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Philip III’s reign is by no means such a colourless interlude between the two great reigns of Louis IX and Philip IV as it has sometimes been represented. Its purely military aspects, it is true, are lamentable. One great army in 1276, on its way to invade Castile, came marching tamely home again without crossing the frontier. Another, in the Aragon “crusade” of 1285, endured many sufferings in a hopeless and uninspiring cause, to which the king’s own life was sacrificed. These Spanish expeditions, however, were merely the premature outcome of the growing importance, confidence, and ambition of the Capetian monarchy. The process by which the king’s power was exalted and the royal domain ex­tended is the capital interest of French history in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, and to that process Philip Ill’s reign made a real contribution, overt or concealed. The failure of designs of foreign conquest must not be allowed to blind us to the significance of this fact, or cause us to turn from the reign with a shrug, like the contemporary poet who sang:

De celui roi ne soi que dire

N’ai pas este a son concire

Ne ne sais rien de son afaire

Nostre Sire li donst bien faire.

Whether Philip himself pursued a consciously formulated policy is another question. It is hard to say how he earned that title of Audax which is traditionally his. Contemporary writers praise him as a mighty hunter and a good churchman, but blame him for illiteracy and over­absorption in secular affairs. Even Guillaume de Nangis, in anxious quest of polite metaphor, could do no better than to call his king “the carbuncle sprung from that most precious gem of Christ,” St Louis. At any rate, Philip held that father’s memory dear, and accepted the consequences of his father’s actions. He kept in office the household clerks who had learnt their business in St Louis’ service, men of sagacity and experience, wonderfully patient in turning the wheel of routine, if ever expectant of reward. Pierre de la Broce, who retained under Philip the post of chamberlain to which he had already risen during St Louis’ lifetime, was an exemplar of the strength and weakness of this class. After eight years, court jealousy achieved his undoing, and he was hanged (1278). His disappearance cleared the way for his chief enemies, the great feudalists, notable for courage, pride, limitation of vision, and impulsive response to stirring appeals. Head and shoulders above the rest towered the king’s uncle Charles, Count of Anjou and Provence and King of Sicily, whose pressure had already been felt by Louis IX and who from 1274 onwards had a friend at court in Philip’s second wife, Mary of Brabant, a lady as pretty and affectionate as she was consequential and intriguing. The Queen-mother, however, Margaret of Provence, hated Charles because in right of his marriage with her sister Beatrice he had acquired the whole county of Provence when his father-in-law died, denying any share in it either to herself or to the third sister, Eleanor, mother of Edward I of England. Concerted schemes of the anti-Angevins on both sides of the Channel were constant, but none bore permanent fruit.

In his general treatment of the great feudal magnates Philip shewed a becoming dignity and self-respect. At the very outset, the royal domain received a magnificent addition in the escheated lands of Philip’s uncle, Alphonse, Count of Poitou and Toulouse, who died on his way home from the crusade in 1271, leaving no heirs. Though Charles of Anjou and his cousin, Philippa of Lomagne, both laid claim to a share in this inheritance, it passed to the Crown undivided, with the exception of the Comtat Venaissin, east of the Rhone, which was presented to the Papacy, and the district of the Agenais on the middle Garonne, which was in 1279, by the Treaty of Amiens, handed over to Edward I, King of England and Duke of Aquitaine. At the same time Philip promised to begin an enquiry as to English rights in Quercy, and recognised Edward’s queen Eleanor as countess of the little northern fief of Ponthieu, which she had just inherited from her mother. Philip did well to acquiesce in this way in new conditions, and to fulfil promises, contingent on the death of Alphonse, which had been made as long before as the Treaty of Paris of 1259, for a quarrel with his neighbour the English duke would have made the absorption of his new southern dominions very difficult. As it was, he was able to carry out the salsamentum comitatus Tolose on the whole with surprising ease, though he could not entirely avoid complications inevitable for the northern lord of southern fiefs, watched across the frontier by Castile, Aragon, and Navarre. Roger Bernard III, Count of Foix, and Gerald V, Count of Armagnac, shewed in a local quarrel such insolent indifference to the symbols of royal power used in protection of their enemy, that Philip was compelled to a military demonstration, followed by the imprisonment of the Count of Foix for a year. Meanwhile James I, King of Aragon, put forward claims which took years to settle concerning his rights over parts of the county.

Another substantial addition to the lands of the Crown was quite unexpected. Henry I, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne, died in 1274, leaving as his heiress Jeanne, a three-year-old child, already betrothed to whichever son of Edward I of England should survive to marriageable age. However, the widow, Blanche of Artois, whose brother Robert was one of Philip’s greatest subjects, took refuge at the court of France, and soon Philip secured the betrothal of Jeanne to his own second son, his namesake and future successor. French armies took possession of Navarre, and French officials proceeded to introduce innovations bitterly resented by its inhabitants. The county of Champagne, however, was administered till Jeanne’s marriage in 1284 by an Englishman whom her mother now took as her second husband, Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, brother of Edward I.

Other acquisitions, individually small but cumulatively important, were gained by purchase or exchange. Moreover, the local representatives of the Crown, baillis and sénéchaux, everywhere pressed forward royal influence and rights, sometimes even more vigorously than the Crown itself thought prudent. Before the reign ended, the seneschal of Beaucaire had coerced the Bishop of Viviers into recognising the royal rights over his subjects; the bailli of Macon had by constant interference with the suzerainty of the Archbishop of Lyons paved the way for the official union of Lyons with France under Philip IV; and James II of Majorca had been forced to admit the authority of the Crown in Montpellier. In several quarters the Crown had acted as mediator: in the quarrels between Guy of Dampierre, Count of Flanders, and the great Flemish towns; in the “war of the three Roberts”, where Philip’s brother-in-law, Robert II, Duke of Burgundy, was beset by rival claimants in the persons of his nephews Robert, Count of Nevers, and Robert, Count of Clermont; and in disputes in the county of Brittany. In all sorts of ways the feudalists were being taught that, while on the one hand the way of the trans­gressor was hard, on the other there were advantages in securing the friendship and support of the Crown. In some respects they found Philip more congenial than his saintly father, for he tolerated the judicial combat, enjoyed tournaments in spite of their political undesirability, and was, in fact, a human and conventional person of like parts and passions with themselves. Had he lived longer, indeed, he might have done something to ease the difficulties due to the double position of the king as feudalist and sovereign.

In ecclesiastical policy Philip III’s reign was not marked by any crisis or the settlement of any outstanding problem. The king met his personal religious obligations with decency and even zeal; secured preferment for his proteges when possible; tried to keep some hold through his officials on the hosts of clerks in minor orders whose unruliness so often endangered public peace; avoided as far as he could taking sides in the quarrel between the Mendicant Orders and the secular clergy, in the University of Paris and elsewhere; and was, on the whole, no more and no less criticised in clerical circles than was usual. The papal throne was vacant when he became king, but in 1271 was filled by that admirable and energetic Pope, Gregory X, who aimed at orderliness, reconciliation, and the sinking of political quarrels in common efforts towards spiritual ends. Though Gregory turned a deaf ear to suggestions that Philip III should be chosen as Emperor, his relations with the King of France were kindly throughout his pontificate (1271-76). There followed in rapid succession four Popes of whom nothing need here be said, until in 1281 Charles of Anjou’s personal friend, Cardinal Simon of Brie, ascended the papal throne as Martin IV.

Now at last Charles had the leverage for which he had been waiting so long. The character and career of the great Angevin, his masterful personality, his successes, and the fantastic dreams with which his successes inspired him, have been described elsewhere. The wine long mixed seemed ready at last for pouring, when suddenly, in 1282, the cup was dashed from his lips, for his Sicilian subjects threw off his rule in the “Sicilian Vespers”, and the rest of his life was spent in vain efforts to retrieve his shattered fortunes. Martin IV did all he could to help. When the Sicilians offered their throne to Peter III, King of Aragon, husband of Constance the heiress of the Hohenstaufen, the Pope not only excommunicated him for accepting, but also declared that he had forfeited the throne of Aragon. Now came the critical moment for France, for the Pope offered the vacated throne to Philip for one of his sous.

From some points of view the offer was tempting. Navarre, the western of the two Spanish kingdoms which marched with French soil, was already secured for Philip’s eldest surviving son; it would be well if Aragon, its eastern neighbour, could be in a similar position. And Philip had some stinging memories with regard to Spain, which he would be glad to salve if possible. In 1275, on the death of Philip’s brother-in-law, Ferdinand de la Cerda, heir to the throne of Castile, King Alfonso X had entirely ignored the right of the dead man’s two little sons to step into their father’s place, and had proclaimed as his heir their uncle Sancho. The widow, Blanche of France, left, as Guillaume de Nangis says, “destitute of almost all human comfort, in desolation with her children amid the rude manners of the Spaniards and their horrible appearance”, had appealed to Philip for help, and he had not only sent protesting em­bassies but had set off with a huge army of invasion. However, the army had got no farther than Sauveterre, near Pau, and most of its members had never had a chance of fighting, though some, it is true, went on to punish a revolt in Navarre, and did dreadful work there. The whole business was ineffective, and as by 1283 Alfonso was engaged in a fierce struggle with his former protege Sancho, Philip need not fear interference from Castile if he chose to blot out its humiliation by new ventures in Aragon. If to these considerations we add the feudal love of war for its own sake, and further the fact that the Aragonese expedition was to involve all the spiritual and temporal privileges of a crusade, it is not surprising that the Pope’s offer was accepted, after discussion in two assemblies of magnates, one at Bourges in November 1283, the other at Paris in February 1284. Enthusiasm ignored the difficulty of war in an unknown region, the strength of local feeling in Aragon, and the misery of acting as cat’s paw in another man’s quarrel. There may well have been moments later, however, when this last thought came home with bitterness; for Charles of Anjou died in January 1285, and Martin IV in the following March, so that Philip was left alone to face the consequences of other people’s actions.

The story of the ill-starred crusade is short. Philip set out in March 1285, accompanied by his two sons and by the papal legate. His army was huge but cumbrous, fiery but undisciplined, and as it advanced from Narbonne across Roussillon horrible atrocities occurred, especially at Elna (25 May). Aragon was entered in June, after a painful crossing of the Pyrenees, and on 27 June Philip settled down to a ten weeks’ siege of Gerona. What with shortage of supplies, which had to be brought at irregular intervals from the supporting fleet off Rosas, until this was defeated in August at the battle of the Islas Hormigas; what with disease, due to the heat, the flies, and the deadly stenches of warfare; what with the disheartening effect of long periods of inactivity, only now and then broken by trifling skirmishes; the army which at last, on 7 September, marched into ruined Gerona, was hardly victorious in anything but name. In any case that victory, such as it was, represented the extreme of possible success, and within a week the invaders were in retreat towards France. At Perpignan, on 5 October, Philip III died, while his rival, Peter of Aragon, lived scarcely another month. The reign ended, as it had begun, in an atmosphere of general mourning.

