1902 Encyclopedia > France > French History: The Feudal Monarchy: (a) Capetian Period

France
(Part 9)




FRENCH HISTORY (cont.)

The Feudal Monarchy: (a) Capetian Period


Hugh Capet, eldest son of Hugh the Great, duke of France, was but a Neustrian noble when he was elected king. The house of the Carolings was entirely set aside, its claims and rights denied, by the new force now growing up, the force of feudalism. The head of the barons should be one of themselves; he should stand clear of the imperial ideas and ambitions which had ruled the conduct of his predecessors; he should be a Frenchman in speech and birth and through, and not a German; but, above, he must be strong enough to hold his own. And among the great lords of northern France, the representative of the house of Robert the Strong held the most central position, and united in himself most elements of strength. His lands lay between the Burgundians and the Normans, and stretched, north and south, from Fladers to Aquitaine. Not so long ago the duke of France had been the champion of the whole land against the invasions of the Northmen, and the successful defence of Paris had assured to the duke that position of protector of French interests which passed naturally into a kingship. The connections of the house were also a great source of strength; the duke was abbot of St Martin near Tours, the spiritual lord of the Loire, and abbot of St Denis near Paris, the spiritual lord of the Seine. And not only in connection with the church was he strong; his alliances with the lay lords were equally fortunate. The lesser barons looked up to him; he was brother to Eudes Henry, duke of Burgundy, on the one side, and Richard the Fearless, duke of Normandy, on the other side, was his brother-in-law. Lastly, his was a compact and central territory: he was feudal lord of all Picardy, and held a large part of Champagne; Paris, Orleans, Chartres, the counties of Blois, Perche, Tours, Laine, were also his. The domains of the dukes of France formed a long and rather narrow strip; the western border running nearly north and south touched the sea just above the mouth of the Somme, and reached the Loire a little below Orleans. Paris was as nearly as might be the center of this district, which was bounded to the north by Flanders and Hainault, to the east by Champagne and a corner of Burgundy, to the south by Aquitaine, to the west by Normandy. The lords of these districts regarded themselves as at least the equals of the new king; the chief of them were the dukes of Normandy, Britanny, Burgundy, and Aquitaine, and the counts of Flanders, Champagne, and Vermadois.

The accession of Hugh to the throne was not undisputed. Charles of Lorraine, rightful heir to the caroling throne, resisted him for a time, and was upheld by a formidable party among the nobles and churchmen. Their headquarters were at Laon, on the northern frontier of Hugh’s domain; their strongest friend was William Fier-a-Bras, duke of Aquitaine, on its southern limit. The hearty support of the Normans alone secured the new king’s throne. After a short, sharp struggle, in which clerical treachery was an prominent as knightly valor, Hugh got his rival into his hands, and imprisoned him at Orleans, where he died. In a short time all the princes north of the Loire had recognized his authority. The clergy of his domains and territories looked up to him as their friend and champion, and willingly, as an end of strife, deposed Archbishop Arnulf of Rheims, who was nephew of the fallen caroling prince, and elected in his room the famous Gerbert (afterwards pope as Sylvester II.), the most learned man of his age, who had dared to visit Saracenic Spain, and to bring thence to the north some of that science which gave him the fascinating reputation of being a sorcerer. He had been also in Italy, welcomed and rewarded by Otho the Great; he had taken the lead in the election of Hugh Capet. His elevation to the archbishopric of Rheims placed Hugh in direct antagonism to the papacy, and added much to the troubles of the king’s life. And in truth his reign was a constant struggle; he won his kingly name with a life-time of anxious work, and with loss of much of his own domain, which he had to grant out as rewards to the faithfulness of his followers. At the time of his death in 996 it looked as if he was a weaker man than he had been nine years before. the Norman and Aquitanian dukes were stronger than he was, stronger than they themselves had been nine years before; in Burgundy his brother’s power was little more than a nominal lordship; the eastern frontier of France seemed to be split up into a chain of independent principalities.

On the Christmas day after his election in 987, Hugh Capet had called together his friends at Orleans, and had persuaded them to elect his eldest son Robert as a jointking. Himself king by the will of his peers, he clearly desired to give the new kingship the hereditary impress, and to secure it to his family; and it may be noticed that in no country has the strict law of hereditary succession been so potent as in France, overbearing, as it did in the extreme case of Henry IV., even the opposition which that prince aroused, and securing an unbroken male descent down to the Revolution.

Robert succeeded as sole king in 996, - not a good exchange for the infant kingship. For if the vigorous Hugh was embarrassed by both friends and foes, Robert, with far moiré piety and far less force of character, seemed certain to be overwhelmed. For Robert "the Pious" or ‘the Debonair," was an easy kindly man, the delight of monkish chroniclers, endowed with all the charming and dangerous virtues which commend themselves in the man, and often prove fatal to the king. His was a long inglorious reign of twenty-five years, - a constant struggle, first with the church for his wife, afterwards with his barons for his existence.

His first wife has been his distant cousin. The papacy, which could do nothing against his father, forced him to put her away; and though he did so very reluctantly =, he speedily took another wife, Constance of Aquitaine, politically an important alliance, though she led him but a wretched life. The followers who came with her from the south introduced new tastes and ideas into the ruder north, and were regarded with detestation by the clergy as effeminate and vicious foreigners. We note a national feeling springing up, - for nationality is nowhere so marked as in its hatreds; to the barons and clergy of the Seine the people of the Garonne were aliens. The opposition also which existed between feudal nobles and churchmen, and the oppressed people struggling for some liberty of action and belief, expressed itself in the futile rising of the peasantry in Normandy (997), and in the slaughter of the Manichaean heretics of Orleans. The whole country was also vexed with civil strife; the king had to contend with his masterful queen, backed by her rebellious sons Henry, heir to the throne, and Robert, duke of Burgundy; in Normandy Richard the Fearless died in 1027, leaving war between his sons; the successful brother Robert secured the dukedom, and, thanks to dark suspicious as to his methods, went by the title of "the Devil."

Robert I. died in 1031, to the great grief of his poor people, to whom, after his way, he had tried to be as a father. His son Henry, whom he had tried to be as a father. His son Henry, whom he had crowned as joint-king in 1017, succeeding to the throne, had to face the bitter hostility of his mother and of the duke of Burgundy. The duke of Normandy, following the policy of his house, sided with the king, and, crushing the revolted barons on his flank and that of France, made his already terrible name a curse to central France. A peace was patched up by Fulk Nerra, count of Anjou; Robert was confined in his duchy of Burgundy, and ere long Constance, by dying, smoothed the way to tranquility; the weak king gave in before the strong nature of Robert le Diable, and Normandy became the most powerful state in France. The condition of the whole country, scourged with incessant private war, and lacking all central authority, became so bad that the church at last intervened; in 1036 the "Peace of God" was proclaimed, and accepted in southern and eastern France; the bishops of Burgundy also did their best for peace, and at last the bishops of the north also followed their example. in 1041 was proclaimed the famous "Treuga Dei," the Truce of God, in which all fighting was forbidden from Thursday evening to Monday morning, on all feast days, in Advent and in Leut; religion thus endeavored to extend her protection over almost all the year, and greatly mitigated, if it did not abolish, the evils of private warfare. Many were the signs that some great change was coming. The terrors and hopes roused at the millennial year; those feelings renewed and strengthened, only to be disappointed, at the date of the thousandth year from the crucifixion of our Lord; the fearful contrast between the famine and misery desolating France and the brilliant dreams of the coming kingdom of the just; the slow but real entry of Oriental learning into the west of Europe; the steady set of a stream of pilgrims toward the Holy Land, pre-eminent among whom was Robert of Normandy; the renewal of Norma adventure and conquest, specially in southern Italy; the establishment of the ascendancy of monasticism with its champion Hildebrand at Rome, and its renewed vigor in both France and Germany, - all these things mark the reign of Henry I. as a time of preparation for the world’s struggle that was coming, fro the terrible strife of Christian and Saracen over the holy places of Palestine. The conquest of Sicily and southern Italy, as well as that of England a few years later, made the Normans the foremost champions of the papacy and the leading power in Europe.

