Napoleon had many remarkable qualities as a warrior and a statesman. Among them was a curious combination of mathematical logic and breathtaking audacity. He rose from penniless captain in the army to the Emperor of France in little more than ten years. He would go on to create the biggest empire since the days of Rome. What led to his dramatic rise to absolute power?
Napoleon himself wrote that the answer lay at the siege of Toulon in 1793. It was at Toulon that France’s leaders first recognised his tactical genius, immense bravery and boundless ambition. And it was this battle that gave Napoleon the self-belief which drove him to the top.
It was a vital victory. The combined forces of three nations were forced to retreat from French soil, saving the Revolution – and it set Napoleon on the road to greatness. Promoted to general for his bravery, toughness and composure, Napoleon always acknowledged that this battle changed his life. It also changed history.