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Thread: De Hautevilles- Can Anyone Stop the Norman Invasion?

  1. #41
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Interlude-The Coronation of King Bohemond I

    The Pope

    Pope Severinus II was not happy. The winter seas in Mediterranean were rough, the food tasted awful (and after meeting with Pope’s innards, had decided that this is not what they were looking for and went back up) and the cabin was too small. Yet, he had decided to take the boat, for the rumors of robber bands and rebels roaming in the Napolian area made the voyage over the sea the safer route. Not the most comfortable though.

    Still, Severinus felt relief when the city of Palermo finally came to view. The high towers of churches, the city walls- and as the ship sailed closer- the luxurious houses, promising the poor Pope a chance to rest after the journey.

    As the ship sailed closer, showing Papal colours, the city burst to life. You could see people running around, making the panic spread. And out of panic and chaos, some order forcing itself in. When the ship pulled up to dock and Severinus II walked to ground, the city council was already waiting for him. Humble and polite, they escorted Pope into his residence, built in Arab style. The luxuries of the house made the Papal residence in Rome pale in comparison.

    When arriving, Pope sent his escort away. He looked around the house, finally settling to walking nervously back and forth in front of a beautiful fountain in inner courtyard. He did not like it. Well, he quite liked the fountain, but didn’t like the situation he was in. Holy Roman Empire to the North, still strong. Still capable of bringing huge armies to the field when needed be. And the fight for authority between the Emperor and the Pope- always on, always eating nerves.

    Just a few decades ago, at least South of Papal States was low-threat. No more Byzantium to threaten Papal authority, Arabs were a threat, but not by much. Local lords squabbling with each other. All has changed with arrival of these Norman opportunists. They have created a strong state, they control the Southern Italy under unified banner. And they show no signs of planning to leave. Silvester sighed again. If things turn out well, Normans and Sicily go like rabid dogs at each other’s throats over holdings in Italy- but it’s likely that whoever wins will come out stronger and press the Pope even more.

    Silvester knew that there was nothing he could do about it. His arrival in Palermo, more or less forced- after all, how can the Pope refuse Duke Bohemond, the Conqueror of Heathens, Defender of Italy and so on and so on when the Duke so humbly asks of him for one minor thing- that the Pope himself would bless him and his house by leading the ceremony of crowning Bohemond as the King of Sicily. Granting the future King more prestige- but also showing the Papal authority, for it is Silvester who, in the name of God, shall put a crown in King’s head, thus showing the supreme authority of the Church in such divine matters at the coronation of Kings.

    Silvester decided not to worry anymore. The coronation was a week ago- enough to rest after the journey and find some food that actually stays inside.



    The Duke, a week later

    The procession was moving slowly. Bohemond was riding his finest horse, wearing his finest clothes, covered with gold and jewels. He looked absolutely stunning there. And felt even better. It is good to be a Duke, but even better to be a King, he said to himself, grinning widely.

    It has been about two hours when the procession started. First, the priests, walking slowly, chanting prayers. Then the higher hierarchy of church- abbots, bishops and such. Followed by the Pope and his retinue. Then the soldiers- battle-hardened Normans in their military outfits, swords and shields gleaming in the sun. Finally, the Duke himself, surrounded by his vassals and loyal courtiers.

    The citizens of Palermo (and of course other subject who had came to see the coronation, plus the usual amount of thieves, hookers, robbers and other lowlifes who wouldn’t miss the show for the world) did what they were expected to do- cheered, screamed the name of Bohemond and were generally happy.

    The sounds were deafening, the sun was burning hot and the procession had taken a wee bit too long when they finally reached the Cathedral. All who were someone were already in, waiting for Bohemond to walk to the altar. He moved slowly, thankful that most of the noises were left behind the Cathedral doors and the burning sun had been replaced with coldness of the church.

    As the Duke reached the Altar, he kneeled, the ceremony started. It was long, winding, boring and it made Bohemond a ruled anointed by God himself and blessed by the Pope.

    He entered the cathedral as Duke and came out as a King. And there was much cheering and celebrating and drinking an feasting.

