First of all, there is debate among historians about how "absolute" these monarchs' powers actually were. In reality, they had to compromise with nobles, often granting positions in government and the privileges of nobility in return for taking actual political power. Louis XIV, for example, the king associated more with absolutism than any other, financed an extravagant lifestyle for nobles at his court even as he sent royal bureaucrats out to take over their old feudal responsibilities. Eastern absolutists, especially those from Russia, granted nobles more power over their serfs even as they forced them to serve in government and the army. In essence, nobles gained in privilege, and often in wealth, but lost political power, and kings were able to gain their support for their often aggressive military policies. Absolutists did this in different ways, but one characteristic all absolute monarchies shared was the reliance on a powerful administrative system to project their powers. Usually, these bureaucracies were staffed with non-nobles, which allowed monarchs to gain support from the middle classes as well.