What "Bonaparte Visiting the Plague-Stricken in Jaffa" Teaches About Our Own Plague-Stricken Time

A famous and sorely misunderstood painting of Napoleon touching plague victims in Palestine illuminates the current moment.

Antoine-Jean Gros’s Bonaparte Visiting the Plague-Stricken in Jaffa, c. 1804. Wikimedia.

Antoine-Jean Gros’s Bonaparte Visiting the Plague-Stricken in Jaffa, c. 1804. Wikimedia.

Observation
April 21 2020
About the author

Martin Kramer teaches Middle Eastern history and served as founding president at Shalem College in Jerusalem, and is the Koret distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.


“The appearance of Bonaparte in Palestine was only like the passing of a terrible meteor, which, after causing much devastation, again disappears.”

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More about: Coronavirus, Exodus, History & Ideas, Napoleon Bonaparte, Plague