    Bohemond smiled. Grandson of a minor noble in Normandy. Bastard son of a mercenary. King Bohemond I.


    The Coronation of Bohemond I
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  2. #42
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Saithis- i thew the poor bastard into oblituettes of whatever they were later when he decided to complain about his poor conditions. Then it was poor-poor-poor Thomas!
    matt12th, Nikolai- thanks, and no worries, this will keep on coming!
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  3. #43
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    Hooray, coronation! It's good to see that Bohemond has had that much success, I look forward to the future endeavours of the Normans.
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  4. #44
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    Nicely done having become King of Sicily in such a short space of time. I very much liked the posts detailing the plotting of Thomas, I couldn't help but feel rather sorry for him. Thus with Bohemond now King I look forward to reading about what he plans to do next.
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  5. #45
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    The Latter Years of Bohemond

    Overview

    The change from Duke to King seemed also to change the ruling style of Bohemond. Instead of rapid expansion and conquest and wars, Bohemond concentrated on building up the strength of the realm and consolidating his rule. Most of the changes were made to economy, trying to boost income of the realm, especially his personal demesme. Several new buildings were build during the latter years of Bohemond’s reign, both the ones boosting income and making military might of Sicily bigger.

    Only war during that era was the war with Napoli, and that was just a minor conflict, though ending up with conquest.

    Administrative reforms

    One of the first things Bohemond did after becoming a King, was the distribution of his numerous Dukal titles. First and foremost, both titles of Count of Apulia and Duke of Apulia were given to Frery de Hauteville, marshal of the Kingdom. Rest of the duchies, Benevento and Salerno, were given to de Hautevilles who reigned over the same area as Counts. Sicily stayed fully under Bohemond’s domain and he also kept the title of Duchy of Calabria- much to dismay of Countess Emma.

    In addition, large city taxes were approved and Bohemond ended the total autonomy of vassals by declaring limited royal authority. Both were accepted with grumbling, but no-one dared to oppose the king.


    2 Dukes, 1 Duchess and 1 Countess. Not a bad kingdom to rule. Everyone loves Bohemond!

    Four Castles of Palermo

    Monreale and Grattieri were taken from Muslims by Bohemond’s father Robert. Over time, Bohemond improved them and to improve the defence of the capital, build 2 additional castles at Mistretta and Milsimeri. The increased taxes from the castles filled the money-bags of King- though much of the money earned went back to brick and stone. As a result, the already rich provinces of Sicily became even more richer and the Four Castles of Palermo both blocked the enemy access to the city and gave huge economic boost to the realm.

    Palermo thrived under the King and become one of the richest provinces in the whole world. It also became one of the most important cultural centres of Medieval Europe, attracting wise man from both Islamic lands and Western Europe.


    The Province of Palermo

    Relations with Holy Roman Empire

    In was spring 1104 when Count Mathias, a German noble ruling in Spoleto, declared war on County of Capua and conquered them, forcing house Dregnot, another Norman family, out. Holy Roman Empire had crossed the line. The fine line that separates Italy and Sicily. Bohemond protested wildly, but his protests fell to deaf ears. Much to his dismay, Bohemond for sure was not strong enough to fight all Teutonic might, so he was forced to to nothing. But- the Teutonic occupation of Capua forced the Normans to turn their eyes north. And set up a setting for conflicts of the coming years. Bohemond himself decided to start expansion up North- by sending his councillor to Genoa to fabricate claims.


    Holy Roman Empire occupies Capua

    Robert de Hauteville

    The son and heir of Bohemond became of age in 1104. He became talented steward and excelling in every other field as well. Bohemond married him to Thora Saemundrsdatter, from Norwegian kingdom. She was 22 years old, recently widowed and had already proved her fertility by giving birth to two sons. And both her administrative skills and military skills were beyond comparison. Soon, he became the Steward of Sicily.

    In 1106, Bohemond granted Robert the title of Count of Napoli, recently conquered by Bohemond. In short time, Robert proved himself to be a good administrator, mostly importantly making the province catholic again in short time. Since the conversion of Sicily was taking it’s sweet time, Bohemond decided to give Robert another fief, this time the Island of Malta- and Robert did not fail with that one as well, quickly converting the province.

