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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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CatKnight

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Lucius Sulla: Nope, no magical metaplots here. Though with some of what we're seeing I wonder if one would help!

Troggle: You're welcome ;)

Judge: Aren't they? I'm wondering if I should start a Polotsk AAR now. They're kicking tail! Roman expansion has stalled - if they've reached their height already then the 4th crusade is going to hurt.
 

CatKnight

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Chapter 3: The Lion Purred

6th November, 1176
Ancona, Kingdom of Italy (Este)



Glorious.

I have no other words to describe the last ten years. So much has happened, I hardly know where to begin.

I am Vincennes, House Karmanos, installed as court historian after my mother's move to Cologne. I know she hates it there, but truth be told she is safer there than any place I can think of. Zeeland may be having some minor troubles with traitors from Holland, but with the might of the German alliance behind him these Hollanders will certainly be brought to heel - and well before my stepfather even needs to raise a finger to help his neighbor.

No, if you want safety than the German Empire is the sole font these days. If you want action - well then, that brings us to Italy. Yes, here anyone can prosper. Warriors will find enough work to last a lifetime, and merchants no doubt appreciate the increasing sophistication of our cities. Priests merely have to step down to Rome to find their heart's desire.

Yes, the rest of the world has its charms I make no doubt, but here you know you're alive!

Italy:

There was still one outstanding conflict when I took over, and that was Germany's ongoing campaign against Alexander III, the Pope. Due to Milan and Mantua's refusal to allow German access through their lands, it fell on the good soldiers of Este - namely us - to carry the fight home. It took the better part of three years, and I was there as town after town fell before our mighty army. The few times we did suffer defeat - we came back. I remember when we finally spotted the seven hills of Rome - and its defenders, some fifteen thousand strong to our fourteen. God may have been on their side, but tactics and strategy was on ours. We formed a wedge down their middle, tearing them asunder, and...glorious. Rome surrendered on 18 April, 1170 and the Italian Kingdom was reborn.

But the rest of Italy was not quiet. Using the self-reliance that Italy is famous for, the other cities quietly evolved, grew and established their own trading relationships. Between 1170 and 1172 Genoa, Milan, Venice, Florence and Pisa all established trading republics, leaving Mantua and ourselves the only feudal states. Fear not, they will turn back soon enough. No republic has ever lasted - just look at the Greeks, or even Rome.

After a change in government in 1171, Sicily has come back as strong as ever. However, that very year Savoie conspired to anger Provence, triggering a war. Provence had Brittany, Toulouse, England and Brittany at their backs and invaded with 18,000 men. Savoie could barely muster 1,000. Needless to say by 1173 they ceased to be an issue.

1173 saw the rise of our new ruler, Obizzo. Obizzo has great plans, but to be honest he - and I - have been extremely busy these last years. The annexations of Papal territory have gone very badly, we're constantly fighting off revolt after revolt. That's why I'm in Ancona now rather than home - and my family now lives in Rome itself. Why Rome, you may ask, and not Pisa or Florence? Well, they're just not safe right now either.

On 27 January, 1174 Friedrich Barbarossa decided to put an end to the Lombard League once and for all, declaring war on Milan, Florence, the Papacy, Pisa, Mantua, and the Crab Nebula. By the time the alliances sorted themselves out, Germany was backed by Silesia, Saxony, Zeeland, Flandres and Bohemia. All the cities stood alone. The Church, however, called on Hungary, Poland and Croatia.

The war with the Papacy ended in 1175 with Germany paying a minor indemnity, which is just as well as they would have needed to go through us to get to them. Milan wasn't so lucky though. Oh, the Milanese put up a spirited defense - they even sacked and captured Bern for a time, but in the end the Germans routed them. At one point Lord von Zahringen had seventy-five thousand soldiers sieging Milan. On 5 October 1176, Milan fell - for the second time in a generation.

Elsewhere....
* 1169-72: All Italian cities 'evolve', improving their administrative structure. Most become republics.
* 1170: Papacy canonizes Thomas a'Becket, English martyr
* 1171: Roman Empire confiscates Venetian holdings, accusing them of crimes against the state.
* 1174: Este leaves the German alliance as they attack the Italian city states.

ita1176.txt


Western Europe:

Western Europe is by no means quiet, but it is stable. If there is a leading story, it appears to be the English wars to dominate their home island. As you'll recall, in 1167 England and its alliance was at war with the Scots. This ended in 1169 with a cession of land to both the Plantagenet line as well as Brittany.

