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The Dynastic State and the Army under Louis XIV
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  • Page extent: 432 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.8 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 355/.00944/09032
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: UA702 .R63 2002
  • LC Subject headings:
    • France.--Armée--History
    • France--History--Louis XIV, 1643-1715

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521641241 | ISBN-10: 0521641241)

The 'personal rule' of Louis XIV witnessed a massive increase in the size of the French army and an apparent improvement in the quality of its officers, its men and the War Ministry. However, this is the first book to treat the French army under Louis XIV as a living political, social and economic organism, an institution which reflected the dynastic interests and personal concerns of the king and his privileged subjects. The book explains the development of the army between the end of Cardinal Mazarin's ministry and the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession, emphasising the awareness of Louis XIV and his ministers of the need to pay careful attention to the condition of the king's officers, and to take account of their military, political, social and cultural aspirations.

• Adds to the vast literature on the reign of Louis XIV of France by presenting a social and cultural history of Louis' army, and the king's personal aims for it • Examines the issues of dynasticism and corruption in a military context • Examines areas of military administration never explored in any book previously, and military finance in particular


General introduction: 'Absolute monarchy', dynasticism and the standing army; Part I. 'Patrimonial Bureaucracy': The Le Tellier Dynasty and the Ministry of War: Introduction; 1. The Secretary of State for War and the dynastic interests of the Le Tellier family; 2. The ebb and flow of Le Tellier power, 1661–1701; 3. The use and abuse of servants: the Ministry of War, venality and civilian power in the army; 4. Financing war: the treasury of the Extraordinaire des guerres; 5. Corruption and the pursuit of self-interest in the Ministry of War; Part II. The Forging of the French Officer Corps and the Standing Army under Louis XIV: Introduction; 6. In the name of sustainability: reforming the structure of the standing army and the officer corps; 7. The business of a regiment; 8. The pressures and temptations of service; Part III. The High Command of the French Armies: Introduction; 9. The commanders-in-chief and the delegation of royal authority; 10. The appointment of general officers; 11. The summits of ambition and the rewards of good service: the bienfaits du roi and the high command; Conclusion: the preservation of the dynasty; Appendix 1: Defining the grands; Appendix 2: The proportion of revenue generated by the Extraordinaire des guerres as a 'primary receiver'; Bibliography.

Prize Winner

Gladstone History Book Prize 2002 - Joint Winner


Review of the hardback: 'This is an extraordinarily well-researched and important book which does much more than improve our understanding of the administration of the army under Louis XIV; it forces us to reconsider the very nature of the late seventeenth-century state.' The English Historical Review

Review of the hardback: 'This is an impressive study, founded on extensive research in the French army archives, one which throws important light on Louis XIV, his military and his nobility … Guy Rowlands has made an important contribution to the history of the armed forces of the Sun King, one with important implications for our understanding of army, government and society - and their interaction - elsewhere in ancien régime Europe.' Christopher Storrs, Journal of Continuity and Change

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