Philip III of France

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Philip III the Bold
Miniature Philippe III Courronement.jpg
Coronation of King Philip III
King of France (more...)
Reign25 August 1270 – 5 October 1285
Coronation30 August 1271
PredecessorLouis IX
SuccessorPhilip IV
Born30 April 1245
Died5 October 1285(1285-10-05) (aged 40)
m. 1262; died 1271)
m. 1274)
FatherLouis IX of France
MotherMargaret of Provence
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Philip III (30 April 1245 – 5 October 1285), called the Bold[a][b] (French: le Hardi), was King of France from 1270 to 1285.

Philip's father, Louis IX, died in Tunis during the Eighth Crusade. Philip, who was accompanying him, returned to France and was anointed king at Reims in 1271.

Philip inherited numerous territorial lands during his reign, the most notable being the County of Toulouse, which was returned to the royal domain in 1271. Following the Sicilian Vespers, Philip led the Aragonese Crusade in support of his uncle. Initially successful, Philip, his army racked with sickness, was forced to retreat and died from dysentery in Perpignan in 1285. He was succeeded by his son Philip the Fair.

Early life[edit]

Philip was born in Poissy, the son of King Louis IX of France and Margaret of Provence.[3] As a younger son, Philip was not expected to rule France. At the death of his older brother Louis in 1260, he became the heir to the throne.[4]

Philip's mother Margaret made him promise to remain under her tutelage until the age of 30, however Pope Urban IV released him from this oath on 6 June 1263.[5] From that moment on, Pierre de La Brosse was Philip's mentor.[6] His father, Louis, also provided him with advice, writing in particular Enseignements, which inculcated the notion of justice as the first duty of a king.[7]

According to the terms of the Treaty of Corbeil (1258), concluded on 11 March 1258 between Louis IX and James I of Aragon,[8] Philip was married in 1262 to Isabella of Aragon in Clermont by the archbishop of Rouen, Eudes Rigaud.[9]


As Count of Orléans, Philip accompanied his father on the Eighth Crusade to Tunis in 1270. Shortly before his departure, Louis IX had given the regency of the kingdom into the hands of Mathieu de Vendôme and Simon II, Count of Clermont, to whom he had also entrusted the royal seal.[10] After taking Carthage, the army was struck by an epidemic of dysentery, which spared neither Philip nor his family. His brother John Tristan, Count of Valois died first, on 3 August,[11] and on 25 August the king died.[c][13] To prevent putrefaction of the remains of Louis, they decided on Mos Teutonicus.[14]

Philip, then 25 years old and stricken with dysentery, was proclaimed king in Tunis.[15] Unable to command the army following the death of his father, his uncle, Charles I of Naples, was forced to negotiate with Muhammad I al-Mustansir, Hafsid Sultan of Tunis.[16] A treaty was concluded 5 November 1270 between the kings of France, Sicily and Navarre and the caliph of Tunis.[17]

Other deaths followed this debacle. In December, in Trapani, Sicily, the brother-in-law of Philip, King Theobald II of Navarre, died.[18] He was followed in February by Philip's wife, Isabella, who fell off her horse pregnant with their fifth child, dying in Cozenza (Calabria).[19] In April, Theobald's widow and Philip's sister Isabella also died.[20]

Philip III arrived in Paris on 21 May 1271, and made foremost tribute to the deceased.[21] The next day the funeral of his father was held. The new sovereign was crowned King of France in Reims 15 August 1271.[22]


Philip would maintain most of his father's domestic policies.[23] In fact, he would follow in his father's footsteps concerning Jews in France,[24] claiming piety as his motivation.[25] Upon his return to Paris 23 September 1271, Philip re-inacted his father, Louis's, order that Jews wear badges.[26] His charter in 1283, banned the construction and repair of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries,[27] banned Jews from employing Christians, and sought to restrain Jewish strepiti(chanting too loud[28]).[29]

