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D'Artagnan
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D'Artagnan

D'Artagnan is a fictional character, the protagonist in all three novels The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas, père (see D'Artagnan Romances). Although The Three Musketeers begins with him setting out to Paris to become a musketeer, he is not one of the three mentioned in the title; those are Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, whom he meets and befriends in Paris.

D'Artagnan is loosely based on the historical musketeer Charles de Batz-Castelmore, count d'Artagnan, whose life had already been fictionalized in Gatien Courtilz de Sandras's novel Les mémoires de Mr d'Artagnan. Charles, like Dumas' hero, was born 1611 in Gascony, became a musketeer's captain and died 1673 at Maastricht.

Le Chevalier Charles de Batz-Castelmore’s father was the head of King Henry IV’s personal guard and had been killed attempting to save the life of the King. D’Artagnan wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps as well as his brother’s footsteps who were all connected to the Musketeers at one time or another; therefore, he sought a commission in the Musketeers. Due to the fact that he had never served any military service he was at first denied; however, Madame de Treville, a close friend of his family, used her influence to secure him a place in the King's Royal Guard, which he commanded, later in life.

D’Artagnan had an illustrious career in espionage for Cardinal Mazarin, the King's personal advisor, in the years after the first Fronde when King Louis XIV had been exiled from the country. Due to D'artagnan’s faithful service during this period, Louis entrusted him with many secret and delicate situations that required complete discretion.

D’Artagnan is famous for his connection with the arrest of Nicolas Fouquet Fouquet was Louis XIV’s finance commissioner and aspired to take the place of Mazarin as the King’s previous advisor. Fouquet was also a lover of grand architecture and had a huge home built which he called Chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte. The greatest architects and artisans from around the world collaborated on his home. When it was finished, Fouquet had the most extravagant party ever held, with Vatel as the master steward for the event. The party was so extravagant that every guest was given a horse. Even thought the party was a huge success the King became jealous and felt upstaged by the grandeur of the home and event. He immediately had D’Artagnan arrest Fouquet and guard him for four years until Fouquet was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment and removed from D’Artagnan’s care.

Other credits to the real D’Artagnan include a governorship of Lille, which was won in battle by France in 1667.  D’Artagnan longed to return to battle and found his chance when Louis XIV went to war with Holland. After being recalled to service by the  King, D’artagnan was subsequently killed in battle on June 25, 1673 when a musket ball tore into his throat at Maastricht.

However there was another Comte D'Artagnan, Pierre de Montesquiou (1645-1725), from which Dumas' character earned his marshal baton.

Film and Television

Actors who have played D'Artagnan on screen include:
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