The Sun King,  Louis XIV,

King of France (1643-1715)

The Sun King
and Ramses II were two of the Worlds richest and most powerful men and very similar in many ways.  Both had the most powerful and sucessful and longest reigns of the the periods and both created major building projects.  Past life / Soul Connection's of Keth's. They liked building Stuff, also see Ramses II, now Keth just likes taking pictures of it all.

Excerpts from : "Louis XIV, King of France", Grolier Encyclopedia,1995

"Louis XIV, France's Sun King, had the longest reign in European history (1643-1715) 72 years
.  During this time he brought absolute monarchy to its height, established a glittering court at VERSAILLES, and fought most of the other European countries in four wars.  The early part of his reign (1643-61), while Louis was still young, was dominated by the chief minister Cardinal MAZARIN.  In the middle period (1661-85) Louis reigned personally and innovatively, but the last years of his personal rule (1685-1715) were beset by problems."



Keth has been told Louis XIV was one of his Earthly Incarnations.  So Keth has been studying and researching this period.


Personal Administration




On Mazarin's death in 1661, Louis astounded his court by becoming his own chief minister, thereby ending the long "reign of the cardinal-ministers.  " A sensational 3-year trial (1661-64) of the powerful and corrupt finance minister Nicolas FOUQUET sent the would-be chief minister to prison for life.  The king thereafter controlled his own government until his death, acting through his high state council (conseil d'en haut) and a few select ministers, whom he called or dismissed at will.  The most famous and powerful of the ministers were Jean Baptiste COLBERT in internal affairs and the marquis de LOUVOIS in military matters.

Breaking with tradition, Louis excluded from his council members of his immediate family, great princes, and others of the old military nobility (noblesse d'epee); his reliance on the newer judicial nobility (noblesse de robe) led the duc de SAINT-SIM ON to call this, mistakenly, "the reign of the lowborn bourgeoisie."  Local government was increasingly placed under removable INTENDANTS.



Period of Glory

The early personal reign of Louis was highly successful in both internal and foreign affairs.  At home the parliaments lost their traditional power to obstruct legislation; the judicial structure was reformed by the codes of civil procedure (1667) and criminal procedure (1669), although the overlapping and confusing laws were left untouched.  Urban law enforcement was improved by creation (1667) of the office of lieutenant general of police for Paris, later imitated in other towns.  Under Colbert commerce, industry, and overseas colonies were developed by state subsidies, tight control over standards of quality, and high protective tariffs.  As controller general of finances, Colbert sharply reduced the annual treasury deficit by economies and more equitable, efficient taxation, although tax exemptions for the nobility, clergy, and some members of the bourgeoisie continued.

Colbert and the king shared the idea of glorifying the monarch and monarchy through the arts. Louis was a discriminating patron of the great literary and artistic figures of France's classical age, including Jean Baptiste MOLIERE, Charles LEBRUN, Loui s LE VAU, Jules MANSART, and Jean Baptiste LULLY.   His state established or developed in rapid succession academies for painting and sculpture (1663), inscriptions (1663), French artists at Rome (1666), and science (1666), followed by the Paris Observator y (1667) and the academies of architecture (1671) and music (1672).  The literary Academie Francaise also came under formal royal control in 1671.




Money was lavished on buildings.  In Paris the LOUVRE was essentially completed with the classical colonnade by Claude PERRAULT.   At VERSAILLES, Louis XIII's hunting lodge was transformed into a remarkable palace and park, which were copied by Louis's fellow monarchs across Europe.  When the king moved permanently to Versailles in 1682, an elaborate court etiquette was established that had the aristocracy, including former rebel princes, vying to participate in Louis's rising (leve) and retiring (couche).  These ceremonies led to the saying that, at a distance, one could tell what was happening at the palace merely by glancing at an almanac and a watch.





In foreign affairs, the young Louis XIV launched the War of DEVOLUTION (1667-68) against the Spanish Netherlands, claiming that those provinces had "devolved" by succession to his Spanish wife rather than to her half brother CHARLES II, who had inherit ed the Spanish crown.   The war brought him some valuable frontier towns in Flanders.   Louis turned next against the United Provinces of the Netherlands in the third ANGLO-DUTCH WAR (1672-78).  The intent this time was to take revenge against Dutch intervention in the previous war and to break Dutch trade.   By the Peace of Nijmegen (1678-79) he gained more territory in Flanders, and the formerly Spanish FRANCHE COMTE was added to France's eastern frontier, now fortified by the great siege expert, Sebastien Le Prestre de VAUBAN.  Now at the height of his power, the king set up "courts of reunion" to provide legal pretexts for the annexation of a series of towns along the Franco-German border.   More blatantly, he seized both the Alsatian city of Strasbourg an d Casale, in northern Italy, in 1681.





