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Philip II Augustus
King of the Franks; Count of Artois
Philip II, denier, Laon, 1180–1201
Junior king

Senior king
1 November 1179 – 18 September 1180
18 September 1180 – 14 July 1223
Coronation 1 November 1179
Predecessor Louis VII
Successor Louis VIII
Spouse Isabelle of Hainaut
Ingeborg of Denmark
Agnes of Merania
Louis VIII of France
Philip, Count of Clermont
Marie, Duchess of Brabant
Father Louis VII of France
Mother Adèle of Champagne
Born 21 August 1165(1165-08-21)
Gonesse, France
Died 14 July 1223 (aged 57)
Mantes-la-Jolie, France
Burial Saint Denis Basilica

Philip II Augustus (French: Philippe Auguste; 21 August 1165 – 14 July 1223) was the King of France from 1180 until his death. A member of the House of Capet, Philip Augustus was born at Gonesse in the Val-d'Oise, the son of Louis VII and his third wife, Adela of Champagne. He was originally nicknamed Dieudonné—the God-given—as he was the first son of Louis VII late in his father's life.

Philip was one of the most successful medieval French monarchs in expanding the royal demesne and the influence of the monarchy. He broke up the great Angevin Empire and defeated a coalition of his rivals (German, Flemish and English) at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214. He reorganized the government, bringing financial stability to the country and thus making possible a sharp increase in prosperity. His reign was popular with ordinary people because he checked the power of the nobles and passed some of it on to the growing middle class.


Early years

Isabelle, Philip's first wife.

Philip, born in Gonesse on August 21, 1165, was surnamed Augustus in honor of the month he was born.[1] As soon as he was able, Louis planned to associate Philip with him on the throne, but it was delayed when Philip, at the age of thirteen, was separated from his companions during a royal hunt and became lost in the Forest of Compiègne. He spent much of the following night attempting to find his way out, but to no avail. Exhausted by cold, hunger and fatigue, he was eventually discovered by a peasant carrying a charcoal burner, but his exposure to the elements meant he soon succumbed to a dangerously high fever.[2] His father went on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Thomas Becket to pray for Philip's recovery, and was told that his son had indeed recovered. However, on his way back to Paris, he suffered a stroke.

In declining health, Louis VII had him crowned and anointed at Rheims by the Archbishop William Whitehands on 1 November in 1179. He was married on 28 April 1180 to Isabelle of Hainaut, who brought the County of Artois as her dowry. From his inauguration, all real power was transferred to Philip, as his father slowly descended into senility.[2] The great nobles were discontented with Philip's advantageous marriage, while his mother and four uncles, all of whom exercised enormous influence over Louis, were extremely unhappy with his association to the throne, causing a diminishment in their power.[3] Eventually, Louis died on 18 September 1180.


Consolidation of royal demesne

While the royal demesne had increased under Philip I and Louis VI, under Louis VII it had diminished slightly. In April 1182, Philip expelled all Jews from the demesne and confiscated their goods. Philip's eldest son, Louis, was born on the 5th of September in 1187 and inherited Artois in 1190, when Isabelle, his mother, died.

Remains of the wall of Philippe Auguste built around Paris before going to the Crusades. Today in rue des Jardins-Saint-Paul, Paris

Wars with his vassals

In 1181, Philip began a war with Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders over the Vermandois, which King Philip claimed as his Queen's dowry, which the Count was unwilling to give up. Finally the Count of Flanders invaded France, ravaging the whole district between the Somme and the Oise, before penetrating as far as Dammartin.[4] Notified of Philip's impending approach, he turned around and headed back to Flanders. Philip chased him, and the two armies confronted each other near Amiens. By this stage, Philip had managed to counter the ambitions of the count by breaking his alliances with Henry I, Duke of Brabant, and Philip of Heinsberg, Archbishop of Cologne. This together with an uncertain outcome were he to engage the French in battle forced the Count to conclude a peace.[4] In July 1185, the Treaty of Boves left the disputed territory partitioned, with Amiénois, Artois and numerous other places passing to the King and the remainder, with the county of Vermandois proper, being left provisionally to Philip of Alsace.[5]

Meanwhile in 1184, Stephen I of Sancerre and his Brabançon mercenaries ravaged the Orléanais. Philip defeated him with the aid of the Confrères de la Paix.

War with Henry II

Philip also began to wage war with Henry II of England, who was also Count of Anjou and Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine in France. The death of Henry's eldest son, Henry the Young King in June 1183 began a dispute over the dower of the widowed Margaret, who was Philip's sister, who insisted that it should be returned to France as the marriage did not produce any children, as per the betrothal agreement.[6] The two kings would hold conferences at the foot of an elm tree near Gisors, which was so positioned that it would overshadow each monarch's territory, but to no avail. Philip pushed the case further when King Béla III of Hungary asked for the widow's hand in marriage, and thus her dowry had to be returned, to which Henry finally agreed.

The death of Henry's fourth son, Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany in 1186 the began a new round of disputes, as Henry insisted that he retain the guardianship of the duchy for his unborn grandson Arthur I, Duke of Brittany.[6] Philip, as Henry's liege lord, objected, stating that he should be the rightful guardian until the birth of the child. Philip then raised the issue of his other sister, Alys, Countess of the Vexin, and her delayed betrothal to Richard the Lionheart.

With these grievances, two years of combat (1186–1188) followed, but the situation remained unchanged. Philip initially allied with Henry's young sons, Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland, who were in rebellion against their father. Philip II launched an attack on Berry in the summer of 1187 but then in June made a truce with Henry, which left Issoudun in his hands and also granted him Fréteval, in Vendômois.[5] Though the truce was for two years, Philip found grounds for resuming hostilities in the summer of 1188. He skillfully exploited the estrangement between Henry and Richard, and Richard did homage to him voluntarily at Bonmoulins in November 1188.[5]

Then in 1189 Richard openly joined forces with Philip to drive Henry into abject submission. They chased him from Le Mans to Saumur, losing Tours in the process,[6] before forcing him to acknowledge Richard as his heir. Finally, by the Treaty of Azay-le-Rideau (July 4, 1189), Henry was forced to renew his own homage, to confirm the cession of Issoudun, with Graçay also, to Philip, and to renounce his claim to suzerainty over Auvergne.[5] Henry died two days later. His death, and the news of the of the fall of Jerusalem to Saladin, diverted attention from the Franco-English war.

