The Last Argument of the King? Arms, Artillery and Absolutism under Louis XIV

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


This paper was given to the research seminar of the Medieval and Renaissance Group in the College of William and Mary, Virginia, USA when I was the visiting academic under the St Andrews-Wiiliam and Mary exchange programme. The paper revisits my first (prize-winning) book's attention to the French army under Louis XIV, and takes as a case study of the counter-productive effects of centralising power the artillery during this long reign. While the number of heavy guns the French monarchy could deploy was much larger in 1715 than 1661, this increase was attended by a breakdown in administrative and political accountability and by a failure to take even minor steps to professionalise the artillery service in line with the main arms of the army.
Period23 Mar 2018
Held atCollege of William and Mary, United States, Virginia
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Louis XIV
  • Artillery
  • Armaments
  • France
  • Military History
  • Political History