Welcome to 'Lost in the Myths of History'

It often seems that many prominent people of the past are wronged by often-repeated descriptions, which in time are taken as truth. The same is also true of events, which are frequently presented in a particular way when there might be many alternative viewpoints. This blog is intended to present a different perspective on those who have often been lost in the myths of history.

Friday, 29 July 2011

An Old Post on a New Blog

This post was originally written on one of my other blogs but it seemed appropriate to place it here to begin this new blog! I read a Primary School article today about the French Revolution. It said more or less that Louis XVI was tyrant who incarcerated anyone who disagreed with him in the Bastille; and Marie Antoinette was a heartless woman who said, when people were starving, "Let them eat cake." The revolutionaries, on the other hand, according to this article for children, wanted people to be free and to be fed and cared for.

Of course, being an article for children, it didn't say that Robespierre was utterly paranoid and a megalomaniac who was so tyrannical he even knew what 'happiness' meant for everyone, and no one else's idea of happiness was valid. It didn't mention, being an article for children, that The Terror led to the bloody mass slaughter of countless innocent people (rich and poor) or that some of the revolutionaries were so intoxicated by their own power that they thought they were suddenly kings...and, in the case of Robespierre, that vile, vile man, ended up going to the guillotine with half a face (the other half having been shot away by the same rabble that he had created).

Nor did it mention - which would have been more accurate - that Louis XVI was a man who ardently loved his country; a man who had no desire for power but would have been far happier among his clocks and clockwork mechanisms; a family man (like Nicholas II) and nothing like the tyrants who came afterwards. Nor did it mention that Marie Antoinette was first officially married to him when she was still an infant; was actually married to him when she was still a child, was sent from her home to a foreign place and was stripped of her clothes on the border in order to symbolise that passing and was then at so tender an age thrown into a completely different world with a husband she didn't know. It didn't mention the way in which she, like Alexandra of Russia, suddenly was treated as an enemy simply because of where she was born, nor how, later, she might have escaped from France but chose to stand by her husband...


Val said...

Christina - what a great way to start the blog! As a child in America, we were often taught this myth about Marie Antionette. Lucky for me, I had a middle school history teacher, and college professor who both spent a small part of the day dispelling historical myths. Marie Antionette's purported words were always at the top of their lists! She has always had a soft spot within my heart. Being married off as a child, stripped of her clothes and of her national identity and thrown into a new world would have a profound affect on anyone!

Christina said...

Thank you, Val! I am sorry it took so long to reply to your comment. For some reason, I was not able to write any comments for a while but happily that seems to be resolved :-).

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

One big disagreement: "actually wed while still a child" - read on nubile age in St Thomas Aquinas, III partis Supplementum, de Impedimentis Matrimonii. Defective age is an impediment, hers was not.

And, modern psychology which says it was, is no wiser than Aquinas and the Popes.

Otherwise a great post.

Christina said...

Thank you for your comment and the reference, Hans-Georg. I appreciate what you have written but I think that, despite what Aquinas and the Pope said, they were not very young girls in foreign countries marrying virtual strangers. I respect your view, though and thank you for commenting.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Pope Benedict XIV and Aquinas agree 12 is old enough. As for "virtual strangers" that is not typical for common folks, but it is in a way for royalties.

But I suppose Louis and Marie Antoinette had been corresponding by letter, at least?