Philip was close friends with all of Henry's sons and he used them to foment rebellion against their father, but turned against both Richard and John after their respective accessions to the throne. With Henry the Young King and Geoffrey of Brittany he maintained friendship until their deaths. Indeed, at the funeral of Geoffrey, he was so overcome with grief that he had to be forcibly restrained from casting himself into the grave.

Philip (right) and Richard accepting the keys to Acre; from the Grandes Chroniques de France.

Third Crusade

Philip went on the Third Crusade (1189 – 1192) with Richard I of England and the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I Barbarossa. His army left Vézelay on 1 July 1190. At first the French and English crusaders traveled together, but the armies split at Lyon, as Richard decided to go by sea, and Philip took the overland route through the Alps to Genoa. The French and English armies were reunited in Messina, where they wintered together. On 30 March 1191 the French set sail for the Holy Land and Philip arrived on 20 May. He then marched up to Acre which was already besieged by a lesser contingent of crusaders and started to construct large siege equipments before Richard arrived in 8 June (see Siege of Acre). By the time Acre surrendered on 12 July, Philip was severely ill with dysentery which reduced his crusading zeal. Ties with Richard were further strained after the latter acted in a haughty manner after Acre had fallen.

Ptolemais (Acre) given to Philip Augustus 1191

More importantly, the siege resulted in the death of Philip of Alsace, who held the county of Vermandois proper; an event that threatened to derail the Treaty of Gisors which Philip had orchestrated to isolate the powerful Blois-Champagne faction. Philip decided to return to France to settle the issue of succession in Flanders, a decision that displeased Richard, who said, "It is a shame and a disgrace on my lord if he goes away without having finished the business that brought him hither. But still, if he finds himself in bad health, or is afraid lest he should die here, his will be done." So on 31 July 1191 the French army of 10,000 men (along with 5,000 silver marks to pay the soldiers) remained in Outremer under the command of Hugh III, Duke of Burgundy. Philip and his cousin Peter of Courtenay, count of Nevers, made their way to Genoa and from there returned to France. This decision to return was also fuelled by the realization that with Richard campaigning in the Holy Land, English possessions in northern France (Normandy) would be open for attack. After Richard's delayed return home after the Third Crusade, war between England and France would ensue over possession of English-controlled territories in modern-day France.

Conflict with England, Flanders and the Holy Roman Empire

Conflict with King Richard 1192-1199

The immediate cause of the conflict with Richard stemmed from Richard's decision to break his betrothal with Philip's sister Alice at Messina in 1191.[7] Part of Alice's dowry that had been given over to Richard during their engagement was the territory of the Vexin which included the strategic fortress of Gisors. This should have reverted to Philip upon the end of the betrothal, but Philip, to prevent the collapse of the Crusade, agreed that this territory was to remain in Richard's hands, and would be inherited by his male descendents. Should Richard die without an heir, the territory would return to Philip, and if Philip died without an heir, those lands would be considered a part of Normandy.[7]

Returning to France in late 1191, he began plotting to find a way to have those territories restored to him. He was in a difficult situation, as he had taken an oath to Richard not to attack his lands while he was away,[8] and as Richard was still on Crusade, his territory was under the protection of the Church in any event. He had unsuccessfully asked Pope Celestine III to release him from his oath,[9] and so Philip was forced to build a causus belli from scratch.

On January 20, 1192, Philip met with William of FitzRalph, Richard's seneschal of Normandy. Presenting some documents purporting to be from Richard, Philip claimed that Richard had agreed at Messina to hand back the disputed lands to Philip. Not having heard anything directly from their sovereign, FitzRalph and the Norman barons rejected Philip's claim to the Vexin.[7] Philip at this time also began spreading rumors about Richard's action in the east to discredit the English king in the eyes of his subjects. Among the stories Philip invented included Richard was involved in treacherous communication with Saladin, that he had conspired to cause the fall of Gaza, Jaffa and Ashkelon, and that he had participated in the murder of Conrad of Montferrat.[9] Finally, Philip made contact with Prince John, Richard's brother, whom he convinced to join him and overthrow his brother.[9]

At the start of 1193, John paid a visit to Philip in Paris where he paid homage for Richard's French lands. When word reached Philip that Richard had finished crusading and had been captured on his way back from Holy Land, he promptly invaded the Vexin. His first target was the fortress of Gisors, commanded by Gilbert de Vascoeuil, which surrendered without putting up a struggle.[10] Philip then penetrated deep into Normandy, reaching as far as Dieppe. To keep the duplicitous John on side, Philip entrusted the defense of the town of Évreux over to him.[11] Meanwhile, Philip was joined by Count Baldwin of Flanders, and together they laid siege to the ducal capital of Normandy, Rouen. Here, Philip's advance was halted by a defense led by Earl Robert of Leicester.[10] Unable to penetrate their defenses, Philip moved on.

