Hello our dear readers. Voltaire (real name François-Marie Arouet) is one of the greatest French enlightenment philosophers. He did not like the France he lived in, as he considered it old-fashioned. He advocated the freedom of people, but at the same time he was not a fan of democracy, as he believed that his country could be successful only under the rule of a wise and strong king.
And today we decided to tell you about this outstanding person. Our publication contains the most interesting facts about Voltaire.
François-Marie Arouet was born in Paris on November 21, 1694 in a bourgeois family. He was the fifth and last child of François Arouet and Marie Marguerite Domard. Of his brothers and sisters, only two survived to adulthood: Armand Aruet and Marie Aruet. Mother died when Voltaire was 7 years old.
In 1716, Voltaire wrote the poem “The Reigning Child”, which he dedicated to Louis XV, who at that time was only six years old. In this letter, he ridiculed the state order and personally the regent Philippe of Orleans. By doing so, he caused discontent among the ruling class and attracted increased attention.
In 1717, Voltaire’s ill-wishers reported that the pamphlet “I saw”, which gained immense popularity in Paris (“I saw” is an anonymous poem, which began with the phrase “I saw” “I saw all the abuses committed and supposed” and etc.), this is the development of Voltaire. Then he was imprisoned in the Bastille, where he spent 11 months. After he left the Bastille, he took on the nickname by which we know him today. The exact origin of the nickname is unknown, but there are two versions. According to the first, it was an anagram (literary device for rearranging words) of the Latinized version of his name “Arovet Li”. Another theory suggests that his nickname comes from the word “revoltair”, which translates as “rebel”.
In 1726, he again went to the Bastille, and then was exiled to England, where he stayed for 3 years.
There he published the book Letters about the English Nation. This book, like a number of other publications, also angered the French leadership.
In 1729 his friend the greatest French mathematician Charles Marie de la Condamine came to him with a get-rich-quick scheme that really worked. He found in the lottery scheme that the state proposed – a serious miscalculation. With this miscalculation, a huge amount of money could be won. But to implement the scheme, money was needed to buy government bonds and lottery tickets themselves (owning a bond allowed you to buy a lottery ticket). Therefore, he turned to Voltaire for help. Voltaire, who also did not have much money, attracted people with financial reserves to the scheme. As a result, the scheme worked, and Voltaire, along with Condamine, began to make huge amounts of money. When the scheme was revealed, the state canceled the lottery, but could not punish the philosopher and mathematician, since they did not break the law, but simply found a flaw in the lottery proposed by the state.
He was the secretary of the French Embassy, playwright, novelist, storyteller, poet, essayist, historian, philosopher, lawyer, farmer, architect, watchmaker, investor and industrialist. Also, he owned land and workers, but exempted them from the obligation to pay taxes, supported them so that they could save money and become independent farmers.
“I disagree with any word you say, but I’m ready to die for your right to say it.” This is the most famous phrase associated with Voltaire. But in fact, contrary to popular belief, he did not say this phrase. It was invented by the English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall, who wrote a biography of Voltaire called Friends of Voltaire.
It’s no surprise to be a vegetarian today. And even the restaurants have vegetarian options.
But in the XVIII this was not the case. However, this did not stop Voltaire. He has published numerous works condemning animal cruelty. He wrote that only people with a meager mind can say that animals have no feelings, and they do not understand anything.
Although he never directly stated that he was a vegetarian, he condemned those who ate blood and were addicted to strong alcoholic drinks.
Perhaps the greatest myth in physics is the Newtonian apple myth. Allegedly, thanks to the fact that it fell on his head, he was able to create his classical theory of gravitation. It was in his book “Elements of Newton’s Philosophy” that the story he heard from Newton’s niece was told that the scientist allegedly came up with a law describing the gravitational interaction in the framework of classical mechanics after an apple fell on his head. The myth became so popular that many people mistook it for truth, and even teachers in schools told the story of the “apple and Newton” as a real historical event.
There is evidence that he loved coffee and drank 40 cups of this drink a day. He is also said to have spent about 18 hours a day writing his works. Therefore, it is not surprising that he was so heavily dependent on coffee.
Voltaire’s only love was the French mathematician and physicist Emilie du Châtelet. They met in 1733 and already in 1734 she helped him take refuge in her husband’s dilapidated castle in Sire-sur-Blaz, in Champagne, after the French government ordered his arrest. Voltaire spent 15 years in this castle. The Châtelet spouses were not very rich, and Voltaire at that time had a sufficient fortune. He helped the family financially, was Emily’s lover and renovated and rebuilt the castle a bit.
From 10 to 17 years old, he attended the Jesuit College Louis-le-Grand. There he learned Latin and Greek, but he did not like religious training, since it seemed to him more an obstacle than a way to knowledge of truth and harmony between people. It was then that he began to oppose the dogmatism and intolerance of the Church and became a deist (a religious and philosophical trend that recognizes the existence of God and his creation of the world, but denies most of the supernatural and mystical phenomena). He did not change these views even in extreme old age. That’s all for us, dear readers. Thank you for your attention to our website.