Philip IV (king of France)

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Philip IV (king of France)

Philip IV (Philip the Fair), 1268–1314, king of France (1285–1314), son and successor of Philip III. The policies of his reign greatly strengthened the French monarchy and increased the royal revenues. Philip asserted his right to tax the clergy for the defense of the realm, thus making permanent a special tax permitted by the popes for support of crusades. Pope Boniface VIII opposed this measure by the bull Clericis laicos (1296), but when threatened with loss of revenues from France he capitulated (1297). The conflict was revived by the arrest and condemnation by the king's court (1301) of Bishop Bernard Saisset. Boniface demanded that Saisset be sent to Rome for trial, issued two bulls denouncing Philip, and called for a council at Rome in Nov., 1302. Philip, in retaliation, convoked the nobility, clergy, and commons in the first French States-General (1302–3) to hear a justification of his course of action; and Boniface issued (1302) the bull Unam sanctam, an extreme statement of his right to intervene in temporal and religious matters. Threatened by excommunication, Philip had Boniface seized at Anagni. Although freed, Boniface soon died (1303). After the brief pontificate of Benedict XI, Philip secured the election as pope of Clement V, who annulled Boniface's bulls, and in 1309 transferred the papal residence to Avignon, thus beginning the "Babylonian captivity" of the papacy. Clement cooperated with Philip in his persecution of the Knights Templars, whose wealth the king appropriated to finance his wars. Other wealthy groups persecuted by Philip were the Jews and the Lombards (Italian bankers). Philip also debased the coinage. Between 1294 and 1296, Philip overran Guienne, the duchy of King Edward I of England; in 1297 Edward came to the defense of his lands. A truce (1297) became (1303) a permanent peace, conceding Guienne to Edward. After the withdrawal of Edward, Philip turned his attention toward Flanders. He aided the Flemish towns against the count of Flanders, Guy of Dampierre, and after Guy's defeat (1300), he imposed French rule on the Flemish. They rebelled and defeated (1302) the French at the disastrous battle of Courtrai. Although Philip was victorious over the Flemish in 1304, he was forced, in subsequent treaties, to reduce his demands on them. Philip was more successful in his attempts to expand at the expense of the Holy Roman Empire; Lyons and Viviers were incorporated into France during his reign. Philip summoned the States-General twice more (1308, 1314), chiefly to obtain support for his warfare. His son, Louis X, succeeded him.

See study by C. T. Wood (2d ed. 1971).

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