Did you ever watch the old Three Musketeers cartoons? If you did you'll recall that there were actually four main characters! So why is it called the THREE Musketeers? And what exactly is a Musketeer, anyway? And why are they called that? A musket is a gun, but in the stories they use swords.
The historic Musketeers were a company of the Guards of the Royal Household in France, founded in 1622. They were a cavalry unit and were originally armed with muskets, later with rifles. They used swords for close combat. The entrance requirements for the Musketeers were easier than for other military units, which made them popular and prestigious. An aspiring Musketeer had to be of noble birth, but he didn't have to have a lot of money.
Alexandre Dumas père based his famous novel and its sequels on actual historic figures. Charles de Batz-Castelmore, Comte d'Artagnan, is an impoverished second son of a nobleman. He travels from his rural home to Paris with the goal of becoming a Musketeer. He meets three friends who are already Musketeers, and they have a series of adventures together. By the end of the book d'Artagnan attains his goal and becomes a Musketeer himself.
The Dumas novels were some of the first in the swashbuckling genre, and have been the basis for many film and TV adaptations. Some of the notable actors who have played the role of d'Artagnan include: Douglas Fairbanks, Gene Kelly, Michael York, Chris O'Donnell, & Gabriel Byrne. The swashbuckling genre revives medieval notions of chivalry which were almost extinct by the mid-19th century when Dumas wrote.
If you want to follow in their footsteps and become a Musketeer yourself, choose one of our great costumes. Maybe watch an old Douglas Fairbanks movie to get into the character. Practice your fencing skills. If you plan far enough ahead, grow your own mustache and wax it to perfect narrow points. For a last-minute option, we can provide a fake one.
Since the Musketeers were French, dredge your high-school French classes from your memory. Practice your French accent and manners. You'll need them when defending your king, country, and damsels in distress. You may even want to read the original Dumas novels, and bone up on the history of the early 17th century.
Become a swashbuckling hero in one of our great Musketeer costumes!