Faculty Spotlight

Paul Treherne taking class

Dr. Paul Treherne

One of the distinguishing characteristics of St. Stephen’s School is its world-class faculty. Our liberal arts high school selects from amongst the best and brightest professionals in their field to inspire, develop and transform the potential of each student. Award-winning playwrights, artists, poets, authors, musicians, researchers, classicists, linguists, archaeologists and historians comprise St. Stephen’s’s diverse faculty.

Eighty-three percent of our teachers have advanced degrees, and twenty percent have also earned a PhD. Faculty-wide professional development allows teachers to keep up with educational trends and a year-long sabbatical program, unique to the School, offers faculty an opportunity to enhance their mastery of a given field. This approach of cultivating lifelong learning in both students and teachers creates a stimulating academic environment that when coupled with real-life experience, enables our faculty to offer the highest level of expertise in the classroom.

St. Stephen’s is pleased to announce a new series that focuses on the extraordinary accomplishments of its faculty.  The 2018-19 FACULTY SPOTLIGHT celebrates Dr. Paul Treherne, an adept archaeologist and historian, Dr. Treherne returned this academic year after his sabbatical which took him to India, Nepal, Tibet, and other countries. Inspired by his research and travels, he is currently writing a book in addition to his teaching duties and role as History Department Chair and Faculty Trustee. We are happy to introduce the first chapter of Dr. Treherne’s book that he has agreed to share with the St. Stephen’s community. You will be able to read the next installment online and here in The Cortile magazine.

A graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, you may learn about Dr. Treherne’s extensive and varied professional experience, including awards, honors, publications, papers and qualifications below.

St. Stephen’s congratulates Dr. Treherne for increasing his sphere of excellence and continuing to set the highest expectations for colleagues and students alike.

Education and Employment

2018-. Faculty Representative, Board of Trustees, St Stephens School, Rome
2012-15/2016-19. Chair of History Department, St Stephen’s School, Rome (Sabbatical, 2017-18)
2012-17. Trips Director, St Stephen’s School, Rome
2011-15. Boarding Faculty, St Stephen’s School, Rome
2010-19. Teacher of IB History, St Stephen’s School, Rome (Sabbatical, 2017-18)
2000-9. Consultant, Trip Designer and Board Member, Alternative Travel Group (ATG), Oxford
2002. Research and Operations Manager, ATG-Oxford
1997-2000. Member of Congregation, Oxford University
1997-2000. Junior Research Fellow, Trinity College, Oxford University
1997-2000. Member of Governing Body, Trinity College, Oxford University
1997. Oxford University, Master of Arts
1994-7. Trinity College, Cambridge University, Doctor of Philosophy in Archaeology
1993-4. Trinity College, Cambridge University, Master of Philosophy in Archaeology, with Distinction
1989-93. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA): Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Summa cum laude

Awards, Grants and Honours
Other Work Experience
Publications and Papers
Stone bridge

Part One: Exile from a Kingdom Lost

'In that first time, out of Olympian heaven,
Saturn came here in flight from Jove in arms,
An exile from a kingdom lost; he brought
These unschooled men together from the hills
Where they were scattered, gave them laws, and chose
The name of Latium, from his latency
Or safe concealment in this countryside.
In his reign were the golden centuries
Men tell of still, so peacefully he ruled,
Till gradually a meaner, tarnished age
Came on with fever of war and lust of gain.’

- Virgil, Aeneid (VIII.423-32), trans. Fitzgerald

An extraordinary event occurred in the early days of 1828, on the barren coastal plains twenty-five leagues north of Rome. It happened on an estate belonging to the Prince of Canino, birthplace of Pope Paul III Farnese. A tenant farmer was ploughing the stony soil on the field of Cavalupo, not far from the Ponte Badia castle, when the earth gave way beneath him. Later, when the story had spread, people said the ground swallowed him up along with his team of white oxen - yoke, plough and all. Whatever the truth, it must have given the poor peasant a fright. But when he rose and brushed himself off, fear soon changed to wonder. For in the dusty light, he saw that he had stumbled into an underground chamber, an old tomb in fact of the sort now and then unearthed in Papal territories. They were legendary in peasant folklore, these graves, and robbers called tombaroli braved the ghosts of the dead for the promise of precious stones, metal or even gold. But lying about the farmer that day were only the remains of broken vases - ancient Etruscan vases it was later confirmed.1

When he had recovered, the man went to fetch help and in time word made its way back to the Prince’s household in Musignano. The lord himself was away at the time, but two of his agents were at home and they took matters into their own hands. They rode out to the Ponte Badia estate, where they quietly set about burrowing for more loot. Several boxes of treasure were soon unearthed and secretly sold to an unsuspecting collector. The landowners were only alerted to the value of what had been discovered by the swift action of a local antiquarian, Vincenzo Campanari. The culprits were denounced at the Tribunal and formal permission requested from the pontifical authorities to begin excavations on the estate. In October, after the harvest had been brought in, the farmhands assembled at the castle beside its bridge and, under the Princesses’ supervision, drove their spades into the soft earth.

The results soon exceeded her wildest expectations. She dispatched a letter to her husband on the other side of Italy, telling him to drop his affairs and return home at once. Within a few months, several thousand painted vases had been unearthed. Over the next few decades, more than fifteen-thousand Etruscan tombs were opened on the estate, yielding countless urns, bronzes, stone sarcophagi, gold jewelry and all told the largest cache of ancient objects from a single site anywhere in the Mediterranean.

