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    Els Ducs de Barcelona

    Els Ducs de Barcelona - a House of Barcelona AAR



    Note: This is my first attempt at an AAR. My goal is to try and emulate the historic rise of the Crowns of Aragon from the Catalan perspective, as they were the dominant force that enabled the confederation to span the Mediterranean at its height. Where the Aragonese-Catalan empire crumbled soon after it emerged, I will try to maintain it to the end of the game. Beyond Iberia, the Crowns included at one time or another the following territories: Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, the Kingdom of Naples, and the Duchy of Athens. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Crowns attempted to incorporate the Duchies of Toulouse and Provence as well, but they were unsuccessful. I'll see if I can change that. If I get absolutely demolished, then I'll just follow the House of Barcelona and see where it ends up.

    Chapter I - Origins

    Ramon Berenguer I acquainting the Moor with St. George


    The year is 1066. The Count of Barcelona, Ramon Berenguer I el Vell de Barcelona, has returned victorious from a series of campaigns against the Moors of al-Andalus. He stands as the strongest count in what is known as La Marca Hispanica, a frontier region originally created by Charlemagne to keep the Muslims out of France.


    La Marca Hispanica, with Catalunya in Orange


    For two and a half centuries now the counts of the march have weathered Moorish attacks, benefitting from their strategic positions amongst the Pyrenees. Most have had to live hermit-like existences in their mountaintop castles, but over time they have pushed out into the valleys to the south. While the County of Barcelona emerged early on as a leader of the region, it has had to suffer sackings and defeats that have kept its power in check. The counts wage glorious holy war as God wills, but it certainly hasn't been profitable.

    Ramon's latest reconquests of a number of towns near Lleida, however, have finally provided him with a fortune. He uses these new found riches to institute a true feudal system in both his county and those of his neighbors among the eastern Pyrenees. It is a region that is just beginning to blossom with its own culture and identity, giving new life to a land torn by centuries of death and destruction. It is called Catalunya.

    Forgotten about by their former liege the King of France for a century now, the Catalans have become used to fending for themselves. Catalunya remains largely isolated from the other Christian kingdoms in Iberia, having only limited contact with the battered Aragonese and Navarran kingdoms in the western Pyrenees. Many Catalans have ties to the Occitanians of southern France, but that region has proved too involved in its own disputes to offer their defenders any aid.

    That Catalunya has endured as its own independent realm this far is impressive. Outside of the city of Barcelona and the castles dotting the mountain range, its society almost entirely consists of small family-based farms producing little more than subsistence. But now, with the reconquests of Ramon Berenguer I, the people of Catalunya have reached a turning point.


    Ramon offering vassalization to his fellow counts


    The political and administrative machinery of the feudal system is in place, and Berenguer’s neighboring counts have sworn fealty to him as his vassals. The dream of Guifre el Pilos de Barcelona, the legend of Catalunya who inspired the Catalan coat of arms and from whom Count Ramon is descended, has finally been realized.


    The Frankish king Charles the Bald uses the blood from Guifre's wounds to paint the House of Barcelona coat of arms (so the legend goes)


    Of course, this wouldn’t be the Middle Ages without family issues threatening to cause a rift in the newly created duchy of Barcelona. Count Ramon, now Duke Ramon, is deeply in love with his third wife, the Frankish Almodis de la Marche. Together they have had five children; three sons and two daughters. His oldest sons are the twins Ramon Berenguer II and Berenguer Ramon, and he would like nothing more than to pass his realm onto them after his death.


    Ramon Berenguer I, his wife Almodis de la Marche, and their children


    But neither of them are the rightful heir; that honor belongs to the sole child of his first marriage with the long deceased Isabelle of Gascogne, Pere. Ramon’s affection for the twins is clear to Pere, who grows increasingly estranged from his father. The duke's courtiers are beginning to take his side, as they find Almodis' history troubling. Not only was she divorced by her first husband Hugh V of Lusignan, but she abandoned her second husband Pons of Toulouse in order to marry Duke Ramon. Add that to the fact that her son Hugh VI of Lusignan is now known as "the devil" to his own clergymen, and Almodis seems very sinful indeed.

    When Pere comes to demand a holding of his own, Ramon responds by telling him to go out and conquer one from the Moors. If he can win a reconquest campaign against the Muslims, he shall have proven himself to the duke.

