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In the case of Maria Theresa, nonetheless, the renunciation was considered null and void owing to Spain's breach of her marriage contract with Louis. This agreement divided Spain's Italian territories between Louis's son le Grand Dauphin and the Archduke Charles, with the rest of the empire awarded to Joseph Ferdinand. William III consented to permitting the Dauphin's new territories to become part of France when the latter succeeded to his father's throne. In , he re-confirmed his will that named Joseph Ferdinand as his sole successor. Six months later, Joseph Ferdinand died.

The Dauphin would receive all of Spain's Italian territories. On his deathbed in , Charles II unexpectedly changed his will. The clear demonstration of French military superiority for many decades before this time, the pro-French faction at the court of Spain, and even Pope Innocent XII convinced him that France was more likely to preserve his empire intact. He thus offered the entire empire to the Dauphin's second son Philip, Duke of Anjou, provided it remained undivided.

Anjou was not in the direct line of French succession, thus his accession would not cause a Franco-Spanish union. If the Duke of Berry declined it, it would go to the Archduke Charles, then to the distantly related House of Savoy if Charles declined it. Louis was confronted with a difficult choice. He might agree to a partition of the Spanish possessions and avoid a general war, or accept Charles II's will and alienate much of Europe.

Initially, Louis may have been inclined to abide by the partition treaties. However, the Dauphin's insistence persuaded Louis otherwise. He emphasised that, should it come to war, William III was unlikely to stand by France since he "made a treaty to avoid war and did not intend to go to war to implement the treaty". Eventually, therefore, Louis decided to accept Charles II's will. Most European rulers accepted Philip as king, though some only reluctantly.

Depending on one's views of the war as inevitable or not, Louis acted reasonably or arrogantly. Admittedly, he may only have been hypothesising a theoretical eventuality and not attempting a Franco-Spanish union. But his actions were certainly not read as being disinterested. In , Philip transferred the asiento the right to supply slaves to Spanish colonies to France, alienating English traders. These actions enraged Britain and the Dutch Republic. Even before war was officially declared, hostilities began with Imperial aggression in Italy.

When finally declared, the War of the Spanish Succession would last almost until Louis's death, at great cost to him and the kingdom of France. The war began with French successes, however the joint talents of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough , and Eugene of Savoy checked these victories and broke the myth of French invincibility. The duo allowed the Palatinate and Austria to occupy Bavaria after their victory at the Battle of Blenheim. The impact of this victory won the support of Portugal and Savoy.

Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy met again at the Battle of Oudenarde , which enabled them to mount an invasion of France. Defeats, famine, and mounting debt greatly weakened France. Between and , over two million people died in two famines , made worse as foraging armies seized food supplies from the villages. By the winter of —, Louis was willing to accept peace at nearly any cost. He agreed that the entire Spanish empire should be surrendered to the Archduke Charles, and he also consented to return to the frontiers of the Peace of Westphalia, giving up all the territories he had acquired over sixty years of his reign.

He could not speak for his grandson, however, and could not promise that Philip V would accept these terms. Thus, the Allies demanded that Louis single-handedly attack his own grandson to force these terms on him. If he could not achieve this within the year, the war would resume. Louis could not accept these terms. The final phases of the War of the Spanish Succession demonstrated that the Allies could not maintain the Archduke Charles in Spain just as surely as France could not retain the entire Spanish inheritance for King Philip V. The Allies were definitively expelled from central Spain by the Franco-Spanish victories at the Battles of Villaviciosa and Brihuega in French forces elsewhere remained obdurate despite their defeats.

The Allies suffered a Pyrrhic victory at the Battle of Malplaquet with 21, casualties, twice that of the French. French military successes near the end of the war took place against the background of a changed political situation in Austria. In , the Emperor Leopold I died. His elder son and successor, Joseph I , followed him in His heir was none other than the Archduke Charles, who secured control of all of his brother's Austrian land holdings. If the Spanish empire then fell to him, it would have resurrected a domain as vast as that of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in the sixteenth century.

