Napoleon's Invasion of Egypt
An Eyewitness History
- Jonathan North
15th August 2023
In July 1798 Napoleon invaded Egypt, landing an army in the stifling heat of a North African summer. His invasion came as a shock to the Egyptians but also as a surprise to the soldiers onboard his armada, for they had not been briefed on a mission designed to win glory for their general and, or so it appeared, untold riches for their government. For these soldiers who followed in Napoleon’s wake, the campaign which followed promised neither fame nor wealth. What it did offer was forced marches, endless battles against fearsome warriors and the occupation of a land which mesmerised and repelled them in equal measure. Thousands of Frenchmen were to die in battle and as many again from disease ‒ including the plague.
Somehow, Napoleon managed to parley this costly adventure into a triumph and soon he would become emperor. Though the butcher’s bill was high, the campaign did shake the Ottoman Empire and began Europe’s love affair with Egypt. Jonathan North presents an astonishing history of Napoleon’s early ‘bartering of lives for glory’ based on the words of the soldiers and the many scholars and artists who took part in this exotic campaign.