Well, the very next year Scotland decided to launch a northern campaign. This was a serious error, as most of the English troops were still in position from the last war. By 1171 Scotland and her king, William, were both no more.

England's only other problem came when the sons of Henry and Eleanor of Aquitaine tried unsuccessfully to rebel against their father. Nothing came of it though, the rebellion quickly fell apart under the hooves of English destriers.

Elsewhere:

* 1167: Connacht annexes Meath, bringing them one step from uniting Ireland
* 1168: Aquitaine attacks Navarre (to little effect) triggering an ongoing war with Leon
* 1170: Aragon seriously angers the Roman Empire by marrying the princess of Castille rather than the Comnena princess - who was already en route!
* 1170: Leon creates the Order of Santiago
* 1170: England (effectively) assassinates Thomas a' Becket
* 1170: Mainz declares independence from Germany
* 1171: Henry II of England announces his plans to take Ireland for himself. Nothing comes of it so far.
* 1172: Aragon inherits (annexes) Rosello
* 1175: England annexes Wales after a brief war and attacks Aquitaine.
* 1176: After splitting up, Zeeland (with the German Alliance) attack Holland
* 1176: Munster declares independence from Saxony.

weu1176.txt


Eastern Europe:

The greatest (harshest?) news in East Europe is the utter collapse of two powerful nations.

Following the death of King Boleslav, Poland agreed to grant more power to its individual principalities. They seem to be following in the steps of Germany and Italy, for where there was one reasonably central government there are now six - Poland of course, Wielkopolska, Silesia, Gdansk, Masovia and Sandomir. These all still answer to Poland except for Silesia, who was quickly recognized by the German emperor and so declared complete rights as a sovereign nation, breaking their vassalage. Poland was not really in a position to stop them.

Poland finally emerged from its eternal war with Denmark in 1174. Historians will no doubt be curious how Denmark has held on so long despite two overwhelming alliances - the German and the Polish/Papal coalitions - completely controlling its territory. The fact two alliances were involved seems to be the point. Completely unwilling to work together, Denmark was able to pit one against the other to force concessions at the peace table. (IE- neither one alone had the war score it wanted.)

Kiev: Kiev had grown well over the past twenty years, but abruptly they fell like a house of cards. They annexed Pinsk-Turov in 1169, but this only angered Pinsk's one ally - Polotsk, who overran Kiev by 1172 and forced the transfer of large amounts of land. This pretty much ended Kiev's ambitions. They immediately imploded, and Galich and Novgorod-Severeski freed themselves. Kiev managed one last victory, destroying Chernigov in 1173 - but they lost land to Ryazan that same year, and Vladimir two years later. They are now Vladmir vassals, their fate uncertain.

Elsewhere:
* 1167: Rum Seljuks declare war on the Crusader States, destroying Antioch and Tripoli within two years.
* 1170: Saladin becomes governor of Egypt, and the Ayubbids annex the Fatimids
* 1170: Rum Seljuks annex the Danishmends
* 1172: Vladimir declares itself a Grand Duchy

eeu1176.txt


Asia and Africa:

The Naimans (Nestorian Christians) managed to slow the Mongols down. Though certainly on paper the Naimans lost, giving up land to the Mongol horde - they still exist. And the Mongols haven't been back. Indeed, perhaps the Mongols are beginning to peter out. They destroyed the Kyrgiz in 1171, but in 1173 they made the mistake of attacking the Uighurs ... and their Qara-Khitai allies! Perhaps the khan has finally overextended himself?

mgl1176.txt


India continues to be a mess, notable only in that Bengal, Chola, the Kakatiyas, Kalachuris, Yadayva, the Hoysala kingdom and Kalingas all destroyed and Pandyas during the Madura rebellion from the Chola. Just to the west, it seems the Ghurids are preparing to make a run for glory, declaring their interest in unifying the entire subcontinent.

Elsewhere:
* 1169: Song China (and its four allies - Annam, Nan Chao, Tibet and the Pagan Kingdom) continue to attack Jin Empire
* 1175: Chandellas annexed by Malava, and Chauhans crippled after fighting off a Malava, Mewar, Gujuarat, Chalukya alliance.
* 1176: Yemen converts to Sunnitism.
* 1176: Ghurids devastate their former masters, capturing two-thirds of Seljuk Imperial territory.
 

