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Napoleon was Albanian and the Serbs are lying to you

Hello everyone! This is my first post on this sub.
So recently I happened to watch this obscure yet peculiar youtube video in which the author- the staunch Albanian nationalist decided to show us the "truth" about Napoleon's supposed real origin all in a one-minute youtube video. Here's the link. However, in this post, I shall indeed protect the Emperor's good name and go through this video text by text debunking the claims presented by this notorious nationalist. Here we go...
Napolean was born inCorsica, Italy
badgeography
.He knew a lot about the Albanians. He wanted to be like Alexander another great Albanian. He went to Egypt where Alexander the great was buried and he told his soildiers to be alone in the room.
Though I clearly can't answer to the first claim due to the lack of any sources mentioning Napoleon's knowledge about the Albanian nation I can say that Bonaparte, indeed had a great admiration for Alexander ever since his childhood, though he happened to criticize him on occasion, for example when working on a discourse on the subject 'What are the Most Important Truths and feelings for Men to Learn to be Happy?' for the Lyons Academy's essay prize he negatively commented Alexander's despotism, to quote:
"What is Alexander doing when he rushes from Thebes into Persia and thence into India? He is ever restless, he loses his wits, he believes himself God [...]"\1])
In the following two sentences, the author tries to tell, in a pretty short manner, why Napoleon went to Egypt by saying that his expedition was only motivated by Alexander's conquests and that it was his initiative. This theory, however, is purely based on common myths and it's completely false. The plans of invading Egypt were first considered by French military strategists in the 1760s. In 1782, the Austrian Emperor Joseph II suggested Louis XVI annexe Egypt as a part of a larger unsuccessful plan of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire\2]). During the revolution, the plan itself was brought in again and was quite popular among revolutionaries and idealists who wished to bring revolutionary ideals to the people of Egypt, oppressed by Mameluke tyranny and rational strategists like Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot and of course, Napoleon. Bonaparte himself prioritized Egypt, calling it "the geographical key to controlling the world"\3]) and his strategic goal was the destruction of the British trade in this region and replacing it by its French equivalent. He portrayed the plans of the initiative to the Directory and based it on three arguments: The opening of Asian markets to French trade goods, turning the colony into a "military base" for 60 000 troops to threaten British oriental territories and the establishment of a French colony in Egypt. Napoleon's great ambitions towards the Egyptian campaign somewhat reflected Alexander's conquests but they were quickly discarded by the Directory which only allowed him to take over Egypt alone and to return to France after six months.
Bonaparte might have indeed expanded the plans of the Egyptian campaign but the initiative had to be later presented to the Directory which as the executive power of 1795-1799 Revolutionary France made the final decision and its authority (though questioned in some cases, for example during the 1st Italian campaign) had to be obeyed by Napoleon who was only a general at that time (pre-1799). Many claims presented in the author's first argument such as the Albanian nationality of Alexander who came from a greek Argead dynasty and the possibility of Napoleon discovering the tomb of Alexander of which location is still unknown to this day in which "he told his soldiers to be alone in the room" for some reason are simply beyond absurd.
Napoleon was given an option to choose a rooster or a lion as a symbol of his french side, but he rejected those options and picked an eagle for a symbol for the french. Eagle is a symbol for the Albanian race.
The author is referring to the meeting of the Imperial council (France was de-facto already an Empire at the time ever since Napoleon's meeting with the state council of the consulate on the 28th of March 1804) that happened on the 12th of June 1804, during which the members of the council were discussing the details of the future coronation (the cathedral at which it should take place, the date and the heraldic symbols of the new ruling dynasty). During the meeting, Napoleon was given an option to choose a symbol for the French Empire, however, there were much more options than those three portrayed by the author. The symbols which he could choose were: a rooster which referred to ancient Gallic traditions (Napoleon rejected this one because he thought of it as a "weak and agricultural animal"), an elephant, an eagle, a lion, Minerva's aegis, an oak, an ear of grain and even a Bourbon fleur-de-lys suggested by Charles-François Lebrun\4]) (Napoleon outright rejected it and thought of this option as "idiotic"). In the end, Napoleon decided to choose the lion as his symbol without any vote or further thought, but he quickly changed his mind after the meeting and chose the eagle instead. This sudden change of mind was motivated by certain ancient and medieval attributes related to this animal which was much more attractive to Bonaparte to quote:
"It portrays Imperial dignity and reminds of Charlemagne"\5])
He clearly says that it reminded him of a Frankish monarch, not some glorious mythical Albanian master race. Also, It seems that our dear author used some quite amazing mental gymnastics to make this argument. How the hell is an eagle a symbol of the Albanian "race"? Does that mean that 14 other countries (some of them older than the first existing Albanian state) copied that symbol from the superior Albanians? Or does that mean that they are all secretly Albanian? I'm really confused right now, it's probably a serbian conspiracy tbh.
