Ships in the French Royal Navy?

Sorry for this random question, but I was wondering if anyone knew (@isabella, @The_Most_Happy @Emperor Constantine @alexmilman @VVD0D95 @etc) how ships in the French Royal Navy (both pre-1789, but particularly between 1815-1848) were named/styled.

For instance, the Austrian/German imperial ships were marked "SMS" for "Seine Majestät and the Italian navy was "NMM" for Nava Marina Militare.

But I can't find what French ships were prefixed (was it whatever the French equivalent of "HMS" "Bateau/Vaisseau de Sa Majesté" (BSM/VSM) or was it something different?)

And then, about naming traditions, most French ships that I can find (easily) are from the Napoléonic or Republican navies. But were the names mythological (like the famous Medusa from Géricault's painting) or religious (like Spain's were usually named after saints, although there were a fair few in the Habsburg navy that had names like the "Saint George" or "Saint Stephen")? Or historical (Charlemagne? Louis le Grand?) Or was it something like the US with the "Arizona", the "Maine", the "Illinois" etc. Or was there no real pattern to it (the British royal navy used to keep names that weren't "problematic", it was how you ended up with a ship called the "Santissima Trinidad" or the "Ça Ira", guess it was something like bragging rights?)
 
I am not exactly sure, but I do believe that some of them were named after feminine adjectives, such as "Boudeuse", Bougainville's ship, or "Sémillante". You also had feminine first names ("Cléopâtre", "Iphigénie", ...) that tend to be Ancient names. Finally you had common nouns designating feminine people, such as "La Magicienne", "the lady wizard", or "Héroïne", the lady hero.

Most of these are names from the late 18th to early 19th, I don't know how easily extandible this is to other eras.

Source: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catégorie:Frégate_à_voiles_de_la_Marine_française
 
I think the French Royal navy never used official prefixes. A ship was doubtlessly his/her majesties ship. But its not until after the fall of the monarchy (the first time at least) that things like HMS, USS etcetera became official. And even then the French have never used an official prefix for their vessels.
 
Although it is difficult to make out, you can see a full chart of all of the ships of the French navy from 1785 with their names, in the following picture:

Etat_de_la_Marine_royale_de_France%2C_1785..jpg


Although I would have to look over my books for reference to naming patterns, so far as I know the French did not set up particularly rigid naming schemes, and the main influencing factors in history for their naming patterns were 1)A more bellicose, warlike, and grandiose naming pattern during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV, which replaced previous vessels which had less grand names (you can see this on the renaming of French ships of the line on the page on Wikipedia on French ships of the line, many of them received new, more warlike names), 2)The extensive number of ships which were named after the various Etats, cities, various corporate bodies during the reign of Louis XVI, with donations and contributions from these organizations during the rebuilding of the fleet, 3)The massive renaming of ships under the Republic.

You didn't have, as other have said, things like HMS, USS, etc. but French ships did have a pronounced - although not universal, as you can see from the chart - tendency to start with le rather than la, and they always had an article preceding them. I.e. to take the beginning list of ships from the ships of the line section in the above image:

Le Royal Louis
La Bretagne
L'Invincible
Le Majestueux
Le Terrible
L'Auguste
Le Duc de Bourgogne
La Couronne
(can't make out that one)
Le Saint Esprit
Le Languedoc
Le Triomphant
L'Actif,
etc.

So normally you have a mixture of various typically warlike adjectives or names such as terrible, hardy, magnificient, victory, conqueror, invincible, French royal figures, places, there are also historical figures (there were French ships named after both Hannibal and Ceasar), religious concepts such as the Holy Spirit, mythological features, and sometimes foreign names reflecting various affairs the French were involved in or the ships' origins, see América, launched in 1788, or La Couronne Ottomane (The Ottoman Crown), temporarily purchased from the Ottomans.
 
You didn't have, as other have said, things like HMS, USS, etc. but French ships did have a pronounced - although not universal, as you can see from the chart - tendency to start with le rather than la, and they always had an article preceding them. I.e. to take the beginning list of ships from the ships of the line section in the above image:
Grammatically all ships are masculine in French, as are all generic words referring to ships or boats: le navire (the vessel), le bateau (the boat), le vaisseau (vessel again), le bâtiment (technically means building, but also used for major warships, and seeing the image apparently for the little ones back in 1785). That being said, the French are sticklers for proper grammar, so as couronne (crown) is a feminine noun, it can only be La Couronne. If a word can take either gender (like the many adjectives used as noun, e.g. triomphant, invincible), they default to masculine, but if it is fixed they take it as it comes rather than force things.
 
I think the French Royal navy never used official prefixes. A ship was doubtlessly his/her majesties ship. But its not until after the fall of the monarchy (the first time at least) that things like HMS, USS etcetera became official. And even then the French have never used an official prefix for their vessels.
Not even after the Restauration in 1815 or ships built under the July Monarchy or Napoléon iII? When other navies in Europe were doing that?
 
I don't feel like sleeping just yet, so I took another look at that amazing chart....and holy cow, it really has everything on it! Name, depertment (homeport by letter it seems), guns, calibre of the guns, *squints*... tonnage?, crew size....if you can read it anyway, the red inked parts are nearly impossible.

Does show that, despite what I said about the grammar, 70 out of 74 frigates have feminine names, even when using adjective-based nouns. Exceptions being Le Montréal, Le Richemont, Le Crescent and the plural (!) Les Tourtereaux (the lovebirds). This actually still makes grammatical sense, as frégate itself is indeed feminine (along with galiotte, flute (despite a Le Gros Ventre, aka the big belly) gabarre, chalouppe & corvette, which curiously does have a good number of masculine names, though much less than the ships of the line). Strong feminine themes among the frigates, at times girly even, there is La Gentille (the gentle) or La Mignone (the cutie) for instance. Yet, also a more martial La Courageuse, and a regal La Cléopatre.

We can also see further proof of the lack of solid conventions in La Bretagne being a massive 110, while Le Normandie is merely a 20-gun flute (guess the estates of Normandy were stingier than their Breton neighbours). The perfectly martial La Revanche (revenge) is just a 12-gun chébec (i.e. xebec).

Animals do seem to be relegated to sub-frigate sizes, even the majestic eagle is a mere 4-gun.

Aaand..its properly time to sleep by now. Excellently nerdy way to end the day for a history lover.
 
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