Napoleon & Josephine
A Truly Mythic Love
“Napoleon Divorces Josephine” by Lazlow Pott
What do the following have in common?
Romeo & Juliet, Tristan & Isolde, Scarlett O’Hara & Rhett Butler, Napoleon & Josephine
They’re all love matches that are mythic in proportion with none of them being based in historical fact.
Despite one of the couples listed actually existing in real life, the romantic hype and idealism attached to their relationship is truly of a mythic nature, akin to the imaginary love displayed by Shakespeare’s “star crossed lovers”.
The amorous reputation between the early 19th century Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, and his wife the Empress Josephine, is legendary and considered by many to be one of the greatest Loves of all time.
However, when observed through a historic lens of romantic reality, this Love of mythic proportions is knocked far from its pedestal of idealism, revealing itself to be a relationship comprised of misdirected bad timing that was rife with uncertainty.
The Battle of Waterloo may be the event which brought about the undoing of one of history’s most influential statesmen and military leaders, but from a personal perspective, many consider Napoleon’s relationship with his wife Josephine to have been both his greatest triumph and defeat.
To emphasize just how idealistically unrealistic this historic duo has become over Time, allow your Author to dispel the first layer of heavily fogged romantic legend by mentioning the actual origins of this famously “French” couple, along with citing the unadulterated reasons which brought their mythic marriage to a close.
For starters, if ever there was a couple that best embodies a country’s patriotic sentiments besides America’s George and Martha Washington, it could only be France’s Napoleon and Josephine, right?
Too bad neither of them were originally from there.
Besides the fact the great General Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the Italian island of Corsica, and his Empress ruling wife, Josephine, hailed originally from the Caribbean island of Martinique, what further clears the romantic haze from this Love of legend is the hardcore reality that the famed marriage of Napoleon and Josephine ended in divorce!
In fact, the exact moment when the man who was the inspiration behind his own complex of self-named importance ditched his swooned to unconsciousness wife was once so well known, it inspired the subject matter of many a classic painting, such as the icon chosen for this very article, entitled, “Napoleon Divorces Josephine” by Lazlow Pott.
Truth be told, the revered union of Napoleon and Josephine met an untimely end by virtue of the repercussions brought about through each of their highly sensitive natures.
And not surprisingly, both members of this mythic marriage were born beneath the two most “sensitive” signs of all the Zodiac, with General Bonaparte being a Leo born August 15th, 1769 and Josephine Tascher de La Pagerie being born a Cancer on June 23rd, 1763.
Leo and Cancer share the distinction of being the two most sensitive signs of all the Zodiac, however the source behind either sign’s heightened level of this powerful character trait differs just as much as their means of expressing it.
Where the Cancer is acutely sensitive as to how their attentions affect others, the Leo’s sensitivity is honed in on how the attention of others affect themselves.
From the get-go Napoleon and Josephine were never quite on the same page, even from the very start of their relationship. Josephine was left waiting at the altar of a cathedral filled to capacity with an attending Archbishop for nearly three hours on the couple’s wedding day, all because her dictatorial husband- to-be failed to notice the passing time due to getting caught up analyzing his vast collection of war maps. (The Empress made sure Napoleon’s tardiness was taken to heart by not having “nuptials” later that evening, when Josephine insisted her dogs accompany the couple to share the matrimonial bed on their wedding night.)
Numerous letters exist of General Bonaparte’s declarations of undying passion to his Cancerian lady, but many historians to this day are baffled as to exactly why there are so few letters of Josephine reciprocating the same lofty claims of all consuming love back to her husband.
(whispering) Wanna know why?
Because there aren’t any.
When Josephine first met Napoleon in his mid-20’s, she was in her mid-30’s, had two adolescent children, and had already been married and subsequently widowed. Not only was her first husband arrested during The Reign of Terror, Josephine, too, was also taken into custody and thrown into prison right next to him. She herself was a mere few days from following the same grizzly footsteps as those of her first spouse of being sent to the guillotine, if the murder of the Jacobin leader Robespierre had not occurred, allowing her to be immediately released from prison the following day.
The two things in life which motivate a Cancer into action most are “Home” and “Family”. After all she had been through, Romance was not a high priority for this Cancerian survivor upon meeting a very short, balding upstart with a promising military career named Bonaparte. For Josephine, Napoleon was the best viable solution she had at the time to ensure the well-being of her children, as well as in securing a home for them.
Nothing else mattered to her.
Unfortunately, the Cancerian’s sensitivity to her family’s survival caused Josephine to commit the worst kind of transgression possible against her Leonine husband.
She ignored his overwhelming passion for her.
Leo is ruled by the Sun and those born beneath this sign not only need to be noticed, they crave to have the objects of their passionate affections make them feel special and individually adored.
Not only were Napoleon’s love letters not reciprocated, Josephine dared to ignore the military genius’ pleading requests to join him near the battlefield of the Italian front for the remainder of their honeymoon.
Painfully, the ignored Leonine lover divorced his Cancerian wife for the very same reason which caused her heightened sensitivities to preoccupy her affections from him. – Napoleon demanded their marriage be dissolved due to Josephine’s failure to bear him a child and ensure a future heir.
Incredibly, The Empress of France’s maternal energies reigned supreme in the long run. Many mistakenly believe that Napoleon’s successor, Napoleon III, who holds the distinction of being France’s first titular President as well as that country’s last crowned monarch, was the son of Napoleon and Josephine. The ruler of the Second French Empire was related to both lovers of renown, but only indirectly to the general, who was his uncle. Napoleon III directly descended from the bloodline of The Empress Josephine.
The Cancer who ruled over a country that wasn’t her own and had risked all for her family was the grandmother of Napoleon III, by virtue of Josephine’s daughter marrying the brother of her mythically unrealistic lover.
Despite the marriage between the Emperor and Empress of France being far from ideal, in historic reality the relationship between Napoleon and Josephine must still be seen as a critically important force which significantly influenced one of history’s greatest military geniuses.
For despite terminating ties with his former wife, the last word uttered on his death bed by this most notorious of world leaders was “Josephine”.
And for those born beneath the sign of the Feline who think they can dominate over their significant other, do try to remember this: The word “Leo” is in “Napoleon“.
*Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc. is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.