Robert D'Angely notes that Napoleon was making often visits to Albanian families in marseille, who came there from Albania, Greece and Italy. Napoleon also sent consul in Ioannina, contrary to the ottomans and reconise it as the capital city of Albania
From what I managed to research by reading translated pdf versions of his work, Robert D'Angely was a French-Albanian nationalist historian born in 1893 and died in 1966. He wrote a book called "Enigma" in which he does outstanding mental gymnastics trying to prove to the reader that Alexander, Napoleon, Garibaldi, Skanderberg and even Aristotle + many other ancient peoples like the Illyrians and Pelasgians were all Albanian based only on the etymology of their names (or surnames in case of historical figures), he also tries to prove to us the Aryan origin of Albanians (yikes) which makes his book feel even more biased. His work is mostly used by Albanian nationalists to prove their "racial" superiority and Mr D'Angely himself often twists facts and some events so that they may fit his nationalistic narrative which makes his book an unreliable source\6]). Though Napoleon's family stayed in the areas close to Marseille after being exiled from Corsica for political reasons, I couldn't find any sources which could prove the theory of him meeting Albanian families or in sending a consul to Ioannina and recognising it as an Albanian capital of some sort in his later life.
Napoleon had a legion of Albanians as his personal guard, because they were most loyal to him.
The only Albanian unit which served in the French army during the Napoleonic wars were the Pandours Albanais. The unit itself was organised in Cattaro in June 1810 and it was intended for continual service against Montenegrin inhabitants of the foreign lands which surrounded the French-controlled city of Cattaro. The unit was battalion-size and it had 6 companies (the number had later risen to 8) composed of 50 men each. The Pandours participated only in local actions against Balkan raiders and in the unsuccessful defence of Dalmatia where 141 members of the unit had deserted, and because of those attractions, the unit disappeared in the end. The uniform they wore was cheap and local (since it was only a militia unit) and it consisted of a red dolman trimmed with silver and having sheepskin edging, red vest, blue trousers, red turban and opanque. As we can see the Pandours Albanais were only a local militia unit whose main objective was defending local territories, we can even say that most of those men never even met Napoleon in the first place and didn't participate in any of his campaigns (which is quite funny, considering the author of this video claims that they were his personal guard). Napoleon's actual personal guardsmen were the french-dominated chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde Impériale (the dark green colonel uniform of this unit was even worn by Napoleon during his campaigns post-1804). This unit served as his escort after 1799 and was composed of his most loyal veterans who participated in every one of his campaigns after 1799.
Napoleon Bonaparte is not his real surname, his real surname is Napoleon Kalemiri Bonaparte. Bonaparte is how you say it in french.
His real Corsican name was Napoleone di Buonaparte and he changed his name to its french equivalent in 1796 before the Italian campaign (he dropped the "u" in his surname for the first time when writing a letter to his first wife-Joséphine de Beauharnais on the 14th of March 1794\7])) The name "Kalemiri" added in by the author comes from the aforementioned Robert D'Angely's book "Enigma" and it is purely based on wacky etymology mixed in with translation from French to Albanian.
Notes:
1.Rose, Napoleon, v.1, p. 24
2.Murphy, Napoleon's International Politics, p. 165; Volney, Voyage, p. 235
3.Bertaud, Napoléon, p. 312
4.Fraser, The War Drama, p. 3
5.Ibid., p. 9
6.D'Angely, Enigma (used only to get to know the author's nationalistic revisionist historical world view which influenced present-day Albanian nationalists, it's not a reliable source of historical knowledge)
7.Chuquet, Jeunesse
Bibliography:
Andrew Roberts: Napoleon the Great
Guy-C-Dempsey: Napoleon's Mercenaries Foreign Units in The French Army Under the Consulate and Empire, 1799-1814
Paul L. Dawson: Napoleon's Imperial Guard Uniforms and Equipment. Volume 2: The Cavalry
submitted by PrussianRussian to badhistory

Worldbuilding in FE: Fates -- Valla and its Chinese influences

In case you have read this and you feel like you’ve seen this before on this sub, it’s because I already made a post on this subject years ago:
https://www.reddit.com/fireemblem/comments/6j6di9/the_real_life_inspiration_of_valla_fe14_spoilers/
But given that I’ve discovered lots of new stuff since the first post (and that FE3H's helped expand the playerbase, I’ve decided to publish a new post altogether with updated info. Fates being criticized for "not having worldbuilding" is also something I often hear to this day, and I personally don't entirely agree with that claim; it does, just not in the usual "info dump" way, but rather through visual designs and etymological choices.