    First two children on Robert were daughters, but in 1109, a son and a heir was born to Robert, named Asclettin de Hauteville. The succession line was secure.


    Robert and his wife

    Bohemond de Hauteville

    From the young, inexperienced bastard when he took up the throne of Dukedom of Apulia at the age of 16, Bohemond had grown into a fine ruler. Over the time, he grew more diplomatic, learning to deal with his vassals and his enemies in a more civilized way. He finished the conquest of Sicily and Southern Italy. Under his rule, the whole kingdom thrived and he was loved by both common and nobles.


    Comparison between young and old Bohemond

    He was married three times, with total 11 children from all of them- 2 of them born outside wedlock, from Maud.

    He died in May 1115 during a hunting accident- despite his age, he wanted to take the wild boar on himself. The spear broke and before anyone could react, the boar injured Bohemond badly. He bled to death before he could be taken home to castle. Robert I de Hauteville took the throne the same day without any opposition.


    The King is dead, long live the King!
    Last edited by hjarg; 04-03-2012 at 17:02.
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  6. #46
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Short one this time- already want to keep on playing!

    Saithis- thanks and no worries, Normans keep on coming!
    MorningSIDEr- As de Hautevilles, you can actually become the King of Sicily on day one- assuming you have the extra 350 gold and 200 piety. And yes, have to agree, poor Thomas. But still, plotting to murder the king is never a good idea.
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  7. #47
    Clockwork Padishah Deaghaidh's Avatar
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    Is it me, or does his portrait look more like 97 than 57?

    As for the new king, he's going to have CRAZY stats. Half the rulers spouse is added, no? So:

    Diplomacy: 20.5
    Martial: 19.5
    Stewardship: 28.5
    Intrigue: 11.5
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    Something tells me he won't be short on cash...
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  8. #48
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    Bohemnond enjoyed a most impressive reign and his son Robert looks a good prospect too. Good that he's begun strengthening his realm via large building projects, Sicily will need said strength if the HRE continues to encroach into Italy.
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deaghaidh View Post
    Is it me, or does his portrait look more like 97 than 57?

    As for the new king, he's going to have CRAZY stats. Half the rulers spouse is added, no? So:

    Diplomacy: 20.5
    Martial: 19.5
    Stewardship: 28.5
    Intrigue: 11.5
    Learning: 19

    Something tells me he won't be short on cash...
    Cash is good. Cash works.
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  10. #50
    Major TonyJoe's Avatar
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    Very nice, I hope they can manage to expand up into northern Italy.

  11. #51
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    King Robert I de Hauteville

    King Robert I or King Robert II, if you count Duke Robert I Guiscard as well, became King at the age of 26. He was described as a prodigy by both his friends and enemies, as he excelled in every area known to man- especially diplomacy and moneymaking. He kept the vassals content- or even happy and the income of his personal demesme was skyrocketing. Especially when compared to other Dukes and Duchesses of kingdom.


    Meet King Robert

    Getting the realm in order

    One of the first things Robert did was to dismantle the City council of Palermo and taking the City under his own rule. As a result, monthly income of Sicily increased from 18 gold to 28- after all, we are talking about one of the richest cities in the world. There was some grumbling about it in the realm, but nothing widespread. Most of the vassals were unhappy, but decided to do nothing about it.

    Since Robert was holding three ducal titles- and as we know, three is one too many, he was forced to make a decision to give up one. He choose to give away the county Naples, his own demesme when he was just a Duke and the title of Duke of Capua that he himself created. The reason is quite simple- Calabria is a 3-county Ducky, while Capua is max 2-county and 1 of them is occupied by Holy Roman Empire.

