Philip II of France
Philip II, known as Philip Augustus, was King of France from 1180 to 1223, a member of the House of Capet. Philips predecessors had been known as kings of the Franks, but from 1190 onward, Philip became the first French monarch to style himself king of France. The son of King Louis VII and his wife, Adèle of Champagne, he was originally nicknamed Dieudonné God-given because he was the first son of Louis VII. Philip was given the nickname Augustus by the chronicler Rigord for having extended the Crown lands of France so remarkably, the military actions surrounding the Albigensian Crusade helped prepare the expansion of France southward. Philip did not participate directly in these actions, but he allowed his vassals, Philip transformed France from a small feudal state into the most prosperous and powerful country in Europe. He checked the power of the nobles and helped the towns to free themselves from seigniorial authority and he built a great wall around Paris, re-organized the French government and brought financial stability to his country.
Philip was born in Gonesse on 21 August 1165 and he spent much of the following night attempting to find his way out, but to no avail. Exhausted by cold and fatigue, he was discovered by a peasant carrying a charcoal burner. His father went on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Thomas Becket to pray for Philips 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 his 14-year-old son crowned and anointed as king at Rheims on 1 November 1179 by the Archbishop Guillaume aux Blanches Mains. He was married on 28 April 1180 to Isabelle of Hainaut, the daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut, and Margaret I, Countess of Flanders, who brought the County of Artois as her dowry. From the time of his coronation, all power was transferred to Philip. Eventually, Louis died on 18 September 1180, while the royal demesne had increased under Philip I and Louis VI, it had diminished slightly under Louis VII. In April 1182, partially to enrich the French crown, Philip expelled all Jews from the demesne, Philips eldest son Louis was born on 5 September 1187 and inherited the County of Artois in 1190, when his mother Isabelle died.
The main source of funding for Philips army was from the royal demesne, in times of conflict, he could immediately call up 250 knights,250 horse sergeants,100 mounted crossbowmen,133 crossbowmen on foot,2,000 foot sergeants, and 300 mercenaries. Towards the end of his reign, the king could muster some 3,000 knights,9,000 sergeants,6,000 urban militiamen, using his increased revenues, Philip was the first Capetian king to build a French navy actively. By 1215, his fleet could carry a total of 7,000 men, within two years, his fleet included 10 large ships and many smaller ones. In 1181, Philip began a war with Philip, Count of Flanders, over the Vermandois, which King Philip claimed as his wifes dowry, finally the Count of Flanders invaded France, ravaging the whole district between the Somme and the Oise before penetrating as far as Dammartin
House of Capet
The House of Capet or the Direct Capetians, called the House of France, or simply the Capets, ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328. It was the most senior line of the Capetian dynasty – itself a derivative dynasty from the Robertians, historians in the 19th century came to apply the name Capetian to both the ruling house of France and to the wider-spread male-line descendants of Hugh Capet. It was not a contemporary practice and they were sometimes called the third race of kings, the Merovingians being the first, and the Carolingians being the second. The name is derived from the nickname of Hugh, the first Capetian King, the direct succession of French kings, father to son, from 987 to 1316, of thirteen generations in almost 330 years, was unparallelled in recorded history. The direct line of the House of Capet came to an end in 1328, with the death of Charles IV, the throne passed to the House of Valois, descended from a younger brother of Philip IV. He proceeded to make it hereditary in his family, by securing the election and coronation of his son, Robert II, the throne thus passed securely to Robert on his fathers death, who followed the same custom – as did many of his early successors.
Louis VIII – the eldest son and heir of Philip Augustus – married Blanche of Castile, a granddaughter of Aliénor of Aquitaine and Henry II of England. In her name, he claimed the crown of England, invading at the invitation of the English Barons and these lands were added to the French crown, further empowering the Capetian family. Louis IX – Saint Louis – succeeded Louis VIII as a child, unable to rule for several years, the government of the realm was undertaken by his mother, at the death of Louis IX, France under the Capetians stood as the pre-eminent power in Western Europe. Unfortunately for the Capetians, the proved a failure. Philip IV had married Jeanne, the heiress of Navarre and Champagne, by this marriage, he added these domains to the French crown. More importantly to French history, he summoned the first Estates General – in 1302 – and in 1295 established the so-called Auld Alliance with the Scots and it was Philip IV who presided over the beginning of his Houses end. The first quarter of the century saw each of Philips sons reign in rapid succession, Louis X, Philip V, Louis – unwilling to release his wife and return to their marriage – needed to remarry.
