kalomero (in some Greek circles) means "Good/Beautiful Portion/Part"

    When Napoleon's Father died, Napoleon was met in Paris by a Mr. Kalomero who took care of him, if my memory serves me well.

    Coincidence? I don't think so.

    Why would Bonaparte's family speak Greek ANYWAY? To be "international and exotic?"

    Comments?
    hellas1

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    DunkFunk's Avatar Taihō no heishi
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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    he was a decendant of italian nobles.
    Never argue with an idiot;
    He'll drag you down to his level and beat you by experience.


    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=414297

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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    Carlo Buonoparte, Napoleon's father, was a lawyer who was able to enter French aristocracy as a count one year before Napoleon was born. Thanks to the influence of his father, King Louise XVI paid for Napoleon's education.

    Portrait of Carlo Buonoparte, Napoleon's father, and Corsica's representative to the court of Louis XVI

    He supported the Corsican revolt in 1768-69 led by Pasquale Paoli, then changed sides and became one of the staunchest leaders of the pro-French party in Corsica. He sent his sons to be educated in France. He died when Napoleon was sixteen, although Napoloen's mother had always been the dominant influence on the family anyway.

    There is a lot of controversy over the claims of Carlo Buonoparte to a noble heretage. Some historians claim that the validity of his claims to have descended from the patrician Bonapartes of Tuscany are false, and that the documents he produced purporting to verify his blue-blooded origins were manufactured by himself. However, he was treated as nobility after the French victory in 1769, though it wasn't until 1771 that he finally received official recognition.

    However, when Napoleon was boorn, his father was still struggling to achieve such recognition. So legally speaking Napoleon was not born into a noble family. He was born into the family of an ambitious social climber who eventually succeeded in being acknowledged as one of the aristocracy, just in time for it to go out of fashion. Carlo was just one of many ambitious middle-class patriarchs trying to further his family's social position who eventually succeeded, at least through one of his sons.

    Nice article here: http://www.napoleon-series.org/revie...arrington.html
    Last edited by Didz; June 23, 2010 at 03:59 AM.

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    Clodius's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    Why do you care?

    In 1769 when Napoleon was born there was no Greek or for that matter Italian nation.

    He and his family cared so little about nationality that they abandoned Corsica for France at the first opportunity.

    It would not all surprise me if there is some 'Greek' blood in his ancestry - as you say many people from what we now call Greece migrated westward in search of a better life in the centuries before he was born.

    But it mattered nothing to him and should matter nothing to us.

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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    @Didz,

    I stand corrected: When Napoleon's father died, a greek by the last name of Stefanopoulos- Kalomeris took care of Napoleon in Paris.
    Napoleon's father had Greek ancestry through the Stefanopoulos-Kalomeris line. I don't know about his mother.

    His Greek heritage came out of the Mani Peninsula in Greece, where both Corinth & Sparta are.

    @Clodius,

    I understand what you say sir, but your "tone of voice" insofar as posting is concerned is odd.

    The reason I bring it up is because I'm Greek and my parents are from a part of Greece that was not "conquered" , per se, by the Turks.

    Ultimately I find this idea of him having Greek heritage from the Mani Peninsula interesting and fascinating.

    Insofar as Napoleon's "lack of interest in cultural roots" is concerned:
    When he wrote a paper/thesis (whatever) while at the Ecole it was called "On the training of young Maniots". WHY would he write that kind of "theme?" For s & giggles?

    So, so much for the myth of Napoleon's "lack of ethnic origins interest."
    hellas1
    Last edited by hellas1; June 23, 2010 at 09:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellas1 View Post
    @Didz,

    I stand corrected: When Napoleon's father died, a greek by the last name of Stefanopoulos- Kalomeris took care of Napoleon in Paris.
    Napoleon's father had Greek ancestry through the Stefanopoulos-Kalomeris line. I don't know about his mother.

    His Greek heritage came out of the Mani Peninsula in Greece, where both Corinth & Sparta are.
    Well in that sense very few of us can trace a pure genetic ancestry to our country of nationality.

    In England for example genetic fingerprinting has shown that many of the Northern British are of scandanavian descent having inhereted the gene's of viking settlers in and around York. Whilst in East Anglia we have strong germanic gene prints from earlier Fresian settlers.

    As Clodius stated in his somewhat brusk note, Corsica and the islands and coastal lands of the Mediterranean in general have been an ethnic melting pots for centuries. It would seem eminently possible the the Bounoparte family had some Greek blood running in their viens. Its equally possible that they had some Spanish blood in their too as many Spanish jews fled the inquisition to Italy and Venice. They may even have Arabic or North African blood in there from the early spread of the Arabian Empire.