    The Holy War for Tunesia

    It was back in 1082, more then 30 years ago, when Emir of Tunis stabbed Duke Bohemond (who was happily fighting other Muslims) in the back. The war lasted for 6 years and meant several Muslim raiding parties in Sicily. Finally, when the Emir was exhausted from the war, a peace was signed, forcing poor Emir to pay for all the damage that was done. But it was not enough for Robert- it is time for revenge! Never again shall Tunesian heathens rob and plunder in Sicily, for there soon will be none left! Plus, the timing was perfect for war- Tunis was happily fighting Emirate of Kabylia in an attempt to win back Medjerda, one of the counties of Emirate conquered by Kabylia.

    The war was declared on 2nd January 1116. Total 4000 men boarded the fleet in Sicily and as proper Norman invasions go- landed straight on Tunis and sieged the castles there. Another 1300 soldiers were gathered as levies from the vassals and were sent to Gabes to siege the fortress there.

    1400 Tunesian troops were sieging Mederda and 700 or so Kabylians were running around the territory of Tunis, doing some random looting and pillaging.


    The situation in Tunesia

    The situation stayed that way until the beginning of 1117, when last castle of Mederda fell to Tunesia and their army started moving around. Of course they wouldn’t target 4000-man Sicilian main army, but walked towards the smaller, 1300-man army. Luckily for Sicily, they met with 700 Kabylians on the way and kicking them reduced their numbers a bit.

    The Tunesian force, attempting to relief the siege of Kebili, met with Sicilan army in February 1017. The Christian army was 1305 man while Muslims had 1265- meaning a small advantage to the Normans. In the end, the Normal superiority in heavy infantry was what changed the fate of the battle- they stood the initial assault and then pushed the poor Muslims back. The losses were still too much and Roger was forced to hire mercenaries to supplement for dead Normans. So, an old friend, the Catalan band, appeared in Palermo and boarded the ships. With their help, the remnants of Tunesian force were defeated and rest of the war was full of boring sieges.


    The closest battle Normans had yet

    In October 1019, the Emir Uways I of Tunis finally gave up hope on the Duchy and fled, leaving Sicilians to rule the land. It was the first European invasion to Africa since the time of Romans, so no wonder the rest of Europe was awed and King Robert I mighty proud.


    If you lose the war, you lose the right to wear a hat

    There is one thing he learned from war- and you all should follow point, my dear readers. The order of war is following: 1. Beat their armies to the last man 2. Siege the castles- in that case you can avoid unpleasant surprises later.

    Following the aftermath of the war, a Duchy of Tunis was created by King Robert. It was a biggest de jure Duchy in the lands of Sicily, and at the current state, it was as big as Sicily himself. The Duke of that area would be powerful as hell. In order to curb that power, Robert first created 2 Counties and then gave his loyal Chansellor, Osmond, the title of Duke of Tunis and 3 counties in the Dukedom.


    The new Duke of Tunis. Most powerful vassal of King Robert- at least in 30 years, when all the maluses are gone. Now, he is vulnerable like an infant

    The Internal and Foreign policies after the war

    First, Queen Thora of Sicily died shortly after war. Contemporaries agreed it was suicide- for people to go walk alone at night and fall down the stairs, they must feel suicidal. King Roger mourned for 4 days, and then married Judith.

    Second, Count Alexander of Reggio and Messina. He is part of de Conversano family, basically meaning that he is not de Hauteville. Plus, he is count of Reggio and Messina, the provinces so conveniently placed next to Dukedom of Sicily- so no wonder King Robert had his greedy eye upon them. After all, it would be nice if Sicily and Calabria would form core holdings of Sicilian kings.

    So, King Robert tried first to provoke Alexander into rebellion. In 1120, he was officially made a Court Jester. It pissed off the count, but not enough. So, thought King Robert, since he was planning to do it anyway, it is time to change the laws and authorize the Medium Crown law. On a plus side, that also means that no more vassals fighting amongst themselves. Anyway, the results were enough for Alexander to consider a rebellion. Shortly after though, he seemed to change his mind. Robert waited patiently for 2 years and then, in 1022, made a move himself.

    Good relations with the Pope meant that Robert was free to ask pretty much anything. So, he requested another excommunications (we’ll get to the first one in a bit), asking for Count Alexander to be thrown out of church for his blasphemous ways. Few days later, Robert reacted and ordered Alexander to be thrown into prison- secretly hoping that the Count will start a rebellion, he can crush it and revoke his title(s). To much his surprise, Robert failed to do even that and allowed himself to be thrown into prison.


