Page images

Vexin must have intensified his desire to return. For centuries the fortunes of the lands between the Seine and the Scheldt had been connected, and Philip could not hope to unravel the innumerable ties and conflicting interests of Flanders and its neighbours before securing himself from Norman attacks upon the French Vexin. Moreover, some near neighbours of Normandy were at this time his friends. 1 On the other hand, Richard was able to save Normandy by his commanding influence among the princes of the Rhine valley. Philip reached beyond them to the emperor and to Denmark. For a few years the politics of Northern Europe were involved in a common system.

The history of the Low Countries during the life of Philip of Alsace was complicated to an unusual degree. It had its centre in the relations between the three most important princes in that part of Europe, the count of Flanders and the dukes of Brabant and Hainault. Of these princes Philip of Flanders was a vassal of the French king-his imperial fiefs were unimportant-and the dukes of Hainault and Brabant were vassals of the empire. Each ruled a land of important towns, and each had ambitions natural to wealthy monarchs who had seen the new greatness of the kings of France and England. Any one of them might well have succeeded, as the dukes of Burgundy succeeded in the fifteenth century, if the others had not stood in his way. Philip of Alsace had sought to become great in two ways. Putting aside old rivalries, he became the friend of Louis VII of France and the relative of Baldwin of Hainault, a most astute politician. Baldwin married Philip's sister, and their child, Philip's niece, was married to the young Philip

1. Besides the bishop of Beauvais and Baldwin of Hainault, he could probably rely upon Bernard of Saint Valéry and John of Ponthieu who had been his pledges at Messina in the treaty with Richard. For the connection between the death of Philip of Alsace and Philip Augustus's return, see William of Newburgh p. 357; Coggeshall, p. 34; Cartellieri, ii, 238–46.

Augustus. The count of Flanders himself had acquired the counties of Valois and Vermandois as the dowry of his wife, Isabella of Vermandois. But the very complexity of these connections defeated the aims of Philip of Alsace, and the young king of France turned them to his own advantage. He began by taking a leaf from the book of Flemish policy and made peace with Henry II of England. The supremacy of Flanders in the politics of northern France depended upon the hostility of France and Normandy; and in the past the counts of Flanders had successfully played one State off against the other. Now, with the aid of the Normans, Philip Augustus broke up the coalition which Philip of Alsace had formed in order to secure control over him. In the second place, by fair means and foul, Philip Augustus set enmity between the count of Flanders and his brother-in-law of Hainault, and as the latter's son-in-law, bound him to his own interests. His first great success came in 1185 after the death of Isabella of Vermandois (1182). He claimed the inheritance of Vermandois and added to his domain Amiens and Montdidier; a wedge was thus driven between Normandy and the Flemish fiefs, and the gap between the royal domains in the Ile-de-France and at Montreuilsur-mer was partially filled. Philip of Alsace turned to the east and formed a coalition with the duke of Brabant against his brother of Hainault; but the Crusade and his death in the Holy Land terminated this alliance. Philip Augustus had scored his second point. The late count of Flanders had made an elaborate agreement with him with regard to the dowry of his niece Isabella of Hainault. The count had granted as a dowry in 1180 all the western part of Flanders beyond what was known as the new Foss: the district known as Artois,

1. Lavisse, Histoire de France, III, i, 86. Even in this severely diplomatic summary, the affection which the young king felt for Henry II's sons, Henry and Geoffrey, should not be forgotten, as a factor in the alliance.

including Arras, Bapaume, Saint-Omer, Aire, Hesdin, the avouerie of Béthune, Lens, Ardres, Saint-Pol, Guines, Richebourg. In possession of this valuable territory, Philip Augustus might well hope to control the whole north of France. By the treaty of Mons, however (1185), Philip of Alsace had secured the right to rule Artois during his own lifetime; and Artois was to remain with France only if Philip Augustus died leaving a direct heir, who also had direct descendants. This provision was fulfilled, and Artois technically became part of France in 1226, on the accession of St. Louis. But long before that Philip Augustus, hurrying home after the death of Philip of Alsace, had entered upon his wife's duwry, while Baldwin of Hainault secured the succession to the rest of Flanders in right of his wife, the count's sister. Thus the new count of Flanders, by scrupulously respecting the rights of his daughter and her husband to Artois, added Flanders to Hainault under the protection of the king of France. Moreover, he had shortly before been recognised as a new prince of the empire, in spite of the protests of Brabant.2 In 1191 the alliance between France and Flanders seemed secure: Baldwin was indisputably the

