The Age of Absolutism is the period of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Most states in Europe had monarchs who wished to create absolute authority, France had the best system of absolute monarchy because they were able to create a central royal political system. This paper analyzes the architecture of the palace at Versailles, how Louis XIV practiced philosophical justifications, and how his daily routines all reflected absolutism.
The palace of Versailles resembled the capital of France more than a palace. The royal minister and secretaries were among the twenty thousand people who where housed in the palace. Their was the noble family, plus their were nine thousand soldiers in the town, five thousand royal servants, one thousand noble and their four thousand servants. The palace was enormous. It was set in a park of thirty thousand acres-six thousand of which were formal gardens. Among the gardens were fountains an artificial lake and statues. This provided a wonderful place for the king to entertain his guests. The royal architects designed the palace with the intention of sending a message to everyone who entered. The palace not only served as a home but also where the government was led. The apartments were lavishly decorated with marble and the royal bedroom along with the chapel were decorated with Christian imagery.
The subject of paintings which complete the decorations of the ceilings are heros and illustrious men, taken from history and fable and who have possessed all the Virtues which have seen appear in the Person of our Great Monarch during the fortunate course of his reign; so that everything remarkable which one sees in the Chateau and in the garden always has some relationship with the great actions of His Majesty?(pg. 327)
Louis XIV most important accomplishment was the fact that he was able to unify a country which was regionally different. Under the king many provinces were separated by there cultural heritage- Louis XIV was able to unify everyone through his royal authority. What Louis XIV did was compile all of the royal power in France and unified them to create a more centralized government.
The thing about Louis XIV was the fact that everything that he said went. If he said jump you said how high. Basically its like the old saying it is either my way or the highway. The Duke of Saint Simon gives a perfect example of the way that absolutism effects Louis XIVs daily routine.
The chamberlain drew back the curtains which have been closed again, and present the holly water from the vase, at the head of the bed. These gentlemen stayed but a moment and that was the time to speak to the King if anyone had anything to ask of him: in which case the rest stood aside.. he who had opened the curtains and presented the holly water, presented also a prayer book. Then all passed into the cabinet of the council. A very short religious service being over, the king called they re-entered.
He found there, or was followed by all who had the entree, a very numerous company, for it included everybody in any office. He gave orders to each for the day; thus within a half quarter of an hour it was known what he meant to do; and then all this crowd left directly.
Through these simple example it becomes evident that Louis XIV lived his life in an absolute manner.
Louis the XIV was an absolute ruler through the government he led, the palace he lived in, and his daily routine. Louis tried to achieve an absolute monarchy where he was the absolute authority of the country. His excessive life style sent a message that he was the ruler and that everything he wanted he got. His home was the most visual way in showing not only his power but also his strength within the country and he was successful in doing so. He is still remember today as one of the most powerful monarchs in European history.
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