The Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat

The Dastardly Past:  the Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat.

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On July 13, 1793, the French scientist-turned-radical-revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat took a bath.  This was a common occurrence due to an uncomfortable skin condition from which he suffered—modern doctors suspect dermatitis herpitiformis.  Soaking with various salts and minerals allowed Marat to alleviate his symptoms temporarily.  Nevertheless, on this day while in his bath, he granted an audience to a woman named Charlotte Corday who claimed to have urgent business.  They spoke for several minutes before she produced a knife and stabbed him in the chest.  He bled out within seconds.  Corday, a royalist, was arrested and quickly executed.  Over the last two centuries, various artists and writers have immortalized this episode, and Marat’s bathtub is currently exhibited in a Parisian wax museum, the Musée Grévin.

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