Philip IV

With the accession of Philip IV there opened a period full of great happenings in French history. How far was this due to the king himself? M. Langlois’ weighty support is given to the view that we shall never know. “This little problem is insoluble”. A German biographer, on the other hand, argues that a careful reconsideration of contemporary evidence suggests that Philip had real driving force. As the pupil of William of Ercuis, and the recipient of many learned works, he had had frequent opportunities of acquiring wisdom, and although contemporaries were unanimous in ascribing the responsibility for Philip’s actions to others, in each case it is easy to see why they should wish to do so. The monks of Saint-Denis did not want to criticise a patron; Villani, a partner in the firm of the Peruzzi, must not blame a valued client; Dubois thought it tactful to speak freely of past royal mistakes as due to bad advice; Nogaret dared not alienate opinion from his master by revealing to the outside world that Drang nach Herrschaft by which he knew him to be possessed. And finally, Philip himself on his deathbed assumed responsibility in striking words which were recorded by an impartial witness in a letter written only eight days afterwards. “He said...that in many ways he had done wrong and offended God, led by evil counsel, and that he himself was the cause of that evil counsel. All this, however, is slender evidence from which to deduce personality, and the self-accusation of a dying man in his remorse is not enough to counterbalance the silence of a lifetime.

The few definite remarks made by contemporaries about Philip do not help us much. The French called him the Fair and the Flemings the Fat. That indiscreet and hot-headed southerner, Bernard Saisset, was in the midst of the irritations of his own trial when he declared: “The king is like the eagle owl, the finest of birds, and yet worth nothing at all. He is the handsomest man in the world, yet all he can do is to stare at people without saying a word”. Yves of Saint-Denis, on the other hand, coming from an abbey closely linked with the destinies of the monarchy, found as he stood by Philip’s deathbed exactly those qualities that he would wish to find in a son of St Louis, and phrased his admiration in terms suitable to any pious end. Official documents conceal the individual by their formulae. And even the achievements of the reign are no testimony of royal skill, for historical experience proves that royal indifference was, in administrative connexions at any rate, sometimes more beneficial than royal interference. On the whole we must leave Philip’s personality where we found it, a riddle without an answer.

Next to the king, the greatest position in France belonged to Charles of Valois, who had been compensated for losing his promised kingdom of Aragon by marriage with Margaret, the daughter of Charles II, King of Naples, who brought to him the counties of Anjou and Maine. However, Charles had little time to spare for his brother’s affairs, for he married three times and had to provide for the futures of fourteen sons and daughters; he acquired with his second wife, Catherine Courtenay, who was the granddaughter of Baldwin II, claims on the Latin Empire of the East; and in 1308 he became an unsuccessful candidate for election as Emperor in the West. Philip’s chief instruments—or leaders, if we adopt the idea of his personal insignificance—were chosen from among those professional administrators whose activities are so characteristic of the age, and who had learnt their business in the personal service of the king or his family. The researches made of late years into administrative history have shown us how united, to the thirteenth-century mind, were public and private, State and domestic, and how experience gained in one field was utilised in another. Pierre Flote, to whom, as his enemies put it in bitter mockery, Philip said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my council”, had started his career as head of the pantry in the queen’s household. Men of this sort, Guillaume de Nogaret, Enguerrand de Marigny, and others, counted enormously with Philip. Vigorous, impudent, and ingenious, they encouraged him in certain bold departures from the policy of his father and grandfather. Foreign policy deserted the Spanish peninsula for efforts in new fields, and the relations of the Crown with Church and Pope put on startling and scandalous colours. Three huge upheavals mark the reign—the bitter quarrel with Boniface VIII, the establishment of the Avignon Papacy, and the suppression of the Order of the Knights Templars.

It was in 1294 that Cardinal Benedict Gaetani ascended the papal throne as Pope Boniface VIII. He was already known, and disliked, in France. In 1263 he had accompanied Cardinal Simon of Brie when he came to preach an anti-Ghibelline crusade in the interests of Charles of Anjou. So recently as 1290 he had again visited France, this time as legate, and although his instructions were to make peace and assuage the griefs of the clergy, his bitter tongue put such an edge on the policy of Nicholas IV, whom he represented, that he brought not peace but a sword. And as Benedict had begun, Boniface was to continue, robbing his real qualities of courage and energy of some of their value by a contemptuous disregard of other men’s prejudices or principles. In Philip IV, however, or in those who dictated Philip’s attitude, Boniface soon found a pride and an impatience to match his own. Even in the days of Nicholas IV, who had done his best to veil in elaborate courtesy any difference of opinion between himself and Philip, there had been signs of French resentment. “It is delightful for us”, wrote Philip sarcastically in 1289, “to find that when we are in question, he [the Pope] shows far more alacrity in attending to our correction, on bare suspicion, than to that of other kings.’’ Under Boniface VIII this soreness was rubbed into an open wound.

The first friction occurred in 1296. Philip had in 1295 made his final peace with Aragon, but twelve months before had become embroiled with Edward I of England, who in turn set up alliances with Philip’s troublesome northern vassal, Guy of Dampierre, Count of Flanders. Both the English and French Kings demanded for their war expenses clerical subsidies, Philip having fresh in his memory that “crusading” tenth which by papal permission had financed the campaign against Aragon. From both countries, however, clerical protests reached Rome, and in February 1296 Boniface asserted himself by the issue of the bull Clericis laicos. Though this bull was addressed in a general way to all secular rulers, the circumstances made it clear that it was aimed especially at England and France, and though the doctrine it contained was not novel, both monarchs felt resentful at its being emphasised at this particular moment. The bull began by a provocative quotation from Gratian’s Decretum—“Antiquity reports that laymen are exceedingly troublesome to clerks,” and went on to insist that before kings exacted or clergy paid any collectae or talliae papal authorisation must always be sought, on pain of excommunication.

Philip showed extreme irritation at this, and the French clergy trembled lest his wrath should recoil oil them in worse than words. The bull was discussed in an assembly of prelates, envoys were sent to Rome, and in August Philip forbade the exportation of gold or silver from France. This may have been a mere war-time precaution, but Boniface took it as a personal affront, and commented on it indignantly in September in the bull Ineffabilis amor, by which he disclaimed any intention of preventing the clergy from contributing when required for the defence of the realm, but still insisted that they must never do so without papal permission. After an interval of spluttering wrath and windy threats at both the French and the Roman courts, Boniface came to terms in a series of graduated withdrawals. In February 1297 he authorised the king to accept voluntary contributions from ecclesiastics, in pressing necessity, without consulting the Pope. In July he committed to the king the decision as to whether in any given case the necessity was pressing or not, and on the last day of the same month, by the bull Etsi de statu, he formally renounced the claims made in Clericis laicos. During August Boniface made several friendly gestures, including the canonisation of Louis IX. This outward good will was maintained for another four years and more, but as both Boniface and Philip matured their policy it became certain that a new clash of pretensions would occur, especially as the celebration of the papal Jubilee in 1300 surrounded the Pope with compliments and deference which left him less than ever disposed to endure criticism.

The second quarrel, in which the questions at issue were wider, the conflict longer, the defeat of the Pope more complete, and the historical results more lasting, began at the end of 1301. Philip had asked the Pope, in a tone rather of command than of request, to degrade from his orders Bernard Saisset, Bishop of Pamiers, who was accused of trying to rouse Languedoc against French rule, speaking treasonably of the king, his councillors, and his policy, preaching heretical doctrines, and blas­pheming against God and the Pope. These charges, first made in the early summer of 1301 after a local enquiry, had been confirmed and extended in October, when Bernard was arraigned before the king and the magnates in assembly at Senlis. The bishop was then placed in the custody of the Archbishop of Narbonne, and was regarded by the Crown as a culprit whose guilt was proven, but whose punishment would be deferred, out of respect for the Church, until he had been deprived formally of his clerical status. “The king is only waiting for this before making to God the agreeable sacrifice of a traitor whose reformation is no longer possible.”

Now it is unlikely that in the first attack on Saisset Philip had in mind ecclesiastical considerations. He was, for political reasons, curbing an unruly subject in a part of his dominions where local independence and loose attachment made unruliness particularly dangerous. Yet Saisset was a bishop, and Philip shewed either an incredible naivete or a deliberate blindness when he assumed that the Pope would ruin an ecclesiastic upon secular judgment alone, even after Philip had fed his indignation with tales of Bernard’s spiritual shortcomings and impertinences in speaking of the Pope himself. To any Pope such a course would have been a sacrifice of dignity; to Boniface, especially with pride newly inflated by the Jubilee, it was unthinkable. Besides, Bernard was his protege, occu­pant of a new bishopric carved out for his benefit from the see of Toulouse. It is not surprising that Boniface refused Philip’s request. Letters of 5 December 1301 ordered the king to release Bernard’s temporalities and set him free to go to be judged at Rome, and though on 13 January 1302 this order was countermanded, Boniface still insisted that the bishop must be tried in the court of his superior, the Archbishop of Narbonne.

This check to Philip’s wishes might in itself have been enough to cause a quarrel, which became certain when Boniface surrounded the immediate decision with a pomp and circumstance that almost concealed it from sight, reasserting papal claims in terms intolerably harsh and pretentious. By the bull Salvator mundi he revoked the concessions made in 1297, and once again forbade French prelates to make grants to the Crown without papal permission. In the bull Ausculta fili he took the tone of a pedagogue to an unruly pupil, rebuking Philip for seizure of ecclesiastical goods, debasement of the coinage, and other offences, and announcing that in November 1302 representatives of the Gallican Church would be required to come to Rome to a synod at which Philip himself might be present if he chose, but which in any case would proceed to take measures for the reform of his realm. Letters of summons addressed to the French prelates, chapters, and masters of theology, plainly named “the correction of the king” as among the business to be dealt with. What was Philip to do?

