'Napoleon' Trailer Suggests the Conqueror Fired Cannons at the Great Pyramids

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Jul. 11 2023, Published 10:57 a.m. ET

Hollywood has been chasing an adaptation of Napoleon's story for decades, and now, Apple, Ridley Scott, and Joaquin Phoenix have finally brought one to life. The first trailer for Napoleon, which is set to hit theaters later in 2023, just dropped. The trailer has got plenty of people excited to learn more about the life of one of the great figures in French history.

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Even though the trailer has left many people excited for the movie, it has also left some wondering whether everything depicted in the teaser footage is actual historical fact. Did Napoleon fire cannons at the Great Pyramids? Here's what we know.

Did Napoleon actually fire cannons at the Great Pyramids?

Perhaps the most obvious question many had after watching the trailer was whether Napoleon actually fired cannons at the Great Pyramids of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

While Napoleon lead an army into Egypt in 1798 (he wasn't Emperor yet at this point, just a general in the French army), and may have even fought a battle in sight of the pyramids, it seems unlikely that he actually tried to blow one up.

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Napoleon likely did visit the pyramids as part of his excursion, but someone probably would have noticed if the top of one of them had suddenly been blown to smithereens.

Instead, it seems the movie is taking some creative liberties, and perhaps even conflating his actual invasion of Egypt with the myth that his troops blew the nose off of the Sphynx during target practice. The shot of him shooting at the pyramids may be more of a metaphor, then.

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According to Polygon, Napoleon's actual trip to the pyramids involved him challenging his troops to a race to the top, and then marveling at the sheer number of stones that the pyramids made up. Napoleon reportedly calculated that those stones would build a 10 foot wall all the way around France, although that number may be in need of some independent verification.

Did Napoleon actually fight a great battle on ice?

In addition to the shots of Napoleon defacing the pyramids, there are also shots in the trailer of what appears to be a great battle fought by Napoleon on ice.

Although there isn't a battle known for this specifically, Napoleon is one of several famed conquerors who is well known for attempting to invade Russia. He found the terrain and the weather conditions so unbearable that they ultimately resulted in his ruin.

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Source: YouTube

The cold scenes in the trailer could be references to Napoleon's attempt to conquer Russia, and the way his forces deteriorated as he marched deeper into the unforgiving weather conditions of that country.

It's clear, though, that not everything in Napoleon will be historically accurate, and that's probably for the best.

The movie will likely give us one interpretation of who Napoleon Bonaparte was, and may make some curious about his rise to prominence and power. As one of history's great conquerors, there are few people whose lives could make for a more interesting story.

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