Saturday, 11 October 2008

O quam zouave!

There's a very interesting post on Fr Nicholas's blog at the moment about the Papal Zouaves. The Papal States certainly had the most interesting uniforms for its military personnel, borrowing from all sorts of different countries. The Zouaves must surely be the most extraordinary, with wide turkish trousers and floppy hats. And, following up a link on Fr Nicholas' blog, I discovered that there are still troops of Zouaves to be found in France, as these photographs reveal.


Anonymous said...

There seem to have been Zouaves everywhere, more or less, even in the US, during their civil war.
They originated from French-Algeria.

PeterHWright said...

Fr. Nicholas Schofield has indeed a most interesting post on the papal Zouaves. I kook forward to reading the book, the Pope's Legions by Charles A. Coulombe. It was news to me that bands of Zouaves still exist, although the Risorgimento is long since over !

As Fr. Nicholas suggests, it is probably advisable for people not familiar with the period to read first a good history of the Papal States and the Risorgimento.

I can think of a few studies of the subject, but no general introduction to the history of nineteenth century Italy. With the comings and goings of the French, the Austrians and the Savoyards, I can see the picture could be confusing to a novice.

I have always found Pio Nono by E.E.Y. Hales to be a good read. But perhaps someone has other suggestions.

PeterHWright said...


The Shorter Oxford History of Italy, published by O.U.P in 7 or 8 volumes (available separately,) might be of use, but I've never read them, so I really don't know.

Anonymous said...

Some good news for the Latin Mass in Ireland…

We thought you might like to know.

God bless you!

Saint Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association

Anonymous said...

The most famous Zouave in Paris is the stone figure on the Pont de l'Alma by which the locals measure their flood levels! In 1910 he almost disappeared as the waters rose up to his neck.

Perhaps the most celebrated ecclesiastical Zouave was Prosper Augouard who later became the first Bishop of the Congo and was known as the Cannibals' Bishop. Mgr Augouard said he was ready to lay down his life for the Pope in this regiment as a young man. He later had postcards published showing two pictures of himself - one in 1870 dressed in the full trousers and embroidered Zouave jacket and the other in 1912 as a Bishop.

He was obviously proud of these pictures as he used them for his own correspondence - I have two written and signed by Mgr Augouard one from Brazzaville, the other from the Spiritain mother house in Paris. His life is very well documented and his published letters give a wonderful insight into the missionary life in the Congo during the latter part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. The missionaries must have had cast iron stomachs as they had to eat hippo steaks, monkeys and elephant's trunks!

Anonymous said...

I am a great fan of Charles Coulombe and am reading the book now with pleasure and edification. Only quibble: Charles refers to one Zouave as having previously been a captain of the Bashi-bazouks, who he calls an elite Turkish military unit.

As a follower of Tin Tin's adventures, I was sure that Captain Haddock would not have included them as one of his most memorable curses unless they were really not such good guys, and the internet discussions of the Bashi-bazouks confirms this, saying that they were undisciplined irregulars in the Turkish army who occasionally had even to be disarmed by Turkish regulars.