Anyway, without any further ado: Hoshido being not!Japan and Nohr being not!Europe is apparent enough, but have you ever wondered what Valla is supposed to be?
Valla is inspired by China, specifically the Loulan Kingdom, a fact the devs didn’t even try to hide as they even named the royal castle of Valla as Loulan in the Japanese version (which btw is renamed into Gyges in the ENG version.)
I figured no one probably wants to jump straight into that wikipedia page right now, so I’ll just lay out some relevant history facts about Loulan here, from which Valla drew its inspirations:
  • Loulan is now known for being a once prosperous, sought-out kingdom. It was said to have “suddenly disappeared" and was entirely forgotten and mostly unheard of (until its rediscovery more than ten centuries later). That’s basically Valla.
  • Before the accidental discovery, the kingdom was completely buried under the desert’s high sand dunes. Current Loulan is left with mainly ruins and is completely surrounded by desert. Valla is also in ruins, as well as being located deep beneath earth’s surface (the Bottomless Canyon). The official title of the game’s Japanese version, when translated to English, is Fire Emblem if: Invisible Kingdom. This is a reference to the fact Valla’s existence is unknown to the rest of the world (save for a few) and--by extension-- a reference to Loulan’s once non-existent and forgotten state.
  • Loulan was located on the Silk Road— a link between the east and west, and was considered a major stopping point of the Road. The Bottomless Canyon, under which Valla is located, is sandwiched between Hoshido and Nohr (I can’t find the map to show but that’s what the wiki said anyway)—it serves as the geographical bordea link between the two countries. In RV’s epilogue, it’s where Hoshido and Nohr achieved peace which is symbolic for the east-west harmony and the cultural&racial diversity in Loulan.
  • Loulan disappeared from the face of the Earth (for a period), so no one irl really talks about it anymore. The Valla curse is kind of inspired by this fact in that the rest of Fateslandia doesn’t know about it, but the ones that do know of its existence can’t talk about it (or else they die).
  • Loulan’s ruler at the time was killed and the kingdom was usurped by some dude from the Han dynasty. Valla’s king Cadros (named Ryuurei in JPN) and the kingdom itself also met the same fates thanks to Anankos (named Hydra in JPN)
Valla drew a lot of design inspirations from Loulan culture, but what or how exactly is Loulan’s culture? Being an east-west melting pot, there was a lot of evidence of an ethnically diverse society, traces of a populace comprising people of Indo-European (mostly South Asian such as Indian, Afghan, Iranian, etc), Han Chinese, Tibetan (etc) heritages. Some artefacts and handicrafts found in its ruins are believed to be from as far west as Rome and ancient Greece as well, suggesting a link between those two and Loulan.
Visual inspirations:
  • Anankos’ dragon form wears a Buddhist mask. Buddhism, believed to be introduced by immigrants from Gandhara (region from ancient India), was widely practiced in Loulan. There were presence of pagodas in Loulan as well.
  • Lilith’s forehead also has something that looks like a bindi, which is a colored dot worn on the center of the forehead by Hindus. EDIT: as u/ULiopleurodon pointed out in the comment section (something I'm inclined to agree with), the mark on Lilith's forehead (as well as on Anankos' mask's) is more of an Urna, a symbol from Buddist art and culture. Its description from the Wiki reads as "it symbolizes a third eye, which in turn symbolizes vision into the divine world; a sort of ability to see past our mundane universe of suffering" - quite fitting for Lilith, someone who guides Corrin to the Astral Plane.
  • Sacred lotus is apparently the kingdom’s representative flower (with Hoshido’s being the sakura and Nohr’s being the rose.) The sacred lotus often appears in Buddhist art and is also a revered flower in Chinese literature.
