First 416 words of the document:
When Napoleon became First Consul in 1799 he was thirty-one years of age and in his prime.
His complex personality was unique, while his military genius had never been surpassed.
Napoleon received an excellent education at Ecole Militaire in Paris. Here he trained as an
Napoleon was a skilled politician and publicist, having served a rigorous apprenticeship in the
intricacies of Corsican politics and the factional struggles of the French Revolution.
After writing a pro-Jacobin pamphlet, he entered the Robespierre circle of radical politicians
and was appointed Army planner.
Robespierre's downfall threatened to cut Napoleon's career short. He spent a month in jail
but was saved from the guillotine by Saliceti, a Corsican himself, who investigated
Following this escape. Napoleon's career resumed its amazing climb. He planned an invasion
of Italy, provided cannon fire to disperse royalist rioters (the whiff of grapeshot), became
Major-General and married the 32-year old Josephine de Beauharnais.
Serious scientific and literacy interests, being capable of conversing with leading scientists
and once drafted a romantic, if rather turgid, novel.
Capable of working 18 hours a day.
Over the 15 years of his reign, he dictated some 18,000 letters and orders: an average of
15 per day.
There was a price to pay, for his physique proved unable to cope with the excessive
demands made upon it over the years.
Napoleon needed 6 hours sleep.
Had epileptic fits, spasms of rage or hysteria.
After 1812 he was less flexible and incisive, less able to distinguish between the possible
and the impossible; more prone to negative fatalism and irrational obstinacy which made
him, corrupt by power, a shadow of his former self.
He certainly attracted intense loyalty from his soldiers, as he played skilfully on their desire
for comradeship, military glory and recognition of their bravery.
Had an excellent memory for names and faces.
One side of his nature was cruel and vindictive. Enemies were rarely forgiven and those who
challenged him were often punished.
Those who had helped him in his youth were rewarded with jobs and emoluments when he
achieved power. His childhood nurse was present at his coronation. It was a keen sense of
clan and family that led him to place his brothers and sisters on European thrones.