Étienne de La Boétie

Étienne de La Boétie

Étienne or Estienne de La Boétie (1530 – 1563) was a French judge, writer, and "a founder of modern political philosophy in France". He is best remembered as the great and close friend of the eminent essayist Michel de Montaigne, in one of history's most notable friendships.

La Boétie was born in Sarlat, in the Périgord region of southwest France, in 1530, to an aristocratic family. His father was a royal official of the Périgord region and his mother was the sister of the president of the Bordeaux Parlement (assembly of lawyers). Orphaned at an early age, he was brought up by his uncle and namesake, the curate of Bouilbonnas, and received his law degree from the University of Orléans in 1553. His great and precocious ability earned La Boétie a royal appointment to the Bordeaux Parlement the following year, despite his being under the minimum age. There he pursued a distinguished career as judge and diplomatic negotiator until his untimely death in 1563, at the age of thirty-two. La Boétie was also a distinguished poet and humanist, translating Xenophon and Plutarch, and being closely connected with the leading young Pleiade group of poets, including Pierre Ronsard, Jean Dorat, and Jean-Antoine de Baif." La Boétie opposed religious toleration, arguing that allowing Protestants and Catholics to both conduct worship services would undermine the crown.

He served with Montaigne in the Bordeaux parlement and is immortalized in Montaigne's essay on friendship.



The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude
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The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of V...

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