Athos (character)

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d'Artagnan Romances character
Athos (silver) rv.png
First appearanceThe Three Musketeers
Last appearanceThe Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later
Created byAlexandre Dumas
Spouse(s)Milady de Winter
ChildrenRaoul, Vicomte de Bragelonne

Athos, Count de la Fère, is a fictional character in the novels The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas, père.[1] He is a highly fictionalised version of the historical musketeer Armand de Sillègue d'Athos d'Autevielle (1615–1644).

In the novels[edit]

In The Three Musketeers, he and the other two musketeers, Porthos and Aramis, are friends of the novel's protagonist, d'Artagnan. He has a mysterious past connecting him with the villain of the novel, Milady de Winter. The oldest by some years, Athos is described as noble and handsome but also very secretive, drowning his secret sorrows in drink. He is very protective of d'Artagnan, the youngest, whom he eventually treats as a son.

By the end of the novel, it is revealed that he is the Count de la Fère, was once married to Milady and attempted to execute her after discovering that she was a criminal on the run, an event which left him bitter and disillusioned. He ends up masterminding a second attempt, which is this time successful.

In the second novel, Twenty Years After, he has retired from the service and abandoned his nom-de-guerre of Athos. He has also adopted the young hero, Raoul, vicomte de Bragelonne, who turns out to be his natural son, fathered on a former mistress of Aramis, and has somewhat regained his balance through the joy of fatherhood. After launching his son into the military career, Athos however seeks new causes to occupy his life and successively embraces the Fronde and a doomed mission to rescue Charles I of England. He is uncharacteristically terrified by the appearance of Mordaunt, the son of Milady, who is attempting to avenge the death of his mother by killing those responsible. Athos, despite his reluctance to engage with the son of his ex-wife, ends up forced to slay him in an underwater fight in the Thames.

In the third novel, The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Athos initially takes a major behind-the-scenes part in historical events, first helping with the restoration of Charles II to the throne of England, and then being entrusted with the ambassadorial task of arranging the wedding of Henrietta of England and Philippe I, Duke of Orléans. His part in the novel's various plotlines after this is minimal. Athos eventually falls out with king Louis XIV of France, who has seduced his son's fiancée, and is briefly thrown to the Bastille for voicing his contempt. After being pardoned at d'Artagnan's instigation, Athos withdraws to his home, where he dies of sorrow after his son is killed at war.

Athos's first name is never told in the novels. However, in Dumas's play "The Youth of the Musketeers," the young Milady, then named Charlotte, calls the then Vicomte de la Fère, Olivier.


The fictional Athos is named after the historical musketeer Armand de Sillègue d'Athos d'Autevielle, though they have little in common beyond the name. His birthplace is the commune of Athos-Aspis in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department. The name also resembles Mount Athos, which is referred to in chapter 13 of The Three Musketeers in which a Bastille guard says, "But that is not a man's name; that is the name of a mountain." His title, Count de la Fère, while invented, is tied to the domains of La Fère which were once owned by Anne of Austria, Queen of France in these novels and in the historical period in which they are set.

In film and television[edit]

Actors who have played Athos on screen include:

Other mentions[edit]

The south-east Asian stone loach Schistura athos is named after the character of Athos, and there are two more species in the genus Schistura which are each named after one of the Three Musketeers, S. aramis and S. porthos.[2]


  1. ^ "The Social Psychology of Communication".
  2. ^ "Order CYPRINIFORMES: Family NEMACHEILIDAE (Stone Loaches)". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. 2017. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 7 January 2017.