Philip IV (France)

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Grave bust of Philip IV the beautiful

Philip IV , called the Beautiful , ( French Philippe IV le Bel , English Philip the Fair ; * 1268 in Fontainebleau ; † November 29, 1314 ibid) from the Capetian dynasty was King of France from 1285 to 1314 and as Philip I. King of Navarre .

He established France as a great power in Europe and, with uncompromising authority, set up a modern, early absolutist state, which enabled the medieval French monarchy to develop unprecedented power. His reign is of particular importance because of the transfer of the papacy to Avignon and the smashing of the Knights Templar . His epithet is contemporary and refers to his appearance, which is said to have corresponded to the knight ideal of his time.


Origin and youth

Philip was the second son of King Philip III. des Bold and his first wife Isabella of Aragón , who died in 1271. His older brother was Prince Ludwig , born in 1264 , who was also the designated successor to his father. In 1274, the father married a second time with Maria von Brabant and thus caused unrest in the royal household, because Maria von Brabant tried to influence the political events of the day against the party of Queen Mother Margaret of Provence and the chamberlain Pierre de la To assert Brosse . She was supported by the king's uncle, Karl von Anjou , who wanted to consolidate his own influence on French politics through Maria.

Charles of Anjou tried to instrumentalize the French kingship for his own interests, as a means of pressure against King Peter III. von Aragon , who was a serious opponent to him for supremacy in the western Mediterranean. The subject of these interests was Philip, who was betrothed to the heiress of the Kingdom of Navarre and the county of Champagne , Johanna I , in May 1275 . Navarre was to be drawn into a common front against Aragon. When the Crown Prince died the following year, Pierre de La Brosse fell out of favor, who was accused of poisoning and then executed. Although the chamberlain had accused Maria von Brabant of the act, she, and with her Karl von Anjou, ousted the Queen Mother from the court. Philipp himself rose to the first position in the succession.

After Charles of Anjou had lost the island of Sicily to Aragon in the Sicilian Vespers in 1282 , he won the Pope for himself, who called for a crusade against Aragon . King Philip III decided, at the insistence of his wife, to conduct this venture. He ignored Prince Philip's negative attitude. The campaign became a disaster, which the king paid for with his life in Perpignan in October 1285 . Philipp immediately stopped the campaign and established diplomatic contacts with Aragon.


A document from Philip IV of February 1286. Paris, Archives nationales, J 396, no.10

On January 6, 1286, Philip was crowned and anointed king in Reims Cathedral . His first government measure was the elimination of trench warfare at court by ousting Maria von Brabant from there and persuading grandmother Margaret of Provence to retreat to a monastery.

Philip intended to exercise his rule over a royal council, which was not unusual for a king of his time, but that he relied on qualified persons such as legal experts and financial experts to fill this council, regardless of their class origin. The most famous of them were Pierre Flote , Guillaume de Nogaret and Enguerrand de Marigny . Philip also had one of his representatives publicly announce and justify the decisions made by this council to a greater extent, which gave the impression in his environment that the king was dependent on his advisers and was ruled by them - a question that is still preoccupying history today. The bishop of Pamirs, Bernard Saisset , judged after an audience with the king: " The king was not a man, nor a beast, but a mere statue ".

Philip IV, oil painting by Jean-Louis Bézard (1837)

A significant renewal in Philip's reign was the establishment of an institutionalized judicial system, which he promoted, and the associated development of the legal sciences . Philip resorted to the provincial parliaments, which originally served the king as organs giving advice, which he converted into royal courts, which from then on represented and enforced the law. Since the judges of all parliaments were appointed by the crown, royal law became a state law and thus an instrument of royal power. This judiciary was based in particular on Roman law, which was primarily conveyed by the lawyers from the law universities of Languedoc and allowed the king to believe that he was emperor in his empire. The universities of Montpellier (1289) and Orléans (1312) were founded for this purpose, and the courts of the nobility and the clergy were increasingly ousted. In his power-political disputes, Philip primarily relied on his royal law, which he used against all his opponents, whether insubordinate subjects or the Pope, and did not shy away from enforcing it with armed force. He took no account of traditional legal conceptions or traditions of common law, which gave his rule among his contemporaries the appearance of tyranny .

