Lissagaray: History of the Paris Commune of 1871


Arrondissements — The 20 administrative districts, each with a mayor, into which Paris was divided.

Brassardiers — Arm-band wearers.

Cantiniere — Canteen woman attached to each battalion.

Catafalques — Decorated coffins used in funeral processions.

Chassepots — An early type of rifle.

Code Napoleon — The French legal code upholding bourgeois property and rights drawn up under Napoleon I but still the basis of the French legal system.

Corps Legislatif — Legislative Assembly.

Enceinte — The wall around the old city of Paris.

Faubourgs — Suburbs.

Feuilles-de-route — Travel document issued to a soldier giving the route to be followed and destination, and used for passing from one army unit to another.

Franc-tireurs — Irregular soldiers.

Gallicans — The Church faction which wanted the independence of the Church in France and questioned the appointment of bishops. (Cf. Ultramontanes below.)

Girondists — The right wing of the Revolution in 1793, opposed by the Jacobins.

Hôtel-de-Ville — The central town hall of Paris.

Lettres de cachet — The famous order by which the monarchs of the old regime could have people imprisoned indefinitely in the Bastille or other prisons.

Levée en masse — The general mobilisation of the populace for battle.

Mairie — Town hall of each arrondissement.

Montagnards — A name for the Jacobins — the left wing of the bourgeois revolution — deriving from the high benches they occupied in the revolutionary assembly of 1791-2.

Octrois — Local taxes levied at the city limits.

Pekin — Term for civilian used by the military.

Procureur de la République — Public Prosecutor.

Pupilles de la Commune — Orphans — largely of men who had died in the fighting — who were taken care of by the Commune.

Rappel — The call to arms.

Rurales — Provincials.

Sbirri — Police thugs.

Sergents-de-ville — Municipal police.

Tabellionat — Scriveners (a category of members of the legal profession).

Tirailleurs — Riflemen.

Turcos — Algerian units of the French army, so called by the Russians in the Crimean War who took them for Turks.

Ultra-montanes — Church faction which looked to Rome.

Vareuse — Cross-fastening jacket.