That is an impressively awful dick move by the French nobility. "Hey, you! You peasants are too successful to slave for me properly so now I'm destroying your way of life and all that your families have known for generations with the stroke of a pen"

Like damn dude, the ancien regime really were asking for it weren't they?
That is an impressively awful dick move by the French nobility. "Hey, you! You peasants are too successful to slave for me properly so now I'm destroying your way of life and all that your families have known for generations with the stroke of a pen"

Like damn dude, the ancien regime really were asking for it weren't they?

Arguably, the French did not set out to cynically exploit Corsica; they correctly observed that the “backwardness” of the island was due largely to Genoese mismanagement and aspired to do better. The royal ministers wrote about introducing “enlightened” and “rational” government to Corsica, of “regenerating” the country and introducing “civilization.” Corsica was to be an example of the wise and enlightened rule of the French state, and some areas of governance were indeed quite progressive by French standards. Taxes were more sensible and far lower; many of the burdensome indirect taxes of France were not introduced, nor was the hated taille. Although a Corsican nobility was constituted, they were not given the same financial exemptions as the French aristocracy. The tax burden on Corsicans under the ancien regime was extremely low; Corsica’s per-capita tax rate was (much) less than half that of the least-taxed French province (Rennes, IIRC). Even Paoli supposedly demanded more taxes from the Corsicans than Louis, and the French government spent far more on Corsica than it got back.

The problem was that while the royal government genuinely wanted to treat the Corsicans with a light hand and give them a more rational system of governance, they also wanted to develop and “civilize” the island, both for the good of its people and so that one day Corsica would be more than just a money pit. Since France was obviously the epitome of civilization it stood to reason that “civilizing” the country meant “making it more like France.” The French administrators disapproved of chestnut culture because they felt it made the people lazy and contributed to banditry and resistance, so they tried to cut down chestnut trees and force people to plant wheat, without much consideration for either Corsican society or ecology. They felt that the system of the commons was primitive and divided up, enclosed, and sold off most common land. They introduced strict legislation to regulate and control transhumant pastoralism, which they believed retarded the growth of agriculture and civilization. They introduced a nobility and tried to create a landless laboring class because that’s what France had.

It wasn’t that they were all wrong; Corsican pastoralism was indeed a problem, as free-ranging herds kept forests from regrowing and prevented the more efficient use of land. Privatization of the commons was not necessarily a bad thing if it benefitted small farmers (although the French mainly used the land to build the great estates). But the French did all this without giving much consideration as to how it would be received, convinced that they were the enlightened people bringing the flame of civilization to benighted Corsica. In their view, Corsica was a blank slate, a land bereft of civilization in which a model society could be constructed from the ground up. But the Corsicans already had a society, and while France had crushed their national aspirations it had not crushed their spirits. Virtually all the French reforms (whether good or bad) were staunchly resisted. The Corsicans simply refused to cooperate with French officials and struggled against every new initiative or demand, the result of which was that most of the reforms failed to take root. Eventually the French abandoned their lofty ambitions for Corsica, and their relationship backslid into a Genoese-style relationship of colonizer and colonized.

The historical fate of Corsica, it would seem, is to be ruled poorly.
Last edited:
As a side note, I find it interesting that widespread property ownership was seen by the French as an impediment to development. The Chevalier de Pommereul wrote that "the most insurmountable obstacle which [Corsica] presents to civilization is perhaps the lack of a class of inhabitants who are not property owners." Because everyone had property, they reasoned, and because chestnut culture did not take much work (you don't have to plow your chestnut orchards every year), the Corsicans were accustomed to being indolent and lived in a state of idle barbarism, lacking any motivation or incentive to improve their land. Accordingly, when the French took over they set about confiscating commons and private lands alike, taking advantage of the fact that few people actually had written titles to their lands, so as to reduce the population to a state of landless tenancy that would require them to actually work for a living on the productive estates of the rich which had been cobbled together from their own seized lands.

