In the mind of the early 13th century European

Who was a greater man?


  • Total voters
    7
Feb 2019
196
Thrace
#1
From the point of view the Europeans of the 1200-1215 period, who was the greatest man in Europe? I'd say it's between Philip Augustus and Pope Innocent III.

The Pope was the central figure of Christianity and in that specific period, Innocent was the most influential man in Europe. On the other hand, Philip was an energetic, triumphant king and the most charismatic ruler around. Which one embodied more the "outstanding man"?
 
Jan 2016
385
Ohio
#2
In the mind of a 13th European? Probably the Pope as he had influence over all of Europe, and I believe Innocence was the one to claim supremacy over all the Kings. He was quite powerful and influential in his time. He launched crusades, reformed the Roman Curia, and raised the authority of the papacy.

One may make the argument Philip had more pull with the French being the King of France, but as the question pertains to all of Europe, I had to go with the Pope.
 
Mar 2016
912
Australia
#3
Well, Philippe certainly wouldn't be admired by the English or Germans after his decisive victory over them at Bouvines. He's almost single-handedly responsible for ending the Angevin Empire, and he was also seen by some (most notably Richard) as being a coward and traitor because he fled the Holy Land in the middle of the Third Crusade to betray Richard and seize his lands back in France.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,091
#4
Possibly also Emperor Otto IV, king of Germany of the Welf dynasty from Saxony (son of Henry the Lion, the Lionheart's and Lackland's cousin) might merit. Philip II Augustus' reputation was at least cemented by defeating Otto's numerically massively superior army at Bouvines in 1214.

The specified period is a little early for his rival Emperor Fredrick II Hohenstaufen, the "Stupor mundi", but he was the major benefactor of Otto's defeat, and certainly interesting.
 
Nov 2010
7,514
Cornwall
#6
Daft question. Even if you ignore that 'European' is some modern concept, your average villager wouldn't know much beyond his valley and the most important person would be his senor, or local lord. Not sure the Pope would be too important to a resident of Malaga, Spain, for example. Who would also be a 'European'
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
4,901
Netherlands
#8
Daft question. Even if you ignore that 'European' is some modern concept, your average villager wouldn't know much beyond his valley and the most important person would be his senor, or local lord. Not sure the Pope would be too important to a resident of Malaga, Spain, for example. Who would also be a 'European'
The townspeople of Beziers on the other hand...
 
Feb 2019
196
Thrace
#9
Fair points made. I'll rephrase the question to, a well learned traveler with no patriotic bias. Who would be his choice as the most outstanding person between those 2?
 
Mar 2016
912
Australia
#10
Fair points made. I'll rephrase the question to, a well learned traveler with no patriotic bias. Who would be his choice as the most outstanding person between those 2?
Probably Philippe Augustus; he transformed the royal demesne from being little more than the Ile-de-France to encompass large swatches of Normandy and the south through a combination of careful diplomacy, wars of conquest against the English and crusades against heretics. Add to that he was also a crusader (though not for long) and his prestige would be very high to any non-biased eye. He was easily the most important and successful French king of the medieval era.