Battle of Bouvines (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Battle of Bouvines signals the advent of a new patriotism in France when a minor skirmish quickly takes on mythic proportions.
Summary of Event
Drawing upon four or five contemporary narratives of the brief encounter at Bouvines, poets and historians have formed the event into a legend. The essential facts reveal a much simpler story. On a hot Sunday in July of 1214, King Philip II of France was returning from Tournai, which he had devastated on the previous day to chastise Count Ferrand of Flanders, a rebellious vassal. Around midday, as the king and his knights were about to cross the bridge of Bouvines, they were unexpectedly set upon by a coalition of troops led by Ferrand, Renaud of Boulogne, and Otto IV of Bavaria. A three-hour battle ensued, involving perhaps four thousand mounted knights and twelve thousand infantry. Both of the rebellious counts were taken prisoner. King Philip himself, pulled to the ground by Otto’s German foot soldiers, miraculously escaped death and remounted to pursue the “false” (the excommunicated) emperor, who managed to get away. Ferrand and Renaud were led in chains to Paris, and the king’s triumph was made complete by news from Poitou that his son Louis (known as “the Lion”) had defeated King John of England, the remaining party to the coalition against France.
Why, for historians, has this short and unprepared battle in the meadows of...
(The entire section is 1478 words.)
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Battle of Bouvines (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Ground battle in German Civil War of 1077-1214. Result: A decisive victory for France.
On July 27, 1214, French forces met an allied contingent from imperial Germany, the Low Countries, and England at Bouvines near Tournai in the county of Flanders. The Battle of Bouvines was part of the allied strategy in which King John of England attacked southwestern France while the Germans and Flemish attacked Philip II from the northeast.
Both sides were moving their troops when the allies attacked. The adversaries lined up with Ferrand, count of Flanders, leading Flemish knights on the left wing against French knights from Champagne. In the center, Otto IV faced Philip II. The allied right wing commanded by Renaud de Dammartin met other French knights. The fighting combined the attacks of mounted knights with the support of infantry. The allied left wing collapsed first, followed by the center. Renaud de Dammartin continued the battle, but the French overpowered him.
Within three hours, the French were victorious, and Otto IV fled. The French won because of superior experience and discipline combined with the allied error of forcing battle too hastily.
The Battle of Bouvines changed the political complexion of medieval Europe. Philip II of France became the strongest monarch and gained control of the Low Countries. Otto IV lost his imperial crown...
(The entire section is 293 words.)