During hands: Robert, weak and pious, had done nothing to strengthen his throne; his son Henry, immersed in petty warfare, fared no better, and feeling his end to be drawing near, in 1059 had his son Philip crowned as joint-king with himself. He died in 1060, leaving his throne to a prince weaker even than himself. The contrast between these petty kings of France and the grim dukes of Normandy must strike every one: Richard the Fearless, Robert the Devil, William the Conqueror, colossal figures, strong and fierce, take all the sunlight from gentle Robert, weak Henry, dissolute Philip, kings of France. And, in fact, a history of France which should take account only of her kings and their reigns would be completely delusive; the royal power is felt in this 11th century over a very small part of the surface of the country; the great lords are stronger by far than the king in their midst. Normandy rises to very great eminence; Aquitaine is fairly consolidated into a strong southern power; though towards the east the more Germanic princes split the land into petty lordships, the two Lorraines are sometimes under one duke; on the other side Brittany was entirely independent. Across the whole northern frontier the German influence was supreme. Philip was little able to cope with these antagonists. He made an attempt, which failed, to secure Flanders; he withstood William the Bastard in 1076, and made peace with him; and when, after the Conqueror’s death, Norman and English interests were somewhat parted, the dangers of a Norman ascendancy over France diminished. Somewhat later (1094) Philip was involved in a contest with Rome, the church being now the champion of Fulk of Anjou, whom the king had wronged by carrying off his wife, - a struggle as honorable for the papacy as it was discreditable to Philip. The church, however, was not how led by the mighty hand of Hildebrand. Gregory VII. had died in 1085, and in the reaction which followed it looked as if the papacy itself might fall. Germany, ever protesting, opposed its claims, often with an anti-pope of her own; the French king, a weak man with a wretched cause, was yet able to defy the pontiff; William the Bastard, even in Hildebrand’s days, had refused to acknowledged his claims; the Normans in Italy were at best but turbulent friends; the Saracen was still a threatening neighbor . In these dark, cloudy times the papacy, by a wise instinct, took for its motto the ancient "ex Oriente lux," and placed itself in the van of that general movement which led to the crusades. The pope who took the great step was Urban II., a Frenchman by birth; it seemed to him that if he could stir the warm blood of turbulent French nobles, and the sterner valor of the Norman character, he might head a holy enterprise, and so doing deliver the papacy from all its difficulties, and perhaps assert its lordship over the world.

Urban crossed the Alps in 1095, and came to Clermont in Avergne. There he was in a central position, within reach of both southern and northern France, and yet not within the domain of the excommunicated Philip, sitting sulkily at Paris. The pope’s famous sermon at the council, though at the moment it seemed to fall flat on princely ears set the crusades in motion, and was the prelude to great events, great changes in Asia and Europe. France took the foremost part in the movement; she seemed to lead the half- formed nations of Europe in the common enterprise; her great men are the heroes of the epoch; "the crusades," says Michelet, "had their ideal in two Frenchmen; they are begun by Godfrey of Bouillon (who, however, was not strictly a Frenchman), and Saint closes them." The latent uneasiness and misery of the people needed only the call; a countless multitude of the common folk flocked to the banner of Peter the Hermit. The excitement went on increasing throughout the year 1096, and as it slowly gathered force and form, bystanders must have looked with amazement at the strange materials out of which so great a movement grew. The first crusade was altogether popular in character; there was in it little of knowledge or discipline; it was rather like those instinctive emigrations which, flowing from the north or east from time to time, have overwhelmed the more civilized portions of the world. In the pope’s sermon at Clermont there was a striking passage which contrasted the wretchedness of men’s daily life in France with the comfort of the "land flowing with milk and honey" towards which he directed their eyes. Religious enthusiasm joined with present misery; the dream of a millennial home in Palestine instead of famine and pestilence in France – here is the force which set the first army moving towards the east. And, naturally enough, that first army was almost entirely composed of the common people; the feudal lord felt none of the stings of want, and as yet had no interest in Eastern adventure.

The vast throng of crusaders who set off eastwards in the summer of 1096 was divided into three hosts. The van was led by the one soldier of the company, Walter the Pennyless, - he had at his back about fifteen thousand footmen; the main body of French pilgrims, led by Peter the hermit, followed next; then came a rabble of German peasants, under the guidance of God scale, a monk; on the skirts of the whole force hung an independent body of horsemen. A small band of Norman knights alone saved this crusade from absolute contempt. With great loss the host traversed Europe, and were put across the Bosphorus by the emperor Alexius. There they met the Turk at last, and found him more than their match. The energy of Kilidg Arslan, the sultan of Nieaea, soon destroyed them all; they perished far from the walls of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile the interest in the holy places was far from growing less in France. It at last attracted the attention of the lord as well as of the vassal, and the second expedition promised to be very different from the first. Like the first, it was also divided into three hosts, - a northern, a central, and a southern. The northern army was composed of Flemings and Lorrainers, under command of Godfrey of Bouillon, duke of Lower Lorriane, a Caroling prince ; it had little or no French blood in it. The central army was French, Norman, and Burgundian, headed by Hugh, count of Vermandois, King Philip’s brother, who commanded the Frenchmen; by Robert, duke of Normandy, leading Englishmen and Normans; by Alan of Brittany, with his Celtic following; and by Stephen of Blois, head of that powerful house, who had espoused Adela, the daughter of William the Bastard, and was father of Stephen afterwards king of England. The third army, by far the most complete and best equipped, was composed of the southerners subject to Raymond of Toulouse. The Italian Normans, under Tancred and Bohemond,. Set forth by themselves. These all, by sea or land, converged on Constantinople, and great was the anxiety of Alexius, who had but one wish, that he might see them safely across the narrow strait which severs Europe from Asia. At last they were all passed over; and William of Tyre declares that at a great muster held on the Asiatic shore there stood forth seven hundred thousand men in all. the figures may be extravagant; there is no doubt that the host was vast and strong. And so Kilidg Arslan found it. He attacked them again and again as they moved southwards through Asia Minor; but they defeated and crippled him so that he could not stay their advance. They reached Antioch, and took it after a long siege and fierce fighting, which broke the power of the Seljukian Turks. They left Bohemond the Normans as prince of Antioch, and marched onwards. Baldwin, Godfrey’s brother, moving eastward to succour the Christina lord of Edessa, took the place for himself and founded the Frankish county of Edessa in 1097. The main body, reduced by many causes to about forty thousand warriors, reached Jerusalem, and after a desperate siege, signalized by prodigies of valor, stormed the holy city on the 15th of July 1099. The crusaders at once elected Godfrey of Bouillon king of Jerusalem; and though he did not accept so sacred a title, he became lord of the holy city, and the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem began. So long as he lived, he ruled with vigor and success; and the year 1100 seemed to have almost fulfilled the millennial hopes which had been so bright a century before. the battle of Antioch in 1098 had broken the Seljukian power; that of Ascalon in 1099 checked the Fatimites; and Godfrey seemed likely to found a permanent Christian lordship in the East. But death soon closed his career, and the organization of the great conquest was left to others. Four Latin principalities, Jerusalem, Tripolis, Antioch, and Edessa, were formed, and arranged on the strictest principles of conscious feudalism: the new kingdom of Jerusalem held only of the papacy.