    War is declared on the neighboring Sheikh of Lleida, and Duke Ramon raises his personal levies from Barcelona and Osona. Pere is given command of the main force, but as the duke watches his first son march out the gates of Barcelona’s castle, he secretly hopes to never see him return.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ramon_Berenguer_III.jpg‎   Condados pirenaicos.jpg‎   Ramón_Berenguer_con_sus_armas_personales_-_Cruz_de_San_Jorge.jpg‎   ramon 2.jpg‎   RamonISecondMarriage.bmp.jpg‎  

    Last edited by Scatterbrained; 27-02-2012 at 20:22.

  2. #2
    Colonel Calbrenar's Avatar
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    I was thinking of starting one as Aragon. Following this!

  3. #3
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    Chapter II - Deus Vult Indeed

    Ramon turns from the sight of his levies on the march and makes his way to his chambers. Upon an elaborate table lies a map of Catalunya and its neighbors. The duke pushes a simple figurine of a soldier from his keep in Barcelona to the Muslim stronghold in Lleida, before contemplating the state of his newly feudalized realm.



    The counts of Urgell, Rosello, and Empuries are his most powerful subjects; it is their combined strength he will have to depend upon in the event of future Moorish invasion. Thankfully, he can count all of them amongst his friends.



    The counts and their collection of barons, burghers, and bishops are enthusiastic about the future of the region, finding the efforts of Duke Ramon to be an inspiration. His bravery in battle, as well as his amicable nature toward his lords, have gone far to cement his rule.


    In public, a brave warrior and a kind lord. In secret, manipulative and paranoid.


    In the evening, he meets with his council to discuss the duke’s next moves. Ramon is blessed with a fairly competent group of men to advise him, something few of his fellow rulers can say of their own aides. His chancellor, Tetbald de Pallars, begins the session by pleading for his liege to extend his rule to nearby Carcassonne, a county in which Ramon has recently purchased a minor holding. Tetbald argues that there are Catalans there who would support him, and, as a county that has been less affected by Moorish conquest, it would prove to be valuable land.


    The duke benefits from a genius marshal and a masterful court chaplain.


    Despite suspecting that Tetbald has a personal gain to make from it, Ramon agrees that it would make a good addition to Catalunya. He gives Tetbald leave to gather the support of these Catalans the chancellor speaks of.

    As for his other councilors, the duke already has plans for them. He instructs his baron of Manresa to recruit men to replace the levies he has sent out with Pere, in case they encounter defeat. His steward leaves with the marshal, to gather the funds necessary for recruitment. His spymaster continues to do what he has always done for the wary duke: watch the members of his court. Finally, Ramon orders his chaplain to promote the budding Catalan culture and look into the chronicles of the legendary Guifre el Pilos.



    Once his councilors have left, Ramon arranges for a messenger to carry word to his counts and their barons, already requesting a change in the newly established Usatges of Barcelona, the first set of codified laws ever produced in the region. As long as the Moors remain at his doorstep, military matters will continue to be foremost in the duke’s mind. Ramon will need to be able to call upon his subjects’ full strength to keep Catalunya strong.

    Two months pass before Duke Ramon receives word from his unwanted heir and his forces. They have gained victory over the Sheikh of Lleida’s army, meeting it man for man and driving the Moor back.



    Unfortunately, Pere remains alive. He writes that he has set in for a siege, but more importantly that the Sheikh of neighboring Zaragoza is marching to Lleida’s rescue. His son’s victory was not an easy one, and while he does not ask his father for reinforcements, the duke gets the sense that he shall have to provide them.



    He calls upon his vassals for the first time as duke, and they answer. He chooses the experienced Berenguer de Barcelona, his cousin, to lead them. They reach the weakened army of Pere quickly, but the Zaragozan army never arrives. His lords eventually find out that the sheikh had been intercepted by an Aragonese force, descending from the Pyrenees to join a Castilian reconquista. There is much rejoicing.

    The castle in Lleida falls by autumn of 1067, and the other holdings in the county soon follow. Berenguer de Barcelona, having usurped Pere’s command by the Duke’s orders, leads the Catalan army south to chase the retreating Sheikh of Lleida.



