Talk:French frigate Méduse (1810)

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This entry should begin with Gericault's famous painting "The Raft of the 'Medusa'" and then tell the story. It's even his title. Wetman 04:50, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

  • Agreed. - Skysmith 10:42, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • Fair enough, but note that photographic reproductions are subject to copyright even if the original has gone into public domain.Dhodges 21:40, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I'm sorry, I probably should have started a discussion before moving the page, but that just occurred to me now. Since the article is really about the event I wanted to make the event the topic of the page and move the painting "The Raft of the Medusa" to it's own page. Any comments? grendelsmother 15:45, 25 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Women and Children First[edit]

If the wreck of the Medusa is a scandal (the Captain leaving the sinking ship first) another wreck shows the better side of Chivaly.

In about 1850, a British troop ship hit rocks and started to sink. Women and children were loaded onto the inadequate number of lifeboats, while the troops were ordered to stand in line on the deck of the ship, since any attempt by them to struggle onto the lifeboats might sink them in turn. Only two troopers broke ranks.

Heroics rather than a scandal.

See here: HMS Birkenhead. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:56, 10 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

has anyone seen the cover of the sopranos dvd the complete fifth season i think its a reference to this painting im not positive maybe it could be added to the "other references in popular culture" section of this article if anyone else agrees 02:05, 28 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Article name[edit]

Is there a reason why this article isn't in the most obvious location, Méduse? If there's no naming convention that forces the format "<country> <ship type> <name> (<year>)", the article should probably be moved. Jafeluv (talk) 10:59, 10 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Disregard that. I found Wikipedia:Naming conventions (ships), which suggests French frigate Méduse. Disambiguation by year is not needed since there's no other article with that name. If there's no objections, I'm going to move the page in a couple of days. Jafeluv (talk) 11:20, 10 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There was at least one other frigate named Méduse during the age of sail (launched in 1782, burnt by accident in 1797) and as far as I can tell, at least one more from the age of steam. Wikipedia:Naming conventions (ships) calls for the pre-emptive disambiguation of these ships, and if necessary the redirection of the undisambiguated title to the existing article rather than the moving of the article to the undisambiguated title. Hence French frigate Méduse would ideally redirect to French ship Méduse, which will be a set index page listing all French Navy vessels with the name Méduse. From this page there will be links to French frigate Méduse (1782), French frigate Méduse (1810), 'French frigate Méduse (1856)', 'French destroyer Méduse (1901)', 'French destroyer Méduse (1916)' (for example), etc. An example of this approach can be seen at French ship Formidable. Benea (talk) 15:42, 10 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So, is somebody actually going to do this? An otheruses with a redlink is retarded... -- (talk) 15:52, 10 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've redirected French frigate Méduse and French ship Méduse to this page (and Méduse to Medusa) for now. An index page will be needed when someone creates an article about another ship called Méduse. Jafeluv (talk) 17:03, 10 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How many men were on the raft?[edit]

The text appears to be contradictory, or is at least very unclear. It states that "Seventeen men decided to stay on the Méduse, and the rest boarded the ship's longboats." Then it says that the longboats sailed away; the reader must assume that they left seventeen men on the raft. However, it's stated later that "Rations dwindled rapidly; by the fourth day there were only 67 left alive on the raft". Can anyone clarify? garik (talk) 15:24, 25 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Portrayal" section[edit]

Regarding the "portrayal" section (and edits [1] and [2]): I think that at least some of these informations are not relevant to the frigate, and all are relevant to the painting. Amongst information I deem clearly irrelevant to the frigate:

  • The Raft by Arabella Edge, published in 2006, is a fictional account describing how Géricault may have come to his painting. (The American edition, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster, is titled The God of Spring.)
  • In Arthur C. Clarke's 2061, Dr. Heywood Floyd's friends give him a print of the painting as a tongue-in-cheek going-away present for his trip to Halley's comet. Their inscription reads, "Getting there is half the fun."
  • The rock group Great White used this painting as the cover art for their album Sail Away.
  • The second album by Irish folk-rock group The Pogues, Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash, uses the famous painting as its album cover, with the faces of the band members replacing those of the men on the raft. Also, on their album Hell's Ditch they pay tribute to the incident with the song "The Wake of the Medusa".
  • The layout of the scene is copied in the French comic book Astérix Légionnaire (Goscinny/Uderzo, 1967) to depict yet another shipwreck of Astérix's recurring pirate enemies. The captain's comment is the pun, "Je suis médusé" ("I am dumbfounded"). Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge in their English translation replaced this pun with a different joke specifically relating to the painting, having the captain say, "We've been framed, by Jericho!"
  • Dr. Lecter's mind wanders to Géricault's anatomical studies for The Raft of the Medusa while waiting for Senator Martin to focus on their conversation in the novel The Silence of the Lambs.

There are other citations that are more ambiguously irrelevant, where an allusion is made to "raft of Medusa" and is very likely more about the painting than to the frigate:

  • In 1968 the German composer Hans Werner Henze wrote an oratorio, Das Floß der Medusa in memory of Che Guevara.
  • On the 25th June 2012, Levellers released album "Static On The Airwaves", with a track called "Raft of the Medusa"
  • In The Adventures of Tintin comic The Red Sea Sharks, while the protagonists are escaping on a raft, a wave washes Captain Haddock off. He climbs back on with a jellyfish on his head. Tintin asks him: "Do you think this is some raft of Méduse?" (Méduse is the French word for "jellyfish".)
  • French songwriter and poet Georges Brassens alludes to the raft of Méduse in his song "Les copains d'abord" (1964). The song is a hymn to friendship, symbolised by the crew of a ship named "Les Copains d'Abord" (Friends first), and in the first verse it says that she was not "the raft of Méduse".

