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A temple dedicated to philosophy was erected on the summit of a white mountain for the Festival of Reason (Notre Dame Cathedral) in Paris, in November 1793. Flanking the entrance to the temple were busts of four philosophers, which Alphonse Aulard identified as Voltaire, Rousseau, Franklin, and perhaps Montesquieu. A "flame of truth" burned on an altar as young women in white with tricolor waistbands traversed the mountain, and bowed before the flame and the summit. A band played and the people sang a hymn to Liberty, daughter of Nature, as an allegorical figure playing that role emerged from the temple in white, blue and red while holding a pike as an alpenstock. The mountain remained a dynamic and contested symbol during the French Revolution.

Source: Révolutions de Paris, vol. 17, no. 215 (23 Brumaire II [13 November 1793]): 210. Harvard College Library, Widener Library, Fr 1325.914 [HXKP2U];


Fête de la Raison, Notre Dame, Paris


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