    By the end of 1068, the Moorish remnants are dealt with, and from behind the walls of the castle of Tarragona the Sheikh stares at defeat. He rides out from the castle under a banner of peace, and agrees to the terms that Berenguer sets forth.



    Berenguer writes to the duke of his victory, and warns him that Pere’s pestering for a title has already begun. It is something Ramon will have to consider.

    For now, though, there are celebrations to plan. Celebrations that shall be boosted by the employment of a popular Catalan philosopher, thanks to the efforts of his court chaplain.


    Cultured types are just the sort to make the nobles feel good about themselves.
    Last edited by Scatterbrained; 27-02-2012 at 20:28.

  4. #4
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    Chapter III - Love Is In The Air


    The heir in disfavor.


    As the celebratory feast roars on in the grand hall of Barcelona’s castle, Duke Ramon and his counts are found roaring in a different manner in a nearby chamber.

    “You will ruin Catalunya if you do this!” laments Hug of Empuries. “You will bring civil war and tear down what no one has managed to create before us!”

    “Pere is your rightful heir, and frankly the only one suited for rulership” Ermengol of Urgell adds with subdued anger. “Ramon and Berenguer are-“

    Duke Ramon jabs a finger in Ermengol’s direction. “Stop right there before you speak treason, count.”

    Color rises from Ermengol’s cheeks, but he remains silent. Ramon paces the floor in thought, as the future of the Catalans hangs in the balance. He takes a slow sip of the wine in his goblet and faces his vassals. “Pere shall remain the heir to the duchy of Barcelona. But he shall share my realm with Ramon, Berenguer, and even Arnau if our next reconquest proves fruitful. I will not have them left begging at Pere’s feet, for they are like to be kicked.”

    A moment later his counts are seen leaving the feast quickly, barely restraining emotions that ranged from despair to rage.


    This can't end well.


    In the following days, Duke Ramon establishes Ramon Berenguer II as heir to the County of Tarragona, Berenguer Ramon as heir to the County of Lleida, and Arnau as heir to the Barony of Osona within Barcelona, leaving Pere with only the castle of Barcelona and the duchy title.

    Only a few months later, the Emir of Valencia declares war on Duke Ramon, perhaps anticipating the change in succession law to promote disloyalty within the realm and weaken the duke’s levies.



    For the moment, though, it has done no such thing. Facing one of the most powerful domains in al-Andalus, Ramon’s subjects unite again and leave their succession issues for later. Their armies march into Moorish territory and, upon finding no enemy army to meet them, begin the siege of Castello, capital of Castellon. Only too late do they receive word that the emir’s forces have marched through the mountains in Calatayud, and are now heading for the County of Tarragona behind them. Word also reaches the duke, who has joined his men in the field this time, that an Islamic revolt has broken out in Lleida.



    The Catalans fall back to defend their newly reconquered territory. They meet the Valencian army at a river crossing, to their disadvantage, but their superiority of numbers wins the day. It seems the Emir of Valencia was not as powerful as previously thought. After traveling further back to end the peasant rebellion, Duke Ramon leads his forces from siege to siege in the Emirate of Valencia. Two years after declaring war, the Emir is forced to capitulate. Another hefty fortune is added to Ramon’s coffers.



    During the war with Valencia, Ramon’s three sons by Almodis de la Marche come of age; the three he is willing to split the realm for. Ramon Berenguer II soon demonstrates his ability in diplomacy by calming some of the minor vassal’s fears for the future, and earns himself not only a place on Duke Ramon’s council, but the County of Tarragona (which he was going to inherit after Ramon I’s death). Berenguer Ramon and Arnau are less impressive.


    Ramon II, betrothed to the current heir of Aquitane.


    His twin Berenguer, betrothed to the Duke of Provence's sister.


    No love for Arnau.


    After defeating the Emir of Valencia, Catalunya enters a period of prosperity, if tinged with intrigue. Sadly, it is also when Duke Ramon’s old age finally catches up with him. He becomes increasingly frail in both mind and body. The duke will never ride a horse again, much less partake in any battles.



    As for intrigue, his chancellor-turned-spymaster, Tetbald de Pallars, has become involved in building a spy network in Barcelona to ease the duke’s constant paranoia. In the process, he pursues rumors pertaining to the Baron of Manresa. Soon enough, he pressures the Baron of Manresa into confessing to corruption. What exactly the baron was involved in, his spymaster never says, but Duke Ramon receives a substantial amount of gold as a fine for it.



