An illustration of two men, Egmont and Horn, being executed by beheading.

Execution of Egmont and Horn

An illustration of two men, Egmont and Horn, being executed by beheading.

"The guillotine is an apparatus for beheading persons at one stroke, adopted by the National Assembly of France during the first Revolution, on the proposals of a Dr. Guillotin, after whom it was named."—(Charles Leonard-Stuart, 1911)

Guillotine

"The guillotine is an apparatus for beheading persons at one stroke, adopted by the National Assembly…

Device for beheading during the French Revolution.

Guillotine

Device for beheading during the French Revolution.

The guillotine was a device used for carrying out executions by decapitation. It consists of a tall upright frame from which a heavy blade is suspended. This blade is raised with a rope and then allowed to drop, severing the victim's head from his or her body. The device is noted for long being the main method of execution in France and, more particularly, for its use during the French Revolution. The guillotine also "became a part of popular culture, celebrated as the people's avenger by supporters of the Revolution and vilified as the preeminent symbol of the Terror by opponents.

Guillotine

The guillotine was a device used for carrying out executions by decapitation. It consists of a tall…