Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV's finance minister in the first years of his reign,
was a generous man who loved lavish parties, pretty women, and poetry.
He also loved money, for he led an extravagant lifestyle. Fouquet was
clever and very much indispensable to the king, so when the prime minister, Jules Mazarin, died, in 1661, the finance minister expected to be
named the successor. Instead, the king decided to abolish the position. This
and other signs made Fouquet suspect that he was falling out of favor, and
so he decided to ingratiate hirnself with the king by staging the most spectacular party the world had ever seen. The party's ostensible purpose
would be to commemorate the completion of Fouquet's chateau, Vaux-IeVicomte, but its real function was to pay tribute to the king, the guest of
The most brilliant nobility of Europe and some of the greatest minds
of the time-La Fontaine, La Rochefoucauld, Madame de Sevigneattended the party. Moliere wrote a play for the occasion, in which he
hirnself was to perform at the evening's conclusion. The party began with a
lavish seven-course dinner, featuring foods from the Orient never before tasted in France, 

as weH as new dishes created especiaHy for the night.
The meal was accompanied with music commissioned by Fouquet to
honor the king.
Mter dinner there was a promenade through the chateau's gardens.
The grounds and fountains of Vaux-Ie-Vicomte were to be the inspiration
for VersaiHes.
Fouquet personally accompanied the young king through the geometrically aligned arrangements of shrubbery and flower beds. Arrlving at the
gardens' canals, they witnessed a fireworks display, which was followed by
the performance of Moliere's play. The party ran weH into the night and
everyone agreed it was the most amazing affair they had ever attended.
The next day, Fouquet was arrested by the king's head musketeer,
D' Artagnan. Three months later he went on trial for stealing from the
country's treasury. (Actually, most of the stealing he was accused of he had
done on the king's behalf and with the king's permission.) Fouquet was
found guilty and sent to the most isolated prison in France, high in the
Pyrenees Mountains, 

where he spent the last twenty years of his life in solitary confinement.
Louis XN, the Sun King, was a proud and arrogant man who wanted to be
the center of attention at all times; he could not countenance being outdone in lavishness by anyone, and certainly not his finance minister. To
succeed Fouquet, Louis chose Jean-Baptiste Colbert, a man famous for his
parsimony and for giving the duHest parties in Paris. Colbert made sure
that any money liberated from the treasury went straight into Louis's
hands. With the money, Louis built a palace even more magnificent than
Fouquet's-the glorious palace of Versailles. He used the same architects,
decorators, and garden designer. And at Versailles, Louis hosted parties
even more extravagant than the one that cost Fouquet his freedom.
Let us examine the situation. The evening of the party, as Fouquet presented spectacle on spectacle to Louis, each more magnificent than the one
before, he imagined the affair as demonstrating his loyalty and devotion to
the king. Not only did he think the party would put hirn back in the king's
favor, he thought it would show his good taste, his connections, and his
popularity, making hirn indispensable to the king and demonstrating that
he would make an excellent prime minister. Instead, however, each new
spectacle, each appreciative smile bestowed by the guests on Fouquet,
made it seem to Louis that his own friends and subjects were more
charmed by the finance minister than by the king hirnself, and that Fouquet
was actually flaunting his wealth and power. Rather than flattering Louis
XIV, Fouquet's elaborate party offended the king's vanity. Louis would not
admit this to anyone, of course--instead, he found a convenient excuse to
rid hirns elf of a man who had inadvertently made hirn feel insecure.
Such is the fate, in some form or other, of all those who unbalance the
master's sense of self, poke holes in his vanity, or make hirn doubt his preeminence.
When the evening began, Fouquet was at the top 0/ the world.
By the time it had ended, he was at the bottom.
Voltaire, 1694-1 778
In the early 1600s, the ltalian astronomer and mathematician Galileo
found hirnself in a precarious position. He depended on the generosity of
great rulers to support his research, and so, like all Renaissance scientists,
he would sometimes make gifts of his inventions and discoveries to the
leading patrons of the time. Once, for instance, he presented a military
compass he had invented to the Duke of Gonzaga. Then he dedicated a
book explaining the use of the compass to the Medicis. Both rulers were
grateful, and through them Galileo was able to find more students to teach.
No matter how great the discovery, however, his patrons usually paid hirn
with gifts, not cash. This made for a life of constant insecurity and dependence. There must be an easier way, he thought.
Galileo hit on a new strategy in 1610, 

when he discovered the moons
of Jupiter. Instead of dividing the discovery among his patrons-giving
one the telescope he had used, dedicating a book to another, and so on-as
he had done in the past, he decided to focus exclusively on the Medicis. He
chose the Medicis for one reason: Shortly after Cosimo I had established
the Medici dynasty, in 1540, he had made Jupiter, the mightiest of the
gods, the Medici symbol-a symbol of a power that went beyond politics
and banking, one linked to ancient Rome and its divinities.
Galileo tumed his discovery of Jupiter's moons into a cosmic event 

LAW 1 3
4 LAW 1
honoring the Medicis' greatness. Shortly after the discovery, he announced
that "the bright stars [the moons of Jupiterl offered themselves in the heavens" to his telescope at the same time as Cosimo II's enthronement. He
said that the number of the moons-four-harmonized with the number of
the Medicis (Cosimo 11 had three brothers) and that the moons orbited
Jupiter as these four sons revolved around Cosimo I, the dynasty's founder.
More than coincidence, this showed that the heavens themselves reflected
the ascendancy of the Medici family. After he dedicated the discovery to
the Medicis, Galileo commissioned an emblem representingJupiter sitting
on a cloud with the four stars circling about hirn, and presented this to
Cosimo 11 as a symbol of his link to the stars.
In 1610 Cosimo 11 made Galileo his official court philosopher and
mathematician, with a full salary. For a scientist this was the coup of a lifetime. The days of begging for patronage were over.
In one stroke, Galileo gained more with his new strategy than he had in
years of begging.

 The reason is simple: All masters want to appear more
brilliant than other people.
They do not care about science or empirical truth or the latest invention; they care about their name and their glory. Galileo gave the Medicis
infinitely more glory by linking their name with cosmic forces than he had
by making them the patrons of some new scientific gadget or discovery.
Scientists are not spared the vagaries of court life and patronage. They
too must serve masters who hold the purse strings. And their great intellectual powers can make the master feel insecure,

 as if he were only there to
supply the funds-an ugly, ignoble job. The producer of a great work
wants to feel he is more than just the provider of the financing. He wants to
appear creative and powerful, and also more important than the work produced in his name. Instead of insecurity you must give hirn glory. Galileo
did not challenge the intellectu� authority of the Medicis with his discovery, or make them feel inferior in any way; by literally aligning them with
the stars, he made them shine brilliantly among the courts of Italy. He did
not outshine the master, he made the master outshine all others.

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