He arranged a marriage with his cousin, Clementia of Hungary and this proved the case, but the boy – King John I, known as the Posthumous – died after only 5 days, leaving a succession crisis. Eventually, it was decided based on several reasons that Joan was ineligible to inherit the throne, which passed to the Count of Poitiers. Marie died in 1324, giving birth to a stillborn son, the last of the direct Capetians were the daughters of Philip IVs three sons, and Philip IVs daughter, Isabella. Since they were female, they could not transmit their Capetian status to their descendants, the wife of Edward II of England, Isabella overthrew her husband in favour of her son and her co-hort, only for Edward III to execute Mortimer and have Isabella removed from power. Joan, the daughter of Louis X, succeeded on the death of Charles IV to the throne of Navarre, she now being – questions of paternity aside – the unquestioned heiress
Alphonse, Count of Poitiers
Alphonse or Alfonso was the Count of Poitou from 1225 and Count of Toulouse from 1249. Born at Poissy, Alphonse was a son of Louis VIII, King of France and he was a younger brother of Louis IX of France and an older brother of Charles I of Sicily. In 1229, his mother, who was regent of France and it stipulated that a brother of King Louis was to marry Joan of Toulouse, daughter of Raymond VII of Toulouse, and so in 1237 Alphonse married her. Since she was Raymonds only child, they became rulers of Toulouse at Raymonds death in 1249, by the terms of his fathers will he received an appanage of Poitou and Auvergne. To enforce this Louis IX won the battle of Taillebourg in the Saintonge War together with Alphonse against a revolt allied with king Henry III of England, Alphonse took part in two crusades with his brother, St Louis, in 1248 and in 1270. For the first of these, he raised a large sum and he sailed for home on 10 August 1250. His father-in-law had died while he was away, and he went directly to Toulouse to take possession.
There was some resistance to his accession as count, which was suppressed with the help of his mother Blanche of Castile who was acting as regent in the absence of Louis IX, the county of Toulouse, since then, was joined to Alphonses appanage. In 1252, on the death of his mother, Blanche of Castile, aside from the crusades, Alphonse stayed primarily in Paris, governing his estates by officials, inspectors who reviewed the officials work, and a constant stream of messages. His main work was on his own estates, there he repaired the evils of the Albigensian war and made a first attempt at administrative centralization, thus preparing the way for union with the crown. The charter known as Alphonsine, granted to the town of Riom and he is noted for ordering the first recorded local expulsion of Jews, when he did so in Poitou in 1249. When Louis IX again engaged in a crusade, Alphonse again raised a sum of money. This time, however, he did not return to France, dying while on his way back, probably at Savona in Italy, Alphonses death without heirs raised some questions as to the succession to his lands.
One possibility was that they should revert to the crown, another that they should be redistributed to his family. The latter was claimed by Charles of Anjou, but in 1283 Parlement decided that the County of Toulouse should revert to the crown, Alphonses wife Joan had attempted to dispose of some of her inherited lands in her will. But, her will was invalidated by Parlement in 1274, one specific bequest in Alphonses will, giving his wifes lands in the Comtat Venaissin to the Holy See, was allowed, and it became a Papal territory, a status that it retained until 1791. Hallam, Elizabeth M. Capetian France, 987-1328, women rulers throughout the ages, an illustrated guide. The Feudal Monarchy in France and England from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Century, in R. L. Wolff, H. W. Hazard
Louis VIII of France
Louis VIII the Lion was King of France from 1223 to 1226. He claimed the title King of England from 1216 to 1217, Louis VIII was born in Paris, the son of King Philip II of France and Isabelle of Hainaut, from whom he inherited the County of Artois. While Louis VIII only briefly reigned as king of France, he was a leader in his years as crown prince. During the First Barons War of 1215-17 against King John of England, after his victory at the Battle of Roche-au-Moine in 1214, he invaded southern England and was proclaimed King of England by rebellious barons in London on the 2 June 1216. He was never crowned and renounced his claim after being excommunicated and repelled, in 1217, Louis started the conquest of Guyenne, leaving only a small region around Bordeaux to Henry III of England. Louiss short reign was marked by an intervention using royal forces into the Albigensian Crusade in southern France that decisively moved the conflict towards a conclusion and he died in 1226 and was succeeded by his son Louis IX.
