The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Philip II of France

Philip II (French: Philippe II), called Philip Augustus (French: Philippe Auguste) (August 21,1165July 14,1223), was King of France from 1180 to 1223.

A member of the Capetian dynasty, Philip Augustus was born August 21, 1165 at Gonesse, Val-d'Oise, France, the son of Louis VII of France and his third wife, Adèle of Champagne. In declining health, his father had him crowned at Reims in 1179.

He was married on April 28, 1180 to Isabelle of Hainaut and they had one son, Louis (later King Louis VIII), seven years later.

As king, he would become one of the most successful in consolidating France into one royal domain. He seized the territories of Maine, Touraine, Anjou, Brittany, and all of Normandy from King John of England. His decisive victory at the Battle of Bouvines over King John and a coalition of forces that included Otto IV of Germany ended the immediate threat of challenges to this expansion (1214) and left Philip Augustus as the most powerful monarch in all of Europe.

He reorganized the government, bringing to the country a financial stability which permitted a sharp increase in prosperity. His reign was popular with ordinary people when he checked the power the nobles and passed some of it on to the growing middle class his reign had created.

He went on the Third Crusade with Richard the Lionhearted and the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I Barbarossa (1189-1192). His army left Vézelay on July 1, 1190. At first the French and English crusaders traveled together, but the armies split at Lyons, as King Richard decided to go by sea, and Philip Augustus took the overland route through the Alps to Genoa. The French and English armies were reunited in Messina, where they wintered together. On March 1, 1190 the French set sail for the Holy Land, where they launched several assaults on Acre before King Richard arrived. By the time Acre surrended on July 12, Philip Augustus was terribly ill with dysentery and had little more interest in further crusading. He decided to return to France, a decision that displeased King Richard, who said, "It is a shame and a disgrace on my lord if he goes away without having finished the business that brought him hither. But still, if he finds himself in bad health, or is afraid lest he should die here, his will be done." So on July 31, 1191 the French army left Acre, made their way to Genoa, and from there returned to France.

Philip Augustus decided to marry again, and so August 15, 1193 he married Ingeborg of Denmark (1175-1236), the daughter of King Valdemar I of Denmark. She was renamed Isambour, and Stephan of Dornik described her as "very kind, young of age but old of wisdom." For some unknown reason, Philip Augustus was repulsed by her, and he refused to have her be crowned queen. Ingeborg protested this treatment, so he shut her up in a convent. He asked the pope for an anullment, on the grounds of non-consummation. Philip Augustus had not counted on Ingeborg, however; she insisted that the marriage had been consummated, and she was his wife and the rightful queen of France. In the meantime Philip Augustus had married for a third time on May 7, 1196 to Princess Agnès of Méranie (c.1180 - July 29, 1201). Their children were:

  1. Marie (1198 - October 15, 1224)
  2. Philippe Hurepel (1200 - 1234)

Pope Innocent III declared that this new marriage was null and void, since Philip Augustus was still wed to Ingeborg. He ordered Philip to part from Agnès and when he did not, the pope placed France under an interdict in 1199. This continued until September 7, 1200. Due to pressure from the pope and from Ingeborg's brother, King Valdemar II of Denmark, Philip Augustus finally took Ingeborg back as his queen in 1213.

Philip 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 1163 of the Gothic Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, constructed the Louvre as a fortress and gave a charter to the University of Paris (the Sorbonne) in 1200. Under his guidance, Paris became the first city of teachers the medieval world had known.

Philip Augustus died July 14, 1223 at Mantes and was interred in Saint Denis Basilica. He was succeeded by his son by Isabelle of Hainaut, Louis VIII.


  • Payne, Robert. The Dream and the Tomb, 1984
Preceded by:
Louis VII
King of France Succeeded by:
Louis VIII

Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04