1. In the year of the Lord's Incarnation 1165 was born Phillip, king of the French, in the month of August, the 11th kalends of September [Sunday, August 22], on the feast of Timothy and Symphorian. He was to be nicknamed [Augustus] by God's grant, because his most holy father king Louis ,having received a numerous progeny of daughters from three wives, had been unable to have a masculine successor for the realm. Finally he, with his wife the illustrious queen Adela [of Blois] and the whole clergy and people of his realm he turned to prayer and petitioned for a son from God, not in reliance on his merits but trusting in the mercy alone of God.

"I beseech thee, O Lord", he said, " remember me, and thou shalt not enter into judgement on thy servant because no-one alive shall be justified in thy sight. But be gracious to me, a sinner. And, if I have sinned like other men, nevertheless, Lord, spare [me] lest the things which I did in your presence perish before thee. Have mercy on me, Lord, according to thy great mercy, and give me a son and heir for the kingdom of the Franks, a strenuous ruler, lest my enemies say: Thy hope is in vain, and thine alms and prayers perish. [Tob., ii. 22] But do with me, Lord, according to thy will, and order my soul to be received in peace at the end of my days."

Thus were his prayers with those of the whole clergy and people of the realm found acceptable in the Lord's sight, and God gave him a son named Phillip, whom he had brought up in most holy manner and fully taught in the faith of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He had him solemnly crowned at Rheims and lived scarcely a year afterwards to see him reigning in glory over the land of the kingdom of the Franks. [King Louis had had a dream about him before his birth. It seemed to him that his son Phillip held in his hand a gold chalice, full of human blood, from which he drank with all his princes and all were drinking from it. At the very end of his life, he recounted this dream to Henry, bishop of Albano, legate of the apostolic see in France, adjuring him in God's name not to reveal it to anybody before the king's death. When king Louis had died, bishop Henry told the story of the vision to many religious men. [Gerald of Wales, De instruction principum, has a fuller version of this story] In the first year of Phillip's reign, king Louis his father happily migrated to the Lord in the city which was formerly called Lutetia and is now Paris. But we shall say more about these things below. We turn our pen now to the deeds of the first year of Phillip Augustus, illustrious king of the Franks.

Deeds of the First Year

2. In the year of the Lord's Incarnation 1179, Louis the most Christian king of the Franks, scarcely at the age of three score and ten, considering the brevity of human life and feeling his health burdened by a certain degree of paralysis, summoned a general council of all the archbishops, bishops, abbots and barons from the whole realm of the Franks to Paris and the palace of our venerable father, Maurice, bishop of Paris. When everyone was present, king Louis entered the chapel on his own first, as he was accustomed to do in all his works, to pour out his prayers to the Lord. He then called in one by one the archbishops, bishops, abbots and all the princes of the realm, and communicated to them his counsel, that it was his wish, with their counsel and will, to raise up his most beloved son Phillip given by God to be king of the Franks on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When they heard the king's will, the prelates and princes all with one voice shouted "Fiat! Fiat!" ["Let it be done"] And so the council was dissolved.

3. When the aforementioned feast of the Blessed Virgin came along, the most Christian king Louis came with his most beloved son to Chartres, where things turned out, by God's ordaining, otherwise than he had hoped. While the king stayed there, as we have learned from the accounts of many people, the renowned Phillip got his father's permission to enter the forest to hunt with the royal huntsmen. As soon as he was within, he found a boar, whom the huntsmen unleashing their hounds at once pursued through the forest byways and the wastes of solitude, sounding their horns and charging along the forest paths. Meanwhile Phillip sitting astride the fastest horse got separated from the rest and long pursued the boar at the speediest pace along a different hidden path. As the day drew to a close, none of the huntsmen knew where he was even after looking for him for a while. He saw that he was left all alone in that vast solitude of forest and, not unnaturally, began to be afraid. Riding this way and that, wandering alone wherever his horse took him, looking this way and that but seeing nobody, he finally became very concerned. Finally he signed himself with the holy cross on his forehead and commended himself with groans, sighs and much emotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the very blessed Denis patron and defender of the kings of the Franks. His prayers over, he looked to his right and suddenly saw at a distance a peasant of noble stature blowing at the coals on a fire. He was a horrible sight, blackened by the coals, misshapen of face and carrying a great axe on his shoulders. When Phillip first saw him, he was a little afraid, like a child. But the greatness of his soul overcame his fear; he went up to him and greeted him in friendly style. Once the peasant heard who he was, where he had come from and why, and recognizing him to be his lord, he quickly took him back to Chartres by a direct way. Phillip then by God's gift fell quite ill from this fearful experience and as a result his elevation was put off until the feast of All Saints. But our Lord Jesus Christ who never abandons those who believe in Him restored him to his previous good health after a few days, through the prayers and merits of his most holy father Louis, who prayed to God incessantly day and night, and through the prayers of the universal Church. [Rigord does not mention that Louis even crossed the Channel to pray at Becket's tomb in Canterbury.]

4. At the festivities for All Saints, Phillip Augustus assembled the archbishops, bishops and all the barons of his land and was crowned at Rheims by the reverend William, archbishop of Rheims, cardinal priest of St. Sabina and legate of the apostolic see, the king's uncle. Henry [II] king of England was present and in due dependence ("ex debita subjectione") humbly supported the crown on the head of the king of France, while all the princes of the realm and the whole of the clergy and people shouted "Long live the king! Long live the king!". He had reached the age of 14 at the feast of Timothy and Symphorian just passed and entered his fifteenth year. He was thus anointed king in the fifteenth year of his age, on the feast of All Saints, while his father the most Christian king Louis still lived albeit gravely hampered by sickness, a paralysis which totally prevented him from walking.

