Louis XIV’s reign spanned 72 years, making him the longest-reigning European monarch of a sovereign country. He saw fellow monarchs come and go, and in some cases, whole dynasties rise and fall in neighbouring states. In the Siècle de Louis XIV, Voltaire supplies readers with a long list of contemporary monarchs and other heads of state. Here are some of the best known:
- Sultan Ahmed III.
- Charles II of Spain, whose death enabled Louis’s grandson to claim the Spanish throne as Philip V.
- Charles II of England.
- Christina of Sweden.
- Pope Innocent XI. Voltaire calls him ‘a virtuous man, wise pontiff, not much of a theologian, a courageous, firm and magnificent prince’. He was an enemy of Louis XIV.
- John Sobieski, king of Poland.
- Emperor Leopold I.
- Peter the Great.
- William of Orange/William III of England, Louis’s great military rival.