At home the French monarchy was far from quiet, indolent Philip being threatened by the vigorous attack of William II. of England, who claimed once more the French Vexin, and also made war on the count of Maine. In this obscure warfare Philip’s eldest son Louis, to whom was entrusted the defence of the western frontier, showed ample promise of his vigor, though it was the arrow in the new Forest which in 1100 relieved the French king of all fear of his rival. Henry Beauclersm the Conqueror’s youngest son, succeeded William in England, and before long (1106) had conquered and captured at Tinchebray his elder brother Robert Courthose, the crusading duke of Normandy. Under his capable government England and Normandy enjoyed repose and prosperity.

When it was known in the West that Godfrey of Bouillon was dead, and that the infant kingdom of Jerusalem was in danger, William IX. of Aquitaine, who, now that Raymond of Toulouse had settled at Tripolis, had become the foremost prince of southern France, set forth with new levies to the succour of the cause. He was joined by some few northern barons, one of whom, Herpin of Bourges, sold his lordship to Philip of France, and began that transfer of feudal territory which was of the highest service to the kingly power. With Bourges the French monarchy for the first time got footing on the south bank of the Loire. The expedition failed ignominiously; William came home to Aquitaine almost alone; and an attempt made somewhat later by Bohemond of Antioch on Constantinople itself came also to nothing. With these two failures the first crusade ended. As yet its effects on France could hardly be felt; the papacy alone was at first seen to be a gainer by the movement. For the new and rigid feudalism of Jerusalem, with its hierarchy of lords, and its code of justice, the famous Assises, all eventually looked to the papacy as its head. While the Western monarchs all strove against the pope, the pope was the sole support and undisputed master of the monarchy of the East. In one respect this first crusade is specially interesting to France; her language, newly assured of independent life, no longer a patois or a dialect of the common Latin, received fresh recognition, and spread abroad in the world. As Latin was the common speech of the church, so French became the common speech of warlike Christendom. It had been carried by the Normans into England and Sicily; now it was the recognized tongue of the Latinized East; and from this time onward it was adopted as the language of feudal and political life.





In the year 1100 Philip, following the traditional usage of his house, had made his son Louis joint-king, and put off the burdens of his royalty. The young man, full of vigor and a true king, had a hard struggle at the first; the limits of the royal power were very narrow; Louis is said to have built the greater Chatelet at Paris as a defence against the neighboring lord of Montmorency, who disputed with him the mastership over the plain of St Denis; on the other side, he had much ado to come by the castle of Montleheri, which barred his way southward to Orleans; his mastery over his own barons was very slight; his suzerainty in districts farther off, over Champagne and Burgundy, over Normandy and elsewhere, was scarcely more than nominal. But Louis had force of character; his nicknames testify thereto, for was he not styled "the Eveille, the Wideawake," and "the Batailleur, the Bruiser?" He knew how to rouse enthusiasm among his followers; no prince ever had a more loyal household or a stronger; the crusades relieved him of some of his most turbulent neighbors; the up springing of the commune, with their civic liberties, afforded a counterpoise to the feudal violence of the baron’s castle; above all, the royal domains under him were well administered. First of Capetian kings, he was felt to be the fount of justice, and it was seen that, as his wise biographer Suger says, "he studied the peace and comfort of ploughmen, laborers, and poor folk, a thing long unwonted," and all the more grateful for its novelty. The most marked of these characteristics of King Louis VI’s reign was the growth of town liberties, which began just before and after the year 1100. France has always been remarkable for the large number of her small towns and her deficiency in large ones; the time we have reached gives us the beginning of this phenomenon. The little towns all though central France now became the refuge of the population against feudal lawlessness and oppression; and in the very center, in the district round Paris, they took up the defence of the royal power against its most dangerous feudal neighbor, the duke of Normandy. "At this period," says Ordericus Vitalis, "popular communities were established by the bishops, in such sort that parish priest accompanied the king to siege or battle, bearing the parish flag, and followed by all the youth of the township." This movement showed itself most clearly in the towns just to the north of Paris. Laon, Noyon, Beauvais, the three seats of the clerical party, Saint Querntin, and a few others, all at this time bargained for and bought their liberties. He king placed himself at their head. As each parish priest, representing some little town, marched with the banner of that saint to whom his church was dedicated, so did King Louis go forth with the flag of his own church, the oriflamme of St Denis. He is the first king of France who bore it officially; by it he declared himself champion of the Church of France, and of the new burgher-life which was springing up around him. The peasant also was glad to be on the same side. In the king’s struggle against feudal independence we see continually how well he was seconded by the aggrieved rustics as well as by the civic levies, or by the "damsels," the young gentlemen who formed his warlike court. It would be misleading to say that this new burgher-life was the king’s doing; he seems to have felt but little interest in it, great as was its influence on the future. He granted and withdrew charters according as it suited him, or as men offered him more or less. Even to the larger towns, the chief cities of the royal domain, Paris, Orleans, Melun, Etampes, and Compiegne, he only granted privileges, not any real constitutional rights. It is one of the misfortunes of French history that constitutional liberties never seem possible, - that even in the outset they are blighted, and in the end they perish.

By degrees Louis VI. Secured his frontiers to the east, the north, and the south; with the west, where lay the fiercer Norman, it was a harder task. In 1119 he lost the battle of Brenneville, and had to abandon the cause of William Clito, son of Robert duke of Normandy, who claimed the duchy against Henry I. of England. In 1124 he was once more in collision with his Norman neighbor; for Henry Beauclerc had allied himself with his son-in-law Henry V. of Germany, who promised to attack the French king from the east, while Henry I, should assault him in the west. Louis VI. Raised all central France to the rescue; it was seen how powerful he had become. His own men came in at once, and formed the nucleus of his army; his body-guard and the men of Paris, Orleans, and Etampes were in the center round the sacred oriflamme, which Louis now brought forth for the first time. champagne and Burgundy were there; Vermandois also with horse and foot; Pontoise, Amiens, and Beauvais sent the men of their communes. The greater lords farther off, though they held back, did not contest the king’s right to call them out. The emperor, struck by this show to energy, or aware of troubles behind his back in Germany, abandoned all his plans of revenge against Rheims, where the council of French clergy gad excommunicated him. The king soon made peace with Henry of England, and the storm passed over.

