- Donatein's mother was a distant cousin to the Prince de Conde, a junior branch of the royal Bourbon family. She served as a lady in waiting to the Princess de Conde and was a governess to her son, the young Prince de Conde. An early account of Donatein's violent nature involved an altercation between he and his young cousin over a toy. When the young Prince tried to retrieve one of his favorite toys from the grasp of his 4-year-old cousin, Donatein pummeled his cousin with increasing blows of violence. Soon after this incident, the young Marquis was sent to live with his paternal grandmother in
- The troubled young boy spent his formative years in
surrounded by female relatives who indulged his every need and enveloped him with sensual affection. Donatein's grandmother and aunts continually doted on the child and indulged every one of his selfish demands. There was no mention of discipline in the boy's upbringing. These actions were only detrimental to the child's development; consequently, his behavior became increasingly unruly. When the Comte de Sade (Donatein's father) received report of his son's unconventional upbringing, the young Marquis was sent to live with his father's brother. The Comte hoped that his brother, Abbe de Sade, would be able to provide a masculine presence and influence that was obviously lacking in Donatein's life. Avignon
- Abbe de Sade was a noted author, clergyman, and scholar of his time. He was also very much like his sisters in the sense that he enjoyed the sensual side of life and indulged himself with many pleasures. He was referred to as "sybarite of Saumane" meaning one inordinately attached to pleasure and luxury. Once again the young boy was in an atmosphere that encouraged sexuality and sensual indulgence as an expectation rather that an exception to the rule. During Donatein's stay at his uncle's home, the abbe housed many female companions which included a local prostitute.
- Throughout this period of time in
Europe, men and women of the cloth, indulged themselves in various sexual escapades with little remorse. There was rumor of orgies taking place in abbeys and convents, where priests, nuns, prostitutes, and nobles all engaged in debaucherous behavior. Abbe de Sade had a library filled with a genre of literature, and some were pornographic in nature. Donatein was free to read all of the literature in the library at his leisure. After becoming abreast of the ever present debauchery in Donatein's life, his father moved him to where he was enrolled in a Jesuit prep school for young men of nobility. Paris