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One of the most interesting questions about Napoleon is, perhaps, why such a brilliant general allowed himself to undertake the disastrous Russian campaign. Tolstoy's version depends on his idea that Mother Russia was protected by fate and her snowy vastness. He also thought that individuals had little control over events. In Russia Against Napoleon the historian Dominic Lieven shows that the young Czar Alexander and his close advisers understood warfare in Russia more than Napoleon did. They saw through Napoleon but he misunderstood them. While Napoleon may have been a battle­field genius, Alexander showed greater diplomatic skill in gathering the coalition that eventually defeated Bonaparte. That was no easy matter, given the fear of both the French and the Russians that prevailed in German lands.

The Russians persuaded the Prussians and the unwilling Austrians to join them by showing thatNapoleon could be defeated through their management of the long and deliberate retreat in 1812, which had lured the French deep into Russia, far from their supply lines, and exposed them to constant attacks on their flanks. This retreat had needed complex administration in the provisioning of food and, above all, horses, the availability of which, as Lieven shows, could win or lose a war. Success required a cruelly efficient conscription system, which Russians accepted because of the trust between sovereign, elite and people, which was at the heart of the Russian autocratic system. This trust explains how Alexander's regime survived even after abandoning Moscow. When the Russians entered Paris, however, within hours Napoleon's supporters fled. His closest relatives vanished and Prince Talleyrand began negotiating the succession.

To Lieven Alexander was the man who “more than any other individual, was responsible for Napoleon’s overthrow.” Lieven called the Tsar’s Guards “the finest-looking troops in Europe.”

The Russian Imperial army did party and drink, have courtly intrigues and battlefield manoeuvrings. What helped them excel was the Russian ability to appraise the finely balanced strategic alternatives that presented themselves as soon as they decided on invasion.

This crucial decision was based on the understanding that if French power were eradicated, Russia would face new enemies in its place. Should they stop at the borders of the empire in 1813 and negotiate a new peace with the French, which much of the Russian military elite wanted, or force exhausted troops to march as far across Europe as it took to topple Napoleon? This was what Alexander wanted and he persuaded his unwilling generals.

If France's revolutionary armies represented modernity, Russia stood for empire.Russia at the time showed how the empire could use its resources rationally when attacked. Russia could raise armies faster than revolutionary France could and Russian equipment and provisioning matched those of the French. The French communicated in their own language, but the Russians understood captured letters in French. Russian generals could communicate in several languages — including Latvian, which helped with confidentiality. Alexander's charismatic personality also attracted fleeing Frenchmen to help bring about his downfall. Russia's intelligence operation was far superior.

Lieven shows how devastating exhaustion was. Prussia’s elderly commander, Blücher, at one point hallucinated about giving birth to an elephant. He recovered enough to be carried towards Paris in full view of his troops, wearing a lady’s green silk hat to shade his eyes.

Such stories... no wonder we're still fascinated today.

Also posted here: www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d5160eac-14…


Activity


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One of the most interesting questions about Napoleon is, perhaps, why such a brilliant general allowed himself to undertake the disastrous Russian campaign. Tolstoy's version depends on his idea that Mother Russia was protected by fate and her snowy vastness. He also thought that individuals had little control over events. In Russia Against Napoleon the historian Dominic Lieven shows that the young Czar Alexander and his close advisers understood warfare in Russia more than Napoleon did. They saw through Napoleon but he misunderstood them. While Napoleon may have been a battle­field genius, Alexander showed greater diplomatic skill in gathering the coalition that eventually defeated Bonaparte. That was no easy matter, given the fear of both the French and the Russians that prevailed in German lands.

The Russians persuaded the Prussians and the unwilling Austrians to join them by showing thatNapoleon could be defeated through their management of the long and deliberate retreat in 1812, which had lured the French deep into Russia, far from their supply lines, and exposed them to constant attacks on their flanks. This retreat had needed complex administration in the provisioning of food and, above all, horses, the availability of which, as Lieven shows, could win or lose a war. Success required a cruelly efficient conscription system, which Russians accepted because of the trust between sovereign, elite and people, which was at the heart of the Russian autocratic system. This trust explains how Alexander's regime survived even after abandoning Moscow. When the Russians entered Paris, however, within hours Napoleon's supporters fled. His closest relatives vanished and Prince Talleyrand began negotiating the succession.

