Learn History Correctly, Repeat After Me: French Sun King Louis XIV Was an Abominable Butcher & Catastrophe

France is the historical core of civilization (the Frankish conquest of Europe didn’t happen just militarily, but philosophically). What exactly happened in French history and why informs the nature and evolution of civilization, it is way too important to be left to the French. Just a recent small example: This is because of the French obsession with Equality that “All men are created equal…” was added to the US Constitution, as its 14th Amendment, July 9, 1868 (belatedly following “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” of the French Constitution of 1789…)

Naturally, it turns out that some received truths in French history are atrocious lies. Many died, many more will, lest one explains what went wrong, one can dissect it now, thus enlightening future guidance through similar situations which will arise, or have already arisen.

Learning history is abominable, when it is fake history, whereas, it is excellent when it is correct history. Who, what, decides what is correct, and what’s not? The debate! It is wise to consider that those who refuse to debate, and whose logic is missing some dimensions keys to the debate are fake.  (I am having a one way debate with the plutocratic universities, so hopefully, they will lose!)

Studying historical texts is called historiography. It is increasingly helped by archeology, and new techniques such as histology, chemistry, genetics, nuclear physics, etc. It is also helped by the infusing of thinking by modern police methods.

Under Philippe IV Le Bel, by 1300 CE, a modern police force had evolved: all the Templar Knights were arrested at the same time (catching them by surprise, preventing armed resistance). The usage of torture was systematic, and gave excellent results in the pliers of dedicated specialists to find out what happened.  

However, statements made under torture couldn’t be used in court, by law. A century later, any torture of the famous warrior Joan of Arc was discussed and rejected, because the judges didn’t want her declarations to be stained by duress. By 1600 CE, torture was rarely used in France: the police methods were much more clever and the statements made were legally admissible.

Now historians going over 25 centuries old texts, using modern police smarts can guess what was really going on. For example at some point in Herodotus, a discourse of Themistocles the Athenian arch-general, famous victor of Salamis, there was what is after careful consideration, clearly a typo: a “your” was replaced by a “our”.  Police methods are used: general suspicion. For example Plutarch wrote extensively about Themistocles, but that is now put under the light of his systematic bias against the great Greek strategist. 

Louis XIV sent Dragons to live with Huguenots. Caption: Who can resist me is very strong; Force primes reason; “New Missionaries Under the Order of Louis The Great. The gun appears as an invincible reason, and the heretic signs his conversion…


Louis XIV was an abominable butcher and dictator. Louis XIV, on the face of it was a (“civil”) war criminal, a human right violator on such a scale he should have got life in prison. This is my overall opinion, although I do roughly agree with many of the compliments one usually offers to that monarch. However one tends to omit important dimensions of Louis XIV’s reign. Once one integrates them, the resulting overall mood is extremely critical.
Louis XIV was imprinted by the Fronde and his arrogant mother: “Monsieur, nous ne sommes pas en République” did she say to the head of the Paris Parliament (“Sir, weren’t in a republic”)

Louis XIV exhibited a first clear case of misbehaving when he cancelled the inquiry in the Affaires des Poisons, when it implicated his de facto second wife (“mistress”). He threw the whole file in the fire.

He also decided not to consult with the People anymore (“Etats Generaux”), and even cancelled consulting with the 17 or so Parliaments. Louis XVI would go back to these, a century later, but, by then, it was too late, after a century of autocracy.

The major disaster of Louis atrocious rule was the “Revocation de l’Edit de Nantes”, an edict of his grandfather making possible the life of Protestants in mostly Catholic France. The Revocation made life impossible for two million Protestants in France (10% of the population, often the most gifted). Most of them left, weakening France, and storing fuel for wars against Louis XIV, that is France. The result was the (world war) of the Spanish Succession, which ravaged Europe. That brought more than 1.2 million killed, a high percentage of the european population, and France lost sizable territory.

The admiration of the all too many French for Louis XIV is just as immoral and demented as the admiration for Napoleon (who stole the revolution for his personal profit), or Joan of Arc (a pawn of the queen of Aragon and the three other kingdoms, who relaunched the “100 years war”, initially a civil war, between the French and the French, which lasted, as a result, nearly five centuries)…

Louis XIV finally got some divine justice visited on him: nearly all his heir died, and he felt culprit of the death of his somewhat transgender brother. He took three weeks to die of gangrene, getting to smell as bad physically as he did spiritually. He accused his bad advisers to have misled him about the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. To his only surviving heir, his 5 year-old great-grandson, Louis XV he said, on his smelly deathbed: “Do not follow the bad example which I have set you; I have often undertaken war too lightly and have sustained it for vanity. Do not imitate me, but be a peaceful prince, and may you apply yourself principally to the alleviation of the burdens of your subjects.”

