The French Army of the Orient 1798-1801

Napoleon's beloved 'Egyptians'

Yves Martin

The uniforms, organisation and equipment of Napoleon's French army in Egypt.
Date Published :
November 2017
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Reason to Revolution
Illustration :
32 pages of color illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781911512714
Pages : 160
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7 inches
Stock Status : Available


More than 200 years ago - under the inspiration and leadership of Bonaparte - a revolutionary French Army invaded Egypt, then part of the Ottoman Empire; this presence lasted beyond Bonaparte’s own departure and subsequent rise to power as First Consul. It ended with another invasion - this time by the British - and the repatriation in France of what was left of the 'Army of the Orient'. The birth of Egyptology; the rise of modern Egypt; the demise of the Ottoman Empire; and start of 'the great game' have all been often told and studied, but what is less well known is that as the French found themselves stranded in a foreign land - profoundly alien to them in culture and climate - they had to adapt to survive. Egypt was a proving ground for many officers and ordinary soldiers who were to rise to prominence during the Napoleonic period. Some of Napoleon’s future inner circle - like Davout, Savary and Lasalle - were first spotted by the young Bonaparte in Egypt, and although initially unplanned as such, it turned out to be the first attempt by the French to build a colony on the African continent. It especially led the French Army to adopt totally new clothing and equipment; to organise native units; and even to draft men from faraway Darfur into its own ranks. Drawing from a wealth of original primary material - much of it never published or even seen before - this study focuses on the French Army of the Orient and its organization, uniforms, equipment and daily life. It aims at providing a renewed and updated image of the French soldier, as told by the surviving archives, memoirs and rare contemporary iconography.

About The Author

Yves Martin was born in 1959 and has been passionate about history and the military ever since he can remember. Like so many others of his generation, Napoleon’s birth centennial in 1969 ignited his fascination for the 1792-1815 period. For the last 20 or so years, he has turned what used to be a simple hobby into a more serious endeavour. Amassing a collection of period prints and books - and digging through archives - he has become a regular contributor to French periodicals like Tradition and Gloire et Empire, and was one of the founders of the now-defunct Soldats Napoleoniens magazine. He is not focused only on the French Army, but also enjoys researching the allies and foes of France - especially the British and the Poles. Born into a family which had settled in Algeria in 1848, the French presence in Egypt became an obvious pet topic for him, as that very experience provided a blueprint for the later conquest and colonisation of Algeria. He currently resides in Paris, where he works as an executive for a large US high-tech corporation.


“I think this is a wonderful book, both as an introduction to, and an in-depth account of, this army. I can't wait for the British volume, and the prospect of a similar volume on the Turks fills me with joy.”

- Miniature Wargames

“ … a gem of a book …an essential book for anyone researching the Egyptian Campaign. The large number of uniform prints will make it very useful for wargamers and military miniatures painters. Highly Recommended.”

- Napoleon Series

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