Philip III

Philip III
1578-1621, king of Spain 1598-1621 (son of Philip II of Spain).

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born July 31, 1396, Dijon, Burgundy
died June 15, 1467, Bruges

Duke of Burgundy (1419–67).

The most important of the Valois dukes of Burgundy, he founded the Burgundian state that rivaled France in the 15th century. He confirmed his right to Burgundy by signing the Treaty of Troyes with Henry V of England (1420), and he maintained an alliance with England, breaking it only during his unsuccessful attempt to capture Calais (1435–39). Philip avoided conflict with France and instead attacked his smaller neighbors, conquering Hainaut, Brabant, Holland and Zeeland, and Luxembourg by 1443. A renowned patron of the arts, he presided over one of Europe's most extravagant courts.

born April 14, 1578, Madrid, Spain
died March 31, 1621, Madrid

King of Spain and of Portugal (1598–1621).

The son of Philip II, he was an indifferent ruler and allowed royal favourites to govern in his place. From 1609 his government continued the policy of expelling the Moriscos (Christians of Moorish ancestry), which caused serious economic problems. The huge sums he spent on court entertainments exacerbated Spain's growing economic problems.

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▪ duke of Burgundy
byname  Philip The Good,  French  Philippe Le Bon 
born July 31, 1396, Dijon, Burgundy [now in France]
died June 15, 1467, Bruges [now Brugge, Belg.]
 the most important of the Valois dukes of Burgundy (reigned 1419–67) and the true founder of the Burgundian state that rivaled France in the 15th century.

      Philip was the son of John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria. When he became duke of Burgundy at the age of 23, his first aim was to extricate himself as expeditiously as possible from the French affairs in which his father, Duke John, had been embroiled and that had led to his assassination in 1419. Holding the dauphin Charles (later Charles VII of France) answerable for his father's murder, Philip signed the Treaty of Troyes with King Henry V of England in 1420, a treaty in which the queen of France, Isabella of Bavaria, conferred succession to the French crown on Henry and partitioned France among England, Burgundy, and her disinherited son, the dauphin Charles.

      Philip paid little attention to potential conquests in France and preferred to remain uncommitted there. He maintained his alliance with England, apart from a break in 1435–39, when he tried but failed to conquer Calais, but seldom gave England serious help against France. On the other hand, especially after 1435, when he acknowledged Charles as king of France and accepted his disavowal of the murder of John the Fearless, he did his best to be on reasonably good terms with the king of France. His real interests lay not in France but in the development of his own territories.

      Behind an impressive, if bizarre, facade of courtly splendour and chivalrous festivity, Duke Philip the Good was an aggressive opportunist who, especially in the first half of his ducal reign, concentrated on the task of attacking and swallowing up his smaller neighbours. Namur was purchased in 1421; Hainaut fell to Burgundian arms in 1427; the rich duchy of Brabant was taken over in 1430; and the combined counties of Holland and Zeeland were conquered in a long series of personally led and bitterly contested campaigns between 1424 and 1433. The crowning achievement of Philip's policy of territorial expansion was his conquest of the duchy of Luxembourg in 1443.

      It was under Philip that the richness and extravagance of court life in the European Middle Ages reached its apogee. Philip, whose personal tastes in clothes were relatively simple, loved to surround himself with all the pomp and pageantry that the age could command. In 1430 he founded a new order of chivalry, a Burgundian version of the British Order of the Garter, called the Toison d'Or, or Golden Fleece, membership of which was limited to 24 noblemen of proven valour and wide renown. Court was held at Brussels or Bruges, in Brabant and Flanders, respectively; or at Hesdin or Lille, in northeastern France; or at some other centre.

      The best artists of the day were employed by Philip to paint his banners and pennons, to decorate his palaces and carriages, and to illuminate what was probably the finest collection of picture books ever put together. The artist Jan van Eyck (Eyck, Jan van) accompanied a ducal embassy to Portugal to paint the king's daughter Isabella, so that Philip could see her likeness before committing himself to marrying her. Sculptors worked on tombs at Philip's command, and exquisite tapestries were embroidered under his personal supervision. A host of musicians, jewelers, goldsmiths, and other craftsmen and artists were employed at his court. The bawdy stories exchanged by Philip and his courtiers after dinner were collected into Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, or “The Hundred New Short Stories.”

      Some of the more elaborate banquets, notably the Feast of the Pheasant in 1454, at Lille, were open to the public, who could admire the endless array of model ships and towers, pies with people inside them, peacocks, swans, and eagles (mock or real), and other paraphernalia that accompanied the various dishes. Other entertainment was held from time to time in the form of tournaments or passages of arms, and Duke Philip's courtiers roamed about Europe issuing challenges and doing battle with their colleagues from other lands.