On 21 August 1271, Philip's uncle, Alphonse, Count of Poitiers and Toulouse, died childless in Savona.[30] Philip inherited Alphonse's lands and united them to the royal domain. This inheritance included a portion of Auvergne, later the Duchy of Auvergne and the Agenais. In accordance with the wishes of Alphonse, Philip granted the Comtat Venaissin to Pope Gregory X in 1274.[31] Several years later the Treaty of Amiens (1279) with King Edward I restored Agenais to the English.[31]

On 19 September 1271, Philip commanded the seneschal of Toulouse to record oaths of loyalty from nobles and town consuls.[30] The following year, Roger-Bernard III, Count of Foix, invaded the county of Toulouse killing royal officials.[30] Philip's royal seneschal, Eustache de Beaumarchès, led a counter-attack into the county of Foix, until ordered by Philip to withdraw.[30] Philip arrived at Toulouse on 25 May 1272,[30] and proceeded on a campaign to deliberately devastate and depopulate the County of Foix.[32] By 5 June Roger-Bernard had surrendered, and was placed in chains.[32] Philip would hold Roger-Bernard captive for a year.[33]

Treaty with Navarre[edit]

The Treaty of Orléans, of 1275, between Philip III and Blanche of Artois, arranged the marriage between a son of Philip III (Louis or Philip) and Blanche's daughter, Joan.[34]

Sicilian Vespers[edit]

In 1282, King Peter III of Aragon instigated the Sicilian Vespers rebellion against King Charles I of Naples,[35] Philip's uncle. The success of rebellion and invasion led to the coronation of Peter III of Aragon as king of Sicily. Pope Martin IV excommunicated Peter III and declared his kingdom forfeit.[36] The pope then granted Aragon to Philip's son, Charles, Count of Valois.[37] Philip's brother, Peter, Count of Perche, who had joined Charles to suppress the rebellion, was killed in Reggio Calabria.[38] He died without issue and the county of Alencon returned to the royal domain.[39]

Marriage of Philip and Marie of Brabant, Queen of France

Aragonese Crusade and death[edit]

Philip III of France in 1284 responded, through the urging of his wife Mary of Brabant and his uncle Charles of Naples, by launching a war against the Kingdom of Aragon.[40] The war took the name "Aragonese Crusade" from its papal sanction; nevertheless, one historian labelled it "perhaps the most unjust, unnecessary and calamitous enterprise ever undertaken by the Capetian monarchy.".[41] Philip, accompanied by his sons, entered Roussillon at the head of a large army.[42] By 26 June 1285, he had entrenched his army before Girona and besieged the city.[42] Despite strong resistance, Philip took Girona on 7 September 1285.[42]

Philip quickly experienced a reversal, however, as an epidemic of dysentery hit the French camp[42] and afflicted Philip personally. The French had started a withdrawal when the Aragonese attacked and easily defeated the former at the Battle of the Col de Panissars on 1 October 1285.[43]

Philip died of dysentery in Perpignan on 5 October 1285.[40] His son, Philip IV of France the Fair, succeeded him as king of France. The attempt of Philip to conquer Aragon nearly bankrupted the French monarchy, causing financial challenges for his successor.[44]

Following the Mos Teutonicus custom, his body was divided in several parts buried in different places; the flesh was sent to the Narbonne Cathedral, the entrails to La Noë abbey in Normandy, his heart to the now-demolished church of the Couvent des Jacobins in Paris and his bones to Basilica of St Denis, at the time north of Paris.[45]

Marriage and children[edit]

On 28 May 1262, Philip married Isabella, daughter of King James I of Aragon and his second wife Yolande of Hungary.[46] They had the following children:

  1. Louis (1264 - May 1276).[47]
  2. Philip IV of France (1268 – 29 November 1314), his successor, married Joan I of Navarre[48]
  3. Robert (1269–1271)[49]
  4. Charles, Count of Valois (12 March 1270 – 16 December 1325),[50] Count of Valois from 1284, married first to Margaret of Anjou in 1290, second to Catherine I of Courtenay in 1302, and last to Mahaut of Chatillon in 1308
  5. Stillborn son (1271)

After death of Queen Isabella, he married on 21 August 1274 Marie,[46] daughter of the late Henry III, Duke of Brabant, and Adelaide of Burgundy, Duchess of Brabant. Their children were:

