Philip the Not So Fair: Deux

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On this day in history...Philip the Fair of France was two days' dead.  A bit like Marley...except we're told Marley was dead to begin with.  Philip wasn't.  To begin with--at least in the fall of 1314--he was very much alive and on the hunt.  As Shawn learned by Christina's shock at his lack of hunting in The Water is Wide, it was something nobility did.

On this particular day, however, Philip didn't hunt so well, for he had an accident that would lead to his death several weeks later.  [Some sources say he had a stroke--perhaps caused by the accident in question.]

I started the story yesterday.  In continuing, it is tempting, in a blog that focuses on Scotland and its history, to say that Alexander's death in 1286, greatly impacted Philip's reign as King of France.  I'm not sure that would be entirely accurate, as Philip kept himself plenty busy getting into it with, bullying, and killing, all sorts of people:

Longshanks--he confiscated Edward's lands of Gascony, among other offenses and insults

Pope Boniface VIII--he sent his bad boy de Nogaret to kidnap and beat up the pope for crying out loud!

Pope Benedict XI--possibly; it was whispered that de Nogaret poisoned this pope

Pope Clement V


the Jews of France--expelled in 1306

the Knights Templar--destroyed in 1307

Nice guy.  He hardly needed the inconvenience of Alexander's death and the resulting problems with Edward to bring turmoil into his life (or anyone else's).  He was doing quite well enough on his own.  He must have been one really good-looking guy, because the moniker Fair obviously didn't apply to his character.

However, his reign does run in concert with some of the major events of Scotland at the time.  He was coronated King of France at the age of 17, on January 6, 1286, 10 weeks before Alexander died on March 19--which gave rise to the Wars of Independence.  He died on November 29, 1314, 5 months and 5 days after the Battle of Bannockburn, Scotland's great victory in those Wars.

In 1292, Edward I chose John Baliol as King of Scotland, thinking he'd put his puppet on the throne.  Presumably he thought this freed him up for other things, but in 1293, 'a naval incident' occurred between the Normans and the English.  Philip, aged 24 or 25, treated Edward as a vassal rather than a king and equal--based on the fact that Edward owned lands in Gascony, making him, in fact, Philip's vassal.

Needless to say, the great Longshanks, a knight of renown, a king, and a man in his 50s, did not take kindly to this.  War erupted.  (Do wars ever just sidle in?  I think they generally erupt or break out or explode.)

At the sane time Edward was warring with France's fair Philip, John Baliol was being less than cooperative in Scotland, and the Welsh less than cooperative in Wales.  It's not easy being a tyrant!  Philip took advantage of this by joining in The Auld Alliance with John Baliol--a promise between Scotland and France to aid one another against England's aggressions.  This alliance would last, being renewed by almost every king of Scotland and France, into the 1500s.

Of course, an alliance with someone misnamed The Fair only lasts as long as it's convenient The Not So Fair.  Around 1298-1299, hostilities eased up between Philip and Edward.  When it became more convenient to Philip to have Edward's help in Flanders, the Scots found themselves not quite so aided anymore.  in 1304, the Scottish nobles conceded to calling Edward their overlord.  Wallace refused, continuing the battle against England, resulting in his death on August 23, 1305.

It was just months later that Bruce killed Comyn in front of the altar at Greyfriars, on February 10, 1306, and within 6 weeks--on March 25--was crowned King of Scotland.  On July 7, 1307, Philip's nemesis--or were they the original frenemies--died.  Philip finished out that year by rounding up, torturing, and executing the entirety of the Knights Templar.

Through the next years, sources are rather quiet about what Philip was up to (at least the sources I'm using for a 'brief' blog entry about his relationship to Scotland.)  Given his history, we can bet it wasn't very nice.  Indeed, they probably involved some attention to the ill-fated Knights Templar, as the last Grand Master was burned at the stake in March of 1314, three months before Bannockburn.

philip iv, medieval france, tour de nesle affair, bannockburn, edward i, longshanks
That same year saw the Tour de Nesle affair, which never fails to leave me with an image of hundreds of cyclists racing across France with chocolate bars in their hands.  Unfortunately, the Tour de Nesle affair was not so sweet.  Two of Philip's daughters-in-law were accused of adultery, and the third of having knowledge of the affairs.  Their alleged lovers were tortured, flayed, and executed. The daughters-in-law were merely imprisoned.

And then in the fall, there was that hunting accident, and on November 29, in the end, Philip the Fair was dead.  I doubt he was missed any more than Marley.

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If you liked this article, you might also like
Berwick and the Bruce
Strategy at Bannockburn
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