At the Court: Une Journée de Louis XIV

Esteemed Readers,

to comprehend better the Court life, I offer you a schedule of Louis XIV’s ordinary day. And here I should notice that His Majesty had an extraordinary patience to follow it during all his 54 years of reigning.

8:00 Petit Lever (First getting up) – the First Valet wakes the King up, the First Surgeon & doctors examine him, then members of the Royal family & Princes enter the Appartements. They are followed by Officers of the Crown, the Chambellan & the Grand Maitre of wardrobe. The King washes his hands with some wine or essential antibacterial oil, has some Holy Water, puts his morning outfits. The Grand Barbier shaves him.

8:30 Grand Level (Second getting up) – The King prepares himself, gets dressed assisted by Princes du sang, accepts only very close people from his milieu. This is a very privileged time. Every courtiers dreamed to get a chance to be among invited ones.

9:00 First breakfast – some herbal tea or a vegetable soup.

9:30 The Minister Council – general daily instructions & affairs. Then the King changes for the Mass.

10:00 -11:00 – The Mass accompanied with Lully’s music.

11:00 – 13:00 – The Royal Council of Louis XIV: Monday-Friday the Highest Council (State affairs) or the Depeche Council; then if Tuesday, Saturday – the Financial Council, then if Friday – the Religious Council; Audiences.

13:00 – Petit Couvert – a personal luncheon, often accompanied by his brother Monsieur only. Then bath, changing for going out.

14:00 – hunting or promenade in the gardens if the weather is fine. If not, a visit to the Court ladies, trips to Trianon or Marly.

16:00-17:00 Petit Collation – a snack in ladies’ company. Bath changing for the Mass.

17:00-18:00 – The Mass accompanied with Lully’s music.

18:00-19:00 – Work with documents.

19:00 – The King returns to his Appartements. It’s time for some fun (billiard, card games, dancing).

about 22:00 – Grand Couvert – a big supper for all, a ball, etc. After the meal His Majesty goes to his cabinet to talk with closest members of the family or friends.

23:30 Coucher (bedtime) – according to the accepted rules at the Court.

So, as you might notice, Esteemed Readers, Courtiers were very limited in attracting the Royal attention & were very restricted to keep it. Amazingly, Louis’s system was so effective that even most rebellious spirits were calmed down. It does not mean that there were no intrigues at the Court. They were, for sure. However, they were too far from the policy, as His Majesty kept his own courtiers away of his political affairs.

The etiquette rules accepted at Louis XIV’s Court were were rigid as well & most people simply had no time to think about plots if they desired to become good Royal servants. They mind were always occupied with fashion, latest artistic trends, poetry, etc. But when it was the war-time, each courtier knew to be a great worrier & fulfilled his oath to serve his King until the end whatever it was.

Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

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At the Court

The great king must have the great Court…And Louis had the one. Even more! He has made the one! Unlike other European monarchies, France did not have this institution before Louis XIV. This is a great paradox of the French history. There were centuries of the Universal Monarchy, deep Royal traditions, but those of courtiers were lack of.

It has to do with the fact that courtiers of the past were always very independent. Indeed, they served to their Sovereign, kept their oath in wars, etc, but at the same time they prefered to be rulers in their own lands. Most of great noble French families were famous with their rebellious spirit & were involved in numerous scandals & political intrigues against their own king. The position of the Monarch in France was very unstable from the period of Charlemagne’s death to Louis XIII’s reign! There were short periods when the ruler’s personality put the Court together and made it organized but with his death this institution plunged into the chaos again.

François I was famous with his travelling. He moved very actively around France, so the Court did not even have any permanent palace to settle down. Henri IV was a great man & warrior, as I have already mentioned, but he was too mild with his courtiers, making friends with everyone. No wonder that this model of behaviour ended with his assassination right in the Court of the Louvre! Only Cardinal de Richelieu, who realized the importance of the centralization of power and the menace of a chaotic Court, began to establish rules & orders for courtiers. Of course, nobles were insulted with this policy & considered the Great Cardinal the enemy number 1. They had no wished to obey.