To the maritime powers of Great Britain and the Dutch Republic, this would have been as undesirable as a Franco-Spanish union. Britain kept Gibraltar and Menorca. Britain gained most from the Treaty of Utrecht, but the final terms were much more favourable to France than those which were being discussed in peace negotiations in and Thanks to Louis, his allies the Electors of Bavaria and Cologne were restored to their pre-war status and returned their lands.

Louis and his wife Maria Theresa of Spain had six children from the marriage contracted for them in However, only one child, the eldest, survived to adulthood: Louis, le Grand Dauphin , known as Monseigneur. Maria Theresa died in , whereupon Louis remarked that she had never caused him unease on any other occasion.

Despite evidence of affection early on in their marriage, Louis was never faithful to Maria Theresa.

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He took a series of mistresses, both official and unofficial. Through these liaisons, he produced numerous illegitimate children, most of whom he married to members of cadet branches of the royal family. He first met her through her work caring for his children by Madame de Montespan, noting the care she gave to his favorite, Louis Auguste, Duke of Maine. Louis was a pious and devout king who saw himself as the head and protector of the Gallican Church. Louis made his devotions daily regardless of where he was, following the liturgical calendar regularly.

Towards the middle and the end of his reign, the centre for the King's religious observances was usually the Chapelle Royale at Versailles. Ostentation was a distinguishing feature of daily Mass, annual celebrations, such as those of Holy Week , and special ceremonies. Louis generously supported the royal court of France and those who worked under him.

Louis also patronised the visual arts by funding and commissioning various artists, such as Charles Le Brun , Pierre Mignard , Antoine Coysevox , and Hyacinthe Rigaud , whose works became famous throughout Europe.


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With the exception of the current Royal Chapel built near the end of Louis' reign , the palace achieved much of its current appearance after the third building campaign, which was followed by an official move of the royal court to Versailles on 6 May Versailles became a dazzling, awe-inspiring setting for state affairs and the reception of foreign dignitaries.

At Versailles, the king alone commanded attention. Several reasons have been suggested for the creation of the extravagant and stately palace, as well as the relocation of the monarchy's seat. For example, the memoirist Saint-Simon speculated that Louis viewed Versailles as an isolated power center where treasonous cabals could be more readily discovered and foiled. However, his sponsorship of many public works in Paris, such as the establishment of a police force and of street-lighting, [91] lend little credence to this theory. While pharmacology was still quite rudimentary in his day, the Invalides pioneered new treatments and set new standards for hospice treatment.

The conclusion of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle , in , also induced Louis to demolish the northern walls of Paris in and replace them with wide tree-lined boulevards. Louis also renovated and improved the Louvre and other royal residences. Gian Lorenzo Bernini was originally to plan additions to the Louvre; however, his plans would have meant the destruction of much of the existing structure, replacing it with an Italian summer villa in the centre of Paris. Bernini's plans were eventually shelved in favour of Perrault's elegant colonnade.

With the relocation of the court to Versailles, the Louvre was given over to the arts and the public. Few rulers in world history have commemorated themselves in as grand a manner as Louis. With his support, Colbert established from the beginning of Louis' personal reign a centralised and institutionalised system for creating and perpetuating the royal image.

At war with the French: Louis XIV and Napoleon

The King was thus portrayed largely in majesty or at war, notably against Spain. This portrayal of the monarch was to be found in numerous media of artistic expression, such as painting, sculpture, theatre, dance, music, and the almanacs that diffused royal propaganda to the population at large. Over his lifetime, Louis commissioned numerous works of art to portray himself, among them over formal portraits. The earliest portrayals of Louis already followed the pictorial conventions of the day in depicting the child king as the majestically royal incarnation of France.

