It goes: The revolution like Saturn devours its own children. I believe it was a common saying during the French Revolution (1789) and that it was most famously uttered by Danton during his trial. By the period Danton fell out of favor with the Committee of Public Safety and Robespierre, the revolution had become so suspicious of loyalism and foreign intervention (Marat, a popular journalist was killed by a royalist) it set up kangaroo courts throughout the country to purge society of counterrevolutionaries.
In the end, the people of Paris took virtual control of the National Assembly and the committee of Public Safety. Successive waves of radicalization (Girondins, Jacobins, Enrages) had followed the ascension of the Jacobins to power, quickly making conservatives out of yesterday's radicals.
In the end, the terror killed 7000 people across the country, many of whom had been among the first revolutionaries. Danton, Robespierre and Saint-Just all succumbed to the guillotine.
The revolution, much like Saturn, ate its children. Thermidore ended the terror, and dealt with Robespierre and Saint Just.
If you want an pictorial history...check out the paintings of David. For a good Saturn... how about GOya's "Saturn Devouring its children"
· 1 decade ago