Pedro Calderón de la Barca was born in Madrid in 1600, the son of the Secretary to the Royal Treasury. He studied at the Jesuit Colegio Imperial in Madrid and then studied canon law at the University of Salamanca. He began writing in 1620 and between 1625 and 1628 he served in the army in Italy and Flanders and combined the career of soldier and writer. During his life he wrote some 120 secular plays including The Surgeon of Honour (1635), Life is a Dream (1635) and Three Judgements in One (1635-1640). After a series of misfortunes in his personal life Calderón took Holy Orders in 1651 and, although he didn't write again for the public theatre, he continued to produce two religious plays (autos sacramentales) a year for another thirty years. Calderón died in 1681.