Philip relied on skillful civil servants, such as Guillaume de Nogaret and Enguerrand de Marigny, to govern the kingdom rather than on his barons. Philip and his advisors were instrumental in the transformation of France from a feudal country to a centralized state. Philip, who sought an uncontested monarchy, compelled his vassals by wars and restricted feudal usages. His ambitions made him highly influential in European affairs. His goal was to place his relatives on thrones. Princes from his house ruled in Naples and Hungary. He tried and failed to make another relative the Holy Roman Emperor. He began the long advance of France eastward by taking control of scattered fiefs.
His final year saw a scandal amongst the royal family, known as the Tour de Nesle Affair, during which the three daughters-in-law of Philip were accused of adultery. His three sons were successively kings of France, namely: Louis X, Philip V and Charles IV.
A member of the House of Capet, Philip was born at the Palace of Fontainebleau at Seine-et-Marne to King Louis IX's eldest son Philip the Bold and Isabella of Aragon. Two years later, his elder brother Louis became heir apparent when his grandfather died and his father ascended to the throne as King Philip III. When Louis died in May 1276, Philip became heir apparent. Philip's younger brother Robert also died in May 1276, leaving Philip and his younger brother Charles. Their stepmother, Marie of Brabant, was suspected of poisoning the two young boys; her first son, Louis, was born in the same month the two boys died. The prince was nicknamed the Fair (le Bel) because of his handsome appearance, but his inflexible personality gained him other epithets, from friend and foe alike. His fierce opponent Bernard Saisset, bishop of Pamiers, said of him, "He is neither man nor beast. He is a statue."
Philip ascended to the throne and became King at age 17, although according to the publication titled "The Life And Times Of Jacques de Molay", Philip was 16. As a king, Philip was determined to strengthen the monarchy at any cost. He relied, more than any of his predecessors, on a professional bureaucracy of legalists. Because to the public he kept aloof and left specific policies, especially unpopular ones, to his ministers, he was called a "useless owl" by his contemporaries, among them Bishop Saisset. His reign marks the French transition from a charismatic monarchy – which could all but collapse in an incompetent reign – to a bureaucratic kingdom, a move, under a certain historical reading, towards modernity.
Philip married queen Joan I of Navarre (1271–1305) on 16 August 1284. The primary administrative benefit of this was the inheritance of Joan in Champagne and Brie, which were adjacent to the royal demesne in Ile-de-France and became thus effectively united to the king's own lands, forming an expansive area. During the reigns of Joan herself, and her three sons (1284–1328), these lands belonged to the person of the king; but by 1328 they had become so entrenched in the royal domain that Philip (who was not an heir of Joan) switched lands with the then rightful heiress, his grand-daughter Joan II of Navarre, with the effect that Champagne and Brie remained part of the royal demesne and Joan received compensation with lands in western Normandy.
The Kingdom of Navarre in the Pyrenees was not so important to contemporary interests of the French crown. It remained in personal union 1284–1329, after which it went its separate way. Philip gained Lyons for France in 1312.
War with the English
Homage of Edward I (kneeling) to Philip IV (seated). As Duke of Aquitaine, Edward was a vassal to the French king.
As Duke of Aquitaine, the English king Edward I was a vassal to Philip, and had to pay him homage. Following the Fall of Acre in 1291 however, the former allies started to show dissent.
In 1293 following a naval incident between the Normans and the English, Philip summoned Edward to the French court. The English King sought to negotiate the matter and sent ambassadors to Paris but they were turned away with a blunt refusal. Negotiation was for Kings, Edward was addressed by Philip as a Duke, a vassal and nothing more, despite the incident having been an international one between England and France and not an internal one involving Edward's possessions within the kingdom of France.
Attempting to use their family connections to achieve what open politics had not, Edward sent his brother Edmund Crouchback (who was both Philip's cousin and step-father-in-law) to come negotiate with the French Royal family and avert war. Also, Edward was at that time betrothed by proxy to Philip's sister Blanche, and Edmund was to escort her to England for the wedding in the event of the negotiations being successful.
