Friday, November 2, 2018

How Marie Antoinette's Legacy Was Sullied

From History:
Few women in history have inspired as many myths as Marie-Antoinette, the last queen of France, typically portrayed as the embodiment of excess and debauchery. Many of those myths are based on the vicious and often pornographic Revolutionary propaganda that poured from French printing presses in the last days of the 18th century. The effect of this propaganda has meant that for centuries she was falsely blamed for the downfall of the monarchy.

Antoinette’s supposed crimes against both France and nature itself often took the form of songs, and her beheading on October 16, 1793 inspired a slew of execution ballads, known in French as complaintes. Execution ballads were a popular genre of news song throughout early modern Europe, cheaply printed songs set to a familiar tune. They all recounted the crimes of the condemned, with some in the first-person voice of the criminal, singing of their remorse at their evil actions, and their fear of execution.

Often execution ballads showed compassion for the criminal who was presented as repentant, but for the despised queen these ballads reveled in delight at her beheading for high treason. Ballads were sold on busy streets, marketplaces and bridges by ballad sellers, and then re-performed in taverns, cafés, theaters and at home by all classes of society. Thus, all could participate in the communal tarnishing of her reputation. (Read more.)
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2 comments:

Susan Kramer said...

Interesting - just as the reputation and holy legacy of Pope Pius XII was ruined. I recently participated in a pilgrimage to Israel. Our guide was a Melkite Israeli. Another pilgrim asked why we did not have the Yad Vashem memorial as part of our pilgrimage. Our guide, a fellow Catholic, said it was because the museum includes a photo of Pope Pius XII on its "wall of criminals", in spite of his noble protection and life-saving efforts for thousands of Jews and others who lived in fear of execution and torture by the Nazis. It is absolutely dreadful, but people prefer to believe the worst they hear, even if it is a lie. God bless all here - Susan, OFS

julygirl said...

Unfortunately, "History" that is taught as truth is merely 'His Story' based on whatever agenda the writer at the time was promoting. Current historians, in order to dig up the truth of the past, need to look into all aspects of the life and times of which they are writing, and even then there is room for debate.