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Philip the Good

Philip the Good

As Philip III Duke of Burgundy
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro As Philip III Duke of Burgundy
A.K.A. Philippe III
Countries France
Occupations Military personnel Politician
Gender male
Birth 31 July 1396 (Dijon, Côte-d'Or, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France)
Death 15 June 1467 (Bruges, Arrondissement of Bruges, West Flanders, Flemish Region)
Family
Mother: Margaret of Bavaria
Father: John the Fearless
Siblings: Agnes of BurgundyDuchess of BourbonMarie of BurgundyDuchess of ClevesAnne of BurgundyMargaret of BurgundyDauphine of France
Spouse: Michelle of ValoisBonne of ArtoisIsabella of PortugalDuchess of Burgundy
Children: Charles the BoldDavid of BurgundyAnthonybastard of BurgundyPhilip of BurgundyCorneille of BurgundyAnna van BourgondiëRafael of Burgundy
The details
Biography

Philip the Good (French: Philippe le Bon, Dutch: Filips de Goede; 31 July 1396 – 15 June 1467) was Duke of Burgundy as Philip III from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty, to which all the 15th-century kings of France belonged. During his reign, Burgundy reached the apex of its prosperity and prestige and became a leading center of the arts. Philip is known in history for his administrative reforms, his patronage of Flemish artists such as Jan van Eyck and Franco-Flemish composers such as Gilles Binchois, and the capture of Joan of Arc. In political affairs, he alternated between alliances with the English and the French in an attempt to improve his dynasty's position. As ruler of Flanders, Brabant, Limburg, Artois, Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland, Friesland and Namur, he played an important role in the history of the Low Countries.

Family and early life

Coat of arms of Philip the Good (after 1430)

Born in 1396 in Dijon, Philip was the son of John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria-Straubing. His father succeeded Philip's grandfather Philip the Bold as Duke of Burgundy in 1404. On 28 January 1405, Philip was named Count of Charolais in appanage of the duke and probably became engaged on the same day, at the age of 8, to Michele of Valois, a daughter of King Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. They were married in June 1409.

After Michelle's death in 1422, Philip married Bonne of Artois, a daughter of Philip of Artois, Count of Eu, and also the widow of his uncle, Philip II, Count of Nevers, in Moulins-les-Engelbert on 30 November 1424. Bonne of Artois is sometimes confused with Philip's biological aunt, also named Bonne (a sister of John the Fearless who lived from 1379 to 1399), in part due to the papal dispensation required for the marriage, which made no distinction between a marital aunt and a biological aunt. Bonne of Artois lived only a year after Philip married her.

Philip was married for a third time to Isabella of Portugal, a daughter of John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, in Bruges on 7 January 1430. This marriage produced three sons:

  • Anthony (September 30, 1430, Brussels – February 5, 1432, Brussels), Count of Charolais;
  • Josse (April 24, 1432 – aft. May 6, 1432), Count of Charolais;
  • Charles (1433–1477), Count of Charolais and Philip's successor as Duke of Burgundy, known as "Charles the Bold" or "Charles the Rash"

Philip also had at least eighteen illegitimate children by various of his 24 documented mistresses, of which these are the best known:

  • Corneille of Burgundy (c. 1420 – 1452), captain-general/governor of Luxembourg, killed in the Battle of Bazel (1452);
  • Anthony, bastard of Burgundy (1421–1504), lord of La Roche, Sainte-Menehould, Guînes, Lord of Crèvecoeur and Beveren;
  • David of Burgundy (c. 1427 – 1496), bishop of Therouanne and bishop of Utrecht, a fine amateur artist, and the subject of a biography in 1529;
  • Anne of Burgundy (c. 1435 – 1508), governess of Mary of Burgundy, married Adrian of Borssele and later Adolph of Cleves, Lord of Ravenstein;
  • Raphaël of Burgundy, also called Raphaël de Marcatellis (c. 1437 – 1508), abbot of the Saint-Bavo Abbey in Ghent and the Saint-Peter Abbey in Oudenburg;
  • Baldwin of Burgundy (c. 1446 – 1508), Lord of Fallais, Peer, Boudour, Sint-Annaland, Lovendegem, Zomergem en Fromont;
  • Philip of Burgundy (1464–1524), Bishop of Utrecht.

Corneille and Anthony were his favorite bastard sons and successively bore the title Grand bâtard de Bourgogne (first Corneille and after his death, Anthony).

Early rule and alliance with England

Statue of Philip the Good, in the Ducal Palace at Dijon

Philip became duke of Burgundy and count of Flanders, Artois and Franche-Comté upon the assassination of his father in 1419. Philip accused Charles, the Dauphin of France and Philip's brother-in-law, of planning the murder of his father, which took place during a meeting between John and Charles at Montereau. Because of this, he continued to prosecute the civil war between the Burgundians and Armagnacs. In 1420, Philip allied himself with Henry V of England under the Treaty of Troyes. In 1423, the marriage of Philip's sister Anne to John, Duke of Bedford, regent for Henry VI of England (and also his uncle), strengthened the English alliance.

