III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > F. Europe, 461–1500 > 3. Western Europe and the Age of the Cathedrals, 1000–1300 > c. France > 1165–70
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
Louis supported Thomas Becket (See 1155–72) against Henry II of England and was saved from Henry's wrath only through the mediation of the pope, Alexander III, a refugee in France against whom the Emperor Frederick had raised an antipope. It was in Louis's interest to support the anti-imperial party, because of the emperor's pressure upon Burgundy.  1
The appointment of nonfeudal experts to the curia regis continued, and their influence on the administration began to be decisive. Grants of town charters also continued. The period was, moreover, one of marked cultural development. The guild of masters (germ of the University of Paris) was recognized (c. 1170), and a number of eminent scholars appeared on the scene: St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091–1153), member of the Cistercian order, a great preacher, fervent reformer, and dominant spiritual figure of the West; Roscellinus (d. c. 1121), champion of nominalism; Anselm (d. 1109), abbot of Bec, later archbishop of Canterbury, champion of realism; Peter Abélard (d. 1142), eminent master at Paris (after about 1115), supporter of conceptualism, a middle ground in the great controversy over universals. Abélard's sic et non presented without solution the conflicting theological arguments on 158 important problems. John of Salisbury (d. 1180), bishop of Chartres, favored the humanistic rather than the dialectical approach to knowledge. Before the rise of the University of Paris, Chartres was the cultural center where Ptolemaic astronomy and Aristotelian logic were taught. Thierry of Chartres put forward a rational explanation of the creation, within the Mosaic framework, as well as a cosmology based on the Aristotelian pattern. Peter Lombard, bishop of Paris (1159), in his Sententiae, offered a cautious solution of theological and philosophical problems that became a standard text of the Paris schools. In literature the period produced the epics of poets like Chrétien de Troyes, and the troubadour lyrics.  2
Philip II (Augustus), so called because he greatly expanded the royal domain) began his rule at 14 and had no time for education (he knew no Latin). A calculating realist, perhaps the outstanding figure of his time, he was the consolidator of the monarchy and the founder of the organized state. As the “maker of Paris,” he paved the streets, walled the city, and began the building of the Louvre.  3
A six-year alliance with King Henry II of England enabled Philip to defeat Philip of Artois and the counts of Champagne, to crush a baronial league against him, and to gain recognition for his title to Artois and Vermandois. Philip intrigued with the sons of Henry, welcomed the rebellious Richard (1187), and, joining him, defeated Henry (1189), who died the same year.  4
Philip expelled the Jews from France, but in 1198, convinced that they were a useful source of revenue (taxes on usury), he rescinded the order. Many Christian businesspeople, who also practiced usury and resented Jewish competition, fanned the flames of anti-Semitism.  5
Philip, under pressure of public opinion, joined King Richard on the Third Crusade; eclipsed by Richard, he quarreled with him, returned to France, and intrigued against him with John during his (Richard's) captivity (1192–94).  6
Richard, in a pitiless war of vengeance, built Château Gaillard on the Seine and restored the Angevin power in northern France.  7
Excommunicated by Pope Innocent III for his divorce of Ingeborg of Denmark, Philip was forced by public opinion to a reconciliation, but sharply refused Innocent's offer of mediation with John, who succeeded Richard (1199).  8
The final duel with John for, and the conquest of, the Angevin lands north of the Loire. On King John's refusal to stand trial as Philip's vassal on charges by Philip's vassal, Hugh of Lusignan, Philip declared John's French fiefs forfeited (1203) and supported John's nephew, Arthur of Brittany. The murder of Arthur (1203) cost John his French support, Château Gaillard was lost (1204), Normandy and Poitou followed, and Philip emerged master of the Angevin lands north of the Loire.  9
New royal officials, the baillis (sénéchaux in the south), paid professionals (often Roman lawyers), superseded the now feudalized pré-vôts as the chief local administrators (financial, judicial, military) on the Capetian lands (c. 1190). In the course of the 13th century, baillis began to be assigned to regular districts (baillages), but they continued to be responsible to and removable by the king. As the royal domain expanded, royal administration was extended to it, and the foundation laid for a professional system.  10
Philip played the barons off against each other, used his position as protector of the Church to weaken them further, and sought the support of the towns and rich bourgeoisie as a balance to the feudality. Part of this process involved the systematization of the royal finances—the regular exaction of feudal aids and obligations due to the crown, as well as the systematic collection of customs, tolls, fines, and fees, though as yet there was no such thing as taxation in the modern sense. The levy of the Saladin tithe (1188) was, however, a forerunner of true taxation. Philip's reign also saw the formation of a semipermanent royal army.  11
The Albigensian-Waldensian Crusade. The Albigensians (Catharists of Albi) and the Waldensians (followers of Peter Waldo) originally represented a reaction of the lower classes against clerical corruption, but the movement was soon espoused by the nobles, who saw in it a chance to appropriate Church lands. Innocent III, after a vain appeal to Philip, proclaimed a crusade against these heretics. Philip took no direct part in the action, but allowed his northern vassals to begin the penetration of the south and thus prepare the way for the advance of the Capetian power. Simon de Montfort (the elder), a baron of the Île de France, emerged as the leader of the crusaders. His victory at Muret (1213) sealed the fate of the brilliant Provençal culture, the leading southern barons, and the heretics. After a long chapter of horrors, the conquest was finally completed in a campaign by Louis VIII (1226). In the reign of Louis IX, the county of Toulouse passed under Capetian administration and the royal domain was extended to the Mediterranean.  12
c. 1210–c. 1289
Period of rising anti-Semitism, marked by the periodic seizure of Jewish goods and special (additional) taxes; in 1244, 24 cartloads of the Talmud were publicly burned in Paris.  13
The great anti-Capetian alliance (John of England, Emperor Otto IV, the counts of Boulogne and Flanders, and most of the feudality of Flanders, Belgium, and Lorraine).  14
1214, July 27
Battle of Bouvines. Philip, in alliance with Emperor Frederick II, defeated the alliance near Tournai and thereby established the French monarchy in the first rank of the European powers, at the same time ruining John of England, assuring Frederick II of the imperial crown, and bringing Flanders under French influence. Militarily speaking, the battle was a triumph of Philip's professional cavalry and bourgeois militia over the older infantry.  15
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.