Philip France
King of France
Philip France
Philip IV, called the great of girth, was King of France from 1285 until his death. He was the husband of Joan I of Navarre, by virtue of which he was, as Philip I, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne from 1284 to 1305.
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  • 1314
    In 1314, the daughters-in-law of Philip IV, Margaret of Burgundy (wife of Louis X) and Blanche of Burgundy (wife of Charles IV) were accused of adultery, and their alleged lovers (Phillipe d'Aunay and Gauthier d'Aunay) tortured, flayed and executed in what has come to be known as the Tour de Nesle Affair.
    More Details Hide Details A third daughter-in-law, Joan II, Countess of Burgundy (wife of Philip V), was accused of knowledge of the affairs. Philip had various contacts with the Mongol power in the Middle East, including reception at the embassy of the Uyghur monk Rabban Bar Sauma, originally from the Yuan dynasty of China. Bar Sauma presented an offer of a Franco-Mongol alliance with Arghun of the Mongol Ilkhanate in Baghdad. Arghun was seeking to join forces between the Mongols and the Europeans, against their common enemy the Muslim Mamluks. In return, Arghun offered to return Jerusalem to the Christians, once it was re-captured from the Muslims. Philip seemingly responded positively to the request of the embassy, by sending one of his noblemen, Gobert de Helleville, to accompany Bar Sauma back to Mongol lands. There was further correspondence between Arghun and Philip in 1288 and 1289, outlining potential military cooperation. However, Philip never actually pursued such military plans.
    In March 1314, Philip had Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Temple, and Geoffroi de Charney, Preceptor of Normandy, burned at the stake.
    More Details Hide Details Considering the offenses, which the culprits had confessed and confirmed, the penance imposed was in accordance with rule — that of perpetual imprisonment. The affair was supposed to be concluded when, to the dismay of the prelates and wonderment of the assembled crowd, de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney arose. They had been guilty, they said, not of the crimes imputed to them, but of basely betraying their Order to save their own lives. It was pure and holy; the charges were fictitious and the confessions false. Hastily the cardinals delivered them to the Prevot of Paris, and retired to deliberate on this unexpected contingency, but they were saved all trouble. 'When the news was carried to Philippe he was furious. A short consultation with his council only was required. The canons pronounced that a relapsed heretic was to be burned without a hearing; the facts were notorious and no formal judgment by the papal commission need be waited for. That same day, by sunset, a stake was erected on a small island in the Seine, the Isle des Juifs, near the palace garden. There de Molay and de Charney were slowly burned to death, refusing all offers of pardon for retraction, and bearing their torment with a composure which won for them the reputation of martyrs among the people, who reverently collected their ashes as relics.
  • 1308
    Pursuant to the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1303), the marriage of Philip's daughter Isabella to the Prince of Wales, heir of Philip's enemy, celebrated at Boulogne, 25 January 1308, was meant to seal a peace; instead it would produce an eventual English claimant to the French throne itself, and the Hundred Years' War.
    More Details Hide Details In the shorter term, Philip arrested Jews so that he could seize their assets to accommodate the inflated costs of modern warfare, expelling them from his French territories on 22 July 1306. At this point in his reign Philip was faced with extensive financial liabilities, partially inherited from his father's war against Aragon and partly incurred by the cost of his own campaigns against the English and their allies in Flanders. His financial victims also included rich abbots and the Lombard merchants who had earlier made him extensive loans on the pledge of repayment from future taxation. Like the Jews, the Lombard bankers were expelled from France and their property expropriated. In addition to these measures Philip debased the French coinage which by 1306 had led to a two-thirds loss in the value of the livres, sous and deniers in circulation. This financial crisis led to rioting in Paris which forced Philip to briefly seek refuge in the Paris Temple - headquarters of the Knights Templar.
  • 1307
    At daybreak on Friday, 13 October 1307, hundreds of Templars in France were simultaneously arrested by agents of Philip the Fair, to be later tortured into admitting heresy in the Order.
    More Details Hide Details The Templars were supposedly answerable to only the Pope, but Philip used his influence over Clement V, who was largely his pawn, to disband the organization. Pope Clement did attempt to hold proper trials, but Philip used the previously forced confessions to have many Templars burned at the stake before they could mount a proper defense.
  • 1305
    Still, in 1305, Philip forced the Flemish to accept a harsh peace treaty, playing out his superior diplomatic skills; the peace exacted heavy reparations and humiliating penalties, and added to the royal territory the rich cloth cities of Lille and Douai, sites of major cloth fairs.
    More Details Hide Details Béthune, first of the Flemish cities to yield, was granted to Mahaut, Countess of Artois, whose two daughters, to secure her fidelity, were married to Philip's two sons. Philip was substantially in debt to the Knights Templar, a monastic military order whose original role as protectors of Christian pilgrims in the Latin East had been largely replaced by banking and other commercial activities by the end of the 13th century. As the popularity of the Crusades had decreased, support for the military orders had waned, and Philip used a disgruntled complaint against the Knights Templar as an excuse to move against the entire organization as it existed in France, in part to free himself from his debts. Other motives appear to have included concern over perceived heresy, assertion of French control over a weakened Papacy and finally, the substitution of royal officials for officers of the Temple in the financial management of French government. Recent studies emphasize the political and religious motivations of Philip the Fair and his ministers (especially Guillaume de Nogaret). It seems that, with the “discovery” and repression of the “Templars' heresy,” the Capetian monarchy claimed for itself the mystic foundations of the papal theocracy. The Temple case was the last step of a process of appropriating these foundations, which had begun with the Franco-papal rift at the time of Boniface VIII. Being the ultimate defender of the Catholic faith, the Capetian king was invested with a Christlike function that put him above the pope.