Another milestone under Philip's reign was the breakthrough of the third estate, the citizens, as a political force in France. Like no other king before him, Philip based his power on this economically strong position as an ally against the nobility who insisted on privileges or against the much too independent clergy. In his conflict with the Pope, Philip had the third estate take seats in the royal parliament for the first time in 1302, which is why he is seen as the founder of the Estates General . The purpose of this measure was to demonstrate a united popular will against the pope's claim to power. In addition, on this occasion, Philipp gave the committee a regulated form for the first time and locked it in Paris .

Philip's entire reign - due to his high level of foreign policy involvement - was associated with financial burdens that constantly forced him to open up new sources of income. In addition to tax increases and the taxation of the nobility and clergy, he resorted to reductions in the precious metal content of newly struck coins and to multiple cancellations of older coins. Using police state means, he forced his subjects to use his bad coins, which earned him the reputation of a "counterfeit king". In return, this policy led to a loss of importance for the coins of the nobility and bishops, who had once obtained their minting rights from the granting of royal privileges by Philip's predecessors and thus established their economic strength. In the last year of his reign, the nobility was formed in those provinces that were prepared to defend themselves against these encroachments by the crown in the coin and against the ever higher taxation, also with armed force. In connection with the acquisition of new financial resources, in addition to the smashing of the Templar Order in 1307, the expulsion of over 100,000 Jews from France in 1306 and the associated expropriation of their property. Only Philip's son allowed them to return. He repeated the same thing between 1309 and 1311 with the "Lombards", that is, the Italian merchants and bankers. Ultimately, none of these measures were successful, and Philipp left his successor with an empty cash register.

Philip's death on November 29, 1314 after a hunting accident was viewed by his subjects as a release from tyranny. Many of his closest advisers were banished or even executed by his sons. Its harshest police and fiscal coercive measures were withdrawn, and yet its administrative and political innovations were preserved and continued. Ultimately, he left behind a kingship that was firmly established in its foundations, which since then defined itself as a state and gave it the strength to withstand even the most dangerous storms such as the Hundred Years War . He was buried in the Abbey of Saint-Denis , whose burials of his predecessors he had redesigned. When the royal tombs of Saint-Denis were sacked during the French Revolution , his grave was opened and looted on October 19, 1793, and his remains were buried in a mass grave outside the church.

The Aquitaine Conflict

King Edward I of England pays homage to King Philip IV of France

Philip inherited a fundamental conflict from his predecessors regarding the relationship between the French crown and the English king. It had its starting point after the smashing of the so-called Angevin Empire of the Plantagenet dynasty by Philip's great-great-grandfather Philip II August in 1204, which led to the loss of almost all continental territories for the Plantagenets. King Henry III of England failed in the attempt to retake these areas and recognized in the Treaty of Paris (1259) its reduced acquis in France, which was concentrated around Gascony and the west of ancient Aquitaine (together also called Guyenne ). In addition, he committed himself and his descendants to recognize the French king as feudal lord for these areas and to pay homage to him accordingly, with the result that the English kings were admitted to the Pairs of France .

The end of this feudal relationship set the goal of King Edward I of England and tried to achieve the removal of Guyenne from French sovereignty, which could only have been achieved at their expense. Philip rejected these efforts and successfully achieved the required homage to Edward after he came to power in 1286. Nevertheless, there were continued tensions between the two rulers, especially in the legal relationships between the English king and the French. This dispute degenerated into a military conflict in 1293 after attacks by English seamen on French seamen in the port of Boulogne , which resulted in some deaths. Philipp cited Eduard to Paris so that he should take a stand before the pair court for this incident, which was in itself insignificant for the time. But Eduard was busy at this time with a rampant revolt of the Scots against the English rule and was therefore indispensable on the island.

Instead, Eduard offered a compromise. Philip was supposed to occupy his castles in the Guyenne as a punishment for his failure to appear before the court. After he had ended the revolt in Scotland, Eduard wanted to come to France to answer. There should be a renewed homage, after which Philip should enfeoff him again with the Guyenne. In this way both monarchs would save face and Philip could also prove himself to be a benevolent lord to his vassals. In fact, Philip occupied some of Edward's castles in 1294, but asked him again to appear before the court without delay, threatening to have him forfeited his fiefdom and incorporate it into the crown domain . This actually meant the beginning of a war between the two kings .

