- History meme : [ 6/? ]
≡ Object → The Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 7.1 million people ascended it in 2011.
The tower stands 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-floor building. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. Because of the addition of the antenna atop the Eiffel Tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 17 feet (5.2 m).
The tower has become the most prominent symbol of both Paris and France, often in the establishing shot of films set in the city.
But what we really want to know is…
This purple and white striped 18th century gown was first worn by Annette Bening as the Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil in the 1989 film Valmont. It was recently seen again in 2013 on Onira Tarés as Grace Dixon in the television show Sleepy Hollow, in the episode entitled Sanctuary.
The Coronation of Emperor Napoleon I, Dec. 2nd, 1804.
Five years after Napoleon Bonaparte was installed as First Consul of the Republic of France, he was named Napoleon I, Emperor of France, a sharp turn from the republicanism and egalitarianism of the French Revolution. Napoleon was the most ambitious man on earth, and only a grand coronation that surpassed all before for it could stroke the great ego of the new emperor. While steeped heavily in the symbolism of ancient kings and emperors, the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte was like none before or since.
The start of the coronation was heralded with the flying of an unmanned hot air balloon with three thousands lights shaped to form a crown. A grand procession then entered Notre Dame Cathedral, first the Pope with an entourage of Bishops and Cardinals, then the emperor and his wife Josephine. They arrived in a large carriage drawn by eight bay horses, Napoleon was clothed in a long white satin tunic with gold embroidery as well as a large royal robe. The robe was made of crimson velvet, lined with ermine fur, and studded with solid gold bees set with garnets that were taken from the tomb of the ancient Frankish Merovingian King Childeric I. The robe weighed eighty pounds and had to be attended by four servants. Josephine was similarly clothed. On his brow sat a golden laurel of olive leaves, emulating emperors of the ancient Roman Empire.
Napoleon and Josephine proceeded through the cathedral, announced by two orchestras, a military band, and a four hundred person choir. Waiting at the altar was the Crown of Charlemenge, specially made for the occasion because the original had been destroyed during the French Revolution. Also on the altar was a scepter that belonged to Charles V and the sword of Phillip III. A mass was held in which Napoleon and Josephine were anointed on their hands and heads with holy oil.
Then proceeded the crowning of the Emperor. Since ancient times the kings and queens of Europe had always been crowned by the Pope, a symbol of legitimacy and sovereignty that was ordained by God. Monarch’s ruled by divine right, the Emperors of China and Japan ruled by what was called the “Mandate of Heaven”, and the Pharaohs of Egypt were linked to the ancient gods. Napoleon would do something so incredible that it was unprecedented in the history of monarchical rule. As the Pope proceeded to crown him, Napoleon unexpectedly turned around and yanked the crown from the unsuspecting Pope’s hands, then crowned himself. It was an act that was highly symbolic of his ambitious and egocentric personality.
The message was clear, Napoleon’s power exceeded that of the Pope and God, he was above all mortals and religious powers. Napoleon did not need a divine right to rule. He needed no one’s approval, not the Pope’s, not of any man, not even God’s. Napoleon then took up the scepter and sword, and presented himself to the audience as Emperor of France. The Pope proclaimed “Vivat imperator in aeternum!” (May the Emperor live forever!) which was repeated by the choir continuously.
After the crowning, Napoleon was sworn in as head of state of France by the legislature, an act to give the illusion that the Republic of France was alive and well.
However, few were fooled as Napoleon was now an absolute ruler and quite possibly the most powerful man in the world. With the final part of the ceremony, Napoleon was presented with several battle standards, each an imperial eagle reminiscent to that of the standards carried by Roman Legions. They were to be carried by the regiments of his Grand Armee and he personally blessed each one of them so that his men could always carry with them the blessing of the Emperor, an act once conducted by the Emperors of Rome.
"as i sat down on a stump for a rest after a stroll in [japan’s] nara park to watch dear peacefully eating fallen cherry blossom petals, a strong wind suddenly blew. it was like a shower of falling cherry blossom petals. it is called “hana fubuki” in japanese, which literally means flower snowstorm." - hisao mogi
- Dated: fourth quarter 19th century
- Culture: Spanish
- Medium: wood, metal
- Measurements: 34 in. (86.4 cm)
- Markings: Engraved on sword: “A.H.P.” and engraved on both sides of sword: “TOLEDO”
Apart from their obvious functionality, canes were an elegant accessory in the 19th century, when the afternoon promenade gave members of the fashionable set occasion to display their finery and genteel manners.
This gentleman’s novelty cane conceals an elaborately engraved and monogrammed sword blade. While technically functional as a sword, the absence of a proper grip and guard make the cane more suited to braggadocio than actual dueling.
Another such gadget cane in the Brooklyn collection contains a liquor vial and tiny drinking glass. Equivalent women’s sticks sometimes held snuff bottles, powders vials, or other cosmetic materials.