The city of Vulci had lay beneath the soil for the better part of a thousand years. Once it had been a flourishing Etruscan metropolis, a port of call for merchant galleys from the lower Rhone to the bay of Syracuse and isthmus of Corinth.2 Such notoriety also made it a magnet for Rome, whose expansion in the third century B.C. brought it into conflict with the city-states of Etruria. Vulci held out longer than many of her neighbours, finally succumbing after a bitter struggle in 280 B.C. Two hundred years later, she had sunk to a provincial municipium like any other in the empire, with typical Roman street plan, thermal baths, triumphal arch and stone temple. The city lingered on as the seat of a local bishopric, though serious decline set in with the barbarian incursions of the early fifth-century A.D. and, like many coastal towns in Etruria, she was abandoned by the tenth. Slowly consumed by weeds or malaria, laid waste by Saracen raiders and deserted for higher ground, the place slipped from living memory.3

Even after its crowded cemeteries began to be unearthed, it was some time before the city’s identity was discovered. The ancient sources were almost silent about the matter. The Prince himself thought it to be the long-lost capital of Vetulonia, mentioned by Greek geographers as lying somewhere near the sea. But he was unique in his opinion. The name Vulci, scarcely remembered a few years before, was later confirmed by inscriptions found on site. Soon it was on every tongue, the subject of polite conversation as much as scholarly speculation. There was reason to believe the city was one of the legendary Twelve of Etruria, conjured from a plough furrow as if the Etruscan augurs themselves had returned. But most of all, the site captured the public imagination for the enormous treasure it yielded, surpassing in some respects even the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

When the tombs came to light, almost nothing of the ancient city could be seen above the empty moorland, apart from the great arched causeway over the Fiora river. The bridge was erected by Roman hands upon Etruscan foundations, and originally carried an aqueduct, whose thermal waters draped a curtain of long stalactites into the chasm. The broken chanel was later diverted to fill the moat of a medieval castle, named like the bridge for the Benedictine Abbey of San Mamiliano ad pontem, first attested in 809.4 Over the centuries, the bridge had never lost strategic or commercial importance, lying as it did on the only crossing of the Fiora river, gateway to the Tuscan interior. Today it stands alone, a ‘tragic absurdity’ someone called it, spanning the two sides of the deep gorge where no road arrives or leaves, suspended in the middle of desolation for miles around.5

In 1828, the principality of Canino no longer belonged to the house of Farnese. After the demise of that family’s fortunes almost two centuries earlier, the estate had reverted to the Apostolic Chamber. It was governed on the Vatican’s behalf by a series of absentee landlords, most of whom lived in distant Rome. At a time when enlightened rulers, like Pietro Leopoldo of Tuscany, were breaking up large estates and reclaiming marshland along the Tyrrhenian coast, the whole Maremman district of the Papal States was divided between some one hundred-fifty landholders, together retaining an almost feudal grip on the region.

The system of sharecropping, which flourished across the frontier in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and had made it the ‘garden of Italy,’ was impracticable in the Papal territories where the tenant farmer was ‘unable to live on half the produce and...consequently in perpetual debt to his landlord.’6 Much of the land was given over to livestock bred for the Roman market. The head of cattle could be seen driven into the city by rough looking men mounted on horseback and armed with a goad, the characteristic pugnolo of the Roman herdsman.

This was a far cry from the rich fields and fertile pastures of Etruria described in the ancient sources. In 1828, many people thought this desolation had been brought on by centuries of Roman neglect, reaching right back to the conquest of Vulci and other cities in the Etruscan league. Once the granary of Rome, Etruria was circumvented by a series of consular roads, like the Via Aurelia, which passed near Vulci but did not revive the city’s fortunes.

By the late empire, or so it was argued, the extensive drainage systems that the Etruscans themselves once set in place, had fallen into decay. Vast latifundia estates, ‘arrogantly’ abandoned to slave labour by absentee Roman landlords, reverted from arable land to forest and marsh.7 River mouths silted up, soaking the coastline and wide inland valleys with stagnant lagoons where wild oxen roamed and the mosquito bred. Slowly the Roman province of ‘Etruria Marittima’ sank into Maremma, a byword for desolation and disease. So it had been described in the Inferno of Dante, who likened the coast near Vulci to a dense underworld forest entangled with spiny leaves and thorny branches.

No thick, rough, scrubby home like this exists -

not even between Cecina and Corneto -

for those wild beasts that hate the run of farmlands.8

Lucien Bonaparte
Lucien Bonaparte

In response to this unhealthy climate, a regime of transhumance grew up which lasted well into the nineteenth-century. As the summer drew on, cattle were driven from the coastal plains to Apennine pastures further east. In the other direction, poor peasants from the Abruzzo and Marches came down to harvest the fields under the scorching sun, bedding down by night on the damp earth from which a low heavy vapour rose at sunset. In those days, the source of the ‘marsh fever’ was still a mystery. ‘Even the strongest and healthiest are often struck down in a single week,’ John Murray observed in 1843. ‘Before the harvest is gathered in, hundreds of hardy mountaineers have perished on the plain, and those who survive either die on their return home or bear the mark of the pestilence for life.’9

As soon as the harvest was over, the immense Campagna north of Rome was ‘utterly deserted.’ Afterward the land was left to pasture for an indefinite time, ‘the farmer seldom allowing for more than one wheat crop in four years.’10 He depended on the rudest agricultural implements and techniques, crippled by heavy duties on articles of foreign manufacture. Even the simplest improvements, already common in other countries, were prohibited. It was thus many thought, on the eve of Revolution, that the desolation they saw round Vulci was perpetuated by the clerical administration. The pontiff in Rome exploited his far-flung territories like the despotic emperors of old.