The fortunate issue of this war, and the king’s interposition in the affairs of his neighbors, the submission of William of Aquitaine to his judgment, his attempt to find a lordship in Flanders for his friend William Clito, marked Louis VI. Outas a powerful king, who had in fact triumphed over opposition at home and abroad. He followed precedent and had Philip his eldest son crowned in 1129; he, however, was killed by accident in 1131, and the king then took his younger son Louis, "Louis the Young," as men called him, and crowned him as joint0king. The troubles of England, connected with the reign of Stephen, relieved him of anxiety for the rest of his days on his western borders; and the offer of William of Aquitaine to wed his daughter Eleanor to the young joint-king seemed to promise the happiest future for France. Louis VI. just lived to arrange the marriage, and then, on his way to St Denis, where he yearned to end his days, for it was the school of his youth and the home of Abbot Suger his dearest friend, he was taken ill at Paris, and there died in the year 1137.

This was the first real king of France, a man of noble nature and true kingly gifts. His greatest cross was his unwieldy bulk, though it could not hinder his activity; he was humble of heart and kindly, cheerful in health or sickness, a true father to his people. Had his successor been a man like himself, the task of welding France into one kingdom might have been achieved centuries ere it was at last brought to pass.

But Louis VII., the Young, and his queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, left her father’s death at this same time heiress of his great possession in the south, were far below the level of the fat king, and retarded instead of forwarding the growth of the French monarchy. The advance of the country in mental and material prosperity during he late reign had been immense. Thanks to the crusades, and to the tranquility which prevailed at home, town-life flourished, religion woke to new life, church-building took a fresh departure, philosophy began to feel her strength. If these are the days of St Bernard, last of fathers, they were also the days of Abelard, one of the first of intellectual inquirers. To him is due the mental reputation of Paris, which in its turn led on at the end of the century to the establishment of the university of Paris, mother of all the learned corporations of modern Europe.

Louis VII. was no sooner sole king than he began to show how far he was below his great father; he was weak, timid before the church, vexed with a scrupulous conscience, the delight of monkish chroniclers, the contempt of men. From the beginning his ventures failed. He tried to coerce the great count of Toulouse into submission, and was ignominiously repulsed; he carried on a quarrel with the papacy over the cathedral at Bourges; declared, with Suger’s support, that he had the right to nominate to that archbishopric; found Theobald count of Champagne for his own purposes opposed to him; attacked him impetuously and burnt down Vitry church, in which a crowd of poor folk had taken refuge. The village bears in consequence to this day the name of Vitry le Brute, the Burnt. Then, stung with remorse, he gave way before the pope, who enjoined on him a crusade as a penance. In vain did the prudent and patriotic Suger oppose the royal impulse. Weak and excitable, the young king could not be held; the passionate appeals of St Bernard were far more to his taste. It is interesting to note these two great and rival churchmen pitted against one another: St Bernard champion of the universal lordship of the papacy, Suger endeavoring to defend the independence of the French monarchy. St Bernard was the life of the movement; he was, however, too prudent to undertake the leading of it; he would provide the impulse, others must shape it to its end. In this crusade (1147) Germany preceded France, and the expeditions were headed by Conrad the emperor, and by the French king, who entrusted the charge of his country to his old preceptor Suger, although he would not follow his advice. This great churchman, a little man, weakly and thin, was of obscure and ignoble origin; he was educated at St Denis, side by side with the good king Louis VI., and afterwards appointed abbot of that famous church. While St Bernard represented patristic learning, and Abelard Greek philosophy, Suger was noted as a diligent student of holy scripture. He was the trusted adviser of both Louis VI. and Louis VII., and by his conduct as regent justified their confidence, and earned the name of Pater Patriae. He has left in his writings more than one proof of his interest in the wellbeing of the French people, and of their wretchedness under their feudal masters, - one village "under the lord’s castle trodden down and as miserable as if it were under Saracen oppression;" another , "subject to three talliages, - almost entirely destitute through the rapacity of its masters; "another,. "so ravaged by the lord that it became utterly unfruitful and useless;" or again, in a fourth place, "the poor folk could scarce exist under the burden of so wicked an oppression." Under Suger’s eye prosperity in part came back; but he could not hinder the failure of the crusading king, whose career in the east was a discredit and calamity. It alienated Queen Eleanor, lost him southern France, made him the contempt of his subjects. In 1149 he returned home with the merest fragment of an army, and Suger humbly withdrew from public life to St Denis, spending the remnant of his days in good works and wise reforms within that narrower sphere.

At once Queen Eleanor sent to the pope for a divorce, and Louis VII. made but a half-hearted opposition, for she was in truth far too proud and vehement for him. The pope granted her wish in 1152, and immediately after Henry of Anjou wooed and won her, becoming thereby the strongest prince in France. The king tried in vain to make a league against him. Henry compelled all his foes to make peace with him, and became lord over France from the Norman frontier across to the Gulf of Lyons. In 1154 he ascended the English throne as Henry II. Vigorous and determined fortunate in his marriage, his own resources, his kingship in England, it seemed certain that he would overthrow his feeble rival, and wear on his head the two crowns of France and England. He made Rouen his chief and favorite capital, - for he was far less English than French, - attempted capital, - for he was far less English than French, - attempted Toulouse, attacked the Bretons, reduced Louis VII. to peace, getting Margaret the daughter of Louis as wife for his eldest son Henry. She brought him some frontier castles, which much strengthened his hold on Normandy. By about the year 1160 Henry II. has reached the highest limit of his almost imperial power. He had planted out his sons as vassal kings in Normandy. Anjou, Ireland; he completely overshadowed all the other princes of Europe. It was not till he tried to restrain the clergy that his troubles began. The Constitutions of Clarendon were passed kin 1164; the quarrel with Becket did not tarry. The French king gladly supported Henry’s foe, and the struggle lasted till Becket’s murder in 1172, a crime which was fatal to the fortunes of Henry II. In 1172 Eleanor, deeming herself wronged by her spouse, set her Aquitaines in revolt against him’ her sons also joined her, and Louis VII. entered once more into the strife. He was soon taught that it was folly for him to measure swords with Henry: the great Angevin monarch held firm hold of all his Continental possessions.

Then Louis in 1179, feeling himself old, caused his son Philip, then aged fifteen, to be crowned as joint-king. At the coronation of Philip Augustus at Rheims it is said that the twelve peers of France. – six laymen, six ecclesiastics,-were all present. They were the dukes of Normandy, Burgundy, and Guienne, the counts of Flanders, Champagne, and Toulouse, the archbishop of Rheims, and the bishops of Laon, Noyon, Chalons, Beauvais, and Langres.