To Lieven Alexander was the man who “more than any other individual, was responsible for Napoleon’s overthrow.” Lieven called the Tsar’s Guards “the finest-looking troops in Europe.”

The Russian Imperial army did party and drink, have courtly intrigues and battlefield manoeuvrings. What helped them excel was the Russian ability to appraise the finely balanced strategic alternatives that presented themselves as soon as they decided on invasion.

This crucial decision was based on the understanding that if French power were eradicated, Russia would face new enemies in its place. Should they stop at the borders of the empire in 1813 and negotiate a new peace with the French, which much of the Russian military elite wanted, or force exhausted troops to march as far across Europe as it took to topple Napoleon? This was what Alexander wanted and he persuaded his unwilling generals.

If France's revolutionary armies represented modernity, Russia stood for empire.Russia at the time showed how the empire could use its resources rationally when attacked. Russia could raise armies faster than revolutionary France could and Russian equipment and provisioning matched those of the French. The French communicated in their own language, but the Russians understood captured letters in French. Russian generals could communicate in several languages — including Latvian, which helped with confidentiality. Alexander's charismatic personality also attracted fleeing Frenchmen to help bring about his downfall. Russia's intelligence operation was far superior.

Lieven shows how devastating exhaustion was. Prussia’s elderly commander, Blücher, at one point hallucinated about giving birth to an elephant. He recovered enough to be carried towards Paris in full view of his troops, wearing a lady’s green silk hat to shade his eyes.

Such stories... no wonder we're still fascinated today.

Also posted here: www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d5160eac-14…


and the next object is... A Shirley Poppy! by aegiandyad
and the next object is... A Shirley Poppy!
It's been well over a century now since a horticultural vicar in what is currently part of Croydon bred this delicate strain of picotee poppies. Actually, Shirley poppies come in a large variety of colours from white, through many shades of pink including salmon pink, to deep crimson.

Er, this is a cross eye viewable stereoscopic pair, by the way. And now, a song... from BLOSSOM TOES! www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO4Jj6…
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Sumer Is Icumen In by aegiandyad
Sumer Is Icumen In
www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMCA9n… England's first recorded [only in the sense of 'written down'] folk song!
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A couple of week ago I watched  a new version of Hamlet, with popular Japanese actor Tatsuya Fujiwara in the lead. Fujiwara made his stage debut at the Barbican, London, under the direction of Ninagawa in 1997 and six years later became the youngest Hamlet in Japanese theatrical history, aged just 21. The pair reunited to celebrate the director’s 80th birthday celebrations. Yukio Ninagawa again directed his best-loved play, which he says ‘deals with the world’s vastness and depth’.

I (mrs aegian) was lucky enough to go twice and both times it felt like going back to another time, so effective was the dry ice in making the stage and auditorium misty. (That must have cost a bomb.)  From the first time we see the ghost the tension is high. Shakespeare had wanted to make his ghost memorable. Ghosts had been big attractions to theatres in the sixteenth century and Shakespeare wanted his to be the best, so as to attract more customers. The old King Hamlet was given a riveting role, whereas ghosts had usually been seen far away on ramparts and had not dominated several scenes. The Japanese soldiers were tense and wired, the ghost and his huge helmet seemed like something out of a Rembrandt painting so atmospheric was the staging.

The court scenes were played as if the characters were already in hell, so red their surroundings and their rich red robes, weighing the king and queen down. The production made the audience understand that while these over fed people were carousing and drinking Fortinbras was on the way to take the kingdom of Denmark over. Claudius and Gertrude are so out of touch that we can see they will be easily overthrown. Fujiwara played Hamlet broodily. We could see that he had understood how much danger his country was under and yet he had to be sure that the ghost's message was correct and Claudius had killed his father. Since he could never be certain he devised the mouseplay. THis production's play within a play was truly outstanding. The dumb show showed Japanese players miming the killing of Claudius in his orchard. We see that Claudius is not watching because he is kissing the queen. But then the same killing is enacted by Noh actors, who sit stacked up on several layers, coming down the layers or steps to enact their part. When Claudius shouts because he has realised they are depicting how he murdered his brother, all the Noh actors start running in  slo-mo, their Japanese costumes mesmerising the audience as they slowly dance off the stage. In fact this piece was almost choreographed, so skillfully do the characters run on and off stage. Rosencranzt and Guildenstren seemed to do little else than run on and off stage, whenever Claudius summoned them.

