“There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run, the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.”
The eagle—emblem of Imperial Rome and symbol of the god Jupiter who strikes his enemies with lightning—was chosen by Napoleon, the last Roman, as the symbol of his glorious empire. Our crowned bird of prey honors the great epic that was the first French empire. Napoleon, an outstanding tactician, legislator and man of enlightenment, was arguably the living embodiment of the French spirit. He gave the state and the army a dimension unequaled by his predecessors.
We have chosen to represent the eagle surrounded by a battalion of bees. Bees symbolize order, resurrection and immortality. Drawing on the deep roots of our nation, Napoleon chose this emblem of the Merovingian kings in order to bind himself to an eternal France, thus cementing the country’s revolutionary and monarchical heritage. He nevertheless refused to declare himself successor to Louis XVI, hence the abandonment of the Capetian symbols. Adopted on 21 Messidor Year XII (July 10, 1804), the eagle, whose design is inspired by the Carolingian eagle, was perched on the flagpole of all the flags of the great army.
Much more than just a vestige of the past, Bonapartism (based on the will of the people and on meritocracy) continues to influence many political thinkers around the world. In an era marked by mediocrity, which sees the very concept of greatness being mocked, it seems important to us to offer this symbol of glory that this emblem represents in its post-revolutionary French values.
Proud of the empire that we are, we have drawn this eagle with the greatest possible fidelity. Our goal is to offer an engraving with the arms of the empire that can decorate walls throughout the world, thus keeping the memory of Bonapartism alive and well. We have chosen to print it on paper from Magnani, a stationery which was once chosen by the Emperor himself to print the declaration of his marriage to Marie-Louise of Austria on April 2, 1810.