Talk:Louis XIII of France

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Did Louis XIII revoke the Huguenots special privileges or was that done by his son, Louis the XIV "the sun king"...? [It was XIV who persecuted the Huguenots - but Louis XIII (or rather Richelieu) did undermine their military power] (talk) 21:29, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Either way, expansion on the ongoing struggles between the crown and the Huguenots would add much to this entry. Lestatdelc 21:42, Apr 6, 2004 (UTC)

I don't understand why Louis XIV isn't the son of Louis XIII. Are you implying that Anne of Austria had an affair? Sandy June 17:39, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Several Problems with the page[edit]

1) The article contends that Richelieu 'was firmly in charge of French policies'. Whilst Richelieu did obviously wield a huge amount of power as Louis's first minister, this does not mean Richelieu acted against, or independently of, the king's wishes. Both recent and older scholarship have disproved the basically Dumasian theory of Richelieu calling all the shots in French politics between 1624 and 1643 due to an idiotic, weak Louis. Lloyd Moote sees Richelieu as, practically, a mere enabler of the kings wishes. Moote argues that Louis's influence may have been implicit over Richelieu; but that Richelieu could do nothing which Louis did not approve. Chevallier has stated that Louis used Richelieu as a conduit through which his will could be enforced. Topin, in the 19thc., had already made clear that Richelieu was Louis's servant, and Louis would push through policy opposed to Richelieu on occassion, whereas Richelieu was not able to do the same. Louis's reign was already 14 years old before Richelieu was re-admitted to the conseil d'etat; it was not until after the day of Dupes in 1630 that Richelieu's position as the King's leading minister was truly entrenched. Richelieu was powerful; but this was largely a result of his success in carrying out the King's desires.

I don't see how any of that makes the statement that Richelieu "was firmly in charge of French policies" necessarily inaccurate. I would agree that most current historians would agree that the Dumasian theory, as you put it, is absurd. But that does not mean that the King was exercising operational day to day control of events, or that he was really running the country. Richelieu ran France on his master's behalf. There is nothing shameful in this for Louis, but Louis himself was certainly not deeply involved in governing. I also do not find the idea that "Richelieu was a mere enabler of the king's wishes" to be terribly plausible. To say that Louis and Richelieu mostly agreed is one thing. But surely one reason they so frequently agreed is that Richelieu was able to persuade Louis that he was right. That Louis agreed with Richelieu does not mean that Richelieu was not making decisions and carrying through policies that his king would never have even conceived on his own. john k 04:29, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I still feel i have to disagree with you. I think a compromise would be along the lines that, as I said, Richelieu was probably actually in 'control' of day to day policy enaction, but that he could not act in any way that was contrary to Louis's wishes. Louis had firm beliefs, such as that Spain, and the Habsburgs, had to be opposed at all costs. Richelieu entrenched his power as he, like Louis, advocted a 'bon francais' policy against a 'devot' policy of aligning with Spain to form a Catholic union to fight all heretical powers in Europe. I.e. Richelieu rose to a position in which he had great power of the enaction and running of French policy, as he offered Louis a way of enabling his desires. Louis could have gotten rid of Richelieu on the day of Dupes if he wanted to: that he didn' shows Richelieu was acting in accordance with Louis's wishes. A good analogy is that of Henry VIII of England and Wolsey, or Cromwell. Wolsey and Cromwell were both immensely powerful figures in English politics. Yet they were only powerful as they were successful in getting Henry what he wanted. Like Richelieu, they were powerful, but they were still servants. This was all i wanted to emphasise - Richelieu may have been the most powerful person in Louis's admin, but he was still Louis's servant. You should really, if you haven't, read Moote and Chevallier for how the Louis-Richelieu power dynamic worked.
Another good example of the dynamic, from later times, would probably be that between Francis I of Austria and Metternich. At any rate, I don't necessarily disagree with you, I just think that the issue is one of emphasis. john k 18:10, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

2) Antoine of Bourbon was not the first Bourbon king of France. Henry IV was in 1589. Even a f%$#%$g moron would know THAT!!!!!!!Wollslleybuttock (talk) 18:51, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Indeed, I've changed this. john k 04:29, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