    The big controversy in Spain at the moment is the evidence that many of the blue-blood Spanish families actually have Arabic blood in their viens from early co-habitations with the Adalusian nobility. One can even speculate how much Greek blood is running in Arabic, Turkish, Eygptian, Iranian and Iraqi viens from the early conquests of Alexander the Great.

    I've read reports that during the French Revolution there was a large ethnic Greek population on Corsica which was established in the 17th Century, one village of which was founded by the Stefanopoulos family from Itilou. They lived in a close society and got married only between themselves.

    There were ethnic clashes between them and the other inhabitants which forced most of them to flee the island and move to Genoa. However, after the French Revolution the adminstration clamped down on the ethnic violence and the Greek population were given protection. Whether at any point a member of the Bounoparte family married into this community is harder to determine, there is a claim that this was the case, but its equallly possible that the family merely employed some of these local Greeks as domestic servants and nannies for their children.
    Last edited by Didz; June 25, 2010 at 04:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    @Didz,

    Yes sir. Thank you for that info.

    Of course, hellenic culture & genetics were passed to people all over the middle east & central asia via Alexander & his conquests.

    I merely found it interesting & never heard that Buonaparte had Greek blood.

    Thanks again,
    hellas1

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    husserlTW's Avatar Artifex
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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    And before that culture & genetics of middle east & central asia passed in Greek lands as it happens in all centuries... Bonaparte was a child of his parents but Napoleon the Great was a child of his era (French Revolution, Enlightenment, etc.)
    Last edited by husserlTW; June 24, 2010 at 04:32 PM.




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    Clodius's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    Forgive my tone but this site is occasionally affected by silly little arguments about whose country is coolest.

    FWIW I actually love the Greeks and Greece and have spent many happy weeks holidaying there.

    In fact I wish I was there right now drinking a cold beer at a harbourside bar....

    Getting back to Napoleon the fullest genealogy I can find online is at http://genealogy.euweb.cz/bonapart/bonaparte2.html#CM

    I can see nothing that looks like Stephanopoulos or Kalomeris or anything that sounds Greek anywhere in Carlo Maria Bonaparte's ancestry.

    What is interesting is that the farthest back it goes is to Francesco 'Il Mauro' Buonaparte who settled in Corsica c.1500.

    Now while his profession of horse arbelastier (i.e. mounted crossbowman) suggests he might have been one of the many Greek or Albanian estradiots who served as mercenaries in Italy at this period, his nickname is more appropriate for 'a Moor' - i.e. a North African, Granadan, Arab or even God forbid a Turk.

    This however is not very consistent with a first name of Francesco which while popular in Italy, Spain or France is as far as I know only found amongst Italian or 'Frankish' emgrants and their descendants in C15 Greece - and of course would be completely unknown in the Muslim world.

    Plus remember that 'Il Mauro' could just mean dark-skinned and say nothing about ethnicity - as for example Francesco Buonaparte's contemporary Ludovico Il Moro the Duke of Milan who was certainly no African or Arab.

    As for Bonaparte that is a name attested in Treviso as far back as the early 12th century and I can point you to multiple contemporary or near contemporary biographies of N that trace his descent back through that line to Curado Buonaparte.

    In all these the only reference to any Greek ancestry I've seen is a reference to stories of his descent from a Byzantine emperor which are however completely 'void of truth' (the 1835 Encyclopedia Americana)

    So unless you can provide some actual evidence it appears that Napoleon was not 'half' anything but of 'pure' Italian descent.

    But i reiterate Napoleon himself cared nothing for his genealogy - and when the Habsburg Emperor tried to draw him out about it replied that he was his family's Rudolf of Habsburg - i.e. the founder of his own dynasty.

    And on another occasion he said his own patent of nobility was granted at his first battle.

    Surely having Achilles and Alexander the Great and Leonidas and Pyyrhus and so many other heroes should be enough for any nation?

    Why do you need Napoleon as well?.
    Last edited by Clodius; June 25, 2010 at 04:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    Incidently, one thing that surprised and puzzled me when I visited the island of Minorca on holiday was the number of the local Spanish inhabitants with red hair. It doesn't fit the combination one normally expects for a Mediterrainean population. But I wonder if this can be explained by the prolonged occupation of the island by the Royal Navy, who used it as a major naval base in the Med for a long time. Does anyone know if the Maltese have a similar genetic imprint?