The latest Prince of Canino had received his title as a feudal gift from Pope Pius VII in 1814. He for one was not content simply to reside in Rome, but determined to make a living on his land. Eight thousand hectares of poorly drained soil buffeted by wet wind from the Tyrrhenian, it had never been all that fruitful. But he and his wife, Alexandrine de Bleschamp, settled down to the task with natural aplomb. They had come from Paris and brought many fine furnishings with which to decorate their villa at Musignano. After all, he had once been offered the crown of Etruria, but spurned it out of love for his wife and equal disdain for his brother. He was Lucien Bonaparte, and his brother had been Emperor.


When Napoleon entered the Council of Five Hundred, on the nineteenth Brumaire (November), 1799, Lucien had been there.11 The young general came with an armed bodyguard and turmoil broke out in the Orangerie of Saint-Claude. Seeing his intentions, several councillors shouted for his arrest, and some rushed forward. The grenadiers closed ranks, ushering their bruised commander out of the chamber. Pale and badly shaken, the veteran of Lodi and the Pyramids seemed, for once, to have lost his nerve. Soldiers looked on in confusion, as deputies inside clamoured for his arrest and imprisonment. It was left to Lucien, president of the assembly at only twenty-four, to rescue his brother and salvage what was left of their bloodless coup.12

He was, Napoleon himself later said, the ablest of his brothers but the one who caused him the most grief.13 By the time the Emperor was exiled to the island of Elba, just up the Tuscan coast, Lucien had already been in Canino for several years. He had escaped his older brother’s ire and fled with his family to the Pope whom Napoleon later abducted and imprisoned. Relations between the Bonapartes were never good, even at best of times. As a boy, Lucien said Napoleon was insufferable, ‘prone to anger for the slightest observations and never willing to broach the least resistance.’14

The younger Bonaparte was a more sensitive soul. He was largely self-educated, for one, and once destined for an ecclesiastical career like his great uncle and namesake, the abbot Luciano. He was a theatrical talent and the genuine radical of the family. At the outbreak of the Revolution, in 1789, he became an outspoken member of the local Jacobin club. A natural orator at only fourteen, he was capable of swaying a crowd, boasting of his ‘courage to commit tyrannicide’ and ‘die with a dagger in my hand.’15 After his family fled Corsica for the south of France, in 1793, Lucien was put in charge of a military depot near Marseilles and elected head of the local revolutionary committee. That December, when Napoleon led his artillery bataillon to storm rebel-held Toulon, Lucien reported with joy the mass bayoneting of men, women and children, signing his name, ‘Brutus Buonaparte, citizen sans-culottes.’16

As revolutionary ‘Terror’ enveloped France, Lucien was caught between his political ideals, his sense of human dignity and loyalty to his family. The Bonaparte clan found an untimely ally in Augustin Robespierre, whose older brother Lucien would later denounce as ‘the most cruel hypocrite, and the greatest coward of them all.’17 Yet, his own Jacobin credentials were enough to land him in prison, after Robespierre and the party leadership went to the scaffold. He probably would have perished in that crowded dungeon, still stained with the blood of recent victims, had Napoleon not secured his release.18

In this turbulent era, Lucien also married the illiterate daughter of his innkeeper, Christine Boyer, without his family’s knowledge. Napoleon was furious, but eventually disarmed by the young lady’s charm. She bore her husband two daughters, only suddenly to die in 1800 whilst pregnant with the third. Beside himself with grief, Lucien stood vigil at her tomb for an entire month, until Napoleon called him back to Paris.

In his absence, Lucien’s enemies had been conspiring against him. Joseph Fouché, the notorious chief of police, objected to the favour shown the younger Bonaparte, whom Napoleon had made Minister of the Interior for his role in the Brumaire. Earlier that year, Lucien had rigged the results of a plebiscite on the new constitution which delivered a landslide vote of approval for Napoleon’s government.19 Now, the chief of police showed the First Consul a subversive pamphlet allegedly circulated by his brother, entitled ‘Parallel between Caesar, Cromwell, Monck and Bonaparte.’ Far from the republican diatribes Lucien had written in his youth, the libel was a clever play at increasing the First Consul’s power. It was a risky gambit, one that reflected Lucien’s ambitions and the pivotal role he played in his brother’s councils at this time. Napoleon feigned outrage, though he probably helped draft the document himself.20 Lucien was dismissed from his ministerial post and spirited away as French ambassador to Spain.  

In Madrid, Lucien’s charm soon won over the Spanish royal family and their favourite minister, Manuel de Godoy, queen Maria Luisa’s lover. Together, the two men sealed the most important alliance between their countries in a generation. On return to Paris, Lucien brought back a fortune in uncut Brazilian diamonds and priceless ‘Old Master’ paintings, amassed as gifts while in Spain. Napoleon disapproved of his brother’s use of public office for private gain, but Lucien was now the richest member of his family.21 Upon this and other successes, he was made senator of the Republic and grand officer of the Legion of Honor in 1802. The next year he embarked on reassembling the dispersed French Academy and himself took a seat. Still a young man, he was already famous, with an auspicious future. In the end, however, it was a chance encounter with Alexandrine de Bleschamp, the widow of Hippolyte Jouberthon, that determined the course of his life. A secret liaison ensued, leading to a child and a church wedding. As before nothing was said to the rest of the family, least of all his irascible brother.

When he secretly married the widow Jouberthon, intending to break the news gently to Napoleon, Lucien had no idea that he was foiling plans already hatched for him. As ambassador to the Bourbon court in Madrid, Lucien himself had sealed an accord that conferred the title ‘King of Etruria’ upon the Spanish monarch’s son-in-law, heir to the old Farnese Duchy of Parma in Italy.22 When the young Louis suddenly died of epilepsy in Florence, in May 1803, Napoleon saw an opportunity.