3)The Habsburgs were most certainly not 'humiliated' by the French in this period (1610-43). One could argue, if anything, the Habsburgs, on Louis's death, were in a far stronger position vis-a-vis France. The Spanish army had beaten the French in a series of battles and sieges between 1635 and 1643; France not able to make Spain sue for peace before 1659. The famous French victory at Rocroi in 1643 was largely an anomaly, in terms of Franco-Spanish battles between 1635 and 1659, it was not representative of an eclipsing of Spanish military power by the French under Louis XIII. And it occurred after Louis XIII's death, if only a few days after. The French war with Spain (one must realise that the 'Habsburgs' were largely two distinct branches: the Spanish Habsburgs and the Austrian Habsburgs, who did not always support each other.) did not end until 1659, with French victory largely being achieved thanks to manifest help from England, who made up for the poor state of the French military. It is a prevaling fallacy that Rocroi was a turning point in military history after which France replaced Spain as the predominant military power in Europe. This did not occur until well into Louis XIV's majority. And even under Louis XIV, the French suffered a series of defeats (in terms of Battles) in the War of Spanish Succession. The Austrian Habsburgs were not 'humiliated' either. They took much from the Westphalian settlement in 1648, continuing the change in focus of their power to entrenching it in their patrimonial lands, rather than trying to extend it in the Empire.

This seems to be simply wrong to me. In terms of Spain, by the time of Rocroi (which was, indeed, a few days after Louis's death), the eclipse was already quite clear. In addition to the defeat at Rocroi, the Spanish fleet had been utterly destroyed by the Dutch in 1639, and Portugal and Catalonia rose up in rebellion in 1640. In 1643, the Spanish Empire looked to be in the process of collapsing, and the events of the next five years did nothing to change that impression. By 1648, the Spanish were forced to make peace with the Dutch in order to focus on fighting the French, who had already at this point conquered Artois. The only reason that, in the next several years, they were able to secure moderate successes (regaining control of Catalonia, holding off the French in the Low Countries), is because Mazarin and Anne were distracted by the Fronde, which prevented France from effectually fighting the Spanish for several years. The Treaty of the Pyrenees, at the very latest, certainly enshrined French military and political dominance. Certainly Louis's later wars with Spain (1667-1668, 1672-1678, 1688-1697) were utter disasters from the Spanish perspective. The Spain of Carlos II was barely able to even raise armies to defend their own territories. That the French didn't do so well in the War of the Spanish Succession is neither here nor there. In that war, France was allied with the Spanish. As to the Austrian Habsburgs, they certainly began to recover after the Peace of Westphalia. But said peace was only good for them in that it ended the war. They had not only to give up their ambitions to dominate Germany, but also to give up long-standing territories in Alsace to French control. While I appreciate that older stories of Spanish decadence were over done, this kind of revisionism which tries to pretend that Spanish power didn't collapse in the 1640s and 50s seems to be even less tenable. john k 04:29, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Spanish power didn't collapse in the 1640s, although by the end of the decade it had been weakened. I think the French were more than 'distracted' by the Fronde - it was practically a 'civil war' as Bonney has put it. French power was as weak, if not weaker, than Spanish in the 1640s-early 1650s. But it is one thing to say Spanish power wasn't in decline, which it probably, overall, was after the failure of the Union of Arms; it is another to say France 'humiliated' the 'Habsburgs' under Louis. They did not. Rocroi - after Louis's death - was the only substantial military victory the French inflicted on the Spanish in Louis's reign. Although the y did achieve success in Mantua in 1631, I would hardly call this a 'humiliation'. The 'Habsburg' failure at Mantua was also due to the division between the two branches of the house concerning their priorities. Your original article just seemed to smack of this awful teleology in early modern history where the French defeat the Spanish at Rocroi, and overnight become masters of Europe. It was far, far more complex than this. It was not until the reign of Charles II (after 1665) that Spanish power really went into freefall. I still disagree with you on the extent Louis's reign actually contributed to the decline of Spain.
Oh, the Fronde was terrible for France. But what i mean is, the fact that France wasn't able to finish with Spain wasn't because the Spanish were really holding their own. It's because France was paralyzed by a civil war. At any rate, again, I think we're not necessarily fully disagreed. I will still say that I think the events of 1640, in particular, marked the collapse of Spain as the leading European power, and that this was confirmed by Rocroi. That France would replace them was already clear after Rocroi, even if France didn't actually do so until 1659 or so. And I would certainly agree that the "Freefall" of Spanish power didn't occur until Charles II's time. But, I'm happy to see the "humiliated" removed - I agree that it's probably misleading. john k 18:10, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
No i don't think it was clear at all in the 1640s that France was on the verge of eclipsing Spanish military power in Europe. They only won the battle of the Dunes in 1658 due to the support of English forces. (I don't think this is emphasised enough in the wiki article on that battle). The military power of France under Louis XIV was created by him and his ministers after 1661, not before. If you haven't, read the conclusion of Richelieu's army by David Parrott - he talks about the manifest inadequacies of the French army under Richelieu and Louis, and how the military reforms of Louis XIV were a reaction against, not a continutation of, Richelieu and Louis's actions. I think Spanish decline was assisted by French efforts, but was mainly due to internal problems. Hence one could talk about the undermining of Spanish power in the 1640s, but it is questionable whether this was mainly due to French military efforts, and whether France was really, in the 1640s and due to processes begun by Louis/Richelieu, on the verge of becoming European hegemons. I agree that you should definitely remove that France 'humiliated' the Habsburgs in the 1640s.
I think this is getting to a level of debate which is unnecessary for an encyclopedia article. And, of course, you can remove the offending statement yourself - no need to get me to do it. And you can fix up Battle of the Dunes, too, although I'm not sure of the basis for the statement that the English involvement at the Dunes was crucial - the description of the battle in my Harper Encyclopedia of Military History certainly doesn't say anything close to that, although it appears the English acquitted themselves well. john k 22:43, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

