? :  France,  ca.1665,  Bronze (cast),  80 mm
Obv: Bust of Louis XIV (r)    LVDOVICVS. MAGNVS. FRAN. ET. NAV. REX. P.P. (Louis the Great, King of France and Navarre, Father of his Country).
Rev: Justice, blindfolded, holding sword and balance, facing castle tower

Louis XIV (1638-1715), called Louis the Great and the Sun King, was the son of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria. He became king at the age of five upon the death of his father in 1643. Louis XIV enjoyed the longest reign in European history and had the most splendid court on the continent, both in culture and in regal ostentation, exemplified by his luxurious royal palace at Versailles. During his minority, power lay in the hands of the queen-mother Anne of Austria, and her minister Cardinal Mazarin. The Thirty Years War was coming to an end: the Fronde was at end by 1653 along with the Peace of Westphalia (1648) and the Peace of the Pyrenees (1659), the latter cemented by the marriage of Louis to his cousin, the Infanta Maria Thersa. With this marriage and victories the king entered Paris in triumph in 1660. With the death of Mazarin in 1661, Louis became his own first minister. Although in some respects art and literature had passed its zenith, France during his reign was unquestionably the first state in Europe both in arms and arts, and within France the authority of the king was practically undisputed. In 1667 there began a long series of wars, which with little real intermission lasted to the end of the reign. The War of Devolution in 1667-1668 to enforce the queen's claim to certain districts in the Spanish Netherlands, led to the Dutch War (1672-78), where France clearly triumphed. The next decade was a turning point in the history of the reign, as the strength of France was seriously diminished. The chief causes of this were the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which lost most of his Protestant support, and later by the war with the Grand Alliance.

LINK to painting of Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud (from Web Gallery of Art)