At Mantes on July 9, 1193, Philip came to terms with Richard's ministers who agreed that Philip could keep his gains and would be given some extra territories if he ceased all further aggressive actions in Normandy, along with the condition that Philip would hand back the captured territory if Richard would pay homage to Philip.[10] To prevent Richard from spoiling their plans, Philip and John attempted to bribe the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI to keep the English king captive for a little while longer. He refused, and Richard was released from captivity on February 4, 1194. By March 13, Richard had returned to England, and by May 12, he had set sail for Normandy with some 300 ships, eager to take the war to Philip.[10]

Philip had spent this time consolidating his territorial gains, and by now was controlling much of Normandy east of the Seine, and remaining within striking distance of Rouen. His next objective was the castle of Verneuil,[12], which had withstood an earlier siege. Once Richard arrived had at Barfleur, he was soon marching towards Verneuil. As his forces neared the castle, Philip, who had been unable to break through, decided to strike camp. Leaving a large force behind to prosecute the siege, he moved off towards Évreux, which Prince John had handed over to his brother to prove his loyalty.[12] Philip retook the town and sacked it, but during this time, his forces besieging Verneuil abandoned the siege, and Richard entered the castle unopposed on May 30. Throughout June, while Philip's campaign ground to a halt in the north, Richard was taking a number of important fortresses to the south. Philip, eager to relieve the pressure off his allies in the south, marched to confront Richard's forces at Vendôme. Refusing to risk everything in a major battle, Philip retreated, only to have his rear guard caught at Fréteval on July 4, which turned into a general encounter during which Philip only managed to avoid capture, as his army was put to flight.[12] Fleeing back to Normandy, Philip revenged himself on the English by attacking the forces of Prince John and the Earl of Arundel, seizing their baggage train.[12] By now both sides were tiring, and they agreed to the temporary Truce of Tillières.

War continued in 1195 with Philip once again besieging Verneuil. Richard arrived to discuss the situation face to face. During negotiations, Philip secretly continued his operations against Verneuil, and when Richard discovered it, he left, swearing revenge.[12] Philip now pressed his advantage in northeastern Normandy, where he conducted a raid at Dieppe, during which he burnt the English ships in the harbor, repulsing an attack by Richard at the same time. Philip now marched southward into the Berry region, and his primary objective was the fortress of Issoudun, which had just been captured by Richard's mercenary commander, Mercadier. The French king took the town and was besieging the castle when Richard stormed through French lines and made his way in to reinforce the garrison, while at the same time another army was approaching Philip's supply lines. Philip called off his attack, and another truce was agreed to.[12]

The war slowly turned against Philip over the course of the next three years. Though things looked promising at the start of 1196 when Arthur of Brittany ended up in Philip's hands, and he won the Siege of Aumale, it would not last. Richard won over a key ally, Baldwin of Flanders in 1197. Then in 1198, Henry the Holy Roman Emperor died, and his successor was to be Otto IV, Richard's nephew, who in turn put additional pressure on Philip.[13] Finally, many Norman lords were switching sides, and returning to Richard's camp. This was the state of affairs when Philip launched his 1198 campaign with an attack on the Vexin. He was pushed back before then having to deal with the Flemish invasion of Artois.

On September 27, Richard entered the Vexin, taking Courcelles-Chaussy and Boury-en-Vexin before returning to Dangu. Philip, believing that Courcelles-Chaussy was still holding out, went to its relief. Discovering what was happening, Richard decided to attack the French king's forces, catching Philip by surprise.[13] Philip's forces fled and attempted to reach the fortress of Gisors. Bunched together, the French knights and Philip attempted to cross the Epte River on a bridge that promptly collapsed under their weight, almost drowning Philip in the process. He was dragged out of the river and shut himself up in Gisors.[13]

Philip soon began a new offensive, launching raids into Normandy and again targeting Évreux. Richard countered Philip's offensive with a counterattack in the Vexin, while Mercadier led a raid on Abbeville. The upshot was that by the fall of 1198, Richard had regained almost all that had been lost in 1193.[13] Philip, now in desperate circumstances, offered a truce so that discussions could begin towards a more permanent peace, with the offer that he would return all of the territories except for Gisors.

In mid-January 1199, the two kings met for a final meeting, Richard, standing on the deck of a boat, Philip, standing on the banks of the Seine River.[14] Shouting terms at each other, they could not reach agreement on the terms of a permanent truce, but did agree to further mediation, which resulted in a five year truce. The truce held and later that year, Richard was killed during a siege involving one of Richard's vassals.

Conflict with King John 1200-1206

In May 1200, Philip signed the Treaty of Le Goulet with Richard's successor king John of England, as youngest son of Henry called the Lackland, now also Duke of Normandy. The treaty was meant to bring peace to Normandy by settling the issue of the boundaries of the much reduced duchy and the terms of John's vassalage for it and Anjou, Maine, and Touraine. John agreed to heavy terms, including the abandonment of all the English possession in Berry and 20,000 Marks of Silver, but Philip in turn recognised John as king, formally abandoning Arthur I of Brittany, whom he had thitherto supported, and recognised John's suzerainty over the Duchy of Brittany. To seal the treaty, a marriage between Blanche of Castile, John's niece, and Louis the Lion, Philip's son, was contracted.

Map of Philip's conquests

This did not stop the war, however. John's mismanagement of Aquitaine saw that province erupt in rebellion later that year, which Philip secretly encouraged.[15] To disguise his ambitions, he invited John to a conference at Andely, and then entertained him at Paris, and both times he committed to complying with the Treaty.[15] Then in 1202, disaffected patrons petitioned the French king to summon John to answer their charges in his capacity as John's feudal lord, and, when the English king refused to appear, Philip again took up the claims of Arthur, to whom he betrothed his six-year-old daughter, Marie. John crossed over into Normandy and his forces soon captured Arthur, and in 1203, the young man disappeared, with most people believing that John had Arthur murdered.