    The Excommunication order

    This was when Robert was finally fed up- making up all the plans and Alexander is just too dense to take up arms. The solution was simple enough- Robert decided to risk with anger of his other vassals and just banished Count Alexander, taking all his holdings and money and banishing the poor Count from the realm.


    Meet a guy who just can't take a hint

    Finally, meet Kaiser Herbert I the Great of the Holy Roman Empire. Fourth Salian in the throne. Has ruled without rebellions, plots and all that other nice realm-breaking stuff. And he is a natural enemy of both the Pope and King Robert. And, unfortunately, too strong to fight him head-on. But, there is one weapon the Pope can always use- excommunication. It is not enough to break the realm apart, but the relation hit when Kaiser is excommunicated plus additional hit since being excommunicated also affects his diplomacy.

    So, in June 1120, Pope declared, with the backing of King Robert, that Kaiser Herbert is a heretic, robber, blasphemer and steals candy from children. Oh, and a total drunkard- and that one was actually true. Being a Kaiser must be much easier when you look the would though the bottle. It was not enough for the realm to fall apart, but the start was made.


    Kaiser Herbert I the Gread Drunkard
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  12. #52
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Deaghaidh- well, aging is a painful process and unhealthy life can lead you looking like 97 for as long as you live from 50 onward! And yea, stats are amazing. As for shortage of cash- as long as there is stuff to build, i always need more-more-more-more-more! Still, monthly income of ~30 is pretty good and building projects keep improving it slowly.
    morningSIDEr- about all the cash goes into building projects. Quite a lot of them are financial buildings, but in Palermo, i'm slowly building up a very nice army.
    Nikolai- me luves cash! It oils the machine of war better then bravery or loyalty or something else.
    TonyJoe- expansion into north coming at the next episode! But for serious expansion, gotta start playing the claimant game...
    Last edited by hjarg; 05-03-2012 at 21:30.
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  13. #53
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    Winning Tunis for the Kingdom should prove a considerable boost but as you noted, a Duke of Tunis could prove a true rival to the King in the future. I like the idea of excommunicating the Holy Roman Emporer, hopefully civil war follows and you can pick up parts of Italy! Poor Count Alexander though, put through hell and still he would not rebel.
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  14. #54
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    Good work in Tunisia, hopefully Osmond makes good use of it!

    I love the excommunications. Having the Pope as your friend is the best.
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  15. #55
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    King Robert I de Hauteville, part 2

    First Tripolitanian War

    Emir Khaireddin of Tripolitania had his Emirate in a sorry state. He was holding on only to a single county of the once powerful Emirate, the county of Djerba. Rest were under control of Emirate of Cyrenaica. He stilled called himself Emir of Tripolitania, though the Tripoli itself was controlled by his mortal enemies.

    So, no wonder when seeking to expand further into Africa, the poor Khaireddin was considered to be a perfectly weak target by Robert. So, in summer of 1122, declaration of war was sent to Emir Khaireddin, declaring that Normans would really love to take the final county and end his misery.

    Instead of full draft of all his demesme, Robert settled to only troops from Palermo. Total 3000 troops were put to boats and sent to county of Gabes, where they started their march towards Djerba. They arrived there about a month later and met the enemy outside the city of Midoun. Outnumbering locals 3:1, the battle was fast, vicious and of course ended up with Norman victory. With this, the armies of Emir were scattered, scared and were unable to offer any resistance to advance of the Normans, who started with the siege of his castle in Houmnt Souk.


    The Battle that won the War

    The castle fell in march 1123 and Normans had hoped that with that, the war would be over. Emir Khaireddin managed to outsmart them though- they hoped that when castle fell, they capture the Emir and the war would be over. But 2 days before the capture of castle, Emir used his secret passage and fled under the cover of the night to city of Midoun, trying desperately to organise the resistance there.