  1. Louis, Count of Évreux (May 1276 – 19 May 1319), Count of Évreux from 1298,[50] married Margaret of Artois[51]
  2. Blanche of France, Duchess of Austria (1278 – 19 March 1305, Vienna), married the duke, the future king Rudolf I of Bohemia and Poland, on 25 May 1300.[51]
  3. Margaret of France, Queen of England (1282 – 14 February 1318), married king Edward I of England on 8 September 1299[52]

Review from Dante[edit]

In the Divine Comedy, Dante envisions the spirit of Philip outside the gates of Purgatory with a number of other contemporary European rulers. Dante does not name Philip directly, but refers to him as "the small-nosed"[53] and "the father of the Pest of France," a reference to king Philip IV of France.


  1. ^ Hallam states Philip gained his nickname sometime before 1300, due to his prowess in Tunis or Spain.[1]
  2. ^ Bradbury states it was Philip's distinct policies and how he implemented them that gained him his nickname[2]
  3. ^ The disease in question was either dysentery or typhus.[12]


  1. ^ Hallam 1980, p. 275.
  2. ^ Bradbury 2007, p. 237.
  3. ^ Richard 1992, p. xxiv.
  4. ^ Field 2019, p. 77.
  5. ^ Hallam 1980, p. 223.
  6. ^ Gil 2006, p. 88.
  7. ^ Le Goff 2009, p. 330.
  8. ^ Sivery 2003, p. 35.
  9. ^ Ward 2016, p. 132.
  10. ^ Richard 1992, p. 327.
  11. ^ Richard 1992, p. 325.
  12. ^ Riley-Smith 2005, pp. 210–211.
  13. ^ Riley-Smith 2005, pp. 210–211.
  14. ^ Westerhof 2008, p. 79.
  15. ^ Giesey 2004, p. 242.
  16. ^ Tyerman 2019, p. 368.
  17. ^ Lower 2018, p. 134-135.
  18. ^ Peter of Ickham 2012, p. 296.
  19. ^ Brown 1978, p. 149.
  20. ^ Evergates 1999, p. 86.
  21. ^ Bradbury 2007, p. 235.
  22. ^ Sivery 2003, p. 109-110.
  23. ^ Fawtier 1989, p. 34.
  24. ^ Stow 2006, p. 95.
  25. ^ Chazan 1980, p. 185.
  26. ^ Chazan 2019, p. 155.
  27. ^ Chazan 1980, p. 186.
  28. ^ Chazan 2019, p. 169.
  29. ^ Stow 2006, p. 94.
  30. ^ a b c d e Biller, Bruschi & Sneddon 2011, p. 42.
  31. ^ a b Sivery 2003, p. 106.
  32. ^ a b Biller, Bruschi & Sneddon 2011, p. 42-43.
  33. ^ Biller, Bruschi & Sneddon 2011, p. 43.
  34. ^ Woodacre 2013, p. 29.
  35. ^ Runciman 2000, p. 205-209.
  36. ^ Bradbury 2007, p. 239.
  37. ^ Runciman 2000, p. 243.
  38. ^ Runciman 2000, p. 232.
  39. ^ Wood 1966, p. 30.
  40. ^ a b Fawtier 1989, p. 35.
  41. ^ Chaytor 1933, p. 105.
  42. ^ a b c d Hallam 1980, p. 356.
  43. ^ Sivery 2003, p. 279.
  44. ^ Sumption 1990, p. 24.
  45. ^ Cárdenas 2014, p. ?.
  46. ^ a b Earenfight 2013, p. 158.
  47. ^ Bradbury 2007, p. 238.
  48. ^ Woodacre 2013, p. xviii.
  49. ^ Field 2019, p. 78.
  50. ^ a b Henneman 1971, p. xvii.
  51. ^ a b Morrison & Hedeman 2010, p. 4.
  52. ^ Prestwich 2007, p. 27.
  53. ^ de Pontfarcy 2010, p. 691.


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Philip III of France
Born: 30 April 1245 Died: 5 October 1285
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Louis IX
King of France
25 August 1270 – 5 October 1285
Succeeded by
Philip IV