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Thread: Kingdom, Power, Glory: Burgundy (Magna Mundi Platinum)

  1. #1
    Major clblabin's Avatar
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    Kingdom, Power, Glory: Burgundy (Magna Mundi Platinum)

    Kingdom, Power, Glory
    Burgundy 1454-1821


    Greetings everyone. I've tried twice before to write a nice Magna Mundi AAR, but both were, for different reasons, abandoned. Here is try number three -- but this time, I've already played out the whole game, so there's nothing left to abandon .

    Played on MMP 1.402, with a few very minor tweaks. If you haven't given it a try yet, I encourage you to do so -- it isn't for everybody, but personally I haven't played vanilla in over a year because of it. I really wanted with this AAR to demonstrate as wide a variety of the mod's features as possible. You can't cover everything in a single game, but I think I did a pretty good job. Even the Pirates of the Barbary Coast will make a cameo, and I don't think I ever ventured a single ship into those accursed waters.

    I freely used save game editing and other nefarious deeds when I thought it would help the story. Once or twice I even reloaded an old save when something happened I didn't like -- but you'll see that I left all my best moments of stupidity in!

    I hope you enjoy the AAR.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS


    INTRODUCTION
    1 -- A Very Different World
    2 -- How?

    PROLOGUE: WHAT WAS BURGUNDY? (c. 300-1454)
    1 -- From the Baltic to the Rhone: The Burgundians
    2 -- A Dream Deferred: Medieval Burgundy
    3 -- Cluny, Cîteaux, and the Medieval Reformation
    4 -- A Dream Reborn: Valois Burgundy

    PART I: KINGDOM (1454-1507)
    1 -- War on Two Fronts
    2 -- The Kingdom of Burgundy
    3 -- The Liège-Guelders War
    4 -- Assessment and Interlude: Europe at the Death of Charles the Great
    5 -- The Austrian Revolution
    6 -- The Reign of Charles the Wise
    7 -- Charles, Henry, and Philip
    8 -- The Battle of Turin and the End of an Age

    PART II: POWER (1507-1665)
    1 -- The Philipian Age in Europe: An Introduction Coming soon!

    PART III: GLORY (1665-1821)
    Coming later.

    EPILOGUE: WHAT IS BURGUNDY? (1821-2009)
    Coming later.
    Last edited by clblabin; 05-08-2010 at 10:34.

  2. #2
    Lt. General Winner's Avatar

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    Magna Mundi AAR? I am in

    Personally, I find it a lot easier to first play the game and then write the AAR. It helps the story if you know what's going to happen next
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  3. #3
    Major clblabin's Avatar
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    A Very Different World



    The Battle of the Weser River.


    In the spring of 1456, the Emperor Fredrick IV led his armies across the Weser and assaulted the position of his enemy, Charles, the energetic if not-entirely-wise young man who had, less than a year and a half before, succeeded his father as Duke of Burgundy and self-styled "Grand Duke of the West." At first the fortunes of battle seemed to favor Charles, as the German troops were unable to break his defensive line in several successive charges.

    But then the Duke's famous foolhardiness got the better of him, as it had when he launched his invasion of German territory in the first place, even as thousands upon thousands of English troops prepared to cross the Channel and retake Calais. Charles knew very well that he had a reputation as a coward, earned when he was barely a teenager, and always sought to overcome it. Now he and his cavalry led a counter-charge against the Emperor's infantry, expecting to find them exhausted and ready to break. Instead, the Germans held their ground well and tore apart the invading knights – for this was the dawn of a new age, when the foot-soldier began to pose a threat, not just to knights on the battlefield, but to the very concept of knighthood itself. Because Charles did not understand this, he perished on that battlefield, struck through by a German pike, his body left behind as his once-proud army melted away behind him.

    He left no heirs.

    When Europe awoke to the news, the nascent independent state of Burgundy, so long the goal of that renegade branch of the Valois Dynasty, had vanished overnight, like a half-remembered dream.

