Anecdotes on the Countess du Barry (1775)


Since the royal family’s ability to procreate was crucial to the perpetuation of the reign and thus to the continuity of the monarchy, the obsession shown in pamphlets about the bodies and sexual activities of King and Queen must be seen as having not just prurient interest for readers but also political overtones.This particular pamphlet, by a journalist named Mathieu Pidansat de Mairobert... Read More »

Thumbnail of sheep shaped cake mold

Animal Baking Mold


This hollow cast iron container is a baking mold used for shaping bread or cake for children, according to archaeologists. It was excavated with a similar elephant mold. The mold is from the excavation of Hallado en al-Fudyan in Jordan, dated to the 8th century CE, during the Umayyad Islamic period. The mold is 17 cm high, 16.5 cm wide, and 6 cm deep (6.7 x 6.5 x 2.4 inches). The two hinges... Read More »

Anstis Crew Mock Trial


This is a print taken from Captain Charles Johnson's 1724 book, A General History of the Robberies and Murders Of the most notorious Pyrates, depicting a mock trial held by the pirate crew of Captain Thomas Anstis. Anstis was a pirate captain active in the Caribbean and the east coast of the American colonies in the early eighteenth century during the "Golden Age of Piracy." He served... Read More »

Antislavery Agitation: Abbé Raynal, Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies (1770)


Abbé Guillaume–Thomas Raynal (1711–96), known by his clerical title [abbé refers to ecclesiastical training], first published his multivolume history of European colonization anonymously in French in 1770. Today many sections of it seem almost quaint and hopelessly detailed, for Raynal and his collaborators (among them Diderot) gathered every imaginable fact to support their scathing... Read More »

Apprentices and Masters


Unlike the Marquis de Mirabeau, (see document Tension between Rich and Poor) Jacques Savary sought to promote commerce and those who engaged in it. In this excerpt from his 1757 edition of The Perfect Merchant, which was widely read, Savary comments on the proper relations between apprentices learning a trade and the masters who owned the shop. Although his views in general... Read More »

Aristocratic Occupations...

Aristocratic Occupations


The second image, a color drawing by the popular English caricaturist James Gillray in 1805 during the Empire, takes a different view of the Directory, suggesting that it is a time of moral decadence and self–aggrandizement. It depicts Paul Barras, while in power as a member of the five–man executive Directory in 1797, being entertained by the naked dancing of two wives of prominent men, the... Read More »

Aristocratic Values


This 1789 article from the Révolutions de Paris, a leading radical newspaper, argues that the Revolution has not been achieved, because all of the changes to date could still be reversed. Moreover, it warns that "anti–patriots"—"nobles" in the National Assembly and "aristocrats" in the royal ministry—would like to do just that by starting a "civil war." To prevent this, it calls on civic–... Read More »

Ark (Wooden Chest with Iron Locks)


This heavy wooden chest served a crucial purpose for municipal officials of Buenos Aires in the eighteenth century: it stored their documents. Until the early nineteenth century, the Spanish Crown ruled over much of South America, including Buenos Aires. Because their empire was so vast, and travel in between the territories took several months, accurate record-keeping was essential. City... Read More »

Army of Jugs thumbnail image

Army of Jugs


This color drawing, produced in 1793 at the request of the Committee of Public Safety and then published as an engraving, caricatures the British army and its king, George III, as incompetent, who, despite fine uniforms, cannot defeat shoddily clad, yet energetic sans–culottes (on the left), who humiliate the British by defecating on the advancing troops. The British vainly try to respond with... Read More »

Arrest of Louis Capet at Varennes, June 22, 1791


This print shows an angry crowd of fervent revolutionaries breaking down doors to arrest the King.