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Area/Ruler: Feudal France -Paris: Philip II of France
Reigned: 1180 AD - 1223 AD
Denomination: AR Denier parisis
Mint: Paris
Obverse: In centre; monogram "FRANCO" ("FRA" on first line, then "NCO" reversed on second line. "PHILIPUS REX" round outside.
Reverse: Cross. "PARISIS" (mint)
Weight: 0.8 gms
Diameter: 19.2 mm

PHILIP II (of France)

(1165-1223), PHILIP II was king of France (1180-1223), one of the most powerful European monarchs of the Middle Ages. His full name was Philip Augustus. The son of King Louis VII, Philip was born on August 21, 1165, in Gonesse, near Paris. He became co-regent with his father in 1179. From 1181 to 1186 Philip combated a coalition of barons in Flanders, Burgundy, and Champagne and at their expense increased the royal domain. Philip allied himself with Richard, Duke of Aquitaine, who in 1189 became Richard I of England, and in 1190 the two kings embarked on the Third Crusade. The kings quarrelled, however, and Philip returned to France in 1191. Allied with Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI and Richard's brother, John, later king of England, Philip attacked Richard's territories in France. Richard returned in 1194 and went to war against Philip. By the time of Richard's death in 1199, Philip had been forced to surrender most of the territory he had annexed. Philip subsequently warred against John, who became king of England in 1199; between 1202 and 1205 Philip more than doubled his territory by annexing Normandy, Maine, Brittany, Anjou, Touraine, and Poitou.

A coalition of European powers, including England, challenged the growing power of France in 1214. Philip's forces, however, decisively defeated the coalition at the Battle of Bouvines, establishing France as a leading country of Europe. Philip increased the royal power not only by extending the royal domain but also by reducing the power of the feudal lords. He replaced the noble officers at court with an advisory council appointed from the middle class and supported the communes against the nobles. France prospered from his judicial, financial, and administrative reorganization of the government; serfdom declined, towns grew, and commerce flourished. Philip established Paris as the fixed capital of France, paved the streets, and had many new buildings constructed in the city.

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