    Tetbald also finds Berenguer’s new wife, Gerberga Bosonid of Provence, plotting to kill Pere de Barcelona. Berenguer Ramon, while a twin, was born first, and so he would become the next primary heir if Pere was out of the picture. Duke Ramon could never bring himself to murder Pere, but he turns a blind eye to his daughter-in-law’s ambition. Soon enough, Gerberga begins spending an unusual amount of time with Ramon’s wife Almodis. Nothing ever comes of it though.

    Ramon’s waning energy is instead focused upon the last reconquest he is likely to ever see: that of the Balearic Islands. Conquering the isles can help protect the trade galleys that visit Barcelona from both Moors and pirates, projecting Catalan power across the western Mediterranean.

    The Duke’s forces set sail during the autumn of 1072, and a year later, without any significant battles, the islands come under Christian control once again. They had been under the control of the Emir of Murcia, but the Moor’s army had been tied up in a war over Sardinia. The Catalans had struck at the perfect time.



    The twilight years of Ramon’s reign are quiet. His wife Almodis passes in 1075 at the age of 54, causing Ramon to become even more withdrawn from the rule of his realm. More death follows in 1078 as a breakout of typhoid fever arrives in Catalunya from France, but the House of Barcelona is largely untouched by it. In the summer of 1079, Duke Ramon Berenguer I the Old comes to a final rest and joins his wife in the next realm.



    With the reconquest of the Balearic Islands, Ramon usurped the emirate/duchy of Mallorca from the Moor. The title was passed on to Berenguer, but since one duchy cannot legally rule over another, the islands now stand as a legitimate independent realm (no doubt to Berenguer's delight). There will need to be a Catalan king to bring them back into the realm.


    The realm in 1079.


    Catalunya braces for strife.

  5. #5
    Captain delimeat567's Avatar
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    Pretty great so far! Keep it up!
    [Insert whitty comment here followed by chuckles and admiration for me.]

  6. #6
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    Chapter IV – O Brother, Where Art Thou?

    The grand hall in which Duke Ramon Berenguer I and his counts formed a new realm now teems with tension. It is the day of Pere’s coronation, and the beginning of uncertain times for the Catalans. As Ramon’s first-born son enters the hall flanked by guards, the gathered nobility fall silent. The new duke of Barcelona watches them with measured wariness as he makes his way to the throne.

    His half-brothers Ramon Berenguer II, Berenguer Ramon, and Arnau are all in attendance, wearing the most reserved of expressions. They have chosen not to insult Pere outright by attending the ceremony, but the new duke will never be able to trust them. The divide between them was created long ago, and Pere’s bitterness towards them is too strong. In his mind, their titles belong solely to him.

    Whether Pere can actually secure those titles though is uncertain. While a majority of the nobility supports Pere, they are by no means loyal to him. If either Pere blunders or his siblings grow stronger, his reign is likely to be exceedingly short.


    The duke can only count the Bishop of Vic amongst his friends.


    The ceremony is carried out without any interruption or incident, save for the visible resentment on Pere’s face as his half-brothers step forward. Ramon Berenguer II pledges fealty as the Count of Tarragona and Lleida, counties that Pere had invaded upon a false promise from his father. Berenguer follows, pledging an alliance as the independent Duke of Mallorca. It is almost more than Pere can stand, but he maintains composure.

    The next day, Duke Pere begins plotting with his spymaster and his chancellor to put together a strategy to contain and ultimately undo the power of Almodis’ children. As it would soon turn out, he needn’t have worried about Berenguer and Arnau.

    Not one but four different sheiks declare war to reconquer the Baleares for the Moors, and the new Christian lords of the isles find raising levies among an unloyal Muslim population to be an impossible task. What’s worse, the Pope has excommunicated them, apparently due to something Ramon II had told him. Berenguer sends word to Pere, describing a Moorish horde in the several thousands sweeping over the isles and pleading for help. Pere sends out a small naval force to see whether his half-brother’s descriptions are true.