  • Speaking of lotus, Azura’s dress, especially the part covering her chest, is quite reminiscent of a white lotus. The overall design of Azura’s dress seems to have taken inspiration from this pattern found on a carved wooden beam in Loulan’s site. (File found on wikipedia and its description reads as “The carving is derived from leaf and flower patterns used in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, Syria, Iran and Gandhara”)
  • I know people complain that the design for Corrin's dragon form is... exotic (read: ugly), but it actually heavily resembles the Qilin, a half-dragon half-giraffe/deer hybrid mythical creature from Chinese culture. Same for Anankos’ dragon design, too.
  • In FEH’s Dream banner, which M.Corrin was drawn wearing loose-fitting pants, which I believe is a depiction of the sirwal, which is originally an Iranian/Persian type of garment.
  • The design of the Yato’s hilt seems like a straightforward ripoff of the vajra, a weapon item of symbolic meanings in Buddhism.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but Arete’s facial features kinda stand out among Kozaki’s anime-style characters, in that there seems to be an effort at making her look immediately Caucasian. Which makes me think she’s somewhat inspired by this constructed image of the mummy Beauty of Loulan, who obviously has very Caucasian features. Also, Arete’s headwear seems to be based on the one in the constructed image, given the feather(s).
Valla has plenty of Chinese-influenced names. With the exception of the word Touma (Valla’s Japanese name), all Valla-exclusive characters’ names are written in katakana and don’t have official kanji forms, but I think most of them can be converted into kanji in some ways due to being really “Chinese-sounding” if you’re familiar with Chinese. Or even if you’re a native Japanese speaker, you’ll also realize that too bc you’ll find that those names sound really out of place in a JPN game.
Name and linguistic inspirations:
  • The official kanji for Touma is 透魔, which can be translated into “transparent magic”/ “transparent devil”/ “invisible devil” (among other possible translations).
  • Arete’s name in the Japanese version is Shenmei (possible kanji: 審美/神美?)
  • Anthony’s name is Rontao/Lontao (龍倒? or 龍道 - thank you u/rainmcfae for pointing out)
  • King Cadros’ (Valla's first king) name is Ryuurei (流麗, this one I got from the wiki but I don’t know if it was official kanji or fan speculation). Could also be 流利 (meaning: smooth, fluent), pronounced “Lau Lei” in Cantonese.
  • And most importantly and as I have said in the introduction, the royal castle of Valla, Gyges, is named Loulan (Rouran; katakana ロウラン, and although the game never gave it a kanji, it can’t be anything else other than 樓蘭, which is the official Chinese for the place) in the Japanese version.
  • If you’re curious what those kanji character names mean, Shenmei is either “aesthetics/appreciating the arts/examining the arts” (審美) or “the beauty of god”/“godly beautiful” (神美) this I shamelessly came up by myself, but hey, as long as the pronunciation is correct and the translation make sense. As a side note, in Smol Azura's description in the Taiwanese version of FEH, Shenmei is translated as 萱玫 (Xuenmei). The two characters mean "Orange Daylily" and "Rose", respectively.
  • As for Rontao, Ron/Lon is very likely 龍 which means dragon (this is deduced from context, as he works for a dragon), and I theorize that Tao is 倒 which can mean “fall/collapse”. Put together and you get something means “the dragon falls”/“fall of the dragon” which I think makes sense in the context of the story, as it serves as a foreshadowing to Anankos’ eventual defeat. EDIT: Credits to u/rainmcfae for this suggestion: 龍道 ("way/path/doctrine of the dragon") - reflecting him being a servant of Anankos, and having the additional connection to Buddhism (Dao/Tao is more associated with Daoism, obviously, but 道 is also used as the terminology for a lot of central tenets in Chinese Buddhism).
Again, these are kanji speculated by us fans because the JPN version never had kanji writings for these names, so it’s still unknown what meanings these names are intended to have. Point is, they all sound very Chinese. Aqua and Hydra are the outliers in that they have Latin and Greek names among Asian names. But considering Loulan had trading connections with Roman and Hellenistic societies and there are Loulan artwork with Roman&Hellenistic influences, eh, they belong here, too. Kamui is also an outlier as it’s a name of Ainu origin, tho admittedly unlike Aqua&Hydra this is something Loulan-related that idk how to reconcile to Loulan (someone help?).