This was the last act of this long reigning prince, who died in 1180. He had been sole king since 1137, and in the main had done little harm if little good. he was kindly and pious, learned beyond the princes of his age; and so long as he listened to the sage counsels of Suger he reigned not aims. In his days agriculture largely improved, lands were brought under tillage, the countryman had peace and felt some sunshine of prosperity; the lesser towns also flourished, for Louis VII. was friendly on the whole to the communal advance, and issued no less than twenty-four civic charters. His greatest misfortune was his spouse, his greatest blunder his crusade; for a weak well-meaning man, it is wonderful how little harm he did. As so often occurs in history, he is the mean prince between two great men; we are obliged to contrast him with Louis VI., his active and able farther, and with Philip Augustus, his proud, unscrupulous, and vigorous son. It is under these three princes that the French feudal monarchy takes definite shape.
Philip Augustus, cold and patient, proud and firm, without high impulses, lacking in enthusiasms, ungenerous, sometimes even deceitful and mean, a hard man and terrible rather than noble, a man who trusted in law and cared little for justice was clearly a formidable person. His reign of forty-three years – just the same in length with that of his father – could not fail to have great influence on the fortunes of his country. History must favor him: the contrasts, "Louis the Young," his father, and John Lackland of England, are all entirely in his favor: the rivalry between the houses of Capet and Anjou turned to his advantage; the sum of results in his reign leaves on us the sense of greatness and strength, supported by good fortune.

Philip Augustus began his long reign with acts of vigor and severity. His gentler father could not be persuaded to touch the Jews: but Philip banished them from the realm in 1182; he issued edicts, which he also enforced, against vices, and against heretics; in all he showed signs of a strong and unpleasant character. In 1185 he began with his neighbors, - had as little war with the count of Flanders, which won himm the county of Vermandois and the border city of Amiens, key of the line of the Somme. Next, he fell to blows with the duke of Burgundy, and reduced him to submission. In 1186 we find him holding peaceful discussions with his most formidable neighbor the duke of Normandy, and beginning a movement which after long years ended in the annexation of the proud duchy to the kingdom. Richard Coeur de Lion was too turbulent a prince to let things long remain at peace. Disputes sprang up as to frontier districts, such as the Vexin, and as to the falling-in of the Breton dukedom. Sometimes with Henry II., sometimes with his revellious son, Philip was constantly conferring or quarreling, though the grandeur of the old king of England overawed his young rival, whose policy with respect to him looks to us timid and irresolute, and sometimes mean. Os things went on till 1187, when tidings of the fall of Jerusalem seemed to still all lesser controversy; and Philip and Henry, meeting once more under the Gisors oak, made peace and took the cross. All Europe was stirred into action; the emperor Frederick Barbarossa and the chief German dukes, Richard Coeur de Lion, with all the greater lords and barons, prepared to set forth. But ere they went troubles again broke out between the two kings, and Henry, deserted by his sons, was forced to a shameful peace, which involved the cession of Berri to France, and involved also the death of the broken-hearted monarch (1189).

With the death of Henry II. we feel that we have passed the highest point in the fortunes of the house of Anjou, and that now the Capets must prevail in France.

Now followed the third crusade, which brought much barren glory to the new king of England, which caused the death of barbarossa, drowned in the little river Cydnus (Carasu) in Cilicia, which added nothing to the honor or the power of Philip Augustus. He saw the taking of Ptolemais, and ere long, wearying of the uncongenial sport, handed over his Frenchmen to his kinsman the duke of Burgundy, and, swearing not to molest Richard’s territories, set sail for Europe. He broke his word at once by allying himself with John and fanning that mean prince’s jealousy of his nephew Arthur of Brittany. When tidings reached Philip that Richard had been taken prisoner by Leopold of Austria, the French king did not hesitate at once to take advantage of his misfortune. He attacked Normandy, and in concert with John, laid siege to Rouen. When, however, the emperor let Richard go free, his onward course was checked, and the war ended by a truce, Philip becoming master of Auvergne and withdrawing his hand from Normandy (1186). Richard at once did his best to raise up obstacles against him. Now rose the noble walls of Chateau Gaillard to protect Rouen , which, since Gisors had returned to France, was entirely open towards the east. For a while his warlike genius and skill in fortification seemed to check the French king’s ambition. His end, however, was at hand; besieging Chalus, he was wounded by an arrow, and the wound was fatal. He died in 1199, leaving his crown to his brother John, whose weakness was sure to be Philip’s opportunity. Of all the great house of Anjou none remained save John and little Arthur of Brittany; it was clear that ill-will must spring up between these two princes, and what so clear as that Philip would be ready to pluck advantage from the quarrel. At once, on John’s accession , while England and Normandy accepted him, the other French-speaking districts, Anjou, Maine, Poitou, and Touraine, as well as Brittany, declared for Arthur, and placed themselves under the willing protection of Philip, who suggested a fair division-the French-speaking lands, including Normandy, for Arthur, England for King John. It was clearly impossible that John, with his un-English character and bringing up, should accept banishment to the island; war broke out, and Philip, in Arthur’s name, seized on Brittany, and presently making peace with John, abandoned Arthur’s cause. He made his profit out of the short war and peace, no doubt; but the true reason for his peaceable humor was his controversy with the pope, who had interfered with him over the old royal difficulty, his wife. Philip had sent away Ingeborg, his Danish queen, and had taken the fair Agnes of Meran. The pope, Innocent III., came to the rescue of the wronged lady, threatening Philip with excommunication and France with interdict. In 1200 he carried out his threat. The proud king struggled awhile against papal interference; in the end he found it better to yield, and replaced Ingeborg on his throne. He was now ready to interpose once more between King John and hapless Arthur. In 1202 John gave him the chance. Arthur fell into his uncle’s hands, was lodged in the castle at Rouen, and from that day vanished from life and history. His subjects at once rose in his behalf, and Philip marched southwards into Poiton. Having there secured his authority as Arthur’s avenger, he turned north again and swiftly fell on Normandy. In the autumn of 1203 he laid siege to Chateau Gaillard, then defended by Roger de Lacy, constable of Chester. In vain did Innocent III. interfere between the kings. Philip now had justice and an outraged people on his side, and soon showed the pope that his intervention would not be allowed. Early in 1204 the great fortress fell. John, who had done nothing to avert the blow, had actually fled from his capital Rouen to England; from that day onward the center of the kingdom was destined to be at London; the controversy for precedence between England and Normandy on that day came to an end. Philip passed triumphantly through Normandy. Poitou, Touraine, Anjou, also placed themselves in his hand, and King John retained a few places near the coast, with Rochelle as his one port of entry into France. Brittany, hitherto a fief of Normandy, henceforth must pay Lomage to the conqueror of that duchy.