The Flanders War

Submission of Flanders

Edward I of England found an ally in Count Guido I of Flanders whose interests were similar. The Count of Flanders was once only able to assert himself against his half-brothers in the Flemish War of Succession with the help of the French crown , at the expense of the loss of power to his dignity. King Philip the Fair based his influence in Flanders mainly on the patricians in the cities. Although these established their economic and political strength through their cloth trade with England, they were anxious to have good relations with the king, who accepted their trade privileges with England and protected them from a strong count. Count Guido strove to restore his dignity to their old, almost sovereign position and to free himself from royal influence, making him an opponent of King Philip.

In 1294, Count Guido established close diplomatic relations with the King of England and betrothed one of his daughters to the Prince of Wales . Philipp refused his necessary consent and the count had to swear lasting loyalty. Nevertheless, the count continued his policy and won in Grammont (December 1296) the German King Adolf von Nassau , who wanted to prevent France from growing stronger in the Lorraine-Dutch area, and other imperial princes for his cause. After Philip had asked the count to explain these actions, he terminated his vassal relationship with France on January 20, 1297. The king then called a pair court, which condemned the count of high treason and felony and withdrew his fiefdom. In addition, Philip obtained the ban on Count Guido and the interdict over Flanders from the Pope .

Philip tackled the military fight against the anti-French alliance with determination. He sent his brother Charles of Valois to the Guyenne , who encountered little English resistance there and, after successfully subjugating this province in 1295, led his army to Flanders. Count Robert II of Artois had meanwhile led an army there, where he was able to take one city after another, such as Kortrijk , Dunkirk , Bergen and Bruges . These quick successes were favored by the patricians, who were positively minded for France, and the lack of support for the German king, who, by paying French gold and under papal pressure, renounced war despite his alliance with Flanders and England. After the royal troops had taken Lille on August 26, 1297 , Count Guido, who could only stay in Ghent , was ready to enter into an armistice on October 9 in Vyve-Saint-Bavon with papal mediation. This was extended by two years in Tournai in 1298 .


After the armistice expired in 1300, Count Guido gave up the fight. A year earlier, his only real ally, Count Heinrich III. von Bar , captured and Edward I was reconciled with France after Philip had lifted the occupation of the Guyenne and had promised him his sister, as well as the Prince of Wales, his daughter as a wife. A continuation of the fight was hopeless for the count under these circumstances. Despite Charles of Valois's word of honor for safe conduct, Guido and his eldest son Robert von Béthune were imprisoned in knightly custody at the meeting with the king, Guido in Compiegne , Robert in Bourges . Flanders was entrusted to the administration of royal governors. Philip appeared personally in Flanders in 1301, where he dissolved the sea blockade of Ghent by Edward I of England and built new fortresses. In a treaty signed in Bruges in 1301, the new rulers were determined.

Flemish revolt

Despite this success, the crown quickly lost its reputation and support among the Flemish population. The decisive factor here was Philip's rigid financial policy, who, despite the end of the war, did not want to abolish the war tax levied. This upset the craftsmen who had been socially disadvantaged for a long time and attacked some houses of the wealthy patricians and cloth merchants. Then the governor Jacques de Châtillon had the cities of Bruges and Ghent provided with an occupation. But on the morning of May 18, 1302, the citizens of Bruges broke into the accommodations of the royal soldiers and probably killed several hundred of them ( Bruges morning mass ).

The uprising took hold of all Flemish cities that rallied behind Count John I of Namur , a younger son of Count Guido. Philip responded by sending an army under Robert von Artois. Contrary to expectations, the French knights were defeated by the Flemish bourgeois army on July 11, 1302 in the Battle of the Golden Spurs near Kortrijk (Coutrai). More than seven hundred knights lost their lives, including the entire French military leadership.

Under the impression of this blow, Philip and Edward I of England agreed in the peace treaty of Paris in 1303 on a return of their relations to the status they had before the war began. A solution to the fundamental problems between the monarchs did not come about, which means that this conflict was carried on among their descendants and only came to an end with the end of the Hundred Years War. Philip, however, gained a free hand and even the support of Edward against Flanders, as the English king expelled the Flemish merchants from England and thus increased the economic pressure on the rebels. On July 22nd, 1304 Philip gathered a new army in Arras and entered Tournai on August 9th. A few days later, his fleet under Raniero Grimaldi destroyed the superior Flemish fleet at Zierikzee, and on August 17, 1304 the French army, led by the king, was victorious in the battle of Mons-en-Pévèle .

