Louis XIV




The Days of Elegance

The term "splendid" is one that most English speaking people
are familiar with. To most of those people it has a meaning
related to the overall appearance or feeling of what ever is
being described. Webster\'s dictionary defines the term as: 1.
magnificent and sumptuous. 2. distinguished or glorious. Splendor
is more that that. It is an adjective that could be used to
describe something so great and breath taking that one is left
awed.The word splendid is often associated with the palace of
Versailles, which was built Louis XIV. In the production of this
grand structure there was no cost spared. It became a symbol of
France, and a model by which all other palaces would be judged.
Louis XIV received a great deal of criticism from onlookers as he
used the French equivalent to millions of dollars to built this
outstanding structure. There is still some speculation as to
whether or not this was a good investment. It has been argued
that the money could have gone to the poor or needy. The palace
of Versailles was controversial, but in high insight, it is
clear that Louis XIV made a sound decision in its erection.

As Louis XIV took the throne, he was faced with several
problems. He knew that he did not want to reside and rule in
Paris, so against the will of his advisors he chose a hunting
chateau as the site of his new palace. He also knew from history
that the nobles of his domain had in the past and would continue
to cause trouble in the form of uprisings and other conflicts.
Louis XIV sought absolute power, and he knew that he would not be
able to obtain this if preoccupied by civil conflicts. His
solution to this problem was building Versailles and inviting all
of the nobles to reside there. This was a brilliant scheme to
keep the nobles out of the politics of the country. He
preoccupied them with tasked normally associated with chamber
maids, thus allowing him to rule as an absolute monarch. The
splendor of the palace was a key factor in this plan because with
out it, the nobles would not have a willing to leave their homes
and move to Versailles.

The historical account, The Splendid Century , written by W.H.
Lewis is a very useful tool in understanding the life of Louis
XIV. It tells of his life, his goals, his motives, and the means
by which he achieved those goals. It is blatantly obvious that
Louis XIV though a great monarch, cared little for the common
people of his country. Regardless of this, it is almost a matter
common knowledge that Louis XIV brought France to its peak in
terms of its respect and social status in the world. During his
reign France became the authority on all that was proper and
elegant. All of this seems trivial, but the fact is, it was very
important to the people of the upper class, and as always they
were controlling the world.

There were several qualities that Louis XIV possessed that were
found undesirable by his common subjects. His tax system weighed
most heavily on the lower class, and they were often called to
fight in all sorts of different wars for the extension of the
empire. It understandable that he was popular among these
people, but their opinion was really not significant on the grand
scheme of his plans for France. There is no question that Louis
XIV took France to an entire new level in the world view. During
his reign, the French empire grew vastly, and was greatly
respected. To this day, he remains a French hero, and is widely
viewed as the greatest monarch that ever lived. It is not because
of his accomplishments that these views are held, but rather his
ability to play the part of a great leader. All of this was
possibly because of his emphasis on materialistic splendor. He
knew that by enticing his rivals with riches, he then could
control Europe.

When it is said that Louis XIV had an ability to play the part
of a great leader there is often misunderstanding. He was a
powerful ruler, but