Biography Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne - Biographie

Family origins

Born February 28, 1533 at the Château de Montaigne in Perigord, Michel de Montaigne is from a family of Bordeaux wine merchants.

His great grandfather, Ramon Eyquem, acquired in 1477 this fortified house of the XIV century, and thus accesses the noble status of Lord of Montaigne he bequeathed to his children and grandchildren.

Fromthese, Pierre Eyquem was the first to leave the family counter to settle in the Périgord house he does develop and strengthen.

Fromhis marriage to Antoinette Louppes, daughter of a merchant from Toulouse, he had eight children including Michel was the eldest.

1533-1548 : Happy childhood in the castle of Montaigne

Brought to nurse in the small nearby village of Papassus, the young Michel Eyquem receives upon return to a family castle unusual education: Woke up each morning to the sound spruce "in order not to damage his tender brains", he learns early fluent in Latin from the age of seven, conversing naturally with domestic employees Montaigne.

Schooled inCollege of Guyenne in Bordeaux, he quickly shines through his ability to practice discussion and rhetorical joust, and his taste for the theater.

1557-1570: Parliament of Bordeaux and Etienne de la Boétie

After studying law, he began his career in 1554 as advisor to the Court of Périgueux helpers, then the Parliament of Bordeaux where he sat for almost 15 years.

This is the palace of the Ombrière he met Etienne de la Boétie, three years his senior, humanist and poet, author of the discourse of voluntary servitude, anthem vehemently civic freedom.

Their friendTié inspire deep Montaigne famously; "Because it was him, because it was me" (Essay I, 28).

The mort premature de la Boétie, carried away by the plague in 1563 put a tragic end to this noble affection, and let Montaigne in great solitude that her marriage in 1565 with Françoise Chassaigne the daughter of one of his colleagues in Parliament, will not come appease.

In this tender and faithful union, "the old Francoise", had six daughters, one, Eleanor survived.

1571: Retreat in Montaigne

The death of his father in 1568, "the best of fathers who were oncques" left at the head of a large fortune and estate of Montaigne.

He removes it two years later, after selling his parliamentary office, in order to "rest on the breast of the Virgin learned in peace and serenity" and cross it "the remaining days to him live ".

He spends most of his time in meditation andread a thousand books collected in his "library", "beautiful village between libraries", fitted on the top floor of this tower which becomes his lair.

He often it withdraws, fleeing family and work constraints: "This is my seat I try to make me pure domination, and subtract this one corner the conjugal partnership and subsidiary, and civil. ".

If appropriant the room, he had engraved on the beams of the ceiling ancient skepticism maxims and sentences taken from Sacred Scripture, which still form a moving testimony of his humanist thought: "I am a man, nothing that is human is foreign to me "(Terence).

It commenit also write down the result of his reflections, his "Essays" that he published the first book in two volumes in 1580: "I want people to me in my simple way, natural and ordinary, and no contention artifice: for it is I that I paint. "

1580-1581: Travel in Europe

To cure his gravel, inherited disease from which he suffers in recent years, Montaigne decides to try spa treatments in the spa towns renowned throughout Europe.

Itleaves his retirement in June 1580, accompanied by his brother and three other young nobles. After a visit to Paris where he presented his Essays to King Henry III, he went to Switzerland, then Germany and finally in Italy.

Ily learned Italian and obtained cRoman ITIZENSHIP.

He reported his journey in his travel journal, the manuscript, preserved for almost 200 years the castle unbeknownst to all, will be released when it was discovered in 1774. The studded leather chest in which it was found is still visible in the tower room.

1581-1585: The Mayor of Bordeaux

On 7 September 1581, a letter from France informs his election as mayor of Bordeaux.

Pressed by Henry III, he began the journey home. Although re-elected at the end of his term in 1583, his office did monopolizes point and it continues writing his essays: in 1582 he published a second edition enriched additions.

No.Ms. gentleman of the room of the King of France in 1573, Montaigne has faithfully served Henry III.

After taking an active part in the civil war until 1577, the new mayor of Bordeaux talked friendly relations with Marshal Matignon, Lieutenant General of the King of Navarre and his negotiation skills and diplomacy, tried to reconcile Henry III and his brother Henry of Navarre, the future Henri IV.

Ce last came even find Montaigne home twice, in search of the wise advice he never failed to give him.

The master of the house then placed at the disposal of the future king and his suite the room and board, and their leisure, throwing the two men to hunt deer in the field of wood.

On the death of Henry III, the Bearnais then becoming the legitimate king of France, Montaigne demonstrates his attachment.

1588-1592: Last years Montaigne

His political positions do not prevent write: At the end of his second term in 1585, he starts to work and preparing a new edition of essays he published in Paris in 1588, added a third tome.

Is -Cette occasion he met a young girl from Picardy, Marie Le Jars de Gournay, with whom he became friends; friendship made of tenderness and admiration that illuminates his last years.

Indeed,very weakened by his gravel, it usually remains in his library where he is preparing a fourth edition of essays that will emerge after his death in 1595, thanks to the work that he called his "daughter of alliance, "Marie de Gournay, who assured and posterity.

Of theux last years of his life is his furnished room on the second level of the tower he hears the services celebrated in the small stately chapel on the ground floor, through a duct acoustic set in the wall, n 'having the strength to go down stairways.

13 septembre 1592, feeling his last moments arrive, he brought with him his closest neighbors to take leave of them.

In their presence he told a final Mass and breathed his last at the very moment of the Elelevation. He is 59 years old.

A modern thinking

"What do I know?" was his motto, and when asked where he was from, he replied, following the example of Socrates: "I am the world", refusing any geographical label and the same discrimination between men.

N ItWas not riding on the principles of a narrow discipline, but more inclined to tolerance between people and respect for difference as a social than religious.

He posé the first foundations of humanism, this current of thought that wants the company to be made to serve man and not the reverse; this philosophy that puts people at the center of reflection and leads to respect for others.

Defenseheart of the need to communicate, he was steeped in the spirit of justice and fairness and always advocated dialogue as a remedy for violence and reflection as a prerequisite for action.