Armand de Gontaut, baron de Biron
(1524 – July 26, 1592) was a celebrated French
soldier of the 16th century.
His family, one of the numerous branches of the House of Gontaut
, took its title from the territory of Biron
, where on a hill between the Dropt
and the Lide
still stands the magnificent Château de Biron
begun by the lords of Biron in the 11th century.
As a page of Queen Marguerite de Navarre
, Biron attracted the notice of the marshal de Brissac
, with whom he saw active service in Italy
. A wound he received in his early years made him lame for life, and gave him the nickname Armand Le Boiteux
(the limper). But he did not withdraw from the military career, and he held a command in Guise
's regiment of light horse in 1557. A little later he became chief of a cavalry
regiment, and in the French Wars of Religion
he repeatedly distinguished himself.
His great services to the royal cause at the Battle of Dreux
, Battle of Saint-Denis
, Battle of Jarnac
and Battle of Moncontour
were rewarded in 1569 by his appointment as a privy council
of the king and Grand Master of Artillery
. He commanded the royal forces at the siege of La Rochelle
in 1572, and four years later was made a marshal of France
. From 1576 to 1588 he was almost continuously employed in high command. From 1589 he supported the cause of Henry of Navarre
, but was suspected of prolonging the civil wars in his own interest.
In 1585 he was chosen a godfather
for Armand-Jean du Plessis
, future cardinal... Read More