Napoléon Bonaparte 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 as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again 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 much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, 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 in Corsica to a 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 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 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 every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year while establishing "sister republics" with local support, becoming a war hero in France. In 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt, he became First Consul of the Republic. Napoleon's ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, 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 defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt marched his Grande Armée deep into Eastern Europe and annihilated the Russians in June 1807 at the Battle of Friedland. France 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 invaded the Iberian Peninsula, hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, 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, ended in victory for the Allies against Napoleon.
The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states Russia. The Russians were unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade and violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon into another war; the French launched a major invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The campaign 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 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, the Bourbon dynasty was restored to power.
Napoleon 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 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 and large parts of modern Italy and Germany, he implemented fundamental liberal policies 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, so on—were championed, consolidated 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".
The ancestors of Napoleon descended from minor Italian nobility of Tuscan origin who had come to Corsica fr
Provence is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône River to the west to the Italian border to the east, is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It corresponds with the modern administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, includes the départements of Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and parts of Alpes-Maritimes and Vaucluse; the largest city of the region is Marseille. The Romans made the region the first Roman province beyond the Alps and called it Provincia Romana, which evolved into the present name; until 1481 it was ruled by the Counts of Provence from their capital in Aix-en-Provence became a province of the Kings of France. While it has been part of France for more than five hundred years, it still retains a distinct cultural and linguistic identity in the interior of the region; the coast of Provence has some of the earliest known sites of human habitation in Europe. Primitive stone tools dating back 1 to 1.05 million years BC have been found in the Grotte du Vallonnet near Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, between Monaco and Menton.
More sophisticated tools, worked on both sides of the stone and dating to 600,000 BC, were found in the Cave of Escale at Saint Estėve-Janson, tools from 400,000 BC and some of the first fireplaces in Europe were found at Terra Amata in Nice. Tools dating to the Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic were discovered in the Observatory Cave, in the Jardin Exotique of Monaco; the Paleolithic period in Provence saw great changes in the climate. Two ice ages came and went, the sea level changed dramatically. At the beginning of the Paleolithic, the sea level in western Provence was 150 meters higher than today. By the end of the Paleolithic, it had dropped to 100 to 150 metres below the sea level today; the cave dwellings of the early inhabitants of Provence were flooded by the rising sea or left far from the sea and swept away by erosion. The changes in the sea level led to one of the most remarkable discoveries of signs of early man in Provence. In 1985, a diver named Henri Cosquer discovered the mouth of a submarine cave 37 metres below the surface of the Calanque de Morgiou near Marseille.
The entrance led to a cave above sea level. Inside, the walls of the Cosquer Cave are decorated with drawings of bison, auks and outlines of human hands, dating to between 27,000 and 19,000 BC; the end of the Paleolithic and beginning of the Neolithic period saw the sea settle at its present level, a warming of the climate and the retreat of the forests. The disappearance of the forests and the deer and other hunted game meant that the inhabitants of Provence had to survive on rabbits and wild sheep. In about 6000 BC, the Castelnovian people, living around Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, were among the first people in Europe to domesticate wild sheep, to cease moving from place to place. Once they settled in one place they were able to develop new industries. Inspired by pottery from the eastern Mediterranean, in about 6000 BC they created the first pottery made in France. Around 6000 BC, a wave of new settlers from the east, the Chasséens, arrived in Provence, they were farmers and warriors, displaced the earlier pastoral people from their lands.
They were followed about 2500 BC by another wave of people farmers, known as the Courronniens, who arrived by sea and settled along the coast of what is now the Bouches-du-Rhône. Traces of these early civilisations can be found in many parts of Provence. A Neolithic site dating to about 6,000 BC was discovered in Marseille near the Saint-Charles railway station, and a dolmen from the Bronze Age can be found near Draguignan. Between the 10th and 4th century BC, the Ligures were found in Provence from Massilia as far as modern Liguria, they were of uncertain origin. Strabo distinctly states they were not of a different race from the Gauls, they did not have their own alphabet, but their language remains in place names in Provence ending in the suffixes -asc, -osc. -inc, -ates, -auni. The ancient geographer Posidonios wrote of them: "Their country is dry; the soil is so rocky. The men compensate for the lack of wheat by hunting... They climb the mountains like goats." They were warlike. Traces of the Ligures remain today in the dolmens and other megaliths found in eastern Provence, in the primitive stone shelters called'Bories' found in the Luberon and Comtat, in the rock carvings in the Valley of Marvels near Mont Bégo in the Alpes-Maritimes, at an altitude of 2,000 meters.