When Louis XIV ascended the throne in 1661 the Court, taught the lesson of the Fronde, was yet too liberated and demanded to be well-arranged. His Majesty did the great job in this direction and in 1684, when the Court officially settled down in Versailles, he enjoyed his brilliant results. Finally, to stay at the Court did not mean to hatch a plot but to serve the King & every noble desired it so much.

Unlike a mainstream impression or opinions of many Revolutionists & modern historians, serving Louis XIV was a difficult thing to do. First of all, His Majesty appreciated educated, honest, courageous people with a good sense of humour. Liars, pretenders, intriguers had no chance to become members of the Royal milieu. They could visit the Court though, but as a rule without  any hope to get a position near the king. Secondly, Louis XIV did not make anyone live at the Court constantly. If a noble was invited to the Court, he had to spend there about 3 months a year. Besides, the true number of courtiers received at the Court is extremely exaggerated by almost all the historical statistics. In fact, they might have been about few hundreds, not thousands as they like to say.

To stay at the Court meant staying at your own expenses. Most even very noble courtiers lhad no room of their own in Versailles and never got one. The food & some necessary things as woods, water, etc. were mostly at the King’s account, but not always. So, as you see, Esteemed Readers, Louis XIV had no idea about  all inclusive system. Not all of those who stayed at the Court participated in all feasts & other important Royal events. Invitation was always personal & Louis saw to that.  Royal privileges were very limited & well arranged and to get at least one of them you had really to work hard.

Strictness & a personal genious of Louis XIV made the Court in France & turned it into the most splendid one in Europe, but after his death this institution decayed very fast and never managed to repeat the glory of its solar days.

Vive le Roy!

Maria KethuProfumo

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New Year Mood: Gaelic Song

Esteemed Readers,

it would be sad to bid farewell to 2018 without a pleasant music impromptu. This is a brilliant Scottish composition performed by Fiona Mackenzie in Gaelic… I guess it would add some spirit to our Louis XIV’s celebrations 🙂 The song is called Mary’s Joy.

  HAPPY NEW BLOGGING IN 2019!

Maria KethuProfumo

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Mercure Galant: Messenger of the Past – Praying For Louis XIV

Studying the archives I have discovered that 17th century prayers, odes, madrigals etc. contain a great deal of interesting information. Besides they reflect the true mood of people of that time, so I would like to share it with you, my Esteemed Readers. The given text is written by l’Abbé de la Chaise & dedicated to His Majesty’s illness happened in 1686.

“God, remember that France, beholding her Sovereign as a miracle made with Your hand, was blessed with his Birth. Remember numerous supplications that so many zeal People send You for Him to get Your grace and to keep their so Great King for themselves! Thus, by means of this kind melody they breath out, they join the gift received from You.

You’ve protected him in War for the best of his Subjects, so protect him in Peace for the best of the Whole World! Might his mercy finally be liberated from the evil name of Calvin, as LOUIS has done so much to add to Your Glory by cleaning the Universe from this Monster of Delusion.

Might a constant happiness bless him, might he stay under Your protection & fill with Your benediction the House of this great Monarch. Might le Dauphine & his Children and other of his triumphing kin be led with Your Sacred hand and might his Realm before their own lasted as the Golden Age as it has already done.”

Vive le Roy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

 

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Mercure Galant: Messenger of the Past – January Divertissements 1680

Esteemed Readers,

here is another note from the Mercure Galant telling about January feast, taken on occasion of an ordinary Carnival before the Lenten period. The Opera is as always the most preferable pleasure:

“…It’s time to tell you about entertainments of this season. You know that all the pleasures are connected with it. I start from the Court’s ones. I’d mention that l’Opéra de Bellèrophon is the most important of this month. His Majesty enjoyed it so much and found it so wonderful that it was repeated twice during each Performance. And the whole Paris agreed that it was rare & indeed difficult to perform. I would like to speak little about the Plot made as a Tragedy, which joins all the lines coming from its core and it does not engage any extra events, except the Marriage Scene & Faunes, created against Author’s will and needed only to set Poetry to Music. Performances of this Opera ended last Friday to be exchanged with those of l’Opéra de Proserpine that will be staged February 5 for the first time. Mr. (Messire) Quinault surpassed himself and alike his Verses have all the delicacy necessary for singing, one needs incredible patience to comprehend them. Both ears & eyes must be fully fully satisfied with this Opéra because so rich stage scenery & costumes have not been seen in France yet…”

Happy Holiday Time! Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

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Mercure Galant: Messenger of the Past – New Year 1678

It might seem odd, Esteemed Readers, however the 17th century French did not celebrate Christmas & New Year. Fabulous celebrations with Christmas trees, presents & Santa Claus appeared only in the 19th century, on the eve of the Progress Age.

