Aulica Coll. No 11 - Au cœur du palais : pouvoir et carrières à la cour de France (1661-1789)

Leonhard Horowski, Au cœur du palais. Pouvoir et carrières à la cour de France, 1661-1789, translated from the German by Serge Niémetz, joint publication Centre de recherche du château de Versailles / Presses universitaires de Rennes (“Histoire” collection, “Aulica. L’Univers de la cour” series), August 2019, 16,5 × 24 cm, 468 pages, index, €22 (ISBN: 978-2-7535-2854-3).

French translation of: Leonhard Horowski, Die Belagerung des Thrones. Machtstrukturen und Karrieremechanismen am Hof von Frankreich 1661-1789, 2012, 17 x 24 cm, 796 p., Thorbecke Verlag, coll. “Beihefte der Francia”, vol. 74, (ISBN: 978-3-7995-7465-5).
This book has been translated from German thanks to the financial support of the Institut historique allemand (IHA-Paris), the University Laboratory “Histoire Cultures Italie Europe” (LUHCIE) and the Institut universitaire de France (IUF).


The court of Versailles was not a gilded prison for the nobility; it was the heart of the French political system under the Ancien Régime. From the end of the Fronde, the power of the monarch relied on a tacit compromise - a compromise which guaranteed a section of the old nobility its dynastic place in the high offices of the court. This was how fewer than one hundred families, the majority of whom were from the old nobility, dominated court affairs for over a century. Close to the throne, these great courtiers, once the indispensable allies of ministers, soon supplanted them. This was not the result of events, but of complex strategies developed around the sovereign, geared to his or her personality, and supported by the creation of factions bent on retaining power at any price. In order to understand an evolution such as this, this study is based not only on a reconstruction of events, but on a large prosopographical directory drawn up from a corpus of 4,798 individuals (holders of court offices, ministers, military commanders, provincial governors, ambassadors, cardinals, princes, dukes, members of the Order of the Holy Spirit).

Leonhard Horowski, researcher at the Humboldt-Universität of Berlin, is also the author of Das Europa der Könige (Rowohlt, 2017), a book awarded the non-fiction prize at the 2018 Leipzig Book Fair.

This volume is accompanied by a prosopographic directory available in German.

Manual (in French)

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Editions Presses universitaires de Rennes

Book review

Read Élie Haddad’s review published in the Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, 3/2022 (n°69-3) (subscription or pay-per-view access on

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