Between the 8th and 5th centuries BC, tribes of Celtic peoples coming from Central Europe began moving into Provence. They had weapons made of iron, which allowed them to defeat the local tribes, who were still armed with bronze weapons. One tribe, called the Segobriga, settled near modern-day Marseille; the Caturiges and Cavares settled to the west of the Durance river. Celts and Ligurians spread throughout the area and the Celto-Ligures shared the territory of Provence, each tribe in its own alpine valley or settlement along a river, each with its own king and dynasty, they built hilltop forts and settlements given the Latin name oppida. Today the traces 165 oppida are found in the Var, as many as 285 in the Alp
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Henry II of France
Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559. The second son of Francis I, he became Dauphin of France upon the death of his elder brother Francis III, Duke of Brittany, in 1536. Henry was the tenth king from the House of Valois, the third from the Valois-Orléans branch, the second from the Valois-Orléans-Angoulême branch; as a child and his elder brother spent over four years in captivity in Spain as hostages in exchange for their father. Henry pursued his father's policies in matter of arts and religion, he persevered in the Italian Wars against the House of Habsburg and tried to suppress the Protestant Reformation as the Huguenot numbers were increasing drastically in France during his reign. The Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis, which put an end to the Italian Wars, had mixed results: France renounced its claims to territories in Italy, but gained certain other territories, including the Pale of Calais and the Three Bishoprics. France failed to change the balance of power in Europe, as Spain remained the sole dominant power, but it did benefit from the division of the holdings of its ruler, Charles V, from the weakening of the Holy Roman Empire, which Charles ruled.
Henry suffered an untimely death in a jousting tournament held to celebrate the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis at the conclusion of the Eighth Italian War. The king's surgeon, Ambroise Paré, was unable to cure the infected wound inflicted by Gabriel de Montgomery, the captain of his Scottish Guard, he was succeeded in turn by three of his sons, whose ineffective reigns helped to spark the French Wars of Religion between Protestants and Catholics. Henry was born in the royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, the son of King Francis I and Claude, Duchess of Brittany, his father was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 by the forces of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, held prisoner in Spain. To obtain his release, it was agreed that his older brother be sent to Spain in his place, they remained in captivity for over four years. Henry married Catherine de' Medici, a member of the ruling family of Florence, on 28 October 1533, when they were both fourteen years old. At this time, his elder brother was alive and there was little prospect of Henry coming to the throne.
The following year, he became romantically involved with a thirty-five-year-old widow, Diane de Poitiers. Henry and Diane had always been close: the young lady had fondly embraced Henry on the day he, as a 7-year-old child, set off to captivity in Spain, the bond had been renewed after his return to France. In a tournament to honor his father's new bride, Eleanor and his older brother were dressed as chevaliers, in which Henry wore Diane's colors. Confident and intelligent, Diane left Catherine powerless to intervene, she did, insist that Henry sleep with Catherine in order to produce heirs to the throne. When his elder brother Francis, the Dauphin and Duke of Brittany, died in 1536 after a game of tennis, Henry became heir apparent to the throne, he succeeded his father on his 28th birthday and was crowned King of France on 25 July 1547 at Reims Cathedral. Henry's reign was marked by wars with Austria and the persecution of Protestants Calvinists known as Huguenots. Henry II punished them the ministers, for example by burning at the stake or cutting off their tongues for uttering heresies.
Henry II was made a Knight of the Garter, April 1515. The Edict of Châteaubriant called upon the civil and ecclesiastical courts to detect and punish all heretics and placed severe restrictions on Huguenots, including the loss of one-third of their property to informers, confiscations; the Edict strictly regulated publications by prohibiting the sale, importation or printing of any unapproved book. It was during the reign of Henry II that Huguenot attempts at establishing a colony in Brazil were made, with the short-lived formation of France Antarctique; the Eighth Italian War of 1551–1559, sometimes known as the Habsburg–Valois War, began when Henry declared war against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with the intent of recapturing Italy and ensuring French, rather than Habsburg, domination of European affairs. Persecution of Protestants at home did not prevent Henry II from becoming allied with German Protestant princes at the Treaty of Chambord in 1552; the continuation of his father's Franco-Ottoman alliance allowed Henry II to push for French conquests towards the Rhine while a Franco-Ottoman fleet defended southern France.