The outcry over Arthur's fate saw an increase in local opposition to John which Philip used to his advantage.[15] He took the offensive and, apart from a five month siege of Andely, he swept all before him. On the fall of Andely, John fled to England, and by the end of 1204, most of Normandy and the Angevin lands, including much of Aquitaine had fallen into Philip's hands.[15]

What Philip had gained through victory in war, he then sought to confirm by legal means. Philip, again acting as John's liege lord, summoned his vassal to appear before the Court of the Twelve Peers of France, to answer for the murder of Arthur of Brittany.[16] John's request for safe conduct only saw Philip agree to allow him to come in peace, but that his return would only occur if it were allowed after the judgment of his peers. Not willing to risk his life on such a guarantee, he refused to appear, so Philip summarily dispossessed him of his French lands.[16] Pushed by his barons, John eventually launched an invasion in 1206, disembarking with his army at La Rochelle during one of Philip's absences, but the campaign was a disaster.[16] After backing out of a conference that he himself had demanded, John eventually bargained at Thouars for a two year truce, the price of which was his agreement to the chief provisions of the judgment of the Court of Peers, including the loss of his patrimony.[16]

Alliances against Philip 1208-1213

In 1208, Philip of Swabia, the successful candidate for becoming the next emperor of the Holy Roman Empire was assassinated, meaning that the imperial crown was given to his rival, Otto IV, the nephew of King John. Otto, prior to his accession, had promised to help John to recover his lost European possessions, but circumstances prevented them from making good their claims.[17] By 1212, both John and Otto were engaged in power struggles against Pope Innocent III, John over his refusal to accept the papal nomination for the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Otto over his attempt to strip Frederick II of his Sicilian crown. Philip decided to take advantage of this situation, firstly in Germany where he supported the rebellion of the German nobility in support of the young Frederick.[17] John immediately threw his support behind Otto, and Philip now saw his chance to launch a successful invasion of England.

In order to secure the cooperation of all his vassals in his plans for the invasion, Philip denounced John as an enemy of the Church, thereby justifying his attack against him as being solely for religious reasons. He summoned an assembly of French barons at Soissons, which was well attended with the exception of Ferdinand, Count of Flanders. He refused to attend, still angry over the loss of the towns of Aire and Saint-Omer which had been captured by Philip's son, Louis the Lion, and he would not participate in any campaign until they had been restored to him.[17]

In the meantime, Philip, eager to prove his loyalty to Rome and thus secure Papal support for his planned invasion, announced at Soissons his reconciliation with his estranged wife Ingeborg of Denmark which the Popes had been pushing.[17] The Barons fully supported his plan, and they all gathered their forces and prepared to join with Philip at the agreed rendezvous. In all this, Philip remained in constant communication with Pandolfo, the Papal Legate, who was encouraging Philip to pursue his objective. Pandolfo however was also holding secret discussions with King John. Advising the English king of his precarious predicament, he persuaded John to abandon his opposition to Papal investiture and agreed to accept the Papal Legate's decision in any ecclesiastical disputes as final.[18] In return, the Pope agreed to accept the Kingdom of England and the Lordship of Ireland as Papal fiefs, which John would rule as the Pope's vassal, and for which John would do homage to the Pope.[18]

No sooner had the treaty been ratified in May 1213 than Pandolfo announced to Philip that he would have to abandon his expedition against John, since to attack a faithful vassal of the Holy See would constitute a mortal sin. In vain did Philip argue that his plans had been drawn up with the consent of Rome, that his expedition was in support of papal authority which he only undertook on the understanding that he would gain a Plenary Indulgence, or that he had spent a fortune preparing for the expedition. The Papal Legate remained unmoved.[18] But Pandolfo did suggest an alternative. The Count of Flanders had denied Philip's right to declare war on England while King John was still excommunicated, and that his disobedience needed to be punished.[18] Philip eagerly accepted the advice, and quickly marched at the head of his troops into the territory of Flanders.

War of Bouvines 1213-1214

The French fleet, reportedly numbering some 1,700 ships[19] proceeded first to Gravelines and then to the port of Dam. Meanwhile the army marched by Cassel, Ypres and Bruges, before laying siege to Ghent.[19] Hardly had the siege begun when Philip learned that the English fleet had captured a number of his ships at Dam, and that the rest were so closely blockaded in its harbor, that it was impossible for them to escape. After having obtained 30,000 Marks as a ransom for the hostages he had taken from the Flemish cities he had captured, Philip quickly retraced his steps in order to reach Dam. It took him two days, and he arrived in time to relieve the French garrison.[19] But he discovered that he could not rescue his fleet, and in order to prevent it from falling into enemy hands, he ordered it to be burnt before also commanding that the town of Dam also be burned to the ground. Determined to make the Flemish pay for his retreat, every district he passed through he ordered that all towns be razed and burned, and that the peasantry were either killed or sold as slaves.[19]

But the destruction of the French fleet had once again raised John's hopes up, and so he began preparing for an invasion of France and a reconquest of his lost provinces. Initially his barons were unenthusiastic about the expedition, which delayed his departure, and so it was not until February 1214 that he was able to disembark at La Rochelle.[19] John was to advance from the Loire (river), while his ally Otto IV made a simultaneous attack from Flanders, together with the Count of Flanders. Unfortunately, the three armies could not coordinate their efforts effectively. It was not until John, who had been disappointed in his hope for an easy victory after being driven from Roche-au-Moine and had retreated to his transports that the Imperial Army, with Otto at its head, assembled in the Low Countries.[19]

On July 27, 1214, the opposing armies suddenly discovered they were in close proximity to each other, on the banks of a little tributary of the River Lys, near the Bridge of Bouvines. Philip's army numbered some 15,000, while the allied forces possessed around 25,000 troops, and the armies clashed at the Battle of Bouvines. It was a tight battle; Philip was unhorsed by the Flemish pikemen in the heat of battle, and were it not for his plate mail armour in which he was encased, he would probably have been killed.[20] When Otto was carried off the field by his wounded and terrified horse,[20] and Ferdinand, Count of Flanders, severely wounded, was captured by the French, the Flemish and Imperial troops saw that the battle was lost, turned and fled from the battlefield. The French troop began pursuing them but with night approaching, and with the prisoners they already had being too many and, more importantly, too valuable to risk in a risky pursuit, Philip ordered a recall before his troops had moved little more than a mile from the battlefield.[20] Philip returned to Paris triumphant, marching his captive prisoners behind him in a long procession, as his grateful subjects came out to greet the victorious king. In the aftermath of the battle, Otto retreated to his castle of Harzburg and was soon overthrown as Holy Roman Emperor, and replaced by Frederick II. Count Ferdinand remained imprisoned following his defeat, while King John obtained a five year truce, on very lenient terms given the circumstances.[20]