    Charles's former enemies moved quickly to grab as much of his territory as they could. The new French king, Henri II, proclaimed that the Duchy of Burgundy itself had reverted to him, and he also moved his troops into Cambray, Picardy, and Flanders. Fredrick annexed the Franche-Comté to the Imperial Demesne, and claimed lordship over the newly leaderless provinces of the Netherlands. Together, king and emperor agreed to an uneasy truce, which was not to last. Over the next few centuries, many wars were fought over Charles's former territories.

    Of course, it didn't really happen like that.

    Of course, Charles was only badly wounded and was carried from the battlefield. Of course, he survived in the end, and this dark chapter in his life soon gave way to a bright new day – and the period of 1456-57 has gone down in Burgundian history as the Annus Mirabilis, when Charles won a string of incredible victories that humbled the pride of his foes and eventually led to the downfall of an emperor.

    Of course, Charles the Great was crowned King of Burgundy in 1480. Of course, he eventually fathered a daughter, and wed her to a loyal vassal, bringing an end to the connection between the ruling houses of Burgundy and France and beginning the Chalons Dynasty.

    And of course, Burgundy survived, and survives to this day.

    But it might have all been different. What would a world without Burgundy have looked like? It's hard to imagine, other than to say that it would have been a very different world. No Siege of Krakow. No Battle of Rome. No Crusade of Pattani. No Philip the Pious. No Charles the Navigator. No Vanderanus. No Christmas Massacre. No Golden Parliament. No Burgundian kerajaan in the Far East. We may go even further afield – would the Qing Dynasty rule over Cathay today if not for Burgundy's actions in the early 19th century? Would the nation of Brazil exist? Perhaps the Reformation may never have happened, either, when you consider the central role Burgundy played in that great era of religious controversy. Who knows, maybe Protestantism would have won the day – perhaps the very meaning of "Reformation" might have been different. Speculation, in the end, is idle. Instead, let's take an in-depth look at what did happen. How Burgundy evolved from this:


    The lands of the Duchy of Burgundy in 1435, following the Treaty of Arras.


    to this:


    The Burgundian Empire in 1821, on the eve of the French Revolution. Click here to see a larger, annotated version.


    The rise of a powerful, independent Burgundy is fascinating enough – but how did a country with no seafaring tradition, whose interests seemingly lay entirely within Europe, eventually overtake all others and become the greatest maritime power the world had ever seen? We will examine that question – how? – in more detail in the second half of our introduction.

    But first, let me introduce myself and my plan for this historical survey. I'm not a professional historian, just an amateur with a keen interest in Burgundian history. Why Burgundy? As a native of Texas (Gonçalves Parish born-and-bred), my personal interest should be obvious. Burgundy is one of the famous "Five Flags over Texas," along with Portugal, the U.S.C.A, the Texas Republic, and the U.S.A. I can trace my ancestry back to some of the earliest Portuguese settlers on Gonçalves Island, as well as to later Burgundian and Dutch-Burgundian immigrants, and later waves of Americans following the Great American War. So when I write about Burgundians, I'm writing about some of my own ancestors.

    As for the plan of this study, I've set a limit on myself – the main portion of our story begins in 1454 with the death of Philip the Good and the ascension of Charles the Great – or, as he was then known, Charles the Timid. It concludes in early 1821, just before the French Revolution burst forth and threatened the established order of Europe and the whole world. Of course, I could have gone further – I could have described the Revolutionary Wars themselves, or examined the period between 1834-1923 – as Burgundy conquered India, played a "Great Game" with Russia and the Ottoman Empire for dominance of the Caspian region, and grew to assert its power even over mighty Japan. Or I could go into detail even to the present day. And I could have started earlier, as well – perhaps from the founding of the Burgundian branch of the Valois, or even earlier than that.

    In fact, we will briefly examine the rest of the story of Burgundy, from its earliest history in the so-called "dark ages," all the way through the tragedies of the 20th century and up to the present. But our focus is on the era of its rise to dominance, and I think those two points make suitable bookends.

    I've chosen to divide the history into three parts – hence its title: Kingdom, Power, Glory. A bit cheesy, I know – but it works. Part I, "Kingdom," will cover Charles the Great's successful campaign to be recognized as an independent king. It will also look at his son-in-law and successor's reign and consolidation of the kingdom. Part II, "Power," will cover the period from the coronation of St. Philip the Pious to the coronation of Charles the Navigator – a time of religious wars and struggles against France and the Empire, and when the first steps toward a global overseas empire were hesitantly taken. Finally, Part III, "Glory," will cover the time from Charles the Navigator's reign until the outbreak of the Revolution – an era that saw Burgundy gradually become the greatest power on Earth, and which concluded with a total victory over the former leading colonial power, Portugal, as well as the conquest of Baluchistan from the collapsing Timurid Empire.