An early offensive into Lorraine was successful. Henry captured the three episcopal cities of Metz and Verdun, secured them by defeating the Habsburg army at the Battle of Renty in 1554; however the attempted French invasion of Tuscany in 1553 was defeated at the Battle of Marciano. After the abdication of Charles V in 1556, the Habsburg empire was split between Philip II of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I; the focus of Henry's conflict with the Habsburgs shifted to Flanders, where Phillip, in conjunction with Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, defeated the French at the Battle of St. Quentin. England's entry into the war that year led to the French capture of Calais, French armies plundered Spanish possessions in the Low Countries. Henry was nonetheless forced to accept the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis, in which he renounced any further claims to territories in Italy; the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis was signed between Henry and Elizabeth I of England on 2 April and between Henry and Philip II of Spain on 3 April 1559 at Le Cateau-Cambrésis.
Under its terms, France restored Piedmont and Savoy to
Savoy is a cultural region in Central Europe. It comprises the territory of the Western Alps between Lake Geneva in the north and Dauphiné in the south; the historical land of Savoy emerged as the feudal territory of the House of Savoy during the 11th to 14th centuries. The historical territory is shared among the modern countries of France and Switzerland. Installed by Rudolph III, King of Burgundy in 1003, the House of Savoy became the longest surviving royal house in Europe, it ruled the County of Savoy to 1416 and the Duchy of Savoy from 1416 to 1860. The territory of Savoy was annexed to France in 1792 under the French First Republic, before being returned to the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1815. Savoy, along with the county of Nice, was annexed to France by a plebiscite, under the Second French Empire in 1860, as part of a political agreement brokered between the French emperor Napoleon III and King Victor Emmanuel II of the Kingdom of Sardinia that began the final steps in the process of unification of Italy.
Victor Emmanuel's dynasty, the House of Savoy, retained its Italian lands of Piedmont and Liguria and became the ruling dynasty of Italy. In modern France, Savoy is part of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Following its annexation to France in 1860, the territory of Savoy was divided administratively into two separate departments and Haute-Savoie; the traditional capital remains Chambéry, on the rivers Leysse and Albane, hosting the castle of the House of Savoy and the Savoyard senate. The state included six districts: Savoie Propre, sometimes known as Ducal Savoy Chablais Faucigny Tarentaise Maurienne Genevois The County and Duchy of Savoy incorporated Turin and other territories in Piedmont, a region in northwestern Italy that borders Savoy, which were possessions of the House of Savoy; the capital of the Duchy remained at the traditional Savoyard capital of Chambéry until 1563, when it was moved to Turin. The region was occupied by the Allobroges, a Gaulish people that the Roman Republic subdued in 121 BC.
The name Savoy stems from the Late Latin Sapaudia. The word is ultimately from Gaulish -- sapin itself is a blend of Gaulish sappos and Latin pinus, it is first recorded in Ammianus Marcellinus. According to the Chronica Gallica of 452, it was separated from the rest of Burgundian territories in 443, after the Burgundian defeat by Flavius Aetius. By the 8th century, the territory that would become known as Savoy was part of Francia, at the division of Francia at the Treaty of Verdun in 843, it became part of the short-lived kingdom of Middle Francia. After only 12 years, at the death of Lothair I in 855, Middle Francia was divided into Lotharingia north of the Alps, Italy south of the Alps, the parts of Burgundy in the Western Alps, inherited by Charles of Provence; this latter territory comprised what would become known as Provence. From the 10th to 14th century, parts of what would become Savoy remained within the Kingdom of Arles. Beginning in the 11th century, the gradual rise to power of the House of Savoy is reflected in the increasing territory of their County of Savoy between 1003 and 1416.
The County of Savoy was detached de jure from the Kingdom of Arles by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor in 1361. It acquired the County of Nice in 1388, in 1401 added the County of Geneva, the area of Geneva except for the city proper, ruled by its prince-bishop, nominally under the duke's rule: the bishops of Geneva, by unspoken agreement, came from the House of Savoy. On 19 February 1416 Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, made the County of Savoy an independent duchy, with Amadeus VIII as the first duke. Straddling the Alps, Savoy lay within two competing spheres of influence, a French sphere and a North Italian one. At the time of the Renaissance, Savoy showed only modest development, its towns were small. Savoy derived its subsistence from agriculture; the geographic location of Savoy was of military importance. During the interminable wars between France and Spain over the control of northern Italy, Savoy was important to France because it provided access to Italy. Savoy was important to Spain because it served as a buffer between France and the Spanish held lands in Italy.
