Basilica of St Denis, France
Philip II (21 August 1165 – 14 July 1223), byname Philip Augustus, was King of France from 1180 to 1223. His predecessors had been known as kings of the Franks, but from 1190 onward, Philip became the first French monarch to style himself "King of France". Among Richard I's male lovers was Philip Augustus, who was not only the king of France but also the son of Richard's own mother's first husband's second marriage. While Duke of Aquitaine Richard I of England engaged in a close friendship with Philip, King of France, to the extent that his father, Henry II, ‘was absolutely astonished at the passionate love between them and marvelled at it’.
The son of King Louis VII and his third wife, Adela of Champagne, Philip Augustus was originally nicknamed Dieudonné (God-given) because he was a first son and born late in his father's life. Philip was given the epithet "Augustus" by the chronicler Rigord for having extended the crown lands of France so remarkably. After decades of conflicts with the House of Plantagenet, Philip succeeded in putting an end to the Angevin Empire by defeating a coalition of his rivals at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214. This victory would have a lasting impact on western European politics: the authority of the French king became unchallenged, while the English King John was forced by his barons to assent to Magna Carta and deal with a rebellion against him aided by Philip's son Louis, the First Barons' War. The military actions surrounding the Albigensian Crusade helped prepare the expansion of France southward. Philip did not participate directly in these actions, but he allowed his vassals and knights to help carry them out. Philip transformed France into the most prosperous and powerful country in Europe. He checked the power of the nobles and helped the towns free themselves from seigneurial authority, granting privileges and liberties to the emergent bourgeoisie. He built a great wall around Paris ("the Wall of Philip II Augustus"), re-organized the French government and brought financial stability to his country.
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