    After some good old-fashioned looting and pillaging, Normans followed his trail and soon, the City was under siege as well. Desperate cries by Emir for help fell into deaf ears and soon, the Muslim world was in shock as Norman troops advanced further into Africa, taking the whole county to their hands. Peace treaty was signed in August 1123.


    And the result

    The War on Genoa or The Fat Merchants Can’t Fight

    In September 1124, news arrived from Genoa- the Councillor of Sicily, Duke Osmond I of Tunesia, had finally managed to press the claim on lands of Genoa. The bill was huge- Duke had spent nearly 500 gold on bribes, thugs, assassins and other nice things you have to spend money on. Luckily for Robert, the treasury of Sicily was full again and he even had some extra left.

    So, in December 1124 the war was declared and 5000 soldiers boarded the ships in Palermo and set sail for the beautiful city of Genoa. They made a proper Norman invasion near the city of Savona, where they met the 2500 Genoan soldiers. The battle was bloody, with Normans loosing about 1000 soldiers, and they were unable to finish off the enemies, who managed to retreat to Nice with 800 soldiers still ready to fight. Normans gave pursuit and in 1st March 1124, they caught up with the enemy near the city of Mentone. This time, Norman superiority was without question and the Genoan army was decimated. Even better, the Normans caught the leader of the left flank, hiding in haystack. It was big surprise when they found out it was Doge Bassiano himself. Without further ado, Doge was dragged to the King and forced to sign the paper where he gave up the county. Robert managed to live up to his grandfather, Duke Robert, who did the same thing while fighting for Palermo.


    The beginning- Norman invasion of Genoa


    The Battles with Genoa


    And the result of the battles

    Coming of Age of Asclettin

    In May 1125, Asclettin, the son and heir of King Robert, finally became 16 years of age. He became really great man- excelling in every subject known to man, but especially financial matters. He was married to Princess Emilia Jimena, a daughter of King of Castille.

    Incidentally, the Royal Aid Duty on their marriage nested the Robert nearly 250 gold. Sicily is rich!


    Prince Asclettin

    The Second War for Tripolitania

    Having just one county of Duchy is good. Having all 4 is better. And since then enemy is a Muslim, not much claiming and stuff is needed- all signs showing that it is a good idea to conquer. So, without further ado, the war was declared in October 1125 on Emir Abu Bakr of Cyrenaica, demanding the remaining counties of Tripolitania.

    Norman forces, reinforced by Catalan company, landed in Djerba and decided to wait for Cyrenaican forces to reach the county. Sicilian fleet was patrolling outside coast of Tripoli, giving accurate reports on troop movements and enemy plans. Finally, in the end of January, King Robert grew tired of waiting and decided it is time for another Norman invasion. Army of Sicily boarded the ships and landed in Syrte, surprising the Cyrenaican army marching through the province.


    Another Norman Invasion

    The Battle of Abu Hadi was bloody, messy and cruel. Finally, the numerical superiority of Normans and their better military training won the day. Though nearly 2000 dead on Sicilan side, the enemy casualities were 3300 men and the enemy was fleeing towards Leptis Magna.

    In April, the Muslim forced were decimated and it looks like King Robert can continue unopposed. The boring time of sieges has started. Or has it? Stay tuned for more!


    And here we can see the Muslim force decimated

    To be continued...
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  16. #56
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Finally an update. Sorry for being lazy!

    morningSIDEr- yea, i'm a bit worried too. Richest Duchy ever! But i hope that even when the buggers revolt, they are still too weak.
    saithis- Tunis is good! And Pope is a powerful weapon!
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  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjarg View Post
    The boring time of sieges has started. Or has it? Stay tuned for more!
    Most intriguing!

    More strong gains for Sicily in the face of considerable opposition, Emir Khaireddin seemed a most cunning foe, Doge Bassiano a most cowardly one!
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  18. #58
    Kaiser Herbert 722 piety and still got excommunicated. This Pope must really dissapprove of alcoholics! Yoiu've snagged the rich City of Genoa, your first northern territory. Will Asclettin cut his teeth on Genoa or is he goingto receive the Duchy of Tunis -once it has been conquered?

