Posted 12 января 13:47

Published 12 января 13:47

Modified 12 января 14:34

Updated 12 января 14:34

The sun king without the teeth. How Louis XIV was treated and why he died

12 января 2023, 13:47
Only excellent health saved the famous French monarch from the consequences of the care of the best doctors of that time.
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Medicine

The writer and publicist Marina Shapovalova devoted her next publication not to the usual socio-political, but purely historical topics: France of the times of absolutism:

"King Louis the Fourteenth by nature possessed heroic health. As a child, he suffered from smallpox, which did not kill him and did not even disfigure him noticeably – according to general evidence, the young king was a very attractive man. Let's add: what he freely used, bestowing his attention on so many ladies and simultaneously producing numerous illegitimate offspring. And everything would have been fine with a man so generously endowed by fate, but in the early Modern period, the authority of science has increased enormously. Therefore, the most authoritative doctors, graduates of the most famous universities, were engaged in the health of the king.

The second serious test for Louis was typhus, which was raging in France at that time. In typhoid fever, the nineteen-year-old king lay not like any peasant left to God's will, but under the supervision of a whole council of doctors. Who, as usual, diligently bled the king (a recommendation for all cases of ill health) and, in addition, dug out in thick medical folios a wonderful recipe for a healing drink from a mixture of wine with antimony salts. Which, as it is now known, reacting with enzymes of the gastrointestinal tract, forms a poison that is slowly excreted from the body. That is, it creates chronic intoxication with symptoms similar to arsenic poisoning.

Louis, despite everything, recovered. Although baldness (hence the fashion for luxurious wigs). Thus convincingly proving to the court doctors the effectiveness of the applied remedy. Why they were happy to regale the crowned patient with it more than once, adding it to a mixture of emetic and laxative for constipation. After that, they were treated for intestinal bleeding by cauterization with a red-hot rod. And the anal lumps and tumors that were constantly formed were cut out with scissors. Without anesthesia, but not by malice, they just hadn't invented anesthesia yet. This procedure had to be repeated many times, marveling at the incredible patience of the king, who kept well in the saddle after everything.

It is not known whether the king ever complained of toothache, but by the enlightened 17th century, medical science had already found out that the dark plaque on the teeth is a collection of "worms" poisoning the body with dangerous infections. The king was already over sixty when the doctors noticed that the condition of his teeth was causing concern. After conferring, they decided not to wait for trouble, but to prevent it by pulling out all the darkened and blackened teeth for the king. That is, all of them, absolutely. The operation was performed with the best instruments at the highest level available to modern medicine. But either the teeth were sitting too tightly in the royal mouth, or something else went wrong, only the king's lower jaw was broken in the process, and part of the palate was accidentally torn out of the upper one with one tooth.

After that, according to the records, intensive treatment for constipation stopped. Ludovic's appetite disappeared completely, because he could no longer eat normal food – he swallowed only liquid with difficulty, after holding his nose. The nose still had to be cleaned with tools later, and the fistula in the sky was constantly cauterized. But the king did not complain – he trusted science and the qualifications of certified specialists. And they tried, every day they took care of the health of the monarch, examined, felt, carefully studied urine and excrement. With ordinary ailments, they managed by letting blood and cleansing enemas into the incised and burned anus, for the sake of removing suppurations from it.

In his eighth decade, the sun king continued to take daily walks and always slept with the window open to keep the body in good shape. At seventy-six, he managed to fall off his horse, apparently for the first time.

Pain in the left leg was associated with this fall, only after a while they found blackening on the foot. They prescribed foot washing in a silver basin, a bath of herbs, at first refusing to recognize gangrene in the growing blackness, then realizing that amputation would not save. As usual, they bled for relief. But this time the unfortunate king did not have to suffer for a long time: he died in less than a month..."