Marie-Anne-CHARLOTTE de CORDAY d'Armont


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Charlotte Corday (July 27th,1768/July 17th,1793), aristocrat with no wealth, French patriot, was born in Les Champeaux, a hamlet about five kilometers from Vimoutiers. Descended from the dramatist Pierre Corneille, on her mother line, adept of the philosophs Plutarch, Tacitus and Rousseau, sympathizer of the moderates, or Girondists, during the French Revolution, she determined to kill Jean-Paul Marat, Montagnard and radical Jacobins, whom she held responsible for the Reign of Terror. Charlotte went to Paris, she gained admittance to Marat's house on the pretext of disclosing to him the names of Girondins in the city of Caen. Marat suffering of skin problems, used to work in a bath. Charlotte is admitted in the room, and here stabbed him to death while he was in his bath. Charlotte was captured by Marat's friends before she could escape, and condemned by the revolutionary tribunal.


The childhood The exaltation The murder In jail, the trial The guillotine Videos/CLIP/film Historical background





"Charlotte conducted to the scaffold"



July 17, 1793 : Condemned, Charlotte is prepared for the scaffold ... she refuses the ministrations of a priest and thinking that her defender has decided deliberately not to attend her, she writes these last words : "Doulcet-Pontécoulant is a coward to have refused to defend me when it was so easy. He who undertook it performed his task with all possible dignity, and I shall retain a grateful recollection of him to my last moments."


Painting Arturo Michelena



"The last toilet of Charlotte Corday"



Steel engraving - EM.Ward RA PinX -

L.Stocks RA Sculpt.

D. Appleton & C° New York



Charlotte on the way to her execution



July 17, 1793 end of the afternoon : Charlotte is led to the scaffold, she wears the scarlet gown of the condemned murderers ... On the way, she remains proud, looks the populace with eyes beaming with serenity and compassion.




29 Messidor de l'an I : Charlotte is guillotined



July 17, 1793 at 6.30 pm, place de la Révolution : Charlotte is guillotined... She was turning 25.

"As Charlotte stood smiling a kindly farewell to the people, the sun suddenly pierced through a rift in the storm-clouds and flooded her face and figure with the glory of it setting rays. Framed in this halo of crimson light, Charlotte moved to the spot indicated by Sanson, and laid her head under the knife ...*"

After the decapitation, "Legros, the brutal assistant, help up the head to the gaze of the spectators and, undeterred by the smile of content on the beautiful dead face, struck it repeatedly with his open hands...*" *From Lamartine's history of the Girondists.

Charles-Henri Sanson, her executioner, in the Mémoires de Sanson, described Charlotte as a young and beautiful thoughtful woman, whose calm and control inspired him respect. François Legros, assistant executioner, was sentenced to three months in prison.


La Place de la Révolution, nowadays Place de la Concorde






Charlotte's body was taken to the Hospital of Charity to prove her virginity, the Montagnards accusers thinking that a woman could not have done so out of love for a man. She was declared "virgo intacta" (documents would have disappeared). The body was then transferred to the Madeleine Cemetery while the skull would have been kept by Charles-Henri Sanson, given to Alexandre-Charles Rousselin Corbeau de Saint Albin, secretary of Danton then acquired by Bonaparte's family. By now, It would be in possession of Prince Radziwill's descendants. The Cemetary disused in 1794, the skeletal remains were transferred to the Catacombs of Paris.


Marat's body was exposed in the amphitheater of Saint-Côme covered with a sheet while the Société des Cordeliers raised an "altar to the heart of Marat." On July 15 at 6 pm, an impressive procession walked from the Rue des Cordeliers, went to the French Theater, then the Eglise des Cordeliers, where Marat was buried in the monastery garden. An immense crowd wandered during the whole night, at the light of torches for "Friend of the people" the "Martyr for freedom".



November 25, 1794

Marat is transferred to the Panthéon


February 8, 1795, reversal of politic strengths :

Marat coffin was removed from the Panthéon

and transferred to a next door cemetary,

Saint Etienne du Mont on the montagne Saint Geneviève.



About the terrible guillotine during the Reign of Terror


Marie-Anne-Charlotte de Corday d'Armont aka Charlotte Corday





She was turning 25



... >>> Charlotte Corday next : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5




Enigmatic, fascinating indeed, Charlotte Corday was and remains one of the most emblematic figures of the French Revolution

The childhood The exaltation The murder In jail, the trial The guillotine Videos/CLIP/film Historical background