Philip the Prudent
Aspects of Philip II’s reign are examined – his administrative ways, foreign policy, religious beliefs, characteristics, in relation to his epithet ‘the prudent.
Covers the policies and character of Philip II’s reign in attempting to determine the accuracy of his nickname The Prudent King. Contemporary and recent sources used to illustrate Philip’s strengths and weaknesses, and a balanced conclusion is reached with regards to whether he deserved his epithet. Major events of his reign are referred to, including the campaign in the Low Countries and against England. Philip’s personal principles and religious beliefs are examined. The difficulties faced by 16th century European rulers acknowledged in addition to outlining the shortcomings which at time made Philip a distinctly ‘imprudent ‘ king.
The proverbial qualities of Philip II leave little doubt as to how he came to be assigned the nickname the prudent – for he faced many of the challenges set against him with care and profound thought. Often mindful of the future, he displayed a capacity for administrative industry and put the advice offered to him by his father in the Instructions to the best use he could. It is vital, however, to consider how the prudence exhibited by Philip could at times lead to his adopting highly imprudent methods of government with regards to both the domestic situation in Castile and the prosecution of Spanish foreign policy.