Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mad Hats and Other Tidbits

By 1780, the wide, flattened shepherdess hat came into fashion

Napoleon banned the Mask in 1797

The late 1780's saw women's hats influenced by the tall, felt French Directorate style. These tall, tapering crowned hats were sometimes called a Postilion 

Turbans became popular after Napoleon's 1802 invasion of Egypt.

                        From 1795-1810, the simple high-waisted white muslin dresses and helmet 
                       like bonnets inspired by ancient Roman and Greek motifs became fashionable. 

One of Napoleon's greatest legacies to France is the Legion of Honor, the first order of chivalry that was open to all citizens, not just members of the nobility. Since its founding in 1804, it continues to be the nation's highest honor for its citizens.

The Symbols of Empire

The main symbols of Napoleon are listed below and shown in the illustration:
  • The eagle was a symbol of imperial Rome, associated with military victory. It was found atop every flagpole in Napoleon's France.
  • The bee was considered the oldest emblem of the sovereigns of France. It was co-opted by Napoleon as an attempt to establish his legitimacy as ruler. More widely, the bee was viewed as a symbol of immortality and resurrection.
  • The scepter, the baton of command and sign of sovereign authority, originated with Charlemagne and includes a statuette of the first Emperor of the West .
  • The imperial mantle (cape) was made of scarlet velvet spread with bees and bordered with grape clusters. The cape was lined with ermine and held in place by the crown made of eagles with raised wings alternating with arcs, the whole topped with a globe bearing a cross.
  • The chain of the Legion of Honor is another honor stolen from ancient Rome and reserved for the Emperor, his family, and other grand dignitaries. After Napoleon's exile to Elba, one last symbol came into existence: the violet, which was used to symbolize hope among his followers that he would return to rule.

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