Machiavellian

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I haven't counted the Mongols out yet. It is still very early, they have plenty of time to hit their stride.

Some interesting occurences thus far. I take it that the Crusader States are still in one piece?
 
May 18, 2004
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Machiavellian said:
I haven't counted the Mongols out yet. It is still very early, they have plenty of time to hit their stride.

Some interesting occurences thus far. I take it that the Crusader States are still in one piece?

How far do the mongols normally reach?
 

Judge

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Go Naimans go :) Will be interesting to see how the Roman Empire will look like after the fourth crusade :)
 

unmerged(8606)

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Very interesting, CatKnight. I'm quite surprised by the power Roman Empire is showing and, curiously enough, Rum Seljuks are becoming very powerful, as well. For Mongols, it's still too early to judge their behaviour, let's wait 20 or 30 years and then look a t their conquests...


Lucius Sulla said:
Apart from that, I must express my utter hate for the MES developers...
I'll remember that if we finally manage to take a beer someday in Barcelona :D
 

RossN

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Very nicely done Catknight! :)

I notice Ruari (of Connacht) is doing slightly better here than in real life. ;)

Do chuid
 

CatKnight

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Machiavellian: Actually you're mistaken. Tripoli and Antioch both disappeared in the last update, so the Crusaders are not intact. In 1183 Jerusalem also gets a nasty shock. It's time for the Third Crusade guys!

A trooper: In the MES...I don't know. That's one of the things I'm hoping to find out, how far the Mongols get with no human support/interference. Historically they blew through what we'd consider Russia, Poland and Hungary in Europe, and ran rampant through the Middle East.

Judge: I had a dream. It's fading now, but it was a pretty dream. As of the last update Polotsk was on top, Rome was holding its own, and the Mongols were..coming. If the Romans could hold on past the Fourth Crusade, I was rooting for a three-way purple blob war for control of eastern Europe!

Ah well. :rolleyes:

Mfigueras: Oh yes, I won't be making any judgements for another thirty years or so.

RossN: Yep! Now you know where Connacht in your game got all the extra soldiers from - they borrowed them from my game! Note Munster at least gets second place ;)

General Comments:
First, I'm sure the Mongols thank everyone's continued support. :D I, personally, am not counting them out at all. As Mfigueras says, it's too early - though I hope Genghis gets in gear pretty soon.

A lot of what you're reading is role-playing the different writers. I really don't hate Friedrich Barbarossa or care much one way or the other about the Italian raids - they were a very long time ago. I'm not counting the Mongols out, but I can see a European not being worried yet. (Actually, strictly, they shouldn't even know what's coming but I had to bend some rules.) In the upcoming post you'll see a significant gap in detail between 1180 and 1182 - my records were fine, but the 'writer' was getting reestablished.

If you've never done a hands off, it's worth looking into, going about ten years at a time then stopping and thinking (and letting the AI reset.) I learned a little bit about how the game 'thinks,' but I'm also learning alot about the ebb and flow of history. For example, even if I didn't know the Fourth Crusade was happening, Rome's had two civil wars, and uprisings in Cyprus and Bulgaria. I know they're in bad shape and their day is done. Kiev went from momentary dominance to death. Polotsk had its day in the sun and seems to have stalled. Norway's hot. Germany's starting to get weighed down by too many wars and too many bad events. England's getting bloody lucky with the events - what should have been two major revolts were crushed in a month each. I don't know what's going to happen with Italy now, because I'm pretty sure half the city states weren't supposed to fall. It's an interesting sensation and gives you a sense of when a nation is on top, and when it's in serious trouble.

Next time I'll take some more snapshots from around the world. The first half century has been unremitting war. Now many of the 'little guys' have been shoved aside, and we're starting to see the powerhouses form into tidy sized blobs.

Thanks folks! Enjoy!
 
Last edited:

CatKnight

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Chapter 4: Norway Ascendant

3 March, 1187
at Palermo, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies



My position is finally stable enough I can begin writing again. It's been a horrific few years.