For nearly eighteen months it seemed as if victory was this time to go to Boniface. For one thing, Philip seemed so absorbed in the wider conflict that he ceased to trouble about Saisset, who remained in obscurity for some years, but in the end was restored to his see. The bull Ausculta fili was burnt, by accident or design, and trouble was taken to circulate an inaccurate and mocking summary of its contents, possibly with a pretended reply in which Philip offered to “Boniface who calls himself Pope little or no greeting.” For the first time in his reign, Philip sum­moned clergy, nobles, and townsfolk of his realm to meet together at Paris in April, and there “begged most earnestly, as a lord commanding and as a friend asking and urging with entreaties.” for their support. He was so far successful that each order did address a letter to Rome, rejecting any idea that the realm which the French kings held “from God alone” could possibly be in temporal subjection to the Pope. So scant was the civility of the laymen’s letters that the cardinals solemnly protested. “It was indecent...not to name the Most Holy Father in your letters as supreme pontiff... Laying aside all filial and customary deference, you referred to him by some roundabout phrase of newly-invented words.” And yet, when the threatened synod actually met, thirty-nine abbots and bishops from France were present in person, while others were represented by proxies. This was encouraging for Boniface, and so was the news that in July the Flemings had inflicted a crushing defeat upon the French. He accordingly published the bull Unam Sanctam, “the most absolute proclamation of theocratic doctrine ever formulated in the Middle Ages”. Reiterating well-worn metaphors such as that of the two swords, firmly emphasising the inferiority of the temporal to the spiritual, the bull closed with a striking pronouncement. “Further we declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is a necessity of salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pontiff.”

There was not a word in this bull, however, directly naming France; nor did the synod, for all the talk beforehand, proceed to the chastise­ment of Philip. However, after the meeting, Cardinal Jean Lemoine was sent as legate with a sort of ultimatum. He was to ascertain Philip’s views on various points—the withdrawal of hindrances, direct or in­direct, to French prelates wishing to visit Rome, especially those who had attended the council just ended; recognition of the Pope’s rights in the collation of benefices, the dispatch of legates whenever and wherever he chose, and the disposal of ecclesiastical revenues; and royal respect for Church property and for the goods of bishoprics during vacancies. Philip, much shaken by his ill luck in Flanders and by the loss of Pierre Flote, replied with surprising patience. Boniface, misjudging his man and the moment, then tried him too far. In April 1303 he rejected Philip’s answers, and bade the legate threaten him with excommunication unless he would make entire submission. That was the end of the upward trend of the Pope’s fortunes. Philip pulled himself together, and lent a willing ear to Flote’s bold successor, Guillaume de Nogaret, who since February had been increasingly in his confidence. By the end of the year the tables had been completely turned.

Nogaret’s advice, in a nutshell, was to forsake the defensive for the offensive. Layman and lawyer though he was, many a polemical sermon ­writer might have envied the skill with which he turned Scripture to his own uses in the “requisition” which he laid before the king and magnates in March 1303. Was it not St Peter himself, he said, who wrote, “There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you?” The present occupant of St Peter’s throne was the embodiment of that fulfilled prophecy, and guilty of enormous crimes. The King of France must flash the light of his drawn sword before the Pope’s eyes, like the angel before Balaam. In other words, he must secure the summons of a General Council to judge and condemn Boniface, and in the meanwhile make the Pope a prisoner and set up, with the help of the cardinals, a vicar to rule the Church until a new Pope could be elected. This was all pleasant hearing for the anti-papalists, but although Philip had already given Nogaret and three colleagues vaguely-worded credentials to go “to certain places upon certain business”, he does not seem to have decided to proceed from words to deeds till he found that Boniface had rejected his overtures to Cardinal Lemoine, while that rejection itself shews that Boniface was as yet unaware of the seriousness of the danger. It was not till April 1303, then, that there opened the final conflict which was to reach its climax in September.

Both sides were henceforth uncompromising. Boniface, giving solemn audience on 30 April to the proctors of his former enemy, the King of the Romans, Albert of Austria, with a view to his “edification and con­firmation”, said many things which were meant to reach a wider circle than those who listened to him in the Lateran. God made literally, he said, both sun and moon, but also the metaphorical sun of the eccle­siastical power and the metaphorical moon of the secular power. “And as the moon has no light save that which it received from the sun, so too no earthly power has anything save that which it received from the ecclesiastical power... Some princes are making their confederations, but we say boldly that if all the princes of the earth were leagued against us and against the Church, so long as we had the truth and were standing by truth, we value them not a straw... Let the king know therefore that if he defends himself well and recovers his rights and the rights of his realm and Empire, we say boldly that we will defend his rights even more than our own, and this against the King of France or anybody else....We with him and he with us will put the pride of the French to confusion.” In September, Boniface issued the bull Super Petri solio, reciting the history of the quarrel, exhorting Philip to repentance, releasing his subjects from allegiance to him, and declaring null any alliance he might make, but not actually pronouncing him deposed.

Meanwhile, in June 1303, before an assembly of magnates in the Louvre, accusations of the most precise, varied, and startling kind were set forth, and even the bishops and abbots present agreed that a General Council ought to meet, “thinking it useful and very necessary that the innocence of Boniface should shine forth clearly”. but refusing to commit themselves to any party. Royal commissioners were then sent round the country to relate what had happened and canvass general support. If some stalwarts, such as the Dominicans of Montpellier, would have nothing to do with the project, and were accordingly ordered out of the country, a certain number of new adhesions were secured. Meanwhile letters were addressed to the cardinals, the Italian republics, Castile, Portugal, and Navarre. Nogaret himself had gone to Italy to supervise the arrest of the Pope, and from headquarters at Staggia, near Siena, organised an armed band inspired by personal hatred of the Gaetani, greed of money, or general rowdiness, quite as much as by loftier motives. This force, led by Nogaret, Sciarra Colonna, and Rinaldo da Supino, burst into Anagni on 7 September 1303, and after sack, fire, and violence, secured the person of the Pope himself. This was the supreme moment. The French, indeed, failed to carry Boniface away, for many of their loudest advocates fell silent when they actually saw, as Dante said, “Christ made captive in the person of his Vicar”. A revulsion of feeling drove the invaders out of the town, while a band of Roman knights led Boniface back to Rome. Yet the audacity of the attack had been in itself im­pressive, and became more so when a month later Boniface, by this time a very old man, succumbed to the shock he had undergone. Philip was left in possession of the field, and it would be a bold man who would dare to pick up the sword that had fallen from the hand of the dead Pope.

The definite results of the conflict remained uncertain for about two years longer. Benedict XI, who succeeded Boniface within eleven days of his death, but whose pontificate lasted less than nine months, tried to hunt with the hounds by releasing Philip from all sentences pro­nounced against him by Boniface, yet to protect the hare by demanding that Nogaret should be punished for the scandal at Anagni. Death relieved him of this awkward task, and after a vacancy of nearly two years, French influence secured, in the person of Bertrand de Got, Archbishop of Bordeaux, a Pope congenial to Philip in birth, career, and personality. Clement V (1305-14), patron of art and learning, arbitrator in many European quarrels, begetter of a large addition to the Canon Law, was no pape fainéant, but he was a French subject, he and his family owed much to court favour, and he was temperamentally, or perhaps physically (since he was in the throes of an illness which modern science suspects to have been cancer), incapable of resisting Philip’s coercion. This became gradually evident. Out of 28 cardinals created in 1305, 1310, and 1312, 25 were French. Clement did not venture to return to Rome, but was consecrated at Lyons, and after 1308 set up a court at Avignon, which was geographically situated in France, but was on the way to Italy, and in the midst of the papal Comtat Venaissin. Politically, it was under the control of that younger branch of the Capetian house which ruled Naples and Provence. Thus began the “Babylonish Captivity”, though so little idea had Clement himself that it was destined to con­tinue, that he did not even send to Italy for all his treasures and archives, much less set about building himself a palace. Meanwhile he had to respect French wishes, and in 1311 at last gave up the effort to shelter his predecessor. He congratulated Philip on the zeal which had led him to attack Boniface, and ordered the erasure from the papal records of all matter in a contrary sense. In 1312 he made a further surrender, by yielding at last to that demand for the destruction of the great Order of the Temple which Philip had been pressing upon him for the last six years.

However mixed may have been Philip’s motives in this attack, there were plenty of reputable reasons to put forward. As the crusading move­ment declined during the thirteenth century, the fortunes of the Military Orders had begun to tremble in the balance, and even St Louis himself and his friend Pope Gregory IX had wondered if it might not be ad­vantageous to combine them all into a single organisation. Nothing had been done, however, by the time that the Holy Land had to be abandoned after the fall of Acre in 1291. The Templars could no longer ply their trade of fighting, and the by-product of their activities, finance, was not, like the nursing of the Hospitallers, an argument for continued existence, but on the contrary a temptation to themselves and an invitation to their enemies. The Popes now revived the project of fusion, and Clement V himself, very early in his pontificate, consulted Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Temple, as to its advisability. Unluckily, the Grand Master held as a general principle the view that, in his own words, “rarely if ever does an innovation bring anything but danger”. He argued soundly enough that competition in well-doing had its uses, and that the forcible absorption into one Order of men who had taken their vows in another was an obvious injustice. He shewed less wisdom, however, when he professed himself at a loss to know how the two Orders would ever be able to do as much almsgiving jointly as they had done separately, or to provide a safe escort for pilgrims unless the vanguard was composed of one Order and the rearguard of the other, as had been customary hitherto! The plan of union thus came to nothing, and the Templars soon found that the alternative, in the eyes of their enemies, was their disappearance.

