After Louis XVI
, king of France
, was depose
d and the French Republic
declared on September 21st 1792, he obviously ceased to be king. However, his line had long since shed things as profane
as family name
s, relying on titles to uniquely identify people. This posed a bit of a problem for the revolutionaries when they tried him for treason
during the following winter: it would have looked rather silly to hold a trial against just "Louis" (a very common name), but they didn't want to use any filthy aristocrat
ic titles. The name of Louis' House, Bourbon
, was probably considered inappropriate for the same reason.
Thus, the Committee of Public Safety went back to the last dynasty of
French kings to have simple family names, the Capets, and used that name, turning Louis XVI into "Citoyen Capet" (citoyen, "citizen" was the politically correct salutation of the time, superseding the aristocratic Monsieur), who was sentenced to death on January 18th 1793 and guillotined in the Place de la Révolution in Paris on January 21st 1793.