Bonaparte had a special interest in Etruria. In his younger years he had personally led the Revolutionary Army to a series of victories which annexed or subjugated large portions of Italy to France, but two prizes had eluded him: the Papal States, spreading north from Rome toward the Adriatic, and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, an outlying province of the Habsburg Empire. Both laid claim to the ancient lands of the Etruscans and both were icons of absolutism from which many ordinary Italians hoped the French would liberate them.                

Before taking Milan in 1796, Napoleon had addressed his Republican phalanxes, exhorting them that there remained much to do: ‘The ashes of the conquerors of Tarquin are still trampled by the assassins of Basseville.’23 Hugo de Basseville was a French agent who had been lynched three years earlier in Rome. Papal troops had not interfered to protect him, nor the Pope to punish his murderers. Napoleon’s words, which likened the pontiff directly to the despotic Etruscan Kings of old, caused panic in Rome.

Pius VI sought to appease Napoleon, but after the French ambassador was also killed in 1798, the Revolutionary Army marched upon the city and entered it unopposed, proclaiming the Republic of Rome and demanding the Pope renounce his temporal authority. Refusing, Pius was taken prisoner, escorted to Siena and thence to the Certosa near Florence. When France declared war on Tuscany, he was removed by long journey through northern Italy to Valence, on the Rhone, where he died soon after his arrival. A few years later, Florence itself was occupied by French troops and the Grand Duke Ferdinand, son of the Habsburg Emperor, forced to make way for the Bourbon prince of Parma.

Now that King Louis had died, and his Spanish wife, the infanta María Luisa, was left alone in Florence with her newborn son, it occurred to Napoleon to orchestrate a dynastic wedding between the widow and his younger brother, thereby unifying Tuscany more solidly to France. He suggested the idea to Lucien, who not breathing a word of his own marriage to Alexandrine a few days earlier, confessed no particular love for the ‘short, ugly and ungracious’ Queen of Etruria.24

Soon after, Napoleon received an official letter announcing Lucien’s civil union and the birth of a son. The First Consul was thrown into an immediate and violent rage. He had a particular dislike for the beautiful and seductive madame Jouberthon, a cultivated woman whose knowledge of poetry, literature and the arts may have intimidated him. He offered Lucien a choice between loyalty and love, allegedly uttering the words, ‘Tout pour Lucien non marié, rien pour Lucien marié.’25 Despite attempts at reconciliation by their mother and older brother, Joseph, Lucien responded by abandoning Paris for Italy, in 1804, under an assumed name. The same year, Napoleon disposed with the pretence of First Consul and adopted the title Emperor. At the same time, he had the senate issue a proclamation that excluded the younger Bonaparte and his heirs ever after from any rights of succession within the empire. For Lucien, it seemed, there was no turning back.

After sojourning for a spell near Sutri, Lucien and his family won the protection of the new Pope, Pius VII. The pontiff was warmly disposed to the younger Bonaparte for his role in the recent Concordat with Napoleon. Lucien and his family settled into the Palazzo Lancellotti in Rome, hosted by his maternal uncle and minister plenipotentiary to the Holy See, Joseph Fesch. The good natured prelate, whom Lucien once followed into the seminary, had arrived in the city as an officer in Napoleon’s army but traded his boots for a cardinal’s hat. ‘From a pillager of the church, he had become one of its pillars,’ quipped the poet, Chateaubriand.26 The former love rival and friend of Lucien worked as Fesch’s secretary, from a cramped room on the top floor of his palace on Via dei Coronari.

The attic window looked out over the ruddy rooftops and cupolas of Rome. The city in which the exiled family made their new home was a gorgeous but decadent place, shrunk behind its ancient walls like the ruins of Tyre or Babylon, Chateaubriand mused, and marooned in a sea of desolation which the poet likened to a biblical desert.27 It was a city far from revolutionary Paris, where the ancien régime lived on in the weary paternalism of the Catholic church and a feudal nobility still couched in its ancient privileges. The traumas of the Napoleonic invasions had shaken off the last cosmopolitan refinements of the Grand Tour. Street brawls and vendetta killings were almost a daily occurrence, as were the saints’ feasts that were the bread and circuses of the Catholic Church.

During carnival week, Barbary horses were raced bareback through the city streets. Masked balls were held in the frescoed salons of Cardinal Fesch’s palace, where Lucien and Alexandrine befriended powerful and cultivated churchmen, like Ercole Consalvi, Cardinal Secretary of State, who had led negotiations over the Concordat in Paris, in 1801. The house was also frequented by leading artists, among them Canova, who was just beginning work on his marble statue of the reclining Venus, sculpted in the likeness of Lucien’s sister, Pauline Borghese.28

In Rome, the couple found a life befitting their station, one that had been impossible in Paris. Lucien soon purchased a palace of his own on the corner of Via Condotti, near the Spanish Steps, where he could hang his priceless gallery of Renaissance and Baroque paintings. The collection was arranged in fifteen rooms of the Palazzo Nuñez (now Torlonia), in Via Bocca di Leone. 29 He had a small theatre constructed on the upper floor in which artists and aristocrats in his circle acted out the parts in his own tragedies. The same year, he bought from the Apostolic Chamber the Villa Rufinella, a former Jesuit retreat high in the Alban hills above Frascati, set among parkland of holm oaks, cypresses and umbrella pine. There, like Roman patricians of old, he found refuge for his literary and artistic pursuits, collecting ancient marbles and helping excavate the buried city of Tusculum, nearby.30

By 1808, Lucien was also in possession of the old Farnese feud at Canino. The rambling property included the Badia fortress beside its bridge, as well as ‘a kind of manor house formed from the remains of the old castle’ at the lower end of Canino itself; ‘but this was small, very much neglected and badly distributed,’ so Lucien set about remodelling it to receive his family, who moved there by the end of the year.31 The entire estate had cost him 100,000 scudi.

