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The Sun Kings: A History of Kingship Hardcover – 20 Sep 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (20 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847241980
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847241986
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 2.7 x 28.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,071,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Over the last 3000 years, the great 'sun kings' of history have dazzled the world with their ability to build empires and rule them absolutely, but equally with their shows of excess and opulence. Experts in the public display of power, they have identified their own authority as the basis of their country's grandeur. From Ramses II raising the temples and statues of 13th-century BC Egypt, and Charlemagne reviving Roman imperial glory for 9th-century Europe, to Peter the Great's transformation of Russia into a western power, and Napoleon's parcelling of Europe for his family, "The Sun Kings" examines the lives and achievements of 50 magnificent rulers, whilst also providing a fascinating study of the changing role of kingship. The sun kings' lifestyles, palaces, art, dress and other totems of their success are brought to life with lavish colour illustrations.

The following rulers are included: Ramses II; Roger II; Louis XIV; Solomon; Suryavarman II; Kangxi; Nebuchadnezzar II; The Knights Templar; Peter the Great; Darius I; Eleanor of Aquitaine; Frederick II; Croesus, King of Lydia; Kublai Khan; Maria-Theresa; Alexander the Great; Baybars I; Catherine the Great; Shi Huangdi; Pope Alexander VI; Napoleon; Augustus; Lorenzo de Medici; Leopold II; Constantine I; Montezuma II; Ludwig II; Al-Mansur; Henry VIII; Mohammad Reza Shah; Kammu; Charles V; Pahlavi; Charlemagne; Suleyman I; Bokassa I; Abd-ar-rahman III; Akbar; Fahd ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz; Basil II ('the Bulgar-Slayer'); Gustavus Adolphus; al-Sa'ud; Otto III; Charles I; and, William the Conqueror.

From the Inside Flap

For thousands of years, the style and authority of kingly rule shaped the world. From Solomon of Israel and Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, through Kublai Khan, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, to Catherine the Great of Russia and the Emperor Napoleon, the greatest rulers of history came to personify the grandeur of the empires over which they held sway. Expert not only in the wielding of power but also in its dazzling public display, they are the Sun Kings. Each understood how pomp and magnificence could be used both to advance their own ambitions and to enhance the glory and renown of their realms. As the colossal statues raised to Ramses II in Ancient Egypt or the great palace of Louis XIV at Versailles, or the huge and devoted armies of Alexander the Great and of Suleyman the Magnificent attest, the Sun Kings were the living embodiments of their kingdoms. In the apocryphal words of the definitive Sun King, Louis XIV: “l'etat, c'est moi”. Sun Kings not only describes in vivid detail the lives and achievements of more than 50 glorious monarchs, it also provides a fascinating survey of the historical development of kingship - and an overview of some 3000 years of world history. 150 full-colour images display the grandeur and propaganda of the Sun King's magnificent reigns - their palaces, monuments, portraits and symbols of office. Detailed timelines set each ruler's achievements in their full historical context. The Sun Kings of history covered in these pages are not just kings and princes, but emperors and sultans, queens and popes, including: Ramses II, Nebuchadrezzar II, Croesus, Darius I, Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar, Constantine the Great, Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Kublai Khan, Cosimo de' Medici, Montezuma II, Henry VIII, Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificent, Elizabeth I, Pope Urban VIII, Louis XIV, Peter the Great, Frederick II, Catherine the Great, Napoleon and Queen Victoria, amongst many others.

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