Philip The Bold
PHILIP THE BOLD (1342-1404), duke of Burgundy, fourth son of John II. of France and Bonne of Luxemburg, was born on the 15th of January 1342. He earned his surname by his bravery while fighting by his father's side on the field of Poitiers. After the defeat of King John he accompanied him into captivity in England. In 1360 he received the title of duke of Touraine, and in June 1363 was entrusted with the government of Burgundy, which John had united to the crown at the death of the last duke of the Capetian family, Philip of Rouvre, in 1361. In September 1363 John bestowed on Philip the title of duke of Burgundy, together with that of first peer of France. John was anxious not to displease the Burgundians, who were accustomed to their independence; and, moreover, with Philip as duke of Burgundy he was in a better posture to resist the king of Navarre, Charles the Bad, who laid claim to the duchy. The donation, which was at first kept secret in spite of a request made in 1363 for its confirmation by the emperor Charles IV., was ratified at the accession of Charles V. of France; but in consequence of Philip's preoccupation with the Grand Companies, which had invaded France, it was not until November 1364 that he definitely took possession of the duchy. Charles continued to show favour to his brother, appointing him (in 1366) his lieutenant in Champagne and marrying him to Margaret, daughter and heiress of Louis of Male, count of Flanders, and widow of Philip of Rouvre. Edward III. of England was negotiating for the marriage of this princess with his son Edmund, earl of Cambridge; but Charles prevailed upon Pope Urban V. to refuse the dispensation necessary on grounds of kinship, and even consented to give up Lille, Douai and Orchies to Flanders on condition that Margaret should marry his brother. Philip eventually won the day, thanks to the support of the late count's mother, and the marriage took place with high revel at Ghent on the 1pth of June 1369.
During the succeeding years Philip proved a faithful ally to Charles. He took part in the almost bloodless campaign against the duke of Lancaster, who had landed at Calais; in 1377 he took several towns in French Flanders from the English; and in 1379 relieved Troyes, which had been besieged by the English. On Charles's death Philip found himself, with his brothers, the dukes of Anjou and Berry, in charge of the government of France in the name of Charles VI., who was a minor; and in the absence of the duke of Anjou, who left France in 1382 to conquer the kingdom of Naples, Philip occupied the most powerful position in the realm. He persuaded the young king to intervene in Flanders, where the citizens of Ghent, whose rebellious spirit had necessitated Philip's intervention in 1379, had again revolted under Philip van Artevelde and had expelled Louis of Male. On the 27th of November 1382 the Franco-Burgundian chivalry crushed the rebels at Rosebecke, and on his return the duke of Burgundy took part in repressing the popular movements which had broken out in Paris and other French towns. In 1383 an insurrection in Flanders supported by England gave rise to another French expedition; but in January 1384 the death of Louis of Male made Philip master of the countships of Flanders, Artois, Rethel and Nevers; and in the following year the citizens of Ghent decided to submit. At this period Philip sought to ingratiate himself with the emperor, who was a near neighbour, and of whom he held a part of his dominions, by giving two of his daughters in marriage to two princes of the house of Bavaria; he also took an important part in bringing about the marriage of a princess of the same family, Isabel, to King Charles VI.
Hostilities, however, were renewed between France and England. A formidable expedition was prepared under the direction of the duke of Burgundy, and a fleet of 1400 sail assembled at Sluys; but the enterprise failed owing to the dilatoriness of the duke of Berry. The fatiguing and inglorious expedition in the Netherlands, into which the duke dragged Charles for the purpose of supporting his kinswoman, Joan of Brabant, against the duke of Gelderland, shook Philip's credit with his nephew, who on his return declared himself of age and confided the government to the ancient councillors of his father, the " Marmousets." The king's madness (1392) restored his uncles to power, and particularly Philip, who after assuring peace by treating with the duke of Brittany and by concluding a truce of twenty-eight years with England, made strenuous efforts to put an end to the Great Schism, visiting Pope Benedict XIII.
at Avignon in 1395 in the hope of obtaining a voluntary resignation from him. But the growing influence of the king's brother, Louis of Orleans, who was on terms of great intimacy with Queen Isabel and was accused of being her lover, was a serious obstruction. Discord broke out in the council, and but for the intervention of the dukes of Berry and Bourbon the two princes would have come to an open struggle. For a brief period Philip was dispossessed of authority, but he regained it in 1402 and kept it till his death, which took place on the 27th of April 1404. The cathedral of St Benigne at Dijon contains his remains, and his tomb (formerly in the Chartreuse of Dijon) is now in the museum in the H6tel-de-ville.
Although he had to curb the independent spirit of the seigneurs of Franche-Comte, and in spite of frequent collisions with his vassals in Flanders and with the citizens of Besancon (who in 1386 extracted from him a promise to respect their privileges), Philip appears to have governed his territories with sagacity and a certain moderation, and he was particularly successful in employing the resources of France in the interests of Burgundy. He granted numerous privileges to the inhabitants of Dijon, and created in 1386 two chambres des comptes, one at Dijon and the other at Lille. He was, in the phrase of a contemporary, " kindly and amiable to high and low and those of middle rank, liberal as an Alexander, noble and pontifical, in court and state magnificent." But his liberality and his love of display involved him in enormous expense, and he left so many debts that his widow was compelled to renounce her personal estate to avoid the responsibility of discharging them. By his wife Margaret (d. 1405) he had a numerous family: John the Fearless, who succeeded him; Charles and Louis, who both died in infancy; Anthony, count of Rethel, and Philip, count of Nevers, both killed at Agincourt; Margaret, who married William of Bavaria, count of Ostrevant; Catherine, wife of Leopold, duke of Austria; Mary, wife of Amadeus VIII. of Savoy; and Bonne, who was betrothed to John of Bourbon and died young.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)