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|King of France|
|Reign||17th February, 1229 - 2nd December, 1258|
|Born||5th June, 1220 |
|Died||2nd December, 1258 |
|Spouse||Avita of Savoy|
Eleanor of Provence
|Mother||Joan of Champagne|
His minority was dominated by his mother Joan of Champagne, who by all accounts was a mediocre regent stirring up the only-recently quelled peasantry with excessive demands for taxation. She was quickly side-lined and Henry of Dreux, the Archbishop of Reims, would oversee the remainder of Philip's minority.
Under Henry of Dreux's tutelage he was given a religious outlook and the success of Emperor Frederick II's crusade instilled a crusading zeal in the young king, and as soon as he came of age Philip organised a crusade. The timing was apt, Anglia was in a long drawn out war with Scotland (Long Scottish War, the Holy Roman Empire busy with wars in Italia. With a large cohort of French, Norman, Saxon, Breton and Leonese knights Philip chartered a navy. Raiding ports along Africa's Northern coast the force would arrive in Cyprus in Autumn 1238 where news of the current situation in the Levant could be heard and battle plans arranged.
Whilst Jersalem and Antioch were more or less stable thanks to efforts of Frederick II's Sixth Crusade there were other targets. What was left of the Byzantine Empire was being eaten by the Bulgarians and the Seljuk Turks. The Kingdom of Armenian Cilicia to the north of Cyprus was in chaos thanks to a series of succession crises stirred up by the neighbouring cruasader kingdom of Antioch and barely holding out against the Seljuks. Philip's forces landed in March of 1239, made short work of the various claimants of the crown and elevated Princess Euphemie to Queen, then quickly married her off to the illegitimate Leonese prince Rodrigo Alfonso. Handed a kingdom and an exotically beautiful wife, Rodrigo quickly agreed to be baptised into the Armenian church. Alongside the forces of Antioch a campaign against the Seljuks was initiated which brought several castles and the large city of Nakita into Cilician ownership, at least temporarily. This swift success surprised many and, flattered by Bohemond of Antioch into believing he was a truly gifted commander, he would march on Damascus. The attack failed but he still came away with a number of hostages which were sold back to the Ayyubids at an extortionate price.
Returning to Europe triumphant, it appeared that France was once again in the ascendancy. Philip swiftly began plans to capitalise on this and sought to restamp France's authority over Francia's erstwhile provinces. Artesië to the north was a prime target; its lords had gotten away with
Much of Philip's later reign would be geared toward ensuring the succession of his sole heir, a daughter; Catherine. Throughout the 1250s, oaths were dragged out of his nobles one by one to swear allegiance to her and her husband Louis of Orleans, lest a male heir was not born. Catherine would indeed inherit France when Philip died in 1258. By and large his nobles did honour their promises though many of the other Francian states were less beholden to the new queen and used the succession as an excuse to renege on treaties and restart feuds which Philip had worked so hard to end.