An agreement was indeed reached; it stated that Edward would voluntarily relinquish his continental lands to Philip as a sign of submission in his capacity as Duke of Aquitaine and in return Philip would forgive him and restore his land after a grace period. In the matter of the marriage, Philip drove a hard bargain based partially on the difference in age between Edward and Blanche; it was agreed that the province of Gascony would be retained by Philip in return for agreeing to the marriage. The date of the wedding was also put off until the formality of sequestering and re-granting his French lands to Edward was completed.
But Edward, Edmund and the English were deceived. The French had no intention of returning the land to the English monarch. Edward kept up his part of the deal and turned over his continental estates to the French but Philip used the pretext that the English King had refused his summons to strip Edward of all his possessions in France, thereby initiating hostilities with England.
The outbreak of hostilities with England in 1294 was the inevitable result of the competitive expansionist monarchies, triggered by a secret Franco-Scottish pact of mutual assistance against Edward I; inconclusive campaigns for the control of Gascony to the southwest of France were fought in 1294–98 and 1300–03. Philip gained Guienne but was forced to return it. The search for income to cover military expenditures set its stamp on Philip's reign and his contemporary reputation. Pursuant to the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1303), the marriage of Philip's daughter Isabella to the Prince of Wales, heir of Philip's enemy, celebrated at Boulogne, 25 January 1308, was meant to seal a peace; instead it would produce an eventual English claimant to the French throne itself, and the Hundred Years' War.
In the shorter term, Philip arrested Jews so that he could seize their assets to accommodate the inflated costs of modern warfare, expelling 100,000 of them from his French territories on 22 July 1306 (see The Great Exile of 1306). At this point in his reign Philip was faced with extensive financial liabilities, partially inherited from his father's war against Aragon and partially incurred by the cost of his own campaigns against the English and their allies in Flanders. His financial victims also included rich abbots and the Lombard merchants who had earlier made him extensive loans on the pledge of repayment from future taxation. Like the Jews, the Lombard bankers were expelled from France and their property expropriated. In addition to these measures Philip debased the French coinage by measures which by 1306 had led to a two-thirds loss in the value of the livres, sous and denirs in circulation. This financial crisis led to rioting in Paris which forced Philip to briefly seek refuge in the Paris Temple - headquarters of the Knights Templar.
Philip was condemned by his enemy, Pope Boniface VIII in the Catholic Church for his spendthrift lifestyle. When he also levied taxes on the French clergy of one half their annual income, he caused an uproar within the Roman Catholic Church and the papacy, prompting Pope Boniface VIII to issue the Bull Clericis laicos, forbidding the transference of any church property to the French Crown. This prompted a drawn-out diplomatic battle between Church and King. Philip convoked an assembly of bishops, nobles and grand bourgeois of Paris in order to condemn the Pope. This precursor to the Etats Généraux appeared for the first time during his reign, a measure of the professionalism and order that his ministers were introducing into government. Philip emerged victorious, after having sent his agent William Nogaret to arrest Boniface at Anagni, when the French archbishop Bertrand de Goth was elected pope as Clement V and the official seat of the papacy moved to Avignon, an enclave surrounded by French territories.
Philip suffered a major embarrassment when an army of 2,500 noble men-at-arms (Knights and Squires) and 4,000 infantry he sent to suppress an uprising in Flanders was defeated in the Battle of the Golden Spurs near Kortrijk on 11 July 1302. Philip reacted with energy to the humiliation and a new battle followed at Mons-en-Pévèle two years later, which ended indecisively. Still, in 1305, Philip forced the Flemish to accept a harsh peace treaty, playing out his superior diplomatic skills; the peace exacted heavy reparations and humiliating penalties, and added to the royal territory the rich cloth cities of Lille and Douai, sites of major cloth fairs. Béthune, first of the Flemish cities to yield, was granted to Mahaut, Countess of Artois, whose two daughters, to secure her fidelity, were married to Philip's two sons.
