The term ³splendid² is one that most English speaking people are
familiar with. To most of those people it has a meaning related to the
overall appearance or feeling of what ever is being described.
Webster¹s dictionary defines the term as: 1. magnificent and
sumptuous. 2. distinguished or glorious. Splendor is more that that.
It is an adjective that could be used to describe something so great
and breath taking that one is left awed.The word splendid is often
associated with the versailles ">palace of Versailles , which was built Louis XIV.
In the production of this grand structure there was no cost spared. It
became a symbol of France , and a model by which all other palaces
would be judged. Louis XIV received a great deal of criticism from
onlookers as he used the French equivalent to millions of dollars to
built this outstanding structure. There is still some speculation as
to whether or not this was a good investment. It has been argued that
the money could have gone to the poor or needy. The palace of
Versailles was controversial, but in high insight, it is clear that
Louis XIV made a sound decision in its erection.
As Louis XIV took the throne, he was faced with several problems. He
knew that he did not want to reside and rule in Paris, so against the
will of his advisors he chose a hunting chateau as the site of his new
palace. He also knew from history that the nobles of his domain had in
the past and would continue to cause trouble in the form of uprisings
and other conflicts. Louis XIV sought absolute power, and he knew that
he would not be able to obtain this if preoccupied by civil conflicts.
His solution to this problem was building Versailles and inviting all
of the nobles to reside there. This was a brilliant scheme to keep the
nobles out of the politics of the country. He preoccupied them with
tasked normally associated with chamber maids, thus allowing him to
rule as an absolute monarch. The splendor of the palace was a key
factor in this plan because with out it, the nobles would not have a
willing to leave their homes and move to Versailles.
The historical account, The Splendid Century , written by W.H. Lewis
is a very useful tool in understanding the life of Louis XIV. It tells
of his life, his goals, his motives, and the means by which he
achieved those goals. It is blatantly obvious that Louis XIV though
a great monarch, cared little for the common people of his country.
Regardless of this, it is almost a matter common knowledge that Louis
XIV brought France to its peak in terms of its respect and social
status in the world. During his reign France became the authority on
all that was proper and elegant. All of this seems trivial, but the
fact is, it was very important to the people of the upper class, and
as always they were controlling the world.
There were several qualities that Louis XIV possessed that were found
undesirable by his common subjects. His tax system weighed most
heavily on the lower class, and they were often called to fight in all
sorts of different wars for the extension of the empire. It
understandable that he was popular among these people, but their
opinion was really not significant on the grand scheme of his plans
for France. There is no question that Louis XIV took France to an
entire new level in the world view. During his reign, the French
empire grew vastly, and was greatly respected. To this day, he
remains a French hero, and is widely viewed as the greatest monarch
that ever lived. It is not because of his accomplishments that these
views are held, but rather his ability to play the part of a great
leader. All of this was possibly because of his emphasis on
materialistic splendor. He knew that by enticing his rivals with
riches, he then could control Europe.
When it is said that Louis XIV had an ability to play the part of a
great leader there is often misunderstanding. He was a powerful ruler,
but more importantly that , he took his role as king very seriously.
He was known to be a very handsome man with a well proportioned body.
He believed appearances and material goods were an important aspect of
royality. He allowed people to watch him and follow him at all times,
and he made the responsibilities of chamber maids into honors that
certain nobles were allowed to perform. He was always well dressed