This idealisation of the monarch continued in later works, which avoided depictions of the effect of the smallpox that Louis contracted in In the s, Louis began to be shown as a Roman emperor, the god Apollo , or Alexander the Great , as can be seen in many works of Charles Le Brun , such as sculpture, paintings, and the decor of major monuments. The depiction of the king in this manner focused on allegorical or mythological attributes, instead of attempting to produce a true likeness.

As Louis aged, so too did the manner in which he was depicted. Nonetheless, there was still a disparity between realistic representation and the demands of royal propaganda.

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There is no better illustration of this than in Hyacinthe Rigaud 's frequently-reproduced Portrait of Louis XIV of , in which a year-old Louis appears to stand on a set of unnaturally young legs. Rigaud's portrait exemplified the height of royal portraiture during Louis' reign. Although Rigaud crafted a credible likeness of Louis, the portrait was neither meant as an exercise in realism nor to explore Louis' personal character. Certainly, Rigaud was concerned with detail and depicted the king's costume with great precision, down to his shoe buckle.

However, Rigaud's intention was to glorify the monarchy. Rigaud's original, now housed in the Louvre , was originally meant as a gift to Louis' grandson, Philip V of Spain. However, Louis was so pleased with the work that he kept the original and commissioned a copy to be sent to his grandson. That became the first of many copies, both in full and half-length formats, to be made by Rigaud, often with the help of his assistants.

The portrait also became a model for French royal and imperial portraiture down to the time of Charles X over a century later. In his work, Rigaud proclaims Louis' exalted royal status through his elegant stance and haughty expression, the royal regalia and throne, rich ceremonial fleur-de-lys robes, as well as the upright column in the background, which, together with the draperies, serves to frame this image of majesty.

In addition to portraits, Louis commissioned at least 20 statues of himself in the s, to stand in Paris and provincial towns as physical manifestations of his rule. He also commissioned "war artists" to follow him on campaigns to document his military triumphs. To remind the people of these triumphs, Louis erected permanent triumphal arches in Paris and the provinces for the first time since the decline of the Roman Empire. Louis' reign marked the birth and infancy of the art of medallions. Sixteenth-century rulers had often issued medals in small numbers to commemorate the major events of their reigns.

Louis, however, struck more than to celebrate the story of the king in bronze, that were enshrined in thousands of households throughout France. He also used tapestries as a medium of exalting the monarchy. Tapestries could be allegorical, depicting the elements or seasons, or realist, portraying royal residences or historical events. They were among the most significant means to spread royal propaganda prior to the construction of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

Louis loved ballet and frequently danced in court ballets during the early half of his reign. In general, Louis was an eager dancer who performed 80 roles in 40 major ballets. This approaches the career of a professional ballet dancer. His choices were strategic and varied. He sometimes danced leading roles which were suitably royal or godlike such as Neptune, Apollo, or the Sun. It is considered that, at all times, he provided his roles with sufficient majesty and drew the limelight with his flair for dancing. The sheer number of performances he gave as well as the diversity of roles he played may serve to indicate a deeper understanding and interest in the art form.

Besides the official depiction and image of Louis, his subjects also followed a non-official discourse consisting mainly of clandestine publications, popular songs, and rumors that provided an alternative interpretation of Louis and his government. They often focused on the miseries arising from poor government, but also carried the hope for a better future when Louis escaped the malignant influence of his ministers and mistresses, and took the government into his own hands.

On the other hand, petitions addressed either directly to Louis or to his ministers exploited the traditional imagery and language of monarchy. These varying interpretations of Louis abounded in self-contradictions that reflected the people's amalgamation of their everyday experiences with the idea of monarchy. Alexandre Dumas portrayed Louis in his two sequels to The Three Musketeers : first as a child in Twenty Years After , then as a young man in The Vicomte de Bragelonne , in which he is a central character.