Suppression of the Knights Templar
Templars burned at the stake
Philip was substantially in debt to the Knights Templar, a monastic military order whose original role as protectors of Christian pilgrims in the Latin East had been largely replaced by banking and other commercial activities by the end of the 13th century. As the popularity of the Crusades had decreased, support for the military orders had waned, and Philip used a disgruntled complaint against the Knights Templar as an excuse to move against the entire organization as it existed in France, in part to free himself from his debts. Other motives appear to have included concern over perceived heresy, assertion of French control over a weakened Papacy and finally, the substitution of royal officials for officers of the Temple in the financial management of French government. Recent studies emphasize the political and religious motivations of Philip the Fair and his ministers (especially Guillaume de Nogaret). It seems that, with the “discovery” and repression of the “Templars' heresy,” the Capetian monarchy claimed for itself the mystic foundations of the papal theocracy. The Temple case was the last step of a process of appropriating these foundations, which had begun with the Franco-papal rift at the time of Boniface VIII. Being the ultimate defender of the Catholic faith, the Capetian king was invested with a Christlike function that put him above the pope : what was at stake in the Templars' trial, then, was the establishment of a "royal theocracy".
At daybreak on Friday, 13 October 1307, hundreds of Templars in France were simultaneously arrested by agents of Philip the Fair, to be later tortured into admitting heresy in the Order. The Templars were supposedly answerable to only the Pope, but Philip used his influence over Clement V, who was largely his pawn, to disband the organization. Pope Clement did attempt to hold proper trials, but Philip used the previously forced confessions to have many Templars burned at the stake before they could mount a proper defense.
In March 1314, Philip had the last Grand Master of the Temple, Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney, Preceptor of Normandy, burned at the stake. The account goes as follows:
The cardinals dallied with their duty until March 1314, (exact day is disputed by scholars) when, on a scaffold in front of Notre Dame, Jacques de Molay, Templar Grand Master, Geoffroi de Charney, Master of Normandy, Hugues de Peraud, Visitor of France, and Godefroi de Gonneville, Master of Aquitaine, were brought forth from the jail in which for nearly seven years they had lain, to receive the sentence agreed upon by the cardinals, in conjunction with the Archbishop of Sens and some other prelates whom they had called in. Considering the offenses, which the culprits had confessed and confirmed, the penance imposed was in accordance with rule — that of perpetual imprisonment. The affair was supposed to be concluded when, to the dismay of the prelates and wonderment of the assembled crowd, de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney arose. They had been guilty, they said, not of the crimes imputed to them, but of basely betraying their Order to save their own lives. It was pure and holy; the charges were fictitious and the confessions false. Hastily the cardinals delivered them to the Prevot of Paris, and retired to deliberate on this unexpected contingency, but they were saved all trouble. 'When the news was carried to Philippe he was furious. A short consultation with his council only was required. The canons pronounced that a relapsed heretic was to be burned without a hearing; the facts were notorious and no formal judgment by the papal commission need be waited for. That same day, by sunset, a stake was erected on a small island in the Seine, the Isle des Juifs, near the palace garden. There de Molay and de Charney were slowly burned to death, refusing all offers of pardon for retraction, and bearing their torment with a composure which won for them the reputation of martyrs among the people, who reverently collected their ashes as relics.
The fact that, in little more than a month, Pope Clement V died in torment of a loathsome disease thought to be lupus, and that in eight months Philip IV of France, at the early age of forty-six, perished by an accident while hunting, necessarily gave rise to the legend that de Molay had cited them before the tribunal of God. Such stories were rife among the people, whose sense of justice had been scandalized by the whole affair. Even in distant Germany, Philip's death was spoken of as a retribution for his destruction of the Templars, and Clement was described as shedding tears of remorse on his death-bed for three great crimes, the poisoning of Henry VI, and the ruin of the Templars and Beguines. The throne passed rapidly through Philip's sons, who also died relatively young, and without producing male heirs. By 1328, his line was extinguished, and the throne had passed to the House of Valois.
Expulsion of the Jews
While King Edward ordered the Jews to leave England in 1290, Philip the Fair expelled the Jews from France in 1306. With the Jews gone, Philip appointed royal guardians to collect the loans made by the Jews, and the money was passed to the Crown. The scheme did not work well. The Jews were regarded to be good businessmen who satisfied their customers, while the king's collectors were universally unpopular. Finally, in 1315, because of the "clamour of the people", the Jews were invited back with an offer of 12 years of guaranteed residence, free from government interference. In 1322, the Jews were expelled again by the King's successor, who did not honour his commitment.