Period of Decline

The turning point in Louis's reign between the earlier grandeur and the later disasters came after Colbert's death (1683).  In 1685 the king took the disastrous step of revoking the Protestant (HUGUENOT) minority's right to worship by his Edict of Font ainebleau, often called the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (see NANTES, EDICT OF).   Many Huguenots--who constituted an industrious segment of French society--left the country, taking with them considerable capital as well as skills.  In addition Louis' s display of religious intolerance helped unite the Protestant powers of Europe against the Sun King.

In September 1688, Louis sent French troops into the Palatinate, hoping to disrupt his enemies who had formed the League of Augsburg (see AUGSBURG, LEAGUE OF) against him.  The 9-year war of the GRAND ALLIANCE ensued.   France barely held its own against the United Provinces and England, both under WILLIAM III, as well as Austria, Spain, and minor powers; but the Treaty of Rijswijk (1697) preserved Strasbourg and Louis's "reunion" acquisitions along the Franco-German border.





The aging ruler was almost immediately drawn into the disastrous War of the SPANISH SUCCESSION (1701-14), in which he defended his grandson PHILIP V's inheritance of Spain and its empire on the death of Charles II.   The genius of the English general the duke of MARLBOROUGH and his Austrian counterpart, EUGENE OF SAVOY, was almost too much for the ducs de VILLARS, BERWICK, and VENDOME, who were Louis's principal generals. The terrible French winter of 1709 and near fiscal collapse also took their toll.  Nonetheless, France rallied.   By the Peace of Utrecht (see UTRECHT, PEACE OF) France retained most of its earlier conquests, and the Spanish empire was divided between Philip V, who received Spain and its overseas colonies, and Holy Roman Emperor CHARLE S VI, who acquired the Spanish Netherlands and Spain's Italian possessions.  Louis was forced to agree that the crowns of France and Spain would remain separate despite the Bourbon dynastic connection.


During the post-1685 period the once personal monarchy became increasingly bureaucratized.  A long and bitter quarrel (1673-93) with the pope was concluded when the king withdrew the French clergy's Four Gallican Articles of 1682, in which they had claimed quasi-independence from the papacy for the French church (see GALLICANISM).  Reconciliation with the papacy aided Louis's attempt to suppress JANSENISM. The Jansenist convents of Port-Royal were closed (1709-10), and in 1713 the pope issued, at Louis's request, the anti-Jansenist bull Unigenitus.

After a series of celebrated liaisons with mistresses, notably Louise de la Valliere and Madame de MONTESPAN, Louis settled down to a more sedate life with Madame de MAINTENON, whom he secretly married about 1683. She shared with Louis the grief of lost battles and the successive deaths of all but two of his direct descendants.  The two who survived him were his grandson Philip V of Spain and a great-grandson who became Louis XV when the Sun King died on Sept. 1, 1715.

A. Lloyd Moote

Bibliography: Bernier, Oliver, Louis XIV: A Royal Life (1987); Gaxotte, Pierre, The Age of Louis Fourteenth, trans. by Michael Shaw (1958; repr. 1970); Goubert, Pierre, Louis XIV and Twenty Million Frenchmen, trans. by Anne Carter (1970); Hatto n, Ragnhild, Louis XIV and His World (1972); Lewis, W. H., The Splendid Century (1954; repr. 1971); Ogg, David, Louis Fourteenth, 2d ed. (1967); Rule, John, ed., Louis XIV and the Craft of Kingship (1969); Sonnino, Paul, ed., The Reign of Louis XIV (1990); Wolf, John B., Louis XIV (1968). "


Keth Luke has been told Louis XIV was one of his Earthly Incarnations.  So Keth has been studying and researching this period.  There is much information and links below from


Books About Louis XIV

Search Now:
In Association with 

Unless otherwise noted, these books are for sale at I. Your credit card provider will convert your purchase to your country's currency. Your purchase from Amazon or Alibris through these links will help to support the continued operation and improvement of the site.

