History of France eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 109 pages of information about History of France.

12.  The Papacy at Avignon.—­Clement had never quitted France, but had gone through the ceremonies of his installation at Lyons; and Philip, fearing that in Italy he would avoid carrying out the scheme for the ruin of the Templars, had him conducted to Avignon, a city of the Empire which belonged to the Angevin King of Naples, as Count of Provence, and there for eighty years the Papal court remained.  As they were thus settled close to the French frontier, the Popes became almost vassals of France; and this added greatly to the power and renown of the French kings.  How real their hold on the Papacy was, was shown in the ruin of the Templars.  The order was now abandoned by the Pope, and its knights were invited in large numbers to Paris, under pretence of arranging a crusade.  Having been thus entrapped, they were accused of horrible and monstrous crimes, and torture elicited a few supposed confessions.  They were then tried by the Inquisition, and the greater number were put to death by fire, the Grand Master last of all, while their lands were seized by the king.  They seem to have been really a fierce, arrogant, and oppressive set of men, or else there must have been some endeavour to save them, belonging, as most of them did, to noble French families.  The “Pest of France,” as Dante calls Philip the Fair, was now the most formidable prince in Europe.  He contrived to annex to his dominions the city of Lyons, hitherto an imperial city under its archbishop.  Philip died in 1314; and his three sons—­Louis X., Philip V., and Charles IV.,—­were as cruel and harsh as himself, but without his talent, and brought the crown and people to disgrace and misery.  Each reigned a few years and then died, leaving only daughters, and the question arose whether the inheritance should go to females.  When Louis X. died, in 1316, his brother Philip, after waiting for the birth of a posthumous child who only lived a few days, took the crown, and the Parliament then declared that the law of the old Salian Franks had been against the inheritance of women.  By this newly discovered Salic law, Charles IV., the third brother, reigned on Philip’s death; but the kingdom of Navarre having accrued to the family through their grandmother, and not being subject to the Salic law, went to the eldest daughter of Louis X., Jane, wife of the Count of Evreux.



1.  Wars of Edward III.—­By the Salic law, as the lawyers called it, the crown was given, on the death of Charles IV., to Philip, Count of Valois, son to a brother of Philip IV., but it was claimed by Edward III. of England as son of the daughter of Philip IV.  Edward contented himself, however, with the mere assertion of his pretensions, until Philip exasperated him by attacks on the borders of Guienne, which the French kings had long been coveting to complete their possession of the south, and by

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History of France from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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