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    georider's Avatar Cornicularius
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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    Surely having Achilles and Alexander the Great and Leonidas and Pyyrhus and so many other heroes should be enough for any nation?

    Why do you need Napoleon as well?.
    And you have whom? ? ?
    I'm Hellen and I'm very proud for that the starting post is something that it's true as also is true that MANI was the only place from old East Roman Empire - Byzantine Empire that was never conquer. I think with some of these post all we understand who loves whom etc etc , It's best this end up here
    All nations and ethnic groups have their heroes through the times of history of mankind. Honored them for what they were ,good or bad no matter because if the bad ones was winners then the present history will name them good. For example Cortes that conquer Mexico is a hero and also a muss murderer equal to some others, but their not left Aztecs to deal for that etc etc
    I think you get my point ............

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    Clodius's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    I do,

    As I said I love Greece and its history.

    I've also been fascinated by the Mani and its history since reading Patrick Leigh Fermor's book on it years ago - and have promised myself that my next trip to Greece will include it.

    But Napoleon just wasn't Greek - so you can't have him.

    And again why do you want him? although he was a progressive ruler in some ways ultimately like all conquerors he was a butcher of men who sacrificed lives by the million to his personal ambition.

    And my heroes are not mass murderers but the revolutionaries and reformers who fought for liberty, equality and fraternity over the ages.

    For me that includes Wat Tyler and John Ball, John Lilburne, Thomas Rainborough and Gerrard Winstanley, William Cobbett, Tom Paine, William Godwin, Mary Wolstonecraft, Wolfe Tone, Edward Fitzgerald, Robert Emmett, Leigh Hunt, Lord Byron, William Hazlitt, Feargus O'Connor and so on up to the modern radical, republican and socialist movements.

    These were men and women for whom patriotism never meant 'my country right or wrong' and for whom love of country did not contradict love of humanity.

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    Gauloisier de la Gauloiserie's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    Just to add something about Napoléon's own way of viewing nationalism, patriotism, genetic heritage and all these things:
    When Napoléon was young, even if french, he was a corsican nationalist, and thus hated the kingdom of France. And when I say hated, I mean really hated!
    He continued to dream of an independant Corsica even when commissioned officer, even while he was promoted captain.
    He wanted to use the french revolution and the chaos created by it, to make Corsica independant.

    At some point of his life though, for many reasons, he started to first appreciate the new order created by the french revolution, all the possibilities it created.
    He also didnt agree anymore with Corsican nationalists lile Paoli who wanted to be helped by Britain and if I remember right some italian states like Sardinia and the kingdom of Napoli. The final drop came when these nationalists he defended before started to be a threat for his own family and when he had to personaly evacuate them from Corsica for the continent (Toulon).

    While Napoléon loved the overall idea of the revolution, he hated disorder and anarchy. Quite paradoxal though. But later on it helps for understanding his behaviour during the royalists insurrection of Paris.

    So all in all, it seems to me that Bonaparte wasnt french by birth but became french -note that he was indeed french by birth but he didnt recognized or accepted it-.
    So he became french the way "becoming french" was meant by the revolution: being french refered to a political ideal -the republic- more than a race.
    When he extended the french empire, later on, overall Europe, that's what he had in mind: he wanted to give non-republic states and their citizen the chance to do the same he did. And it's very true if you look beyond the military aspect of Napoléon, the Code Napoléon being the best example.
    "Ce n'est pas la France que je veux voir grandir, mais sa jeunesse, ses idées, son audace"
    (it's not France that I want to make grow, but its youngth, its ideas, its audacity)


    As a corsican who suffered probably a lot from being "only" a corsican in a "franco-french" royalist world, and then later abandonned by the persons he supported for so long, the new France, based on the sovereign nation, the culture of being french instead of being rich and noble, made him "french" or should I say "republican french". It didnt take too long for him to feel totally "republican french" and the story of Napoleon was able to start for good after the siege of Toulon episode.

    And when you consider the passion Napoléon had for all things roman and greek, I think he would have been more than honored to think that he may have had greek origins. Though it wasnt his concern as he was much more happy to be french -understand child of the french republic-. For him blood wasnt a parameter, cultural heritage was the most important one though. A very modern way of thinking, not only in the head of Napoléon of course, but which may help those who are not familiar with France to understand many modern things of the behaviour of the french. Being french became a supranational thing: he was from italian descents? yes. He had greek, spanish jew, arabic genes? who knows, probably, why not after all. But he was french, in the modern meaning of the word.