    When his captains report back that they are, Pere conveniently finds it more important to keep his levies available for any rebellions that his fickle vassals, not to mention Ramon II, might raise. Besides, the duke cannot be seen helping an excommunicated ruler. No help arrives for the besieged Berenguer and Arnau, and within a year they surrender to the Moors.


    Four sheiks and a funeral for Christian Mallorca.


    Surprisingly, the two half-brothers are allowed to leave. Pere receives word that they have returned to Catalunya and are now living in Tarragona with Ramon II. Plotting against Pere, likely. Even so, Duke Pere now only has one landed pretender to the crown to deal with.

    The Balearic Islands can be reconquered again in time. And when they are reconquered, the conquering armies must be led by a Catalan king. Pere looks west to Aragon and begins dreaming of a kingly crown. Held back by his father for so long, the duke now plans to outdo him.

    Pere is not patient enough to wait for his chancellor to fabricate claims upon the sole county of the kingdom, and hoping to marry his heir to one of the king’s daughters will not do either. But there is another avenue he can take, one that is tied to the history of Aragon.

    The region has the same origins as Catalunya; it was conquered by the Franks following the Battle of Tours and made part of La Marca Hispanica. It did not become a kingdom until 1035, when King Sancho III Garces the Great of Navarre divided his lands, which consisted of the majority of Christian Iberia, amongst his sons. His eldest but illegitimate son Ramiro was given the County of Aragon, who soon annexed the neighboring Pyrenees counties upon one of his half-brother’s deaths. Whether Sancho made him king or Ramiro established himself as king is subject to debate, but the Kingdom of Aragon had nonetheless been established.


    King Sancho III the Great, uniting and dividing Christian Iberia in one reign.


    Pere’s grandfather, Berenguer Ramon the Hunchback, had been a vassal to King Sancho III as the Count of Barcelona. The other counts of Catalunya remained independent, making Berenguer’s submittal an embarrassment to Pere’s father Ramon. However, because of this connection, Aragon soon considered Barcelona to be de jure part of the kingdom. In fact, Aragon considers all of eastern Iberia to belong to it, as Sancho III bore the title “Emperor of all Spain.”

    However, in 1080, the Kingdom of Aragon remains too weak to actually enforce its claims. The Duke of Barcelona, ruling a united Catalunya, already holds far more territory. If Pere can expand his holdings in eastern Iberia, he will have enough backing to usurp the throne of Aragon.

    War with Albarracin is declared, and victory follows in January 1082. Three years later, the Sheikh of Calatayud submits to Pere as well. While Pere does not enjoy the support his father did, his levies still easily outnumber the small Moorish realms.



    For God and a kingly crown.


    The Duke of Barcelona now holds enough land to usurp the king hidden amongst the Pyrenees.
    Last edited by Scatterbrained; 01-03-2012 at 22:46.

  7. #7
    bezrodniy kosmopolit Morsky's Avatar
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    Awesome stuff, especially for a first-time writAAR. The Duchy of Barcelona is well-placed for a fun game, so I'm sure you'll have lots of success barring a pan-Andalusian beatdown.

    Anyway, I like the way the new Duke let his half-brothers be steamrolled by the Muslims, just to get them out of the picture and reconquer their lands for himself later on. He seems like the sort of ruthlessly calculating sonofabitch that usually gets remembered as an Important Historical Figure.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morsky View Post
    Awesome stuff, especially for a first-time writAAR. The Duchy of Barcelona is well-placed for a fun game, so I'm sure you'll have lots of success barring a pan-Andalusian beatdown.

    Anyway, I like the way the new Duke let his half-brothers be steamrolled by the Muslims, just to get them out of the picture and reconquer their lands for himself later on. He seems like the sort of ruthlessly calculating sonofabitch that usually gets remembered as an Important Historical Figure.
    Thanks! Yes, I've been playing up Pere's arbitrary and envious nature, which actually suits the historical Pere I've been reading about. However, the real Pere murdered his father's second wife Almodis when he learned that his half-brothers would be inheriting Ramon's lands, and was promptly exiled after that. So this Pere has been decidedly more cool-headed.

    Thanks to Calbrenar and delimeat for their encouragement as well!

  9. #9
    Well I for one can't wait to see the future of this grand dynasty. Subscribed and whatnot.

