Philip Augustus (II) , king of France, the seventh monarch of the Capetian line, born in August, 1165, died in Mantes, July 14, 1223. He was the son of Louis VII., and was crowned at Rheims during the lifetime of his father, whom he succeeded in 1180. His marriage with the daughter of the count of Hainaut united the races of Capet and Charlemagne, and a second coronation was performed at St. Denis. He immediately banished all the Jews, confiscated their property, and persecuted the Wal-denses. "When his wife died without issue, the count of Flanders, her uncle, refused to give up Amiens, a part of her dowry, and a war broke out, in the course of which the count marched to the gates of Paris (1184); but Philip ultimately secured Amiens and nearly all of Vermandois. He was next involved in a war with the duke of Burgundy, who disputed his authority, and with Henry II. of England, whose sons he supported against their father. In 1188, on hearing of the fall of Jerusalem, he assumed the cross, and in 1190 the allied forces of France and England started on the third crusade. They reached the Holy Land in 1191, but, outshone by his rival Richard I., Philip soon returned to Europe, swearing on his departure to respect the dominions of the English king.
Nevertheless, he soon found a pretext for invading Normandy, and made some conquests, while Richard was a prisoner in the hands of the emperor of Germany; but in 1193 he was repulsed from Rouen. After Richard's release a war, marked by no great military or political events, began between the two monarchs, and lasted till the death of Richard in 1199. The statesmanship of Philip in the end proved too much for the more soldierly qualities of the English king. During this war Philip recalled the Jews, being in need of money. Having divorced his second wife, and, in defiance of a papal bull, married in 1196 Agnes of Meran, a princess of the Tyrol, he was excommunicated, and his kingdom laid under an interdict. The death of Agnes enabled him to reconcile himself with the church, and the murder of Arthur by King John afforded him a plausible pretext for renewing the war with England. He summoned John to appear at his court and answer for the crime, and on his failing to do so adjudged him guilty of felony, and declared his dominions confiscated. Normandy, Maine, and Anjou were conquered in 1203-'4; and though Poitou and Guienne were not effectually subdued until the reign of Philip's son, the power of the English was broken.
In 1206 a truce of two years was concluded, which Philip employed in strengthening his power and developing the material resources of his dominions. About this time the crusade against the Albigenses began in the south of France, where the king scarcely exercised even nominal authority. Its early success encouraged the pope to excommunicate John, with whom a dispute had arisen, and to present England to Philip. Immense preparations were made for an invasion, but the French king was diverted from the execution of his purpose by the insubordination of Ferdinand, count of Flanders. He invaded the dominions of his vassal in 1213,'and committed great ravages; but his fleet was defeated and destroyed at Damme by the English, under command of the count of Boulogne and the earl of Salisbury. The next year he was attacked on the side of Poitou by John, and on the side of Flanders by the nobles of the Low Countries commanded by Otho, emperor of Germany. John was beaten off by the dauphin Louis, and Otho was defeated in the battle of Bovines between Lille and Tournay, in which the counts of Boulogne and Flanders were taken prisoners.
After this the life of Philip is marked by no events of great military importance, except the abortive expedition of his son Louis (afterward Louis VIII.) to England, to take possession of the crown of that country, on the invitation of barons opposed to King John. Philip amassed great wealth, which he divided among several legatees. He was the ablest king that had sat on the throne of France since the time of Charlemagne. The kingdom, limited at his accession to the Ile de France and portions of Picardy and Orleanais, included in 1206 in addition all or nearly all of Yermandois, Artois, the Vex-in-Francais and the Vexin-Normand, Berry, Normandy, Maine, Anjou, Touraine, Poitou, and Auvergne. But it was less as a soldier than as an administrator that he was distinguished. He succeeded in part in establishing a central power by assembling about him a parliament of his grand vassals, of which he himself as suzerain was the head. He was still more successful in his efforts to free royalty from the power either of the pope or of the national clergy. In 1209 he seized the domains of the bishops of Orleans and Auxerre, who had refused their contingent dues for the fiefs they held, and, in spite of a papal interdict, compelled the prelates to admit his claim.
He caused the streets of Paris to be paved, extended and heightened the walls, constructed numerous public buildings, conferred its chief privileges upon the university of Paris, and walled in and strengthened other principal towns.