Philip's decisive victory was crucial in ordering Western European politics in both England and France. In the former, so weakened was the defeated King John of England that he soon needed to submit to his barons demands and sign the Magna Carta, limiting the power of the crown and establishing the basis for common law. In the latter, the battle was instrumental in forming the strong central monarchy that would characterize France until the first French Revolution. It was also the first battle in the Middle Ages in which the full value of infantry was realised.[20]

Marital problems

After Isabelle's early death in childbirth, in 1190, Philip decided to marry again. On the 15th of August in 1193 he married Ingeborg (1175–1236), daughter of King Valdemar I of Denmark (1157–82). She was renamed Isambour, and Stephan of Dornik described her as "very kind, young of age but old of wisdom." For some unknown reason, Philip was repelled by her, and he refused to allow her to be crowned Queen. Ingeborg protested at this treatment; his response was to confine her to a convent. He then asked Pope Celestine III for an annulment on the grounds of non-consummation. Philip had not reckoned with Ingeborg, however; she insisted that the marriage had been consummated, and that she was his wife and the rightful Queen of France. The Franco-Danish churchman William of Paris intervened on the side of Ingeborg, drawing up a genealogy of the Danish kings to disprove the alleged impediment of consanguinity.

In the meantime Philip had sought a new bride. Initially agreement had been reached for him to marry Margaret of Geneva, daughter of William I, Count of Geneva, but the young bride's journey to Paris was interrupted by Thomas I of Savoy, who kidnapped Philip's intended new queen and married her instead, claiming that Philip was already bound in marriage. Philip finally achieved a third marriage, on the 7th of May in 1196, to Agnes of Merania from Dalmatia (c. 1180 – 29 July in 1201). Their children were Marie (1198 – 15 October in 1224) and Philippe Hurepel (1200–1234), Count of Clermont and eventually, by marriage, Count of Boulogne.

Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) declared Philip Augustus's marriage to Agnes of Merania null and void, as he was still married to Ingeborg. He ordered the King to part from Agnès; when he did not, the Pope placed France under an interdict in 1199. This continued until the 7th of September in 1200. Due to pressure from the Pope and from Ingeborg's brother, King Valdemar II of Denmark (1202–41), Philip finally took Ingeborg back as his Queen in 1213.

Philip II, King of France, in a non-contemporary portrait

Last years

Understandably, he turned a deaf ear when the Pope asked him to do something about the heretics in the Languedoc. When Pope Innocent III called for a crusade against the Albigensians or Cathars, in 1208, Philip did nothing to support it, but neither did he hinder it. The war against the Cathars did not end until 1244, when finally their last strongholds were captured. The fruits of it, namely the submission of the south of France to the crown, were to be reaped by Philip's son, Louis VIII, and grandson, Louis IX. From 1216 to 1222 Philip also arbitrated in the War of Succession in Champagne and finally helped the military efforts of Eudes III, Duke of Burgundy and Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor to bring it to an end.

Philip II Augustus would play a significant role in one of the greatest centuries of innovation in construction and in education. With Paris as his capital, he had the main thoroughfares paved, built a central market, Les Halles, continued the construction begun in 1163 of the Gothic Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, constructed the Louvre as a fortress and gave a charter to the University of Paris in 1200. Under his guidance, Paris became the first city of teachers the medieval world had known. In 1224, the French poet Henry d'Andeli wrote of the great wine tasting competition that Philip II Augustus commissioned The Battle of the Wines.

Philip II Augustus died 14 July 1223 at Mantes-la-Jolie, and was interred in Saint Denis Basilica. Philip's son by Isabelle de Hainaut, Louis VIII, was his successor.

Portrayal in fiction

King Philip appears in William Shakespeare's historical play King John.



  • Baldwin, John W. The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.
  • Meade, Marion. Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Biography. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1977. ISBN 0-801522-31-5
  • Payne, Robert. The Dream and the Tomb: A History of the Crusades. New York: Stein and Day, 1984. ISBN 0-812829-45-X
  • Rees, Simon. King Richard I of England Versus King Philip II Augustus. Military History Magazine, September 2006
  • Smedley, Edward. The History of France, from the final partition of the Empire of Charlemagne to the Peace of Cambray. London: Baldwin and Cradock, 1836.
  • "The 'War' of Bouvines (1202-1214)". Retrieved 2008-09-29. 


  1. ^ Smedley (1836), p. 52
  2. ^ a b Smedley (1836), p. 55
  3. ^ Smedley (1836), p. 56
  4. ^ a b Smedley (1836), p. 57
  5. ^ a b c d "Philip II." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2008 Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008
  6. ^ a b c Smedley (1836), p. 58
  7. ^ a b c Rees (2006), p. 1
  8. ^ Smedley (1836), p. 62
  9. ^ a b c Smedley (1836), p. 63
  10. ^ a b c d Rees (2006), p. 2
  11. ^ Smedley (1836), p. 64
  12. ^ a b c d e f Rees (2006), p. 3
  13. ^ a b c d Rees (2006), p. 4
  14. ^ Rees (2006), p. 5
  15. ^ a b c d Smedley (1836), p. 67
  16. ^ a b c d Smedley (1836), p. 68
  17. ^ a b c d Smedley (1836), p. 69
  18. ^ a b c d Smedley (1836), p. 70
  19. ^ a b c d e f Smedley (1836), p. 71
  20. ^ a b c d e Smedley (1836), p. 72
Philip II of France
Born: 21 August 1165 Died: 14 July 1223
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Louis VII
co-King of France
Under Louis VII

1 November 1179 – 18 September 1180
Practise ceased
next heir was
Louis, Count of Artois
King of France
18 September 1180 – 14 July 1223
Succeeded by
Louis VIII
French nobility
Preceded by
Isabelle de Vermandois
Count of Artois by marriage
With Isabelle of Hainaut

28 April 1180 – 15 March 1190
Succeeded by
Blanche of Castile

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PHILIP H. (1165-1223), known as Philip Augustus, king of France, son of Louis VII. and Adela, daughter of Theobald II., count of Champagne, was born on the 21st of August 1165. On the 1st of November 1179 he was associated with his father as king by being crowned at Reims, and at once his father's illness threw the responsibility of government on him, the death of Louis on the 19th of September 1180 leaving him sole king.