    Seriously, I'm liking this. I always loved Aragon in EUIII, so I have a special heart for them. I tried them in my first couple games, but... Eh. Muslims. What are ya gonna do?
    Last edited by Hyena Dandy; 03-03-2012 at 05:04. Reason: Because muslim=/=turk. Spent too much time as Byzantium. :P

  10. #10
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    Chapter V - The French Connection

    February 1096. The 51-year-old Pere is now considered the true King of Aragon, having usurped the title from the boy king Alfonso who remains silent in the mountaintop village of Jaca. The last internal threat to Pere’s rule, his half-brother Ramon, rots in the duke-turned-king’s dungeon after the count’s plot to usurp Pere was at long last uncovered by the brilliant Portuguese spymaster Diogo Xelmires. Meanwhile, Berenguer and Arnau remain at court in Tarragona, landless and pitiful. After 17 years in power, Pere has tamed his vassals and secured his succession with his son Pere II. The gavelkind system his father implemented is no more, thanks to the pre-existing crown laws of Aragon that came with the throne.


    Maniacal laugh.


    That is not to say his reign and ascension to kinghood has been easy. While Alfonso has given no protest, Pere’s usurpation has stirred the boy’s royal relatives in Castile, but their invading forces have been pushed back by the might of unified Catalunya (with a little help from the local mercenaries). Unbeknownst to Pere when he took the title of king, all of the rulers of Christian Iberia have a claim on Aragon due to their shared ancestry with Sancho III. It is a headache he and his heirs will likely have to endure for some time.


    To think that the king once saved her from the invading Emir of Valencia...


    Ramon, who still holds his titles as Count of both Tarragona and Lleida, presents a quandary for King Pere. The count’s wife, Aines de Poitou, rules the duchies of Aquitane, Gascogne, and Poitou, all of which she inherited from her father. Her declaration of independence from the King of France in 1090 has made her a potentially powerful ally for the new King of Aragon, which has prompted Pere to come to her aid in her ongoing war with King Henri II Capet.


    Pere commits the Catalans to fight the kingdom they owe their own existence to.


    But Ramon’s imprisonment has made the alliance awkward, to say the least. What’s worse, the son of Ramon and Aines stands as heir to both the Occitan duchies and the Catalan counties. Unless King Pere revokes Ramon’s titles, Tarragona and Lleida will become part of Aquitane upon Duchess Aines’ death. With the duchess’ war taking a turn for the worse, that could happen sooner than Pere might like.


    The Kaiser seizes upon Aquitane's war-exhausted state to press his own claim, as French forces assemble to take back Catalan-occupied Toulouse.


    If Pere does revoke his half-brother’s titles, however, he risks being labeled a tyrant and losing the support of his vassals that he has worked so hard to secure. In the end, it is a risk Pere will have to take, as he cannot stand to see his rival’s son walk away with the counties the king himself conquered as a young man (or so he likes to think).

    Fending off the routine Moorish invasions now seems almost an afterthought to the newly-crowned king. Who needs infidels with neighbors like these?

    Once King Pere reaches a decision, he acts swiftly. Ramon is brought before the king in Barcelona’s main square, and Pere finally has his opportunity for revenge against the half-brother his father always preferred. The king smirks with a satisfaction he has never before known as he looks down on his filthy and frail kinsman.

    “Count Ramon Berenguer of Tarragona and Lleida, the evidence of your treason is undeniable and its stink offends our nostrils. You are hereby banished from Catalunya and the Kingdom of Aragon, and by our royal authority your lands and wealth are now ours.”



    Ramon, too weak to stand on his own, is dragged off by his jailers and tied to the back of a horse headed for Aquitane. His family and courtiers follow, including his brothers Berenguer and Arnau and their respective children. From the city walls, Pere watches the sad little band set off from Barcelona before joining his wife and consort Clemencia de Poitou for a private celebration amongst their most trusted subjects.


    Forgotten by Duke Ramon, Pere had to arrange the marraige with Clemencia himself.


    Soon after, the king decides to release a Castilian prisoner, hoping to offset the political fallout caused by Ramon's banishment.



    In April of 1097, Duchess Aines surrenders to King Henri II. After Ramon’s banishment, King Pere stopped sending armies to support her war. She was able to maintain a stalemate with the French king for a time, but when the Holy Roman Emperor decided to press his claim on Aquitane the duchess’ realm quickly fell.

