French forensic scientists Philippe Charlier and Philippe Froesch have concluded that Maximilien de Robespierre had sarcoidosis, “a disease of unknown cause that leads to inflammation.”
Sarcoidosis causes “instead, some of the immune system cells cluster to form lumps called granulomas in various organs in your body.”
Symptoms attributed to Robespierre, as described by “several clinical signs were described by contemporary witnesses”, includes:
• Vision problems
• Nose bleeds
• Chronic eye twitching
• Leg ulcers
• Facial skin disease
• Uncontrollable mouth twitching
This disease is marked by patients having a clear risk for developing mental disorders and are recommended to have a psychiatric evaluation to determine if they suffer from:
• Biopolar disorder
• Anxiety disorder
• Obsessive compulsive disorder
• Panic disorder
These symptoms “worsened between 1790 and 1794″ before his execution at 36 years of age.
Sarcoidosis “is characterized by the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells through various parts of the patient’s body, commonly targeting the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes, and skin. The exact case of this rare autoimmune disease is not known although doctors have reported some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing the disease triggered by bacteria, viruses, dust, or chemicals.”
This new view of Robespierre will be shocking to the French person, according to Froesh, who says that French citizens “still lionize Robespierre as a founding father and can’t bear to think of him as ugly.”
Froesh said: “They say that it doesn’t correspond with the portraits of the era, which show no scars. When they see this picture of a tired man, with bags under his eyes and scars, people are disappointed because it shatters their idealized image of Robespierre.”
One fact not missed was that “Robespierre highly consumed oranges. Although it is not clear whether the French Revolution leader had high calcium levels, sarcoidosis patients are advised to avoid excessive amounts of calcium-rich foods such as oranges.”
Other possibilities for Robespierre’s diagnosis could be tuberculosis or leprosy; however Froesh and Charlier maintain that these conditions do not fully explain all of the symptoms Robespierre is believed to suffer from.
Robespierre was an integral member of the French Revolution who later became head of the Committee on Public Safety (CSP) under the new Republic in the late 1700s.
Although Robespierre participated in the agitation conspiracies that sparked the Hegelian reaction by the French people in the beginning of the revolt, he also influenced the Reign of Terror before his arrest in 1794.
Robespierre was referred to as the “bloodthirsty dictator” by his opposition.
Advancing the Jacobins, of which he was a member, Robespierre conceived of “revolutionary virtue” as the backbone of the reconstruction of “political sovereignty”.
Speaking about the Jacobins, Robespierre said : “Upon the Jacobins I exercise, if we are to believe my accusers, a despotism of opinion, which can be regarded as nothing other than the forerunner of dictatorship. Firstly, I do not know what a dictatorship of opinion is, above all in a society of free men… unless this describes nothing more than the natural compulsion of principles. In fact, this compulsion hardly belongs to the man who enunciates them; it belongs to universal reason and to all men who wish to listen to its voice. It belongs to my colleagues of the Constituent Assembly, to the patriots of the Legislative Assembly, to all citizens who will invariably defend the cause of liberty. Experience has proven, despite Louis XVI and his allies, that the opinion of the Jacobins and of the popular clubs were those of the French Nation; no citizen has made them, and I did nothing other than share in them.”
Under the Reign of Terror, the Jacobins installed a Revolutionary Tribunal and the Committee of General Security to enact those orders of keeping the Republic intact by murdering French patriots who were now under suspicion for not believing in the Republic enough.
Robespierre believed that there was “no room for mercy” and that “slowness of judgments is equal to impunity” and “uncertainty of punishment encourages all the guilty”.
Public death by guillotine was the order of the Reign of Terror with Robespierre at the helm.