Information about King Philip II Augustus of France

King Philip II Augustus of France (21 August 1165 - 14 July 1223)

Philip II, known as Philip Augustus (French: Philippe Auguste), was King of France from 1180 to 1223, a member of the House of Capet. Philip's predecessors had been known as kings of the Franks, but from 1190 onward, Philip became the first French monarch to style himself king of France. The son of King Louis VII and his third wife, Adèle of Champagne, he was originally nicknamed Dieudonné "God-given" because he was the first son of Louis VII, born late in his father's life. Philip was given the nickname "Augustus" by the chronicler Rigord for having extended the Crown lands of France so remarkably.

After a twelve-year struggle with the Plantagenet dynasty in the Anglo-French War of 1202–14, Philip broke up the large Angevin Empire presided over by the crown of England 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 John was forced by his barons to sign Magna Carta and deal with a rebellion against him aided by Philip, the First Barons' War.

The military actions surrounding the Albigensian Crusade helped prepare the expansion of France southward. Philip did not participate directly in these actions, but he allowed his vassals and knights to help carry it out.

Philip transformed France from a small feudal state into the most prosperous and powerful country in Europe. 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 ("the Wall of Philip II Augustus"), re-organized the French government and brought financial stability to his country.

King Philip II Augustus of France reigned in...
Reigned asIn CountryFromToCoins Issued
Philippe II Auguste (King Philip II Augustus) Flag of France, Kingdom of France, Kingdom of 18 September 1180 14 July 1223
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