Man of letters and man of war, Agrippa
d’Aubigné was born in the area surrounding Pons (Saintonge) in 1552. At first, companion of Henry IV, he retreated after the abdication of the
king and, from 1550 to 1601, wrote his Universal History, devoted to the French
reform party. The work brought him
exile and in 1620 he sought refuge in Geneva, where he had already lived as a
student. To be precise, he chose to
live in Jussy, where he had built what is now known as the Château du Crest.
Agrippa d’Aubigné worked to provide
the city of Calvin with new fortifications (Saint-Jean and Saint-Victor) and to
bring together the Swiss towns into a federation of protestant powers.
At the end of his life, the author of Les
Tragiques was to regret the recantation of his son, Constant, who would
later father Françoise d’Aubigné, the future Madame de Maintenon.
It is ironic that the grand-daughter of
the Calvinist writer married Louis XIV, who would revoke the Edict of Nantes which guaranteed freedom of belief to the Huguenots and which his grandfather Henry IV had granted them largely due to pressure from Agrippa d’Aubigné.