On 23 May 1430, Philip's troops captured Joan of Arc at Compiègne and later sold her to the English, who orchestrated a heresy trial against her conducted by pro-Burgundian clerics. Despite this action against Joan of Arc, Philip's alliance with England was broken in 1435 when he signed the Treaty of Arras, which completely revoked the Treaty of Troyes and recognised Charles VII as king of France. Philip signed the treaty for a variety of reasons, one of which may have been a desire to be recognised as the preeminent duke in France. He then attacked Calais, a possession of the English, but the alliance with Charles was broken in 1439. Philip supported the revolt of the French nobles the following year (an event known as the Praguerie) and offered shelter to the Dauphin Louis, who had rebelled against his father Charles VII.

Geographic expansion

Philip was generally preoccupied with matters in his own territories and was seldom involved directly in the Hundred Years' War between England and France, although he did play a role during a number of periods, such as the campaign against Compiègne during which his troops captured Joan of Arc. He incorporated Namur into Burgundian territory in 1429 (by purchase from John III, Marquis of Namur) and Hainault and Holland, Friesland and Zeeland in 1432 with the defeat of Jacqueline, Countess of Hainault, in the last episode of the Hook and Cod wars. He inherited the Duchies of Brabant and Limburg and the Margraviate of Antwerp in 1430 on the death of his cousin Philip of Saint-Pol and purchased Luxembourg in 1443 from Elisabeth of Bohemia, Duchess of Luxembourg. In 1456, Philip also managed to ensure his illegitimate son David was elected Bishop of Utrecht and his nephew Louis of Bourbon elected Prince-Bishop of Liège.
It is not surprising that in 1435 Philip began to style himself the "Grand Duke of the West".

In 1463, Philip gave up some of his territory to King Louis XI of France. That year he also created an Estates-General for the Netherlands based on the French model. The first meeting of the Estates-General was to obtain a loan for a war against France and to ensure support for the succession of his son Charles I to his dominions. In 1465 and 1467, Philip crushed two rebellions in Liège.

Philip died in Bruges in 1467.

Court life and patron of the arts

Rogier van der Weyden miniature 1447-8. Philip dresses his best, in an extravagant chaperon, to be presented with a History of Hainault by the author, flanked by his son Charles and his chancellor Nicolas Rolin.

Philip's court can only be described as extravagant. Despite the flourishing bourgeois culture of Burgundy, with which the court kept in close touch, he and the aristocrats who formed most of his inner circle retained a world-view dominated by knightly chivalry. He declined membership in the English Order of the Garter in 1422, which could have been considered an act of treason against the king of France, his feudal overlord. Instead, he created his own Order of the Golden Fleece, based on the Knights of the Round Table and the myth of Jason, in 1430.

Philip had no fixed capital and moved the court between various palaces, the main urban ones being Brussels, Bruges, and Lille. He held grand feasts and other festivities, and the knights of his Order frequently travelled throughout his territory to participate in tournaments. In 1454, Philip planned a crusade against the Ottoman Empire, launching it at the Feast of the Pheasant, but this plan never materialized. In a period from 1444 to 1446, he is estimated to have spent a sum equivalent to 2% of Burgundy's main tax income in the recette génerale, with a single Italian supplier of silk and cloth of gold, Giovanni di Arrigo Arnolfini.

Portrait of Isabella of Portugal from the workshop of Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1445–50

Philip's court was regarded as the most splendid in Europe, and it became the accepted leader of taste and fashion, which probably helped the Burgundian economy considerably, as Burgundian (usually Flemish) luxury products became sought by the elites of other parts of Europe. During his reign, for example, the richest English commissioners of illuminated manuscripts moved away from English and Parisian products to those of the Netherlands, as did other foreign buyers. Philip himself is estimated to have added six hundred manuscripts to the ducal collection, making him by a considerable margin the most important patron of the period. Jean Miélot was one of his secretaries, translating into French such works as Giovanni Bocaccio's Genealogia Deorum Gentilium.

Philip was also a considerable patron of other arts. He commissioned many tapestries (which he tended to prefer over paintings), pieces from goldsmiths, jewellery, and other works of art. It was during his reign that the Burgundian chapel became the musical center of Europe, with the activity of the Burgundian School of composers and singers. Gilles Binchois, Robert Morton, and later Guillaume Dufay, one of the most prominent composers of the 15th century, were all part of Philip's court chapel.

In 1428, Jan van Eyck traveled to Portugal to paint a portrait of the daughter of King John I, the Infanta Isabella, for Philip in advance of their marriage. With help from more experienced Portuguese shipbuilders, Philip established a shipyard in Bruges.

Rogier van der Weyden painted his portrait twice on panel, of which only copies survive, wearing the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The only original van der Weyden of Philip to survive is a superb miniature from a manuscript (above left). The painter Hugo van der Goes of the Early Netherlandish school is credited with creating paintings for the church where Philip's funeral was held.

Honours

  •  Duchy of Burgundy : 1st Grand Master and Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
  •  Kingdom of France – Duchy of Orléans : Knight of the Order of the Porcupine

Refused honours

  •  Kingdom of England : He refused the Order of the Garter

Ancestry

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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