Book Categories: The King, Reign, Affair of the Poisons, Saint-Simon, Parents, Brother, Mistresses, Grande Mademoiselle, Wars, Iron Mask, Other, Versailles, French Royalty


The King

Louis XIV by Anthony Levi. Biography that examines the conflict between the French king's lofty persona and his human, often tragic and far-reaching errors. (UK)

Louis XIV by David J. Sturdy. Biography of the Sun King. Raises controversies surrounding Louis XIV and indicates some of the major problems in interpretation which still confront historians.

Louis XIV by Ian Dunlop. A biography that presents Louis as his contemporaries saw him. Out of print, but available at Alibris.

The Sun King by Nancy Mitford. This classic biography covers the daily life of the king, the court, and the government, and reconstructs the course of Louis's love affairs. Out of print, but available at Alibris.

A Royal Passion by Robert W. Berger. Looks at Louis XIV as a patron of architecture. (UK)

The Fabrication of Louis XIV by Peter Burke. An account of representations of Louis XIV in paintings and engravings, medals and sculptures, plays, ballets, and operas. (UK)

A Lust for Virtue by Philip F. Riley is about Louis XIV's attack on sin in 17th century France. (UK)


His Reign & Court

The Splendid Century: Life in the France of Louis XIV by W.H. Lewis. Concise and interesting account of the king's reign and era.

The Age of Louis XIV by Will and Ariel Durant focuses on the intellectual character of the age. (UK)

Louis XIV and the French Monarchy by Andrew Lossky and Marie-Ellias Lossky. (UK)

Europe in the Age of Louis XIV by Richard C. Hatton and Ragnhild H. Hatton. (UK)

Louis XIV and the Parlements: The Assertion of Royal Authority by John Jeter Hurt. The first scholarly study of the political and economic relationship between Louis XIV and the parliaments of France, the parliament of Paris, and all the provincial tribunals. (UK)

Louis XIV and Absolutism: A Brief Study With Documents by William Beik. Explores the meaning of absolute monarchy by examining how Louis XIV became one of Europe's most successful rulers. (UK)


The Affair of the Poisons

The Affair of the Poisons by Frances Mossiker. Louis XIV, Madame De Montespan, and one of history's great unsolved mysteries. Out of print, but available at Alibris.

The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Infanticide and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV by Anne Somerset. About the scandal that implicated a number of prominent persons at the court of the Sun King. From



Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon, Volume 1 translated by Lucy Norton. The Duc de Saint-Simon was a man of political skill and influence at the heart of Louis XIV's court. This first volume of his memoirs covers the years 1691-1709. (UK)

Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon, Volume 2 edited by Lucy Norton. This volume covers the years 1710-1715, including the wars with the coalition led by the Duke of Marlborough, the death of the dauphin and two of the king's grandsons, and the death of Louis XIV himself. (UK)

Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon, Volume 3 translated by Lucy Norton. Covers 1715-1723; describes the funeral of Louis XIV; the ensuing violent quarrels of the Duc d'Orleans and the Duc de Maine; espionage and intrigues concerning the Stuart pretender to the English throne; the debauched life of the regent, the persecution of Voltaire - and much more. (UK)

Saint-Simon and the Court of Louis XIV by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Offers a portrait of life under Louis XIV, focusing on hierarchy and rank in a tightly controlled setting. This book is not only about Saint-Simon's place in the court at Versailles but also about the court itself and political life during the Old Regime. (UK)


Louis XIII and Anne of Austria

Anne of Austria: Queen of France by Ruth Kleinman is a biography of Louis XIV's strong-willed mother. (UK)

Louis XIII, the Just by A. Lloyd Moote. Biography. (UK)


Philippe, Duke of Orleans

Brother to the Sun King: Philippe, Duke of Orleans by Nancy Nichols Barker. Excellent biography of the king's much-maligned brother. (UK)

The Secret History of Henrietta, Princess of England: First Wife of Philippe, Duc D'Orleans by Madam De La Fayette, translated by J.M. Shelmerdine. The life of "Madame," Henrietta, the sister of England's King Charles II, who had a romance with her brother-in-law, King Louis XIV of France. Out of print, but available at Alibris.

Letters >From Liselotte edited and translated by Maria Kroll. This book is simply great. Liselotte (Elisabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine and Duchess of Orleans), called Madame at court, was the German-born second wife of Louis XIV's brother Philippe. She did not get along with her husband, and in fact was said to be in love with the king. Her lively, frank letters give an intimate look at what royal life was really like. From Alibris.

