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The Profanation at Saint Denis (1793)

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La Profanation de Saint-Denis (1793)



After the French Revolution (1789), and during Robespierre's Reign of Terror (1793-1794), the French National Convention ordains the exhumation and destruction of all royal tombs. In October 1793, the profanation of the tombs at the Basilica of Saint Denis is executed. This basilica has been the necropolis for the kings and queens of France since the burial there of King Dagobert in c639. In total, over 170 bodies are exhumed, mutilated and spread over two common graves just outside the basilica. In 1817, the unidentifiable remains are recovered from these common graves, and re-burried in the basilica in ten joint coffins. This includes...

  • 43 kings
  • 32 queens
  • 63 princes
  • 10 royal officials
  • 24 abbots of Saint-Denis

The profanation at Saint Denis is considered a major catastrophy for paleopathological research.


Après la Révolution (1789) et pendant la Terreur de Robespierre (1793-1794), la Convention Nationale décide l'exhumation et destruction des tombeaux royaux de France. La profanation des tombeaux de la Basilique Saint-Denis est exécutée en octobre 1793. Cette basilique fut le nécropole des rois et reines de France depuis le roi Dagobert, inhumé vers l'an 639. Au total, plus de 170 corps sont exhumés, mutilés et répartis sur deux fosses communes situées à l'extérieur de la basilique. En 1817, les restes anonymes sont recouverts et répartis sur dix coffres, et ré-inhumé dans la basilique. Il s'agit de...

  • 43 rois
  • 32 reines
  • 63 princes du sang
  • 10 serviteurs du royaume
  • 24 abbés de Saint-Denis

La profanation de Saint Denis est considérée une catastrophe majeure pour la recherche paléopathologique.


Chronology of exhumation (incomplete list, work in progress)

Text appearing in French is a transcription from the archive document attached to this project, and is progressively scrutinized

October 12, 1793 (complete)

  • Henri IV, roi de France et de Navarre (1553-1610)

October 14,1793 (complete)

October 15, 1793 (complete)

October 16, 1793 (complete)

October 17, 1793 (complete)

October 18, 1793 (complete)

October 19, 1793 (complete)

October 20, 1793 (complete)

October 21, 1793 (complete)

October 22, 1793 (incomplete)

  • Arnaud Guilhem de Barbazan, baron de Barbazan, chambellan de Charles VII (1360-1431)
  • Louis de Sancerre, maréchal de France (c1341-1402)
  • l'abbé Suger de Saint-Denis, mort en 1151
  • l'abbé Troon de Saint-Denis, mort en 1221

October 24, 1793 (incomplete)

October 25, 1793 (incomplete)

January 18, 1794 (complete)

(Work in progress...)