When the French Revolution happened, the Corsicans were at first hopeful; they expected that the Assembly would give them back what had been taken from them. Instead the Paris government decided to auction them off like other crown lands - they really needed the money - which, predictably, ended up with all the land being bought up by the rich. The Corsican farmers did not take it well.

This is actually paralleled in Britain as well:

But the extraction of a larger surplus from the agricultural labor force was also very much a conscious—and explicitly avowed—part of their motivation. The landed classes bore a powerful animus against the common lands because they rendered the rural population less dependent on wage labor, so that rural laborers were uninterested in accepting as much work from the landlords as the latter saw fit to offer.

A pamphleteer in 1739 argued that “the only way to make the lower orders temperate and industrious... was 'to lay them under the necessity of labouring all the time they can spare from rest and sleep, in order to procure the common necessities of life'.”59

A 1770 tract called “Essay on Trade and Commerce” warned that “[t]he labouring people should never think themselves independent of their superiors.... The cure will not be perfect, till our manufacturing poor are contented to labour six days for the same sum which they now earn in four days.”60

Arbuthnot, in 1773, denounced commons as “a plea for their idleness; for, some few excepted, if you offer them work, they will tell you, that they must go to look up their sheep, cut furzes, get their cow out of the pound, or perhaps, say they must take their horse to be shod, that he may carry them to a horse-race or cricket match.”61

John Billingsley, in his 1795 Report on Somerset to the Board of Agriculture, wrote of the pernicious effect of the common on a peasant's character:
In sauntering after his cattle, he acquires a habit of indolence. Quarter, half, and occasionally whole days are imperceptibly lost. Day labour becomes disgusting; the aversion increases by indulgence; and at length the sale of a half-fed calf, or hog, furnishes the means of adding intemperance to idleness.62

Bishton, in his 1794 Report on Shropshire, was among the most honest in stating the goals of Enclosure. “The use of common land by labourers operates upon the mind as a sort of independence.” The result of their enclosure would be that “the labourers will work every day in the year, their children will be put out to labour early, ... and that subordination of the lower ranks of society which in the present times is so much wanted, would be thereby considerably secured.”63

John Clark of Herefordshire wrote in 1807 that farmers in his county were “often at a loss for labourers: the inclosure of the wastes would increase the number of hands for labour, by removing the means of subsisting in idleness.”64

The 1807 Gloucestershire Survey warned that “the greatest of evils to agriculture would be to place the labourer in a state of independence,” and another writer of that time wrote that “Farmers... require constant labourers—men who have no other means of support than their daily labour....”65

Of course such motives were frequently expressed in the form of concern for the laborers' own welfare, lest being able to feed oneself too easily lead to irreparable spiritual damage from idleness and dissolution. The words of Cool Hand Luke come to mind: “You shouldn't be so good to me, Cap'n.”

A similar process occurred in the colonization of settler societies like America and Australia, by which the colonial powers and their landed elites attempted to replicate feudal patterns of property ownership. In such colonies, the state preempted ownership of vacant land and restricted working people’s access to it. Sometimes they gave title to vacant land to privileged land speculators, who were able to charge rent to those who homesteaded it (the legitimate owners).

E. G. Wakefield, an early nineteenth-century British theorist of colonialism, advocated just such preemption on the same grounds that the propertied and employing classes of Britain had supported Enclosure: it was easier to hire labor on favorable terms to the employer. In England and America, he wrote:

In colonies, labourers for hire are scarce. The scarcity of labourers for hire is the universal complaint of colonies. It is the one cause, both of the high wages which put the colonial labourer at his ease, and of the exorbitant wages which sometimes harass the capitalist. . . .

Where land is cheap and all men are free, where every one who so pleases can obtain a piece of land for himself, not only is labour very dear, as respects the labourers’ share of the product, but the difficulty is to obtain combined labour at any price.

Consequently, “[f]ew, even of those whose lives are unusually long, can accumulate great masses of wealth.”

Wakefield’s disciple, Thomas Merivale, wrote of the “urgent desire for cheaper and more subservient labourers—for a class to whom the capitalist might dictate terms, instead of being dictated to by them.”
It's almost refreshing to see such naked desire to screw over working people, these days it's usually masked in abstract worries over inflationary pressure.


