m. 13 Nov 1160
m. 28 APR 1180
Facts and Events
Philip II, called Philip Augustus (; 21 August 1165 – 14 July 1223) was a Capetian King of France who reigned from 1180 to 1223, and the first to be called by that title. His predecessors had been known as kings of the Franks but from 1190 onward Philip styled himself king of France. The son of Louis VII and of his third wife, Adela of Champagne, he was originally nicknamed "God-given" because he was the first son of Louis VII and born late in his father's life.
After a twelve year struggle with the Plantagenet dynasty, Philip broke up the large Angevin Empire and defeated a coalition of his rivals (German, Flemish and English) at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214. This victory would have a lasting impact on western European politics: the authority of the French king became unchallenged, while the English king was forced by his barons to sign the Magna Carta and faced a rebellion in which Philip intervened, the First Barons' War.
Philip did not directly participate in the Albigensian Crusade, but he allowed his vassals and knights to carry it out, preparing the subsequent expansion of France southward.
Philip was nicknamed "Augustus" by the chronicler Rigord for having remarkably extended the royal demesne, the domains ruled directly by the kings of France, as opposed to the territories ruled indirectly by vassals of the king.
He checked the power of the nobles and helped the towns to free themselves from seigniorial authority, granting privileges and liberties to the emergent Bourgeoisie. He built a great wall around Paris, reorganized the government and brought financial stability to the country.
Philip Augustus transformed France from a small feudal state into the most prosperous and powerful country in Europe. He died in 1223 and was succeeded by his son, Louis VIII. Knowing his own declining health would inevitably decrease his political strength, he was the first Capetian king not to have his eldest son anointed to act as co-ruler during his lifetime; instead his son acted as sole king.