Tag Archives: Louis XVI of France

today’s birthday Olympe de Gouges (1748)


Olympe de Gouges (1748)

Born Marie Gouze, de Gouges was a French author whose feminist writings during the French Revolution demanded the same rights for French women that French men were demanding. In 1791, alarmed that the new constitution did not address woman’s suffrage, she wrote Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, challenging the practice of male authority and the notion of male-female inequality. Why was she executed by guillotine during the Reign of Terror? More… Discuss

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today’s birthday: Nostradamus (1503)


Nostradamus (1503)

Nostradamus was a French astrologer and physician reputed to have effected remarkable cures during outbreaks of the Black Plague. His book of prophecies, Les Propheties, consists of vaguely phrased, rhymed quatrains grouped into sets of 100, called “Centuries.” Enthusiasts credit Nostradamus with foreseeing the rise of Hitler, the French Revolution, the atomic bomb, and the destruction of the World Trade Center. What reason do skeptics give for dismissing these claims? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: King Louis XVI of France Tried for Treason (1792) (I say: read, read, read!)


King Louis XVI of France Tried for Treason (1792)

Louis XVI was King of France from 1774 to 1792. Shy, dull, and corpulent, he proved unsuited to the task of navigating the complex social and political conflict smoldering in France. His failure to resolve the country’s enormous debt touched off a chain of events that culminated in the outbreak of revolution. In 1792, the monarchy was abolished and Louis tried for treason. Found guilty, he was guillotined on January 21, 1793. What supposedly foiled his attempted escape from France in 1791? More… Discuss

Madame Tussauds


Madame Tussauds

A skilled wax sculptor, Marie Tussaud served as art tutor to Louis XVI’s sister until the French Revolution began. During the Reign of Terror, Tussaud made death masks from heads—often those of her friends—freshly severed by the guillotine. She moved to Britain with her collection of wax models, and, in 1835, established a museum that remains a principal tourist attraction, now known as Madame Tussauds. One of its main attractions is the Chamber of Horrors. What did it originally include? More… Discuss

NEWS: BLOOD ON HANDKERCHIEF LIKELY NOT ROYAL


Blood on Handkerchief Likely Not Royal

A handkerchief long thought to be stained with the blood of guillotined French King Louis XVI is likely inauthentic. DNA analysis of the blood on the cloth suggests it most likely belonged to a brown-eyed, average-height person, whereas the king had blue eyes and was quite tall for his time. The genetics also point to French and Italian lineage, while many of Louis XVI’s ancestors came from Germany and Poland. Why then was the handkerchief stored in an elaborately decorated gourd bearing the inscription, “On January 21, Maximilien Bourdaloue dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his decapitation”? One theory is that a fraudster created the fake relic for money. More… Discuss

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Today’s Birthday: Madame du Barry (1743)


Madame du Barry (1743) Madame du Barry was the mistress of Louis XV. She was first the mistress of Jean du Barry, who introduced her into Parisian high society. Admired for her beauty, she joined Louis XV’s court in 1769 after a nominal marriage to Jean’s brother, a nobleman, qualified her to be Louis’s official royal mistress. Though she exercised little political influence, her unpopularity contributed to the decline of the prestige of the crown in the early 1770s. What happened to her during the French Revolution? More… Discuss