On This Day in Napoleonic History – 21 July 1798

5Battle of the Pyramids

The Battle of The Pyramids was fought by the French army during the Egyptian campaign against 6000 Mamluks under the command of Murad Bey on the left bank of the Nile. The Great Pyramid of Giza, the tallest building in the world until the 20th century, was clearly visible from the battlefield.

In his order of the day, Napoleon said: ‘Soldiers, you came to this country to save the inhabitants from barbarism, to bring civilisation to the Orient and subtract this beautiful part of the world from the domination of England. From the top of those pyramids 40 centuries are contemplating you.’

The battle ended in a decisive French victory. After a number of failed attacks, the Mamluks escaped and everything was over in two hours. Following the Battle of the Pyramids, Napoleon became known as the Lord of Fire among the Egyptians.

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