      Duke Philip was tall, handsome, and bony in figure; his face was long and lean, with a high forehead, prominent nose, and bushy eyebrows. Excellent in health, he enjoyed hunting, tennis, archery, and jousting in his youth, but he turned in his later years to making clogs, repairing broken glasses, and soldering broken knives. His many bastard children caused the bishop of Tournai (himself a bastard) to criticize him for what the ecclesiastic called “the weakness of the flesh.” Some were brought up at court; others went into the church. His mistresses were kept out of affairs of state, and it was mere geographic convenience and economy that caused him to maintain several at once in the different towns where he held court. Self-assured and flamboyant almost to the end, he died, possibly of pneumonia, at Bruges in 1467.

Richard Vaughan

Additional Reading
Otto Cartellieri, The Court of Burgundy (1929, reprinted 1972), is a comprehensive study of Philip's reign. Richard Vaughan, Philip the Good: The Apogee of Burgundy (1970), offers a broad political biography, with characterization of the period in general, and includes a comprehensive bibliography.

▪ king of France
byname  Philip The Bold,  French  Philippe Le Hardi 
born April 3, 1245, Poissy, Fr.
died Oct. 5, 1285, Perpignan
 king of France (1270–85), in whose reign the power of the monarchy was enlarged and the royal domain extended, though his foreign policy and military ventures were largely unsuccessful.

      Philip, the second son of Louis IX of France (Saint Louis), became heir to the throne on the death of his elder brother Louis (1260). Accompanying his father's crusade against Tunis in 1270, he was in Africa when Louis IX died. He was anointed king at Reims in 1271.

      Philip continued his father's highly successful administration by keeping in office his able and experienced household clerks. Mathieu de Vendôme, abbot of Saint-Denis, whom Louis IX had left as regent in France, remained in control of the government. The death in 1271 of Alphonse of Poitiers and his wife, heiress of Toulouse, enabled Philip early in his reign to annex their vast holdings to the royal demesne. Nevertheless, in 1279 he was obliged to cede the county of Agenais to Edward I of England. The marriage in 1284 of Philip's son, the future Philip IV, to Joan, the heiress of the crown of Navarre and the countships of Champagne and Brie, brought these important areas also under Capetian control. In addition Philip over the years made numerous small territorial acquisitions.

      Philip was less successful militarily. In 1276 he declared war to support the claims of his nephews as heirs in Castile but soon abandoned the venture. In 1284, at the instigation of Pope Martin IV, Philip launched a campaign against Peter III of Aragon, as part of the War of the Sicilian Vespers, in which the Aragonese opposed the Angevin rulers of Sicily. Philip crossed the Pyrenees with his army in May 1285, but the atrocities perpetrated by his forces provoked a guerrilla uprising. After a meaningless victory at Gerona and the destruction of his fleet at Las Hormigas, Philip was forced to retreat. He died of fever on the way home.

▪ king of Spain and Portugal

born April 14, 1578, Madrid
died March 31, 1621, Madrid
 king of Spain and of Portugal (as Philip II) whose reign (1598–1621) was characterized by a successful peaceful foreign policy in western Europe and internally by the expulsion of the Moriscos (Christians of Moorish ancestry) and government by the King's favourites.

      Philip was the son of Philip II of Spain by his fourth consort, his Habsburg cousin Anna of Austria. Though pious, benevolent, and highly virtuous in private conduct, Philip, after he became king (Sept. 13, 1598), showed himself to be indolent and indifferent to his responsibilities. His father revealed his disappointment when he remarked that his son was unfit to govern the kingdoms God had given him and would instead be governed by them. In April 1599 the new king married his Habsburg cousin the Austrian archduchess Margaret.

      From the beginning, Philip placed affairs entirely in the hands of a favourite, Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas, marqués de Denia, later the duke of Lerma—the first in a line of royal favourites who governed 17th-century Spain. Philip's government continued a policy of hostility to the Turks, and in Italy it faced the rivalry of the Republic of Venice and the Duchy of Savoy. In the rest of western Europe, however, a Spanish policy of conciliation ruled. Peace in the West enabled the government to deal with the internal problem of the Moriscos; (Morisco) and on April 9, 1609, the decision was made for their expulsion, which caused serious economic and demographic difficulties in certain areas. The peace was brought to an end by the outbreak (1618) of the Thirty Years' War, in which Philip gave his unconditional support to the Holy Roman emperor Ferdinand II and the Catholic German princes.

      Remote from his subjects, Philip spent huge sums on court entertainments and neglected Spain's growing economic problems, which were to reach crisis proportions in the following reign. Having resided in Valladolid in the first years of his reign, he eventually fixed his court in Madrid. After a visit to Portugal (1619), he suffered the first attack of an illness that two years later brought about his death.

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Universalium. 2010.

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