Lucien threw himself into the role of landlord, riding about the estate in a chaise de poste, hunting rifle in hand and his dogs at his heel. ‘Dressed in a coarse woolen coat and thick shoes, whole days were passed in visiting his domain, and superintending the workmen who worked on various parts of it.’32 He dedicated himself to agricultural improvements, clearing abandoned olive groves, laying out extensive vineyards and experimenting with cotton production. The farm provided much needed income from grain, hay, timber and chestnuts, in addition to meat and cheese shipped from the tiny harbour of Montalto di Castro, nearby. Lucien even imported iron ore from the island of Elba, in order to reopen the foundry at Canino ‘that had existed from time immemorial.’33 When the cold blast furnaces were lit again, and glowed against the dark, smoke-filled sky, it seemed as if life was restored to the mineral-rich veins of old Etruria. In the evenings, Lucien wrote poetry and settled accounts.

On fine days, the whole family made excursions into the neighbouring countryside. ‘Not far from the town, and protected on the north by a fine wood, stood the remains of an old convent, which was now reduced to the humble condition of a granary; but this was spacious, being composed of several large apartments, and very well adapted to the purpose’ of a country house.34 Musignano, as it was called, soon became a favourite retreat, and Lucien set about transforming it into a comfortable home.

There the family thrived in the country air. Alexandrine and the children picnicked in the meadows nearby, followed by ‘horse and foot races, dancing, and other amusements.’35 Barns were erected, with simple beds on which the family reclined and took their meals. One was ‘filled with toys of every sort, guns, swords, tambours, hunting and riding equipment, picture books, etc.’ So Pierre Napoleon, Lucien’s son, recalled with nostalgia years later. ‘One can only imagine the joy we felt when the signal was given to depart for Musignano.’36

A mile away, in the midst of olive groves, where sulfuric hot springs boiled out of the ground, Lucien excavated and restored the remains of an ancient Roman bath. It was named  for the hundred cells or bathing rooms, Centumcelle, carved in the rock, with a basin in which the scalding water was collected.37 The artist, Charles Chatillon, sketched Alexandrine and the children frolicking in the pool with the family dog, Mustapha. Pierre Napoleon later recalled his father teaching him to swim there, by throwing coins into the water for which the young boy dove.38

Over the years, Alexandrine would give birth to ten children, in addition to the three she and Lucien had brought with them from their previous marriages. Domestic life at Canino was portrayed by the painter Jean Baptiste Wicar, who in 1810 wrote to Canova saying that he was working ‘like a dog’ to realize various portraits of the growing Bonaparte brood.39 The canvasses show a life far from the cares of court, in a setting simple but idyllic.

But this Arcadia was thrown into turmoil that same year, when Napoleon annexed the whole of the Papal States to France, issuing a decree from Vienna declaring the temporal sovereignty of the Pope formally at an end. Pius VII excommunicated him, but Napoleon had the pontiff arrested in his own palace and dispatched under cover of darkness with a strong escort, allegedly out of fear for his life. He was bundled to Fontainebleau, where he spent the next four years a prisoner of the Emperor. All Catholic Europe was horrified, especially Spain which had sealed diplomatic ties to France at Lucien’s behest and whose own king had been imprisoned two years earlier.40

For his part, Lucien hastened to quit Italy for the New World with his wife and children, boarding the American frigate Hercules, sent to Civitavecchia from Naples by authority of his brother-in-law, King Joachim Murat. With them went the family physician, chaplain and tutor, as well as a suite of some thirty servants and the family portraits. But the ship was captured by the English off the coast of Sardinia, and the senator and his family detained on Malta. The British governor housed them in the country palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of St John, vacant since Napoleon dissolved the order a decade earlier. From there, they were sent to England, where they spent the next four years comfortably secluded on the castle estate of Thorngrove, in the Worcestershire countryside, purchased by Lucien for 9,000 pounds.41

Only in May of 1814, after Napoleon had retired to his island domain of Elba, did Lucien finally return to Rome. He was greeted affectionately and embraced by the Pope, who had been released earlier that same year from Fontainebleau. To Pius, Lucien delivered a heroic poem he had composed during the long captivity in Britain. Charlemagne, or the Church Delivered, was a debt of gratitude to the pontiff who had baptized his own daughter, but it also dealt a subtle blow at the imperial pretensions of his brother.42 Ten years earlier Napoleon had forced the Pope to crown him in Notre Dame, a full one thousand years after Leo III had done the same for Charlemagne. The original Emperor of the Franks, Lucien hinted in his poem, had been a defender of the Church. His father Pepin had forced the donation of the Papal states from the Lombard kings - the very same monarchs whose iron crown Napoleon had placed on his own head in Milan, calling himself King of Italy.

