Richelieu, Mazarin and Louis XIV

Thirty years ago, the monolithic absolutism of Louis XIV was still ranked among the most enduring of historical clich├Ęs. Under the omnipotent Sun King, bourgeois ministers and intendants systematically reformed and unified the entire kingdom, drawing support from other members of their own rising class. A mighty army, an aggressively gallican religious policy and a flowering of the arts confirmed the impression that this century of dynamic change was indeed the greatest of ages.

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