The sword fight was a masterly dance, with Hamlet and Laertes fencing as if for their lives. Hamlet wore a long Japanese robe, belted at the hips and miss aegian assured me he was very sexy as he cut and thrust against Laertes's parrying tactics. What most lifted the production above most of the others I've seen was the brooding menace from the setting and the acting. When Hamlet spoke about the 'bourne from which no traveller returned', he not only meant it but showed it because the whole weight of the drama was about people who were trying hard to hold on, survive, or come to justice, as in Hamlet's case, because the eternal, the unknowable, the terrifying eternity that crowded round them as they bumbled through their lives, was real and morever pressed in on them. Hamlet had admired Fortinbras and chose him as his successor to the crown. When Fortinbras conquers the land and walks into the castle as Hamlet is dying, his blue flags burst in on the scene and he, as a manga character, calmly walks through the set.

One of the days I saw the production I went outside and saw a small crowd of Japanese teenagers waiting by the stage door. I started talking to Hariko who had come from Japan to see Hamlet in London. I was amazed and she said Fujiwara is such a big star in Japan that many others had also flown out specially to see him. She worked as a telephone operator outside Tokyo. The previous evening she had watched Phantom of the Opera. Suddenly the stage door opened and Tatsuya Fujimara walked past, dressed in a superb pale leather jacket that matched his golden hair. He seemed to breeze past, paying no attention to the excitement around him, except to repeat, "Thank you very much." He seemed to bow briefly before me, repeating his thanks and  in the next instant he climbed into his waiting taxi. I don't suppose he noticed or saw me at all but I like to think he did mean to bow and say thanks. After he was gone I mimed reading books as I explained to Hariko that when I was a teenager I had been too busy studying to be a fan, so I had to do it now, much later. She seemed to share the joke.

deviantID

aegiandyad
Writes as 'aegian' in FT online
Artist
United Kingdom
We are passionate artists and art lovers with wide ranging tastes and interests. Our long range project is the creation of 'aegian' as an aesthetic hermaphrodite, trying to express the many facets of their being. It has since emerged that we are a couple with four grown up children each of whom has contributed to this joint enterprise

While his better half prefers to remain mysterious and spends most of her time writing our journal entries, Mr A admits to having a London degree in Botany & Zoology and owning a succession of film and digital cameras. I am the man behind the lens, so there may not be many images of me submitted. We love beauty and I search for it amongst the mundane backgrounds of everyday reality as well as at fabulous gardens like the ones seen in some gallery pictures. We correspond with the Guardian as well as the Financial Times.

There will be no puckish, looped video 'web cam'; no 'fake' ID. If you want to see picture's, then this
The Revented Intagliated Sichultian Lededje Y'breq by aegiandyad is Mrs a* and this Another Green Man Self Portrait by aegiandyad is me, or was it this one Self Portrait As 'Green Man' by aegiandyad /

NO, it's this one An Aegiandyad Dogwood Dryad by aegiandyad .


Official DAA Supporter stamp by Dark-Arts-Asylum
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:iconlecristal:
lecristal Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Pink Heart by KmyGraphic
thank you my friend for the fav's
Reply
:iconyosoylacazadora:
YoSoyLaCazadora Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2015  Student General Artist
Thanx you for llama =)
Reply
:icontyr1213:
Tyr1213 Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the Llama, friend!
Reply
:iconvelvetromica:
Velvetromica Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the Llama =)
Reply
:iconeintoern:
EintoeRn Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
:iconbigfav4plz::icondragonidleplz:

So many thanks again :wave:
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:iconornamentalart:
ornamentalArt Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015
THX for Llama...an important part of life 
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:icontehlookingglass:
TehLookingGlass Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thank you a lot for the llama! :)
Reply
:iconlien:
lien Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2015
Just to let you know I putting in a formal request for more MG, if you are so inclined.
Reply
:iconaegiandyad:
aegiandyad Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2015
Still working on it...
Reply
:iconlien:
lien Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2015
:thumbsup:
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