Dear Readers: As a wrap-up to the Shrine’s homage to Poland this week, I want to thank Rik Fox for sharing his insights and perspectives. Please check out the CANTO TALK podcast: Polish Americans and US-Poland relations today . And because I can and will tie in Egypt to everything I do, I am delighted to share some information on one of Rik’s illustrious ancestors:
Sulkowski was a Polish captain in the French Revolutionary Army and friend and aide de camp to Napoleon Bonaparte. He he played an important role in Napoleon’s first Italian campaign and his efforts led to the capture of the Saint-George batteries. He was wounded at the battle of Arcole.
As my readers know from previous posts, I consider Napoleon’s most significant achievement to be his Egypt Expedition. By bringing artists and scientists along with the army, Napoleon opened up Egypt to the Western World. The publication of the expedition book, Description de l’Egypte, became a European style guide for decades (HISTORY GEEK ALERT – Check out this thesis discussing the importance of Napoleon’s approach).
Sulkowski went with Napoleon to Egypt. He was involved in the famous “Battle of the Pyramids”:
Sadly, things went down from there:
He died in the revolt of Cairo on 22 October 1798 and his body was given to the dogs (he was still suffering from wounds received a few weeks earlier). On hearing of his death Bonaparte showed remorse and, asked why he did not honour him more when he was alive, replied “On first meeting him, I saw in him a commander in chief”.
Rik indicated that Napoleon considered Sulkowski a potential rival. Sulkowski seems like he was a force-of-nature, rather like Rik himself. We look forward to chatting with Rik again on Canto Talk — and I would like to conclude with one of Rik’s favorite quotes:
“Do not go where the path may lead….go instead, where there is no path, and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson–
For further information check out: