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Thread: Victorious through God’s grace: de Hautevilles’ chronicle

  1. #81
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    And so will happen!

    Oh, I can insure you: Alexios will be a great leader for the Grand Duchy (of Apulia and Calabria united) and more, for the whole Kingdom of Sicily! But all you have to continue following this AAR and wait mid-14th century ...
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  2. #82
    Sounds AWESOME!

  3. #83
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    XLVIII. Godfrey intervenes at Taranto


    The successful progeny of Hugh of Apulia

    Now, before going in details of Godfrey’s deeds during these turbulent times, let us review the major Hauteville characters animating (at different times) his court during the first decade of the 14th century. As shown above, Hugh’s descendants have continued to hold firmly power on the administration of the Principality of Apulia. After the assassination of Stephen, the young Godfrey could not leave aside the help of his uncles Humbert, Count of Bari, William and Alphonse. The Prince’s cousin William has been retained as marshal since a while now, while the Greek Hautevilles remain in control of Hellas and Atheniai. Growing up, also Athanasios and Tancred find their roles: the former as leader of Godfrey’s spy ring (under the tutelage of the omnipotent Chancellor Richard Skribas, the only non-Hauteville to keep strong influence on the Prince of Apulia) before being appointed Count of Naxos in 1310, the latter as Count of El-Arish after its conquest in 1308. Finally, Godfrey’s minor cousin Henry has inherited the Duchy of Sicily – (hopefully establishing an offshoot lineage there) and his grandson Alexios is heir apparent to the Duchy of Calabria (which consequently can be merged with Apulia).

    - - - -

    If this is not enough, 1310 marks the year that Godfrey shows how much he merits the soubriquet of “prudent”. The long decade of leisure time spent in Naxos (roughly from mid-1290s to mid-1300s) has not weakened the temperament and sharpness of judgement of the Prince of Apulia, which now can be exalted in a context that requires nerves and prudence. Despite the expulsion of Herman of Roma and the capture of Monferrato, other magnates have not succumbed yet to the royalists: William of Palermo has gone into the mountains without giving up, Hugues de Poitou (Count of Salerno) has raised his standard against Henry I becoming the major peninsular opponent of the royalists, still led by Guy of Calabria.

    Notwithstanding the repeated attempts to involve the Prince of Apulia on the rebel side, Godfrey definitely dissociates himself from the violent attacks brought against the King, but at the same time he prepares to profit from the difficulties of his liege in reining in the rebellious peers by putting all his strength on the battlefield. So when in September 1310 Count Godfrey of Taranto joins the rebellion, the Prince of Apulia intervenes by raising more than 5.000 men (in cooperation with his uncle Humbert of Bari), despite an epidemic of typhoid has stricken Lecce previously in the year. With the hope of reasserting control over Taranto, Henry I consents the expedition: Godfrey of Apulia leads his troops against the town that has been for so many decades the dream of every one of his predecessors and on 9th October invests the smaller Tarentine defences, routing them completely.


    The siege of Taranto lasts just three weeks, after which the Apulian troops storm the island on which the ancient Greeks founded their most powerful colony in Southern Italy. On 30th October 1310, Godfrey assumes possession of the province in the name of Henry I and incorporates it in the demesne of the Principality of Apulia.

    Last edited by Hastu Neon; 17-10-2010 at 13:35.
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  4. #84
    Crazy Cat Person. Meow! Moderator Qorten's Avatar
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    An excellent addition to the realm of the Apulian Hautevilles! Must be one of the more powerful families in Europe by now, no. Considering the southern italian provinces are usually pretty rich and well-populated.


    When I use this color I am speaking as a Moderator.

  5. #85
    Wow, that's a nice province you got there mister. :P

  6. #86
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    Qorten, Morrell8, you are right: the province is a good addition and was long awaited, even since the beginning of the game in 1187!

    From a historical perspective, the merger of Lecce and Taranto sets up in this fictional scenario what was in real life the principality which Robert Guiscard at the end of the 11th century left to Bohemond, the leader of the First Crusade. That Principality of Taranto lasted until 15th century and was one of the most fluorishing areas in the Norman-Swabian-Angevin-Aragonese kingdoms established in Southern Italy during those 400 years.
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  7. #87
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    XLIX. Bloodless acquisition of Salerno

    As the forceful conquest of Taranto has shown Godfrey’s fastness and strength of mind, so the affair surrounding the capitulation of Hugues of Salerno would reveal his adroitness and subtlety.

    But before telling about the peaceful take-over of that town, it is worth to mention the various steps forward introduced by Godfrey following the Tarentine triumph. No doubt that the capture of Taranto represents a decisive point in the Apulian fortunes: together with Lecce and Bari, that town is the biggest centre in southern Apulia and its port the largest of the Ionian Sea.

    Determined to make Taranto his new military base of operation, the Prince of Apulia quickly builds new training-grounds and commissions the construction of a civilian harbour. Consequently, Godfrey’s grip on Calabria is further strengthened as from there he can easily travel down the coast to Reggio. All this suddenly becomes a realistic prospect in November 1311, when Godfrey’s old friend and recent co-grandfather Guy of Calabria dies for the wounds received in the battles against Herman of Roma and never healed.

    Despite the sorrow for Guy’s death, Godfrey well appreciates the wonderful results of the dramatic event, as Athanasios’ 3-year old son Alexios is posed to inherit the Duchy of Calabria and merge it with Apulia! The child, who has grown up at Naxos since his father was sent there as count of the island, ought now to travel back to southern Italy to be invested with the Duchy of Calabria. He is sailed from the Aegean island to Taranto, where Prince Godfrey receives his grandson with great warmth and from there accompanies him to Calabria.


    While Alexios is making his solemn entry into Reggio with his grandson, disorders continue to haunt Henry I: with Sicily almost completely pacified, Salerno and northern Apulia (the part not under control of Godfrey) remain the major centres of opposition to the central government.

    Following the death of Guy of Calabria, the insurgents led by Hugues of Salerno take advantage of the temporary disarray in royalist ranks, attaining important successes in a strip spanning to Roma. Godfrey of Apulia appears the only one who can help the king get through the baronial arrogance, but remains opportunistic and cautious about siding with a liege that – despite the messages of reconciliation and the decisive assistance received at Taranto – continues to disparage him on public gatherings.

    During the destructive contest between Henry I and Hugues of Salerno, Godfrey’s patient work to build a network of relationships with minor barons on the peninsula pave the way to another brilliant success, this time reaped with ingenious diplomacy. This is how the story goes: beginning to despair of his capacity to endure the reinforcing royalists, Hugues of Salerno attempts to break isolation through a rapprochement with Godfrey of Apulia, finally accepting to become an underling of him in March 1312. In a crescendo of events, few weeks later Godfrey reveals a plot to overturn Henry I, regaining the king’s confidence for his honesty and devotion and thus reasserting the role of possible moderator between the two contending parties.

    Forced to abandon Roma and withdraw towards his castles in September 1313, Hugues of Salerno would continue to loot royalist supplies and unarmed villages from rugged areas around that town until early 1214, actually hunted like a wolf. When Henry I begins to offer royal pardons to Hugues’ followers, as suggested by Godfrey of Apulia, the destiny of the seditious count is sealed: in April Hugues is pardoned on condition of giving up Salerno to Godfrey of Apulia.


    Godfrey's domains in Italy and Greece (1314)
    Last edited by Hastu Neon; 17-10-2010 at 13:36.
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  8. #88
    Damn! two of the best towns southern Italy are at your command!

  9. #89
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    L. Godfrey of Apulia dies while revolts fade out

    Only 45 years old, Godfrey is the most powerful vassal of Henry I, on the continental part of the Kingdom of Sicily at least. Yet, the man who on 13th April 1314 enters Salerno among the applauses of the citizens doesn’t look well: pale and skinny, he seems on the point of falling down from horse.

    For sure, the epidemic of pulmonary typhoid, which is ravaging southern Apulia in these years and taking its toll on Hauteville court members as well, may have played a role in Godfrey’s physical decay. Another blow to his health has come in October 1313 during a great hunt to catch a ferocious beast that has been terrorising the countryside: severely wounded by an arrow shot by one of his knights, Godfrey has lingered in great pain for some weeks before recovering. Only his Norman strength of will has made possible the long trip across the Apennines to show up at Salerno and give the Salernitans a chance to greet their new ruler.

    With its domed church and medium-sized castle, the city is much bigger than its Apulian peers. Despite all the improvements made in recent years, Lecce and Taranto are simply outshined by the riches and monuments of Salerno; only Bari can compete to some extent with what was Robert Guiscard’s capital before the establishment of the Kingdom of Sicily.


    During the Prince’s short sojourn at Salerno, there is also time to celebrate the marriage of Alexios – a nephew of Godfrey – with Princess Fressenda, daughter of King Henry I. Despite the union soon proves unfortunate (Alexios would die of pneumonia few months later), it confirms once for all the association of the Apulian Hautevilles with the royal branch and their being the king’s champions in Southern Italy. In some way, this development is consistent with the decisive sunset of the Poitou fortunes: settled in the Kingdom of Sicily since their ousting from Antioch in late 12th century, they have been growing over the decades to become the foremost vassals of the kings of Sicily, receiving as appanage lands and castles on the northern borders with the Papal States and the Hohenstaufen Empire. However, the participation of both Hugues and Charles de Poitou in the baronial revolts has definitively alienated the consideration of Henry I towards – in his words - “that family of felons”.

    1314 is the turning point in the repression of the revolts: the royalist troops move on to besiege Foggia, then pacify the whole of northern Apulia while Charles de Poitou is dispossessed of his titles. Only the rebel Count of Palermo – gone into the Sicilian mountains – stubbornly defies submitting to Henry I, until in 1317 his capture and imprisonment finally signal the end of the rebellion. Yet Godfrey of Apulia would not witness the end of the royal troubles, for he dies on 13th May 1315, leaving all his inheritance to the elder son, Athanasios.

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  10. #90
    Well he lived a long full life I guess. What are the Cultures of the counties that you own? Are they Greek or Italian?

  11. #91
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    Yes, his life was full of events, may he rest in peace.

    I believe Lecce, Reggio and the Greek possessions (actually owned by vassals) have Greek culture, whereas Cosenza, Salerno and Taranto have Italian culture.

    But as the name of the successor suggests, Godfrey is the last Hauteville ruler with Norman culture; Athanasios instead is Greek, and also his son Alexios, Duke of Calabria (the one which will merge Apulia and Calabria when his time will come).

    So from now on the rulers of the Duchy will be Greek.
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  12. #92
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    LI. The short interlude of Athanasios


    Athanasios is 27 years old when he succeeds to his father’s titles. As the first name suggests, the man has deep Greek cultural traits clearly evident to his subjects that flock to see him coming from Naxos. Five years before, Godfrey sent him there to train for governing and the lad has proved to be a capable administrator.

    The fondness for architecture (a common trait with several Hauteville predecessors including his father Godfrey) and the healthy surplus of the ducal balance (more than 6.000 gold bezants, with a monthly income in excess of 36) inspire Athanasios to accomplish great construction works, including the enlargement of Taranto’s castle and the commissioning of a grand shipyard at Amalfi, close to Salerno. Costing 1.000 bezants and almost five years of labour, the project intends to recover the glory of the once prosperous maritime centre that rivalled with Genoa and Pisa up to early 12th century.

    He completes the grand palace of Salerno that has originally been commissioned by Hugues de Poitou (and continued by Godfrey), with the purpose of escaping the disease of pulmonary typhoid that is ravaging Lecce and the Salentine peninsula since 1310. However, when the marvellous residence is inaugurated in summer 1315 the Duke of Apulia already watches in horror his court members falling sick and dying like common folk: first his son Symeon passes away at the age of 4; then Athanasios’ mother Helena gets pneumonia, dying shortly after in January 1316.

    Shocked by all these deaths, Athanasios – who is a Catholic believer, differently from his father that embraced the Orthodox faith – starts seeking comfort in the Bible. While typhoid ravages towns and countryside, dark months pass with the Duke secluding himself in his palaces with the only presence of priests and spiritual confidents. Among them there is a distant relative, Demetrios, whose increasing influence on Athanasios becomes apparent when he is appointed abbot of the monastery of Saint Helena in Taranto, previously commissioned by the Duke of Apulia as a vow for his mother’s healing (unfortunately without success).

    Fearing for the lives of other family members, Athanasios finally determines to move away from Lecce. However, Duchess Yolanda who has been assisting the victims of the epidemic cannot escape it and dies on 17th July 1317. Despite the arrangement of a promising betrothal with Veronica, daughter of Leo of Achaea, with the despairing loss of the beloved spouse comes the final setback for Duke Athanasios. He refuses to eat for days after Yolanda’s burial, then becoming dull and hopeless. Unable to bear the stress of seeing all his dears departing, Athanasios finally commits suicide by poisoning on 22nd March 1318. His rule has lasted less than 3 years; of this unfortunate Duke remain only a 9-year old inheritor, Alexios, and the imposing buildings mentioned above, nothing much more. The infection of typhoid would not retreat from Lecce for many years more.



    Rumours from distant lands – The French civil war

    With the reconquest of Paris (1303) and the Treaty of Saint Blaise (1306), Charles IV of France has finally reasserted the Capetian primacy over the country after a long period of English dominance. On the contrary, after many decades of power vacuum the position of the rival Angevin dynasty has continued to deteriorate. Still engaged in internal strife and with two consecutive minority kingships (Henry III and Laurence), the English have to cede La Marche on the continent and Shrewsbury on the island following another humiliating peace in 1312. Yet, Charles IV’s death in the same year would bring a halt to such impressive development and cause France to fall into a prolonged period of standstill. Two short-lived and ineffectual figures rule in just eight years, until a new conflict against the English faction occurs in 1320.


    Started by King Aubrey just before his death, the war sees the successor Louis VIII facing the opposition of Richard Grey, Duke of Anjou and actually the last great Angevin vassal to surrender to the Capetian crown. Once deprived Richard Grey of all his lands, the French drag on fighting the English for other four years, until a truce signed in 1324.

    Paradoxically, with Richard Grey’s ousting start the real problems for Louis VIII: discontented with levies imposed by the crown to fund recent wars, many nobles begin to rebel, profiting from the inexperience and poor health of the young king. The first leaders of the revolt (the Dukes of Orleans, Bourgogne, Gascogne and Champagne) raise their flags in 1321, then followed by the princes of Tolouse and Guyenne in the following years. After some initial difficulties, the royalists manage to subdue the princes’ revolt: one after the other all of them are defeated and removed from power, yet several years of anarchy have to pass before the country can be regained to the cause of Louis VIII.
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  13. #93
    How many people are in your court? Are they all infecting each other?

  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrell8 View Post
    How many people are in your court? Are they all infecting each other?
    Too many, too many. And in fact the pandemy is making room!

  15. #95
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    LII. Alexios merges Apulia and Calabria


    On Athanasios’ suicide, his elder son Alexios is unanimously acknowledged Duke of Apulia, retaining at the same time the title of Calabria he had inherited in 1311 from his maternal grandfather Guy Theodosiopolites. Having merged to two duchies into one, Alexios has vast possessions: he directly controls Lecce, Taranto, Salerno, Cosenza and Reggio in southern Italy and the island of Naxos in the Aegean Sea; his vassal relatives rule over Bari (Italy), Hellas, Atheniai and Demetrias (Greece) and El-Arish (Levant). In the map below you can appreciate the evolution of Apulia since the times Duke Hugh I, whose conquests of Bari and central Greece around the mid-13th century set in motion the developments now culminating with the annexation of Calabria.


    The Duchy is much different now from what it used to be in early 13th century: Bari, Taranto, Salerno, but also Naxos and Reggio are cities which navigation and trade have notably enriched. This network of ports spreading from the bottom of the Italian peninsula to Sinai, through the Ionian and Aegean Seas has recorded a constant increase of communications with Byzantium and with the Sicilian possessions in Northern Africa and the Levant, in competition with the activities carried by Venice, Genoa and Pisa. So goods and gold have flown in abundance into the ducal coffers and those of leading merchant families.

    So rich of gold, Alexios can virtually field almost 22.000 men. Nevertheless, his young age makes him an easy target for the interests of the nobility and vulnerable to stress. Being Alexios a minor and orphan, a regency council is appointed to assist him in the government of the duchies: for his seniority and experience, Humbert of Bari (last of Hugh’s sons, aged 66 years) is now the head of the Apulian Hautevilles; with Humbert there are his son William, who continues to serve as marshal, and another country cousin, Richard, whom Athanasios has appointed spymaster before death. Alexios’ uncle Tancred retains the county of El-Arish but is excluded from the council’s decision-making process.

    Despite the loyal acknowledgement of the new Duke, various vassals and public servants take advantage of Alexios’ situation to improve their condition: in August it emerges that the steward has roughed up for a long time Naxos’ inhabitants to collect more private revenues, then Alexios himself has to come to terms with his counts by changing the ruling laws from traditional custom to feudal contract. During the period of his minority, a common trend would be a shift of power from the burghers and priests to nobility.

    The effort to rein in feudal forces (a common feature in early 14th-century Kingdom of Sicily) would bring over the long term a much more rational administrative structure for the Duchy of Apulia. As King Henry I has been broadening his demesnial properties at the expense of the defeated magnates (to the point that Palermo, Roma and Foggia have been annexed to the Crown – just to name few!), likewise Alexios’ ducal government directly rules over the great part of the Southern Italian provinces, whereas power delegation is much wider for overseas domains. With the appointment of Alexios’ uncle Odo to the county of Naxos in 1319, virtually all the Apulian territories in Greece and the Levant are administered through vassals.

    The uncertainties of a minority regency do not stop the progress of the construction projects already launched by Athanasios. Moreover, the availability of gold makes it possible in a couple of years to upgrade the newly acquired Calabrian provinces with harbours and provide them with smithies and training grounds for local regiments.

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  16. #96
    His Intrigue stat forced you to give a county away I see. But the young one has much potential.

  17. #97
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    LIII. A promising lad


    Until Alexios reaches majority in 1324, there is little to record in the Duchy. Life goes on placidly, cities and hamlets grow and prosper, new civil and military technologies spread over and merchants barter the Apulian goods across the Mediterranean. The Duke’s minority prevents any adventurous deeds (with the sole exception of an unsuccessful endeavour in the Levant), therefore the only relevant topic to account for is some social discontent exacerbated by the troubles caused in Lecce by the horrible disease of typhoid.

    The failed expedition against Sheik Awlagh of Darum takes place in 1320: following the inheritance of the Duchy of Cairo by Osbert de Hauteville – another successful grandson of Hugh of Apulia – there is a further attempt to consolidate the scarcely connected Sicilian possessions in Egypt and the Holy Land by pressing war against the small Muslim sheikdoms in the area. One of the key figures is Tancred (Alexios’ uncle) who is Count of El-Arish and aspires to increase his influence in the region. In February 1320 a military expedition is set up against Darum, the town that was already a (missed) Sicilian target under Richard I. Unfortunately, the operations are badly arranged and carried out by Tancred. He comes out of El-Arish with less than 750 men, just few more than those Awlagh can field to protect Darum. Realizing Tancred’s weakness, the Apulian marshal William soon asks Alexios’ vassal count Bardas of Atheniai to mobilise and ferry 1.000 soldiers to Darum, but then comes the astonishing news that Tancred has been routed there, losing almost half of his contingent. Other Sicilian forces led by Simon Grimaldi would soon revenge Tancred’s disreputable defeat, with their leader winning the siege in May 1320 and being appointed Count of Darum by King Henry I.

    What remains of this unfortunate episode is the need for an improvement in Apulian military education: in the same year marshal William establishes near Salerno a war academy (whose first trainees come out in 1322) to improve troops’ recruitment speed and support and train a new elite of knights able to bring back the prestige of the ducal military tradition, diminished not only by Tancred’s setbacks but also by the fact that in recent times major Apulian acquisitions have come through pact (Salerno) or marriage (Calabria).

    - - - -


    In this period encastellation of Apulia and Calabria continues at fast pace, particularly in the recently acquired provinces of Taranto and Cosenza (while other ducal cities already have already distinctive buildings). Forts are expanded or constructed anew, while barons and petty nobles are given more rights and administrative powers over the towns lying in the vicinity. The shift toward feudal contract obviously alienates the common people from the ducal vertex. Initially, Alexios’ proud reaction is to crush the dissenters, but after the guy would come to milder terms as the typhoid disease in Southern Apulia becomes worse and worse.


    After a decade of horror, the infection has seemed to be under control in 1319, but then its resurgence in 1320 takes many by surprise, killing all those people ageing or already debilitated. The new infection spreads for several years, maybe even more acutely than the wave of the 1310s: sick persons and casualties are uncountable, both at court and among the lower classes; a dark atmosphere surrounds everything and the obsession with death provokes extreme religious reactions. But typhoid brings also a breakdown favourable to the maintenance of social order: forced by starvation, revolting peasants prefer to return to the field. In many ways survivors are better off than before as there is more food and higher wages for the average peasant.

    With great magnanimity, Alexios takes up the responsibility of taking his community out of the crisis: he pardons the rebels, funds works for soil amelioration to increase farming production and helps his poor subjects in the worst years of the calamity, an attitude which would be a constant of his life. Starting from 1324, the situation at Lecce begins to improve to the point that Alexios recovers from stress and – now 16 years old – can directly assume the reins of government and determine his own policies, including a combination of firm repression of most incendiary dissenters with conciliatory fiscal and political measures in favour of the burghers. The young Duke shows promise of becoming a great statesman: despite continuance of typhoid and some social discord with feudal contract, in his first year in office ducal monthly income exceeds 40 gold bezants, Apulian reputation is honourable and the relationship with King Henry I is excellent.
    Last edited by Hastu Neon; 15-10-2010 at 17:22.
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    (His heaven above the traveller may change, but not the soul within)

  18. #98
    What Martial trait did he get? Brilliant Strategist or Knowledged Tactian?

  19. #99
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    LIV. Usurpation of the Principality of Athens

    With Alexios’ majority, there is a strong revival of activity and a reshuffling of the council: the young Duke calls to help Bohemond as marshal in place of William, who has taken over the County of Bari following the death of the old Humbert. Culturally Greek and eager for personal triumphs, Alexios turns his eyes east: apart the direct rule of the Duke of Apulia over Naxos, three mainland provinces have continued to be administered by either the “Greek Hautevilles” or the steadfast Dermokaites of Demetrias, whose last descendant Henry has passed away in 1322 at the venerable age of 75. Yet, his grandson and successor Demetrios has retained strong links with Apulia by marrying a Hauteville girl.

    Significantly, during the period of Apulian rule both immigration and missionary activity have favoured the diffusion of Roman Catholic faith at the expense of Eastern Christian. What is now missing to Duke Alexios is a higher title for those lands, as the principality of Athens is still held by the successors of Leo, one of the greatest heroes of the Fourth Crusade.

    Like a new Ptolemy, Leo had established himself as ruler of Alexandria following the Fourth Crusade. With the consolidation of the dynasty, the centre of main interest for Leo’s successors progressively moved from Greece to Egypt and their link with motherland faded away. By early 14th century Boghos, Leo’s last descendant, has lost all the territories of his ancestors to the Byzantines – just retaining the nominal title of “Prince of Athens”.

    Already in 1308 Godfrey of Apulia was claiming that title, but never decided to intervene and press his demands in consideration of the troubled Sicilian situation during the magnates’ revolts. But in February 1326 with the juvenile quest for glory of Alexios and the new group of disciplined and innovative elite officers coming out from the war academy of Salerno, the goal can finally be achieved. To this purpose, Marshal Bohemond gathers an army of almost 9.000 men at Salerno to cross the Mediterranean Sea but dies during the passage into Calabria, from where he has intended to set sail.