1. For the above, see Pirenne, Histoire de Belgique (1902), i, 197–204 ; Borrelli de Serres, La réunion des provinces septentrionales à la couronne par Philippe Auguste (Paris, 1899); Count Maxime de Germiny in the Revue des questions historiques, lxvii (1900), 245. Cartellieri, iii, 3–13, gives very full details of the various treaties of 1191 and 1192. The chief text is Gilbert of Mons in Mon. Germ. Scriptores, xxi, 574–6; cf. Cartellieri, ii, 281–2.

Isabella of Philip of Alsace, Margaret = Baldwin of Hainault. Vermandois. Count of Flanders.

Count of Flanders

jure uxoris (1191-Nov., 1194).

Baldwin IX. of Flanders (1194) Isabella Philip Augustus. and VI. of Hainault (1195),

abdicated 1202, Emperor of Constantinople (1204-5). 2. Smets, Henri 1, duc de Brabant (Brussels, 1908), pp. 41-44.

greatest man in the valley of the lower Rhine, and Philip had gained a large tract of rich country on the flank of Normandy. Richard of England was absent, his brother was willing to betray him, the emperor was friendly; Gisors and the Vexin, if not Normandy, might be won.

Such was the situation when events in Germany altered the whole aspect of affairs, isolated Baldwin and Philip, and induced the former to resume the traditional alliance between Flanders and Normandy.

The rivalry of Richard and the emperor Henry VI had been very welcome to Philip. Both men caught the fancy of the age, and figured in the apocalyptic visions of Joachim of Flora. The aspirations of Henry were well known. He desired, says the Greek princess Anna Comnena, to be king of kings. In the west this aim was interpreted as being especially directed against France. A man of his type, who combined with an alert and practical energy the fertile imagination of an eastern conqueror, could not fail to be impressed by the exploits of Richard. Richard had not only made a name for himself in the Mediterranean which was to linger long after Henry was forgotten; he had also thwarted the emperor's chief hopes. By his alliance with Tancred he had checked the advance of the Hohenstaufen in Sicily; he had overthrown Henry's relative in Cyprus, and had quarrelled with Henry's subjects in Syria. Moreover, nearer home Richard was the mainstay of his brother-inlaw Henry the Lion and of the Saxon house. No wonder that Philip Augustus found it an easy task to pit the emperor against this magnificent rival.

The king of England was taken prisoner in December 1192, and was surrendered to the emperor in the following February. Before the end of June three agreements had been made between the two men, in the last of which


1. Scheffer-Boichorst in Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte, viii (1868), 498.

2. See Cartellieri, iii, 40, 51, 54.

the terms of Richard's release were decided. Philip had done much in these few months; Gisors had fallen, the Vexin had been occupied and Rouen besieged; but the news that Richard and the emperor had come to terms forced on a treaty with the former which was effected on July 9th. Philip and Count John had done their utmost to prevent the agreement between the emperor and his captive, and this arrangement of July 9th was only a safeguard in case of Richard's release. As a matter of fact, the king was not released for some time, and Philip continued to use active measures against him. They took the form of preparations for an invasion of England, and direct negotiations with the emperor.

In spite of his negotiations with Richard, Philip did not cease to offer bribes to Henry VI in order to prevent Richard's release at the stated time. Envoys offered 50,000 marks of silver on Philip's behalf, and 30,000 on behalf of Count John, on condition that the king of England were kept a prisoner until the following Michaelmas (1194); or if the emperor preferred, they offered to pay 1,000 pounds of silver at the end of each month of Richard's captivity; or, if still another plan was preferred, the king of France would give 100,000 marks of silver (equal to the ransom) and Count John would give 50,000 marks, on condition that the emperor either surrendered Richard or kept him in captivity for a year from that date.? This was the last of several attempt to bribe Henry VI which were made during the year 1193. But more direct action against Richard's possessions were preparing during i the same year. Early in the year Philip Augustus had collected a fleet at Witsand, which was to convey to England a host of his Flemish allies.2 And his alliance with the king of Denmark was in great part due to his desire to carry out the favourite scheme of an invasion

1. Howden, ii, 229.
2. Gervase of Canterbury, i, 515.

« PreviousContinue »