4)It is doubtful whether noble resistance was broken under Louis XIII. 1610-24 was marked by a series of noble revolts, led by figures such as Conde - a prince of the Blood - and Louis's own mother Marie de Medici. Whilst there was relative stability between 1624 and 1643, the Fronde, 1648-53, was a major rebellion of officiers and nobility, against Mazarin. Whilst this may have occurred after Louis's death, it shows that the nobility had not been completely tamed.

I would agree, the nobility were not really tamed until after the Fronde. john k 04:29, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

5) The Huguenots' rights were not completely destroyed by Louis. Louis fought several military campaigns against them between 1618 and 1629, not all of which were successful. However, by 1629 Louis had finally taken the fort of La Rochelle, the last of the Huguenot fortresses, and a symbolic bulwark of French Protestant military power. After 1629, Huguenot rights were reduced, but not destroyed. Louis was more concerned with ensuring they could not militarily resist him again; he did not take away their right to worship in certain areas. It was only under Louis XIV in 1685 that the edict of Nantes was completely revoked. This essentially re-criminalised the Huguenots.

Indeed. john k 04:29, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

6) Moote gives some fascinating insights into Louis's sexual liasons with Anne. He did indeed not consummate the marriage immediately, but he did eventually. I think it's pretty certain that Louis XIV was Louis XIII's son. There would have been far more of a succession problem if his right to the throne was questionable on illegitimacy grounds. The fact Louis XIV was accepted as a minor king, shows there must have been a powerful belief in his legitimacy.

Yes, although the whole thing is certainly very odd. john k 04:29, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
It is odd, but Louis and Anne were only 14, and both virgins, when ordered to consummate the marriage. I think, given Louis's disposition, his inability to do things first time round led to a crippling lack of sexual confidence. He did overcome this though, and, like i said, if there had been any real doubts concerning his legitimacy, Louis XIV would have had a much harder ride onto the throne!
Well, one can find other examples of monarchs who were probably not their purported fathers' sons who succeeded without difficulty. Notably Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden, who seems to have almost certainly not been the son of Gustav III. And he was also a minor when his "father" was assassinated. john k 18:10, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

7) Don't believe Dumas's portrait of Louis. He was not an idiot or a weakling. Dumas wrote a fictional book - it is not history!!!

Agreed, although recalling my reading of Wedgwood's book on Richelieu (I know, I know), Dumas certainly seems to have been picking up on some aspects of Louis's character. john k 04:29, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Wedgewood was a great historian, but her works are not exactly the pinnacle of modern scholarship. I wouldn't really use her work as the basis of an article, or for justifying Dumas. She's very much a historian who wanted her work to be read, and hence I think fact s may have been substituted for style in some places.
Oh, of course not. I was just saying that, based on her portrait of Louis, one can see that Dumas's portrait is not entirely fictional. Not that she's necessarily right - I would strongly assume that she is, in fact, very much not right about a lot of things. But the picture of Louis as a weakling is one which is found well beyond just Dumas, and it's one which reflects what some of our sources have to say about Louis. I'm willing to accept that he was considerably less of a roi faineant than the traditional portrait portrays. But that doesn't mean that there's nothing at all to the roi faineant idea of Louis. john k 18:10, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Unfortunately, most books on this period focus on the ministers - Richelieu and Mazarin, but a few good intro Books: A. Lloyd Moote, Louis XIII, the just. Good in restoring Louis's reputation, but a bit lightweight and populist. Chevallier, Louis XIII. Large, French, but more serious than Moote. Bonney, R., The King's debts. A good run down of French history 1589-1661, through the lens of finances Hayden,J. Michael, The Estates General of 1614. Good for the regency. Parrott, D., Richelieu's army. One of the best books around on early modern military history, and highlights the manifest inadequacies of the French military machine under Louis and Richelieu.


