Conspiration des poignards

The Conspiration des poignards (Daggers Conspiracy) or Complot de l'Opéra (Opera Plot) was an alleged assassination attempt against Napoleon Bonaparte. The members of the plot were not clearly established. Authorities at the time presented it as an assassination attempt on Napoleon at the exit of the Paris operahouse on 18 vendémiaire year IX (10 October 1800), which was prevented by the police force of Joseph Fouché. However, this version was questioned very early on.[1]

In his Mémoires, Fouché affirmed that, towards mid-September 1800, a plot arose aiming at assassinating Napoleon at the operahouse. Someone named Harel, presented as one of the accomplices, worked in liaison with the war commissioner Lefebvre, to bring the revelations to Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne, Napoleon's secretary, indicating the plotters were Giuseppe Ceracchi, Joseph Diana, Joseph Antoine Aréna (brother of the Corsican deputy who had declared against Napoleon); the painter and patriotic fanatic François Topino-Lebrun, and Dominique Demerville, former clerk of the Committee of public safety, closely associated with Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac. Harel was charged with drawing up a trap for the plotters; four armed men, laid out for the assassination of Napoleon, on the evening of October 10, after a performance of Les Horaces. The day of the attack, the men stationed by the police force stopped Diana, Ceracchi and their two accomplices.[2] All the others presumably retreated and were apprehended at their residences.[3]

For modern historians[4] this was a manipulation by the police force, made possible by an agent provocateur, Harel, who had infiltrated the group. After Plot of the Rue Saint-Nicaise, the members of the "daggers conspiracy", presented as a Jacobin plot, were judged in front of the criminal court of The Seine. Four of them were condemned to death 19 nivôse year IX (January 9, 1801), at eleven o'clock in the evening, after three days of debates[5] and carried out January 30 after rejection of the appeal.


The members of the plot were:


  • Pierre Marie Desmarest Fifteen years of policing under Napoleon, Editions A. Levavasseur, 1833
  • Gustave Hoots, A plot by police force under the Consulate, Editions Hachette, 1909


  1. ^ See in particular Adolphe Thiers, History of the Consulate and Empire, Paris, Paulin, 1847, volume II, p. 333-334.
  2. ^ it first left of the Memoires of Joseph Fouché, Paris, Red, 1824.
  3. ^ Jean-Baptiste Honore Raymond Capefigue, L' Europe during the consulate and l'worsen of Napoléon, Brussels, Wouters, Raspoet and Co, 1842, volume III, p. 33.
  4. ^ T. Lentz, Large Consulat, 1999, p. 255, Jean Tulard, Napoleon or the myth of the sauveur, 1987, p. 136.
  5. ^ Lewis Goldsmith, Political and diplomatic course of Napoleon Bonaparte, London, at J. Booth, volume II, 1816, p. 123-125.
  6. ^ Émile Marco de Saint-Hilaire, ' ' History of the conspiracies and the executions politiques' ', Paris, Gustave Havard, 1849, p. 228-235. Jules Edouard Alboise of Pujol, Auguste Maquet, ' ' Prisons of l' Europe' ', Paris, Administration of the Bookshop, 1845, p. 143-146 and 217.
1800 in France

Events from the year 1800 in France.

Assassination attempts on Napoleon Bonaparte

Historian Philip Dwyer claims Napoleon faced between 20 and 30 assassination plots during his reign over France.

François Topino-Lebrun

François Jean-Baptiste Topino-Lebrun (11 April 1764, in Marseille – 30 January 1801, in Paris) was a French painter and revolutionary. He worked in the Neo-Classical style and was said to be the favorite student of Jacques-Louis David.

Giuseppe Ceracchi

Giuseppe Ceracchi (also known as Giuseppe Cirachi) (4 July 1751 – 30 January 1801) was an Italian sculptor, active in a Neoclassic style in Italy, England and the nascent United States, who was a passionate republican during the American and French revolutions. He is remembered for his portrait busts of prominent British and American individuals.

Joseph Fouché

Joseph Fouché, 1st Duc d'Otrante, 1st Comte Fouché (21 May 1759 – 25 December 1820) was a French statesman and Minister of Police under First Consul Bonaparte, who later became Emperor Napoleon. He was particularly known for his ferocity with which he suppressed the Lyon insurrection during the Revolution in 1793 and for being minister of police under the Directory, the Consulate, and the Empire. In English texts, his title is often translated as Duke of Otranto.

List of people who were beheaded

The following is a list of people who were beheaded, arranged alphabetically by country or region and with date of decapitation. Special sections on "Religious figures" and "Fictional characters" are also appended.

These individuals may have lost their heads either accidentally or intentionally (as a form of execution or posthumously).


Napoléon Bonaparte (, French: [napɔleɔ̃ bɔnɑpaʁt]; Italian: Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.He was born Napoleone di Buonaparte (Italian: [napoleˈoːne di ˌbwɔnaˈparte]) in Corsica to a relatively modest family of Italian origin from minor nobility. He was serving as an artillery officer in the French army when the French Revolution erupted in 1789. He rapidly rose through the ranks of the military, seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution and becoming a general at age 24. The French Directory eventually gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents. At age 26, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and the Italian monarchs aligned with the Habsburgs—winning virtually every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year while establishing "sister republics" with local support, and becoming a war hero in France. In 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power. He orchestrated a coup in November 1799 and became First Consul of the Republic. His ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, and he became the first Emperor of the French in 1804. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with decisive victories in the Ulm Campaign and a historic triumph over the Russian Empire and Austrian Empire at the Battle of Austerlitz which led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon quickly defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, then marched his Grande Armée deep into Eastern Europe and annihilated the Russians in June 1807 at the Battle of Friedland. France then forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Tilsit signified the high-water mark of the French Empire. In 1809, the Austrians and the British challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram in July.

Napoleon then invaded the Iberian Peninsula, hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, and declared his brother Joseph Bonaparte the King of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, and ended in victory for the Allies against Napoleon. The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia. The Russians were unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade and routinely violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon into another war. The French launched a major invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The campaign destroyed Russian cities, but did not yield the decisive victory Napoleon wanted. It resulted in the collapse of the Grande Armée and inspired a renewed push against Napoleon by his enemies. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in the War of the Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, but his tactical victory at the minor Battle of Hanau allowed retreat onto French soil. The Allies then invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba off the coast of Tuscany, and the Bourbon dynasty was restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition which defeated him at the Battle of Waterloo in June. The British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died six years later at the age of 51.

Napoleon's influence on the modern world brought liberal reforms to the numerous territories that he conquered and controlled, such as the Low Countries, Switzerland, and large parts of modern Italy and Germany. He implemented fundamental liberal policies in France and throughout Western Europe. His Napoleonic Code has influenced the legal systems of more than 70 nations around the world. British historian Andrew Roberts states: "The ideas that underpin our modern world—meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, and so on—were championed, consolidated, codified and geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the fall of the Roman Empire".

Plot of the rue Saint-Nicaise

The Plot of the rue Saint-Nicaise, also known as the Machine infernale plot, was an assassination attempt on the life of the First Consul of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, in Paris on 24 December 1800. It followed the conspiration des poignards of 10 October 1800, and was one of many Royalist and Catholic plots.

The name of the Machine Infernale, the "infernal device", was in reference to an episode during the sixteenth-century revolt against Spanish rule in Flanders. In 1585, during the Siege of Antwerp by the Spaniards, an Italian engineer in Spanish service had made an explosive device from a barrel bound with iron hoops, filled with gunpowder, flammable materials and bullets, and set off by a sawed-off shotgun triggered from a distance by a string. The Italian engineer called it la macchina infernale.

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