Louis XIV: The Two-Part Monarch
Dr. Janis Gibbs
Louis XIV is the longest reigning monarch in European history, ruling for over 72 years. He has often been called the model of an early modern absolute monarch. The historian Paul Fox gives a brief definition of the different types of monarchs that were common in the late 17th and early 18th centuries in Europe, including despotic, limited absolute, omnipotent absolute, and constitutional monarchs. He argues that Louis XIV was an omnipotent absolute monarch, because there was no man or law that controlled him. However, according to Maurice Percy Ashley, Louis XIV was in fact answerable to the Pope on matters of religion. In a different, but similar way, Jonathan Spangler argues that Louis XIV was answerable to the nobles, because he depended on their money and support during times of war. While there were many situations in which Louis XIV acted as an omnipotent absolute monarch, his relations with nobles and the Pope show that he was a limited absolute monarch.
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