The fragile peace in Flanders

Despite these successes, Philip was never to be able to completely pacify Flanders during his lifetime. On June 24, 1305, the new Count of Flanders, Robert III. , the Peace of Athis-sur-Orge , by returning it to the sovereignty of France. The castle bailiffs of Lille , Douai and Béthune had to be handed over to the crown, and the Flemish citizens were also subjected to overwhelming compensation payments and the demolition of their city fortifications. The citizens, who had become politically self-confident in recent years, rejected this treaty, which is why the crown did not in fact gain control over the cities of Flanders. The royal grand chamberlain Enguerrand de Marigny negotiated the "Flemish cessions" in Pontoise in July 1312 , after which the crown remained in the possession of the three bailiffs and at the same time waived financial compensation.

But even this could not enforce peace. After Philip's death, the Flemish should, under the leadership of Count Roberts III. rebel against the crown and only be ready for a final peace on the basis of the Treaty of Pontoise in 1320 under the reign of Philip V the Long . The outcome of this conflict opposes the motivations of King Philip IV at his beginning in 1297. Although he had forced the Flemish count's house back under the domination of France, in return the Flemish citizens emancipated themselves in their cities from royal sovereignty, which they only formally recognized. This established the de facto sovereignty of Flanders north of the Lys , but this rich land was not to be completely lost to the French kingdom until the Treaties of Arras 1482 , Senlis 1493 and Cambrai 1529 .

Conflict with the Pope

At the beginning of his reign, King Philip IV had a relaxed relationship with the papacy. In doing so, he continued the traditionally friendly relationship between the French crown and the head of the Roman Church, which existed throughout the High Middle Ages, in contrast to the Roman-German kings and emperors, who repeatedly came into power-political conflicts with the pontificate. Philip himself relied on the Pope as a mediator in his efforts to normalize relations with Aragon after his father's Aragonese crusade. And with success a formal peace between the two kingdoms was reached in Anagni in 1295 under the umbrella of Pope Boniface VIII . The Pope proved to be an important ally for the king when he threatened the German king with the ban if he were to engage militarily in favor of Flanders.

First upsets in 1296 and relaxation in 1297

Philip's war against England and Flanders, however, also led to an initial confrontation between royal authority and the universal self-determination of the pope and his clergy. Again, Philip's financial reasons were the decisive point, who urgently needed money for his wars and therefore taxed the clergy and at the same time made a claim to tithe . For Pope Boniface VIII this was untenable: he responded with the bull Clericis laicos , which forbade the bishops in France to pay taxes to lay people. Linked to this was the threat of excommunication against the donors and recipients of the taxes. This threat missed its target and Philipp responded with a ban on the export of precious metals, coins, precious stones, weapons and horses to Italy, which led to considerable economic damage there. Furthermore Philip declared the clergy of France to be members of the state who, as landowners in France, are not allowed to escape the general burdens.

In view of the negative economic consequences for Italy and thus for the Pope, the latter was forced to give in. In 1296 he published the Bull Ineffabilis and finally in the spring of 1297 the Bull Etsi de statu , in which he revised the provisions of the Clericis laicos . Relations were further improved after Boniface VIII gave Philip's grandfather King Louis IX. , had canonized . Philip even, ignoring his personal point of view, allowed the Pope to act as a mediator in the war against England and Flanders as a private citizen. But when he decided against Philip's position, the king refused any further efforts by the Pope, pointing out that he was not entitled to judge worldly matters.


With this Philip made another break with the Pope, which this time could not be resolved. In the years that followed, the Pope openly took a stand for Count Guido of Flanders and demanded his release. He also demonstrated to the king his room for maneuver in France by setting up a new diocese in Pamiers without discussing it with the king. The new diocese was occupied by the Abbot of Saint-Antonin to Pamiers Bernard Saisset . He had been an intimate enemy of the king for a long time, ever since the abbot in disputes with Count Roger Bernard III. von Foix had worked in favor of the count.