The boy-king found himself and his kingdom in a difficult and humiliating position. His long strip of royal domain was hemmed in by the Angevin Empire on the west and by the kingdom of Arles on the south-east. Henry II. of England was feudal lord of the greater part of France, practically all west of a line which began at Dieppe and ended at the foot of the Pyrenees more than half-way across to the Mediterranean, while at one point it nearly touched the Rhone. Philip's predecessors had consolidated the Capetian power within these narrow limits, but he himself was overshadowed by the power of his uncles, William, archbishop of Reims; Henry I., count of Champagne; and Theobald V., count of Blois and Chartres. He secured an ally against them, and an addition to the royal domain, by marrying, on the 28th of April 1180, Isabella or Elizabeth, daughter of Baldwin V., count of Hainaut, and of Marguerite, sister of Philip of Alsace, the reigning count of Flanders, who ceded Arras, St Omer, Aire and Hesdin, and their districts, as Isabella's dowry, a district afterwards called Artois. On the 28th of June i180 Philip made a treaty with Henry II. at Gisors, and his reign thus opened auspiciously. But from 1181 to 1185 he had to struggle against a feudal league of his Champagnard uncles and other great barons, whose most active member was Stephen I., count of Sancerre 1152-1191). Though attacked from both north and south, the king's activity enabled him to compel the count of Sancerre to implore peace in 1181. On the death of Isabel of Vermandois, wife of Count Philip of Flanders, in 1182, Philip claimed Vermandois and seized Chaune and St Quentin, and forced his father-in-law, Baldwin of Hainaut, to support him by threatening to divorce Queen Isabel. The count of Flanders was obliged to sign the treaty of Boves in July 1185, which gave the king, in addition to the expectation of Artois, his wife's dower, sixty-five castles in Vermandois and the town of Amiens. .By 1186 Hugh, duke of Burgundy, the only member of the coalition not yet subdued, was forced to submit. Then, secure at home, the king turned against Henry II., and by the truce of Chateauroux in June 1187, gained Issoudun and the seigniory of Freteval in the Vendomois. Though the truce was for two years, Philip assembled an army in 1188 to invade Normandy, demanding Gisors and the conclusion of the marriage which had been arranged between his sister Alice and Richard of England, who had meanwhile deserted his father. But the news came that Saladin had taken Jerusalem and Richard took the cross. Shortly afterwards Philip took advantage of a rising against his quondam friend Richard, who was duke of Aquitaine, to seize the county of Berry. At a conference at Bonmoulins on the 18th of November Richard again abandoned his father, and after a second conference at La Ferte Bernard, Philip invaded Maine and forced Henry II. to conclude the treaty of Azay on the 4th of July 1189, by which the English king did homage and surrendered the territories of Gravy and Issoudun. Henry died two days later. Pledges of mutual good faith and fellowship were renewed between Philip and Richard of England on the 30th of December 1189, and they both prepared to go on the crusade.

Before setting out Philip arranged for the government of France during his absence by his famous testament of 1190, by which he proposed to rule France as far as possible from Palestine. The power of the regents, Adela, the queen-mother, and William, archbishop of Reims, was restricted by a council composed mostly of clerks who had the king's confidence. An annual report on the state of the kingdom was to be sent him. On the way to Palestine the two kings quarrelled. At the siege of Acre Philip fell ill, and on the 22nd of July, nine days after its fall, he announced his intention of returning home. He reached Paris at Christmas 1191, having concluded on his way an alliance with the emperor Henry VI. against Richard, despite his pledges not to molest his lands. When Leopold I., duke of Austria, took Richard prisoner and delivered him to the emperor, Philip did his utmost by offers of money to prolong his captivity, and, allied with the English king's brother. John, attacked Richard's domains, but upon Richard's return the Normans rallied enthusiastically to his aid. Philip was defeated at Freteval on the 3rd of July 1194, but he continued the war, generally with ill success, for the next five years. Again a formidable coalition was formed against him, including Baldwin IX., count of Flanders and Hainaut, Renaud of Dammartin, count of Boulogne, Louis, count of Blois, and Raymond VI., count of Toulouse. In Germany, Otto of Brunswick, afterwards the emperor Otto IV., allied himself with Richard, while Philip was supported by Otto's rival, Philip of Swabia. Richard's death, in April 1199, removed his archenemy, and Richard's successor, John, concluded the treaty of Le Goulet with Philip on the 22nd of May 1200, ceding to him the county of Evreux, Gravy and Issoudun, and the suzerainty of Berry and Auvergne. John renounced his suzerainty over Brittany and the guardianship of his nephew, Arthur; he engaged not to aid the count of Flanders or Otto IV. without Philip's consent, paid him a relief of 20,000 marks, and recognized himself as his vassal for his continental fiefs. Philip's son Louis, afterwards Louis VIII., married Blanche of Castile, John's niece. But in 1202 the war was renewed, John having seized some castles from the family of Lusignan, whose head was the count of La Marche, and taken for his queen a prospective bride, Isabelle Taille*, from Hugh, son of Hugh IX., count of La Marche. At an interview at Le Goulet on the 25th of March, Philip demanded the cession of Anjou, Poitou and Normandy to his ward, Arthur. John refused; he was summoned to Paris before the royal judges, and failing to appear was sentenced at the end of April 1202 to lose all his fiefs. Brittany, Aquitaine and Anjou were conferred on Arthur. Philip invaded Normandy, took Lyonsla-Foret and Eu, and, establishing himself in Gournay, besieged Argues. But John, joined by William des Roches and other lords of Maine and Poitou, jealous at the increase of Philip's power, defeated and took Arthur prisoner at Mirebeau. Philip abandoned the siege of Argues in a fit of fury, marched to the Loire, burning everywhere, and then returned to Paris. But John soon alienated the Poitevin barons, and William des Roches signed a treaty with Philip on the 22nd of March 1203. Then Philip continued his great task, the conquest of Normandy, capturing the towns around the fortress of Chateau-Gaillard which Richard had built to command the valley of the Seine. Pope Innocent III. tried to bring about peace, but Philip was obdurate, and after murdering Arthur of Brittany John took refuge in England in December 1203. The fall of Chateau-Gaillard, after a siege which lasted from September 1203 to April 1204, decided the fate of Normandy. Rouen, bound by ties of trade to England, resisted for forty days; but it surrendered on the 24th of June 1204. The conquest of Maine, Touraine, Anjou and Poitou in 1204 and 1205 was little more than a military promenade, though the castles of Loches and Chinon held out for a year. Philip secured his conquest by lavishing privileges on the convents and towns. He left the great lords, such as William des Roches, in full possession of their feudal power. In 1206 he marched through Brittany and divided it amongst his adherents. A truce for two years was made on the 26th of October 1206 by which John renounced all claims in Normandy, Maine, Brittany, Touraine and Anjou, but it did not last six months. Then Poitou was thoroughly subdued, and another truce was made in 1208, little more than southern Saintonge and Gascony being left in the hands of John. Philip had reduced to a mere remnant the formidable continental empire of the Angevins, which had threatened the existence of the Capetian monarchy.