    In the spring of 1456, Charles of Burgundy nearly died, and Burgundy nearly died with him. But both endured.

    Toward the end of 2008, King Philippe XII of Burgundy passed away, having lived through much suffering – born in exile, impoverished, hated and scorned by the dictators who were abusing his native country – and having seen much happiness – the fall of the Dijon Wall, the restoration of his family's throne, the end of both the État-Nouveau and the Burgundian People's Republic, and the transition to a democratic, constitutional monarchy in a once-again united state.

    In Besançon, on December 20, 2008, at the great Cathedral of Saint Philippe, his daughter was crowned Queen of Burgundy according to the ancient ceremonies – the first time such a coronation had been performed in eighty-seven years. The whole world could watch the event, on television or via the internet. It was a moment fraught with grandeur and emotion. The greatest image, replayed again and again in the news, was doubtless when Her Majesty publicly embraced the Prime Minister of the Netherlands – an act of contrition and reconciliation that epitomized what Marie stands for. Though her political powers are of course minimal, the young, vibrant, brilliant queen has come to symbolize the hope of all people that the horrors of the past hundred years truly are behind us.

    And for that, we can say Burgundy may have lost its empire long ago, but its power and glory shine through to this day.
    Last edited by clblabin; 24-03-2009 at 00:24.

  4. #4

  5. #5
    Second Lieutenant GooseyPasture's Avatar
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    I agree. Looking forward to the next update.
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    Cisár všetkých Slovákov demokratickid's Avatar
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    Wow! It seems you've made a well-proportioned Empire as Burgundy! I'm excited to see this one!
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    Warden of the Cinque Ports Teep's Avatar
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    When I read the title, I was expecting a european conquest, not a maritime power. Wow. Just wow.

  8. #8
    Superb.

    Awaiting more!

  9. #9
    First Lieutenant Jestocost's Avatar
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    Good beginnings, indeed.

    I like the way you make us reassess historical certainties. A sparkling start, epic and ironic at the same time.

    Bring it on...

  10. #10
    Loyalist Commander Baron Jukaga's Avatar
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    Great start, will read with interest. It almost seems to mirror my current Burgundy game.

  11. #11
    Basileus Romaion Nikolai's Avatar
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    Wow. What a great start. Count me in! And I hope you will make a fan fiction out of the part not covered in the game.*drools*
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    Amazing start! This AAR is a future award-winner!

    you can count me in!
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  13. #13
    Major clblabin's Avatar
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    Winner: Yes indeed, it's definitely better this way. The game is quite unpredictable -- I couldn't have guessed in 1815 how that map was going to turn out. Glad to have you on board, even though I fear your Hussites and my Burgundians wouldn't have gotten along at all.

    Gabor, also nice to see you here; we MMP AAR writers must stick together.

    And thanks to everybody for all the encouraging replies! They really make my day and are much appreciated. Next update coming shortly; we'll see if I can live up to expectations .

  14. #14
    Major clblabin's Avatar
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    How?


    All great empires in history, from the Egyptians and the Romans to the modern superpowers, the United States of America and Great Qing, have given rise to debates over how they rose to power, sometimes from unlikely beginnings.

    The era we're studying saw a great deal of surprises in this regard – Burgundy first and foremost, but not just Burgundy, and not just among the European powers. Consider the meteoric rise of the Sultanate of Brunei, or the slower, steadier ascension of the Kingdom of Vijayanagar to dominance over the Indian subcontinent – among other examples.

    The Europe we see at the beginning of this era, say, in 1460, as Burgundy's armies returned triumphant from Brandenburg, gives us few hints as to what the future would bring. England was beaten and humiliated, pushed out of the continent completely. What is now Spain was divided into four separate kingdoms. Among the four future Great Powers, only Portugal, with its various expeditions southward, seemed prepared for the new era that would soon dawn. If one nation looked destined to dominate this epoch, it was France.