In summer 1195, a marriage between Louis and Eleanor of Brittany, niece of Richard I of England, was suggested for an alliance between Philip II and Richard, but it failed and this led to a sudden deterioration in relations between Richard and Philip. On 23 May 1200, at the age of 12, Louis was married to Blanche of Castile, daughter of King Alfonso VIII of Castile and Eleanor of England, the marriage could only be concluded after prolonged negotiations between King Philip II of France and Blanches uncle John. In 1214, King John of England began his campaign to reclaim the Duchy of Normandy from Philip II. John was optimistic, as he had built up alliances with Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV, Count Renaud of Boulogne. Johns plan was to split Philips forces by pushing north-east from Poitou towards Paris, while Otto and Ferdinand, supported by the Earl of Salisbury, marched south-west from Flanders. Whereas Philip II took personal command of the front against the emperor and his allies. The first part of the campaign went well for the English, with John outmanoeuvring the forces under the command of Prince Louis, John besieged the castle of Roche-au-Moine, a key stronghold, forcing Louis to give battle against Johns larger army.
The local Angevin nobles refused to advance with the king, left at something of a disadvantage, shortly afterwards, Philip won the hard-fought Battle of Bouvines in the north against Otto and Johns other allies, bringing an end to Johns hopes of retaking Normandy. In 1215, the English barons rebelled against the unpopular King John in the First Barons War, the barons offered the throne to Prince Louis, who landed unopposed on the Isle of Thanet in eastern Kent, England, at the head of an army on 21 May 1216. There was little resistance when the prince entered London, and Louis was proclaimed king at Old St Pauls Cathedral with great pomp and celebration in the presence of all of London. Even though he was not crowned, many nobles, as well as King Alexander II of Scotland on behalf of his English possessions, on 14 June 1216, Louis captured Winchester and soon controlled over half of the English kingdom. But just when it seemed that England was his, King Johns death in October 1216 caused many of the barons to desert Louis in favour of Johns nine-year-old son
Constance of France, Princess of Antioch
Constance of France was the daughter of King Philip I of France and Bertha of Holland. She was a member of the House of Capet and was Countess of Troyes from her first marriage and she was regent during the minority of her son. Her mother was repudiated by her father for Bertrade de Montfort and it caused the displeasure of the church and an interdict was placed on France several times as a result. Constance was the eldest of five children and was the daughter of her father from his first marriage. Constances brother was Louis VI of France, between 1093 and 1095, Phillip I arranged for his daughter, Constance, to marry Hugh, Count of Troyes and Champagne. Philip hoped to influence Hughs family, the powerful House of Blois, but the union between Constance and Hugh was too late to achieve the desired result. Hughs half-brother, Stephen II, Count of Blois, holder of most counties of the House of Blois was married, Stephen had married Adela of Normandy, daughter of William I of England, and their marriage had produced children.
After ten years and without any surviving issue, Constance demanded an annulment of their marriage, Constance obtained a divorce at Soissons on 25 December 1104, under grounds of consanguinity. Constance went to the court of Adela, wife of Stephen and she was acting as regent since Stephen was killed in the Holy Land. Adela was well educated and all seemed to be well at the Court and it appeared that Adela used all her power to help Constance get a divorce from Hugh, who left to fight in the Holy Land. At the same time, Bohemond I of Antioch was just released by the Turks and he returned to Europe to obtain relief for the Crusaders in the Holy Land. The regency of the Principality of Antioch was assured by Bohemonds nephew Tancred and he impressed audiences across France with gifts of relics from the Holy Land and tales of heroism while fighting the Saracens, gathering a large army in the process. Henry I of England famously prevented him landing on English shores. His new-found status won him the hand of Constance, so great was the reputation for valour of the French kingdom and of the Lord Louis that even the Saracens were terrified by the prospect of that marriage.
She was not engaged since she had broken off her agreement to wed Hugh, count of Troyes, and wished to avoid another unsuitable match. The marriage was celebrated in the cathedral of Chartres between 25 March and 26 May 1106, and the festivities were held at the court of Adela, who took part in negotiations. Pleased by his success, Bohemond resolved to use his army of 34,000 men, not to defend Antioch against the Greeks and he did so, but Alexius, aided by the Venetians, proved too strong, and Bohemond had to submit to a humiliating peace. After her marriage, Constance accompanied her husband to Apulia, where she gave birth to their first son, future Prince of Antioch, a second son, was born in Apulia between 1108 and 1111, but died in early infancy, ca
Peter I of Courtenay
Peter I of Courtenay was the youngest son of Louis VI of France and his second wife, Adélaide de Maurienne. He was the father of the Latin Emperor Peter II of Courtenay, Peter was born in France and died in Palestine. In about 1150, he married Elizabeth de Courtenay, the daughter of Renaud de Courtenay and Hawise du Donjon and he is buried in a tomb in the floor of Exeter Cathedral, next to Elizabeth. Their eldest son was Peter of Courtenay, Lord of Conches, Seigneur of Tanlay Isabella Constance
Louis IX of France
Louis IX, commonly known as Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. Louis was crowned in Reims at the age of 12, following the death of his father Louis VIII the Lion, although his mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled the kingdom until he reached maturity. During Louiss childhood, Blanche dealt with the opposition of rebellious vassals, as an adult, Louis IX faced recurring conflicts with some of the most powerful nobles, such as Hugh X of Lusignan and Peter of Dreux. Simultaneously, Henry III of England tried to restore his continental possessions and his reign saw the annexation of several provinces, notably Normandy and Provence. Louis IX was a reformer and developed French royal justice, in which the king is the judge to whom anyone is able to appeal to seek the amendment of a judgment. He banned trials by ordeal, tried to prevent the private wars that were plaguing the country, to enforce the correct application of this new legal system, Louis IX created provosts and bailiffs.