I need to ask this question but the TL intents to continue past Theodore's death? Because if not, then that's understandable but if it you're willing to continue it, then I would be fervently watching it.
It's almost refreshing to see such naked desire to screw over working people, these days it's usually masked in abstract worries over inflationary pressure.

It's at times when I run into people like this I almost regret my agnosticism and lack of belief in hell. :biggrin:
How many sheperds are there? Corsica seems small and isolated enough that you could forgoe fencing and privitisation if you just eradicate large herds. Sure people can have their own goat or cow still but the destruction of farmland comes from significant herds, not individual animals. Especially since the shepherds are politically isolated and insignificant.

The highland clearances of Scotland come to mind as a possible analogue. With no source of livelihood they'll come out of the mountains and into the cities or emigate.
This is actually paralleled in Britain as well:

That's really fascinating - thanks for bringing that to my attention! One of my weaknesses in writing this TL is that while I've read a lot about Corsica, my general 18th century history (economic or otherwise) is not all that good, so I appreciate this sort of insight and context.

It sounds as if the Corsican experience is fairly typical, in the sense of propertied interests expropriating common land (first the Genoese, then the French) with the aim of producing a working class which is fully dependent on wages for their survival - that is, a proletariat. The Genoese were only marginally successful at achieving this end; in some places, particularly in the northeast, the share of land in common fell drastically and more people were moved into agricultural wage labor on the vineyards, fields, and orchards (like the grape-pickers of Bastia mentioned in the update). But the fact that the Genoese nevertheless had to bring in seasonal foreign laborers to work these lands - the lucchese - suggests to me that even within the areas that were subjected to enclosure and expropriation there were not enough Corsicans to perform these tasks (or rather, not enough Corsicans who were willing to perform them).

For a variety of reasons, I doubt the Corsican state would have any more success with a program of enclosure. The English "propertied class" was extraordinarily powerful; the state was essentially ruled by the landlords. On Corsica, however, most of the great landowners were Genoese, and they've all been ejected from the country. While some notabili have rather large holdings, they're not really in the same league, and the largest "native" estates (mostly in the south) tend to be fields leased to sharecroppers rather than plantations worked by wage labor. Meanwhile, the ordinary farmers have not only overwhelming numbers (less than 10% of the population lives in the "cities"), but also enjoy political representation; Corsica is not a democracy, but the consulta generale is not just a talk shop and "smallholders" make up the lion's share of the electorate. It is also worth remembering that the Corsican peasantry is extremely well-armed, accustomed to making violent reprisals, and has very recently learned the lesson that they are capable of overthrowing a predatory government by force of arms. It's not exactly a landlord's dream scenario.

The shepherds are more vulnerable, if only because there are fewer of them, and because their interests might plausibly conflict with the farmers. While the shepherds and farmers are not necessarily enemies, the free-roaming flocks do pose problems for agricultural development, and if the government is able to rally the farmers to support livestock regulation then the shepherds won't have much recourse. Unlike the farmers, who are generally self-sufficient in their villages, the shepherds depend on access to lowland fields. It would be a sad betrayal of a group of people who were some of Theodore's best supporters, but not everybody gets a happy ending.

One further point is that even without enclosure, population growth may push people into the wage economy eventually. Corsica is not exactly brimming with good arable land - at least not until some serious marsh reclamation is done - and the tradition of partible inheritance means that farms tend to become smaller and more fragmented as the population increases, thinning the ranks of the proprietari, putting strain on the commons, and making farmers more and more dependent on alternate sources of income like wages and sharecropping.

I need to ask this question but the TL intents to continue past Theodore's death? Because if not, then that's understandable but if it you're willing to continue it, then I would be fervently watching it.

