Philip II Augustus’ significance in French history

Philip II Augustus’ significance in French history


Philip II Augustus was a Capetian French King (r. 1180-1223 AD) who is known for centralizing the King’s power after it had been stripped away by the Nobles and Lords during the 9th-11th century Viking invasions. Philip had a goal to increase the King’s influence in France and expand his Kingdom, as France was a small blimp in comparison to the German and English Kingdoms. The Lords and Nobles used the 9th -11th century invasions to secure the King’s power. This led to the systems of Feudalism and Manorialism; where the Lords and Nobles protected the people from invasions and the people would care for the Lord’s and Noble’s land as payment. This decentralized the King’s authority because the people no longer trusted the Kings to protect them from the invasions.

After many years, Philip had increased his political authority to the point that even the most influential Nobles and Lords in France had to obey Philip. After he secured his power, his next goal was to force the Angevin Empire out of French territory. The Angevin Empire was controlled by the Kings of England and controlled about half of France. Philip managed to conquer some territory from the Angevin Empire, but it was not until the Battle of Bouvines that Philip had a decisive victory against King John of England. The battle weakened England to the point that they had to sign the Magna Carta; a peace treaty between France and England that limited John’s power.

Philip II Augustus was a renowned King who turned France from a backwater country to the dominant force in Europe in the span of forty years. He centralized the King’s authority in France and managed to defeat King John of England in the battle of Bouvines; forcing him to sign the Magna Carta. Philip now had complete control of France and used his time to improve his kingdom. Philip had paved the way for France to continue its dominant position in Europe for centuries to come.


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