The Greek Origin of Napoleon the Great

aiakeio_spitinapoleon.JPG (20965 bytes)Strange as it may sound the talks about the Greek origin of Napoleon Bonaparte were not initiated by the Greeks and have nothing to do with the Greek vanity. The legend about his Greek origin was born on Corsica.

Let events speak for themselves. It has already been mentioned that the Maniots left Paomia and for 44 years (1731-1775) lived in Aiaccio, the capital of Corsica. It was exactly the period when Napoleon was born and raised.

Napoleonís father Carl Bonaparte was a close friend of the family of Panoria Stefanopoulos, widow of Permno, a supplier of the French army. Their friendship was so close that when Carl died Panoria was the one to close his eyes. Panorias daughter Laura Stefanopoulos, Junoís wife, was known as Countess DíAbrantes. In her "Recollections" she mentioned about the details of Napoleonís family life which Napoleon never argued.

"In the Bonaparteís house we spoke Greek with the Napoleonís fatherÖ Bonaparteís ancestor by name of Kalomeros (from the Stefanopoulosí kin) had moved from Aiaccio to the Toscana region. There his Greek name was changed into an Italian and sounded like Bona Parte, that was a literate translation from Greek to Italian.

The same happened with the Medici family, which in Italian sounded like Medici. The Medici was an influential Maniot family. Later on the Toscana Bonaparteís returned to Aiaccio and became ancestors of this family on Corsica." Laura, the Countess of DíAbrantes, continues: "There is another characteristic case: "Stefanopoulos-Komninos" when speaking of the Bonaparteís always used their Greek name Kalomeros, Kalomeri or Kalomerians, depending on whether they talked about one man or many men!"

In Aiaccio the Napoleonís family was on friendly terms with other Maniot families. Before the French Revolution when the family of Napoleon was still insignificant one French professor and ambassador in Munich by name Hanin studied the genealogy of this family and wrote that the Corsican family of Bonaparte had Greek roots.

There some other facts that also support this theory. When an orphan Napoleon at the age of 15 came to Paris for the first time to continue his education he was met by Dimitrios Stefanopoulos-Komninos. This prominent Greek was known not only on Corsica but in France also. He was a brother of Panoria Stefanopoulos and a close friend of Napoleonís father Carl Bonaparte.

Dimitrios Stefanopoulos acted as a guardian of Napoleon who at that time was a student at the Military School Briene Le Sato. It is rather peculiar that the first scholar work of Napoleon had a rather characteristic title: "Memoires sur líeducation des jeunes Maniotes" ("Recollections on the unpbringing of young Maniots").

Already in his early years the future legendary general and conqueror was greatly impressed by the proud and strong Maniots whom he saw in the streets of Aiaccio. Wearing their traditional dresses, special wide pants, fezzes and waistcoats, they served in the militia of the Corsican capital and fought the local rebels.

In the years of his omnipotence Napoleon showed much milder attitude to the Corsican Maniots and enslaved Greeks than to the local Corsicans.

In Greece the version about the Napoleonís origin was discussed for the first time after the publication of the poem "Wanderer" by Alexander Soutso in which the poet spoke about the Greek blood that ran in the veins of the great man.

They say that once Napoleon was asked about his origin (the question was probably raised due to his "insignificant" past). And the answer was: "I started my family!". (He certainly couldnít speak publicly about his Greek origin).

Magazine "Adouloti Mani", summer of 1997, an article on Corsican Maniots

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