The last chapter of the Templars’ existence opened in 1307 and closed in 1312, though almost to the end it was uncertain what would be the final sentence written. Accusations of heresy and immorality were brought forward, and the Pope in August 1307 ordered an enquiry. In September Philip, calling to his assistance Nogaret to be keeper of the seals, proceeded to au attack far swifter than anything the Pope had contemplated. “Placed by God on the eminence of royalty for the defence of the liberty of the faith”, as he said, he ordered the arrest of every Templar in France, caused an inventory of their property to be made, and examined the prisoners before royal commissioners, who were to hand on their victims for a second questioning, with torture if required, before the representatives of the Inquisitor. Numbers of bewildered Templars soon made confessions which, by a suspicious coincidence, corresponded almost verbally with the accusations set forth in the commissioners’ instructions. Nor was this surprising. “You shall go on making enquiry by general words till you drag the truth out of them and they persevere in the truth”. Not much imagination is needed to fill up the gaps in the process thus indicated. Trembling old men, who might well have forgotten the details of professions made as much as forty years before, produced particulars of offensive ceremonial of the sort the commis­sioners expected, offering their evidence with piteous little excuses and reservations. The aged Grand Master was sure he had been told to deny Christ and spit on the crucifix, but spat but once, unwillingly, and that upon the ground. Hugues de Pairaud, visitor of the Order, admitted that he had given very questionable instructions to those he was receiving, but had always done so “not from the heart, but only from the mouth”. Occasionally the commissioners could not extort what they wanted, as in the case of that knight of thirty years of age whose profession must have been quite recent, and who swore that “after he had made many promises as to keeping the good statutes and observances of the Order, the mantle was placed on his neck, and the brother receiving him let him kiss him on the mouth, and all the other brothers present also”. Nothing else was enjoined upon or commanded to him. Firmness of this sort, however, was unusual, and by the end of the year Philip was able to confront the Pope with so nauseating a list of horrors that Clement ordered all Christian rulers to arrest the Templars in their dominions. In December the French prisoners were handed over to the custody of two papal envoys.

The tale was not yet told, however. Once out of Philip’s grip, many of the prisoners took back their confessions, and in January 1308 the Pope decided to begin an investigation on his own account, suspending, with rebukes, the powers of the French inquisitors. For more than six months progress was checked, while Philip took every possible means to coerce the Pope into fresh action. Harangues and anonymous writings inflamed French opinion not only against the Templars but against Clement himself. The States-General were called together at Tours by a summons representing Philip as the avenger of the Crucified against the enormities of the Templars. “Laws, arms, beasts, the four elements themselves, should rise against a crime so impious.” Thus instructed, the deputies (among whom, representing Coutances, was Pierre Dubois himself, advocatus regalium causarum in far more than the merely technical sense) were of the dutiful opinion that no punishment could be too severe for criminals so odious, and Philip was able to go on encouraged to negotiate personally with Clement at Poitiers. In public and in private, every resource of ingenuity was used. In particular, stress was laid upon that unfortunate secrecy which was a feature of the Templars’ rule, and which was now said to be cover for the evil deeds which love darkness rather than light. Finally, in July, Pope and king came to terms. The examination of individual Templars (except the great dignitaries, who were now reserved for judgment by the Holy See itself) was to begin again, under the guidance of the bishops, helped by secular and Mendicant colleagues, and by inquisitors if required. A further enquiry, into the guilt or innocence of the Order as a whole, was entrusted to papal commissioners, who were to report to a General Council, summoned to Vienne. The two enquiries were to proceed simultaneously, and it need hardly be pointed out how easily persons on their trial as individuals in one process could be intimidated as witnesses on the general question under judgment in the other. How many more witnesses were there like Aimery de Villiers-le-Duc in 1310? Pale and terrified, alternately beating his breast in penitence or stretching out his hands to the altar in passionate asseveration, he swore that all he confessed to the discredit of the Order was untrue. But he had seen fifty-four brothers being taken in carts on their way to be burnt alive, “and because he was afraid that if he himself were to be burnt he would not be able to show good endurance”, he had confessed that the errors imputed to the Order were true. “And he would have confessed that he had slain God Himself, if they had asked him that”. “All the brethren are so struck with terror,” wrote some defenders of the Order, “that there is no reason to be surprised at those who tell lies, but rather at those who stand by the truth”. Moreover, many of the rank and file of the Templars were, as their Grand Master acknowledged himself to be, “poor and unlettered,” floundered just as helplessly as he did when confronted with swift and subtle arguments, and were fain, like him, to fall back upon the thought that “when the soul is separated from the body, then it will appear who was good and who was bad, and everyone will know the truth.”

The Council of Vienne, often postponed, met at last in October 1311, and in April 1312 the Pope was forced into his last surrender. The bull Vox in excelso admitted that the evidence produced was insufficient to warrant the canonical condemnation of the Order, but as a measure of expediency, without sentence, brought it to an end. “Thus perished the Order of the Temple, suppressed not condemned, butchered unresisting”. Its belongings were transferred to the Hospitallers, and in 1314 its last remaining dignitaries were condemned to perpetual imprisonment. Two of them, the aged Grand Master and the Preceptor of Normandy, now summoned strength for a final protest, declared the charges false and the suppression unjust, and were rewarded by execution. The affair was at an end, but not before it had demonstrated for all Europe the impotence of the Papacy in the hands of the King of France.

Nothing in the internal relations of Philip IV with the Church in France was nearly so striking as these external conflicts with the Apostolic See. He continued, like his predecessors, to enjoy and protect royal rights, such as the authorisation of elections to bishoprics and abbacies, the custody of their temporalities during vacancy, the special guardianship, with special privileges, of churches or abbeys which placed themselves under royal protection, and the right of amortissement, or levy of a sum due for permission given to the Church to acquire fresh lands. He exchanged with the bishops the usual mutual reminders of the limits of ecclesiastical and secular jurisdiction, with protests in particular instances, but he took no drastic measures in defence of the secular courts of the kind recom­mended to him by the ingenious Pierre Dubois in his Brevis Doctrina. He had no desire, indeed, to quarrel with the bishops, many of whom owed their position to his influence while others were among his administrative officials, so long as they would reward his complaisance by financial and other support. On the whole, his relations were much easier with the secular clergy than with the regular, who were less identified with French interests as such. His new responsibilities in Languedoc brought vividly to his notice the sufferings of the inhabitants of those parts through the Dominican inquisition into heresy. Horrified in 1301 at the stories he heard from Bernard Delicieux, a brother in the Franciscan convent at Carcassonne, confirmed by the reports of two royal envoys freshly returned from a commission of enquiry, he secured the removal of the Dominican Inquisitor of Toulouse, fined his chief supporter, the Bishop of Albi, and issued an ordinance directing the Dominicans to admit episcopal, and even sometimes Franciscan, supervision in their dealings with heresy. So indecent, however, was the window-smashing, rioting enthusiasm of the southerners in their victory, so complete the absence of the peace and good will which were expected after righted wrongs, so vigorous the action of the Dominicans themselves both in France and at Rome, that even after a personal visit to the south, in 1302, Philip was disinclined to go farther along the path he had entered. Delicieux’s impatience over this delay led to an abortive plot with the Aragonese heir to the throne of Majorca against the northerners, which alienated Philip’s sympathy completely. He made no further attempt to help the southerners.

War with England

Before examining Philip’s relations with other groups of his subjects, it will be well to consider bis foreign and military ambitions. Here Philip broke with recent tradition. He gave up all idea of active enterprise south of the Pyrenees, while on the other band he embarked upon aggressions bolder than Philip III had ever attempted, in trying to bring under the direct rule of the Crown the two great independent fiefs of Gascony and Flanders. Mutual danger made the two ally, and in neither quarter did Philip achieve permanent success.

For ten years after the death of Philip III the diplomatists were kept busy over the question of the rival claims to Aragon and Sicily. Philip IV, himself the son of an Aragonese mother, had no intention of going to war, in the interests of his younger brother Charles of Valois, against his cousin Alfonso of Aragon. A settlement was almost reached in 1291 when at Tarascon the rights of James of Aragon, King of Sicily, were thrown over in an agreement among the other powers concerned, by which Charles of Valois renounced his claim to Aragon, Charles of Naples, heir of Charles of Anjou, was to have Sicily, and in return Charles of Valois was to receive Anjou and Maine with the hand of Charles of Naples’ daughter. Immediately afterwards, however, Alfonso III’s death without sons made James of Sicily King of Aragon also, and hot in his own defence. Finally, in 1295, by the Peace of Anagni, he agreed to give up Sicily. The last trace of the crusade was effaced seventeen years later, when the Spaniards recovered the Val d’Aran, occupied by the French during the campaign of 1285. Philip forbore officially to take advantage of the fact that the Sicilians declined the settlement of 1295 and chose James of Aragon’s younger brother, Frederick, as their king. In 1301, indeed, Charles of Valois, who regarded Italy as a half-way house to his designs on the Eastern Empire, was allowed to take an expedition to the help of Boniface VIII and the Guelfs, but Charles was unsuccessful and Philip tepid, and the troops were recalled to France in 1802. Philip was equally apathetic about the cause of Blanche of France and the Infantes de la Cerda with regard to Castile. Though he offered a refuge to such Casti­lians as chose to flee to France, he avoided any quarrel with the supplanter Sancho IV. That was bare prudence. If there was to be war in the south over the English possessions, an essential preliminary was to secure the good will of the adjacent Spanish kingdoms.

War between France and England, indeed, was becoming increasingly probable, and the partisanship which would seek to deny in the one side or ascribe to the other the first motion towards it is really debating an unimportant question. In Philip IV’s own lifetime, an anonymous French chronicler declared that Edward’s behaviour was that of one “ who for long enough had been making ready to fight the king,” while on the English side Edward was represented as peace-loving, law-abiding, and forced to defiance in the end by French treachery. The truth was that neither king could fail to have felt the irritations created by the treaty made at Paris in 1259. “The essential article of that treaty,” says M. Bémont, “is that by which the King of England, Duke of Guienne, declared that he became the liege man of the King of France. From the feudal point of view, this dependence was in no way humiliating; but it created a legal situation difficult for a king to endure.” Either side might at any moment find pretext for quarrel, and, as it happened, Philip was ready to strike first. Bickerings between French and English seamen reaching unusual heights of violence caused him to call his vassal Edward to account before the Parlement of Paris in 1294. Edward, though he did not respond in person, sent his brother Edmund in his place, and it was amicably agreed that the chief strongholds in Gascony should be put as a matter of form into French hands for forty days while enquiry was made into disputed questions. Such an arrangement was by no means uncommon, and Edmund shewed no unusual stupidity in accepting it. Its sequel also was not unparalleled. The castles were not returned when the stipulated period had elapsed. All Edward could do was to make public protest, renounce his homage, and prepare to fight for the recovery of his duchy.