5. We have decided to write little about the things he did at the start of his reign, for fear that the size of the volume and its great simplicity of style might disgust the listeners' delicate ears. He had from an early age the fear of the Lord as his teacher, for "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" [Ps., cx. 10], and he asked in his prayers and humbly begged the Lord to guide all his acts and steps. He loved justice as if she were his own mother. He struggled to exalt mercy in his judgements. He never allowed truth to leave his side. He practiced conjugal continence in his own house better than all other kings. And because it had pleased him to work from a tender age at these virtues, it gradually came about that, just as the king loved and revered God, so he ordered observance from all at his court. What is even more surprising, he so hated the terrible oaths which were frequently sworn by gamblers in courtyards and taverns that when some knight or other gambler chanced to fall into an oath in the king's presence, the offender was at once thrown by the king's order into a lake or river, and he ordered this edict to be most carefully observed in future. Blessed virtue! When the beginnings are like this what kind of end can we expect? For the hand of God was with him.

6. A few days after the holy anointing, the new king returned to Paris. He started the job which he had long borne in mind but had feared to complete, because of the great reverence which he showed to his most Christian father. For he had heard many times from the boys who were fostered with him in the palace -- and commended to memory without ever forgetting it -- that the Jews who lived in Paris every year slit the throat of one Christian in the hidden underground caverns on Maundy Thursday or during the Holy Week of penitence, as a kind of sacrifice in contempt of the Christian religion, and that many who long persevered in this kind of wickedness by diabolical seduction, had been burned at the stake in his father's time. St. Richard, whose body rests in the Church of the Holy Innocents in the Little Field of Paris (petit champ?), after being killed in this way by the Jews and fixed to a cross, happily migrated to the Lord in martyrdom, a fact which we heard when God worked many miracles to the Lord's honor and by the intercessions of St. Richard. And because the most Christian king Phillip learnt by careful investigation of the older people (majoribus) these and many other scurrilous things about the Jews, which inflamed him with the zeal of God, the Jews were arrested in their synagogues all over France at his order on the fourteenth of February [1180] and despoiled of their gold, silver and vestments, just as the Jews themselves had despoiled the Egyptians on their exodus from Egypt. By this was signified their coming expulsion, which followed in time by God's disposition.

7. It happened about a month of days after Phillip Augustus' anointing that Hèbes [VI] of Charenton "in pago Bituricensi" [Bétracq, Basses Pyrenees?] began to play the tyrant over the churches of God and to oppress the clergy serving God there with heavy exactions. When the clergy could not bear his savagery, they sent messengers to the most Christian king Phillip Augustus complaining of the acts of violence done them them by Hèbes and humbly seeking the king's justice. As soon as the king heard the plaint of the religious men, he lit with Gods zeal for the defense of the churches and the liberty of the clergy, moved in arms against the tyrant, wasted his lands with a strong hand and took booty. He so repressed Hèbes' boldness that this latter seeing that he could not escape the king's hand threw himself down at the king's feet to seek his pardon and promised under public oath that he would do full satisfaction to all churches and the clerics serving God in them according to the king's will and choosing and would restrain himself in future from similar acts. Phillip waged this first war consecrated to God at the very beginning of his reign and at the age of fifteen years.

8. Then in that same first year of his reign, at the instigation of the ancient serpent, enemy of humankind, sons of iniquity, Humbert [III] of Beaujeu [Basses Alpes?] and the count of Chalon [Guillaume III] came out against the churches of God together with their accomplices. Since they had dared to burden these churches heavily and in breach of their royal immunities, the clergy and religious serving God there reported all these evils to their lord, the most Christian king of the Franks.The king then assembled an army for the defense of the churches and the liberty of the clergy, entered their land and took great booty. With God's help he so smashed their pride and tyranny that he forced them to restire against their will absolutely everything they had taken from the churches, and restored peace to the clergy serving God there humbly commending himself to their prayers. He is the one who assiduously stands for the church [Cluny], protecting and defending her from her enemies, by exterminating the Jews as enemies of the Christian faith and by driving out the heretic who felt badly about the catholic faith. [Reminiscence of the coronation oath?] For his good works were founded in the Lord, and the whole Church of the saints ought therefore to recount his deeds.

9. Next in the first year of the reign of Phillip Augustus and the fifteenth of his age, there arose rivalries, or enmities, among the princes of the realm. Certain of his princes, at the instigation of the Devil enemy to ecclesiastical peace, dared to conspire against their lord Phillip Augustus. They assembled an army and began to waste the king's lands. The most Christian king Phillip seeing this was seized by a great fury and led against them an army of infinite multitude so that after a few days he put them all to flight and pursued them with such strength and vigor that, by God's miraculous aid, he reduced them all to obedience and most powerfully compelled them to perform his whole will. But yet the Lord of all, He who duly repays and avenges good men and leaves no good thing unrewarded, because the most Christian king Phillip Augustus had most strenuously waged the first two battles at the start of his reign for the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ and God's blessed mother and virgin Mary, therefore our Lord Jesus Christ, who does not abandon those who hope in him, was present to defeat those surrounding him and guarded him from his enemies and preserved him from the seducers and gave him the battle so that he conquered all his adversaries [Sap. X. 12], and had power against those who were toiling to oppress him unjustly. For He is the Lord who dissipates the counsels of the nations, he reproves the intentions of the peoples and counsels of princes [Ps., xxxii. 10]. For this man was not abandoned by God on the day of the battle, because the angel of the Lord standing on his right hand smashed the heads of his enemies [Ps. lxviii. 22]. And why so? Because he persisted faithfully in the commands of the Lord [Ecclesiastic., xxii. 23].

[Oeuvres de Rigord et de Guillaume le Breton, ed. H. Francoise Delaborde, I (Libr. Renouard: Paris, 1882). Translation © Paul R. Hyams 1998]