Who was the Man in the Iron Mask?

J.M. Aucoin . History 2770

The Man in the Iron Mask has intrigued readers and historians since Voltaire first documented the prisoner upon his own release from prison. And the unknown masked prisoner further was cemented in French myth and legend thanks to Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Man in the Iron Mask aka The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later.

But who exactly was the man in the iron mask? Was it King Louis XIV’s twin brother, as portrayed in the most recent movie adaption of Dumas’ novel — The Man in the Iron Mask? Or another unfortunate political prisoner caught in the king’s cross-hairs? Or someone else entirely? And can someone actually survive year after year wearing an iron mask on their head?


NatGeo’s Mystery Files digs into the myth to find the rampant injustice in the latter half of the 17th Century France and try to figure out who was the infamous man in the iron mask.

J.M. Aucoin

Author. Fencer. Sometimes actor. Full-time nerd. I write swashbucklers & historical adventure novels.