The war which thus began in 1294 did not come to a final and legal end till the Peace of Paris of 1303, but all the campaigning was done in the first four years. Edward, detained by trouble in England, was not once able to go in person to lead his forces in Gascony, and those who represented him were defeated year after year by the French armies, led in 1294 by Raoul de Nesle, Constable of France, in 1295 by Charles of Valois, and in 1296 by Robert of Artois. Edward was pinning his main hopes on a counter-offensive, to be undertaken with a series of allies made by expensive diplomacy all along the northern and eastern borders of France. Guy of Dampierre, Count of Flanders, was the weightiest of these, and it was to join him that Edward at last in 1297 crossed the Channel in person. Little came of their efforts. The Flemish towns were divided in their sympathies, and when Robert of Artois arrived, fresh from the memory of his Gascon successes, he was victorious in a battle at Fumes. Lille was taken, Bruges opened its gates, and Guy and Edward were bottled up in Ghent. In October a truce was proclaimed at Yve-Saint-Bavon, while in June 1298, as a move towards peace, marriages were arranged between Edward, now a widower, and Philip IV’s sister Margaret, and also between Edward, his young heir, and Philip’s daughter Isabella. Five years passed by before in 1303 a final peace was made at Paris, but the delay was to England’s advantage, because French fortunes took a turn for the worse in the interim. Consequently peace left both sides much as they were, and the balance established was not disturbed while Philip IV lived.

Flanders, meanwhile, could not keep up the struggle without English help, and Guy went with two of his sons to submit himself to his overlord, only to find himself made prisoner. Philip came to make a triumphal progress through the confiscated fief, and seemed well received. When he had gone, however, leaving James of Chatillon to rule as his representative, French popularity soon waned, and after one or two minor incidents came the startling “Matins of Bruges” on 18 May 1302, when in the grey of dawn the burghers fell upon the half-wakened and unsuspecting French lodged within the town, and massacred all who could not pronounce a phrase in Flemish previously agreed on as a shibboleth. All west Flanders flamed into emulation, and on 11 July 1302, the blackest of days in French annals, a punitive force rich in great names was miserably defeated by the rebels at the battle of Courtrai. A chronicler writing at Tournai describes how from the church-towers the roads and the paths and the fields were seen black with fugitives, glad in a day or two to give their very armour to anyone who would let them have bread in exchange. “The pick of the French,” wrote a Paris chronicler in amazement and disgust, “were disgracefully defeated by a handful of rustics, unarmed as compared with themselves.” In August Philip himself arrived to the rescue, but neither then nor next year could make headway, and even when, in September 1303, a truce was made and Count Guy was released from prison in order that he might persuade his subjects into submission, he failed to cool the ardour of the “Flandrenses Flamingantes.” It was not till a French success in August 1304, at Mons-en-Pevele, an isolated hill between Lille and Douai, had done something to diminish the confidence of one side and restore the self-respect of the other, that negotiation became hopeful, and a year later, in June 1305, a treaty was concluded at Athis-sur-Orge.

The French in seeming came well out of their adventures, for the terms they gave were hard. Though, on Guy’s death in 1305, his son Robert was to recover the county, he was to pay a large war-indemnity, compensate any of his subjects who had suffered through helping the French, and leave in Philip’s hands for the time being the castellanies of Lille, Douai, Bethune, and Courtrai, while 3000 men of Bruges were to go on pilgrimage to expiate the Matins, and in five towns the walls were to be pulled down. Much of this remained empty words. The Flemish towns would not ratify the treaty till 1309, and then only with modifications. The indemnity was hard to collect. Philip blamed Robert, Robert blamed the Italians who had the collection in hand, and the Flemings blamed a count who could allow himself to make this financial apology for a war they had gloried in waging. After some threats of fresh confiscation, Robert in 1312 saved himself by agreeing to the permanent transference to France of the castellanies of Lille, Douai, and Bethune, with their appurtenances. In 1314 cumulative friction actually provoked war again for a few months, but again the campaigning was indecisive, and in September the previous terms of peace were confirmed again.

The only solid result, then, of all Philip’s activities with regard to Flanders had been the addition to the royal domain of some Walloon lands. Frontier readjustments of this sort, however, made by treaty or by peaceful penetration, constitute in modern eyes Philip’s chief claim to success in external policy, and can be traced from north to south, all along the imperial frontier. Valenciennes, in Ostrevent, that province of Hainault which marched with the Scheldt and Flanders, made good with French help its claim to be and “to have been from very ancient times of the realm of France”, and the Count of Hainault, after resistance, was forced to do homage to Philip for Ostrevent. In 1300 the town of Toul offered itself to France. In 1301 Henry III, Count of Bar, whose wife Eleanor was a daughter of Edward I of England, and who had been much tangled in anti-French alliances, came to terms with Philip IV, promising to do homage to the French King for his lands on the left bank of the Meuse. A very formidable encroachment on imperial ground was made when Otto IV, Count of Burgundy, agreed that his daughter should marry Philip IV’s son, the future Philip V, and by the Convention of Vincennes (1295) transferred Franche Comté to France. In the Rhone valley, Lyons, after a renewal of old disputes between the French Crown and its archbishop, was detached from the Empire and united to France, while French suzerainty was finally established over the fiefs of the Bishop of Viviers. The sum total of this long line of encroachment is impressive, especially when there is added to it the constant extension of French influence in border regions which were not actually annexed.

Contemporaries, or some of them, aiming at a million, missed the unit, and would have had Philip embark upon foreign schemes far more showy and far less practical. A man like Pierre Dubois, pouring out treatises in which world-reforms were to be achieved by the means of that King of the French “who knows no superior on earth”, may have been regarded as a visionary even by men of his own age. But still, minds much more sober saw no reason why Philip should not achieve in the sphere of secular politics something comparable with his triumph over the Papacy, and Philip let himself to some extent be tempted by their suggestion. In December 1299 he conferred at Quatrevaux, between Vaucouleurs and Tours, with King Albert I, and contemporary observers believed that matters far more momentous were discussed than the marriage alliance between Philip’s sister and Albert’s son which was the public outcome of the inter­view. Subsequently, Philip’s thoughts turned to securing the imperial crown for some member of his family. In the elections after the deaths of Albert I in 1308 and Henry VII in 1313, he advanced as successive candidates his brother Charles of Valois and his son Philip of Poitiers. In neither case was he successful, and had he secured his end his problems would have been increased rather than diminished. France had nothing to regret in his failure.

Financial policy

Three successive wars—against Aragon under Philip III, against England and Flanders under Philip IV—had put the French monarchy to huge expense. Constant diplomatic activity also, notwithstanding the incessant complaints of the medieval envoy that he was not adequately provided with funds either for his own maintenance or for the persuasion of others, involved lavish outlay. Regular expenses of many other kinds were in­creasing with the increasing obligations of the Crown. It is clear, therefore, that a most complex financial problem confronted Philip IV. His vigorous and even violent efforts to cope with it make his reign stand out as critical in the financial history of the Capetian kings, and had political, social, and economic consequences of the first importance.

The nucleus of Philip’s revenue was, of course, that derived from his domain and feudal rights; but neither additions to the former nor rigorous exaction and extension of the latter could suffice to meet his needs. The novelty of his policy lies in his treatment of his extraordinary revenue. He carried taxation to a height hitherto unknown, organised its collection, and turned into regular and permanent sources of income some contributions which hitherto had been regarded as exceptional and occasional. We have already seen how Philip asserted successfully against Boniface VIII the right to demand ecclesiastical tenths when he judged it necessary; such tenths became normal and frequent. On several occasions the king demanded annates, or the first-fruits of benefices. Clergy and laymen alike were taught to attach precise significance to that auxilium which with consilium made up the feudal duty of vassal to lord. A few specimens of the taxes levied will shew their variety, and their intimate connexion with successive political crises. The failure of the war with Aragon led to money exactions from those southern towns which had not responded to the call to arms. The Flemish wars brought burden upon burden. In 1302 any noble who had forty livres revenue, or any non-noble with three hundred livres, might ransom himself from personal service by a payment in which the minimum fixed was one-fiftieth, but the maximum might be whatever the collectors could extort. In 1303 whoever had a hundred livres in land must pay one-fifth, and those with five hundred livres in movables one-twentieth. For the great campaign of 1304, each prelate and noble was required to equip one man-at-arms for every 500 livres of revenue, and to maintain him for four months. The renewal of war in 1313 at once brought fresh demands. Besides aides de Post, there were aids to be given on other occasions, such as the marriage of Philip’s daughter Isabella in 1308, or the knighting of three of Philip’s sons in 1313. In 1292 for the first time, but there­after repeatedly, there was levied denarius alias vocatus mala tolta, which began as a payment shared between vendor and buyer on every commercial transaction and became a tax levied on such essential things as wheat, wine, and salt, whether sold or owned. “King Philip”, wrote John of Saint-Victor, “vexed and troubled the people of his realm in every way with new exactions, such as hundredths and fiftieths, setting a yoke of novel servitude upon the neck of a once free people.” And, after all, the sum total obtained was insufficient, so that Philip was obliged also to borrow money, from Italian financiers, the towns, and individuals, on an enormous scale.

It was financial need, also, which led Philip into that debasement of the coinage which was the chief crime imputed to him by contemporaries. M. Borrelli de Serres has proved that the chroniclers and time between them have made legend rather than history concerning this, and that the fluctuations were less frequent and less extensive than has often been supposed. Yet the fact remains that from 1295 onwards the currency was steadily debased, and that two sudden attempts to return to a sounder basis, in 1306 and 1313, were almost equally injurious. Trade was dislocated, public feeling incensed. Even Pierre Dubois had to utter a lament. “I, the writer of these presents, know... that since they began the change of the money, I have lost through it at least five hundred livres tournois. And I believe, taking all things into consideration, that the king has lost and will lose by this far more than he has gained.”

It is not easy to summarise with brevity the many-sided effects of Philip’s financial methods. He was compelled, as we shall see, to extend or invent elaborate administrative machinery for financial purposes. He was led into jealousy and suspicion of other financial organisations. The Jews were driven out in 1306, the hurrying on of the attack on the Templars in 1307 was due to financial as well as other motives, and in 1311 Philip expelled the Lombards, those Italian experts who had made him large loans and had acted as his agents in all sorts of business. In each case, of course, the Crown seized the property belonging to its victims, and assiduously collected outstanding debts due to the disgraced creditors. In some directions Philip’s policy was modified or liberalised by his financial needs. Thus, when he wished to collect taxes in the lands of the great feudalists, he had to propitiate them with a share of the receipts or by granting them privileges. Moreover, since a tax imposed by consent was easier to collect than one forced in the teeth of public opinion, he was driven into consulting both individuals and groups more frequently than might otherwise have seemed necessary. Sometimes this consultation was local, and royal envoys either negotiated separately with magnates and town officials or explained matters to them collectively in an assembly representing a given area. Sometimes, again, it was central, and a tax would be blessed by the approval of such prelates and magnates as the king could easily gather about him. Finally, but not until the very last year of the reign, it occurred to Philip to take the problem of finance, as he had already taken problems of other sorts, to a central assembly of the kind which later would have been called a meeting of States General.