    So perhaps we should not marvel too much at Burgundy's rise to glory. Still, the question how? has been asked and argued over for so long, and so many answers have been proffered, that it might do to examine them.

    First of all, we have what we might call the Constitutional Theory, which states that Burgundy's great power came from its well-ordered government. This school of thought is split into two sub-schools, one of which focuses on great leaders, particularly those in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, from the Navigators to the great parliamentary figures, as well as the visionary explorers who planted the Burgundian flag in so many heretofore undiscovered places.


    Leaders of the "Golden Parliament" that governed Burgundy through much of the mid-eighteenth century. That term originated in late nineteenth century.

    The other sub-school relies less on a Great Man interpretation of history and more on abstract factors. For instance, it points to the relative autonomy given to the various provinces and ethnic groups within the empire, and the limited powers of both the king specifically and the central government in general. While Burgundy by 1800 was far more centralized than its early monarchs could ever have imagined, its rule was far less heavy-handed than that of most other major powers. This is particularly true of Portugal, and by the year 1900 a number of histories had been written which reimagined the conflict between the two as a struggle between absolutism and freedom, rather than simply a war for territory, resources, and strategic advantage.

    Not surprisingly, the Constitutional Theory has been very popular in Burgundy itself. The "Great Man" version was the unofficially-official interpretation of West Burgundy during the État-Nouveau (in East Burgundy, of course, the whole imperial period was looked upon as the worst excess of "feudal" or "bourgeois" exploitation). The "Good Policies" version was particularly popular in the United Kingdom as well, unsurprisingly, since British influence in Burgundian government is clear.

    What are we to make of this idea? It contains both truth and untruth. Certainly, for much of this period, Burgundy was well-governed, both in terms of its laws and of the men who implemented them. Nearly alone among the major powers (Western and otherwise) of the time, Burgundy suffered no civil wars, no succession crises, no state bankruptcies. There were indeed moments of division and unrest – the Christmas Massacre comes to mind, as does the dissension in the army throughout the late 1700s. But compared to the long Portuguese Civil War, or even the War of Succession in Britain, these were minor affairs, and Burgundy was a bastion of stability. Still, how much of this is due to foresight and how much to good fortune is beyond the historian's judgment. And other large and not-unimportant countries, such as Sweden, retained similar levels of stability without attaining a worldwide empire (in this time period). Nor were all of Burgundy's policies an unqualified success – its reliance on mercantilist theory was a recognized problem by some as early as the eighteenth century, yet nothing was done to relax the strict trade laws until it was too late. Also, compared to Spain, Britain, and even Portugal, Burgundy's empire was vast but poorly developed, and the creeping inflation that would eventually paralyze the Empire was evident by the early nineteenth century at the latest.


    For those with the gift to see, there were warning signs of the eventual downfall of the Empire even in the time of Charles the Navigator. Calls for reform went unheeded.

    Other theories abound as well. Although never put in formal scholarly terms, the close relationship between the Burgundian state and the Church has inevitably given rise to what we may call the Ecclesiastical Theory, that Burgundy, led by its "Most Catholic Kings," was blessed for its faithfulness under St. Philip, who continued to watch over and defend his kingdom from heaven, allowing it to expand and spread Christianity all over the world under great figures like St. Maurice of Quelimane. Theological questions are of course beyond the competency of the historian, but this theory has not exactly been taken seriously by most academics. After all, all of the great colonial powers, excepting late-comer Sweden, were Catholic, and the Catholics in, say, Poland or Hungary, might well wonder where their blessing went.

    Still, a more secular version of this theory may point out that Burgundy emerged stronger than ever after the Wars of Religion; Austria, its greatest potential rival in Europe besides France, was thoroughly vanquished, Burgundian troops gained a reputation for total invincibility, and St. Philip's determination to crush Protestantism led to a Burgundy unburdened by the religious division found in, above all, France. Furthermore, Burgundy's first great intervention in the Far East was largely motivated by an unlikely religious situation, and even its first colonies in West Africa were established following a "War of Retribution" for the slaughter of certain Christian missionaries. Certainly it seems that the partnership between the Church and Burgundy did well for them both.

