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Voltaire François-Mari Arouet de
(16941778)

Voltaire François-Mari Arouet de (16941778)

Francois Marie Arouet (pen name Voltaire) was born on November 21, 1694 in Paris. Voltaire's intelligence, wit and style made him one of France's greatest writers and philosophers.

Young Francois Marie received his education at "Louis-le-Grand," a Jesuit college in Paris where he said he learned nothing but "Latin and the Stupidities." He left school at 17 and soon made friends among the Parisian aristocrats. His humorous verses made him a favorite in society circles. In 1717, his sharp wit got him into trouble with the authorities. He was imprisoned in the Bastille for eleven months for writing a scathing satire of the French government. During his time in prison Francois Marie wrote "Oedipe" which was to become his first theatrical success and adopted his pen name "Voltaire."

In 1726, Voltaire insulted the powerful young nobleman, "Chevalier De Rohan," and was given two options: imprisonment or exile. He chose exile and from 1726 to 1729 lived in England. While in England Voltaire was attracted to the philosophy of John Locke and ideas of mathematician and scientist, Sir Isaac Newton. He studied England's Constitutional Monarchy and its religious tolerance. Voltaire was particularly interested in the philosophical rationalism of the time, and in the study of the natural sciences. After returning to Paris he wrote a book praising English customs and institutions. It was interpreted as criticism of the French government and in 1734, Voltaire was forced to leave Paris again.

At the invitation of his highly-intelligent woman friend, "Marquise du Chatelet," Voltaire moved into her "Chateau de Cirey" near Luneville in eastern France. They studied the natural sciences together for several years. In 1746, Voltaire was voted into the "Academie Francaise." In 1749, after the death of "Marquise du Chatelet" and at the invitation of the King of Prussia, "Frederick the Great," he moved to Potsdam (near Berlin in Germany). In 1753, Voltaire left Potsdam to return to France.

In 1759, Voltaire purchased an estate called "Ferney" near the French-Swiss border where he lived until just before of his death. Ferney soon became the intellectual capital of Europe. Voltaire worked continuously throughout the years, producing a constant flow of books, plays and other publications. He wrote hundreds of letters to his circle of friends. He was always a voice of reason. Voltaire was often an outspoken critic of religious intolerance and persecution.

Voltaire returned to a hero's welcome in Paris at age 83. The excitement of the trip was too much for him and he died in Paris. Because of his criticism of the church Voltaire was denied burial in church ground. He was finally buried at an abbey in Champagne. In 1791 his remains were moved to a resting place at the Pantheon in Paris.


Czech Republic, 1994, Voltaire

Dubai, 1971, Voltaire

Equatorial Guinea, 1979, Voltaire

France, 1949, Voltaire

France, 1978, Voltaire and Rousseau

France, 1998, Voltaire write English Letters

France, 1998, Voltaire write English Letters

France, 2010, South America, books

Grenada, 2000, Birth of Voltaire

Guinea, 2012, Voltaire, Château d'Ussé

Hungary, 1948, Voltaire

Monaco, 1994, Three Portraits of Voltaire

Mozambique, 2012, Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot

Mozambique, 2012, Friedrich the Great and Voltaire

Sao Tome e Principe, 2006, Bust of Voltaire

USSR, 1966, Sitting Voltaire

Algeria, Alger. Post office Voltaire

France, Asnières-sur-Seine. Post office Voltaire

France, Ferney-Voltaire

France, Paris. Post office on bd Voltaire

France, 1978.07.01, Ferney-Voltaire, Montmorency. Voltaire and Rousseau

France, 1978.07.01, Ferney-Voltaire. Voltaire

France, 1995.11.17, Ferney-Voltaire. 300th birth anniv of Voltaire

France, 2002, Bust of Voltaire in Ferney-Voltaire

France, 2004, Portraits of Voltaire and Rousseau

France, 2004, Portraits of Voltaire and Rousseau

Russia, 1994, Voltaire

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