Napoleon Series Discussion Forum

Re: Comparison of Belligerents' Foreign Policies

M. Tisserand, writing in 1878, narrates in lurid terms the murderous activities of 'barbets' in the mountain hinterland of Nice, the Alpes Maritimes, during the Revolutionary period.

Barbet had clearly became a common term for 'brigand' in the C17th and C18th ; as Tisserand himself says, the barbets in his account were 'synonymes de brigands' but he goes on to describe them as 'des bandes organisees, de gens sans gîte, deserteurs de deux camps' a situation specific to the new regime in France and renewed tensions in the border country, so why he should introduce them as Vaudois refugiés, is puzzling.

The persecuted Waldenses or Vaudois made their mountain refuge in the valleys of the Cottian Alps above Turin- some five hundred kilometres to the north.

Similarly. the 'barbets' Tisserand refers to in his narrative are evidently denizens of mountain country well inside French territory and it would seem also distinct, therefore, from the Piedmontese barbetti who, as I understand it, were active across the border in the valleys of the Cuneese and Mondovi.

The common reference in Occitan and Piedmontese to brigands of the mountains as barbets/barbetti - 'wild dogs' as we might perhaps render it in English- has evidently given rise to a degree of confusion down the years.

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Comparison of Belligerents' Foreign Policies
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Shakspear.
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