The man in power: Napoleon Bonaparte

The Carolingians ruled France from 752 till 987. They had the bee as symbol. Not because ,of the power of work or courage, but because of the pre-medival ambition to veracity.

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Veracity is the purity of nature (the bee!) and - and case of human beings - the purity of acting. On graves of important Carolingian persons bees of gold or straw are found. 

Hundreds of years later Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821) took this example of the greatness of the Carolingian king Charlemagne. Napoleon also borrowed the bee symbol. With one big difference . The "purity of acting" of the Carolingians was imputed to knights and nobles. Napoleon chose this for the working class. That's logical giving the French Revolution.

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Cities, who cooperate very well with Napoleon were rewarded with the title "bonne villes" (good cities) and they got the right to decorate their coat of arms with a red band with three golden bees.
The example of the French town Maromme is not very clear; better is the coat of arms of Amsterdam at the time of the Napoleontic period.

There are also bees in the purple of the mantle which Napoleon bore at his coronation.

In the castle of Fontainebleau - Napoleon's loved home - you see the bees in the floor covering and in the covering on chairs.

It's amazing, that Napoleon is named Bon-aparte and not Bee-aparte.

by Jan de Crom  
taken from "The Postal Bee" 1/1999 
Contact Group Bee Philately

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