Philip then undertook to invade England. In the assembly of Soissons on the 8th of April 1213 he made every preparation for carrying out the sentence of deposition pronounced by the pope against John. He had collected 1 soo vessels and summoned all his barons when Innocent III., having sufficiently frightened John, sent Pandulf with the terms of submission, which John accepted on the 13th of May.

Disappointed of his hopes of England, Philip turned his arms against Ferdinand, count of Flanders. Ferdinand, son of Sancho I., king of Portugal, owed his county to Philip, who, hoping to find him a docile protege, had married him to Jeanne, heiress of Flanders, daughter of Count Baldwin IX., who became emperor of the East, using the weak Philip of Namur, her guardian, to accomplish that end. They were married in January 1212. On the morrow of the marriage Louis, afterwards Louis VIII., seized Aire and St Omer in right of his mother, Isabella, and on this account Ferdinand refused his feudal duty in the English expedition. Moreover, the trade interests of his subjects, who got their raw wool from England, drew him to an alliance with England. Philip's attack brought this about on the 22nd of May 1213. He invaded Flanders and took the chief towns within a week; but he had part of his fleet burned by the English at Damme, and had to burn the rest to save it from falling into their hands. He returned to Paris, and Ferdinand retook most of the towns which had been taken by the king. A war of fire and pillage began, in which Philip and his son Louis burned their way through Flanders, and Ferdinand did the same through Artois.

In 1214 came the great crisis of Philip's life. All the forces against which he had been struggling united to overwhelm him. Paris was to be attacked from Flanders and Guienne at the same time. A league including his rebel vassals, Renaud of Dammartin, count of Boulogne, and Ferdinand, count of Flanders, with the emperor Otto IV. and a number of German princes of the Rhine region, had been formed in the north-east, while John of England made one more attempt to recover his heritage at the head of an army of mercenaries aided by the fickle baronage of Poitou. John landed at La Rochelle on the 16th of February 1214, and was at first successful. On the 19th of June he laid siege to La Roche-aux-Moines, the fortress which defended Angers and commanded the Loire valley; but on the approach of a royal army under Prince Louis on the 2nd of July his Poitevin barons refused to risk a pitched battle, and he fled hastily to La Rochelle. The Angevin Empire in France was lost. Meanwhile Philip himself won his greatest victory at the bridge of Bouvines, among the morasses of Flanders. At first taken by surprise, he turned the abortive attack into a complete rout. Renaud and Ferdinand were taken prisoner, and Otto IV. fled from the battlefield. The army of the allies was utterly destroyed (July 27, 1214). Nothing shows the progress of the Capetian monarchy more than the enthusiasm and joy of the people of France, as described by William the Breton, over this crowning victory. The battle of Bouvines, a decisive battle for the history of Germany as well as for France and England, sealed the work of Philip Augustus. The expedition of his son Louis to conquer England can hardly be considered as an incident of his reign, though he was careful to safeguard the rights of the French Crown. More important was the Albigensian crusade, in which he allowed Louis to take part, though he himself, preoccupied with the king of England, had refused time after time to do anything. He treated Simon de Montfort as if he were a royal bailli; but it was not in virtue of any deep-laid scheme of his that in the end Amaury de Montfort, Simon's son, resigned himself to leave his lands to the Crown of France, and gave the Crown a power it had never before possessed in Languedoc.

Even more than by his conquests Philip II. marks an epoch in French history by his work as an organizer and statesman. He surrounded himself with clerks and legists of more or less humble origin, who gave him counsel and acted as his agents. His baillis, who at first rather resembled the itinerant justices of Henry II. of England, were sent into the royal domain to supervise the conduct of the prevots and hear complaints, while in the newly acquired lands in the south local feudal magnates were given similar powers with the title of senechal. Feudal service was more and more compounded for by a money payment, while additional taxes were raised, all going to pay the mercenaries with whom he fought Richard I. and John. The extension of the system of sauvegarde, by which abbeys, towns or lay vassals put themselves under the special protection of the king, and that of pariage, by which the possessor surrendered half the interest in his estate to the king in return for protection or some further grant, increased the royal power. The small barons were completely reduced to submission, whilst the greater feudatories could often appoint a castellan to their own castles only after he had taken an oath to the king. Philip supported the clergy against the feudal lords, and in many cases against the burgesses of the towns, but rigidly exacted from them the performance of their secular duties, ironically promising to aid the clergy of Reims, who had failed to do so, "with his prayers only" against the violence of the lords of Rethel and Roucy. He clung to his right of regale, or enjoyment of the revenues of bishoprics during their vacancy, though it was at times commuted for a fixed payment. The attempt to raise a tithe for the crusade in 1189 failed, however, before a general resistance owing to an unfair assessment.