In 1563 Emmanuel Philibert moved the capital from Chambéry to Turin, less vulnerable to French interference. Vaud was annexed by Bern in 1536, Savoy ceded Vaud to Bern in the Treaty of Lausanne of 30 October 1564. In 1714, as a consequence of the War of the Spanish Succession, Savoy was technically subsumed into the Kingdom of Sicily the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1720. While the heads of the House of Savoy were known as the Kings of Sardinia, Turin remained their capital. Savoy was occupied by French revolutionary forces between 1792 and 1815; the region was first added to the département of Mont-Blanc in 1798 was divided between the départements of Mont-Blanc and Léman In 1801, Savoy left the Holy Roman Empire. On 13 September 1793 the combined forces of Savoy and Aosta Valley fought against and lost to the occupying French forces at the Battle of Méribel. Two-thirds of Savoy was restored to the Kingdom of Sardinia in the First Restoration of 1814 following Napoleon's abdication.
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia was a state in Southern Europe from the early 14th until the mid-19th century. When it was acquired by the Duke of Savoy in 1720, it was a former Iberian state as well as a member of the Council of Aragon. However, the Savoyards united it with their possessions on the Italian mainland and, by the time of the Crimean War in 1853, had built the resulting kingdom into a strong power; the composite state under the rule of Savoy in this period may be called Savoy-Sardinia or Piedmont-Sardinia, or the Kingdom of Piedmont to emphasise that the island of Sardinia had always been of secondary importance to the monarchy. The formal name of the entire Savoyard state was the "States of His Majesty the King of Sardinia", its final capital was the capital of Savoy since the mid 16th century. The kingdom consisted of the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, sovereignty over both of, claimed by the Papacy, which granted them as a fief, the regnum Sardiniae et Corsicae, to King James II of Aragon in 1297.
Beginning in 1324, James and his successors conquered the island of Sardinia and established de facto their de jure authority. In 1420, after the Sardinian-Catalan War, the last competing claim to the island was bought out. After the union of the crowns of Aragon and Castile, Sardinia became a part of the burgeoning Spanish Empire. In 1720, the island was ceded by the Habsburg and Bourbon claimants to the Spanish throne to Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy. While in theory the traditional capital of the island of Sardinia and seat of its viceroys was Cagliari, the Piedmontese city of Turin was the de facto capital of Savoy; when the mainland domains of the House of Savoy were occupied and annexed by Napoleonic France, the king of Sardinia made his permanent residence on the island for the first time in its history. The Congress of Vienna, which restructured Europe after Napoleon's defeat, returned to Savoy its mainland possessions and augmented them with Liguria, taken from the Republic of Genoa.
In 1847–48, through the "Perfect Fusion", the various Savoyard states were unified under one legal system with their capital in Turin, granted a constitution, the Statuto Albertino. There followed the annexation of Lombardy, the central Italian states and the Two Sicilies and the Papal States. On 17 March 1861, to more reflect its new geographic extent, the Kingdom of Sardinia changed its name to the Kingdom of Italy, its capital was moved first to Florence and to Rome; the Savoy-led Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia was thus the legal predecessor of the Kingdom of Italy, which in turn is the predecessor of the present-day Italian Republic. In 238 BC Sardinia became, along with a province of the Roman Empire; the Romans ruled the island until the middle of the 5th century, when it was occupied by the Vandals, who had settled in north Africa. In 534 AD it was reconquered by the Romans, but now from Byzantium, it remained a Byzantine province until the Arab conquest of Sicily in the 9th century. After that, communications with Constantinople became difficult, powerful families of the island assumed control of the land.
Facing Arab attempts to sack and conquer, while having no outside help, Sardinia utilized the principle of translatio imperii and continued to organize itself along the ancient Roman and Byzantine model. The island was not the personal property of the ruler and of his family, as was the dominant practice in western Europe, but rather a separate entity and during the Byzantine Empire, a monarchical republic, as it had been since Roman times. Starting from 705–706, Saracens from north Africa harassed the population of the coastal cities. Information about the Sardinian political situation in the following centuries is scarce. Due to Saracen attacks, in the 9th century Tharros was abandoned in favor of Oristano, after more than 1800 years of occupation. There is a record of another massive Saracen sea attack in 1015–16 from the Balearics, commanded by Mujāhid al-ʿĀmirī; the Saracen attempt to invade the island was stopped by the Judicates with the support of the fleets of the maritime republics of Pisa and Genoa, free cities of the Holy Roman Empire.
