Saturday, March 28, 2020

Madame de Montespan and the Affair of the Poisons

From All That's Interesting:
The Marquise de Montespan continued to reign over the card tables and dance halls of Versailles. Louis XIV may have been the “Sun King,” but the Marquise de Montespan had an orbit all her own. According again to the Duc de Saint Simon, the marquise: “became the epicenter of the court, its pleasures and its fortunes, a source of both hope and terror for ministers and generals.”

Of course, this kind of power is seldom without a price, particularly for women in history. Like Marie-Antoinette after her, the Marquise de Montespan’s proximity to power was just kindling for her critics. As the maîtresse-en-titre, Madame de Montespan represented all that was hedonistic and amoral about Versailles. While this reputation undoubtedly made her desirable to men, it was also damning in an overwhelmingly Catholic 17th-century France. (Read more.)

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