Francois duc de La Rochefoucauld was born in Paris in 1613. Descended from a distinguished and titled Poitou family, he inherited the title of Duke when his father died in 1653. After serving in the army, where he participated in the battles of the Fronde, La Rochefoucauld took a prominent part in court life and politics during the reigns of the French kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV. In his memoirs, which were first published in 1662, he recounted his life as a young man in the army and the French court, from his numerous fights and amorous liaisons to his participation in an attempt to assassinate a Cardinal. In later years, strongly influenced by Jansenism, La Rochefoucauld began to think about the meaning of Christian life. He wrote his thoughts out in the form of maxims, a uniquely French form of epigrams. Brief, clever statements, usually with a moral focus, his maxims illustrate his perception of human behavior in often paradoxical and surprising ways. Because statements such as "Our virtues are most often vices disguised" or "We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears" are as relevant now as when they were written some 300 years ago, La Rochefoucauld's Maxims are still popular today. Francois duc de La Rochefoucauld died in 1680.