The day he arrived in Rome, Lucien knelt before the Pope to receive the title of Roman Prince, with the formal investiture of the feud at Canino and all its properties. The family now returned to their congenial life of exile, dividing time between the distractions of city and the tranquility of the countryside. In the company of his inseparable friend, Father Maurizio of Brescia, Lucien found intellectual stimulation. The Franciscan was well read, a mathematician, astronomer and theologian, tutor to Lucien’s children, a man whom the Prince later remembered as his ‘faithful companion in study and travel for more than thirty years.’43

But then in March of 1815, Lucien suddenly embarked on the most unexpected and seemingly ‘contradictory’ moment in his career.44 When word spread that his brother had slipped away from Elba and landed again in France, Lucien set out in disguise with Father Maurizio, crossing the Alps by mule. It may be he played some role in Napoleon’s escape, though rumours also circulated of British complicity.45 In the preceding months the Emperor had received many distinguished English visitors on his island, among them admiring seamen and officers but also peers like Lord Holland, who wanted to see him back in France.46

We may never know the truth, but Lucien was welcomed with the warmest honours, even a peerage, and once again he stood at his brother’s side. After the defeat at Waterloo, he alone nurtured belief Napoleon could hold onto power. In the end, the Emperor hadn’t the nerve. When Lucien pressed him to ‘dare,’ Napoleon replied famously, ‘Alas, I have dared only too much already.’47 On 22 June, 1815, Lucien delivered to the French assembly Napoleon’s letter of abdication in favour of his son and namesake, knowing full well that it was only a formality, for the boy was in Austria.

As the Prussian army closed in, Lucien fled Paris for the last time, accompanied by his old friend, the painter Charles de Chatillon. Crossing the mountains of Savoy, the pair was captured by Austrian troops and locked away in the fortress of Turin. Only months later, by personal appeal to the chancellor Metternich, did the Prince finally return to his wife and children in Canino. He settled back into life as best he could, but with all that had happened his relationship with the Pope could never be the same. Even if Pius forbade any form of persecution against ‘that fine man, Lucien,’48 his family was under constant surveillance within the Pontifical state by order of Cardinal Consalvi. Whenever they travelled between the properties in Canino, Rome and Frascati, Lucien needed authorization from the Vatican Secretary of State, and even then they were accompanied by mounted police.

In 1817, the escort proved useful when his party was waylaid at the Villa Ruffinella by a band of brigands headed by the notorious bandit, Giuseppe de Cesaris. The painter, Charles Chatillon, was mistaken for the Prince, knocked over the head with the butt of a rifle and abducted, along with the Monsignor Cuneo, prelate of antiquities just up the road at Tusculum. Chatillon managed to win over his captors, by sketching de Cesaris and promising to write his biography. For the release of their hostages, the outlaw accepted a ransom of five hundred scudi, but after this disturbing episode Lucien decided to abandon his villa at Frascati.49

He may, however, have had other motivations for the sale. It was now that he began to face financial difficulty. The time away in Paris, coupled with the estrangement of powerful friends in Rome, brought Lucien and his wife upon hard times. He was forced to sell his palace on via Condotti, along with the larger part of his gallery of paintings and Roman sculpture.50 This left him to depend upon the estate at Canino, and an increasing number of loans. In time things grew worse, until the annual earnings of the estate were barely enough to pay the interest on his debts. Creditors threatened to take him to the Tribunal. Temporary reprieve came from Cardinal Fesch, but it was only a matter of time before he was back in debt again.51 This went on until he was on the brink of ruin. And then, just when things seemed utterly hopeless, early in 1828 his fortunes suddenly took a turn for the better.


