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Born on July 30, 1779, Joseph Bara was the son of a gamekeeper. His two brothers had been sent to the borders to fight the Prussians, while Joseph, too young to join the army, was sent to the Vendée as drummer boy. He died in an ambush near Jallais. It was probably a simple horse-theft gone awry; nevertheless, a legend grew that counter-revolutionaries had tried to foce him to declare "Long live the King!" to which he retorted: "Long live the Republic!" For which he was killed. The image of the fallen boy was seized upon by Robespierre himself, proclaiming, "Only the French have 13 year-old heroes." Bara was interred in the Pantheon as a hero of the revolution. In December 1793, painted Jacques-Louis David completed his work entitled The Death of Joseph Bara.

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