Philip II of France

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Philip II Augustus (French: Philippe Auguste; 21 August 1165 – 14 July 1223) was the King of France from 1180 until his death. A member of the House of Capet, Philip Augustus was born at Gonesse in the Val-d'Oise, the son of Louis VII and his third wife, Adela of Champagne. He was originally nicknamed Dieudonné—the God-given—as he was the first son of Louis VII late in his father's life.

Philip was one of the most successful medieval French monarchs in expanding the royal demesne and the influence of the monarchy. He broke up the great Angevin Empire and defeated a coalition of his rivals (German, Flemish and English) at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214. He reorganised the government, bringing financial stability to the country and thus making possible a sharp increase in prosperity. His reign was popular with ordinary people because he checked the power of the nobles and passed some of it on to the growing middle class.

Contents

Early years

Philip was born in Gonesse on 21 August 1165.[1] As soon as he was able, Louis planned to associate Philip with him on the throne, but it was delayed when Philip, at the age of thirteen, was separated from his companions during a royal hunt and became lost in the Forest of Compiègne. He spent much of the following night attempting to find his way out, but to no avail. Exhausted by cold, hunger and fatigue, he was eventually discovered by a peasant carrying a charcoal burner, but his exposure to the elements meant he soon contracted a dangerously high fever.[2] His father went on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Thomas Becket to pray for Philip's recovery, and was told that his son had indeed recovered. However, on his way back to Paris, he suffered a stroke.

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