Yet Napoleon, always a brilliant strategist, was not deterred by minor defeats, and sensing France's present frailty, especially in the face of the new coalition, he saw, and seized, his opportunity to claim power. Indeed, his very return to Paris constituted the first step in his usurpation of power from the Directory: although the Directory had issued orders for his return in 1799, Napoleon had not received the orders yet; therefore, in returning when he did, he was disobeying orders and abandoning his army in the field. Although he and Sieyes would later claim that they established the Consulate in order to preserve a Republic in crisis, it was enjoying relative stability at the time of Napoleon's coup. The coup had little to do with preserving order; rather, it was a blatantly self-serving seizure of power.

The lasting influences of Napoleon's Egyptian campaign were not limited to the political sphere: Napoleon's expedition to Egypt included not only many of France's star generals, but also leading artists and scientists. During the campaign, French archaeologists made a great deal of discoveries in Egyptology (the study of Ancient Egypt). In fact, it was as a result of the campaign that the Frenchman Bouchard discovered the famous Rosetta Stone, which held the key to modern decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

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