July 28, 2021

Colin Jones: The Fall of Robespierre (1794)

227 years to the day since Maximilien Robespierre went to the guillotine we investigate the circumstances of his downfall.

In this brilliantly analytical episode, Professor Colin Jones, one of the finest living scholars of early modern France, takes us back to one of the most dramatic episodes in all political history: 9-10 Thermidor in the Revolutionary Calendar, or 27-28 July in ours.

As Jones explains, Robespierre began 9 Thermidor feeling relatively secure as he went to sleep in his austere lodgings near the Place de la Révolution. By the time the sun set into the summer horizon, his position was parlous. The next day he would be dead.

The story and characters that feature in this episode of Travels Through Time are drawn from Jones’s forthcoming book, The Fall of Robespierre: twenty four hours in Revolutionary Paris, which will soon be published by Oxford University Press.

As ever, much, much more about this episode is to be found at our website tttpodcast.com.

Show notes

Scene One: 12 midnight 8-9 Thermidor: Robespierre in his lodgings.

Scene Two: Some time in the evening – maybe around 9 pm – in the Place de la Maison Commune (Place de l’Hotel de Ville), a National Guard company discussing what is going on and what decision they should make over who to support.

Scene Three: Robespierre at midnight 9-10 Thermidor: reflecting on the day and his and the Revolution’s future.

Memento: Robespierre’s last letter.


Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Professor Colin Jones

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Colorgraph

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