Ancient history

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Philip II therefore deserves his nickname of Conqueror. Yet his reign was not without setbacks; many French kings have known a military fortune equal to his; some have practiced strategy better.
Also, what defines him more personally is his sense of organization, his administrative policy. One would be tempted to call him "Philip the Organizer". With infinite skill, he supported the communes, granted franchise charters following the example of his grandfather Louis VI, mainly outside the domain, and therefore at the expense, not of the royal power, but of the lords.
The clerics have not had to complain of abusive interference by the secular power in the affairs of the Church. The religious orders benefited from the royal generosity which also benefited the University of Paris, provided in 1215 with new statutes. It was under his reign that the center of gravity of the royal domain and the monarchical administration moved from Orléans to Paris, a city now safe and much embellished by transformations of all kinds (Notre-Dame, the Louvre , the so-called large enclosure of Philippe Auguste).
It was under his government "and more precisely in the first years of this government that the rise of bailiffs or bailiffs* and the conversion of local seneschals, feudal agents that began "they were, as royal agents. The administration of state revenues, sinews of war, was the subject of attentive care, which enabled the monarchy to rely on a healthy treasury.Finally, since the surprise of Fréteval, where Richard had seized the luggage of his enemy, Philippe Auguste understood the danger of always carrying the seal and the charters with him.The royal archives will henceforth be established in a safe, fixed place. from the Treasure of the Charters.

This king who, from a distance, seems so strong to us, was considerably hampered in the performance of his public duties by the weaknesses of his private life. Singularly firm in character, Philippe was, in spite of a solid bodily appearance, weak in nerves. In his youth, in August 1179, he was the victim of a hallucination which is not without analogy with the crisis of Charles VI in the forest of Le Mans. After a few days of dejection, his health recovered. Not totally, however, nor definitively. Nervous breakdowns beset him frequently.
In the Holy Land, he imagines that Richard wants him murdered. In November 1192, while he was in Pontoise, he decided to surround himself with a guard to defend himself from the henchmen of the Old Man of the Mountain who, he thought, wanted his life. Finally, should we see a manifestation of nervous disorder in the impossibility he had of getting along with his second wife?
Isabelle de Hainaut died in March 1189, leaving only a son, Louis. The royal ambassadors set out to find a new wife, whom they find in the person of Ingeburge or Isambour, sister of Knud IV of Denmark.
But the day after the wedding ceremony , the king decides to separate from her. An assembly of prelates pronounces the annulment of the marriage, not for physical incompatibility and lack of consummation (which seemed to be the case) but for kinship to a prohibited degree (which was only a sophism).
Shortly after, Agnès de Méran or de Méranie became the third wife of Philippe Auguste, to whom she gave birth to several children. However, the court of Denmark, informed by Ingeburge who did not accept the sentence, appealed to Rome. Célestin III contented himself with admonitions.
Innocent III, his successor, went all the way. In January 1200, the ban is thrown on the kingdom. After resisting for a long time, the king submits and dismisses Agnès, whom he loves passionately. His sacrifice will not go so far as to actually take back Ingeburge, whom he will not forgive for his stubbornness. This will be kept under house arrest, at least until 1213, when she will be restored to her prerogatives as queen.

To tell the truth, the setbacks encountered by Philippe Auguste in his private life hardly diminish him. He yielded to a pope of exceptional authority who seemed to have the law on his side. Eventually, the children Agnes gave him were legitimized by the court of Rome; the royal authority emerged unscathed from the ordeal. Upon dying, the king left his eldest son a solid kingdom, within which the area of ​​​​the domain of the crown increased fourfold. The stage of small patient annexations was over. Attack now prevails over defense. Some precautions could be abandoned. The dynasty was sure enough of its roots to dispense with associating the crown princes with their fathers. Louis VIII the Lion, descendant of the last Carolingian by his mother, succeeded without difficulty to Phillip II the Conqueror

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