First, the Italian government fell, not from without but to internal forces. Men unhappy with our neutrality regarding Germany's punishment of first Milan, then Genoa and Florence seized the major cities and slew my lord as well as every nobleman they could find. My only saving grace was being in the midst of a twenty-three thousand man army at the time on the Sicilian border.

Well, I had a choice. Die or live. I slipped across to Rome, grabbed my family, and wound up here. That was in 1179. It took me a few years to secure my position here (permanently), so my records from '80 and '81 aren't that good. As for the last six years? Well, let's say the Sicilians have interesting ideas on promotion and advancement. I'm just happy all I lost was an eye, thank you.

So...Sicily. Norman. They don't really give a damn about the Italians you know, except as potential allies and enemies. Fair enough. There's been too much mewling about this League or that war anyway. They seem more worried about control of the Mediterranean - feelings here against the Romans still run deep. Fair enough, I'll see what I can put together. They should be happy, the Empire's finally showing signs of trouble. But first...

Italy
The Lombard League's over. Probably wasn't a brilliant idea to begin with. Venice and Mantua backed out in 1177, signing separate treaties with Germany. Venice is even a vassal now and a member of their alliance. Ah, politics!

In 1178 Germany finished off Genoa, and in '79 Florence fell to Saxonia and they began sieging Pisa proper. Now it's no secret they used their treaties with us - with Este - to get there. Our attitude was and has always been that Friedrich's our overlord and you can deal. Well, the peasants and merchants didn't like that - didn't like seeing their way of life threatened. In October 1179 another (the eighth or ninth) rebellion broke out in Ancona, and so there we went. In November they seized Parma and Este. They hung the king on November 27, and I slipped across the line on December 1. They still exist by the way, the "Free Republic of Parma" I think they're calling themselves this year.

So Pisa's all that's left, and the war continues year after year. It seems at one point in '79 or '80 they actually paid an indemnity to get out, then changed their mind. Well, by 1183 they're out again. The problem, of course, was Corsica: The German (Saxonian, etc etc) navy just wasn't up to the task of getting to the Tyrrhennian Sea. Well, the Venetians fleet finally showed up and turned the tide. Their price, gratefully paid, was of course the island. However it's just as well, for the German/Italian wars are finally over. For now anyway.

Elsewhere:
* 1183: Venice and Pisa are granted districts in the city of Jerusalem. The one about to be sacked.
* 1186: Germany marries into the Sicilian line and vice versa. Didn't I just leave this party?

sic1187.txt


Norway
Now, usually as you know we go with West Europe and East Europe, but this just needs to be dealt with separately. The Norwegians have run mad! They may have a Caesar up there, or at least a Charlemagne. Why, if I didn't have four children I know where I'd be going.

In the 1170s Norway and Novgorod was at war with Sweden. Fine. Well, while I was setting up here something apparently happened, for by the time I found a map of Scandinavia they'd nearly partitioned the country! Norway picked up six provinces to Novgorod's two, and then immediately turned around and joined the Polotsk alliance against Novgorod. That war ended in '84 with seven more provinces (including the two Novgorod earned against Sweden) joining them.

Watch the Norwegians. They've done more in say..ten years than anyone else has done in a hundred.

nwy1187.txt


Western Europe
There's really no news to compare to Norway's newfound dominance. Germany kept busy putting out brushfires. They finally concluded their war with Denmark in 1178, with Saxonia picking up most of the prize. That same year Zeeland finally finished off Holland, then changed their name to Holland to complete the spectacle. Gelre and the Bishop of Utrecht in Brabant traded insults and armies until Friedrich ruled in Gelre's favor. At some point Saxonia cancelled their vassalization, and around then their mighty alliance finally imploded after fending off an English raid or nine. It was all rather quiet, pound for pound. I suspect Friedrich was just as happy to have a few years of peace, though I think his dreams of empire are about finished. We'll see.