The next decade of years was marked by the beginning of great troubles in the south. There flourished sciences, literature, the arts; there men thought and spoke as they would; there the Kew and the infidel could live side by side with the Christian; there the church was weak and feudalism had no hold. The earlier efforts of Innocent III. bearing little fruit, in 1208 his vengeance fell on Raymond of Toulouse, and the Albigensian crusade began. The pope called on the French to help; and, though Philip himself did not interfere, he did not hinder crowds of his ecclesiastics and lay lords from taking the cross. Under the command of St Dominic, the spiritual power plied its merciless arms; led by Simon of Montfort the elder, the lay sword vigorously supported the thunders of the church. Languedoc was laid waste, her fair culture trodden in the dust, her ancient cities, centers of civilization, burnt and ravaged. No war was ever more atrocious; the grim fanaticism of Simon ably seconded the pitiless orthodoxy of Dominic. The war raged till 1212, when Raymond was forced to flee into Aragon, while Monfort seemed certain to found for himself a great southern principality. The attempt of Peter of Aragon to drive him out, and to keep back the northerner from his borders, ended in that prince’s defeat and death, and by 1215 Simon was lord of almost all the south; the great Lateran Council, held in that year, confirmed him and his crusaders in possession of it. The two Raymonds of Toulouse, father and son, now made yet one more effort; the south was weary of the foreign invader, and made common cause with them; Toulouse rose against Simon, and in the siege which followed he was killed (1217). Philip now interfered at last, with an army reinforcing Amaury, Simon’s son; the heroic south resisted gallantly, and the elder Raymond was able to bequeath his whole inheritance to his son. For a few years the invader and the persecutor were driven out of the land.

Meanwhile Philip had not been idle; the crusade was doing his work in the south, and the incapacity of king John of England gave him an opening in the north. In both he showed himself as the chief friend of the papacy; but while in the south he mainly contented himself with passive approval till towards the end of the struggle, in the north he set himself to take an active part, and in 1213 called an assembly of barons at Soissons, to prepare for an invasion of England. From this, however, he was stayed by Pandulf, the pope’s legate, and turned his hand instead against Ferrand of Flanders, who had refused to obey his summons. His fleet, sent up to occupy the mouth of the Scheldt, was attacked and ruined by English ships, and Philip got but a poor consolation by pillaging some of the wealthy Flemish cities. In 1214 he had to face a grand coalition of enemies. Ferrand was supported on one hand by the king of England, on the other by the emperor otho, - the former undertaking to attackPoitou, the latter to enter Flanders. The moment was very critical for Philip; his barons went in heart with the feudal lords against their royal master. John, however, though he landed at La Rochelle and took Angers, fell back on the first resistance, and was of no avail. Otho entered Flanders, and Philip came up to meet him. They met at Boucines (29th Aug. 1214), and there Philip won a great victory over Flemings, Germans, and English. Otho fled, a ruined man; Ferrand of Flanders, the earl of Salisbury, and Renaud of Boulogne were prisoners. To the battle of Bouvines are due on the one hand the firm establishment of the French monarchy, on the other the security of English baronial liberties by Magna Charta. Philip had now secured the west, weakened the south, and crushed the great coalition of the north. Little remained for him but to consolidate his power. He had sent his son Louis into England to support the barons against King John; when, however, John died the English barons and people refused to depose his son Henry III.; Louis had to withdraw to France.

For the remainder of his life Philip lived in peace, save when he interposed to support the northern invaders of the south of France. His government was wise and tranquil; he allied himself closely with the church throughout; and when he died in 1223 he left a large part of the fortune he had amassed to his clergy, while he took care to hand his great territories unbroken to his son Louis VIII.

Philip Augustus was, as has been said, "a great king, not a great man." His name survives to France in the memory of the fact that by conquering Normandy he made royalty great. He was also king of Paris, for he built the present Notre Dame, erected her market, paved and cleansed the streets, built almshouses, secured a good water-supply, strengthened her defences by making new walls around the city; above all, he sanctioned and supported, if he did not actually found, her university. To his action in this and to the abatement of grudges between France and England we owe it that eh first of English universities, Oxford, drew her earliest inspiration from Paris, and was established in the main on the same lines. New branches of study were cultivated; medicine , experimental philosophy, and law began to occupy the minds of men. And Philip was, by character and knowledge of his position, a lawyer. If great men are noted for their passion for justice, great kings are irresistibly attracted towards law; and Philip, with his delight in the newly-revived Roman law, stands fair comparison with the "English Justinian," Edward I. For the Roman law provided high sanction for his kingly claims, - a sharp instrument for the punishing of popes and princes. The king’s sagacitycarried him safely through great crises of the date of royalty, through his struggles with the papacy and with the powerful feudal princes. Besides Normandy and Brittany, Flanders, Champagne, and Languedoc had to bow before his authority; while he reduced the power of the great lords, he actually had the courage to give them a special organization by establishing the great court of peers, whom he called together to help him in condemning King John. Proud, cold, and sagacious, Philip is among the greatest of the founders of the later French royalty.

His successor Louis VIII. reigned only three years (1223-1226). In an attempted to carry out the wishes of the VIII. church in the south, and to crush the heretics, he was attacked by camp fever after the siege of Avignon. He died, leaving behind him a young son Louis, then twelve years old, under the care of his vigorous and ambitious widow Blanche of Castile. The early years of the reign of Louis IX. were spent in ceaseless strife. The great lords thought that they discerned in the accession of a child their watched for opportunity; but the vigor of Queen Blanche, and the hearty support of Paris and the towns, made them accept the treaty of St Aubin du Cormier in 1231; the king’s position was secured, and his troubles came to an end. Henry III. of England, on whose aid the princes had depended, failed them, and they were fain to make the best terms they could. This struggle was followed by a long contest with the bishops, in which the young king learnt lessons which stood him in good stead; it is probably to this contest that he owed the successes of his later life,- that he was able, as few kings had been, to combine earnest devotion with an absolute superiority to priestly rule and influence. In many ways circumstances proved friendly to the young king. Theobald of Champagne, becoming king of Navarre, sold some valuable fiefs to Louis; the Treaty of Meaux a little time before had closed the contest between north and south by the submission of Raymond VII., count of Toulouse; one after another the leading nobles ceased to compete with the crown. During all these early years of his reign Louis had constant help from the strong hand of his mother; imperious and masterful, she ruled him and the land thoroughly and successfully. He stood wisely clear of the great struggle which went on all these years between Frederick II. and the papacy.

In 1242 came the king’s first serious warfare. He had tried to set his brother Alphonse over Poitou and Auvergne, whereon the reluctant nobles called in Henry III. to their help. Henry came with a small army and large supplies. Louis, however, hastened down to meet him, reduced all the country north of the Charente, defeated him twice, and that incompetent prince fell back to Bordeaux, where he wasted his time and means. in 1243 he was obliged to make his peace with Louis, and gladly withdraw to England. At this same time Raymond VII. also rose against the king; he was, however, soon reduced to order. In 1244 the last of the Albigensians perished at Mont Segur, the whole of them preferring to be burnt rather than retract their opinions. Fitly to end this period of his life, Louis IX. issued an edict that no lord should hold fiefs under both the king of France and the king of England; almost all his lords abandoned their English allegiance, and rallied round him alone. This movement made the distinction between English and French feeling stronger, and rendered the wars of the future more really national. In 1245 Charles of Anjou, the king’s brother, wedded the great heiress of the south, the Countess Beatrice. This fortunate marriage closed the independent political life of Provence, which thus passed to the house of Anjou; its fortunes were consequently long bound up with those of the kingdom of Sicily.