My plan from the beginning was to continue past Theodore's death until the end (or near the end) of the 18th century, and that remains my goal. Whether I go any further than that is as yet undetermined.
Last edited:

Big Smoke

I think at this point @Carp is probably by now the foremost knowledge on King Theodore of Corsica in the world, certainly online. The second thing Google result is your timeline, and I think if anybody was writing a real historical work on King Theodore he would be smart to ask @Carp for information because its just insane how you wrote so, so much on a character for whom online there is very little information without an academic investigation or (presumably) any relation to Corsica whatsoever, and thats in addition to a very enjoyable, fast paced, biographical writing style. Here's to hoping that the revolution was only 'part 1' in the alternate history of Corsica.
I have little to contribute to the land discussion, only that I find this conversation really enlightening. The sheer argument for taking common land away and turning farmers to a proletariat class for the moralistic purpose of "be less idle" is incredibly galling to me, though that may be because my family and I still have an ancestral orchard we inherited from our granduncle. Ask anyone who works in agriculture for a living and they'll tell you that keeping the fields and trees green and healthy till harvest time is incredibly hard work, not to mention time-consuming.

Depending on the type of wage labor, factory work could actually be simpler and less backbreaking for a farmer's son, though given that this is the 18th century, long hours and workplace safety is a worrisome aspect.
I have little to contribute to the land discussion, only that I find this conversation really enlightening. The sheer argument for taking common land away and turning farmers to a proletariat class for the moralistic purpose of "be less idle" is incredibly galling to me, though that may be because my family and I still have an ancestral orchard we inherited from our granduncle. Ask anyone who works in agriculture for a living and they'll tell you that keeping the fields and trees green and healthy till harvest time is incredibly hard work, not to mention time-consuming.

Depending on the type of wage labor, factory work could actually be simpler and less backbreaking for a farmer's son, though given that this is the 18th century, long hours and workplace safety is a worrisome aspect.
Depends on the trees you're cultivating from, to be honest. I live on a bit of land with a few acres of olive trees attached, and we pretty much leave the olives alone until it's time to collect, call up people we've dealt with for decades to come and collect. They paid in olive oil and we sell off the rest barring a few liters.
The Corsican Nobility
The Corsican Nobility


Sampiero Corso with the arms of d'Ornano above him

Corsica had once possessed a feudal nobility with deep roots, originating with the Lombard and Frankish lords who had migrated to the isle in the Carolingian period and defended it against Saracen piracy. A few powerful families came to dominate the island, including the counts of Ornano, Istria, Bozzi, Rocca, and especially the Counts of Cinarca - the Cinarchesi - who frequently bore the title of “Count of Corsica.” Yet despite allying with the Kings of Aragon, who claimed the title of King of Corsica, the nobility proved unable to contend with the growth of Genoese influence and from the late Middle Ages they steadily lost their power and independence. Beginning in 1485 the Cinarchese lord Giovan Paolo di Leca launched a series of armed uprisings against Genoese rule, but was finally defeated in 1501, while his fellow nobleman and ally Rinuccio della Rocca was assassinated on the orders of Admiral Andrea Doria in 1511. The castle of the Cinarchesi was razed and di Leca, the last Count of Corsica, died in exile.

Later in the 16th century the celebrated condottiere Sampiero Corso, who married into the clan of Ornano, attempted to drive out the Genoese with the aid of his French masters. Yet Sampiero was not any more successful in prying the island loose from the Republic’s grasp than his predecessors, in part because of the support of many Corsicans who preferred Genoese rule to that of their own feudal aristocracy. After Sampiero’s assassination, the Genoese cracked down hard on the old noble families and Corsica’s feudal era was ended for good. The Republic’s aim thereafter was to reduce what remained of the nobility to a state of powerlessness and irrelevance to avert any future challenge to Genoese rule. In this task, it succeeded admirably.

Although some descendants of the old noble families still existed in the 18th century and treasured their pedigrees - real or invented - they no longer made up a distinct class of Corsican society. The native elites which the Corsicans of Theodore’s day called notabili (“notables”) were a diverse and somewhat vague group who were defined as much by social and economic status as genealogy. Many claimed noble blood of one sort or another (mostly from continental Italian families rather than the old Corsican feudal houses), but the notabili included lawyers, magistrates, physicians, and other professionals (usually educated abroad) who were recognized as preeminent members of society. An educated professional or wealthy proprietario who held influence in his community was considered a notabile regardless of who his distant ancestors were. The Corsican honorific sgiò (from the Italian signore) was used for addressing this elite, alongside the Spanish-influenced don, which had a more aristocratic connotation.