Elsewhere:
* 1177 Baleares plunders Toulon (Provence territory)
* 1177 Aragon signs a Mediterranean control treaty with Pisa - the same country at war with Germany at the time.
* 1177 Escalating tensions between England and France are cooled by papal mediation.
* 1177 Almohads declare war on Portugal, it ends in a virtual draw.
* 1178 Castile declares war on the Almohads with a minor Castillian victory.
* 1179 Aragon and Toulouse try to deal with the expanding Cathar heresy.
* 1179 The Pope rules that Portugal is a free and independent state and Castilian claims are not legitimate. The Castilians accept reluctantly.
* 1184 Stiria tries to break away from Germany but is crushed.
* 1186 Navarra repopulates Pamplona.
* 1186 Tripolitania rebels from Almohads, war breaks out.

weu1187.txt


Eastern Europe
In late 1177 a dispute between Poland and Wielkopolska began when the former expelled Mieszko III, the former duke. Wielkopolska saw this as a threat to their hold on Krakow and cancelled their vassalization in protest. In 1180 Masovia joined the protest, breaking its allegiance to Poland and joining Mieszko as well. Skirmishing and maneuvers continued intermittently for years, never quite breaking into open warfare. Mieszko moved his capital in 1184, the year Poland took back Masovia and set it up with an independent government. That might have been the end of it, except Poland joined Saxonia's new alliance the next year.

In 1185 Saxonia, Mecklenberg, Denmark and Holland (their ally, German Munster having fallen in '83 to Gelre), were in three separate wars: Gelre of course was the first. Gdansk was the second. The third involved Gotland and Wielkopolska. The two Polish states waged fierce war, but by 1186 the newcomers had won. Duke Mieszko III stood at the throne he'd been forced to leave nine years before, vindicated.

Elsewhere:
* 1177: Several Muslim states fight an inconclusive war with Georgia. The Empire stays out of it. Apparently they weren't needed.
* 1177 Damascus and the Ayubbids begin a final attempt to conquer the crusaders. It ends in 1183 with the fall of the city of Jerusalem.
* 1178 Mosul wins a brief war vs the Abbasids, only to be conquered by Azerbaijan in the early 1180s
* 1180s Ryazan annexes Kiev after a long war.
* 1180+ Civil wars and rebellions break out across the Roman Empire, so far to little effect.
* 1182 Sandomir breaks Polotsk's victory streak by seizing a province.
* 1185 Drought devastates the Levant. Jerusalem needs Saladin's help to survive.
* 1185 Revolts break out in former Bulgarian territories. So far Rome holds on.

eeu1187.txt


Africa and Asia:

Three stories dominate foreign news. First, in Africa Ghana continues to do surprisingly well, vassalizing Mali and gaining some land from Tuareg (and their Almohad allies) and Takrur. Their on-and-off alliance with Songhai for the past forty years has served them very well.

In India, the Ghurids finally decided they had enough of the Ghaznavids, and by 1183 finished them off.

There continues to be rumors of untold barbarity from the Mongol tribe, especially under their new leader: Temuchin. It seems to be an Asian issue though. They took some lands from the Uighurs, but so did their former allies - Qara-Khitai. Let 'em butcher each other. We have our own problems.

Elsewhere:
* 1178: Malava forceannexes Chauhans
* 1178: Palas diploannexes Arakan
* 1179: Following an embarassing defeat by the Champans, Khmer determines to rebuild the Angkor Empire
* 1182 Temujin becomes Chingiz Khan of the Mongols
 
Last edited:

Judge

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France is doing a bad job I see. From my MES games I had the impression that France is somewhat overpowered but here things seem a bit different :)
 

CatKnight

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Judge said:
France is doing a bad job I see. From my MES games I had the impression that France is somewhat overpowered but here things seem a bit different :)

I checked the event file. We'll know in the next ten years or so whether France is doing okay or not. There's an event they're waiting for.

-------

General Notes: Since it came up before...I'm now officially worried about our Mongol friends. Our friend Chingiz better get his nomadic rear in gear, or they'll be making all those wargames about the King of Norway!

And now..the news. :)
 
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CatKnight

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Chapter 6: Europe at 50?

30th September, 1197
Palermo, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies


The historian's duty requires patience, but most of all temperance. Allowing one's emotions to get involved in one's study is a certain way to fail. This does not mean a historian must be an unfeeling, uncaring creature. It does mean she has to be its master, and not vice versa.

I do not remember much of my youth in Este. Indeed, I was never there. My first memories are of Rome, the beautiful city on the seven hills, the bastion of civilization ... and it's thirty-five thousand soldiers watching as Italia fell apart. I do not need to recount the breakup again for you, except to assure you that, as all storms, this too passed. For years, Sicily knew peace.

