Cycling the Marseillaise

In 1792, 600 soldiers marched 500 miles from Marseille to Paris. For the entire journey – one longhot month – they sung the French national anthem.

That singing explains why the song’s today called the Marseillaise. It probably also explains why when they got to Paris they immediately stormed the royal palace and killed nearly everyone inside. If I’d just spent a month singing the same song over and over, I’d have wanted to kill someone too!

Next week, I’m going to be cycling their footsteps. I expect I’ll only sing the Marseillaise once a day, but if you shortly read about an Englishman being arrested for storming the French National Assembly, you’ll know what’s happened!

I may post updates on Instagram (@asmarshall) but as they’ll probably just be photos of my bloody knees after a horrific crash, maybe not…

5 thoughts on “Cycling the Marseillaise

  1. The “Fédérés” coming from Marseille arrived on July 30 in Paris, and the Royal Palace was attacked on August 10 . It already had been invaded in June with no harm by the people who wanted the King to sign some laws, which he didn’t.
    The new France was at war with the Austrian Empire and Prussia who didn’t accept the Revolution.
    In August the Brunswick Manifest was published in Paris. It was an insulting and threatening public letter to French masses. The King and the Queen were suspected of an alliance with the enemy (which was proved by the letters found in their rooms on this very day). This Manifest was the spark which triggered the assault, and not at all the guys from Marseille and their song…
    The Swiss guards and an unknown number of nobles fought to defend the king. It was a real fight, and half of the defenders were killed during the fight, not after it. Your text gives the false impression of a slaughter of prisoners.
    It’s during the storming of the Royal Palace when, for the first time in history, the red banner was used by revolutionaries. The reason is, in July 1791, a pacific crowd bearing a petition to the king had been shooted and slaughtered by conservative troops, on the very place of the Eiffel Tower now. This was the first action of barbarity of the Revolution, and as always it came from the rich. Until then, there had been no violence except the storming of the Bastille 2 years before. Until 1792 the red flag was used by the king’s troops to say “No mercy” and was used during the slaughter of July 1791. In memory, the people who attacked the Royal Palace used it. Hence comes the red flag associated to a revolution.
    In America you only hear lies and fairy tales about the first French Revolution, and more, the main things are never said and stay completely unknown. I read on the net Anglo-Saxons ignorant complaints about the September massacres, in 1792, with absolutely no knowledge of the context, but never do I read anything about the first massacre of the Revolution, a gratuitous slaughter of an unarmed crowd. Hollywood movies who play the part of history teachers in America are only influenced by the English bourgeoisie’ version of the things. Bourgeois, and English… Two reasons to hide the truth.

    • Phil – thanks for the comment and detailed history! My post wasn’t meant to be anything more than a pithy few sentences to explain why I wouldn’t be posting for a while. Sufficed to say, the book I’m writing will be historically accurate. Although, it will also have jokes. My apologies for those in advance.

  2. No problem with jokes, but your jokes carry the false myths delberately created by English wealthy to deter their own masses from following the same example. As England has a super influence on American mythology, as America doesn’t teach anything to its masses, the result is the world sees the French Revolution like a period of bleeding madness. To give you an example, the Terror only lasted less than one year, in 10 years of revolution. But ask any average Anglo: French Revolution = Terror. And nothing about the greatness of humanity attempts and achievements of this incredible time. I’m sorry, but your joke is “under influence”, and you don’t even know it.
    If you want to learn real things about the first years, read Peter Kropotkine’s book: The Great French Revolution, 1789-1793.

    • Crikey! I never thought this blog would have me accused of being the victim of bourgeoisie mind control. But good to see people are interested in the topic and its wider ramifications. I love the Internet sometimes!

  3. As the bourgeoisie owns every media and owns the entire society, as a tiny minority gives a value to individual thinking and thorough research of personal informations, the result of the equation is : only a tiny minority is not a victim of the bourgeoisie propaganda .
    How many people believe in the actual “crisis”, as if it was a natural catastrophe, and agree that the masses have to concede still more sacrifices to pay for the “debt” ? (just an example ) .

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