This being said, some of the early wars of Louis XIV’s reign were good wars: the war with Spain had to be finished: Spain, a theocratic fascist state had fought France for two centuries, and was initially on a land grab motivated by extreme greed. France, after helping to give birth to the Netherlands, in an eighty year war, finally defeated the “Spanish Squares”. The specific badness of Spain emanated from the religious fanaticism of Catholicism. Louis XIV would marry the Infante of Spain, settling the confrontation, after Spain’s military defeat.

Louis XIV’s self-diagnosed disastrous reign explains why so many somewhat rabid German generals, for centuries to come had French names: they descended from French Protestant refugees… It also explains why France went from unquestioned first power in Europe into a questionable, much less enlightened entity. Now that process was already launched by Louis XI and Francois Premier. Francois Premier insisted to burn printers (although he stopped short of attacking directly famous surgeon and writer Rabelais..) The case of Louis XI, famous for putting his famous enemies in cages, is even more interesting: Louis XI protected the Huguenots with the French army!

That puts the fanaticism of Louis XIV, two centuries later in an even more brutal light. I repeat: Louis XI, often derided as a cruel king,  actually protected the Protestants (by the way, that was before Luther, who was born in 1483, the same year when Louis XI died… showing that, to the surprise of the Anglo-Saxon-centric view, Protestantism was much older than Luther, and emanated from France. So Louis XIV destroyed a remarkable French invention. He was not just a destroyer, he was anti-French. Yes, I repeat: who is, for some the quintessential incarnation of Frenchitude, Louis XIV, was actually anti-French! His wanton destruction of France was no happenstance, but a system (something he recognized, as accused his “advisers”, at the end of his life)


Louis XIV could be prudent: asked by the king of England to help him out against the rebels, with the French army, the world’s mightiest, he declined (but accepted his family as refugees). However that one backfired as the Dutch new king of England was determined to destroy Louis XIV (always that revocation: the Netherlands was full of Protestants).

And Louis XIV did some good things: He financed a lot of arts, intelligentsia and science (famously financing the Dutch physicist Huyghens, the earliest theoretician of waves…)

But, once again, what matters first is the first order of things: Louis XIV was a disaster for France and Europe.

Louis himself said it, as the disease was devouring him and he rotted away. His doctor asked him if he hurt. Louis replied:”What hurts me even more is to see my people suffering.”

Well, one has to get it right cognitively speaking. Out of brutish ignorance, grows pain.

And for those who, to this day, don’t see Louis’ reign for what he saw it: there is something wrong with your cognitive system. Louis XIV was not just about France. France was central to the Enlightenment, and Louis wore its clothes roudly, claiming to be Enlightened him: that’s implicit in “Sun King”! However, Louis XIV set up the mood for Hitler. Actually Prussia became racist against Jews and Poles AFTER Louis XIV hunted the Huguenots as if they were poorly educated pests. Successful hatred and racism breed and multiply. Those who still tolerate the Self-worshiping Louis XIV are part of the problem. They may say, they will say:’Oh, we didn’t know!” However, then, why do you admire who you don’t know? Because you admire the thought systems which make worshiping strong men glorious? But isn’t that a more general, hence greater evil?

Patrice Ayme

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4 Responses to “Learn History Correctly, Repeat After Me: French Sun King Louis XIV Was an Abominable Butcher & Catastrophe”

  1. G Max Says:

    When I went to school I was told Louis 14 the sun king defined France. And he seems much admired in France to this day. Quite a different picture you present! What he did to the Huguenot was horrible, just like Hitler. And you are right, Preceding kings had not done it


  2. pshakkottai Says:

    Hi Patrice: “…to the surprise of the Anglo-Saxon-centric view, Protestantism was much older than Luther, and emanated from France. So Louis XIV destroyed a remarkable French invention. He was not just a destroyer, he was anti-French. ”
    I didn’t know this.”


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Partha! It can be exactly dated to around 1024 CE! Those who got it started got burned. Then there is Abelard and his enormous following. Then the Cathars (circa 1200)… Then the Vaudois (Vaud, a Lyon Lawyer), and so on… A full 500 years before Luther…


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