The Third Crusade
Responding to the loss of Jerusalem and the losses of Antioch and Tripoli, Pope Gregorious VIII called for a crusade to retake the holy land. Reassured with promises of all Europe coming to their aid, the Kingdom of Jerusalem declared war on the Ayyubids, Damascus and the Seljuk Turks

The two don't signify, but these are the Turks who exterminated Jerusalem's brethren along with Asia Minor. Nonetheless, the promises of support came quickly: Sicily and Holland both sent flees. England, France, Blois-Champagne, Gelre and Flanders promised armies in March.

As it turns out, it was too late. Jerusalem's brave, but foolish declaration led to their complete destruction on August 30. The Third Crusade, by all rights, lasted ten months.

History is not given to such niceties though, and over a year later English crusaders under their King Richard landed in Palermo. We attempted to explain the situation to them, but it seems they either didn't believe us or didn't care. The countryside was pillaged, and the pope was little help. We were of course right, but the English saw fit to establish Cyprus as a base of operations anyway. That island had broken away from the Romans a few years previous, and honestly the Empire was only mildly annoyed when the -to them - traitors were slain and the Knight Templars raised their banner. Cyprus quickly converted to Christianity and became the sole crusader state.

On the way home Richard was captured by the Austrians for reasons that remain unclear. He finally came home in 1194.

The Fourth Crusade?

We may not be done yet, however. On 27 February 1196, the Venetians began gathering support for a 'crusade' against the Roman Empire itself. They claim the Romans are responsible for killing several Italians - we know there's bad blood between them since Venetians were accused of this misdeed. Flanders, Cyprus, Blois-Champagne and our own Sicily quickly joined the furor - but France, Hungary, Germany and England declined the honor, and the Pope outright condemns this as a charade. Time will tell if the Venetians hold to their course.

Sicily and Italy

The only other news worthy of note is Sicily's first war in forty years. On 21 March 1196, we joined a two year old war involving Hungary, Cyprus and Dalmatia (Bulgaria having already achieved its aims and left), against Polotsk, Ryazan and Wielkopolska. Sicily's bravest now fight for control of the Baltics. In July, Austria joined the war on our side. This is the same Austria that is now at war with Gelre, Bohemia, Germany, Flandres, Mainz and...Venice - which is perhaps the reason Venice has hesitated launching their crusade. It is clear Austria hoped to involve us in their Germanic spat, but we have all resisted the honor.

Elsewhere in Italy:
* 1196: Pisa's government falls to rebels.

Western Europe

Western Europe is its usually melange of shifting alliances. It's interesting to note, however, as the two great men of their generation: Henri II Plantagenet and Friedrich Barbarossa passed away, so too did empires stutter and show signs of collapsing.

Henri was replaced by Richard, who as we've discussed spent several years freeing Cyprus, which is much like Jerusalem - the original objective - only smaller. In Richard's absence, the kingdom fell to his brother John, who the French do not seem to love.

With Henri's death in 1189, Richard inherited and annexed Aquitaine in 1189, even as Toulouse and Brittany broke their vassalage. (Brittany reestabished it days later.) France responded by building a new palace, the Louvre, to help them centralize control over their vassals (including Normandy, Anjou and Aquitaine, all in English hands.) In 1191, perhaps frustrated at the fall of Jerusalem, England declared war on Navarra along with a mighty alliance including France. Aragon won the prize however, annexing that small country in 1192. After Richard's return he took time putting his brother in his place as well as crushing some baronial uprisings.

For Germany, 1187 and 1188 saw the end of their intervening in foreign affairs. They once again stepped between Holland and Gelre, who threatened war over the Veulwe. In 1188, claiming right of inheritance by marriage, Friedrich attempted to succeed to Sicily's throne, but we refused. Friedrich threatened war, but with the tide clearly turning against Germany we continued to refuse. The passing of the torch to Heinrich VI was straightforward, despite great support for another candidate. The Welfens threatened revolt and the Germanic princes decided not to risk the throw. Heinrich also became Holy Roman Emperor. In 1197, he in turn was replaced by Philip von Schwaben. Von Schwaben could not hold on to Luxembourg, Cologne and Salzburg, and they all declared their independence.

