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date: 20 November 2019

Blondel, (Nicolas-)Françoislocked

(b Ribemont, Somme, 1628; d Paris, Jan 21, 1686).
  • Christopher Tadgell

Extract

(b Ribemont, Somme, 1628; d Paris, Jan 21, 1686).

French engineer, architect, teacher and writer. He was born to a newly ennobled member of the household of the queen-mother, Marie de’ Medici. He joined the army and became a military engineer, attaining the rank of Maréchal de Camp by 1652. In that year he was seconded by one of the secretaries of state for foreign affairs, the Comte de Brienne, to accompany his son on a comprehensive Grand Tour of Europe. On his return in 1655 Blondel was equipped with an unrivalled range of first-hand experience that recommended him for a diplomatic career, although the following year he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the Collège de France. Diplomatic missions took him to Prussia, Sweden and Turkey and, while waiting on the Sultan, he visited Greece and Egypt. He was ambassador to Denmark in 1659–63. Thereafter he rejoined the armed services and was assigned to the navy as an engineer responsible for port and coastal defences in Normandy and Brittany, most notably transforming Saintes and constructing the new port and arsenal of Rochefort....

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