The Sun King and The Great: Parallels of Power

Topics: Louis XIV of France, Peter I of Russia, Russian Empire Pages: 4 (1226 words) Published: January 19, 2014
The Sun King and The Great: The Parallels of Power
The greatness of a leader is most accurately measured in the manner in which they face challenges. The monarchs of the 17th century embodied many leadership practices that would be the foundations and bases for political greatness. Retention of power is always difficult, especially for absolute monarchs. Two of the most noted and lauded leaders of the 17th century, Louis XIV and Peter the Great, epitomized absolutism. The proverb goes that, Great minds think alike (Anonymous), the greatness of mind, leadership and spirit that was shown both by Louis XIV and Peter the Great, was immeasurable and is evident in the vast legacies and architectural masterpieces that have remained in their honour. As absolute monarchs there were various similarities between Louis XIV and Peter the Great.

One of the greatest similarities between Louis XIV and Peter the Great is found in the disdain and indifference they exhibited towards the nobility of their time. Both men while very young were thrust into the political sphere. Louis XIV was four years old when his father died, leaving him as the sole monarch, and while he was not expected to rule at that age, he was cognisant of what was expected of him and of how he was regarded by the nobility. While he was still young, there was an attempt at rebellion to overthrow him which failed. This led him to be suspicious and distrustful of the nobles. It was Louis XIV’s distrust of the nobles that motivated a very important move in his reign; the weakening of noble power. Louis XIV reduced the authority of the nobles, excluded them from councils and established a set of civil servants known as intendants, government agents from the upper middle class completely responsible to him. This was an extension of the king’s absolute power because people’s positions and status in French society was entirely dependant on the authority of the monarch. Louis XIV’s reduction of noble power was in...
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