A Woman's Life in the Court of the Sun King by Elisabeth Charlotte, translated by Elborg Forster. Another nice collection of Liselotte Von Der Pfalz's letters. >From Alibris.

The Princess and the Philosopher: Letters of Elisabeth of the Palatine to Rene Descartes by Andrea Nye. (UK)


The King's Mistresses

Athenais, the Real Queen of France by Lisa Hilton. Biography of Athenais de Montespan, mistress of Louis XIV. The greatest beauty of her day, Athenais' life was lived publicly and sensationally until accusations of witchcraft forced her from power in the "Affair of the Poisons." (UK)

Memoirs of Madame de Montespan by Madame de Montespan. (UK)

Louise De La Valliere by Alexandre Dumas. Novel about Louis XIV's first mistress. (UK)


La Grande Mademoiselle

La Grande Mademoiselle at the Court of France: 1627-1693 by Vincent J. Pitts. Biography of a princess who was a cousin of Louis XIV. She is still remembered for her unconventional life, heroic deeds, and literary works. (UK)

Against Marriage: The Correspondence of La Grande Mademoiselle by Anne-Marie-Louise D'Orleans, Duchesse de Montpensier; edited by Joan DeJean. In 17th-century France, women were legally subservient to their husbands. The duchesse de Montpensier - a first cousin of Louis XIV - was an exception, thanks to the wealth she inherited from her mother. In these daring letters, she condemns the alliance system of marriage. Bilingual edition. (UK)

War & Military

The Wars of Louis XIV, 1664-1714 by John A. Lynn. For 40 years, France was continuously at war. The campaigns secured little territory and almost bankrupted the country, and the consequences for the French monarchy were dramatic. (UK)

The Dynastic State and the Army Under Louis XIV: Royal Service and Private Interest 1661-1701 by Guy Rowlands. Asserts that the key to the development of Louis XIV's armed forces was the king's determination to satisfy the aspirations of his officers and maintain the standing of the Bourbon dynasty. (UK)

Louis XIV and the Origins of the Dutch War by Paul Sonnino. Racine eulogized the war as a brilliantly executed venture; Saint-Simon saw it as a disaster. Professor Sonnino explains the agonizing decisions that preceded one of the most dramatic conflicts of the 17th century. (UK)


Mazarin: The Crisis of Absolutism in France by G. R. R. Treasure is about the cardinal who advised the young Louis XIV and, some say, fathered the Man in the Iron Mask. (UK)

Prince Eugen of Savoy by Nicholas Henderson. Prince Eugen was the son of a French count and Cardinal Mazarin's niece Olympia Mancini, but it was rumored that his real father was Louis XIV. He became an Austrian military hero. Napoleon called him one of the seven greatest commanders in history. This biography relates the prince's public achievements and delves into his mysterious private life. (UK)

Princesse of Versailles by Charles Elliott. Entertaining biography of the king's beloved granddaughter-in-law, Marie Adelaide of Savoy. Out of print, but available at Alibris.

Scenes from the Marriage of Louis XIV: Nuptial Fictions and the Making of Absolutist Power by Abby E. Zanger. Examines "the fictions that emerge from visual, narrative, and ceremonial representations of (and reactions to) the 1660 marriage of Louis XIV." (UK)

Scene Design at the Court of Louis XIV - The Work of the Vigarani Family and Jean Berain by Frederick Paul Tollini. Theatrical scenery at the court of Louis XIV. (UK)

The Poet and the King by Marc Fumaroli, translated by Jean Marie Todd. Looks at how the French poet La Fontaine survived King Louis XIV's attempts to enforce an official cultural style. (UK)

Andre Le Notre: Gardener to the Sun King by Erik Orsenna, translated by Moishe Black, is about a landscape gardener who worked for Louis XIV at Versailles. Includes photos and illustrations. (UK)

Gardener to the King by Frederic Richaud, translated by Barbara Bray. Novel about a gardener to Louis XIV.

Books About the Man in the Iron Mask
Versailles and Other French Royal Palaces
Books About French Royalty

Back to top of page

Related Topics

The Man in the Iron Mask
Marie Antoinette
Napoleon Bonaparte
French Royalty

Other Websites

The Age of the Sun King
Chateau de Versailles (official website)
Louis XIV
Louis XIV, the Great (pictures)
The Youth of Louis XIV (translation of Alexandre Dumas play)

Explore the World of Royalty at

Home Countries Royal History Royal News Royal Books Genealogy Search