This article states "Born at the Château de Fontainebleau, Louis was the eldest child of Henry IV and Marie de' Medici. His father was the first Bourbon king of France, having succeeded his second cousin, Henry III."

The article on Henry IV says Henry IV is the 9th cousin once removed of Henry III. I don't see how both of these can be right. Shadowoftime 4:43, 14 March 2005 (UTC)

On his father's side, through whom he inherited the French throne, Henry IV was Henry III's 9th cousin once removed. However, Henry IV's mother, Jeanne d'Albret, was a niece of King Francis I, and thus the two Henries were also second cousins. It is also the case that Henry III was Henry IV's brother-in-law - people can have multiple relationships with one another. john k 15:42, 14 March 2006 (UTC)


Like many other royalty related articles, this once had a pretty decent portrait on the page that is now missing, PUT IT BACK!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cloud Stryfe (talkcontribs)

A diff link would help or even a time period in which this image existed to see what happened to it - I see no other images lost in the edit history at a glance. Also, you can sign your posts by typing ~~~~ after your posts. Cowman109Talk 01:36, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

There was a portrait by Peter Paul Reubens, and it is in the older versions Cloud Stryfe 17:34, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Irrelevant comments in the article[edit]

I think the part of the article reading "As a child, he was encouraged to masturbate in public and to put his hands up the dresses of ladies of the court" should be removed. It is unclear whether or not the comment really came from the source in question, and I cannot check it since I do not have the referenced book, though I suspect the source is question is of dubious quality anyway. Even if the assertion is true, however, such a fact is irrelevant to the article and should be removed, as Louis XIII is not known for this alleged fact; in fact, even if true, it is an obscure and unimportant part of his reign at best. Josh 01:35, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

If it could actually be sourced, it might be appropriate. But until that point, we should remove it. john k 04:09, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
How can you say it's unsourced? What is "^ Lloyd de Mause, ed. The History of Childhood. New York: Psychohistory Press, 1974, p. 51. " if not a source? I got the citation from Stephanie Coontz's The Way We Never Were. I admit, as the article is written, it may seem rather irrelevant, but the article seems to be excessively brief in the first place. If the article were a more suitable length, the comment would be appropriate. You don't pull a brick out just because a builing is unfinished. --Scottandrewhutchins 05:30, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
I'd much prefer to source it to an actual biography of Louis XIII. Psychohistory Press seems, well, dubious. john k 12:34, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
These is an edit war due to this comment. It should not be included because such a comment has nothing to do with Louis XIII. Not every sourced comment should be included in an encyclopedia article due to it having a source. Also, the source is not from a scholary historical source. So it should be questioned as having the authority to be included here. Such a comment would not be in Encyclopedia Britannica or any other encyclopedia. So my vote is for the removal. I suggest you keep the comment out until other users decide. This is an encyclopedia article, an overview of Louis XIII, not every irrelevant fractoid about him. Save that for a longer biography. Azalea_pomp
I don't think anonymous users have any business removing a sourced statement. So far, only anoymous users have deleted it. --Scottandrewhutchins 20:27, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
I saw the primary source referred to in an article on the Social Science Research Council site. It's a diary kept by the royal physician [Journal de Jean Héroard sur l'enfance et la jeunesse de Louis XIII (1601-1628)]. You can read it at the following link, but of course you'll have to be able to read French. We don't want to end up in a situation where the average person's sources for historical reading have been filtered to remove things which make contemporary people feel uncomfortable. It gives people a false impression about reality. It seems to me that among the people in question, their sensibilities were just very different than they are today. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:08, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

