Philip the Good
|Philip the Good|
|Duke of Burgundy|
|Reign||10 September 1419 – 15 June 1467|
|Predecessor||John the Fearless|
|Successor||Charles the Bold|
|Born||31 July 1396|
Dijon, Duchy of Burgundy
|Died||15 June 1467 (aged 70)|
Bruges, Flanders, Burgundian Netherlands
|Spouse||Michelle of Valois|
Bonne of Artois
Isabella of Portugal
|Father||John the Fearless|
|Mother||Margaret of Bavaria|
Philip the Good (French: Philippe le Bon; Dutch: Filips de Goede; 31 July 1396 – 15 June 1467) was Duke of Burgundy from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty, to which all the 15th-century kings of France belonged. During his reign, the Burgundian State reached the apex of its prosperity and prestige and became a leading center of the arts. Philip is known in history for his administrative reforms, his patronage of Flemish artists such as Jan van Eyck and Franco-Flemish composers such as Gilles Binchois, and the capture of Joan of Arc. In political affairs, he alternated between alliances with the English and the French in an attempt to improve his dynasty's position. As ruler of Flanders, Brabant, Limburg, Artois, Hainaut, Holland, Luxembourg, Zeeland, Friesland and Namur, he played an important role in the history of the Low Countries.
Family and early life
Born in 1396 in Dijon, Philip was the son of John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria. His father succeeded Philip's grandfather Philip the Bold as Duke of Burgundy in 1404. On 28 January 1405, Philip was named Count of Charolais in appanage of the duke and probably became engaged on the same day, at the age of 8, to Michelle of Valois, a daughter of King Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. They were married in June 1409.
After Michelle's death in 1422, Philip married Bonne of Artois, a daughter of Philip of Artois, Count of Eu, and also the widow of his uncle, Philip II, Count of Nevers, in Moulins-les-Engelbert on 30 November 1424. Bonne of Artois is sometimes confused with Philip's biological aunt, also named Bonne (a sister of John the Fearless who lived from 1379 to 1399), in part due to the papal dispensation required for the marriage, which made no distinction between a marital aunt and a biological aunt. Bonne of Artois lived only a year after Philip married her.
Philip was married for a third time to Isabella of Portugal, a daughter of John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, in Bruges on 7 January 1430, after a proxy marriage the year before. This marriage produced three sons:
- Anthony (30 September 1430, Brussels – 5 February 1432, Brussels), Count of Charolais;
- Josse (24 April 1432 – aft. 6 May 1432), Count of Charolais;
- Charles (10 November 1433 – 5 January 1477), Count of Charolais and Philip's successor as Duke of Burgundy, known as "Charles the Bold" or "Charles the Rash"
Philip also had at least eighteen illegitimate children by various of his 24 documented mistresses, of whom these are the best known:
- Corneille of Burgundy (c. 1420 – 1452), captain-general/governor of Luxembourg, killed in the Battle of Bazel (1452);
- Anthony, bastard of Burgundy (1421–1504), lord of La Roche, Sainte-Menehould, Guînes, Lord of Crèvecoeur and Beveren;
- David of Burgundy (c. 1427 – 1496), bishop of Therouanne and bishop of Utrecht, a fine amateur artist, and the subject of a biography in 1529;
- Anne of Burgundy (c. 1435 – 1508), governess of Mary of Burgundy, married Adrian of Borssele and later Adolph of Cleves, Lord of Ravenstein;
- Raphaël of Burgundy, also called Raphaël de Marcatellis (c. 1437 – 1508), abbot of the Saint-Bavo Abbey in Ghent and the Saint-Peter Abbey in Oudenburg;
- Baldwin of Burgundy (c. 1446 – 1508), Lord of Fallais, Peer, Boudour, Sint-Annaland, Lovendegem, Zomergem en Fromont;
- Philip of Burgundy (1464–1524), Bishop of Utrecht.
Corneille and Anthony were his favorite bastard sons and successively bore the title Grand bâtard de Bourgogne (first Corneille and after his death, Anthony).
Portrait of a Lady, sometimes identified as Marie de Valengin, bastard daughter of Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Early rule and alliance with England
Philip became duke of Burgundy and count of Flanders, Artois and Franche-Comté upon the assassination of John the Fearless, his father, in 1419. Philip accused Charles, the Dauphin of France and Philip's brother-in-law, of planning the murder, which took place during a meeting between John and Charles at Montereau. Because of this, he continued to prosecute the Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War, which in turn became entangled in the larger Hundred Years' War. In 1420, Philip allied himself with Henry V of England under the Treaty of Troyes. In 1423, the marriage of Philip's sister Anne to John, Duke of Bedford, regent for Henry VI of England (and also his uncle), strengthened the English alliance.
On 23 May 1430, Philip's troops under the Count of Ligny captured Joan of Arc at Compiègne and later sold her to the English, who orchestrated a heresy trial against her conducted by pro-Burgundian clerics. Despite this action against Joan of Arc, Philip's alliance with England was broken in 1435 when he signed the Treaty of Arras, which completely revoked the Treaty of Troyes and recognised Charles VII as king of France. Philip signed the treaty for a variety of reasons, one of which may have been a desire to be recognised as the preeminent duke in France.