1. For an account of this story, deemed by some to be a fabrication, see Lucien Bonaparte, Catalogo di scelte antichità etrusche trovate negli scavi del Principe di Canino 1828-29 (Viterbo: Fratelli Monarchi, 1829), 171-2; idem, Museum Étrusque de Lucien Bonaparte Prince de Canino. Fouilles de 1828 à 1829. Vases peints avec inscriptions (Viterbo: Camille Tosoni, 1829), 12-13.
2. Anna Maria Sgubini Moretti, ‘Vulci’ in Gli Etruschi in Maremma: popolamento e attività produttive, ed. Mauro Cristofani (Milano: Silvano, 1981), 53-72; idem (ed.), Vulci e il suo territorio (Roma: Quasar, 1993); Pietro Tamburini, ‘Vulci e il suo territorio,’ in Vulci e il suo territorio nelle collezioni del Museo archeologico e d’Arte della Maremma, ed. Mariagrazia Celeuzza (Milan: Bocca, 2000), 17-45.
3. Andrea Carandini, ed., La Romanizzazione dell'Etruria: il territorio di Vulci (Milano: Electa, 1985); Andrea Carandini and Franco Cambi, eds., Paesaggi d’Etruria: Valle dell’Albegna, Valle d’Oro, Valle del Chiarone, Valle del Tafone. Progetto di ricerca Italo-Britannico seguito allo scavo di Settefinestre (Roma, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2002).
4. Alberto Serafini, Musignano e la rocca al ponte (Roma: Unione, 1920), 44-8; Peter Partner, The Lands of St. Peter: The Papal State in the Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972), 426.
5. Sibylle Von Cles-Reden, The Buried People. A Study of the Etruscan World, trans. C.M. Woodhouse (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1955), 91.
6. Murray’s Handbook for Travellers in Central Italy, including the Papal States, Rome and the cities of Etruria (London: John Murray and Son, 1843), xiv-xv.
7. ‘Ma le guerre e le devastazioni Sillane, il degradamento dei municipj in colonie, e i latifondi abbandonati dai prepotenti Romani al lavoro dei schiavi, furono le prime cagioni di spopolazione, cui presto succedè i’imboschimento delle colline, ed il ristagno dell acque nelle pianure, germi funesti della più dannosa insalubrità.’ Attilio Zuccagni-Orlandini, Corografia fisica, storica e statistica dell’Italia e delle sue isole, corredata di un atlante, supplemento al vol. 9 (Firenze, 1842), 64-5; cf., Luigi Canina, L’Antica Etruria Marittima, compresa nella dizione pontificia, descritta ed illustrata con i monumenti (Roma: Camera Apostolica, 1846).
8. Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Vol. 1: Inferno, trans. Mark Musa (London: Penguin, 2003), 186 (XIII, 7-9).
9. Murray’s Handbook, xv. For a modern assessment, see Francesco Mercurio, ‘Agricolture senza casa: il sistema del lavoro migrante nelle maremme e nel latifondo,’ in Storia dell’agricoltura italiana in età contemporanea, vol. 1, ed. Pietro Bevilacqua (Venice: Marsilio Editori, 1989),  131-79.
10. Murray’s Handbook, xvi. Cf., Renzo de Felice, ‘Aspetti e momenti della vita economica di Roma e del Lazio nei secoli XVIII e XIX,’ Storia ed Economia 13, ed. Gabriele di Rosa (Roma: Edizione di Storia e Letteratura, 1965), 30: ‘...è certo però che sotto il profilo tecnico l’agricoltura del Lazio, specie nelle cosiddetta Campagna Romana, per alcuni aspetti di fondo non aveva alle fine del XIX secolo ancora conosciuto la “rivoluzione agricola”, altrove già in piena realizzazione, e non differiva addirittura molto da quella che era stato nel Medio Evo.’
11. For the life of Lucien Bonaparte, see François Piétri, Lucien Bonaparte (Paris: Plon, 1939); Antonello Pietromarchi, Luciano Bonaparte principe romano (Modena: Città Armoniosa, 1981); revised and reprinted as Luciano Bonaparte, il fratello nemico di Napoleone (Mondadori, 1994). A retrospective exhibition at the Musée Fesch in Ajaccio, Corsica, was the occasion for the latest overview: Maria Teresa Caracciolo, ed., Lucien Bonaparte: Un homme libre, 1775-1840 (Paris: Silvana Editoriale, 2010). A recent biography in English draws on previously unpublished memoirs: Marcello Simonetta and Noga Arikha, Napoleon and the Rebel. A Story of Brotherhood, Passion, and Power (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).  
12. Jacques-Olivier Boudon, ‘Lucien Bonaparte et le coup d’État de Brumaire,’ Parlement(s). Revue d’histoire politique 2009, 2 (12), 8-23; Andrew Roberts, Napoleon: A Life (New York: Penguin, 2014), 220-7.
13. Paul Fleuriot de Langle, Alexandrine Lucien-Bonaparte, princesse de Canino (1778-1855) (Paris: Plon, 1939), 154.
14. Pietromarchi, Luciano Bonaparte, 18.
15. Steven Englund, Napoleon Bonaparte: A Political Life (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2004), 51.
16. Théodore Jung, Lucien Bonaparte et ses mémoires, 1775-1840, d’après les papiers déposés aux Archives étrangères et d’autres documents inédits, vol. 1, 122-3 (Paris: Charpentier, 1882-3).
17. Memoirs of Lucien Bonaparte (Prince of Canino), Written by Himself, Translated from the Original Manuscript under the Immediate Superintendence of the Author. Part the First (from the year 1792 to the year 8 of the Republic) (London: Saunders and Otley, 1836), 40.
18. Ibid., 54 f.; Jung, Lucien Bonaparte et ses mémoires, vol. 1, 131.
19. Roberts, Napoleon, 239 f.; cf., Paul Marmottan, ‘Lucien Ministre de l’intérieure et les arts,’ Revue des études napoléoniennes, August 1925, 1-40.
20. Englund, Napoleon Bonaparte, 214 f.
21. Jung, Lucien Bonaparte et ses mémoires, vol. 2, 122; cf., François Piétri, Lucien Bonaparte à Madrid (1801) (Paris: Grasset, 1951).
22. Ibid., 62-4; 354.
23. John Gibson Lockhart, The History of Napoleon Buonaparte (John Murray, 1829), 42.
24. Madame Ducrest, Chroniques populaires. Mémoires sur l’impératrice Joséphine (Paris, 1855), 9 (translated by  Simonetta and Arikha, Napoleon and The Rebel, 126 f.).
25. Jung, Lucien Bonaparte et ses mémoires, vol. 2, 364; Fleuriot de Langle, Alexandrine Lucien-Bonaparte, 87.
26. Simonetta and Arikha, Napoleon and the Rebel, 154; cf., Pietromarchi, Luciano Bonaparte, 204 f.
27. Vicomte de Chateaubriand, ‘Lettre à Monsieur De Fontanes (Rom, le 10 janvier, 1804),’ in Voyage en Italie (Paris: Lefèvre, 1833), 91.