The final part of the latter novel recounts the legend that a mysterious prisoner in an iron mask was actually Louis' twin brother and has spawned numerous film adaptations generally titled The Man in the Iron Mask. The protagonist, a strong-willed lady at Versailles, rejects the King's advances and refuses to become his mistress. A character based on Louis plays an important role in The Age of Unreason , a series of four alternate history novels written by American science fiction and fantasy author Gregory Keyes.

Louis features significantly in Neal Stephenson 's Baroque Cycle , specifically The Confusion , the greater part of which takes place at Versailles. In the 39 Clues series universe, it has been noted that Louis was part of the Cahill branch, Tomas. The film Man in the Iron Mask , directed by Randall Wallace , focused on the identity of an anonymous masked prisoner who spent decades in the Bastille and other French prisons, and his true identity remains somewhat a mystery till date.

The monarch was played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Alan Rickman directed, co-wrote, and stars as Louis XIV in the film, A Little Chaos , which centers on construction in the gardens of Versaille, at the time immediately before and after the death of Queen Maria Theresa. Despite the image of a healthy and virile king that Louis sought to project, evidence exists to suggest that his health was not very good.

He had many ailments: for example, symptoms of diabetes , as confirmed in reports of suppurating periostitis in , dental abscesses in , along with recurring boils , fainting spells, gout , dizziness , hot flushes, and headaches. On 18 November , Louis underwent a painful operation for an anal fistula that was performed by the surgeon Charles Felix de Tassy, who prepared a specially shaped curved scalpel for the occasion. The wound took more than two months to heal.

Louis died of gangrene at Versailles on 1 September , four days before his 77th birthday, after 72 years on the throne. Enduring much pain in his last days, he finally "yielded up his soul without any effort, like a candle going out", while reciting the psalm Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina O Lord, make haste to help me.

It remained there undisturbed for about 80 years, until revolutionaries exhumed and destroyed all of the remains found in the Basilica. Louis outlived most of his immediate legitimate family. His last surviving in-wedlock son, the Dauphin, died in Barely a year later, the Duke of Burgundy, the eldest of the Dauphin's three sons and then heir to Louis, followed his father. Burgundy's elder son, Louis, Duke of Brittany , joined them a few weeks later. Thus, on his deathbed, Louis' heir was his five-year-old great-grandson, Louis, Duke of Anjou , Burgundy's younger son.

He stripped Maine and his brother, Louis-Alexandre, Count of Toulouse , of the rank of Prince of the Blood , which Louis had granted them, and significantly reduced Maine's power and privileges. Louis XIV's only surviving legitimate grandson, Philip V, was not included in the line of succession due to having renounced the French throne after the war of the Spanish succession, which lasted for 13 years after the death of Charles II of Spain in According to Philippe de Dangeau 's Journal , Louis on his deathbed advised his heir with these words:.

Do not follow the bad example which I have set you; I have often undertaken war too lightly and have sustained it for vanity. Do not imitate me, but be a peaceful prince, and may you apply yourself principally to the alleviation of the burdens of your subjects. Some historians point out that it was a customary demonstration of piety in those days to exaggerate one's sins. Thus they do not place much emphasis on Louis' deathbed declarations in assessing his accomplishments. Rather, they focus on military and diplomatic successes, such as how he placed a French prince on the Spanish throne.

This, they contend, ended the threat of an aggressive Spain that historically interfered in domestic French politics. These historians also emphasise the effect of Louis' wars in expanding France's boundaries and creating more defensible frontiers that preserved France from invasion until the Revolution.

Napoleon’s Education and Early Military Career

Arguably, Louis also applied himself indirectly to "the alleviation of the burdens of [his] subjects. Moreover, the significant reduction in civil wars and aristocratic rebellions during his reign are seen by these historians as the result of Louis' consolidation of royal authority over feudal elites. They regard the political and military victories as well as numerous cultural achievements as the means by which Louis helped raise France to a preeminent position in Europe. Europeans generally began to emulate French manners, values, goods, and deportment.

