On August 27th 1793, during the French Revolution, French royalists handed over control of the city of Toulon to an Anglo-Spanish fleet in order to keep the strategic port in the hands of the royal elite. On December 19th of the same year, a young Napoléon Bonaparte captured Toulon from the foreign forces and the city was surrendered to revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre. Three years earlier, it was Robespierre who declared the motto of the Revolution, and what would later become the pillars upon which French society is built: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.
Enraged by inequalities in wealth and power, exemplified by the opulent lifestyles of the ruling Royals, Robespierre led the people to a revolution that would define the country we know today. Liberty, equality and fraternity was the demand of the French people.
This principle of equality was not shared by Plato however. The father of Western political philosophy believed that myths used to justify inequalities of wealth and power were essential to preserve order and stability in society. He offered the following story: that each citizen was born with a certain kind of metal mixed in with his or her soul. Natural rulers had gold mixed with their soul, their soldiers and assistants had silver, and natural workers had either bronze or iron. According to a divine oracle, if the city were to be ruled by those who lacked gold in their soul, all would be ruined.
This book tells the story of Toulon, today.
Toulon is part of Portraits de Villes (City Portraits). Portraits de Villes is a collection of travel notebooks published by be-poles. The invited artist is offered a carte blanche to illustrate the city of their choice. Each city portrait is a unique journey, exposing a different rhythm, led by the individual vision of the artist. Irish photographer Daragh Soden was invited to participate with his chosen city of Toulon.
Published by be-poles
Softcover, presented in decorated paper
Please note: Local pick-up of orders is available from
The Library Project at 4 Temple Bar, Dublin 2.