Up to this time Louis IX., being mostly under the command of his mother, had shown little sign of greater qualities; now came the crisis which called them forth. He had acted with singular prudence in the contests which surrounded his earlier years, had held aloof from the investiture wars, had stood clear of eastern complications, had kept his barons quiet. Now however, he was no longer to confine himself to affairs at home; the east, with its dazzling attractions of religion and romance, called for his care; by going thither he would escape from the conflict nearer home, the internecine between the emperor Frederick II. and the papacy, under Innocent IV., and would fulfill the devout longings of his pious spirit by succouring the afflicted Christians against the Moslem and the Tartar. Louis took the cross in 1244, with his three brothers, Robert of Artois, Alphonse of Poittiers, and Charles of Anjou; at Christmas 1245, "the day of new clothes," when his courtiers donned their new-made cloaks, they found the significant cross on every shoulder; still nothing was done awhile, for in truth France was rightly very reluctant to embark in eastern politics. It was not till 1248 that Louis set sail from Aigues-Mortes for Cyprus, the rendezvous for this crusade. The sultan of Cairo was now lord of Palestine; the Tartars had destroyed the power of the sultan of Konieh; Jerusalem was a defenceless heap of ruins. It therefore seemed best to attack the Moslem power at its center; and this crusade, instead of making for Constantinople, Asia Minor, and Jerusalem, began on the other side by an attack on the headquarters of the Mahometan power in Egypt. In June 1249 the good king landed on the Egyptian shore and took Damietta without a blow. There the crusaders lingered till the place became a Capua to them; for idleness brought on debauch, and debauch disease; and fever, the avenger of war, soon attacked the army. After nearly six months of ruinous delay the king marched southward, fought the heroic though inconclusive battle of Massourah, which finally arrested his farther progress towards Cairo; and after another long delay the Christians were obliged to retire towards Damietta. On the retreat the whole army was taken by the Saracens, who massacred the common folk and held the nobles to ransom. Louis had to surrender Damietta, and to pay a heavy sum before he could sail from Egypt; and even so, he was obliged to leave behind a vast number of Christian captives. Of the remnant of his great host only about one hundred knights followed him to Palestine, 0 a fever-stricken company depressed with ill-fortune and defeat; the rest made for home. Louis landed at Ptolemais, one of the very few ities left in Christian hands, and found little to restore his confidence or the spirits of his followers. He remained four years in the Holy Land, chiefly engaged in arranging the ransom of his captive soldiers; he freed all the prisoners left in Egypt, strengthened the few places held by the Christians, and was almost unmolested by the Saracens, who were nearly as weak IN Palestine as he was, much wanted at home, he set sail at last, and reached France in September 1254, a sorrowful and beaten man. The one bright spot in this crusade was the development of the king’s character; men recognized in him the hero and saint, and what was least wise in his career has covered him with greatest glory. Still, the best part of his reign was to come; nowhere had better government ever been seen in Europe than that which Louis carried on for the sixteen peaceful years which followed his first crusade. Some of his acts have been sharply criticized; all, however, were in the direction and interests of peace. In 1258 he made treaty with King James of Aragon, settling all points of lordship at issue on that frontier; in 1259 he came to terms with Henry III. of England, yielding to him the Limousin Perigord, and parts of Sasintonge, in return for Henry’s abandonment of all claims on the rest of France. Louis hoped thereby to secure perpetual peace and amity between the tow countries. At home all his action tended to good. his noble character, his recognized justice, fairness, and holiness, enabled him to intervene as a peacemaker between his lords; there was in his people, which prompted him to succour those in distress, to govern well because mercifully, to rule in church and state as one who loved justice and judgment, and to whom the welfare of his subjects was a chief object and the aim of life.

Throughout it all, however, he still cherished in heart the enthusiasm of the crusading spirit. He had failed once; he would try again for the faith against the miscreant. And so in 1267 he again took the cross, and in 1270, in spite of the remonstrances of his wisest friends, set sail once more, - this time not for Constantinople or Palestine, or even Egypt, but for Tunis. The probable motive of this attackon Tunis was the ambition of the king’s brother, Charles of Anjou; for a strong Saracen power on that shore was always a menace to his newly acquired Sicilian and Neapolitan kingdom. Be that as it may, the expedition, as a crusade, attacking the very outskirt instead of the heart of the Moslem strength, was foredoomed to fail. The failure came from the beginning; hardly were the crusaders landed when fever and dysentery set in. the king caught it and died. With him ended the crusading era (St Bartholomew’s day, 1270).

Louis the Saint had been a great king, as well as a pious and a virtuous one; in this he stands almost alone in French history. Nor was he backward in matters of learning; his age is an epoch in the growth of French literature. The university of Paris under his care rose to high repute; the greatest learned men in Europe are connected with this period of its history; AlbertusMagnus, Roger Bacon, Saint Thomas Aquinas, all studied at Paris. In his reign Robert of Sorbon (1252) founded his college for ecclesiastics, and the famous Sorbonne began its long career. Literature flourished in prose and poetry; the arts took a fresh beginning; Saint Louis raised that chief ornament of architecture in Paris, the Sainte Chapelle.

Above all, the king was notable for his justice, and the use he made of the law. The law, the natural ally of the throne in France, came to his help; by its aid he attacked or undermined feudal privileges; he established a higher jurisdiction than that of the feudal courts, appointed itinerant justices, insisted on a real right of appeal in last resort to himself, curtailed the powers of baronial courts, and the freedom of baronial warfare, and finally rendered the king’s "parliament" a great law-courts. His legists issued a new code, the "Establishments of Saint Louis," in which feudal custom was largely modified by the Roman law. The king also increased and consolidated the royal domain, acquiring property whenever it was possible, and administering throughout a uniform rule of law. The kingdom also was greatly enlarged by his care: a large portion of the lands of the court of Toulouse, Chartres also, Blois, Sancerre, Macon, Perche, Arles, and Foix, all became his; Normandy was formally made over to him by Henry III. His brother Charles of Anjou not only secured Provence for himself, and eventually for France, but by finally conquering the last of the Hohenstauffen secured, a doubtful good, French influence in southern Italy. Frederick II. and died 1250; Manfred, his base-born son, became king of Naples; and Charles, invoked against the hated Hohenstauffen by Charles, involved against the hated Hohenstauffen by pope Urban IV., defeated Manfred in 1266, and his newphew Conradin, the last of the house, in 1268, thereby becoming king of the Two Sicilies. Then began that system of traditional savageness and cruelty which characterizes all the mediaeval relations of France with Italy. The "Pragmatic Sauction of Saint Louis" is placed in the year 1269, and (if genuine, which is doubtful) laid down the maxims on which the liberties of the Gallican Church are founded. The king and his lawyers were certainly quite as unwilling to allow the church as the baronage to with independence, and to plunge the kingdom into confusion.

Philip III., the Rash, succeeded on his father’s death, - an unlearned, weak man, whose history is uneventful, save that it is the period which the foreign influence ofFrance received a great check through the Sicilian Vespers (1282), which deprived Charles of Anjou of his throne, in spite of the urgent efforts of the papacy. Philip was also unlucky in his dealings with Aragon; on his return from an expedition into Spain, in which he ruined a great fleet and army, he fell ill and died, in 1285.