Water is the most significant motif of Touma, with a lot of Touma character names/character designs alluding and related to water. What is water’s significance to Loulan? I don’t speak for the devs here, but Loulan was an oasis kingdom, and personally when I think of that word, water is one of the things I can associate with it first and foremost. Basically, we don’t know what the devs’ thought process leading up to the decision of making water the Element™ of Touma was, but I think Loulan being an oasis region was definitely a factor.
Thematic inspirations:
  • Azura’s and Anankos’ JPN names are Aqua (self explanatory) and Hydra (Greek/Roman mythology sea serpent) respectively. Azura is also a water bender herself.
  • Shigure’s name is Japanese for “drizzle” (時雨).
  • Cadros / Ryuurei’s kanji is stated on the wiki as 流麗 (“flowing and elegant”), a word often used to describe beautiful music or the beautiful movement of water flows. Alternatively, the word can be viewed as two separate parts 流 (“stream/flow”) and 麗 (“beautiful/elegant”) which translates to “beautiful stream”.
  • In FE Heroes’ Taiwanese version, Kana's name is translated into Chinese as 神流, which has the same prefix "Ka" (神) as "Kamui" (Corrin's JPN name), and has the ending of 流 which, as stated above, means "stream"/"flow". Put them together and you have "Holy Stream" as the meaning.
  • Again in Taiwanese FEH, Mikoto’s name is translated as 水琴 in Chinese. Its meaning is "Water Zither".
  • Lilith’s dragon form design heavily resembles a fish (goldfish? carp?)
  • Dragon Corrin attacks with water.
  • Blue is a major color for the designs of some Touma-related characters (Azura, Shigure, Arete, Anankos, Lilith. Even though blue isn't the color Corrin is largely associated with, they still have a blue cape).
  • The Valla curse causes people to dissolve into water.
  • And finally, Valla is represented by the sacred lotus, an aquatic plant.
There’s also the fact that both Valla and Loulan are very difficult places to access. According to a Chinese record, Loulan was said to be located adjacent to a salt lake named Lop Nur. However, Lop Nur was a “peripatetic” lake, switching its location (likely on the basis of several decades) back and forth according to the shift in its source river. People had been unaware of this fact for centuries, resulting in a lot of confused explorers at first (bc following the Chinese record, they set out their explorations under the belief that if the lake could be located, then the city could be located nearby as well, and vice versa. But there was no lake or no city when they arrived). As such, the location and even the existence of Loulan (as well as the river) itself was a mystery to people for some time. Similarly, the portal (leading to Valla) under the Bottomless Canyon only opens once in several decades and the time it can be used is limited. Both places are extremely hard to access, and even then can only be done under special circumstances.
So there you go, some pretty impressive worldbuilding in a game whose continent has no name. It’s also a good example of providing worldbuilding thru visual information instead of text, which is something the fandom tends to overlook way too often, imo.
As a bottom line, I wish the localization hadn’t changed all these Chinese-influenced names and replaced them with the European ones. JPRG as a genre is kinda oversaturated with European settings and influences and this could have been a nice change in scenery but Treehouse had to botch it for some reason.
Besides, there’s a few things that bother me about the changes made to Touma. Touma was supposed to be a neutral space during the Hoshido/Nohr conflict; an independent, unique thing on its own. But now that there are Greek/Roman/Norse elements attached to it, it loses its distinctive qualities/status and is pushed kinda closer to the Nohr side, which ultimately makes it... redundant. And because of its intended neutrality, it’s the most fitting place where peace between Hoshido-Nohr can be achieved (they did by the end), which is also a reference to the east-west harmony in Loulan. But since that neutrality is now gone, localized Touma loses that symbolism as well.
Anyway, these changes seem very arbitrary to me and it makes me think the Treehouse likely thought the world of Touma has no historical basis to it (might explain why they went out of their way to inject all these Greek/Norse elements into the world), when in fact it does. It abso-freaking-lutely does.
TL;DR: No no, please don’t. Please read the whole thing. look guys, the story about Loulan is so interesting and the elements Touma took after it are so cool and I’m low-key sad that they completely erased any hints of it in the localization ok.
All of the historical info in this essay was found in these articles. If you want to verify any specific detail but can’t find them, just let me know.
(1): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loulan_Kingdom
(2): https://tinyurl.com/y9jztq3o
(3): http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp230_hellenes_romans_in_china.pdf
(4): http://dsr.nii.ac.jp/rarebook/06/index.html.en
UPDATE: fixed link for Arete's face inspiration
submitted by Tatami-chan to fireemblem