(Dijon 1396 - Bruges 1467)

Jean-François Poron
as Philippe

Coat of arms

Philippe Duc of Bourgogne


Born in Dijon, he was the son of John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria-Straubing. On 28 January 1405 he was named Count of Charolais in appanage of his father and probably on the same day he was engaged to Michele of Valois (1395–1422), daughter of Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. They were married in June of 1409.

Philip married Bonne of Artois (1393–1425), 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 November 30, 1424.

His third marriage, in Bruges in 1430 with Isabelle of Portugal, daughter of John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, produced three sons:

  • Antoine  1430, Brussels – 1432 Brussels), Count of Charolais

  • Joseph   1432 –  1432 Count of Charolais

  • Charles  1433–1477), Count of Charolais and Philip's successor as Duke, called "Charles the Bold" or "Charles the Rash"

Philip also had some eighteen illegitimate children, including Antoine, bastard of Burgundy, by twenty four documented mistresses.

Duke Philippes
first wife

Bonne d'Artois
Duke Philippe's
second wife

Isabelle of Portugual
Duke Philippe
third wife


Charles le Téméraire
of Duke Philippe

Marie of Burgundy
Duke Philippe


Philip became duke of Burgundy, count of Flanders, Artois and Franche Comté when his father was assassinated in 1419. Philip accused Charles the Dauphin of France and Philip's brother-in-law  of planning the murder of his father which had taken place during a meeting between the two at Montereau and so he continued to prosecute the civil war between the Burgundians and Armagnacs. In 1420 Philip allied himself with Henry V of England under the Treaty of Troyes. In 1423 the alliance was strengthened by the marriage of his sister Anne to John, Duke of Bedford, regent for Henry VI of England.

In 1430 Philip's troops captured Joan of Arc at Compiègne and later handed her over 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 Philip signed the Treaty of Arras (which completely revoked the Treaty of Troyes) and thus recognised Charles VII as king of France. Philip signed for a variety of reasons, one of which may have been a desire to be recognised as the Premier Duke in France. Philip then attacked Calais, but this alliance with Charles was broken in 1439, with Philip supporting the revolt of the French nobles the following year (an event known as the Praquerie) and sheltering the Dauphin Louis.

Duke Philippe
and his son

Tapestry coat
of Arms

Duke of Burgundy

Order of the
Golden Fleece

Philip's court can only be described as extravagant. Despite the flourishing bourgeois culture of Burgundy,which the court kept in close touch with, he and the aristocrats who formed most of his inner circle retained a world-view dominated by knightly chivalry. In 1430 he created his own Order of the Golden Fleece, based on the Knights of the Round Table. He had no fixed capital and moved the court between various palaces, the main urban ones being Brussels, Bruges, or Lille. He held grand feasts and other festivities, and the knights of his Order frequently travelled throughout his territory participating in tournaments.  In a period from 1444-6 he is estimated to have spent a sum equivalent to 2% of Burgundy's main tax income over the period, the recette génerale, with a single Italian supplier of silk and cloth of gold, Giovanni di Arrigo Arnolfini.

His court was regarded as the most splendid in Europe, and became the accepted leader of taste and fashion, which probably helped the Burgundian economy considerably, as Burgundian (usually Netherlandish) 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.

Court scene

Court of
Philippe le Bon

The Painter
Jan Van Eyck

Philip was also a considerable patron of other arts, commissioning 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, the most famous composer of the 15th century, were all part of Philip's court chapel.

Philip of Burgundy died 15 June 1467



wikipedia and various sources of the Internet 2009

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