Pope Benedict VIII requested aid from the maritime republics of Pisa and Genoa in the struggle against the Arabs. After the Great Schism, Rome made many efforts to restore Latinity to the Sardinian church and society, to reunify the island under one Catholic ruler, as it had been for all of southern Italy, when the Byzantines had been driven away by Catholic Normans; the title of "Judge" was a Byzantine reminder of the Greek church and state, in times of harsh relations between eastern and western churches. Before the Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica, the Archons or, in Latin, who reigned in the island from the 9th or 10th century until the beginning of the 11th century, can be considered real kings of all Sardinia though nominal vassals of the Byzantine emperors. Of these sovereigns only two names are known: Turcoturiu and
Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de Medici, daughter of Lorenzo II de' Medici and Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne, was an Italian noblewoman, queen of France from 1547 until 1559, by marriage to King Henry II. As the mother of kings Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III, she had extensive, if at times varying, influence in the political life of France. From 1560 to 1563, she ruled France as regent for King of France. In 1533, at the age of fourteen, Catherine married Henry, second son of King Francis I and Queen Claude of France. Throughout his reign, Henry excluded Catherine from participating in state affairs and instead showered favors on his chief mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who wielded much influence over him. Henry's death thrust Catherine into the political arena as mother of the frail fifteen-year-old King Francis II; when he died in 1560, she became regent on behalf of her ten-year-old son King Charles IX and was granted sweeping powers. After Charles died in 1574, Catherine played a key role in the reign of her third son, Henry III.
He dispensed with her advice only in the last months of her life. Catherine's three sons reigned in an age of constant civil and religious war in France; the problems facing the monarchy were complex and daunting but Catherine was able to keep the monarchy and the state institutions functioning at a minimum level. At first, Catherine compromised and made concessions to the rebelling Calvinist Protestants, or Huguenots, as they became known, she failed, however. She resorted, in frustration and anger, to hard-line policies against them. In return, she came to be blamed for the excessive persecutions carried out under her sons' rule, in particular for the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572, in which thousands of Huguenots were killed in Paris and throughout France; some historians have excused Catherine from blame for the worst decisions of the crown, though evidence for her ruthlessness can be found in her letters. In practice, her authority was always limited by the effects of the civil wars.
Her policies, may be seen as desperate measures to keep the Valois monarchy on the throne at all costs, her patronage of the arts as an attempt to glorify a monarchy whose prestige was in steep decline. Without Catherine, it is unlikely; the years during which they reigned have been called "the age of Catherine de' Medici". According to Mark Strage, one of her biographers, Catherine was the most powerful woman in sixteenth-century Europe. Catherine de Medici was born on 13 April 1519 in Florence, Republic of Florence, the only child of Lorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Urbino, his wife, Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne, the countess of Boulogne; the young couple had been married the year before at Amboise as part of the alliance between King Francis I of France and Lorenzo's uncle Pope Leo X against the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. According to a contemporary chronicler, when Catherine was born, her parents were "as pleased as if it had been a boy". Within a month of Catherine's birth, both her parents were dead: Madeleine died on 28 April of puerperal fever or plague, Lorenzo died on 4 May, his title over Urbino reverting to Francesco Maria I della Rovere.
King Francis wanted Catherine to be raised at the French court, but Pope Leo had other plans for her. Catherine was first cared for by Alfonsina Orsini. After Alfonsina's death in 1520, Catherine joined her cousins and was raised by her aunt, Clarice de' Medici; the death of Pope Leo in 1521 interrupted Medici power until Cardinal Giulio de' Medici was elected Pope Clement VII in 1523. Clement housed Catherine in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence; the Florentine people called her duchessina, in deference to her unrecognised claim to the Duchy of Urbino. In 1527, the Medici were overthrown in Florence by a faction opposed to the regime of Clement's representative, Cardinal Silvio Passerini, Catherine was taken hostage and placed in a series of convents; the final one, the Santissima Annuziata delle Murate was her home for three years. Mark Strage described these years as "the happiest of her entire life". Clement had no choice but to crown Charles Holy Roman Emperor in return for his help in retaking the city.
In October 1529, Charles's troops laid siege to Florence. As the siege dragged on, voices called for Catherine to be killed and exposed naked and chained to the city walls; some suggested that she be handed over to the troops to be used for their sexual gratification. The city surrendered on 12 August 1530. Clement summoned Catherine from her beloved convent to join him in Rome where he greeted her with open arms and tears in his eyes, he set about the business of finding her a husband. On her visit to Rome, the Venetian envoy described Catherine as "small of stature, thin, without delicate features, but having the protruding eyes peculiar to the Medici family". Suitors, lined up for her hand, including James V of Scotland who sent the Duke of Albany to Clement to conclude a marriage in April and November 1530; when Francis I of France proposed his second son, Duke of Orléans, in early 1533, Clement jumped at the offer. Henry was a prize catch for Catherine; the wedding, a grand affair marked by extravagant display and gift-giving, took place in the Église Saint-Ferréol les Augustins in Marseille on 28 October 1533.
Prince Henry danced and jousted for Catherine