Most people have heard of Louis XiV aka the sun king. This is not strange considering Louis XIV reigned 72 years and 110 days over France. This is longer than any European monark of a major country including the queen of England which has “only” ruled for 63 years.
So why was King Louis called the sun king you might ask? Several reasons; Louis needed a powerful symbol to represent him and what symbol could be more fitting than the sun? The sun is undeniably powerful but most importantly its one of a kind. The king needed a symbol that expressed oneness. One of the most famous quotes of him is: un roi, une foi, une loi; one king, one law, one faith. Uniformity would give France stability and therefor the sun was the perfect symbol for Louis XIV. The world literally evolves around the sun and that was exactly what Louis wanted in his life as well. Louis was a real attentionseeker, He made the aristocracy stay close to him and follow his every move and those that showed no interest would not get any favors from the king.
Another reason was that Louis XIV had danced the part of Apollo the sun god in a play when he was 15 years old.
Louis XiV made it abundantly clear that he wanted to be the centre of attention just like the sun. He was very jealous if others would get too much attention. One of his ministers Nicolas Fouquet got on the kings bad side when he bought Vaux-le-Vicomte gave it a makeover and held popular parties there with plays and poetry for the guests. Louis XIV did not let anyone overshadow him and he arrested Fouquet on charges of fraud. Fouquet got a life sentence and the king took all his assetts!
He also hired the same men that made the Vaux-le-comte palace such a succes and ordered them to design an even better palace at Versailles.
This Palace, with its 700 rooms and beautiful parks with a network of fountain is indeed beautiful, Now that the king had gone through all these trouble he expected the nobility to regularly check in with him at his palace to check out his wealth and clothes and basically to admire him. Those who wouldn’t would soon found that they were not in the kings grace. The reason for this wasn’t only his inflated ego it was also a way of showing the nobility who’s boss. It was a way of saying that noone should think for a minute that they would be better than the king. The nobility had to come to the king, the king did not have to come to the nobility.
The king had a special morning ritual called Levee, which is french for rising. During this morning ritual the entire court waited to greet the king once he came out of his room. Those closer to the king might even get an invitation to be in the king’s bedroom as he was going up and get dressed for the day.
One can find tons of sun images in the palace of versailles. There is even a salon named after Apollo.
One can find tons of sun images in the palace.
The Palace of Versailles is a beautiful place. Its a place of splendor. But its also very very decadent and wasteful.
last but not least a little king louis XIV rap and an online class on Louis XIV
Hope you all liked reading about the sun king Louis XIV and his palace in Versailles!