Monday, March 1, 2010

The Grande Armée Invades Russia

Charles Joseph Minard was a mathematician, a civil engineer, and a pioneer in the field of information graphics; his most famous work is the above chart, which he created in 1869. It tells the tale of Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812: The width of the line represents the size of the Grande Armée from the crossing of the Niemen river to the deserted streets of Moscow and back, with temperatures during the return trip plotted along the bottom. At its peak, the Grand Armée numbered 690,000 men (422,000 at the start of this invasion), and was the largest army assembled to that point in European history.

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