The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages


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This decision to return was also fueled 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.


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After Isabelle's early death in childbirth, in , Philip decided to marry again. She was renamed Isambour. 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. 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.

The Government of Philip Augustus by John W. Baldwin - Paperback - University of California Press

Initially, agreement had been reached for him to marry Marguerite 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 May 7, , to Agnes of Merania from Dalmatia c. Their children were:. This continued until September 7, Understandably, he turned a deaf ear when the Pope asked him to do something about the heretics in the Languedoc.

When Innocent III called for a crusade against the Albigensians or Cathars , in , Philip did nothing to support it, but neither did he hinder it.

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The war against the Cathars did not end until , when finally their last strongholds were captured. 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 of the Gothic Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, constructed the Louvre as a fortress and gave a charter to the University of Paris in Under his guidance, Paris became the first city of teachers the medieval world had known.

It has been described as the new Athens as France became "the latest heir of the great world civilizations. Philip also centralized the administration. In particular, he by-passed local lords as agents of the crown by appointing his own officials, who visited the regions to collect taxes and to administer justice.

These men were mainly chosen from the middle classes. Initially, they were assigned to a district "for a limited period. For this reason, Philip by-passed the nobility whenever he could. He did not start a process by which the nobles, followed by the commoners, began to share in power, a process that was already underway in England. Philip made Paris his "chief residence," which became the capital of France.

He fortified Paris and patronized the University, which soon developed into a leading center of scholarship at this time. By taking possession of the English lands North of the Loire, he added considerably to both the territorial size and to the population of France. This included access to the sea. Philip II is thus credited with taking the "first great step in uniting France," which may be the origin of his title " Augustus " in imitation of the first Roman Emperor. By supporting the University, too, he added to his " imperial aura and bolstered" his status "relative to the other kings of Europe.

Philip's "personal wealth," though "was greater than" the English king's. Philip favored municipalities as a unit of organization. Municipalities, that is, chartered or incorporated cities were free from the control of the feudal lords and governed themselves. Wealthy families appointed the burghers and elected the mayor. Burgers were almost always middle class, not members of the nobility.


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By increasing the number of municipalities, Philip gained the loyalty of the middle classes at the expense of the feudal lords, whom he accused of over taxing their tenants. However, as Philip II in France increased the power of the King, in rival England, the king's power was beginning to be subjected to the will, if not of the "people," then at least of the nobles, as the Magna Carta of placed limitations on the King's power. By , the English Parliament was an elected Assembly with all classes represented. By the reign of Edward II even the king had to promise to keep the law of the "community' and without the consent of Parliament no new law could take effect.

No parallel development of the French Estates-General first convened by Philip IV took place, so even on the eve of the French Revolution the non-elite saw themselves as oppressed and exploited, with little or no say in governance. While the weaker John was helping, even if reluctantly, to lay the one of the foundation stones of human rights and civil liberty , the stronger Philip was preparing the way for the eventual overthrow of the French monarchy.

The play maintains the historical theory that he and Richard the Lionhearted had previously had a homosexual relationship. In the film of The Lion in Winter, which downplayed the homosexual aspect present in the stage play, Philip was played by Timothy Dalton.

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To cite this article click here for a list of acceptable citing formats. Pope Innocent III ordered all French churches closed to punish King Philip Augustus for his remarriage; the king himself negotiated an unprecedented truce with the English; and the students of Paris threatened a general strike, punctuated with incidents of violence, to protest infringements of their rights. John W. Baldwin brilliantly resurrects this key moment in Parisian history using documents only from to —a narrow focus made possible by the availability of collections of the Capetian monarchy and the medieval scholastic thinkers.

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This unique approach results in a vivid snapshot of the city at the turn of the thirteenth century. Paris, introduces the reader to the city itself and its inhabitants. Three "faces" exemplify these inhabitants: that of the celebrated scholar Pierre the Chanter, of King Philip Augustus, and of the more deeply hidden visages of women. The book examines the city's primary institutions: the royal government, the Church, and its celebrated schools that evolved into the university at Paris. Finally, it offers an account of the delights and pleasures, as well as the fears and sorrows, of Parisian life in this period.

In it, one of the great scholars of medieval French history brings to bear a lifetime of inquiry and knowledge in a page volume that is at once an introduction and a work of consummate scholarship.

The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages
The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages
The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages
The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages
The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages

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