  19. #59
    Major TonyJoe's Avatar
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    Nicely done but I hope the Egyptian ruler doesn't decide to send an army down the north African coast to pummel you.

  20. #60
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Interlude- the Holy War of Tripoli. Siege of Leptis Magna


    The summer heat in Africa is unbearable. When the sun reaches the sky, it burns the hair off your head. It makes grown man red like lobsters and makes them fight for shade. The whole army was feeling the summer heat. Even for Sicilians, it was a bit too much. Luckily, the castle was next to a sea and on some good days, a mild breeze would blow, carrying the coolness of the sea to men.

    Local water was sufficient, and even drinkable. But barely. And no beer in Muslim lands. So the supply ships scuttled back and forth to Sicily, bringing good old stuff like pork and beer to keep the army happy. Other parts of Sicilian fleet were in horizon, patrolling. Or just pulled to the beach, sailors happily drunk, waiting for their turn.

    Castle of Leptis Magna was in good defensive location- high cliff next to the sea. Makes an assault impossible- or at least too costly. So the only option was to starve them, but starving takes time. Sicilian ships have blocked off the harbour, troops have blocked the land. Castles like that tend to have an ample supply of food though, so the siege is mostly boring and takes a long time. Of course you build some catapults and throw rocks at them, of course your archers will try to make life as miserable as possible to your enemy- and enemy archers will do the same. But overall, nothing much takes place and about half of the Norman troops were anyways riding the countryside, burning the villages, gathering up supplies and whatever other fun things they do.


    The siege continues as usual

    The siege had been going on since the end of April, about 3 month. Most likely it was going to last for a half a year more. The routine has kicked in on both the besieged and besiegers. Screaming insults during morning, quiet siesta during daytime, more insults and some arrows in the evening. Calls of muezzins too early in the morning and too late at night. Humanity adapts and as usual and both sides have taken on the “let’s do nothing much and keep our energy” style.

    Even King Robert felt the need to do nothing. The sun was too hot, the siege was too long and the life was too boring. He had proudly paraded in his shining new platemail for first two weeks. Then, he decided to screw that and fancy new armour was waiting for a better climate on his tent. Now, he wore simple linen clothes that let his body breathe. By simple, of course we mean finely crafted, with gold threads and some jewels. Costing more then a lifetime salary of a simple infantryman- but worth every penny, thought Robert as he felt the coolness of clothing making the heat bearable.

    As the sun lowered, Robert went to his routine walk through the camp. Making jokes with soldiers, rising morale, boosting battle-readiness. Teaching catapult-crew on how to make the stone fly as accurately as possible.

    Then it happened... A small Muslim force had sneaked out from castle. They had been hiding in the dried moat, suffering under the direct sun with no shade. For the routine has been kicked in and they knew that Robert would come to inspect the catapults during sunset.

    There was the sound of arrows flying through the air, and then thuds as they hit the targets. One of the catapult crew took one to the chest, another had an arrow through his throat. They fell instantly.

    Robert felt a sharp pain in his leg and looked down.

    “Oh hell, i took an arrow to the knee,” he thought. “My adventuring days are over.”

    Then there was a huge thud- the drawbridge was lowered. The Arab riders, about 10 of them, charged. The rest of the catapult team was confused, half of them were killed already, and they did the smartest thing you can do in this situation. They run, leaving Robert amongst the wounded.

    Robert tried to get up, but you know, arrow in the knee kinda distracts that. The Muslim charge caught him trying to kneel- and then he took a pike to the shoulder. He fell down again, causing next pike to just scratch his side, instead of hitting his heart.


    Muslim troops parading over the wounded King

    The reaction of Christians was fast. In less then a minute, about 50 riders, were riding towards Muslims, who retreated fast, leaving the poor King wounded and choking in his own blood.

    Norman troops reached Robert and carried him to his tent, crying all the way. It was clear that their beloved King would not live to see the dawn. And so it was- King Robert died before sunset.


    The King is dead, long live the King

    Leptis Magna fell in November. The remaining troops, exhausted from starvation, were hanged like the dogs they were.
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