Students of the origins of the States General have been wont to go to Philip IV’s reign in much the same way that students of the origins of Parliament have sought out Edward I’s. And it is true that repeated experiments in this direction were made at Philip’s instigation. In February 1302 the seneschals and baillis were ordered to cause the towns in their area to choose each two or three of their “more substantial and experienced” men to represent them at an assembly to be held at Paris, where the king wished “to treat and deliberate concerning several difficult matters... with the prelates, barons, and other lieges and subjects of his realm”. On 10 April, accordingly, a numerous company assembled in the cathedral of Notre Dame, heard Pierre Flote, in the king’s presence, denounce Boniface, and then dissolved into its three component parts, each of which finally addressed a letter to Rome. On this occasion, therefore, Philip’s hands seemed to have been strengthened just in the way he had wished. Yet in the still more embittered dispute which followed next year, after the issue of Unam Sanctam, he did not adopt exactly the same plan, but instead had at Paris a solemn assembly of bishops and barons with proctors for chapters and towns, and in the summer sent round commissioners to address local assemblies. In 1308, however, the Templar dispute drew him back to his earlier practice, and he summoned the magnates to Tours together with two men “strong in the fervour of the faith” from every locus insignis, a term which was applied in the most liberal spirit to market towns and even villages as well as the great cities. The elections were made in various ways—sometimes in two degrees, by electors chosen by the common consent; sometimes by the whole body of burgesses; sometimes by that senior pars to which medieval custom was fond of trusting in many connexions. To the chronicler John of Saint-Victor the assembly appeared as “a parliament of nobles and non-nobles from every village and city of the realm.” He put its summons down to the fact that “the king wished to act wisely, and therefore he wished to have the judgment or consent of men of every sort”. Those summoned, how­ever, knew well enough that no alternative was offered to unquestioning, premeditated obedience, as is clearly shewn both by the formulae used in the towns’ instructions to their deputies and in the procurations given to representatives by nobles and prelates unable to attend in person.

The last assembly of this kind was provoked by the need for financial support when war against Flanders was renewed. It met on 1 August 1314, in the palace of the Cite at Paris. One chronicler gives a detailed description of what took place. First, Enguerrand de Marigny preached on the iniquities of the Flemings; next he appealed to the representatives of the towns to say whether they would not give an aid. The implied alternative was quite unreal, as the hearers knew well. They had been summoned ad obedienciam, and, one by one, the representative of Paris speaking first, they made the required promise. Only in the most artificial sense could it be said that the king had asked for popular consent to taxation.

What, then, had Philip done, and how far may his reign be said to mark a step forward in the consultation of the nation by the Crown? There was nothing new in having a popular element present, and it is quite possible that even in detail precedents for the method of summons existed as far back even as the twelfth century. But Philip had made more frequent use of the expedient than any king before him. Three times within six years, and that at the most critical moments, with matters at issue of importance not only for all France but for all Europe, Philip had summoned nobles, prelates, and townsfolk to his support; in 1314 he had used the same machinery when in terrible financial straits; and on other occasions he had made other experiments of which we have less full particulars. The fact was that he was being driven, by impulses and needs not confined in that age to France or himself, to a policy which other kings also adopted—an ostentatious appeal for general support. We need not take the view that he sought a model in England, for we know on the one hand that English practice in this respect was still variable, and on the other that for precedents he need only go to his own forbears. Yet we must be equally cautious about over-accentuating the contrast between institutions on the two sides of the Channel. The French States General and the English Parliament sprang from origins very similar, just as the French administrative system suggests at every turn analogies with Angevin England. It was not some fatal flaw of construction in the French assembly, or some masterpiece of engineering in the English, which made the subsequent history of the two so different. If Parliament became the tutor of royalty and the States General, except on rare occasions, its instrument, that was mainly due to reasons which came into play later, and especially to the acuteness of the English opposition in putting to its own uses what was primarily a royal invention, whereas in France critics hurled themselves blindly into rebellion.

The term “States General”, used here for convenience, was not as yet in being, and historians who occupy themselves in discussion as to which of Philip IV’s assemblies were, and which were not, States General, are disquieting themselves in vain. One contrast may be noted between Philip’s assemblies and their descendants. The later States General were summoned only at the rarest intervals; these, on the contrary, and their successors under Philip V, met surprisingly often. Had that practice been continued, their dumb docility might soon have been exchanged for critical discussion and gradual acquisition of new powers. Even as it was, they played their part in political education, for no doubt the tongues of the deputies wagged freely enough after they had returned to their homes.

If exceptional crises thus forced Philip to use exceptional means of consulting his subjects, he had also, of course, to obtain advice for the ordinary and daily purposes of government. He might seek this when he liked and from whom he chose, but, by the beginning of the fourteenth century, contemporary usage, hesitatingly and without consistency, had begun to refer to two sorts of council to which the king would normally turn. The one, a large assembly of important persons, meeting at intervals when summoned, they called the grant conseil or plein conseil, the other, a group of advisers attached to the royal household and moving about with the king, so that he always had at hand at any rate some of its members, was the conseil secret. Letters patent of 1310, quoted by Boutaric, shew Philip definitely appointing a man to member­ship of this body. “We retain him in our council and our household as our councillor and household clerk, wishing to add him to the company (consortium) of our other councillors and household clerks”. Such officials took a special oath. It is clear, then, that organisation was on the way, though it was to be a long time still before the fluid stage was to end and the conseil du roi take final shape.

Administration, as the royal authority and responsibilities widened, became a matter of increasingly serious concern. By Philip’s time, pro­cesses of administrative improvement which had had a start in the days of Philip Augustus and St Louis, and which in Philip III’s time were in good working order, had resulted in making the chief administrative organs so prominent that the mistake has often been made of thinking that they first came into being at the command of Philip IV. The fact was that he simply continued the double process which explains medieval administrative development—the drawing of a distinction between what was private and what was public work, and the specialisation of functions within what was once a universally responsible curia regis. The idea came gradually that to supply the king’s domestic needs was a function too humble to be performed by the same persons who aided the king to govern. Great men who still held such a title as that of Butler no longer performed any of the duties it would suggest; and even the deputies who had replaced them when first they abandoned these functions were by this time themselves no longer busied with domestic tasks, which were left to the domestic offices of the household (ministeria). Further, whereas the household must always move from place to place with the king, it had by this time been found convenient to cause certain persons who in the old days would also have travelled with him to remain stationary in a specified place to deal with indispensable public business. Thus specialisa­tion of functions began. It must always be remembered, however, that such powers were simply delegated from the Crown, and might at any moment be recalled or redistributed. The same men did different work at different times, and the same work was not always sent to the same place to be done. In short, the complications of Philip’s medieval system must not be unduly simplified by the modern mind, nor must categories and water-tight compartments be substituted for the vagueness of termi­nology which was inevitable in an age when institutions were slowly shaping themselves to meet needs which were also in process of development.

Foremost among early administrative improvements were those con­nected with the keeping of the king’s revenue and the supervision of those who had to spend it. Although France was slower than England in making a clear distinction between financial bodies inside and outside the household, by Philip IV’s time the line had been drawn, both as to the keeping of the royal treasure and the supervision of its spending. The domestic treasury was in charge of a staff of household clerks known as the Chambre aux Deniers, while with regard to more public funds the king at first relied on the banking and storage facilities of the Templars. The Treasurer of the Temple at Paris in consequence had so much business to do for his royal client that he received a payment from the Crown that might almost be called a salary. Even before the destruction of the Order, how­ever, Philip had discarded this plan, and from 1295 onwards set up treasurers of his own at the Louvre. Thus began a new office which gradually got its own staff, its own traditions, its own methods. As to supervision, various experiments were tried. At first, delegates from the court used to sit for three short sessions each year to examine the accounts of all who were financially responsible to the Crown. It soon became clear, however, that the task was much too big to be disposed of in sessions lasting only two or three weeks, and a permanent sub-commission was kept hard at work between whiles, completing what was left unfinished at the last meeting and preparing for the next. These officials at first worked with the Chambre aux Deniers, but soon became a separate body; in an ordinance of 1309 they are called the Chambre des Comptes, and were henceforth so known. They had really superseded the more magnificent but less expert group of whom at first they had been the servants. Already in 1300 they had complained that the grands seigneurs hindered their work, and a royal ordinance had bidden the ushers to shut the doors all morning against “prelates, barons, and others of our council who come into the chamber to talk and importune you about matters other than those with which you are busied.” Even uninterrupted, the department found its work sufficiently harassing, and was often behindhand with the mass of supervision entrusted to it. When Philip IV rebuilt the palace of the Cite, it secured good quarters there, with ample storage room, under the same roof with the Parlement.

Of parallel importance with all this financial business was the secretarial work of government—drafting, copying, registering, and sealing corre­spondence and documents of the most varied kind. These duties were performed on the domestic side by yet another body called a Chamber, this time without any additional explanatory phrase, and on the national side by the Chancery. Again, the power of the Crown in France made the line between the two less clear-cut than in England. But though there was a Chancery, and an official at its head in charge of the great seal, there was not, at this date, a Chancellor. The strengthening Capetian monarchy, jealous of over-mighty subjects, had suppressed that title in 1185, and though it reappeared under Louis VIII and in the early years of Louis IX, it then vanished again for nearly ninety years. Documents issued from the Chancery of Philip III and Philip IV were subscribed “data vacante cancellaria,” while the head of the department was called “custos sigilli” or “qui defert sigilium.” That change of title was meant to reflect a real change of position, emphasising the fact that the holder’s main duties were administrative, not political, and that he might be a very great man indeed in his own office without counting very much anywhere else. Even so the post was desirable, for it carried a salary, larger or smaller according as its holder was or was not being boarded at the royal expense, a percentage of the fees, and a share in the common purse of the Chancery, as well as such privileges as a seat in the court of peers and the right of prise when travelling. What a man of strong personality could do when holding it, even under these limitations, was plainly seen in the case of Pierre Flote and Guillaume de Nogaret. After the death of Philip IV, the suppression of the title ended, and in 1315 Etienne de Mornay was appointed Chancellor.

The domestic secretariat, or Chamber, was a group gradually specialised for this purpose out of the household staff. Its head, the Chamberlain, was in particularly intimate relation with the king, and by 1312 certainly, and perhaps earlier, was in charge of the king’s personal, “secret” seal.