  • 1302
    Philip suffered a major embarrassment when an army of 2,500 noble men-at-arms (knights and squires) and 4,000 infantry he sent to suppress an uprising in Flanders was defeated in the Battle of the Golden Spurs near Kortrijk on 11 July 1302.
    More Details Hide Details Philip reacted with energy to the humiliation and a new battle followed at Mons-en-Pévèle two years later, which ended indecisively.
  • 1293
    In 1293 following a naval incident between the Normans and the English, Philip summoned Edward to the French court.
    More Details Hide Details The English King sought to negotiate the matter and sent ambassadors to Paris but they were turned away with a blunt refusal. Negotiation was for kings, Edward was addressed by Philip as a duke, a vassal and nothing more, despite the incident having been an international one between England and France and not an internal one involving Edward's possessions within the kingdom of France. Attempting to use their family connections to achieve what open politics had not, Edward sent his brother Edmund Crouchback (who was both Philip's cousin and step-father-in-law) to negotiate with the French Royal family and avert war. Also, Edward was at that time betrothed by proxy to Philip's sister Blanche, and Edmund was to escort her to England for the wedding in the event of the negotiations being successful. An agreement was indeed reached; it stated that Edward would voluntarily relinquish his continental lands to Philip as a sign of submission in his capacity as Duke of Aquitaine and in return Philip would forgive him and restore his land after a grace period. In the matter of the marriage, Philip drove a hard bargain based partially on the difference in age between Edward and Blanche; it was agreed that the province of Gascony would be retained by Philip in return for agreeing to the marriage. The date of the wedding was also put off until the formality of sequestering and re-granting his French lands to Edward was completed.
  • 1284
    Philip married Queen Joan I of Navarre (1271–1305) on 16 August 1284.
    More Details Hide Details The primary administrative benefit of this was the inheritance of Joan in Champagne and Brie, which were adjacent to the royal demesne in Ile-de-France and became thus effectively united to the king's own lands, forming an expansive area. Upon the accession to the throne of Louis X in 1314, Champagne became united to the royal domain. In 1328, Philip VI used this fact to permanently annex the lands, compensating the lawful claimant, Joan II of Navarre, senior heir of Philip IV, with lands elsewhere in France. The Kingdom of Navarre in the Pyrenees was not so important to contemporary interests of the French crown. It remained in personal union 1284–1329, after which it went its separate way. Philip gained Lyons for France in 1312. As Duke of Aquitaine, the English king Edward I was a vassal to Philip, and had to pay him homage. Following the Fall of Acre in 1291 however, the former allies started to show dissent.
    By virtue of his marriage with Joan I of Navarre, he was also Philip I, King of Navarre from 1284 to 1305.
    More Details Hide Details He also briefly ruled the County of Champagne in right of his wife, although after his accession as king in 1285 the county remained under the sole governance of his wife until 1305, and then his son, Louis until 1314. Philip relied on skillful civil servants, such as Guillaume de Nogaret and Enguerrand de Marigny, to govern the kingdom rather than on his barons. Philip and his advisors were instrumental in the transformation of France from a feudal country to a centralized state. Philip, who sought an uncontested monarchy, compelled his vassals by wars and restricted feudal usages. His ambitions made him highly influential in European affairs. His goal was to place his relatives on foreign thrones. Princes from his house ruled in Naples and Hungary. He tried and failed to make another relative the Holy Roman Emperor. He began the long advance of France eastward by taking control of scattered fiefs.
  • 1276
    Philip's younger brother Robert also died in May 1276, leaving Philip and his younger brother Charles.
    More Details Hide Details Their stepmother, Marie of Brabant, was suspected of poisoning the two young boys; her first son, Louis, was born in the same month the two boys died. The prince was nicknamed the Fair (le Bel) because of his handsome appearance, but his inflexible personality gained him other epithets, from friend and foe alike. His fierce opponent Bernard Saisset, bishop of Pamiers, said of him, "He is neither man nor beast. He is a statue." His education was guided by Guillaume d'Ercuis, the almoner of his father. As a prince, just before his father's death, he negotiated the safe passage of the royal family out of Aragon after the unsuccessful Aragonese Crusade. Philip ascended to the throne and became King at the age of 17. As a king, Philip was determined to strengthen the monarchy at any cost. He relied, more than any of his predecessors, on a professional bureaucracy of legalists. Because to the public he kept aloof and left specific policies, especially unpopular ones, to his ministers, he was called a "useless owl" by his contemporaries, among them Bishop Saisset. His reign marks the French transition from a charismatic monarchy – which could all but collapse in an incompetent reign – to a bureaucratic kingdom, a move, under a certain historical reading, towards modernity.
    When Louis died in May 1276, Philip became heir apparent.
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  • 1268
    Born in 1268.
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