Foreign visitors to Corsica in the 18th century often remarked upon the equality of the people, which although typically exaggerated did have some basis in fact. In part this was because of the levelling effects of poverty. The absolute material divide between rich and poor was simply not very great, a consequence of the ruthless suppression of the native elites and Genoa’s tendency to concentrate land and wealth in the hands of its own citizens. Moreover, because the common Genoese farmer was a property owner, there was no obvious lord-serf dichotomy among the Corsicans. Free lavatori observed a level of casual familiarity with “nobles” which was not common elsewhere; there are frequent reports, even post-independence, of the children of nobles and commoners playing together and proprietari sharing a table with their tenants. A nobleman might be entitled to an honorific - indeed, he was likely to insist upon it - but no Corsican would bow and scrape before him.

Yet outside observers often missed the extent to which Corsican inequality was social rather than economic. In Corsica, where no family had immense wealth and feuds were common, kinsmen tended to matter more than coins and the notabile families which thrived were those which forged alliances, established client relationships, and accumulated political power in their village and pieve, activities which in Corsica neither required nor generated a large amount of material wealth. A certain notabile might have only a private chapel and a fresh coat of paint on his house to denote his superiority over his neighbors, appearing very “equal” indeed to outsiders, but such humble appearances obscured the fact that his family had dominated the village and every aspect of its communal life for generations, often holding hereditary (or effectively hereditary) offices like that of caporale.

The Corsican notabili, even those with undisputed noble blood, were never integrated into the Genoese aristocracy. The Genoese ruling class was a small circle of elite families who rarely opened their ranks even to their own countrymen, and they emphatically rejected the appeals of the supposed Corsican nobles to be recognized as their peers. Over centuries of Genoese rule only a small handful of Corsicans were ever admitted into the Genoese Liber Nobilitatis (also known as the “Golden Book”). The Genoese established a representative council, the dodici, to placate the native elite, but the dodici was a mere advisory body with no real influence in Genoese policy.

This neglect was to prove fatal, for although the Corsican Revolution did not begin with the notabili the failure of the Republic to adopt them into the elite and give them a real stake in the survival of the state resulted in most of them eventually turning to the party of the naziunali. Many had remained aloof from the rebellion initially, which had begun as a lower-class tax revolt, but they resented their exclusion from any sort of position of power and the utter disrespect shown to them by the Genoese. It was no wonder that when Theodore arrived, immediately established a Corsican aristocracy, freely dispensed noble titles to regional elites craving honors and recognition, and invited them to take positions of power in his cabinet and his royal Diet, many of the notabili flocked to his cause. For them, the Revolution was a means to realize their ambition for social position, respectability, and political power which the Genoese had constantly frustrated.


Illustration of a young Corsican nobleman, early 19th century

The Corsican monarchy recognized only three grades of nobility, as established by Theodore - in ascending order of status, these were cavaliere, conte, and marchese. (Principe was not a title of nobility, but rather a title of royalty reserved for members of the extended House of Neuhoff.) The Corsican system of nobility was further distinguished by two unusual features. Firstly, Corsican noble titles were not feudal titles, even nominally; in other words, a Corsican marquis was not marquis of anything.[1] Secondly, the heritability of titles was not defined by primogeniture, but modeled after the German practice of equal inheritance by all male-line descendants, which was consistent with Corsica’s own tradition of partible inheritance. In other words, every son of a marchese would become a marchese. Prior to their inheritance, the children of nobles did not bear a title but were nevertheless considered nobles entitled to the honorific sgiò/signore or signora.

