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 King Louis XIV - The Sun King 
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Post King Louis XIV - The Sun King
King Louis XIII and Anne of Austria were the parents of Louis XIV and his brother Phillipe Duc de Orleans. Louis XVI is descended from Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette is a descendant of Phillipe. This makes both MA and Louis XVI direct descendants of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria. Therefore, Family is a fitting topic for discussing the Sun King. I don't know who said "It's good to be King", but I can't imagine it to be any truer than the case of Louis XIV. I have just started Olivier Bernier's "Louis XIV" and have previously read Ian Dunlop's book of the same name and Nancy Mitford's "The Sun King" along with a few others.
What do you think of him?


Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:05 pm
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Comte/Comtesse
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Post Re: King Louis XIV - The Sun King
Why not, since he was his great-great-great-grandfather.

I'm of two minds about le Roi-Soleil. On one hand, he was surprisingly weak at times - and I mean this by looking at his moments of raw emotion, outbursts or sudden actions that reveal something quite intrinsic of him. At the same time, of course, he is the perceived pinnacle of absolutist monarchical government, and his treatment of his women is a minor conceptualisation of that. Versailles was both, similarly, a fantastic idea and a poor choice, but obviously treasured today - and by me, too.

A few books that are excellent are Shennan and Hurt's biographies, or Payne's work on the 'story of Versailles'. I'm in-between with the Durants' piece. Lepage's work is more on military, but the drawings are nonetheless fantastically useful. And then there is Fraser's book on Love and Louis XIV.

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Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:17 am
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Post Re: King Louis XIV - The Sun King
Louis strikes me as the kind of guy who always kept people guessing. Consistent, but inconsistent. Kind but also a cruel streak. I think he was a larger than life figure, even in his own lifetime. My first sight of Versailles really had me questioning the ego of such a man. It speaks for itself. He had every advantage thanks to a mother who guided him and had only his best interests at heart.


Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:18 pm
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Post Re: King Louis XIV - The Sun King
At the same time, I think he was a lot shrewder than the common picture painted of him. His superficiality was present, but it was also there for ulterior motives, and I suspect - not that I am the only one, of course - that Versailles' grandiosity had more than simple pleasure as a reason behind it. But yes, you've summed him up perfectly, I think: he was essentially consistent, yet eternally inconsistent. It kept the courtiers on their toes, for sure.

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Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:29 am
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