I used to love to read about Napoleon Bonaparte when I was younger, I read some books and watched documentaries about his life, etc. I recently started to dig out some old stuff and started remembering quotes and things I liked about him.

There is this quote which I loved and it was tied to an example, yet I couldn't find anything on Wikiquote.

For as I remember he once said:

Power lies in the essence of power.

For he (Couldn't find this either) used to fake out the number of his army (I think he doubled the numbers or something like that), just to scare the (possible) enemy.

  • Making your army appear larger or smaller than it actually is is a tactic that goes back millennia. Napoleon may have used it to good effect, but he didn't invent it. – Steven Burnap Nov 15 '16 at 0:42
  • Yes, he won an early battle against the Austrians by sending a half dozen drummer boys into a wood behind their flank to make as big a racket as they could; panicking the exhausted Austrian grenzers in front of it. – Pieter Geerkens Nov 15 '16 at 1:11
  • Certainly sounds like something Napoleon would say. I have only read one Book about him...purely military with detailed maps of his numerous battles. He really was an attacker and not so much political figure. The only comparison in Western History I think is Julius Caesar of Classical Rome. Unlike Caesar however Napoleon was very successful "back home" in Paris and ultimately all of France as all hailed their conquering hero. His military tactics and strategies are of course a must read so I've never found much to read into him word wise. – user14394 Nov 15 '16 at 2:48
  • To second @StevenBurnap, "all warfare is based on deception" goes back till at least Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Making it pre-date Napoleon by a comfortable margin. ;-) – DevSolar Nov 15 '16 at 14:54
  • I'm not familiar with the saying, but I think your translation to English is a bit off (just as a SWAG, "perception" might be better than "essence"?), and that might be impeding your ability to find it in English-based sources like Wikiquote. – T.E.D. Nov 15 '16 at 14:57

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