Unlike the German nobility - and for that matter, the Genoese nobility - the Corsican nobility was not a hermetically sealed oligarchy. Because the pre-Theodoran concept of “nobility” on Corsica was rather vague and the class of notabili was not exclusively “noble,” elite marriages tended to be based more on power, resources, and shared interests than pedigree. As such, Corsican law recognized no such thing as a “morganatic marriage;” the legitimate sons of a nobleman and his common wife were fully noble and would inherit their father’s title upon his death. It may be that this system also suited the sensibilities of Theodore, who had after all been disinherited as a child because of the imperfect pedigree of his mother.

The perks enjoyed by the Corsican nobility were mainly of the social and honorary variety. They occupied a privileged place in grand ceremonies and theoretically enjoyed greater access to the king, as their rank allowed them to enter the royal antechamber. The only real difference between the three grades of nobility was their ceremonial order of precedence. Aside from the more colloquial sgiò, Corsican nobility were entitled to the formal honorific illustrissimo (“most illustrious”), while sua eccellenza (“his excellency”) was reserved for princes and relations of the royal house. In casual usage - that is, everywhere outside the royal court and formal ceremonies - the honorific of don was ubiquitous at all levels below the king, although generally only for titled nobility.

As an aside, Theodore initially used sua eccellenza for himself - a very modest title for a monarch - but over the course of the 1750s a much grander title, sua maestà serenissima (“His Most Serene Majesty”), became standard. This title appears to have originated purely out of spite. As the story goes, when signing the Treaty of Monaco in the name of his sovereign Don Alerio Francesco Matra could not stand the idea of his king having a lesser style than that of “His Most Serene Highness” the Doge of Genoa on such a historic document, and thus wrote out “His Most Serene Majesty” as an act of petty one-upmanship. As the Treaty of Monaco was widely circulated in both in the continental popular press and among royal chanceries, “His [Most] Serene Majesty” was taken to be the proper title of the King of Corsica, and Theodore’s chancery eventually began using it under pressure from the nobility who felt that a “modest” title would lower the respect given to their country abroad.

There were, however, a few perks of nobility that were not purely honorary. The nobility always had the right to appeal a judicial sentence against them to the king, and their homes could not be trespassed by officers of the law without a royal writ. This protected them from the summary judgement of the Marcia, which otherwise allowed no appeal to the crown unless it was requested by the padri del commune. As their sole sartorial privilege, noblemen were permitted to wear a sword with their civilian dress in public, but this was not a privilege much envied by the Corsican people who were not in the practice of wearing swords anyway.

Unlike in France, where the nobility enjoyed broad fiscal privileges, the Corsican nobility had no special exemption from taxation. There was, however, a small and curious exception for those houses which could trace their lineage back to the original medieval aristocracy of Corsica. The original raison d’être of the first Corsican nobility had been to defend the island against Saracen corsairs. As “crusaders” defending the frontiers of Christendom they were excused from paying the tithe, for their support for the Church was already provided through military service. Obviously by the 18th century the nobility no longer provided this service, but those families which plausibly traced their lineage back to the Middle Ages jealously guarded their exemption and had managed to defend it even under Genoese rule. Theodore did not overturn this custom, and thus a further distinction existed between the nuova nobiltà (“new nobility”) who paid the tithe and the antica nobiltà ("old nobility") who did not. In all other respects, however, there was no difference between the “new” and “old” noble families.

Although an autocrat by nature, Theodore was a great believer in meritocracy and did not consider a lack of nobility to be a disqualification for either military or government service. While nobles tended to dominate high military ranks and state offices, they held no exclusive rights to them. Only a select few honors were reserved for noblemen. Certain seats in the Consulta Generale were allotted to the nobility, as we shall see, and the Guardia Nobile del Corpo - a small ceremonial guard unit which would arise later in Theodore’s reign - explicitly admitted only the sons of the nobility. The Ordine Militare della Redenzione, Theodore’s order of chivalry, was also restricted to those who could prove noble descent.


Badge of the Ordine Militare della Redenzione. The exact symbolism of the badge, created by Theodore himself, remains unclear, although many have presumed the triangle inscribed with Theodore's initial to be a Masonic reference. Originally the knights were supposed to wear a sky-blue mantle, but this was later changed to green, which had been established as the "royal color" during the Revolution and matched the green ribbon (not shown) of the badge.

