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Le Roi Soleil & Louis XIV


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#1 rg

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Posted 29 November 2001 - 12:35 PM

a question has arisen (on alt.arts.ballet) about the origin of the sub-title (for lack of a better term) 'le roi soleil' for LouisXIV, mostly because a recent(?) biog. of LouisXIII claims the term was also used for this less famous monarch.
thus, does anyone here have some factual info. to offer on the origin of the title, and its application to LouisXIII, and/or on its application to LouisXIV. ballet historians like to suggest that the title for L-XIV stemmed directly from the young king's role as apollo/sun in 'le ballet de la nuit'; other sources claim it is associated w/ le grand louis because of the overall brilliance of his court.
any thoughts?

#2 Estelle

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Posted 29 November 2001 - 03:19 PM

Robert, I've often read the explanation you mention about the nickname "Roi Soleil" coming from the ballet de la Nuit. For example, it is written in the "Ballet de la Nuit" entry of Horst Koegler's Oxford concise dictionary of ballet:
"Louis XIV, not yet 15 years old, participated in various roles, culminating in his appearance as the sun, whereafter he was called the Sun King."
There are two references: Marie-Francoise Christout in "Le ballet de cour de Louix XIV" (Paris, 1967) and Lincoln Kirstein's "Movement and metaphor" (NY, 1970).

Susan Au also mentions it in her "Ballet and modern dance". Ivor Guest mentions the Ballet de la Nuit in his POB history, but doesn't say anything about the "Roi Soleil" name.

But the second explanation might be plausible too, as the whole court of Louis XIV was organized aroung him (far more than for his predecessors, I think).

There are entries about Louis XIII and Louis XIV in the recent "Dictionnaire de la Danse" published by Larrousse, but they don't say anything about that point. I didn't know before reading itthat Louis XIII had been involved in some ballets too (for example the "Ballet de la delivrance de Renaud" in 1619) and also composed the music for a ballet ("Ballet de la Merlaison") in 1635.

I've never heard about the words "Roi Soleil" used for Louis XIII (often called "le Juste", and Louis XIV was also called "le Grand"), but one would need to read texts from that period...


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