In 1274 the count of Champagne, Henry of Navarre, had died, leaving one child, a girl, three years old. She was affianced in 1276 to Philip, son of Philip III., and Navarre was thus brought into the French kingdom. And so it fell out that when Philip IV., the "Fair", that proud young prince, succeeded, he was already master of the fortunes of a larger France than had ever yet been known. Lawyers surrounded his throne from the beginning; he was the fitting leader in a great revival of the Roman law, that terrible enemy to feudalism and he mediaeval papacy.

In the beginning of his reign Philip IV. worked by means of his lawyers; they put a stop, in large part, to clerical administration; the parliament fell completely into their hands, and ere long (1302) was permanently fixed at Paris, and became the chief legal authority in the realm. The king’s fiscal necessities threatened to overwhelm him; the older system of sustenance, based on the royal domain, had completely given way. To this reign France owes the first beginnings of a formidable system of taxation; to Philip IV. is due the ill-sounding maltote, the "ill-levied" tax. He seized what he could, wrung the Jews, confiscated the wealth of the Templars, turned everything into hard cash, sold privileges to towns, tampered with the coin; by sumptuary laws he succeeded in taxing even his nobles. This state of need and greed brought on the great strife of his reign, the quarrel with Boniface VIII. It was a many-sided struggle, - that of the temporal against the spiritual authority; that of the civil against the canon law; that of the lawyers against the clergy; that of France against Italy. Soon after his accession in 1294 Boniface VIII. had tried to mediate between the two great lawyer-princes, Edward I. of England and Philip the Fair. The kings took it much amiss; and when in 1296 Boniface issued the famous bull Clericis laicos, which forbade the clergy to pay taxes to the civil power unless the papal power sanctioned them, Philip answered by an ordinance which prohibited the export of valuables of all kinds from the kingdom. The pope’s reply created open breach, and Philip let loose his lawyers on the Italian priests. The strife, however, was speedily allayed, and a seeming reconciliation took place over the canonization of Louis IX., which occurred on the anniversary of his death, St Bartholomew’s day 1297. Boniface also mediated successfully between the French and English kings, securing a large part of Aquitaine to France. It was, however, but a truce, which enabled Philip, not only to win this portion of Aquitaine, but to attach to himself the friendship of the duke of Brittany, and to occupy Flanders. So things went on till the year of justice, 1300, when Boniface seemed to have been lifted up above all the princes of the earth. About this time the pope nominated as his legate in France Saisset bishop of Pamiers, an open foe to the French crown. He made use of his new authority to stir up strife in the south, and Philip IV. arrested him at Pamiers as a traitor. Forthwith the old strife broke out again, - a terrible war of words ensuing, lawyer’s pamphlets met by papal bulls, which affirmed (as in the great Ausculta fili bull) the supremacy of the pope over all kings. The king threw himself on the patriotism of his people, and called together the three Estates of France, nobles, clergy, and burghers, to sit at Paris and consider his grievances. The nobles and burghers spoke out bravely for their king against the papal claims; the clergy applied for leave to attend the council convoked at Rome. Their request was refused; if they went their goods would be forfeited.

Just before this had broken out a revolt at Bruges (1302), in which the enraged Flemish had risen on and destroyed their new masters; the French nobles, eager for vengeance and spoil, hastily assembled and marched northwards, under the guidance of Robert of Artois; hard by Courtrai the Flemish burghers, led by Guy of Namur, inflicted on them the worst defeat ever yet sustained by French chivalry; the "Day of the Spurs" was a fitting name for a carnage after which four thousand gilt spurs were hung as trophies in Courtrai cathedral.

The foremost men of France had perished in a ditch; and though for the moment Boniface rejoiced, and deemed his rival to be ruined, in the event this overthrow of feudalism turned, completely to the king’s advantage. The bishops, thinking also that the royal power was broken, set forth for Rome. For the moment even Philip seemed to lose confidence, and the papacy enunciated its highest claims. The king, however, soon recovered force; he made peace with Edward of England, ceding Guienne to him, and marrying his daughter Isabella to the younger Edward. It was now that he debased the coin and imposed the odious maltote. William of Nogaret was sent to Italy to lodge with the pope the king’s appeal from his authority to a general council and a legitimate pope. In reply the pope announced that he was about to lay an interdict on the kingdom. Then Nogaret called in the help of the Colonnas, the family foes of Boniface, who gladly seized the pope at Anagni; the mortifications and privations of the moment were to much for the aged pontiff, and though the Romans delivered him from captivity, he gave way and died. Thus was Philip IV. delivered from his worst antagonist. In 1304 he made peace with the Flemish, giving up his claim to Flanders, and drawing himself together to complete his victory over the papacy. In 1305 he succeeded in forcing on the conclave of cardinals his nominee Bertrand de Goth, archbishop of Bordeaux, who became pope as Clement V., and was consecrated at Lyons; then the great "captivity" began. Clement, as the price of his elevation, cancelled the bulls of Boniface, and pardoned the king’s lawyers; he created nine French cardinals, so as to secure the king’s influence in the conclave. Philip pressed him to condemn the memory of Boniface, and to consent to the ruin of the Templars; this, however, the poor pope avoided, with pretexts sufficient for the time. when Philip pressed him still more closely, for the Templars were rich and unpopular, and busy rumor had darkened their character weith fancies details of unholy crimes, Clement endeavored to escape by flight. The king arrested him, and brought him back to Poitiers. In 1309 this miserable pontiff was allowed to travel southward, though Philip absolutely refused to let him return to Rome, and was fain to fix his seat at Avignon on the Rhone, a city then in the possession of Chrles V. of Anjou, and hard by the papal county of the Venaissin. Here the papacy abode in discredit and subjection to the French crown for seventy years.

The condemnation of Boniface was deferred awhile; it was but a barren revenge, and the Templars were a richer spoil. In spite of their heroic defence and resistance, they were condemned in 1310, and perished as martyrs to their cause. In 1312 the abolition of the Order was decreed by Clement V., and their wealth, in large part, fell into the king’s hands. These gloomy years fitly close the reign of Philip IV.; he died in 1314 from the effects of a hunting accident. He had not added much to the dimensions of the kingdom; the addition of Lyons (1312) was his greatest achievement in this way; he had immensely increased the royal authority at home, and had triumphed over the papacy, the conqueror of the empire.

Philip IV. died, leaving three sons, who all succeeded him. In the house of Capet, there had hitherto been alternately weak and strong monarchs; now, however, the vigor of the race was gone. The reign of Louis X., "le Hutin," the quarreler, was brief and unimportant; it was naturally enough a time of reaction, in which things seemed to fall back into feudal anarchy and weakness. There was great distress and famine in France in 1315-1316, and a campaign against the Flemings was a complete failure. In June 1316 Louis died, leaving his queen with child. She bore a son, named John, who lived seven days, being during that time nominal king of France; on his death, the late king’s next brother Philip V., "the Tall," succeeded to the throne, basing his claims on the so-styled Salic law of France ,according to which "no woman could succeed to Salian soil," and, a fortiori, no woman could succeed to the Salian, that is, to the French throne. He reigned six miserable years, without credit, though he published not a few ordinances. He died in 1322, and was succeeded by his youngest brother Charles IV., "the Fair," whose six years reign ended in 1328. With him the direct line of the house of Capet came to an end, -cursed with barrenness and incapacity, men held, by the curse of the dying Templars.


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