1804 - Napoleon proclaimed Emperor in France

On the 2nd of December 1804 Napoleon crowned himself Emperor Napoleon I at Notre Dame de Paris. According to legend, during the coronation he snatched the crown from the hands of Pope Pius VII and crowned himself, thus displaying his rejection of the authority of the Pontiff. As the nineteenth century progressed, Napoleon turned the armies of the French Empire against every major European power and came to be known as ‘the scourge of Europe’. The Romantics viewed him as ‘a descendant of Milton’s Satan’ - a tyrant who had exposed the hollowness of the rhetoric surrounding the French Revolution. Curiously, Bryon viewed him as an exemplary tragic figure and experienced a strong sense of self-identification with Napoleon, even commissioning a carriage to be made which was an exact copy of the one the Emperor had abandoned at Waterloo.

The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries, Jacques-Louis David, 1812