According to his vow made after an illness, and confirmed after a miraculous cure. He was succeeded by his son Philip III, Louiss actions were inspired by Christian values and Catholic devotion. He decided to punish blasphemy, interest-bearing loans and prostitution and he expanded the scope of the Inquisition and ordered the burning of Talmuds. He is the only canonized king of France, and there are many places named after him. Much of what is known of Louiss life comes from Jean de Joinvilles famous Life of Saint Louis, two other important biographies were written by the kings confessor, Geoffrey of Beaulieu, and his chaplain, William of Chartres. The fourth important source of information is William of Saint-Parthus biography, while several individuals wrote biographies in the decades following the kings death, only Jean of Joinville, Geoffrey of Beaulieu, and William of Chartres wrote from personal knowledge of the king. Louis was born on 25 April 1214 at Poissy, near Paris, the son of Prince Louis the Lion and Princess Blanche, and baptised in La Collégiale Notre-Dame church.
His grandfather on his fathers side was Philip II, king of France, while his grandfather on his mothers side was Alfonso VIII, tutors of Blanches choosing taught him most of what a king must know—Latin, public speaking, military arts, and government. He was 9 years old when his grandfather Philip II died, a member of the House of Capet, Louis was twelve years old when his father died on 8 November 1226. He was crowned king within the month at Reims cathedral, because of Louiss youth, his mother ruled France as regent during his minority. Louis mother trained him to be a leader and a good Christian. She used to say, I love you, my son, as much as a mother can love her child
Hugh, Count of Vermandois
Hugh, called the Great, was a younger son of Henry I of France and Anne of Kiev and younger brother of Philip I. He was Count of Vermandois in right of his wife and his nickname Magnus is probably a bad translation into Latin of a French nickname, le Maisné, meaning the younger, referring to Hugh as younger brother of the King of France. In 1085 Hugh helped William the Conqueror repel a Danish invasion of England, early 1096 Hugh and Philip began discussing the First Crusade after news of the Council of Clermont reached them in Paris. Although Philip could not participate, as he had been excommunicated and his armada was possibly commanded by Arnout II, Count of Aarschot. It is fitting that I should be met on my arrival and received with the pomp and he brings with him from Rome the golden standard of St Peter. Understand, that he is commander of the Frankish army. See to it that he is accorded a reception worthy of his rank, whilst sailing the Adriatic Sea from Bari towards Illyricum, Hughs fleet was overtaken by a heavy storm and most ships were lost.
His own ship was thrown upon the shore near Epirus, when Hugh was found and brought to Dyrrhachium John Komnenos treated him to a banquet and he was allowed to rest. By order of the emperor Hugh was closely escorted by Manuel Boutoumites, eventually Hugh was given an audience by the emperor, who persuaded him to become his liegeman. The German historian Hans Eberhard Mayer argued that Alexius was fortunate that the first contingent of the army to arrive in Constantinople, led by Hugh, was very small. Moreover any conquests made to the east would be held as fiefs, anna Comnena recorded a conversation between Hugh and Godfrey of Bouillon, wherein Hugh tried to persuade Godfrey to pledge allegiance to Alexius. Godfrey however refused, you left your own country as a ruler with all that wealth, and then, as if you had won some great success, have you come here to tell me to do the same. After the Crusaders had successfully made their way across Seljuk territory and, in 1098, captured Antioch, the emperor was uninterested and Hugh, instead of returning to Antioch to help plan the siege of Jerusalem, went back to France.
There he was scorned for not having fulfilled his vow as a Crusader to complete a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and he joined the minor Crusade of 1101, but was wounded in battle with the Turks in September, and died of his wounds in October in Tarsus. He married Adelaide of Vermandois, the daughter of Herbert IV, Count of Vermandois, riley-Smith, The First Crusaders, 1095-1131, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,1997 Bury, J. B. The Cambridge Medieval History, Volume V, Contest of Empire and Papacy, Cambridge at the University Press, Cambridge,1926