This picture of the merging of parent and child, with the father complaining that he is the one "beaten out" and in need of pity, is common for the intrusive mode. Similar confusion between parent and child can be seen in the severe punishments for masturbation championed by the child-training literature since Tissot. Prior to this, children were masturbated by adults and even licked on their bodies as though they were substitute breasts. For instance, Little Louis XIII, in 1603, was described by his pediatrician as having his penis and breasts kissed by everyone in the court, and his parents would regularly make him part of sexual intercourse in the royal bed. But childrearing reformers beginning in the eighteenth century began to try to bring this open sexual abuse under control, only it was the child who was now punished for touching his or her genitals, under threat of circumcision, clitoridectomy, infibulation and various cages and other genital restraint devices. These terrorizing warnings and surgical interventions only began to die out at the end of the nineteenth century, after two hundred years of brutal and totally unnecessary assault on children's bodies and psyches for touching themselves. Despite the reformers' efforts, progress was so uneven that one British journalist could write in 1924 that "cases of incest are terribly common in all classes. [Usually] the criminal...goes unpunished...Two men coming out from [an incest] trial were overheard saying to a woman who deplored there had been no conviction, ŒWhat nonsense! Men should not be punished for a thing like that. It doesn't harm the child.'"

So this article makes it even worse than what Coontz reported. --Scottandrewhutchins 21:02, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

I have removed the comment because it is irrelevant to an encyclopedia article on King Louis XIII. This is an encyclopedic page about a king of France therefore the material needs to be concise and relevant. For a model, you need to read a published Encyclopedia article. The comment you included does not make the cut. This page is not a page of factoids. Anyway, there must be a consensus for anything included on this page if there are objections. Azalea_pomp
The point is did this early sex play have anything to do with his later psychosexual problems. Otherwise, leave it out. The only reason I would like to see it included is that it is the source of the phrase "the Infanta's bundle", which turns up in books on the evolution of child psychology and psychosexual studies. According to the court physician, King Henri used that phrase to speak of the little princess' private parts when the kids were playing doctor, so to speak. A lot of writers assume everybody knows what it is. --Bluejay Young (talk)

Intention to remove comment about Louis XIII's childhood sexual antics[edit]

As a young child, he was often encouraged to fondle himself in public and frequently put his hands up ladies' skirts in the royal court.

There has been inconclusive editing removing and restoring of this comment. At present it sits in the article unsourced. The statement seems unsatisfactory for two reasons:

1. It has tangential relevance to the life of this French king, unless it can be demonstrated that this behaviour somehow affected his later actions. As it stands it could be read as somewhat slanderous on either the young prince, or his parents. It also seems to have some irrelevant titilation value. It may have more value in an article about the history of child sexual abuse.

2. The source quoted in the discussion page is problematic. More sources, or references to primary sources, would be more helpful. For all we know, the one source article quoted could be relying on sources opposed to Louis XIII who wished to slander him. A reference from a historian or biographer who was working with primary sources and was qualified to assess them would be more helpful.

As it stands, I would think that the first point is reason enough to remove this particular statement. I would appreciate any comments for or against. --Iacobus 00:51, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

I am against unfounded slander again Louis XIII, I would like his name taken off the list of "historical pederastic couples".--Margrave1206 22:38, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Louis XIII being a homosexual/bisexual has never been proved, though they were some hints. It is generally believed, however, to have been an insecure person, both personally and sexually. Wedineinheck 11:38, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Image source problem with Image:King Louis XIII.jpg[edit]

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The name is wrong![edit]

It was called Chris Edwards "FB"s and I truly do not belive his name was that.So I changed it to Louis XIII of France. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:25, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

==It is said that the germ wasn't his, so he actually had no child!== —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:34, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

English or American English?[edit]

Which English are we supposed to use, English or American? There is a mixture of both, such as *favourite* followed three words later by *antagonized*. Frania W. (talk) 13:26, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Speech impediment[edit]

Is it necessary to have a separate section for this, stuck between Early life, 1601—1610 & Rule of Marie de' Medici, 1610—1617, when the speech impediment quote is dated 1619? If such section is necessary, it should be moved down next to that of Sexuality, or, yet better, as Louis XIII did have a speech impediment from early childhood on, have it mentioned in section Early life..., which to this date has no details on his early life, only list of ancestors. Frania W. (talk) 13:45, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Illness of Louis XIII.[edit]

I have often heard that Louis XIII had TB, and that this had a debilitating effect on his life, why is their no discussion of this in the article? Instead we get a lot of sexual rumours (most likely nonsense). (talk) 21:29, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

TB was a fairly common disease in that period so I'm not sure that it's distinctive an issue to warrant inclusion. But that said, if you can find sources that talk about its impact upon Louis then go ahead and put something on. Aside fom that I don't know why you think issues dealing with his sexuality should be simply dismissed as "nonsense". Are you privy to some sort of private analysis? Contaldo80 (talk) 14:57, 10 October 2011 (UTC)