    In a show of mercy, King Henri II allows Aines to remain as ruler of her three duchies. The duchess repays his kindness by declaring a civil war for an elective monarchy in 1098, likely planning to have herself elected queen.

    Meanwhile in Iberia, a rather surreal situation has developed. The King of Scotland, apparently feeling moved by the tales of the Reconquista that have reached him, has come to the defense of the Christians in Ibera by waging war with the Emir of Valencia. And the king has found success.


    Scottish armies, and even some Irish ones, invade the heart of Iberia.


    King Pere leaps on the opportunity to conquer lands from a weakened emirate. A reconquista campaign will also keep his vassals too busy to grumble about his banishment of Ramon and raise rebellions. The King of Scotland may as well be a saint.

    Pere’s armies swoop down on the counties along the coast, and the counties that make up the Duchy of Valencia are soon his. The humiliated Emir of Valencia retreats to his remaining landlocked territories. The King of Scotland negotiates his own peace with the Moor that does not involve any lands, and returns north to his realm.


    Iberia in 1102, and some wars that will be explained next time.


    As peace settles in the realm, King Pere finds time to write a religious tract in 1101 that earns him favor with the Pope. The nobility find a few too many similarities between the knight in the story and their liege, but say nothing.



    In July 1102, the king receives word from France. The Holy Roman Emperor has crushed the rebellious Duchess Aines’ forces once again and has taken the duchies of Poitou and Aquitane for himself. The duchess still holds Gascogne and four counties in central France, and remains at war to replace the French king. The Duke of Champagne has joined her cause, but according to the messenger it seems a hopeless effort.



    Pere wonders how King Henri II is still alive, and gives thanks to God that he is married to a very different member of the House of Poitou.
    Last edited by Scatterbrained; 03-03-2012 at 09:29.

  11. #11
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    It would be funny if, by some twist of fate, the king of Aragon became the ruler of the descendantas of Charlemagne...
    "Pequeño Padawan Kurtizacoal, por qué me has salido tan cabrón?" - me dijo mi Maestro.
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  12. #12
    bezrodniy kosmopolit Morsky's Avatar
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    As peace settles in the realm, King Pere finds time to write a religious tract in 1101 that earns him favor with the Pope. The nobility find a few too many similarities between the knight in the story and their liege, but say nothing.
    Pere I: King of Aragon, Conqueror of Valencia, Inventor of the Mary Sue.

    Doing great so far. France is a total and utter mess, as it rightly should be - although I've no idea how the Kaiser got claims to French duchies. Marriage and inheritance?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morsky
    It would be funny if, by some twist of fate, the king of Aragon became the ruler of the descendantas of Charlemagne...
    I'm almost tempted to try that just for the irony. The King of Aragon might not, but the banished part of the Barcelona dynasty could be headed that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt_Steiner
    Pere I: King of Aragon, Conqueror of Valencia, Inventor of the Mary Sue.

    Doing great so far. France is a total and utter mess, as it rightly should be - although I've no idea how the Kaiser got claims to French duchies. Marriage and inheritance?
    Haha, with Pere being his own biggest fan it seemed fitting.

    I'm glad to see France is a mess too. My first few games involved the king gaining crown authority far too quickly, which resulted in a boring France. As for the Kaiser, his father Heinrich III married Agnes de Poitou, daughter of a former duke of Aquitane and Poitou.

    By the way, thanks for adding the AAR to your signature!

  14. #14
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    Wow, four weeks since I've been able to get back to this. Grad school has a way of doing that. Now we return you to your regularly scheduled programming:

    Chapter VI - Humble Thy Neighbor

    With his siblings out of the picture, the Emir of Valencia tamed, and most of de jure Aragon in Christian hands, Pere begins to look forward to a well-deserved rest and a relatively peaceful end to his reign. Unfortunately, this is the Middle Ages.

    Some years ago, Pere married off one of his daughters to the king of Leon in order to secure an alliance, for the duke-turned-king had none. It soon proved to be a useless act as the two kingdoms sat on opposite ends of the peninsula, and Leon had been waging a losing war with the Emirate of Beja for some time. By 1101, Leon had pushed back and turned the war into a stalemate, but one that would be short-lived. The fiery Queen of Castile, Sancha I, saw the perfect opportunity to acquire some holdings from her beseiged relative. When she declared war in 1102 and invaded, Leon's forces were smashed and the King of Leon retreated.

