Essay Preview: Louis Xiv
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Louis XIV ruled as King of France and of Navarre. Louis XIV is also known as Louis the Great (in French Louis le Grand or Le Grand Monarque, “the Great Monarch”), because, following his victory in the Franco-Dutch War and the Treaty of Nijmegen, the Parlement de Paris decreed that all public inscriptions and statues of the king should carry that epithet attached to his name.
He is also popularly known as The Sun King (in French Le Roi Soleil) because of the idea that, just as the planets revolve around the Sun, so too should France and the court revolve around him. As a result, he was commonly associated with Apollo Helios, the Greco-Roman god of the Sun. As a patron of the arts, this association was fitting because Louis was, like Apollo Musagetes, the “leader of the Muses”.
He acceded to the throne a few months before his fifth birthday, but did not assume actual personal control of the government until the death of his First Minister (“premier ministre”), the Italian Jules Cardinal Mazarin, in 1661. Louis would remain on the throne till his death just prior to his seventy-seventh birthday in 1715. His reign thus spanned seventy-two years and three months, the longest documented of any European monarch.
During his reign, he increased the power and influence of France in Europe, engaging in three major warsÐ²Ð‚”the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War of the Spanish SuccessionÐ²Ð‚”and two minor conflictsÐ²Ð‚”the War of Devolution, and the War of the Reunions.
The political and military scene in France during his reign was filled with such illustrious names as Mazarin, Fouquet, Colbert, Michel le Tellier, Le Telliers son Louvois, the Great CondÐ”©, Turenne, Vauban, Villars and Tourville. Under his reign, France achieved not only political and military pre-eminence, but also cultural dominance