Philip II Augustus, King of France
PHILIP II AUGUSTUS, KING OF FRANCE
Reigned 1180 to July 14, 1223, seventh of the Capetian dynasty and the first to control most of France; b. Paris, Aug. 21, 1165; d. Mantes. As king he first overcame attempts by the houses of Champagne and Flanders to control his policies, and then in the late 1180s blunted the greater threat posed by henry ii's Angevin Empire by inciting Henry's sons to rebellion. When the Angevin died in 1189, Philip's position was so secure that he willingly joined Richard I, the Lion Heart, in the Third crusade.
Home again in 1191, Philip attacked Normandy soon after, hoping for gains during Richard's imprisonment in Austria. Richard's release led to reverses for Philip, but victory ensued after john's accession in 1199. Condemned by Philip for contumacy in 1202, John was easily driven from Normandy; the conquest of his other northern French lands quickly followed; and at Bouvines in 1214 Philip Augustus ensured his supremacy by defeating the forces of John, Otto IV, and Ferrand of Flanders.
Governmental reforms helped to consolidate these gains. Salaried bailiffs were appointed for local administration while the king's council became more competent and professional. The semi-feudalized great offices of the crown were suppressed, bourgeois support was gained, and attempts to introduce legislation and taxation were made. Philip emphasized his royal position by refusing to do homage to anyone, and his conscious distinction between his powers as a private and a public person led to more modern concepts of political authority.
Philip's relations with the Church were mixed, and his religious policy was often dictated by political considerations. He left the Holy Land purely to add to his domains, and refused innocent iii's appeals to head the Albigensian Crusade (see albigenses). Only an interdict forced him to renounce his third wife in favor of his second; and while his 1213 plan to depose John had been drawn up at Innocent's request, it took threats of excommunication to stop his invasion after John submitted to the pope. Marital problems aside, his personal life showed religious devotion, and he both encouraged the building of Notre Dame and in 1200 granted clerical status to the students of the University of Paris.
Bibliography: l delisle, Catalogue des actes de Philippe-Auguste (Paris 1856). h. f. delaborde, Recueil des actes de Philippe-Auguste (Paris 1916). a. luchaire, Les Premiers Capétiens, in Histoire de France, ed. e. lavisse, 9 v. (Paris 1900–11) 3.1:83–284. a. cartellieri, Philippe II. August, König von Frankreich, 4 v. (Leipzig 1899–1922). j. w. baldwin, The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundation of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages, (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1986). j. bradbury, Philip Augustus: King of France, 1180-1223 (London and New York 1998). g. sivery, Philippe Auguste (Paris 1993). g. duby, The Legend of Bouvines: War, Religion and Culture in the Middle Ages, tr. c. tihany (Cambridge 1990).
[c. t. wood]