    Upon this regrettable accident, Duke Alexios gives the command to his great-uncle Henry Theodosiopolites, a capable warrior who leads the crossing of the Apulian contingent to Egypt. When the expedition lands on 17th July 1326 close to Alexandria, the ancient city has a garrison of more than 7.000 Greeks under Boghos. A first victory is won by the Apulians on 5th September, after which the siege is begun. Yet, the heavy losses incurred by Henry convince Alexios to mobilise and ferry from Reggio other 4.000 soldiers.


    Through autumn and winter 1326 Boghos’ sorties try to break the blockade, but the remaining besiegers stand well. The Greek prince attempts to make peace by offering almost 1.900 gold bezants (!), but the settlement is ignored by the attackers, seriously intentioned to starve the citizens out. Unable to get supplies from outside, on 1st February 1327 Boghos orders to light fires signalling he is ready to surrender. Peace terms would not be utterly offensive: he relinquishes the title of Prince of Athens to Alexios and undertakes to pay 500 bezants. With this success, Alexios can now glorify himself with a third princely title after those of Apulia and Calabria. Yet, together prestige comes a sense of deceitfulness due to the insensitive raid against Boghos and Alexandria.

    Rumours from distant lands – Let’s refocus on Iberia

    It’s a long time that we do not get updates from the Iberian peninsula. After the troubles of the 13th century, the Aragonese-Portuguese war (1279-84) sanctioned the leadership of the kings of Aragon over Iberia. In 1288 Ponc of Aragon has further consolidated his predominance with the acquisition of the crown of Navarra – including its remarkable treasury of 600 bezants – and the province of Rioja. That last endeavour inaugurated a long period of stability, which has lasted for more than 20 years, only briefly interrupted in 1309 by the Aragonese take over of Granada. During the ensuing conflict, Ponc would even suffer a temporary but disturbing setback with the 1316 Burgundian incursion of Barcelona, yet at the end of the war he would also acquire the town of Almansa.

    In the meantime, the smaller kingdoms of Portugal and Castile have continued to consolidate their own positions under the prudent rule of the House of Lara and the Basque dynasty of de Haro, respectively. The fourth temporal leader of Iberia is the Pope, who controls the northwestern region of the peninsula since Dietrich’s relocation of the Roman curia in mid-13th century (the so-called "Galician Captivity"). From Dietrich to the last Pope Osmond, ten pontiffs have resided in Santiago de Compostela, the new Holy City of the Christendom. During this time, the Papacy has adopted practices more similar to secular courts, including the worst behaviours such as nepotism, corruption and simony. With Pope William de Hauteville (1305-25), such tendencies become even more pronounced: elected through bribery, he actually proves to be a strong leader, exercising a tight control over the curia and appointing his relatives to key positions in an unusually long tenure. Upon his death, the conclave does not find strange to elect another Hauteville Pope, Osmond, to perpetuate such a peculiar pontifical dynasty. The two Hauteville Popes would also distinguish themselves by eradicating the Islamic presence from the southern provinces of Iberia, acquired in the late 12th century during the final stage of the Reconquista: even if heretical or crypto-Muslim movements sometimes continue to arise in Andalusia, the Inquisition pushes hard to force convert (or expel to seize their assets) all non-Christians.

    As the following conflicts would demonstrate, all these things have reinforced the status of the Church as one of the most relevant temporal powers in Iberia.
    Visit the MAARquesate of Mantua! Faith in Power (WoW 30-3-2003)
    From the Tower of Belem: A Portuguese AAR (WoW 7-11-2004)
    Know my land's history with "The Apulian Persons Project" EU2 Victoria Crusader Kings (WoW 9-5-2010) EU3

    “Coelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt” - Horace
    (His heaven above the traveller may change, but not the soul within)

  20. #100
    Do the Byzantines have claims upon your Greek possessions, I am wondering why they haven't attacked you as they always attack me.

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