The Military Order of Redemption occupied a special place in the hierarchy. Theodore had originally declared that membership in the ordine made one a “noble of the highest degree,” which overrode normal precedence; a hereditary cavaliere awarded with the order preceded even a marchese, although not a principe (who was royal rather than noble). Its lofty status was somewhat compromised, however, by the fact that Theodore had used it rather liberally as a fundraiser, not only selling it to Corsican notables but to dozens of foreigners who had purchased it as a novelty. This was addressed by a royal declaration which retroactively separated the order into two grades, proper knights and cavalieri stranieri (“stranger/foreign knights”), the latter being an “honorary” variety of the order which was less privileged.

The order as originally created exempted a knight from “all taxes and contributions” except an up-front contribution (originally set at around £250 sterling, but prorated based on the wealth of the knight). This had made a great deal of sense during the Revolution, when taxation was ineffective and Theodore needed to come up with cash wherever he could. With independence and the establishment of a real fiscal structure, however, this blanket exemption was a clear liability. Fortunately, since the order was not hereditary it could not create any permanent untaxed class, but nevertheless Theodore endeavored to weasel out of the obligation. In 1753 he declared that the exemption covered only those taxes which had existed when the knighthood was awarded - which, for most knights who had been elevated during the Revolution, meant only the taglia (hearth tax) and the tithe. The wording was then changed for any future members of the order such that the exemption explicitly covered only those two taxes.

[1] On the continent one might use the formula of “Name, Count of Place,” but this did not work for the Corsican nobility. “Luigi, Marchese di Giafferi” is incorrect as “Giafferi” is a family name, not a title or place; there is no “Marquisate of Giafferi.” Only princes, who had nominally territorial titles, used the continental formulation, e.g. “[Don] Federico, Principe di Capraia.” Instead, Corsican noble titles were used as honorifics, i.e. Marchese Luigi Giafferi (or more fully, il signore illustrissimo marchese Luigi Giafferi). But such a formulation was used only when the height of formality was called for; in ordinary usage Don Luigi would suffice, or Don Luigi Giafferi to be more formal and/or specific. Marchese Giafferi was acceptable, but uncommon, in part because the Germanic style of multiple inheritance meant that “Marchese Giafferi” could refer to several different men from the Giafferi family. Don Giafferi is incorrect; the honorific of don can only ever precede a first name. These distinctions were not always picked up on by foreigners, and Corsican lords with possessive family names were a source of particular confusion. Marquis Luca d’Ornano is often (incorrectly) referred to in English sources as “the Marquis of Ornano” as if he held a feudal title to Ornano, which he did not (although his ancestors were indeed Counts of Ornano, one of the houses of the antica nobiltà).
Last edited:
The next chapter will be on the 1750 consulta generale and the new government going forward, at which point I think I'll pivot to foreign affairs for a bit. We'll also talk about the country's shitty finances, and eventually there will be "background" posts on things like the military and the royal household. If there are any other issues/topics you'd like to see addressed please mention them and I'll look into it.

I think at this point @Carp is probably by now the foremost knowledge on King Theodore of Corsica in the world, certainly online.

I rather doubt I'm better off than some of the scholars who actually have access to primary sources; for instance, a number Theodore's letters apparently exist in various collections which are not available on the internet.

I do find it pretty funny that in the French Wikipedia page for Theodore, this thread is listed in the bibliography as a "blog." :biggrin:

Would daughters of nobility have a special place waiting on the queen?

I'm going to refrain from answering this at the moment, but there will be a post in the near future on the royal household which will cover this topic.

What ever happened to Hamet?

The last time I mentioned him he was being Theodore's agent in Tunis, but Tunis is getting a bit dicey these days. We'll see him again.

What makes this one of my favorite timelines is the amount of detail that Carp puts into making this timeline.
Your timelines are PURE GOLD.

Thank you!
Sure historians have access to a lot of sources but few have the time to put it all together. For a while my senior thesis was the most in-depth treatment on its subject in English and it wasn't as well researched as this TL.