Today In History Dec. 2, 1804:  Coronation of Napoleon I

The coronation of Napoleon as Emperor of the French took place on Sunday December 2, 1804 (11 Frimaire, Year XIII according to the French Republican Calendar) at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It marked “the instantiation of modern empire” and was a “transparently masterminded piece of modern propaganda”

Napoleon wanted to establish legitimacy of his Imperial reign, with its new royal family and new nobility. Therefore, he designed a new coronation ceremony that was unlike the ceremony used for the kings of France. In the traditional coronation, kings underwent a ceremony of consecration (sacre) rather than a coronation; in consecration, anointment was conferred by the archbishop of Reims in Notre-Dame de Reims. Napoleon’s was a sacred ceremony held in the great cathedral in the presence of the Pope Pius VII. Napoleon brought together an assortment of different rites and customs, incorporating aspects of Carolingian tradition, the ancien régime and the French Revolution, all presented in sumptuous luxury. According to government tallies, the entire cost was over 8.5 million francs.[citation neede

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