In 1301, the tense situation escalated when Saisset publicly supported the Pope's demand to release the Count of Flanders. Philip used this insignificant episode as a pretext for a confrontation with the Holy See. He called a commission of inquiry to investigate the suspicion of high treason of the bishop. Incriminating testimony, including those of the Counts of Foix and Comminges, played into the hands of the king, who arrested the Bishop of Pamiers in October 1301 and tried him in Senlis . The Pope saw the independence of the clerical judiciary and his sovereignty over it threatened and in December 1301 sent the bull Ausculta fili to the court in Paris, in which he asked the bishops of France as well as the king to come to Rome to To clarify the relationships between worldly and spiritual powers of power. Philip prevented the publication of the bull by burning it and had a forgery made, which suggested a much sharper tone on the part of the Holy See against the crown. He also summoned his council devoted to him, which made the decision to oppose a “public opinion” mobilize the Pope in France. On this occasion, a meeting of the pairs, prelates and, for the first time, civil representatives of the cities in Notre-Dame was called on April 10, 1302 , where the royal councilor Pierre Flote delivered a speech against the encroachments of the curia and the convening of a French national synod by the Pope in Rome understood it as an attack on the rights and freedoms of the king (Decretals Per Venerabilem ).

The nobility and citizens then wrote a declaration for the Roman College of Cardinals, which was entirely in the spirit of Philip. Even the reluctant clergy were forced, under royal pressure, to send the Pope a corresponding refusal. The Pope rejected this declaration and exhorted the king to free himself from the diabolical whisperings of his councilors. He threatened those bishops who would not appear at the ordered synod with dismissal. During this time, both sides mobilized their theologians to wage a battle of journalistic arguments, which included the question of papal powers. On the papal side these were especially Aegidius Romanus and Jakob von Viterbo , on the French John of Paris (Jean Quidort). In the autumn of 1302, despite the royal sanction, forty French bishops appeared at the synod in Rome, in which the Pope openly formulated the papal claim to world domination in the bull Unam Sanctam and declared it binding for all secular princes.

The Anagni assassination

The Pope hoped that his position would be enforced after his worst opponent, Pierre Flote, had fallen at Coutrai, but his position as the first royal council was taken by the no less determined Guillaume de Nogaret . In the spring of 1303 Philip called another meeting of the pairs and prelates in the Louvre , where he had Nogaret appear as the accuser who accused the Pope of various reproaches, above all that of heresy , which was the only offense, a trial against the head of the church allowed. Under Nogaret's leadership, the assembly came to the conclusion that Boniface VIII could no longer be recognized as the legitimate head of the church and authorized the king to convene a church assembly to elect a new pope. Although contemporary witnesses were already aware that it was nowhere near a royal assembly to rule on the head of Christianity, Philip accepted this decision. He opposed the pope's claim to world domination with his political and legal sovereignty, which recognized no further authority over the king.

A general council was supposed to rule on the accusations against the Pope, and Nogaret was entrusted with the convening of this council, who went to Italy to find allies among the Pope's not insignificant opponents, primarily from the Colonna house . Boniface, for his part, tried in vain to win over Albrecht I , the Roman king, by showing his favor . In the summer of 1303 Boniface withdrew to his summer residence Anagni, where he planned to excommunicate Philip on September 8th of that year . Nogaret, who in the meantime had initiated the General Council, felt compelled to act. Supported by troops of the Colonnas, he broke into the Pope's palace in Anagni on the night of September 6th and took him, who refused to flee for reasons of age, under arrest. On September 9, the city's population managed to storm the palace, which enabled the Pope to flee to Rome.

The “ Anagni assassination attempt ” had failed. And yet the now excommunicated Philip was to emerge victorious from this conflict after the Pope died on October 11, 1303 with a feverish fit of anger caused by his treatment by the Soldateska . With him died his formulated claim to world domination and the prestige of the Holy See, which was reflected in violent uprisings of the urban population of Rome.

The Babylonian Exile

Boniface's successor in office, Benedict XI. , freed himself from Rome with the help of the Orsinis and took up residence in Perugia . There he pronounced the ban against Nogaret and the Colonnas, but he withdrew every measure his predecessor directed against Philip in six bulls. In 1304 he died, according to rumors, from poison, which Philip is said to have ordered him.

