French Revolution
and Napoleonic Wars

"During the French Revolution, "freedom, equality, fraternity" was one of the many foreign currencies conjured up. In December 1790, in a speech on the organization of the national guards, Robespierre recommended that the words "Le Peuple Français" (the French people) and "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité" be written on the uniforms and flags."
The values of the French Revolution had a significant influence on our Ludwig.
little Ludwig

Anger and Napoleon

In politics we are in the times of the French Revolution, which startet in 1789. Napoleon Bonaparte (born 1769 in Corsica) is a military talent and campaigns in Italy and Egypt make him popular. Later on, he manages to take over France. Both Beethoven and Napoleon come from similar backgrounds, long and intense educations and a steep career. They liked the new thoughts, values and aspects, that come with the French Revolution. Beethoven never feels like he has the opportunity to act freely in the feudalistic Europe. He wants equality of all and often wishes the nobility to hell and ignored conventions in the social intercourse. Nevertheless he alwall ys is dependent on them, because they support and sponsor his arts. 

Initially, Beethoven is an enthusiastic follower of the French Revolution and admires Napoleon, who reinforces the civil rights and disempowers the nobility. Full of enthusiasm Beethoven dedicates his 3rd symphony to him, which he writes between 1802 and 1803. It is published unter the title „Intiolate Bonaparte“.  

In 1804, when Napoleon crowns himself to be the new emperor, Ludwig van Beethoven is full of anger. He renames his 3rd symphony to „Eroica“ (heroic symphony). Beethoven entirely distances from Beethoven and erases the initial title. 

(Nina Hahn)

On the left side you can see the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Leonard Bernstein at the Vienna Musikverein, 1979

Eroica - the Symphony No 3

 On the left side you can see the title page of the Symphony after the elimination of the initial title.

(Nina Hahn)


Task 1: Eroica


Beethoven’s hearing loss started when he was only 27, at the age of 48 he was completely deaf.

Read the Austrian finger alphabet and try to spell „EROICA“


(Nina Hahn)



Entry of the French Army into Vienna on 13 November 1805 Pierre Adrien Le Beau after Thomas Charles Naudet (Vienna Museum, Pasqualatihouse, 12.08.2020)

Eroica Title page (Wikimedia, Dez 14th