The French monarchy was invested with the plena potestas of Roman law as well as with supreme judicial authority at the apex of the feudal hierarchy. In practical terms this authority was limited by the physical and technological constraints placed upon the exercise of power in the medieval centuries, constraints which could engender physical insecurity for the monarch or his domination by those in control of armed force. Nevertheless, the legal basis of Absolute Monarchy, the capacity of the crown to recover from repeated shocks and the benefits available to men of energy and ability in its service, proved decisive.
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