Ambiguous Names on the Arc de Triomphe

There are 660 names of officers on the Arc de Triomphe. Names underlined indicate an individual who was killed or mortally wounded in battle. To see the complete list of names on the Arc de Triomphe, simply go to the Biographies or Exhibit page and use the appropriate checkboxes.

Napoleon had always intended for important battles and generals to be inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe. In the 1830s the Ministry of War tasked Baron General St. Cyr Nugues to determine the names to be honored and their layout on the monument. In 1836 St. Cyr Nugues submitted 384 names of notable commanders and in explaining the layout he wrote, "...groups are formed chronologically, geographically, and until a certain point hierarchical, as far as these three things could be reconciled." The list of names was reviewed and increased in size until 1895 when the last name was added, bringing the total to 660. For more information about the process of selecting names, see the History of the Arc de Triomphe.

Unfortunately, some names inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe are ambiguous due to notable individuals sharing the same last name. While most names are clearly honoring a particular officer, a few remain which are unclear. Through my research I have been unable to dig up any sources that can definitively resolve these ambiguities, though a few sources come close. Update: In 2017 Arnauld Divry's extensively detailed book Les Noms Gravés sur l'Arc de Triomphe was published and it can be considered the definitive work. In short, I agree with all of Arnauld Divry's findings on ambiguous names except Viala, but I will keep my own research notes here for those interested.

To resolve the ambiguities in names, I have used the following sources:

The following is a list of each of the ambiguous names where the individual honored on the Arc de Triomphe is not agreed upon by historians. This list does not include shared last names on the Arc de Triomphe that historians appear to be in unanimous agreement about, such as Bertrand or Lanusse. I have noted the resolution I decided upon and why, based on the sources available to me.


Updated May 2024

© Nathan D. Jensen