Then the Archbishop of Bordeaux was elected as Clement V as the new Pope at the fifteen-month conclave in Perugia, which was completely dominated by French cardinals . This had previously won Philip's favor when he not only promised the lifting of the sanctions against France, but also willingly left the tithe to the crown for five years and also granted Philip a say in the appointment of cardinals. Due to the unrest that had broken out in Italy, Clemens decided not to travel there and took up his residence in Lyon , where he was crowned in the presence of Philip. At that time, Lyon was still formally part of the Holy Roman Empire . After this status had changed in favor of France, he moved to Avignon in 1309 . Ultimately, however, the papacy became a puppet of French kingship there, too, because Avignon was located in Provence , which still belonged to the Roman-German Empire, but was ruled by the French-born royal family of Naples, who had the closest political ties to their cousins ​​in France used.

The Babylonian exile of the Church in Avignon marked an epochal turning point in its history for the papacy. Where Emperor Henry IV had failed over two hundred years earlier, Philip IV had triumphed. In Avignon, the papacy sank from its claim to be the universal ruler of the Christian West, to which it clung verbally for a long time, to a French provincial principality. Even after the end of the exile seventy years later, the Pope would never again take the position of power that was once established by Gregory VII against the emperor and by Innocent III. was led to its summit.

The dissolution of the Knights Templar

Philip immediately took advantage of the Pope as a new instrument to enforce his interests after he had decided to smash the Knights Templar . The reason for this decision was once again the tense budget situation of the king, but also the military and especially financial strength of this organization, which was denied access, and whose independent status was in contradiction to Philip's view of royal state authority. The Order controlled practically all of the Crown's banking operations and was only accountable to the Pope. The order had proven its independence from the king several times by openly supporting Pope Boniface VIII and several revolts of the Parisian population against the constant deterioration of the king's coins. In response to this, Philip had the state treasure transferred from the tower of the Temple to the Louvre as early as 1295 .

The execution of Jacques de Molays and Godefrois de Charnys in 1314 on a French 15th century miniature.

In his project, Philip used the already widespread criticism of the order, which apparently was not ready to look for a new field of activity in the fight against the pagans after the fall of Acon and the final loss of Outremer to the Muslims in 1291, in contrast to the German rulers or Johanniter , who relocated the fight to the Baltic and the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the most secretive and perceived as arrogant Knights Templar aroused suspicion in the common population. After a citizen of Béziers had found no hearing from the King of Aragon for his accusations against the Order in 1306, Philip accepted them gratefully, but he waited until the Grand Master Jacques de Molay came to France at an invitation from Pope Clement V. In August 1307, the Pope gave the King his consent for a trial against the Templars in Poitiers . Most of the members of the Order were arrested on a Friday, October 13th, in an action strictly coordinated by Nogaret. They were charged with heresy, idolatry, sodomism, and other misconduct. The subsequent interrogations were carried out by Imbert, the royal confessor. After the Council of Vienne in 1311 had unexpected applause from the clergy for the order, which was particularly inflamed due to the tortured confessions of the knights including the grand master, Philip made an appeal to the Pope. On March 22, 1312, he dissolved the order out of “apostolic power”.

Philip's financial success was limited, as the Pope handed over the majority of the order's assets to the Johanniter. The crown was only paid for the process costs, which are said to have been correspondingly high. A car dairy was carried out on a large number of religious knights , as they had withdrawn their confessions after the Council of Vienne and were therefore treated as recidivist heretics by the Inquisition courts. On March 18, 1314, the Grand Master and the Master of the Order of Normandy were the last to be burned in Paris .

Imperial politics

Since the beginning of the 13th century had relative France to the Holy Roman Empire , a fundamental change occurred, that of the rise of the French royal power with a simultaneous decline of the central imperial power in the empire, especially with the end of the Staufer 1250 and the onset of interregnum in was. The French kings increasingly appeared as an offensive and arbitrating power in the empire, where they used the different interests of the imperial princes for their own purposes. It was indicative that King Philip III. 1273 was the first French king to apply for Roman royal dignity, but was defeated by Rudolf von Habsburg .