Finally, those that are about both the frigate and the painting are

  • Iradj Azimi. Le Radeau de la Méduse, French film, 1994
  • A History of the World in 10½ Chapters by Julian Barnes – a semi-fictional work that attempts to deglaze and satirise popular historical legends. The chapter "Shipwreck" is devoted to the analysis of this painting. The first half narrates the incidents leading to the shipwreck and the survival of the crew members. The second half of the chapter renders a dark platonic and satirical analysis of the painting itself, and Géricault's "softening" the impact of crude reality in order to preserve the aestheticism of the work.
  • The untranslated second volume of Peter Weiss's novel The Aesthetics of Resistance (Die Ästhetik des Widerstands) opens with a detailed historical account of the Medusa and subsequently describes Géricault's painting.
  • Ocean Sea by Alessandro Baricco – The second book describes the event from the point of view of Méduse's surviving surgeon, Henri Savigny and a sailor, both of them on the raft.

I think that at least a good trimming down of these is in order. Rama (talk) 08:13, 4 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article on the painting is a long featured article; you should not just dump a long section there without discussion. The painting is about the wreck, and all other ship, wreck or political scandal-related material more naturally belongs here. What is your objection to it - you don't say at all? Some of your classifications above are very strange. You seem to be treating anything to do with the raft as automatically being about the painting, which is clearly wrong. Judging from our articles, the major works:
- give no sign at all of having anything to do with the painting, and are mainly about events before the scene it shows. I agree some passing references are not really needed. If you don't like them here, with some of the more trivial ones trimmed, I suggest you start a "Cultural references" article or list. But it would be silly to try and split the list, and it clearly belongs here rather than there. Johnbod (talk) 12:23, 4 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am not certain I understand your question; I object to the presence of material irrelevent to the subject of an article, like in any article.
I did not say that we need to remove every last thing from this list, and certainly I do not consider anything related to the raft itself to relate primarly to the painting: for instance, I have a copy of Corréard's Relation complète du Naufrage de la Frégate La Méduse (from which I contributed a number of images illustrating this article, as you might have noticed), which is clearly about the wreck and raft, and relevant to the history of the frigate. However, of good proportion of the material of this list, and very likely most of it, has no relevance to the ship. The Astérix thing is a glaring example.
Regarding your three examples, I cannot judge any of them because I have read or watched none, and our articles very detailed; from what I can see:
  • Iradj Azimi's Le Radeau de la Méduse seem to be at least partly about the frigate
  • Alessandro Baricco's Ocean Sea is impossible to tell from our article
  • Hans Werner Henze's Das Floß der Medusa is impossible to tell from our article, but usually people who write about a ship take care the write her name correctly, so I'm inclined to think that it relates more to the painting than to the frigate.
There are 12 other references that you did not contest, so unless you have further objections, I'll assume that you agree that they do not belong here. I have no interest in the article on the painting, so I'll leave it entirely to you as to whether you wish to include it and to what extent, but I really think that it is irrelevant on French frigate Méduse (1810). Rama (talk) 17:28, 4 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You have not yet given any reasons for your objections! Don't assume that - I see no need to go through the whole list. How are they "irrelevant" - they certainly concern the ship. You must be joking re Henze - you do realize he is writing in German? Johnbod (talk) 18:00, 4 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My objections are that these elements have no relevance to the ship, and should therefore not be in the article about the ship. I do not see what more I can say about it that would not amount to proving a negative. I think that the burden of the proof would be on your side; for instance, what is your argument to say that the quote from Astérix, which explicitely alludes to the painter, who had no direct connection to the ship, is relevant to the frigate?
Regarding Henze, the fact that he writes in German does not change the name of the ship. It was relatively common in the early 19th century to translate the names of foreign ships (or miswrite it in a variety of ways), but this is not frequent amongst naval historians of the 20th century. This is why I regard Henze writing "Medusa" instead of the proper "Méduse" as a clue that he is probably more interested in the painting than in the ship herself. Of course I will yield to anybody who'll have read the book; have you?
Again, I have no opinion on how The Raft of the Medusa should be written or what it should include. I moved the list there because I thought it might interest the editors of that article, but I certainly won't insist on what they should keep or not. I do not think that it would be proper for me to express an opinion on The Raft of the Medusa, since I have not been seriously involved in this aricle, nor in Art-related subjects, and I have not demonstrated any knowledge or commitment on these subjects. On the other hand, I really think that the inclusion of irrelevant trivia in French frigate Méduse (1810) article does nothing to improve it. Rama (talk) 11:08, 5 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The lead uses the word émigré. I think that in this context, it refers to those aristocrats who fled France after the Revolution, and returned after the Restoration. But it needs explanation. Maproom (talk) 07:20, 2 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've dealt with this, by wikilinking to the relevant section of the émigré article. Maproom (talk) 17:45, 2 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Line Crossing Ceremony illustration[edit]

There is an illustration with the title "Line-crossing ceremony aboard Méduse on 1 July 1816". However, such ceremonies commemorate crossing the equator (according to Wiki) and the Méduse wouldn't have got that far South if it sank off Mauitania. Can someone clarify or correct? BobBadg (talk) 11:39, 11 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]