The PR BlogMedia & PsychologyBehavioural PsychologyNapoleon the Sun God (and Why Most Conspiracies are Bullshit)

Napoleon the Sun God (and Why Most Conspiracies are Bullshit)

Bullshit is a natural human expression — mind your step.

Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Instagram)

Meet Napoleon, the Sun God.

Did you think that Napoleon Bonaparte was an actual historical figure?


Consider this:

1. Napoleon is just a variation of Apoleon or Apollo, and as God of the Sun, he was named Bonaparte, which means “the good part of the day” (when the sun shines).

2. Just as Apollo was born on the Mediterranean island of Delos, Napoleon was born on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

3. Napoleon’s mother, Letitia, can be identified as Leto, Apollo’s mother. Both names mean joy and happiness, signalling the sun keeping the night at bay.

4. Letitia had three daughters—as did Leto, Apollo’s mother.

5. Napoleon’s four brothers represent the four seasons. Three brothers became kings, except for one brother who became Prince of Canino (derived from ‘cani,’ white, winter, ageing).

6. Napoleon was driven out of France by Northern armies, as Appolo, the Sun God, was driven away by the North Wind.

7. Napoleon had two wives, as did Apollo. They represent the Earth and the Moon. Apollo never had any children with the Moon, but the Earth gave him a son, representing the fertilization of all green plants on Earth. Napoleon’s son was allegedly born on the 21st of March, the equinox in which the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the Sun’s centre (the Summer Solstice).

8. Apollo saved Greece from the dragon Python, and Napoleon saved France from the horrors of revolution (derived from ‘revolvo,’ something that crawls).

9. Napoleon’s twelve generals are symbols for the twelve creatures of the zodiac, and his four generals represent North, West, South, and East.

10. Napoleon, the Sun Myth, always conquered the South but was always defeated by the cold winds of the North. Like the Sun, Napoleon rose in the East—he was born in Corsica)—and dawned in the West—he died on St. Helena.”

Is there a serious case for “Napoleon the Sun God?”

Above is how the British writer Rupert Furneaux demonstrates how to cast doubt on the existence of Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the most famous characters in history.

Studies have shown that we are susceptible to information presented in fragments that seem to support one specific position while at the same time leaving out contradictory evidence. It’s cherry-picking.

In other words: Napoleon the Sun God is bullshit.

Napoleon as Sun God, historic portrait, highly detailed - Napoleon the Sun God
A guy with a complex (art created by AI).

But Napoleon the Sun God shows how easy it is to cast doubt over the existence of one of history’s most well-documented figures. It’s possible to make people believe that Napoleon wasn’t real, that he was a Sun god, a myth.

We shouldn’t be surprised. We live in a time where a growing number of conspiracy theorists are actively convincing themselves that the Earth is flat. That’s how low the bar is set.

Read also: 58 Logical Fallacies and Cognitive Biases

Don’t get me wrong. I love a juicy conspiracy theory. And some turn out to be accurate, too. That’s not the point.

The point is that we seem to have an endless capacity for belief in the absence of evidence. It doesn’t matter if it’s the media, governments, religion, interest groups, or two friends in a bar.

Bullshit is a natural human expression.
Try not to step into it.

Thank you for reading this article. Please support my blog by sharing it with other PR- and communication professionals. For questions or PR support, contact me via [email protected].

Additional Resources

The Hostile Media Effect

Do you think that the news media is biased against your beliefs? Well, they might be. And they might also not be.

Researchers have found that individuals tend to see the news media as biased against them—even when it’s not:

“The hostile media effect […] is a perceptual theory of mass communication that refers to the tendency for individuals with a strong preexisting attitude on an issue to perceive media coverage as biased against their side and in favour of their antagonists’ point of view.”
Source: Hostile media effect 1Hostile media effect. (2022, October 25). In Wikipedia.

Are we paranoid? Are we seeing bias in the news media that isn’t there? In short: Yes.

The hostile media effect doesn’t imply that the media is never biased. Still, science shows that opposing groups often regard the same articles as against them and favour their opponents.

The existence of the hostile media effect is scientifically well-established, but we still don’t know precisely why it persists:

“The hostile media perception, the tendency for partisans to judge mass media coverage as unfavorable to their own point of view, has been vividly demonstrated but not well explained. This contrast bias is intriguing because it appears to contradict a robust literature on assimilation biases — the tendency to find information more supportive, rather than more opposed, to one’s own position. […] content evaluations based on perceived influence on oneself vs influence on a broader audience suggested that the hostile media perception may be explained by perceived reach of the information source.”
Source: Journal of Communication 2Gunther, A.C. and Schmitt, K. (2004), Mapping Boundaries of the Hostile Media Effect. Journal of Communication, 54: 55-70.

Research suggests that the primary driver could be fear of opponents gaining in strength, and the hostile media effect could therefore be seen as a psychological defence mechanism.

Read also: The Hostile Media Effect: How We Demonise the News Media

1 Hostile media effect. (2022, October 25). In Wikipedia.
2 Gunther, A.C. and Schmitt, K. (2004), Mapping Boundaries of the Hostile Media Effect. Journal of Communication, 54: 55-70.
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.


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