This action would prove a poor decision in the long term; Charles VII and his successors saw the Burgundian State as a serious impediment to the expansion of royal authority in France, and for this reason they would permanently try to undermine Burgundy, subordinating it to French sovereignty. Philip's defection to the French would prove not only catastrophic to the dual monarchy of England and France, but to his own domains as well, subordinating them to a powerful centralised Valois monarchy.
He then attacked Calais, a possession of the English, but the alliance with Charles was broken in 1439. Philip supported the revolt of the French nobles the following year (an event known as the Praguerie) and offered shelter to the Dauphin Louis, who had rebelled against his father Charles VII.
Philip was generally preoccupied with matters in his own territories and was seldom involved directly in the Hundred Years' War between England and France, although he did play a role during a number of periods, such as the campaign against Compiègne during which his troops captured Joan of Arc. He incorporated Namur into Burgundian territory in 1429 (by purchase from John III, Marquis of Namur) and Hainault and Holland, Friesland and Zeeland in 1432 with the defeat of Jacqueline, Countess of Hainault, in the last episode of the Hook and Cod wars. He inherited the Duchies of Brabant and Limburg and the Margraviate of Antwerp in 1430 on the death of his cousin Philip of Saint-Pol and purchased Luxembourg in 1443 from Elisabeth of Bohemia, Duchess of Luxembourg.
In 1456, Philip also managed to ensure his illegitimate son David was elected Bishop of Utrecht and his nephew Louis of Bourbon elected Prince-Bishop of Liège.
It is not surprising that in 1435 Philip began to style himself the "Grand Duke of the West".
In 1463, Philip gave up some of his territory to King Louis XI of France. That year he also created an Estates-General for the Netherlands based on the French model. The first meeting of the Estates-General was to obtain a loan for a war against France and to ensure support for the succession of his son Charles I to his dominions. In 1465 and 1467, Philip crushed two rebellions in Liège.
Philip died in Bruges in 1467.
Court life and patron of the arts
Philip's court can only be described as extravagant. Despite the flourishing bourgeois culture of Burgundy, with which the court kept in close touch, he and the aristocrats who formed most of his inner circle retained a world-view dominated by knightly chivalry. He declined membership in the English Order of the Garter in 1422, which could have been considered an act of treason against the king of France, his feudal overlord. Instead, he created his own Order of the Golden Fleece, based on the Knights of the Round Table and the myth of Jason, in 1430.
Philip had no fixed capital and moved the court between various palaces, the main urban ones being Brussels, Bruges, and Lille. He held grand feasts and other festivities, and the knights of his Order frequently travelled throughout his territory to participate in tournaments. In 1454, Philip planned a crusade against the Ottoman Empire, launching it at the Feast of the Pheasant, but this plan never materialized. In a period from 1444 to 1446, he is estimated to have spent a sum equivalent to 2% of Burgundy's main tax income in the recette génerale, with a single Italian supplier of silk and cloth of gold, Giovanni di Arrigo Arnolfini.
Philip's court was regarded as the most splendid in Europe, and it became the accepted leader of taste and fashion, which probably helped the Burgundian economy considerably, as Burgundian (usually Flemish) luxury products became sought by the elites of other parts of Europe. During his reign, for example, the richest English commissioners of illuminated manuscripts moved away from English and Parisian products to those of the Netherlands, as did other foreign buyers. Philip himself is estimated to have added six hundred manuscripts to the ducal collection, making him by a considerable margin the most important patron of the period. Jean Miélot was one of his secretaries, translating into French such works as Giovanni Bocaccio's Genealogia Deorum Gentilium.
Philip was also a considerable patron of other arts. He commissioned many tapestries (which he tended to prefer over paintings), pieces from goldsmiths, jewellery, and other works of art. It was during his reign that the Burgundian chapel became the musical center of Europe, with the activity of the Burgundian School of composers and singers. Gilles Binchois, Robert Morton, and later Guillaume Dufay, one of the most prominent composers of the 15th century, were all part of Philip's court chapel.
In 1428, Jan van Eyck traveled to Portugal to paint a portrait of the daughter of King John I, the Infanta Isabella, for Philip in advance of their marriage. With help from more experienced Portuguese shipbuilders, Philip established a shipyard in Bruges.
Rogier van der Weyden painted his portrait twice on panel, of which only copies survive, wearing the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The only original van der Weyden of Philip to survive is a superb miniature from a manuscript (above left). The painter Hugo van der Goes of the Early Netherlandish school is credited with creating paintings for the church where Philip's funeral was held.
- Burgundian State : 1st Grand Master and Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
- Kingdom of France – Duchy of Orléans : Knight of the Order of the Porcupine
|Ancestors of Philip the Good|
- Vaughan 2005, p. 2.
- Vaughan 2005, pp. 4, 6.
- Vaughan 2004, p. 8.
- Blockmans & Prevenier 1999, p. 73.
- Vaughan 2004, p. 132.
- Vaughan 2004, p. 196.
- Vaughan 2004, p. 227.
- Putnam 1908, pp. 69–71.
- Vaughan 2004, p. 1.
- Vale 1974, p. 58.
- Gillespie 2017, p. 15.
- Vaughan 2004, pp. 125–126.
- Campbell 1998.
- Kren & McKendrick 2003, p. 68.
- de Sousa, Antonio Caetano (1735). Historia genealogica da casa real portugueza (in Portuguese). Lisbon: Lisboa Occidental. p. 147.