The Age of Napoleon Podcast

The Age of Napoleon is a history podcast about the life and career of Napoleon Bonaparte as well as the general context of Europe between the early eighteenth and early nineteenth century. It is about big trends and the grand sweep of history, as well as the smaller, individual stories that bring them to life.

Society & Culture
Episode 93: A Ridiculous War
In 1806, France and Prussia went to war.
29 min
Dispatch #1
Introducing a new feature to the show
14 min
Episode 92: Fear and Expectation
Napoleon organized his new empire and continued to remake the map of the continent, but he would soon be faced with a powerful backlash.
52 min
Episode 91: The Cavalry
An overview of the most colorful and romanticized branch of a Napoleonic military: the cavalry. Depending on your perspective, they were either the bravest, most vital part of any army, or preening, arrogant prima donnas.
56 min
Episode 90: The New Order
After his stunning victories of late 1805, Napoleon sought to impose a new international order on central Europe.
54 min
Episode 89: Immortal Nelson
Horatio Nelson's last battle was a stunning British victory, but his fleet's troubles were just beginning. We examine the stunning aftermath of Trafalgar and the legacy of the greatest admiral of the age.
54 min
Episode 88: Eastward with Jesse Alexander
I interviewed Real Time History's Jesse Alexander about his latest project: tracing Napoleon's downfall from the invasion of Russia in 1812.
38 min
Episode 87: Thank God I Have Done My Duty
In October 1805, a Franco-Spanish fleet sailed out of Cadiz to seek a confrontation with a British fleet under Horatio Nelson. What ensued was one of the greatest naval battles of all time.
72 min
Episode 86: Six Hours
Napoleon famously said that if he could control the English Channel for 6 hours, he would control the world.
58 min
Episode 85: In the Hands of a Giant
The Battle of Austerlitz changed Europe forever. As news of his triumph reverberated across Europe, Napoleon began to redraw the map of the continent.
54 min
Episode 84: The Battle of the Three Emperors
On the first anniversary of his coronation, Napoleon faced off against a powerful Coalition army. He had to win a major victory.
75 min
Episode 83: The Chase
Napoleon pursues a Coalition army through Austria. Masséna fights in Italy. Prussian neutrality finally ends.
59 min
Episode 82: The Fortunes of War
A new coalition forms against France. Napoleon leads his new army into Germany in a stunning, lightning campaign.
60 min
Episode 81: The Eagles of Boulogne
Napoleon brings his army to the Channel Coast and builds it into one of the most formidable war machines in military history.
53 min
Episode 80: The Crown of Charlemagne
On December 2nd, 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor.
61 min
Episode 79: The Eagle's Landing
We examine Napoleon's colonial policies, the tragic end of Toussaint Louverture, and the final act of the Haitian War of Independence.
79 min
Episode 78: Free Haiti
After his victory over Britain, Toussaint Louverture began a new struggle: to build a new country out of the ruins of war and rebellion.
55 min
Episode 77: The Symposium
A recording of a panel on Napoleonic podcasting from the 2021 Massena Society symposium on Napoleonic History.
113 min
Episode 76: The Black Napoleon
As the war in Haiti rages on, Toussaint Louverture makes a fateful decision to leave his allies behind.
50 min
Episode 75: The Opening
As Haiti sinks deeper into chaos and tragedy, Toussaint begins his rise to leadership within the rebel movement.
50 min
Episode 74: The Age of Toussaint
Haiti was France's richest colony, but Europe's lust for sugar had created a barbaric and unstable social system in the colonies.
75 min
Episode 73: The Blood of a King
In 1803, Britain sent a team of assassins against Napoleon. They failed, but the plot led to one of the most controversial episodes of Napoleon's career.
93 min
Episode 72: The Experiment
With the war over, France was finally becoming prosperous again. Napoleon contemplated what this would mean for his regime as he worked to reform the country. In many ways, the Consulate was a golden age, but war with Britain was already looming on the horizon once again.
51 min
Episode 71: The Spoiled Child of Victory
France welcomes the Catholic Church back to the country in grand style, but the Concordat complicated Napoleon's relationship with staunch republicans in the army leadership.
