With his own elaborate imperial court, with his family ensconced on thrones across the continent, and with his overthrow of several historic republics, Napoleon brought Europe to a pinnacle of monarchism.
In recent years historians have shown a renewed interest in court history. Hardly surprising, says Philip Mansel, as courts play a central role in understanding the past and maintain a critical importance in contemporary politics.
Once the classical world’s dominant port, by the early 19th century the city founded by Alexander the Great was seemingly in terminal decline. But the energy and vision of the Ottoman governor Muhammad Ali restored its fortunes and, ultimately, set Egypt on the path to independence, as Philip Mansel explains.