Origin of phrase "death before dishonour"

by Guest312  |  9 years, 3 month(s) ago

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Origin of phrase "death before dishonour"

 Tags: Death, Dishonour, Origin, Phrase



  1. amomipais82
    The creed "Death Before Dishonor" is (sadly) a time-honored component of warfare among some nations.
        The very words are believed to have been the subtext of orders issued by Julius Caesar as he sent his legions into battle.  
        The following might be of added interest:

    Death Before Dishonor

    The scene is Boulogne, July 20, 1804. Napoleon had arrived to inspect the preparations for the invasion of Britain, to be carried out in newly-designed vessels that were a species of armed landing craft. The vessels were meant to carry large numbers of soldiers, but in calm weather only, as they were not terribly seaworthy. A naval exercise had been planned for the day, but because a violent storm was brewing, the officer in charge, Admiral Bruix, had canceled it. Napoleon is furious. The following is taken from Alan Schom's Trafalgar: Countdown to Victory:
    "Monsieur l'amiral, why haven't you carried out my orders?"

    "Sire, a terrible storm is brewing. His Majesty can see for himself," he said as he looked up at a grey, overcast sky, hearing the rumble of thunder far out at sea. "Do you want me to risk the lives of so many brave men needlessly?"

    "Monsieur, I have given you an order. Once more I am going to ask you why you have not executed it? The consequences concern me and me alone. Carry out this order!"

    "Sire," replied an erect and defiant Admiral Bruix, "I shall not obey it".

    "Monsieur", snapped an angry Emperor, "You are insolent!" and he stepped forward raising his riding crop as if to strike the Admiral.

    "Sire, mind what you do!", Bruix replied, taking one step back and placing his right hand firmly on the hilt of his sword. The aides and staff officers froze in their tracks, exhilarated no doubt at the extremely rare sight of someone contradicting and defying Napoleon Bonaparte. Only Alexandre Berthier had ever done so, and then not in public.

    Moments passed and then, flinging down his riding crop, the Emperor said, "Rear-Admiral Magon, you will carry out this order this very instant. As for you, Monsieur", he said, turning to Bruix once again, so angry that he could barely speak, "you will leave Boulogne within twenty-four hours and retire to Holland. Go!"
    This account was published many years later by Napoleon's valet, Louis Constant. Over 200 men perished by drowning in the ensuing exercise.

    I hope this is helpful.

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