It has been said with some justice that Philip II. was the first king of France to take the bourgeoisie into partnership. He favoured the great merchants, granting them trade privileges and monopolies. The Jews he protected and plundered by turns, after the fashion of medieval kings. Amongst the subject towns administered by prevots a great extension of the "custom of Lorris" took place during his reign. But it is as the ally and protector of the communes that he takes his almost unique place in French history. Before him they were resisted and often crushed; after him they were exploited, oppressed, and finally destroyed. In the case of Senlis he extended the jurisdiction of the commune to all crimes committed in the district. It is true that he suppressed some communes in the newly conquered fiefs, such as Normandy, where John had been prodigal of privileges, but he erected new communes in his own private domain, quite contrary to the custom of other kings. He seems to have regarded them as a kind of garrison against feudal unruliness, while the rents they furnished increased his financial resources. He created no new types of commune, however, except Peronne, which received a maximum of political independence, the twenty-four electors, who named the jures and other officers, being elected by the corps de metiers. The newly organized powers of the Crown were in evidence everywhere, interfering in the family affairs of the great feudatories and taking advantage of minorities, such as that of Theobald IV. of Champagne. The great feudatories accepted his legislation on dower in 1214 and 1219 and the etablissement of 1209 making co-heirs of fiefs hold direct from the king and not from one of their number. The Tournois was substituted for the Angevin money in Normandy after 1204. The army which safeguarded this active monarchy consisted chiefly of mercenaries. The old feudal ost was but rarely convoked. The communes, though they appear as taking part in the battle of Bouvines, compounded for their service by a money payment as early as 1194.

Philip's policy of building up a strong monarchy was pursued with a steadiness of aim which excluded both enthusiasm and scruple. But he seems to have prided himself on a certain humanity, or even generosity of temper, which led him to avoid putting his enemies to death, though he did not scruple to condemn Renaud of Dammartin to the most inhuman of imprisonments. He was impulsive and could display extraordinary activity at times, but he possessed also a certain coldness and caution. He shrank from no trickery in carrying out his ends, and had no room for pity. He could not even trust his own son with any power, and was brutal in his relations with his queen, Ingeborg. He is described by Pain Gatineau as "a well-knit, handsome man, bald (from his illness at Acre), of agreeable face and ruddy complexion, loving good cheer, wine and women. Generous to his friends, he was miserly to those who displeased him; very skilled in the art of the engineer, catholic in his faith, far-seeing, obstinate in his resolution. His judgment was sound and quick. He was also quick in his anger, but easily appeased." As the result of his steadiness of aim and patient sagacity, at the end of his reign the Crown was victorious over the feudal nobility and the royal domain extended to the frontiers along with royal authority. Artois, the Amienois, Valois, Vermandois, the greater part of the Beauvaisis, Normandy, Maine, Anjou, Touraine, and an important part of Poitou and Saintonge, were added to the domain during his reign. The number of prevotes was increased from thirty-eight to ninety-four, and the royal revenue increased from 1 9 ,000 livres a month to 1200 livres a day.

Philip Augustus died on the 14th of July 1223. He was thrice married. His first wife, Isabella, by whom he ha .d one son, Louis, died in 1189 or 1190. After her death he married Ingibjorg or Ingeborg (q.v.), daughter of Valdemar I. of Denmark. This unlucky marriage was negotiated, it is said, chiefly to acquire the old claims of Denmark over England, to be used as a weapon against Richard I. However that may be, he soon repudiated this Danish princess, for whom he seems to have conceived an unconquerable aversion on the very morrow of his marriage to her, and in 1196, in defiance of the pope, who had refused to nullify his union with Ingeborg, married Agnes daughter of Bertold IV., duke of Meran. This led to his excommunication and brought the interdict upon France, and did more to weaken him than any other act of his. In 1200 he was forced to put away Agnes and to recognize Ingeborg as his lawful wife, but he kept her in prison until 1213. By Agnes (d. 1201) he had a son Philip, called "Hurepel," count of Clermont, and a daughter Mary, who married Philip, count of Namur (d. 1213), and then Henry II., duke of Brabant. Ingeborg lived until 1236.

See A. Luchaire in E. Lavisse's Histoire de France, tome iii. 83-284 (Paris, 1904), and literature there indicated; L. Deslisle, Catalogue des actes de Philippe Auguste (Paris, 1856 and 1901); A. Cartellieri, Philip II. August, Bd. I. Bis zum Tode Ludwigs VII. (Leipzig, 1899), Bd. II. Der Kreuzzug (1906); and W. H. Hutton, Philip Augustus (in the Foreign Statesmen series, London, 1896). A. Molinier, Les Sources de l'histoire de France (tome iii. pp. 1-38), gives a complete bibliography of the sources for Philip's reign, including the history of the Third Crusade.

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Simple English

Philip II Augustus
King of France
Reign 18 September 118014 July 1223
Coronation 1 November 1179
Born 21 August, 1165
Birthplace Gonesse, France
Died 14 July, 1223
Place of death Mantes-la-Jolie, France
Buried Saint Denis Basilica
Predecessor Louis VII
Successor Louis VIII
Consort Isabelle of Hainaut (1170-1190)
Ingeborg of Denmark (1175-1236)
Agnes of Merania (d.1201)
Offspring Louis VIII (1187-1226)
Marie of France (1198-1224)
Philip, Count of Clermont (1200-1234)
Royal House House of Capet
Father Louis VII of France (1120-1180)
Mother Adèle of Champagne (1140-1206)

Philip II of France (August 21, 1165July 14, 1223), was King of France from 1180 to 1223.


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