History of France

French became the universal language of the European elite. Louis' detractors have argued that his considerable foreign, military, and domestic expenditure impoverished and bankrupted France. His supporters, however, distinguish the state, which was impoverished, from France, which was not. As supporting evidence, they cite the literature of the time, such as the social commentary in Montesquieu 's Persian Letters.

Alternatively, Louis' critics attribute the social upheaval culminating in the French Revolution to his failure to reform French institutions while the monarchy was still secure. Other scholars counter that there was little reason to reform institutions that largely worked well under Louis. They also maintain that events occurring almost 80 years after his death were not reasonably foreseeable to Louis, and that in any case, his successors had sufficient time to initiate reforms of their own.

Louis has often been criticised for his vanity. The memoirist Saint-Simon , who claimed that Louis slighted him, criticised him thus:. There was nothing he liked so much as flattery, or, to put it more plainly, adulation; the coarser and clumsier it was, the more he relished it. For his part, Voltaire saw Louis' vanity as the cause for his bellicosity:.

It is certain that he passionately wanted glory, rather than the conquests themselves. Nonetheless, Louis has also received praise. The anti-Bourbon Napoleon described him not only as "a great king", but also as "the only King of France worthy of the name". In , at Nuneham House , a piece of Louis' mummified heart, taken from his tomb and kept in a silver locket by Lord Harcourt , Archbishop of York , was shown to the Dean of Westminster , William Buckland , who ate it. Numerous quotes have been attributed to Louis XIV by legend. He did say, "Every time I appoint someone to a vacant position, I make a hundred unhappy and one ungrateful.

Patrilineal descent is the principle behind membership in royal houses, as it can be traced back through the generations - which means that if King Louis were to choose an historically accurate house name it would be Robertian, as all his male-line ancestors have been of that house.

From Louis XIV to Napoleon: The Fate of a Great Power

Louis is a member of the House of Bourbon , a branch of the Capetian dynasty and of the Robertians. Louis' patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son. It is one of the oldest in Europe. This is an incomplete list of Louis XIV's illegitimate children. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

For the French musical about him, see Le Roi Soleil musical. For other uses, see Sun King disambiguation. King of France and Navarra, from to Portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud , Maria Theresa of Spain m. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Further information: Franco-Spanish War — Further information: Orientalism in early modern France. Main article: International relations Main article: Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Main article: War of the Grand Alliance. Main article: Treaty of Ryswick. Main article: War of the Spanish Succession. Antoine of Navarre [] 4.

NAPOLEON - rise to power - IT'S HISTORY

Henry IV of France [] 9. Jeanne III of Navarre [] 2.


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  • Marie de' Medici [] Joanna of Austria [] 1. Louis XIV of France Philip II of Spain [] 6. Philip III of Spain [] Anna of Austria [] 3. Anne of Austria Margaret of Austria [] Maria Anna of Bavaria []. The Independent. Retrieved 4 July MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 28 October Retrieved 20 January Spielvogel Although Louis XVI considered social and political reforms, he was unable to overcome opposition from his queen and court.

    Sheltered from the discontent of their people, their grandeur remained untouched. The works of the late Enlightenment philosopher and political theorist Jean Jacques Rousseau infused the population. Emboldened by his writings, radicals demanding greater rights attempted to force reforms on the government. The study, however, would be a difficult read for those students new to the subject.

    There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About Jeremy Black. Jeremy Black.


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    • He is the author of over books, principally but not exclusively on 18th-century British politics and international relations, and has been described as "the most prolific hi Professor Jeremy Black MBE is an English historian and a Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He is the author of over books, principally but not exclusively on 18th-century British politics and international relations, and has been described as "the most prolific historical scholar of our age".

      He taught at Durham University for 16 years from to , firstly as a lecturer and then as a Professor. In he moved to Exeter University where he took up the post of Professor of History. He was editor of Archives , the journal of the British Records Association, from to Books by Jeremy Black. No trivia or quizzes yet. Welcome back.