Louis XIV, his Court & Subjects regarded Christmas as a serious religious feast, which main elements were a sermon, a solemn Mass & a dinner. The last one took place after the Christmas Lent & could hardly be called magnificent. Other feasts that might seem rather unimportant to us had far richer menus. And, of course, nobody would have share  with you any Christmas cards or even Christmas greetings similar to those of our time. Only the King might give some special gifts or graces on this occasion.

The New Year was just an ordinary day, a beginning of a new calendar. It was so miserable that is mentioned in news or reports only in connection with great affairs. For example, the New Year 1678 was famous with the end of the Dutch War and so celebrated all over the kingdom. The Mercure Galant dedicated its first 1678 edition to these exciting tidings. That’s how the Kingdom met the Peace after 6 years of a weary war:

“I would inform you, Madame, (the Great Dauphine’s wife), as you are not aware of it, that they say only about divertissements in each town of the Kingdom taken place on occasion of the Peace publishing. It was done in Montpellier on the 11th of last month & was accompanied with costume performances. The City Assembly was invited by Cardinal de Bonfi the day before, so they prayed for Mrs (Messires) Royal Commissioners in the Cathedral, where Te Deum was chanted. Mr (Monsieur) the Bishop of Montpellier performed his religious rite very solemnly. I won’t go into details neither about a great cavalcade of Merchants, who burst with joy, nor about a true feast arranged by the Citizens. 

I would only mention that all Mrs Prelates were at His Eminence at 6 o’clock in the evening…They listened to some excellent music proceeded with a supper, served with a great magnificence. They departed at 10 o’clock, yet there were fireworks, illuminations & Bals for the whole City with wine fountains in the squares…Mr le Comte du Roure also arranged a fabulous celebration. He arranged a comedy for Ladies & it was followed with a great supper and the Bal. Everything was accompanied with fireworks, illuminations & wine fountains for People…”

Merry Christmas to all of you, Esteemed Readers  no matter the century you live in! May it be a wonderful time full of wine fountains, pleasant surprises & joy!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! VIVE LE ROY! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

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Louis XIV Rex Christianissimus vs Jansenism

Besides Protestantism as a radical form of Christianity, Louis XIV had to face and to fight with various sorts of sects. The current known as Jansenism was one of the most serious of them.

I suppose that appearing of this sect was a normal reaction to continuous religious wars and conflicts between Catholics and Protestants. It was a sign of a theological and ideological crisis on one hand, and a new attempt of various evil forces to penetrate into the Catholic world. Louis XIV, being the Rex Christianissimus, that is the sovereign protecting the True Faith, regarded Jansenists as a possible political menace and the future would prove that he was right. For His Majesty Jansenists were “enemies of God and Honour”, (a term described in numerous documents which gives us the right comprehension of its sense), and, for sure, he could not allow such a power to spread all over the Kingdom.

What was Jansenism as a theological doctrine? First of all we should notice that Jansenism came from the theological problems of the Catholic church and plenty of Jansenists used to pretend being Catholics, that’s why it is not an easy thing to make the exact definition of them. The doctrine is based on Saint Augustine’s ideas, it proclaimed the connection between the free will and efficacious grace, presented their own vision of many Christian articles, criticised the Jesuits and the Church. Its author was the Dutch theologian and a university professor Cornelis Jansen. The original text was published in 1638 and it is called Augustinus.

In 1653 the Pope Innocent X issued a document named Cum occasione, condemned Jansenism as a heresy. Further in 1713 the Pope Clement XI promulgated the apostolic constitution Unigenitus Dei Filius that proved this status.

Louis XIV prohibited Jansenism in France and prosecution of its followers was rather severe. In fact, the king did his best to protect the Lord and to keep his Subjects’ minds pious and clean. I wonder, if there are politicians at present who might think in a similar way: to protect God and Honour…at least the honour of their own…

Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

 

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