35 min
Episode 70: Concord
Napoleon finally had his deal with the Vatican, but how would the Concordat of 1801 change France?
38 min
Episode 69: God Save the Republic
Napoleon continues his attempts to reconcile with conservatives. He finally manages to bring the Vatican to the negotiating table for an historic agreement.
41 min
Episode 68: The Eagle and the Owls
Napoleon wanted to bring social harmony to France, but to do that, he needed to resolve the bitter conflict between the Catholic Church and the revolution.
34 min
Episode 67: Resistance is Pointless
A conclusion to our discussion of the Napoleonic Code.
38 min
Episode 66: Master of France
Bonaparte finally takes the last legal step towards dictatorship, and we begin a discussion of his most important legacy: the Napoleonic Code.
32 min
Episode 65: The Blank Slate
The Treaty of Amiens is greeted with celebrations around the world. With peace, Napoleon prepares to embark on an ambitious program of reform.
31 min
Episode 64: The Last Treaty
After 8 years of war, Britain and France were finally on the road to peace.
35 min
Episode 63: Definitive Peace
After their defeat at Hohenlinden, the Austrians return to the negotiating table, resulting in a treaty that threw the entire future of the Holy Roman Empire into doubt.
35 min
Episode 62; The World Stage
The War of the 2nd Coalition is winding down, but peace proves elusive.
37 min
Episode 61: Triumph and Temptation
Horatio Nelson continues to build his reputation as one of the most brilliant sailors of the age.
59 min
Episode 60: Do Much or Be Ruined
With the outbreak of war, Nelson vows to either make his career or destroy himself in the effort.
37 min
Episode 59: That Great Little Man
We examine the early career of Horatio Nelson, one of Napoleon's ablest and most implacable opponents.
34 min
Episode 58: Stalemate
Austria drops out of the war, leaving Britain to continue the struggle against France alone.
39 min
Episode 57: The Infernal Machine
After Marengo, Napoleon's secret police did battle with violent radicals in the political underground.
39 min
Episode 56: The Fruits of Victory
Does the Battle of Marengo deserve its reputation as one of Napoleon's greatest victories?
38 min
Episode 55: The Promise
Napoleon marches against the Austrians yet again, with the future of his new regime hanging in the balance. What followed was one of the most dramatic and consequential campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars, culminating in the first great battle of the 19th century: Marengo.
48 min
Episode 54: The New Covenant
Napoleon outmaneuvers his rivals and secures his position as dictator of France with an undemocratic referendum.
37 min
Episode 53: Marx and the Coup with Matt Christman
Matt Christman returns for a conversation about the significance of 18 Brumaire.
31 min
Episode 52: The Morning After
We examine the aftermath and significance of the Coup of 18 Brumaire.
34 min
Episode 51: The Sword of Brumaire
Napoleon makes his triumphal return to France and joins a coup plot that will culminate in his rise to power.
44 min
Episode 50: Egypt Epilogue with Derek Davison
Derek Davison returns to discuss Middle Eastern history in the wake of the French Expedition.
52 min
Episode 49: Meanwhile, in Europe
While Napoleon was away in Egypt, the revolution faced new struggles in Europe.
32 min
Episode 48: Leaving Egypt
Murat's cavalry secure another crushing victory over the Mamelukes, but news from France leads Napoleon to abandon the expedition
43 min
Episode 47: A Spectacle of Death
With the dream of an eastern empire collapsing, Bonaparte launches an invasion of Syria.
39 min
Episode 46: The End of Illusion
The expedition's bad luck continues. The people of Egypt finally reach their breaking point.
35 min
Episode 45: In Debt with Zachary Stoltzfus
A conversation about debt and property in revolutionary and Napoleonic France
26 min
Episode 44: Ali Bonaparte
Relations between France and other great powers deteriorate. The Army of the Orient occupies Cairo, and the French immediately run into difficulties governing.
42 min
Episode 43: Brave Despair
The British Mediterranean Fleet under Horatio Nelson spends months chasing the naval component of the Egypt Expedition. They finally catch the French at Aboukir Bay and fight the decisive Battle of the Nile.