Philip had various contacts with the Mongol power in the Middle East, including reception at the embassy of the Turkic/Mongol monk Rabban Bar Sauma. Bar Sauma presented an offer of a Franco-Mongol alliance with Arghun of the Mongol Ilkhanate in Baghdad. Arghun was seeking to join forces between the Mongols and the Europeans, against their common enemy the Muslim Mamluks. In return, Arghun offered to return Jerusalem to the Christians, once it was re-captured from the Muslims. Philip seemingly responded positively to the request of the embassy, by sending one of his noblemen, Gobert de Helleville, to accompany Bar Sauma back to Mongol lands.
There was further correspondence between Arghun and Philip in 1288 and 1289, outlining potential military cooperation. However, Philip never actually pursued such military plans.
In April 1305, the new Mongol ruler Öljaitü sent letters to Philip, the Pope, and Edward I of England. He again offered a military collaboration between the Christian nations of Europe and the Mongols against the Mamluks. European nations attempted another Crusade, but were delayed, and it never took place.
In 4 April 1312, another Crusade was promulgated at the Council of Vienne. In 1313, Philip "took the cross", making the vow to go on a Crusade in the Levant, thus responding to Pope Clement V's call. He was, however, warned against leaving by Enguerrand de Marigny and died soon after in a hunting accident.
Robert (1297, Paris – August 1308,Saint Germain-en-Laye). The Flores historiarum of Bernard Guidonis names "Robertum" as youngest of the four sons of Philip IV of France, adding that he died "in flore adolescentiæ suæ" and was buried "in monasterio sororem de Pyssiaco" in August 1308. Betrothed in October 1306 to Constance of Sicily.
Three of his sons reaching adulthood would become kings of France, and his surviving daughter, as consort of Edward II, was queen of England.
C. W. Previte-Orton, A history of Europe: from 1198 to 1378 (1951) pp 259
Elizabeth A.R. Brown, "The Prince is Father of the King: The Character and Childhood of Philip the Fair of France," Mediaeval Studies 49 (1987) pp.282-334.
"Ce n'est ni un homme ni une bête. C'est une statue."
Helen Nicholson, pages 164 and 181 "The Knights Templar - a New History", ISBN 0-7509-3839-0
Helen Nicholson, page 226 "The Knights Templar - a New History", ISBN 0-7509-3839-0
Julien Théry, "A Heresy of State : Philip the Fair, the Trial of the ‘Perfidious Templars’, and the Ponticalization of the French Monarchy", Journal of Religious Medieval Cultures 39/2 (2013), pp. 117-148
Malcolm Barber, The Trial of the Templar's. Cambridge University Press, 1978. ISBN 0-521-45727-0.
141.—Stemler, Contingent zur Geschichte der Templer, pp. 20–1.—Raynouard,pp. 213–4, 233–5.—Wilcke, II. 236, 240.—Anton, Versuch, p. 142
"An Historical Sketch of Sacerdotal Celibacy," "Superstition and Force,", "Studies in Church History"; A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, Vol III, by Henry Charles Lea, NY: Hamper & Bros, Franklin Sq. 1888 p.324
A History of the Inquisition Vol. 3 by Henry Charles Lea, Chptr. 326, Political Heresy – The State, p. 2. Not in Copyright
Charles Adams, Fight, Flight, Fraud The Story of Taxation, 1982
The Monks of Kublai Khan
Mostaert and Cleaves, pp. 56–57, Source
Jean Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.485
^ Cawley, Charles, Family of Philippe IV, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved August 2012,[better source needed]
Our Family Histories
^ Our Family Histories
Joseph Strayer. The reign of Philip the Fair, 1980. Representing over 30 years of research, considered one of the most comprehensive biographies of any medieval monarch.
Julien Théry, "A Heresy of State : Philip the Fair, the Trial of the ‘Perfidious Templars’, and the Ponticalization of the French Monarchy", Journal of Religious Medieval Cultures 39/2 (2013), p. 117-148
Goyau, Georges (1911). "Philip IV (the Fair)". Catholic Encyclopedia12. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
A.H. Newman, in Philip Schaff, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge
Knights Templar History and Mythology 
Schein, Sylvia (October 1979). "Gesta Dei per Mongolos 1300. The Genesis of a Non-Event". The English Historical Review94 (373): 805–819. doi:10.1093/ehr/XCIV.CCCLXXIII.805. ISSN 0013-8266. JSTOR 565554.