    And so, while trying to rebuild in Galicia, the king sends out a call for aid to Pere. Upon receiving the message, the King of Aragon is thoroughly annoyed. Yet, he can see the threat that the destruction of Leon might pose. An aggrandized Beja will strengthen the al-Andalus' grip on Iberia, while an enlarged Castile will mean more infighting between that kingdom and Pere's own due to the House Jimena claim on the Aragonese throne.

    Pere sends an army of about 1,500 to help Leonese forces take on Muslim and Christian invaders alike, while keeping the rest of his forces available for any retaliations by Castile. His levies end up fending off the invading Sultan of Mauretania instead, who is able to land forces just outside Barcelona whilst Aragonese eyes are upon the Castilian border. The sudden chaos erupting across the peninsula is jarring for the elderly Pere.

    While the Moorish invaders are repelled thanks to a copious amount of mercenaries, Pere soon hears that his force in Leon has been utterly destroyed. Castile had committed all its forces in Leon and had caught the combined Leonese and Aragonese forces entirely by surprise. The loss does not end Leon's war with Castile, as the Queen is pressing a claim for almost the entire kingdom, but it does force the King of Leon to surrender two counties to the Emir of Beja. Pere and his kingly son-in-law spend the next few years gathering new troops while Sancha I slowly expands into Leon.

    King Pere has had his eye on another matter, of course. The boy king he usurped his title from remains as duke of the Aragonese region, though he still only holds a few fortresses among the Pyrenees. Pere feels it is time that those holdings came under the rule of the true king of Aragon, and so he usurps a title from Alfonso once again. He can now bring the county under his control, by pressing the claim of the title he has just stolen. Even though the fighting takes place amidst the mountains, it is a short and victorious campaign.




    From pitiful king to pitiful count. If only Pere felt pity.


    Meanwhile, Leon's future starts to look up. The Emir of Valencia throws his armies at Castile while Queen Sancha's forces are tied up in the west. The queen is forced to abandon her sieges and hastily agrees to a white peace with the King of Leon and his new levies. Pere receives reports of a series of bloody battles between the two sides, but by January of 1113 the Moor's forces control most of Castile. Pere is not looking forward to a strengthened Valencia, but he will not aid the troublesome queen.

    By the grace of God, literally in this case, his worries are put to rest. In the same month the Pope issues a bull confirming the formation of the Knights of Saint John, and the Queen of Castile makes immediate use of them. The Moor is cast out of her lands faster than anyone thought possible.



    The Knights of Saint John unintentionally clear the way for Pere to invade, and he swiftly presses the duchy of Aragon claim to the county of Zaragoza. It is another brief campaign that ends in victory for Rei Pere el Cor de Lleó, or King Pere the Lionheart. Cold and calculating as he may be, the common folk herald him as a Catalan hero.


    The king earns the nickname in 1111.


    Perhaps now Pere can take that rest. And perhaps he can take it in the arms of a certain courtier...


    Tempted by the slightly less elderly fruit of another.


    Iberia in 1115.
    Last edited by Scatterbrained; 02-04-2012 at 07:07.

  15. #15
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Isn't it funny when a kingdom is named like a province which has lost and, furthermore, is placed far away from that area? Like Valencia
    "Pequeño Padawan Kurtizacoal, por qué me has salido tan cabrón?" - me dijo mi Maestro.
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    Recruit skuxy's Avatar
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    Nice one, subscribed

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    King Pere the Stud!!! I'm impressed. Should perhaps advertise for Viagra!!
    Well written AAR so far, good work and looking forward to the next iterations!!

  18. #18
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    Thanks for reading! Unfortunately, all the drama has bled out of the game. Pere was a little too brilliant and set up his successors for long peaceful reigns. A couple of decades after he dies, Aragon has enough power to stomp all over Iberia and the Meditteranean, and has rocketed into the top 10 largest armies in the game. But, for me, AARs simply describing conquest after conquest aren't too exciting to write or read. I think I'll call it a victory for the House of Barcelona.

    Now that I've gotten pretty comfortable with the game, I'm looking for a more challenging dynasty to do a narrative-style AAR on. Suggestions are welcome.

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