There remains for examination the Parlement, that delegation from the Curia regis which came to act on behalf of the king as the supreme judicial tribunal. The steps towards this consummation were slow, and Philip IV did much to complete what Louis IX had begun. Normally once a year, occasionally twice, and normally at Paris, occasionally elsewhere, there met for a session lasting three or four months a body mainly composed of professional members nominated by the king, but reinforced as required by other officials, nobles, and prelates. At the end of each session the date of the next was announced, and to each administrative area a certain number of days was allotted. By Philip IV’s time three chambers are discernible. The Chambre des Plaids or Grand Chambre, now and then supplemented by an Auditoire du Droit écrit for cases coming from the Midi, was Parlement in its most solemn aspect, where the pleadings took place, and where alone until the days of Charles VI sentence could be pronounced. The Chambre des Requetes dealt with petitions for the gracious jurisdiction of the Crown, and the Chambre des Enquetes with judicial enquiries. The whole organisation, with its impressive archives, its orderly procedure, its staff of lawyers, clerks, notaries, and servants, and the spacious halls assigned to it when the palace of the Cite was rebuilt, was a magnificent advertisement for royal justice.

If the central organisation of government had thus by Philip IV’s time become elaborate, and within its limitations and difficulties efficient, there remained a very hard problem to be faced in the shape of local government. The whole of the royal domain was divided into administrative areas which were known in the north as bailliages, but in the south as sénéchaussées, headed by an official known as the bailli or senechal. Under whichever name, he was a hard-worked and much-abused person. “His competence”, says M. Langlois, “may be defined in one word. It was universal”. He was the channel through which all royal orders and announcements reached his district, and the instrument of their execution. He was responsible to the central government for the collection and expending of the royal revenue. He had at all times to keep his district in as good order as he could, and, when required, to prepare it for defence or aggression. Sitting in his court as representative of royal justice, he had to deal with feudal disputes, punish breaches of the peace, and lend as discriminating an ear as possible to endless appeals against the decisions of his subordinates or of the local magnates. And beyond such duties, capable of definition, he had others which were undefined and indefinable, involved in his position as the representative for all purposes of a distant, unseen majesty. As subordinates he had prévôts in the north or bailes in the south, whose functions were as varied as his own, and who as a rule had bought their office for a price and were in consequence bent upon recouping themselves. Below these again came a crowd of minor officials, called by different titles in different parts, and rarely so disinterested or intelligent as was desirable. Thus even the best-intentioned bailli, by the multiplicity of his duties and the shortcomings of those through whom, in part at any rate, he must perform them, was handicapped severely, while the brutal, stupid, or greedy had golden opportunities for doing mischief. The records of the time brim over with accounts of the iniquities of such men. They must be read, however, with a lively sense of the difficulties of such posts and with a discount for the ingenuity of the injured parties.

None of the many devices used to keep the local administration up to the mark were entirely satisfactory. Sometimes the local men were called to the centre to render account and receive instructions. Sometimes they were inspected on the spot. In Normandy and Champagne assemblies known as the Échiquiers and the Grands Jours, survivals of the days of independence, were kept alive as royal instruments to hear local accounts and examine local causes. At Toulouse, intermittently, the experiment was tried of dealing with cases for the whole of Languedoc, except the English lands, in a local parlement composed of delegates from the Parlement of Paris. Commissioners arrived from time to time in the local areas to advertise the royal needs or the royal policy. Enqueteurs-reformateurs, whose very name testifies to the admirable intentions of their original founder St Louis, were by this time very doubtful blessings. It was said that they set the existing officials by the ears, used their powers to extort money or to satisfy private grudges, and so often left things worse than they found them.

What are we to think of the success or failure of Philip’s internal policy, considered as a whole? Though developed from that of earlier kings, it had reached lengths and made impressions far more notable, partly because of the cumulative effect of repeated experiments, partly because Philip’s violences, assertions, and quarrels had made him the cynosure of all eyes. It is clear that in the last years of his reign public opinion was setting against him. When, in August 1314, he went to war again with Flanders after a nine years’ interval, he did indeed get lip-service from an assembly summoned to Paris to grant an aid, but in the subsequent campaign little enthusiasm was shewn, and still less about continuing to pay the tax after peace had been made in September. On 6 October, the twenty-ninth anniversary of Philip’s accession, he shewed that he was nervous of giving his subjects a chance to meet in arms by issuing another ordinance against tournaments. Finally, in November and December, angry feeling culminated in the formation of leagues of protest and mutual support, in Burgundy, Champagne, Vermandois, and elsewhere. Their instigators were not, for the most part, the greatest of the French feudalists but the smaller men, and the latest historian of the movement1 is sure that they do not represent a feudal reaction. Great magnates such as the Count of Valois, the Countess of Artois, and the Duke of Burgundy, not only stood aside but were themselves attacked, while the towns and the clergy in some parts associated themselves with the protest. Philip thought so seriously of the situation that he at once yielded what he conceived to be the main point at issue by proclaiming the cessation of the Flemish levy on 28 November. Two days later he died. Had he lived, he would have found that his concession had not been effective. Nor did his dying regrets for the more violent of his actions appease his critics.

Croiserie ne penitence,

Aumosne, oroison, ne jeusne,

Ne te vaudra ja une prune,

wrote the author of the chronicle attributed to Geoffrey of Paris. As to the Leaguers, they continued to excogitate their grievances during the winter, and were ready in the spring with a list of demands from the new king.

The Leaguers: royal charters

Louis X’s short reign, which lasted for less than two years (November 1314—June 1316), has sometimes been represented as a reaction against that of his father. That view exaggerates the significance of certain changes which now came about, either as natural consequences of Philip IV’s own actions or to meet the wishes of advisers who saw their opportunity of securing things they had long desired. To the first class belong the charters of 1315; to the second, the restoration of the office of Chancellor and the fall of Enguerrand de Marigny, both largely due to Charles of Valois. Louis himself, a very ordinary young knight, dying prematurely sicut puer because he could not resist a cold drink in a cold cavern after exercise, was the last man in the world to speculate about constitutional problems. His chief guide, his uncle Charles of Valois, had no wish to associate with the rebellious or revolutionary. He did, however, secure the fall of one old enemy in the person of Enguerrand de Marigny. “The man who knows all the king’s secrets” had been climb­ing the ladder of advancement ever since 1295, but it was not till 1313 that, by royal ordinance, without any change of office or title, he was placed in a position of autocracy in financial matters, accountable to nobody but the king himself. There is no evidence that Enguerrand abused this trust. A first enquiry was interrupted by the death of Philip IV; a second, in January 1315, acquitted him. Yet on 11 March 1315 he was arrested, tried on forty-one counts, including intercourse with a familiar spirit, and on 30 April was hanged. His real crime was that he was too inventive, too ambitious, too well rewarded, and his downfall was a per­sonal matter unconnected with the Leaguers and their protests.

A contemporary chronicler assures us that Louis X earned his nickname of “le Hutin” (the stubborn) “because he always desired with his whole heart to go to war against the Flemings.” As Count Robert did not obey the order to do homage, the court of peers sentenced him to deprivation of his fiefs, and a French army went out in the rain in 1315 to stick in the autumn mud in Flanders and return with little accomplished. Experiences of that sort were becoming commonplaces of Franco-Flemish campaigning. On this occasion, however, a special importance attached to it, because Louis had paved the way by going as far as dignity permitted toward meeting the demands of the Leaguers. The various groups presented in the spring the cahiers they had prepared in the winter, and received in answer a whole series of royal charters, beginning, curiously enough, with a charter to Normandy, which had taken no share in the original out­break. But neither the sort of thing for which the Leaguers asked, nor the sort of thing that Louis gave, was to remain outstanding in French history. Most of them wanted, in a vague way, a return to undefined halcyon days of the past—the laws of good King Louis. They wanted respect for noble privilege, the right to fight and tourney at their will, the right to hold their own against the meddlesomeness of royal officials, and to have the full feudal courtesies respected however much time or money was lost thereby. “Their programme,” says M. Langlois, “was neither new, nor bold, nor of a sort to command sympathy. There is a striking difference between their attitude and that of the English barons under John Lackland, Henry III, and Edward I”. “For want of unity”, says M. Artonne, “they did not, like their neighbours in England, obtain a Great Charter applicable throughout the realm, but a number of local charters, often confused, almost always filled with unimportant details, with concessions annulled almost at once, which could not form a basis for public law”. On this side of the Channel, perhaps, we may think that our own baronial opposition was quite as old-fashioned and self-centred, especially if we use the strictly contemporaneous comparison with the magnate quarrels under Edward II. At any rate, in neither country, at this moment, did the party of protest shew any such constructive in­genuity as could turn the tables permanently on the Crown. Yet just as in England, in the Middle Ages as well as later, Magna Carta was used, without too specific reference to its details, as a sort of symbolic embodi­ment of liberty, so in France the charters won in 1315 took somewhat the same position. The charter to Normandy, for example, was again and again presented for confirmation in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In so far, the League movement did warn the monarchy that public opinion was not ripe for over-rapid centralisation; but the vague, polite, and cautious terms of the replies given shew how little definite practical change resulted.

Philip V

Louis X’s death on 5 June 1316 left, for the first time in Capetian history, a vacant throne without an heir. Louis’ second wife, Clementina of Hungary, was expecting the birth of a child in the coming autumn; meanwhile, there was only the four-year-old Jeanne, daughter by his first wife, and niece of Odo (Eudes) IV, Duke of Burgundy. For the time being, the dead king’s brother Philip, Count of Poitiers, acted as regent without much opposition from possible rivals; but when in November the queen’s son was born, only to die a few days later, a final settlement had to be made. Philip now claimed to succeed his brother, and was duly crowned on 9 January 1317. Charles of Valois, though displeased, as is shewn in a series of bulls issued by John XXII, countenanced this step by his presence. He and Mahaut, Countess of Artois, however, were the only lay magnates present. The Burgundian party, represented by the Duke Odo IV and his mother Agnes, appealed to the court of peers on behalf of the rights of little Jeanne, and whipped up support from their Burgundian subjects and from the Leaguers in Flanders, Artois, and elsewhere. Never­theless, an assembly of prelates, magnates, citizens of Paris, and doctors of the university, held at Paris in February 1317, approved Philip’s claim and went on to enunciate the general principle that “a woman does not succeed to the throne of France”. Similar circumstances in 1322 and 1328 were met by similar expedients, and soon legal ingenuity sought analogies in the laws of the Salian Franks, while verbal ingenuities deemed it natural that the lilies of France should not be borne by a labourer or a woman, for “they toil not, neither do they spin”. In Philip V’s case, all danger of civil war was over by 1318, and the Burgundians came to terms. Duke Odo married Philip’s daughter, another Jeanne, while his niece was compensated for losing a throne by a revenue of 15,000 pounds tournois, the promise of Champagne should Philip V die without male heirs, and the hand of her father’s cousin Philip, Count of Évreux. From the practical point of view this solution was certainly the best. France was in no state to face the dangers of a minority.

