L'Énigme des Invalides

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 Sujet du message : Reuters
Message Publié : 26 Fév 2004 11:33 
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http://www.dawn.com/2002/08/17/int7.htm
French DNA ban renews Napoleon corpse doubts
By Mark John

PARIS: Is Napoleon really at rest in a Paris tomb or did British captors spirit his corpse away from his St. Helena exile in a plot to hide from history his death by poisoning?
Far from ending a decades-old controversy, a French refusal to allow DNA tests on the body resting in the Invalides army museum has added to questions over the fate of the expansionist emperor whose military antics made him the scourge of Europe.
"A DNA test is the best way to resolve this. The refusal is very suspect - it only reinforces my doubts," Bruno Roy-Henri, one of several historians who have published books doubting the official version of events, said on Friday.
According to the government, who in a July 26 letter refused Roy-Henri permission to conduct DNA tests, there is no need to check the authenticity of what is a major tourist draw.
"Besides, for obvious reasons of ethics, the approval of the Emperor's descendants should be solicited before any analysis," it said in a letter published in French media on Friday. But Roy-Henri and others doubt whether the remains that were expatriated with great pomp to Paris in 1840 are those of Napoleon, buried 19 years earlier on St Helena, an island in the Atlantic Ocean, where he was exiled by Britain after his defeat in the Battle of Waterloo.
Official records made at the time of burial and exhumation differ on key details, they argue, including the position of various containers within the coffin, and whether the corpse was wearing France's top Legion of Honour medal or not.
The record made at the time of exhumation also notes the "extremely white" teeth of the corpse - conflicting with accounts of the chronic tooth decay that plagued the emperor.
FACIAL SKIN FRAGMENT: An enduring figure of fascination for the French, Napoleon rose from obscure origins in Corsica to lead the Revolutionary French army through a series of conquests which put him, as Emperor, in control of much of continental Europe.
As his enemies struck back, he abdicated in 1814 only to come roaring back a year later in a new grab for power that ended in defeat by British and Prussian forces at Waterloo and his final exile in St Helena under the watch of the British.
A popular theory is that the British army poisoned Napoleon with arsenic to stop him undertaking a new bout of conquest bids and then, in an attempt to cover up their act, hastily switched his corpse after burial with that of one of his attendants.
One theory goes that his real remains were hidden in the foundations of Westminster Abbey, while the Invalides tomb contains the corpse of his butler, Jean-Baptiste Cipriani, a fellow Corsican who bore a striking resemblance to his master.
Roy-Henri, who published his doubts on the Invalides corpse in a book last year, concedes there is no watertight theory on the fate of the actual remains of Napoleon. But he insists France's refusal to allow a definitive DNA test is all the more strange given that it could be conducted on a piece of facial skin held by the French state and which has been attested to come from the corpse that was repatriated.
"We wouldn't even have to open up the tomb. It would be a relatively simple operation," he said.
A last hope may reside with Charles Napoleon, a descendant of the emperor who is currently deputy mayor of the Corsican city of Ajaccio, and whose support for DNA tests could convince the government to change its mind. "I'm still awaiting a reply to my letter," said Roy-Henri.-Reuters


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Message Publié : 11 Mars 2004 18:49 
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Is this information published in english newspapers?

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Il est des circonstances où l'Homme, si circonspect
soit-il, se doit néanmoins d'obtempérer à des
principes, qui bien que lui paraissant à prime
abord, dépourvus d'intérêts, n'en ont pas moins
leurs valeurs intrinsèques !


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Message Publié : 13 Mars 2004 14:37 
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In "the times": yes, indeed ! :3:


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