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The Man in the Iron Mask
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    ( -November 19, 1703)
    Prisoner during the reign of King Louis XIV
    Face was kept hidden behind a mask
    Most likely candidates for his identity:
    Antonio Matthioli, an Italian diplomat who had double-crossed the French
    Eustache Dauger, a valet whose crime, if any, is unknown
    Despite the name, his mask was actually black velvet.
    A bogus iron mask said to be his was put on display during the 19th century, and can still be seen at a museum in Langres.
    The popular notion that he was really the king's twin brother (or in some versions, illegitimate half brother) is regarded by most historians as utter bs.
    The royal twin theory inspired a bad movie featuring a Golden Raspberry Award winning dual role by Leonardo DiCaprio.
    Historian John Noone suggested the mask was a publicity ploy by jailer Benigne de Saint-Mars to increase the perceived importance of the prisoner and, thus, of Saint-Mars.
    He became a popular symbol of the tyranny of the French monarchy.
    He inspired a popular 'Three Musketeers' sequel by Alexander Dumas, pere.

Credit: C. Fishel

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