    Just my two cents of €.
    «Impossible n'est pas français»
    «Impossible isn't French»
    - Napoléon

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    France made him Corsican, Corisca made him a Frenchman.

    And no, if Napoleon was anything...by culture, language, and personal bearing Napoleon was a Frenchman born in Corisca.
    His family didn't speak Greek at home either, otherwise Napoleon would have spoken Greek (as he did not around the time at Brienne).

    And what does it matter? What it is a championship for Greek Culture if he was?
    How silly nationalism can be!

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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodius View Post
    Why do you care?

    In 1769 when Napoleon was born there was no Greek or for that matter Italian nation.

    He and his family cared so little about nationality that they abandoned Corsica for France at the first opportunity.

    It would not all surprise me if there is some 'Greek' blood in his ancestry - as you say many people from what we now call Greece migrated westward in search of a better life in the centuries before he was born.

    But it mattered nothing to him and should matter nothing to us.
    HI CLAUDIA
    PERHAPS IT IS SO, THAT NAPOLEON WASN'T OF GREEK/BYZANTINE DESCENT, NO HARM!
    BUT HAVING MYSELF HALF ORIGIN FROM NORTHERN GREECE, I KNOW THAT SOME GREAT PERSONALITIES WERE/ARE 100% GREEK. THUS, THE CENTURY's GREATEST SOPRANO MARIA CALLAS (changed surname from Calogeropoulos), THE FOUNDER OF PAP-TEST Dr PAPANIKOLAOU, BRITAIN's PRINCE PHILLIP (Duke of Edinburgh), AND 5 GREAT US SENATORS OF GREEK ORIGIN WHO SERVE/ED IN USA IN THE PAST 40 YEARS.

    Have a good day.

    Dennis

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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    PERHAPS NAPOLEON WASN'T OF GREEK/BYZANTINE DESCENT, NO HARM!
    BUT HAVING MYSELF HALF ORIGIN FROM NORTHERN GREECE, I KNOW THAT SOME GREAT PERSONALITIES WERE/ARE 100% GREEK. THUS, THE CENTURY's GREATEST SOPRANO MARIA CALLAS (changed surname from Calogeropoulos), THE FOUNDER OF PAP-TEST Dr PAPANIKOLAOU, BRITAIN's PRINCE PHILLIP (Duke of Edinburgh), AND 5 GREAT US SENATORS OF GREEK ORIGIN WHO SERVE/ED IN USA IN THE PAST 40 YEARS.

    Have a good day.

    Dennis

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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    PERHAPS IT IS SO, THAT NAPOLEON WASN'T OF GREEK/BYZANTINE DESCENT, NO HARM!
    BUT HAVING MYSELF HALF ORIGIN FROM NORTHERN GREECE, I KNOW THAT SOME GREAT PERSONALITIES WERE/ARE 100% GREEK. THUS, THE CENTURY's GREATEST SOPRANO MARIA CALLAS (changed surname from Calogeropoulos), THE FOUNDER OF PAP-TEST Dr PAPANIKOLAOU, BRITAIN's PRINCE PHILLIP (Duke of Edinburgh), AND 5 GREAT US SENATORS OF GREEK ORIGIN WHO SERVE/ED IN USA IN THE PAST 40 YEARS.
    Ciao

    Dennis

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    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar Centurio Primus Pilus
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    Default Re: Was Napoleon half Greek through his father?

    Napoleon also had a Turkish ancestor that left the Ottoman Empire with his Greek wife to live in Italy during the late 1400s. This man's descendents eventually lived in Lombardy and Tuscany. There was one man (descendent of the aforementioned Musulman) in particular who lived in Italy (or was it Corsica? Can't remember) and was known as the Moor.

    As a young boy Napoleon was a Corsican Nationalist, however when he joined the army he wasn't trying to promote Corsican Nationalism anymore. He was trying to oust Paoli from power to thwart his scheme of having Corsica come under British rule. Napoleon's plan was to seize power in Corsica and have Corsica become loosely under the control of Revolutionary France. While technically this meant that France would have some sort of federation he was all for the enlightenment and the French government (whatever that government happened to be at the time). It was during his stay in the school at Paris that he began to change his mind about France and nationalities and culture. While on Saint Helena he actually stated that he did not believe in religion or nationality and that he would have joined whatever country was best at the time. Although France was the clear choice as the enlightenment values were spread by the French.
    Last edited by Lord Oda Nobunaga; March 12, 2014 at 05:46 PM.

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