31 min
Episode 42: The Scorched Plains
The Army of the Orient pushes deeper into Egypt and learns painful lessons about life and death in the desert.
40 min
Episode 41: To the Land of the Gods
The Army of the Orient sets sail. They make a brief stop in Malta before landing in Egypt and marching on Alexandria.
50 min
Episode 40: Davison Pasha
A conversation with Derek Davison about the state of the Middle East in 1798
64 min
Episode 39: East and West
Napoleon cajoles the Austrians into signing a peace treaty and plans to invade Egypt.
48 min
Episode 38: The Kansas Campaign
A special interview with military historians Dr. Mark Gerges, Dr. Jonathan Abel, and Dr. John Kuehn
57 min
Episode 37: Breaking the Pendulum
While Napoleon fought in Italy, French politics oscillated dangerously between left and right. Finally, a fraught election and divisions within the Directory tore the system apart.
46 min
Episode 36: Questions and Answers
We answer listener questions on topics ranging from the organization of the revolutionary armies to pop culture to alternate history hypotheticals.
52 min
Episode 35: King of Italy
Bonaparte returns to Italy after Leoben, and is already coming into his own as a political figure.
42 min
Episode 34: The Road to Leoben
The First Italian Campaign reaches its less-than-dramatic conclusion with Napoleon's invasion of Austria.
41 min
Episode 33: The Final Effort
With the Mantua garrison on the brink of starvation, the Austrians under Alvinczy launch one last relief attempt.
34 min
Episode 32: The Fate of Italy
Napoleon faces a new opponent, who gives the Army of Italy their toughest fight of the campaign so far.
47 min
Episode 31: The Walls of Mantua
The Army of Italy pushes north to support a French offensive in Germany, but finds Wurmser already back on the march, leading to a major battle at Bassano and a frantic race down from the Alps
42 min
Episode 30: Risk and Reward
The Army of Italy faces off against Field Marshal Wurmser, and finds itself in its toughest fight of the campaign so far. Bonaparte takes some calculated risks to even the odds.
46 min
Episode 29: To the Victor Go the Spoils
The Army of Italy beats Beaulieu one last time, then takes a lucrative detour south and confronts the Pope. Napoleon and Josephine are finally reunited...
48 min
Episode 28: The Liberation of Lombardy
Napoleon finally enters Milan. The French conquest has divided Lombardy-- radicals are eager to follow the example of the revolution
44 min
Episode 27: The Legend of Lodi
The First Italian Campaign continues. Napoleon outfoxes the Austrians and takes Milan. The Army of Italy fights a famous battle at Lodi, which probably does not deserve its legendary reputation. We also take a look at Napoleon's propaganda machine.
53 min
Episode 26: The Promised Land
The First Italian Campaign begins in dramatic fashion, with two weeks of lightning battles at Montenotte, Millesimo, Dego, Ceva, and Mondovì. Napoleon negotiates with Piedmont, and worries about looting, and about his wife.
56 min
Episode 25: Naked and Underfed
We meet the Army of Italy, which Napoleon finds in a "state of destitution." Paris provides little support, but Bonaparte attempts to get his command into shape for the offensive.
45 min
Episode 24: To Destiny
For better and for worse, a new government takes over in Paris: the Directory. Napoleon and Josephine are married, and we examine her unhappy early life. Napoleon leaves Paris to meet his destiny.
38 min
Epiode 23: Momentum
An update from the front lines, and Napoleon enjoys his success.
42 min
Episode 22: The Man of Bronze
With the defeat of the French left, the right begins a violent resurgence, culminating in a rebellion that nearly conquers Paris. Napoleon saves the Convention (and his career with it). We meet two memorable characters: Paul Barras and Joachim Murat
44 min
Episode 21: Down and Out in Paris
With so many of his political patrons dead, Napoleon's career stalls. He spends some aimless months in the capital trying to improve his situation. He finds high society transformed along with politics. Also discussed: Napoleon's love life, republican...
38 min
Episode 20: Thermidor
An eclectic episode. Napoleon gets out of jail, fights another battle in northern Italy, and comes tantalizingly close to a triumphant return to Corsica. Other topics include: the fall of Robespierre, the Kościuszko Uprising, Thermidorian...
