Myth VI: The Great Conqueror

Giving his instructions to Grand Dauphin, his son, Louis XIV indeed mentioned: ‘I loved the War too much…’ But was he really the conqueror and a terrible usurper as he is liked to be imagined by many modern historians…and by his enemies? Let’s ponder, (just a brief post as I will return to this theme later & more seriously).

There were four considerable wars during Louis XIV’s reign, since he became the monarch in 1661. They are:

  • The War of Devolution (1667-1668)
  • The Franco-Dutch War (1672-1678)
  • The Nine Year’s War (1688-1697)
  • The War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714)

As we may notice dates make us worry, as, in fact, poor Louis XIV had to war almost all his life. I say so, as the King, being a great general & a man of sword, never wished to become famous as a conqueror. His main thoughts were how to make France strong economically. However…his opponents, they were England, Holland, Spain etc. regarded Louis’s efforts as a menace to their own lands. ‘If he becomes too strong, he would crash us,’ that was a crazy mood of that time. Well…really? And a gang of these self-unconfident rulers found nothing better than to invent continuous wars with France. Why were all of these wars imposed on Louis XIV directly or not? The reason of the first one was Louis’s spouse, Marie-Therese’s devolution, unpaid imprudently by the Spanish. The reason of next two were fears & paranoia of Leopold I the Emperor & his ‘friends’, who wished to hold Louis XIV’s growing appetites…I wonder regarding what? The King never wished to emigrate to Britain or to Holland, he was pretty happy at France. The last one & the most destructive for France was the question of the Crown, the kin & the Honour. By the way, the victory was rather stunning and demonstrated that true glory of the Grand Roy.

Here is the story, Esteemed Readers. And we are convinced now how weakness & fear might ruin the history. By no means I deny the fact that Louis XIV was totally indifferent in these campaigns & never dreamt to become another Cesare or Alexander. One thing is certain: he was a reasonable Monarch & choosing between the good & the bad for his Subjects,  he would choose the way of Peace.

Vive le Roy!



About kethuprofumo

Reconstructing the Past for the glorious Future
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19 Responses to Myth VI: The Great Conqueror

  1. ateafan says:

    Self-unconfident – I like that. 🙂

  2. It seems poor Louis was a victim to others designs on France.

  3. I am learning so much about Louis XIV through these posts, Maria. When I was a girl, my Dad had a big colour plated book about Robespierre and I found it very interesting even then.

    • kethuprofumo says:

      🙂 I’m very happy that my enthusiasm serves for good, dear Robbie! Now, after the last post about myths, I start with some entertainment & cooking, as I have promised. the 17th century France is the whole forgotten Universe of incredible things.

  4. Pingback: #Poetrychallenge – Knowledge and energy – Robbie's inspiration

  5. Thanks for this fascinating post, Maria. It’s a marvelous history lesson. To adjust an old adage, history is written by the descendants of the victors. (What we get is biased and far from being first-hand information, so one always has to look deeper.) Hugs.

  6. moiragoff says:

    Dear Maria,
    Thank you very much for this series on Louis XIV. I really appreciate the way you are challenging the various myths (created by serious as well as popular historians) and going back to the original context and ideas of the time for a fresh view. I look forward to more!
    Best wishes

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