Feudal France (Between 987 and 1108) – The Organization of the Feudal Monarchy Part I

The fall of the power of the Plantagenets and the great conquests of the Capetian kings made a great impression in France and in Europe. The importance of this new monarchical concentration, centered on the north of France, was felt; it was understood that the Capetian action had a completely different character from the Angevin one. The historical tradition was still strong enough to inspire a coalition of the old powers damaged by the prevailing French monarchy; and the king of England thus had the emperor of Germany and the count of Flanders as allies. Notable groups of Aquitanic feudalism joined the coalition. The king of France consecrated his superiority over his adversaries with swift and energetic military action. In April 1214 the French defeated at La Roche-au-Moine the Giovanni Senzaterra’s English and Aquitanians; in July of the same year the Flemings and the Germans of the emperor were crushed at Bouvines in battle. In fact, in Bouvines the national sentiment of France was born: the monarchy of Ugo Capeto jumped at that moment to the center of the country’s history and in a France still all feudally fragmented and divided by institutions, customs and language, around the whale king the future monarchical France and unitary.

The immediate consequence of the triumph over England and the Empire was the intervention of the king of France in the affairs of the south of the French region. The vast feudal state of Toulouse with its activity on the sea had renounced any important action in the internal affairs of France; already in the century. XII Capetians and Plantagenets had contended over Toulouse. The fall of the Anglo-Angevin power meant that the county of Toulouse was at the mercy of the Capetian monarchy. But royal politics could only enter the south through a serious local spiritual and political crisis: the very broad development of the Cathar heresy, under the protection of princes and feudatars. In 1209 Innocent III organized a crusade to repress heresy: the royal feudality of northern and central France joined in a special way, headed by Simone di Montfort. The Crusaders occupied the main cities of the Languedoc. The king of Aragon, who wanted to intervene to protect Count Raimondo VI of Toulouse, was defeated at Menet and thus any Aragonese claim to intervene in the region was rejected. The expedition seemed to be favorable only to Simon of Montfort, who remained in possession of all the conquered territories. But then Philip Augusto intervened, who had remained a spectator of the fight until then. In 1215 the hereditary prince Louis went down with an army to the Languedoc under the pretext of helping Simon of Montfort; He reappeared there in 1219 as an arbiter in the struggle between the Montforts and the counts of Toulouse. Now the occupation was made in the name of the king. The Toulouse attempts to defend autonomy were crushed in 1226 by Louis VIII. The pope had had to agree that the dominions of the Count of Toulouse and of the other lords accused of heresy should be passed to the king. The monarchy, after several centuries, had returned to the Mediterranean.

According to EHISTORYLIB, the French pride went on affirming itself during the century. XIII in very remarkable proportions, because having won undisputed military powers gave the French people the conviction of being destined to dominate all of Europe. Only slowly, however, did a French foreign policy develop; for most of the century the need for prudent recollection was felt; the long reign of Louis IX was precisely characteristic in this light. In fact, although France was now dominated by the monarchy of Paris, it was still all in turmoil. England still had hopes of revenge, and on the death of Philip Augustus, the pope himself had warned the new king to return Poitou. Louis VIII, on the other hand, boldly continued his father’s work. A military expedition completed the French occupation of Poitou, securing it with the conquest of La Rochelle. For a moment it seemed that Gascony was also to be conquered, but Bordeaux remained loyal to England. The young king unexpectedly died, the regency of the widow White of Castile for the minor Louis IX was exploited by the discontented, convinced that the royal power could not be preserved. The count of Champagne, the count of Bar, the barons of Brittany, Poitou and Gascogne repeatedly organized coalitions against the monarchy, but the regent knew how to disperse them each time, strengthening the prestige of the government and making peaceful agreements with the various princes so as to bind them. to the dynasty. Some antidynastic attempts were still made after 1235, when Louis IX had already taken over the government, especially thanks to the Aquitanic nobility that was headed by Ugo di Lusignano, count of the Marches: the kings of Aragon, Castile, Navarre, England helped the enterprise; but Louis IX soon succeeded in taming all the coalitions. After 1242 it can be said that the king’s authority was secure throughout the south of France. Concession to the autonomy of the country was the erection of the counties of Poitou and Auvergne as the prerogative of the king’s brother, Alfonso of Poitiers, who, having married the daughter of the Count of Toulouse, became, on the death of his father-in-law in 1249, also the owner of the Toulouse. In this way the southern provinces were preparing for a more intimate fusion with the true nucleus of the Capetian state.

Feudal France (Between 987 and 1108) 1

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