Philip V, moreover, was an excellent king—prudent, intelligent, active. “When we received from God the government of our realms, the greatest desire which we had, and still have, was and is to keep and maintain justice and righteousness.... And to this end we began straightway to ponder, consider, and search for in every possible way the means by which we could arrive at this.” These words are put into Philip’s mouth in July 1318, as preamble to one of his letters, by the clerks who drafted it. They need not be discounted as conventional formulae, for they are borne out by his whole policy. Ordinance after ordinance, generally issued after consultation with some assembly of his subjects, revived wholesome legislation of St Louis or Philip IV, swept away the desordenement which had arisen since the time of “le roy monsieur St Loys”, or found new remedies for new troubles. Notable among the last was the establish­ment, in March 1317, of a system by which in each town or castellany the inhabitants were to provide themselves with such weapons as after enquiry were found suitable to their rank, and be placed under the com­mand, for military purposes only, of a capitaine bon et souffisans, whom they should swear to “obey and aid”, while he in return swore to guard them. These captains themselves were to be grouped under a captain general for each large district. Because “the poor being necessitous may sell or pawn their weapons,” they were to surrender them for common storage after each man had marked his own. The Crown by these means secured a force which when need arose could rapidly be put on a war footing, under commanders to whom it was accustomed and who were en­tirely identified with the royal interests. Philip thus carried to completion much the same sort of idea that had inspired the Assize of Arms under Henry II or the Statute of Winchester under Edward I. Less novel, but equally important, were the measures by which Philip renewed or developed the efforts of Louis IX and Philip IV for the improvement of the govern­mental machine. There were arrears to make up. The Chambre des Comptes, for example, as an ordinance of 1320 shows, had to enlarge its staff to four maîtres clercs and eleven subordinates, to cope with its “great multitude of accounts”. The clerks were to arrive in good time each morning, and work till noon without leaving the room or wasting time upon any business of their own or their friends. Even after the mid-day bell had rung, they must stay to deal with any letters urgently requiring answers. Similar minute instructions were issued with regard to Parlement. Immediately after the first Mass had been said in the royal chapel, the officials must go to their duties, and apply themselves till noon, for­feiting a day’s wages if they so much as left their seats without permission. The Chambre des Requêtes kept the same hours, but the Chambre des Enquêtes, from Easter to Michaelmas, sat in the afternoon. Every month a certain number of the members of the Great Council, named by the king (Conseil du Mois), were to meet and deal, among other business, with reports on the state of the households of the king, the queen, and other members of the royal family. Twice a year the Treasurer and house­hold staff were to account. As to local officials, the baillis and others were warned to appear at the accustomed times, to reside in their bailiwicks, to carry out their duties without oppression, to send up their moneys secretly and safely, and to see that these were paid directly into the treasury.

There was still, of course, no idea of transferring, but only of delegating, the Crown’s responsibility for government, and Philip took a real and personal share. Though he consulted both councils and wider assemblies of the States General type, he did so of choice rather than of necessity, and selected his advisers much as he pleased. The ordinance of 1318 which set up the Conseil du Mois left its composition to the king’s nomination each month; its sessions cannot be traced after November 1320; and even while they lasted Philip could issue acts “non contrestant le conseil du mois”. Even a cursory survey of the ordinances gives the impression that Philip was genuinely anxious to secure peace and order, and that largely with an eye to economic advantage. Brigandage, private war, and tourna­ments were put down. Officials were to be moderate about prises and other exactions, and in commandeering horses or carts. An effort was made to set up a uniform coinage and standard weights and measures, though this met with so much opposition that it could not be carried through. “All those who work”, in fact, as M. Lehugeur puts it, whether on the land or at trades or handicrafts, had reason to be grateful to Philip. To the Church, too, he took and enforced in others a tone of great respect, and though by ordinance he forbade prelates to sit in the Parlement, this was only, as he explained, because his desire was that those in Parlement should give their whole time to their duties there, whereas prelates would necessarily be called away, or ought to be, to govern their dioceses and exercise their spiritual functions.

It is in internal affairs, then, that Philip V’s reign is memorable. He had little fighting to do. He intervened in Artois to protect the Countess Mahaut against her nephew Robert of Artois, and completed successfully the work there begun by Louis X. He carried on with Flanders the usual alternate warfare and diplomatic negotiation, and in 1320 persuaded Count Robert to do homage and agree that his heir should marry Philip’s daughter Margaret; but the good feeling was as short-lived as usual, and in 1321 Philip was complaining that Robert had kept none of his promises. War with England seemed likely for a time, but it is to Philip’s credit that without pressing matters to this extreme he induced Edward II, who had never done homage to Louis X at all, to carry out this obligation by proxy in 1319, and in 1320 to perform it in person in the cathedral at Amiens. A similar prudence caused Philip to refuse Pope John XXII’s invitation to come forward as the champion of the Guelf party in Italy against the Ghibellines. He was, in fact, exactly the sort of king to win the admiration of the modern historian of administrative and constitutional development, while to the warlike feudalist of his own day, or to the con­ventionally-minded contemporary chronicler bent on praising the con­ventionally correct, he was a disappointing figure. John of Saint-Victor, for example, wrote of Philip with an obvious sense of something being wrong, though in a king so “gentle, easy to get on with (tractabilis), and kindly,” he found it hard to say exactly what was the matter. When an illness, beginning in August 1321, resulted in Philip’s death in January 1322, some at any rate of his subjects felt actual relief. “He was mourned by everyone”, wrote one anonymous chronicler, but John of Saint-Victor, though cautiously, took another view. Interference with the coinage and the weights and measures, he said, would have meant heavy expense in compensation to those deprived of privileges, and possibly rebellion on the part of the injured. “Wherefore perchance it seemed to some that it was expedient that one man should die for the people, rather than that so great a people should be exposed to so great a danger.” It was a more grudging epitaph than Philip’s merits deserved.

For the second time, a Capetian king had died without leaving a son to succeed him; for the second time, to the exclusion of the dead man’s daughters, a brother was crowned. In this case a real change of policy resulted, for Charles IV, who as Count of La Marche during Philip’s life­time had been anything but contented and loyal, had friends very different from those of the late king. His godparents were Mahaut, Countess of Artois, who held his foot at his baptism, and Charles, Count of Valois, who had lifted him from the font. This spiritual relationship not only secured their influence over him, but also, many years later, came in a curious way to his relief when he washed to get rid of his first wife, Blanche, daughter of the Countess Mahaut. The Church, which did not recognise as sufficient ground for release the adultery for which Blanche was im­prisoned in 1314, permitted Charles to repudiate her in 1322 as being, as the child of his godmother, within the prohibited degrees. He was thus enabled, in August 1322, to marry Mary of Luxemburg, daughter of the late Emperor Henry VII and sister to John, King of Bohemia. Such a connexion inevitably enmeshed him in imperial politics. The year of his accession was that of the battle of Mühldorf, in which Lewis of Bavaria finally triumphed over Frederick of Habsburg, who had been his rival for the imperial crown ever since the votes of the Electors had been divided between them in 1314. John of Bohemia, who had been passed over on that occasion, was full of schemes for at any rate dimin­ishing the importance of a suzerain whom he could not dislodge. In one of these, for the revival of the kingdom of Arles, he tried to interest France by offering its throne to Charles of Valois. Nothing came of this. A still more tempting offer was made to Charles IV himself in 1324, when Pope John XXII, who had quarrelled with and excommunicated Lew is IV, suggested that for a substantial consideration it might be possible to secure the election of Charles to the dignity thus theoretically vacant. Charles certainly nibbled at this bait, but matters went no farther.

Opportunities less grandiose but less visionary were meanwhile present­ing themselves nearer home. In September 1322 Louis of Nevers succeeded Robert of Bethune as Count of Flanders and was led by the need of support against a rival to a rapprochement with France. The leliaert party raised its head again, and when the populace of Bruges and the coastal district rose in revolt in 1323, Charles IV proposed to go to the rescue of Louis and the pro-French party. In 1326 a peace at Arques reiterated the usual promises of submission and amends, but the rebels remained sulky, and were still unsubdued when Charles IV died. He had not, after all, got any farther than his predecessors towards subjecting Flanders. There remained the parallel question of tightening the grasp of the Crown upon Gascony and its English duke. Here the weakness of Edward II combined with Charles’ personal inclinations and the desires of his uncle Charles of Valois to achieve something tangible. The tale is told in another chapter1 of the relations between Charles and Edward, the affair of Saint-Sardos and the war to which it led, the prospects of peace in 1325 and their ruin in 1326. The revolution which cost Edward II his throne left his supplanters, Isabella and Mortimer, with their young charge Edward III, in too weak a position to prolong war or even to extort a favourable peace, so that when, on 31 March 1327, yet another Treaty of Paris was made, it was much more to French than English advantage. France restored to England Ponthieu and a much diminished Gascony, but retained Agen and the Agenais, Bazas and the Bazadais. Nothing was said about the points in dispute as to Saint-Sardos and Montpezat. The English had to pay a war indemnity of 50,000 marks sterling, and the only concession made with regard to eight great Gascon loyalists who had stood by England was that their sentence of death was commuted to banishment. The moral effect of all this, of course, was enormous, and Charles could congratulate himself upon a real shock given to the prestige of a vassal who, in name at any rate, had always hitherto remained formidable. This triumph is the capital incident of Charles IVs reign.

In February 1328 Charles died. Though he had married three times, no son was left to follow him. His one boy, the child of Mary of Luxemburg, was dead, and his third wife, Jeanne of vreux, bore him daughters only, including a baby yet unborn at the time of its father’s death. Following and developing the precedents set in 1316 and 1322, not only women but also male heirs descended through heiresses were now excluded, so that the crown passed to Charles IV’s cousin, Philip of Valois. The direct line of Hugh Capet was now at an end.