[MR] Wikipedia: Philip of Burgundy
Garth Groff via Atlantia
atlantia at seahorse.atlantia.sca.org
Mon Jul 31 02:48:29 PDT 2017
On this date in 1396, Philip III Duke of Burgundy was born in Dijon.
Philip, known by the by-title of "The Good", was the son of John the
Fearless (1371-1419), and was member of the House of Valois, thus being
some degree of cousin to various kings of France. During his reign as
Duke, the already huge holdings of Burgundy were expanded and
consolidated, particularly in Flanders and the other Low Countries. This
territory was outside of France, giving the Philip tremendous
independent power, and making him a major player in European politics.
By the end of his life, Burgundy's empire included most of the Low
Countries, Luxembourg (purchased for cash!), and a somewhat ominous ring
of territory across the northern and eastern borders of France. Philip
dreamed of making Burgundy and its other territories a kingdom
independent of France, though this wasn't to be.
Philip was one of the richest men in Europe, as Burgundy controlled (and
taxed!) the Flemish wool trade. With all that wool money washing around,
Philip had to spend it on something, and (besides mistresses) that was
art and other luxury goods. He encouraged and sponsored artists,
illuminators, tapestry weavers, goldsmiths, architects and other
craftsman of all sorts. These luxury goods were all on display at the
Burgundian court, and agents were always available to take orders from
visiting nobles wanting up their style. The Burgundian court was the
Home Shopping Network of its day, and was the place were all the
European elite went to see and be seen.
Why Philip was called "The Good" is puzzling, though most of the top
nobles in the House Valois, both French and Burgundian, loved grandiose
by-names. He actually wasn't very good at all. He sided with the English
in the Hundred Years War against France after his father was
assassinated by members of the Armagnac party (with the collusion of the
Dauphin Charles, later Charles VII, King of France), with whom Burgundy
had for years been fighting a low-level civil war. His suppression of
rebellions in the Low Countries (usually stirred up by the French
crown), was extremely brutal. Philip's personal morals were practically
non-existent, and he is known to have fathered at least 26 illegitimate
children, and that was just with his many noble mistresses. His money,
power and style apparently made him very attractive to women, though the
several surviving portraits show he had virtually no chin.
Like him or not, Philip The Good was one of the most important and
interesting figures in 15th century Europe. You can read more about him
at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_the_Good .
Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge
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