Étienne de La Boétie was a French jurist, poet, and political theorist who is best remembered as the subject of Michael de Montaigne’s essay “Of Friendship” and for his own essay “The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude.”

Montaigne writes that he first heard of La Boétie as being the author of the Discorse and that this was the start of a friendship “which we afterwards improved and maintained, so long as God was pleased to continue us together, so perfect, inviolate, and entire, that certainly the like is hardly to be found in story, and amongst the men of this age, there is no sign nor trace of any such thing in use.”