Friday, September 5, 2014

LOUIS XIV ~ September 5, 1638 ~ September 1, 1715

Louis XIV (5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715) was King of France and of Navarre from 1643 to his death in 1715. Lasting seventy-two years, three months and eighteen days, his reign is the longest documented of any European monarch to date.

Popularly known as the Sun King (French: le Roi Soleil), Louis only began personally governing France after the death in 1661 of his prime minister (premier ministre), the Italian Cardinal Jules Mazarin. An adherent of the theory of the Divine Right of Kings, which advocates the divine origin and lack of temporal restraint of monarchical rule, Louis continued his predecessors' work of creating a centralized state governed from the capital. He sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism persisting in parts of France and, by compelling the noble elite to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde rebellion during Louis' minority.

For much of Louis's reign, France stood as the leading European power, engaging in three major wars—the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War of the Spanish Succession—and two minor conflicts—the War of Devolution and the War of the Reunions. He encouraged and benefited from the work of prominent political, military and cultural figures such as Mazarin, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Turenne and Vauban, as well as Molière, Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, Lully, Le Brun, Rigaud, Louis Le Vau, Jules Hardouin Mansart, Claude Perrault and Le Nôtre.
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Titian in the Frari (Venezia)