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D’Artagnan – a musketeer between fiction and reality

“The Three Musketeers” are legendary, the novel by Alexandre Dumas has often been made into films. But what about the real warrior in the service of the Sun King, on whose biography the story is based? 


Alexandre Dumas could not have invented the life path of the real person better: Charles de Batz, known as d’Artagnan, born around 1615 at Castelmore Castle, became the king’s bodyguard, died in 1673 near Maastricht. Very few people know that he is not just a character in “The Three Musketeers”, but actually lived. Did Dumas use historical sources as a basis for his work? Is there a piece of history recorded in the volumes? That and more is discussed in the documentation.

“One for all, all for one!” – For almost 200 years this saying has been firmly linked to one of the most famous novels in French literature. In fact, “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas has been filmed several times in the past few decades or adapted as a theater or even a musical on stages in different countries. But who knows that behind it is the biography of a real man? And how did it get into the hands of the French writer? The ARTE documentary “D’Artagnan, Musketeer in the Service of the Sun King” wants to get to the bottom of these questions.

Starting with the literary hero, the French filmmaker Augustin Viatte works his way up piece by piece to his true identity. In the 90-minute film, he speaks to scientists and researchers from various disciplines who all have a common goal: to preserve the memory of the real d’Artagnan.

This d’Artagnan, we learn, was actually called Charles de Batz de Castelmore and was born around 1615 in the south-west French province of Gascogne. In the course of his youth he was trained as a cadet and eventually earned the trust of King Louis XIV. He was a very complex man with a much more exciting story than his literary image from the pen of Dumas. For comparison, both drawings and etchings of the real d’Atagnan as well as some scenes from the various film adaptations of the “Musketeers” are used in the film, which is well worth seeing.


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