28. When Lucien first arrived in Rome, in 1804, his art collection was inventoried by Canova, then Inspector of Antiquities and the Fine Arts. Later, he commissioned from the sculptor several works, including a bust of Alexandrine and a statue of a muse in the likeness of his wife. Hugh Honour, ‘Luciano Bonaparte e Canova,’  in Luciano Bonaparte. Le sue collezioni d’arte. Le sue residenze a Roma, nel Lazio, in Italia (1804-40), ed. Marina Natoli (Roma: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 1995), 249-61.
29. Galleria del senatore Luciano Bonaparte con il testo del signor abate Guattani, vols. 1-2, Roma: Stampa Pagliarini, 1808; Mina Gregori, ‘La collezione dei dipinti antichi, in Luciano Bonaparte, ed. Natoli, 263-313; Béatrice Edelein-Badie, La collection de tableaux de Lucien Bonaparte, prince de Canino. (Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 1997).
30. Marina Natoli, ‘Le residenze di Luciano Bonaparte a Roma, nel Lazio e in Italia (1804-1840),’ in Luciano Bonaparte, ed. Natoli, 380-90; P. Liverani, ‘La collezione di antichità classiche e gli scavi di Tusculum e Musignano,’ in Luciano Bonaparte, ed. Natoli, 49-79; cf., Huguette Vallet, Les ‘Voyages en Italie (1804): journal d’un compagnon d’exil de Lucien Bonaparte (Roma: Istituto Nazionale di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte, 1986), 158-9; A. Pasqulini, ‘Gli scavi di Luciano Bonaparte e la scoperta dell’antica Tusculum,’ Xenia Antiqua 1 (1992), 161-86.
31. Memoirs of the Private and Political life of Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino. vol. 1,  247 (London: Henry Colburn, 1818); cf., Natoli, ‘Le residenze di Luciano Bonaparte,’ 392-4.
32. Private and Political Life, vol. 1, 247.
33. Bonaparte, Museum Étrusque, 14; cf., Renzo de Felice, ‘Aspetti e momenti della vita economica di Roma e del Lazio nei secoli XVIII e XIX,’ Storia ed Economia 13, ed. Gabriele di Rosa (Roma: Edizione di Storia e Letteratura, 1965), 66, n. 94, 86, 292-5.
34. Political and Private Life, vol. 1, 252 f.
35. Ibid., 253.
36. Pierre-Napoléon Bonaparte, Souvenirs, traditions et révélations du Prince Pierre-Napoléon. Première partie. De 1815 à la révolution de février. Livre premier, premier volume (Brussels: Matthyssens, 1876), 113-4.
37. B. Gandolfi, Acque termali del bagno del sig. Senatore Luciano Bonaparte e fumajolo nelle vicinanze di Canino con qualche dichiarazione mineralogica, Roma, 1810. The waters that fed the aqueduct at the Ponte Badia came from the same source, located on the southwestern slopes of Monte Canino (marked ‘Bagni’ on map F.14 by the Istituto Geografico di Vienna, 1851). Bonaparte, Museum Étrusque, 14; Frutaz, Carte del Lazio, vol. 3, Tav. 286.
38. Natoli, ‘Le residenze di Luciano Bonaparte,’ 397; fig. C; Pierre-Napoléon Bonaparte, Souvenirs, 115-16.
39. Edelein-Badie, La collection de tableaux de Lucien Bonaparte, 291.
40. For an eye-witness account, not without its share of bias, see Maria Luisa of Bourbon, Consort of Louis, King of Etruria, Memoir of the Queen of Etruria, written by herself. An Authentic Narrative of the Seizure and Removal of Pope Pius VII, on the 6th of July, 1809, with Genuine Memoirs of his Journey from Rome to France, and Thence to Savona, written by one of his attendants (London: John Murray, 1814). In 1823, an abridged version of the Queen’s memoir was appended to that of the Baron de Kolli, ‘relative to his secret mission in 1810, for liberating Ferdinand VII, King of Spain, from captivity at Valencay.’ Napoleon later wrote that the foolhardy baron, dressed as a poor peasant, had betrayed himself in a French tavern by ordering a bottle of the best wine, as was his habit.
41. Barney Rolfe-Smith, A Gilded Cage: Lucien Bonaparte, Prisoner of War 1810-14 at Ludlow and Worcester (Ludlow: Stonebrook, 2012).
42. Lucien Bonaparte, Charlemagne; or the Church Delivered. An epic poem in twenty-four books, trans. Rev. S. Butler and Rev. F. Hodgson (London: Longman and Co., 1815). Described by critics as ‘...one of the most pre-eminently tedious and monotonous productions in the shape of an epic poem extant’ (Private and Political Life, vol. 2, 290; Jung, Lucien Bonaparte et ses mémoires, vol. 3, 168; 479), it was translated into English by the Reverend Samuel Butler, whom Lucien had befriended during his first few months in England, while confined near the village of Ludlow, in Shropshire. Lord Byron, whom Butler introduced to Lucien, expressed deep admiration for the poem, a copy of which was presented by Butler to the Prince Regent, George IV.
43. Jung, Lucien Bonaparte et ses mémoires, vol. 3, 63.
44. Alessandra Costantini, ‘Luciano Bonaparte,’ in Citazioni Archeologiche: Luciano Bonaparte Archeologo, ed. Giuseppe M. Della Fina (Roma: Quasar, 2004), 24.
45. Pietromarchi, Luciano Bonaparte, 264 f.
46. Norman Mackenzie, The Escape from Elba: The Fall and Flight of Napoleon 1814-15 (Oxford University Press, 1982), 148-9; Edward Tangye Lean, The Napoleonists: a study in political disaffection 1760-1960 (Oxford University Press, 1970), 151-2.
47. Lean, The Napoleonists, 175; cf., Private and Political Life, vol. 2, 109; Jung, Lucien Bonaparte et ses mémoires, vol. 3, 347, n. 1. For Lucien’s own perspective, see La vérité sur les Cent-Jours, par Lucien Bonaparte, prince de Canino, suivie de documents historiques sur 1815 (Paris: chez Ladvocat, 1845).
48. ‘Quella buona pezza di Luciano.’ Jung, Lucien Bonaparte et ses mémoires, vol. 3, 387; cf., Private and Political Life, vol. 2, 123.
49. Chatillon later penned the life story of the bandit, as promised. M. le Comte de Chatillon, Quinze ans d’exil dans les états romains, pendant la proscription de Lucien Bonaparte, vol. 1 (Paris: Berquet et Pétion, 1842); cf., Simonetta and Arikha, Napoleon and the Rebel, 245 f.
50. Catalogue of the splendid collection of pictures belonging to prince Lucien Bonaparte which will be exhibited for sale at the New Gallery, London 1815; cf., Edelein-Badie, La collection de tableaux de Lucien Bonaparte, 49-55.
51. Fleuriot de Langle, Alexandrine Lucien-Bonaparte, 195 f.; Pietromarchi, Luciano Bonaparte, 301.