Philip's stubborn commitment in the Flemish-Lorraine region inevitably led to conflicts of interest with princes and kings of the Holy Roman Empire. In the alliance of Count Guido I of Flanders with Edward I of England, concluded in 1294, imperial princes such as Count Heinrich III were also included . of Bar or Duke Johann II of Brabant , who lived in the border area with France and saw their position endangered by its power. The Roman King Adolf von Nassau also joined this alliance, but it was neutralized against him during the Flanders War by French gold, papal pressure and an alliance of some imperial princes. Relations with King Albrecht I were more relaxed. As Duke of Austria, he was still one of France's opponents, but as King he was interested in a friendly understanding with Philip. At a personal meeting of the two rulers in December 1299 at Vaucouleurs , cedings of territory to France were agreed for the first time, which were also sealed in the Treaty of Bruges in 1301. The border was moved to the Meuse , whereby the Count of Bar in particular came into vassalage to France, which was also associated with the assumption of sovereignty over the episcopal cities of Toul and Verdun by France. Philip was also able to record further gains in the old Burgundian Regnum , where the Roman-German rulers hardly showed any presence and had left the country to the territorial nobility, King Albrecht I willingly recognized the cession of Franche-Comté . Philip annexed the metropolitan seat of Lyon in 1307 after a quick military operation. His grandfather had already been given jurisdiction over the city by the archbishop in order to win him over as an ally against the Counts of Forez . Philip took the ongoing feud between the archbishop and the count as a pretext to occupy the city and declare that it belonged to France.

After the murder of Albrecht in 1308, Philip made another attempt to bind the German kingdom to France by proposing his brother Karl von Valois as a candidate . The already existing dependence of some imperial princes and not least that of the Pope seemed to give him favorable opportunities for this project. He underestimated the negative attitude of most imperial princes towards a strong French king in the empire and the influence of the Pope on the German clergy. Together with the Archbishop of Cologne, Pope Clement V successfully pushed the election of the Count of Luxembourg as the new king. Since he was also dependent on France, Philip was satisfied with the choice. Relations with King Henry VII worsened when he broke off his contacts with France after the annexation of Lyon and increased his presence in the Lorraine region. When Henry VII moved to Italy in order to strive for a restauratio imperii there , Philip consequently did everything possible to prevent this, since France had benefited particularly economically there from the collapse of imperial power after the fall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. In the anti-Hohenstaufen Guelphs around their head King Robert of Naples , France had a natural ally in Italy. But after the Guelphs had not succeeded in preventing Henry's coronation as the Pope, it was only his death in 1313 during a campaign against Robert of Naples that could maintain France's influence in Italy.



Louis VIII the Lion
Blanka of Castile
Raimund Berengar V of Provence
Beatrix of Savoy
Peter II of Aragon
Mary of Montpellier
Andrew II of Hungary
Yolande of Courtenay
(? –1233)
Louis IX the saint
Margaret of Provence
James I of Aragon
Yolanda of Hungary
Philip III the bold
Isabella of Aragón
Philip IV the Handsome

Marriage and offspring

Philip IV with his family
from left to right: Karl der Schöne, Philipp der Lange, Isabella, Philipp IV., Ludwig der Zänker and Karl von Valois
(miniature from the 14th century)

On August 16, 1284 he married Queen Joan I of Navarre (1273-1305), a daughter of King Henry I the Fat and the Blanche d'Artois . He had the following children with her:

As a private citizen, Philip IV was committed to a pious lifestyle, which with increasing age increased into a bigoted severity. Shortly before his death, he had his three daughters-in-law arrested and locked up after his daughter Isabella had accused them of adultery. (see: Tour de Nesle )

Reception in books and films

The French writer Maurice Druon was inspired by the story of Philip the Beautiful and that of his family to write a seven-volume series of novels "Les Rois maudits" (German: The unlucky kings ; 1955 to 1977). The first six volumes were filmed in 1972 by the station France 2 under the same title in six parts, with Georges Marchal in the role of King Philip the Fair. In 2005 a Belgian TV production of the same name followed in five episodes, with Tchéky Karyo taking on the role of king .


Web links

Commons : Philip IV (France)  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Chronicon Girardi de Fracheto et anonyma ejusdem operis continuation , in: Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la France 21 (1840), pp. 17-18
predecessor Office successor
Philip III the bold one King of France 1285–1314
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Louis X. the brawler
Johanna I. King of Navarre 1285–1305
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Louis X. the brawler