    Here might also be a good place to point out a relatively recent theory, first proposed in the 1990s by Flemish historian Willem Dampierre in his celebrated work, translated into English as The Philippian Divide: Liberalism, Traditionalism, and the Making of the Burgundian Mind. Dr. Dampierre examines the achievements of Burgundy at its height and credits them to a "creative tension" between progressivism and Catholicism, which he traces to St. Philip, that most complicated of kings. We will delve more deeply into that topic at a later time. Other recent treatises on Burgundy highlight its cultural diversity as a source of strength.


    During the reign of St. Philip the Pious, Burgundy used its great technological superiority in the defense of traditionalism. Philip also persecuted Dutch Protestants ruthlessly, while greatly expanding the rights of the Jews who migrated to Burgundy during his father's time. Eventually, he and later generations following him urged compromise with Protestantism in certain areas, while insisting on absolute ecclesiastical unity – a movement now known as the Reformation. This brand of Catholic Humanism has come to be called "The Philippian Divide."

    Others have looked at history and come to far less flattering conclusions. Many modern historians, making use of Post-Colonial Theory, have accused Burgundy of greed and power-mongering. The Crusade of Pattani, these writers allege, was a thinly-veiled land-grab on the part of opportunistic merchants of the young Burgundian East Indian Company. The conquest of East Africa was a project first undertaken by a half-mad king with strange delusions of Biblical grandeur. Vanderanus was a corrupt adventurer, and his wars against Brunei over Sumatra and Malay were little more than attempts to establish a separate kingdom for himself. Every Burgundian action overseas, they argue, was part of a deliberate program of conquest and exploitation.


    Anthonie Van der Aa (1701-1775), better known as Antonius Vanderanus, the greatest governor-general of the Burgundian East India Company, controversial in his day and our own.

    Again, while there is truth to this, parts of it are incoherent and unfair. It should be noted, for instance, that while Vanderanus was no doubt rather unscrupulous and certainly self-aggrandizing, he was a fairly competent governor who was looked upon by the people of Sumatra as something of a liberator.

    So in the end, our answer is inconclusive. I will leave it for the reader to decide, as we follow Burgundy's unlikely rise, what lay behind such success. Perhaps the Burgundian Empire might best be described in the words of one historian's epigraph on Charles the Beloved's war against the Swahili confederation: "It was an ill-timed, ill-considered, poorly-planned, badly-led stroke of genius."

    But all that is far ahead of us. First, we need to explore the origins of Burgundy, to see how a minor Scandinavian tribe eventually gave its name to an empire on which the sun never set.
    Last edited by clblabin; 24-03-2009 at 00:24.

  15. #15
    Warden of the Cinque Ports Teep's Avatar
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    Nice writing. I have played MMP a few tmes, what is the best government for eating large areas of territory (I know about the buerocracy and viceroys bonuses).

  16. #16
    Major clblabin's Avatar
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    Thanks Teep. Anything that begins with "Constitutional" or "Enlightened" gives you the best administrative efficiency. In this game, I stuck with Administrative Monarchy until I could switch to Constitutional, and never had any efficiency penalties at all.

  17. #17
    Paradox QA Paradox Dev Team ForzaA's Avatar
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    Just dropping in to say that someone called "Van der Aa" would probably be hesitant to latinise his name as you have.


    Well, no, not entirely true.. I dropped in to read, and decided to post because of this most "curious" latinisation
    Error in war on error on line 1.

  18. #18
    Just got stuck in and its brilliant!, although I've never liked burgundy as a country, (french or dutch or German make their minds up!), your making me change my mind about them, i will be reading intently.

  19. #19
    Major clblabin's Avatar
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    ForzaA: I'll take your word for that, though I stole the idea from this guy. Happily, any linguistic foolishness on my part can easily be explained away by some make-believe counter-historical babble.

    thechallenger: Thanks! A reckoning will indeed come for Burgundy due to its mixed cultural lineage and inability to truly define itself in the age of nationalism.
    Last edited by clblabin; 17-03-2009 at 10:51.

  20. #20
    Ah, my dear love Burgundy...Outstanding material. I will definitely follow this even if time will not always allow me to properly comment.

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