39 min
Episode Nineteen: The Principles of Mountain Wa...
Napoleon reports for duty with the Army of Italy, which is fighting a tough campaign in the rugged Alps. André Masséna is introduced. Napoleon's plan and Masséna's daring win a victory at Saorgio. Napoleon undertakes an ill-timed mission...
39 min
Episode Eighteen: Vindication
Napoleon takes charge as head of artillery for the Army of the Alps, clashes with his incompetent commanders, and finally wins recognition on the battlefield during the Siege of Toulon.
41 min
Episode Seventeen: A Nation in Arms
Napoleon finally reports to the regular army, just as France sinks deeper into chaos. The Jacobins come to power and launch The Reign of Terror. The army continues to transform. Napoleon finally achieves some success writing, and wins some powerful...
46 min
Episode Sixteen: Into the Storm
SURVEY:   Napoleon returns to Corsica. The former king is executed; royalists rise up to avenge him. Napoleon fights in his first (real) battle. Paoli breaks with the Bonapartes and with France....
38 min
Episode Fifteen: the Mob
Napoleon bungles his first test as a National Guard officer and bears witness to the revolution's darkest days survey: Patreon:
34 min
A Guide to the Infantry of the Napoleonic Era
A short episode delving into the organization, equipment, and uniforms of Napoleonic foot-soldiers.
20 min
Episode Fourteen: The People's Army
Back on the mainland, 1792 saw the revolution face an existential crisis, which gave birth to a new new kind of army. Topics include Count Guibert and his theory of the citizen-soldier, the Battle of Valmy, and the foundation of the First Republic.
36 min
Episode Thirteen: The Coriscan Gracchi
The Bonaparte brothers launch their political careers with very mixed success, Paoli returns from exile a changed man, and we take a close look at the crooked, violent world of eighteenth century Corsican electoral campaigning. Also: Joseph Bonaparte...
31 min
Episode Twelve: Long Live the Fatherland
Napoleon is bored in a peacetime army and fills his time with writing and the study of military theory. He returns to Corsica for the first time since childhood. The revolution turns his political beliefs upside down. Also discussed: rich Uncle...
44 min
Episode Eleven: Cadet Paille-au-nez
Napoleon grows up: surviving military school, coping with the death of his father, and becoming an officer in record time. Also discussed: Bourrienne's problematic 'Memoirs,' Napoleon's love of books, talking to girls, and how the Bonapartes were like...
36 min
Episode Ten: As the Fatherland Was Dying
the life and death of Carlo Bonaparte, Napoleon's childhood, Napoleon leaves home
30 min
Episode Nine: The Iron Soil of Corsica
Napoleon's roots. Topics include: vendettas, the Corsican War of Independence, Napoleon's hero- Pasquale Paoli, and James Boswell's Corsica cosplay
31 min
Bonus Episode: Robespierre
The last of the bonus shows: Maximilien Robespierre, his career, character, and legacy, with a special focus on his role in The Terror. Find out why he was the Serpico of the Revolution
19 min
Bonus Episode
Bonus Episode by The Age of Napoleon Podcast
30 min
Bonus Episode: The 28th Messidor of Matt Christman
A discussion on Karl Marx's '18 Brumaire of Louis…
29 min
Episode Eight: Fracture
French society begins to fracture as the Revoluti…
46 min
Episode Seven: The Undesired
The road to the French Revolution. The Bastille, …
49 min
Episode Six: The King's Army
Topics include: military life in the 18th century…
34 min
Episode 5.5: The Doomed Regime
Rounding out the discussion of 18th century Franc…
18 min
Episode Five: The Setting Sun
topics include Louis XIV and his disastrous succe…
40 min
Episode Four: Nemesis
Great Britain in the Eighteenth century. Politics…
30 min
Episode Three: Eastern Ambitions
Topics include: the Habsburgs, the Holy Roman Emp…
33 min
Episode 2.5: The Advances of Dr. Struensee
Bonus mini-episode with a show announcement and a…
12 min
Episode Two: Enlightenment and Tyranny
Topics include: The Enlightenment, absolute monar…
27 min
Episode One: The Basics
Episode one of a history podcast about the Napole…
21 min