Elsewhere:
* 1187: Almohads defeat and annex Tripolitania (again)
* 1190: Leon and the Almohads start separate wars with Portugal.
* 1190: Mecklenberg peacefully joins Saxonia
* 1192-3: Partitioning of Portugal. In 92 Leon takes most of the land. The next year, the Baleares Emirate, an Almohad ally, is bought off. Portugal surrenders to Almohads on Christmas 1193. In exchange for their role in the war, Castile receives Seville from the Almohads. (Actually Castile was already at war with the Almohads when they joined the pounding against Portugal. The treaties were days apart.)
* 1193: France repudiates their marriage to Ingeburke of Denmark, the second repudiation in a generation. The Papacy takes note and starts loudly protesting.
* 1196: Connacht destroys Irish Munster, unifies island.

Eastern Europe

For twenty years people have worried that the Roman Empire may be in trouble. It's now confirmed. On 1 September 1187, most of their northern provinces rose up simultaneously and called themselves 'Bulgaria.' These Bulgars fought for and won their independence over the next several years. Cyprus also became independent, but that was quickly ended by the Templars during the Third Crusade. Now with talk of Venice seeking revenge, the Romans quickly gather what allies they can find: they seem to be wandering away.

Elsewhere Saxonia has prospered, taking land from Gelre and Wielkopolska. Despite this fact, the new Polish state did well for itself in other wars and now stands as a strong member of Polotsk's alliance. Norway's growth slowed considerably, though they did destroy the Petchengs. The Holy Land, for the first time in generations, is truly quiet. We lost.

Elsewhere:
* 1187: Along with destroying Jerusalem down the road, the Seljuks take land from Azerbaijan
* 1188: Civil strife runs t hrough Galich, and they are soon destroyed by Sandomir.
* 1191: Croatia joins Hungary peacefully
* 1192: Hungary proposes its own crusade. This pretty much falls through as Hungary becomes involved in a major war with the Polotsk alliance.

Elsewhere:

There are continued rumors of trouble with a tribe calling themselves Mongols. However, the Nestorian Christians continue to hold out. It is true they're slowly losing land...but the operative word is 'slowly.'

The Chalukyan Empire imploded in 1189 to 90, as that state found itself at war with Kakatiya, Hoysala, Yadava, Gujarat, Malava, Mewar and Chola. Reports are sketchy, but I am told it wasn't pretty.

Similarly, in 1190 the Ghurids finally destroyed their Seljuk Imperial overlords.

Maps from Around the League
As promised, this covers most of the world except some minor countries in Indonesia (like me!) and some of the northernmost areas. Enjoy!

1197a.txt


1197b.txt


1197c.txt


1197d.txt


1197e.txt


1197f.txt


1197g.txt
 
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redwolf

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Great story so far Catknight. The MES mod seems very interesting and I've been following the few AARs of the mod to see how the game goes and frankly i am tempted to download it and try for myself.

In the meantime, keep the updates coming. Eagerly awaiting to see what the mongols will do next.
 

Judge

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England is doing very well in your game. Glad to see that the Nestorians still are able to hold out though they probably will not last for long. This is a really fun and ambitious project :)
 
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Stuyvesant

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This is an interesting read. Like redwolf, I'm ever more tempted into downloading the MES, it sounds like a lot of fun.

I like the style of your writing here: the multiple viewpoints of different historians fit the handsoff approach perfectly.
 

unmerged(8606)

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Sadly, the iberian peninsula has become too messed for my taste. In the last versions of the mod we managed to keep Iberia quite historical, but it seems that sometimes things still become messed up. *sigh*
 

Machiavellian

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I notice that you have the Turks based in Konya noted as the Seljuk turks, but shouldn't those actually be the Rum Seljuk Turks?
 

CatKnight

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Redwolf: Hey there! I highly recommend the MES scenario. It is still beta, which means interesting quirks seem to come up now and then, but it's alot of fun.

I'm tempted to play England myself, though I don't know how I'd get past all these events without having a heart attack or punching the computer. Read on to find out why.

Judge: Remember when you asked about the French? They were waiting for an event, and it finally fired. Now how do they look?

Stuyvesant: Definitely worth at least looking at! It's a lot of fun!

mfigueras: I dunno, I like ahistorical results myself. Anyway, I do kind of see it happening. Imagine if Castile decided not to accept the pope's declaration regarding Portugal, or if Castile-Leon decided the only way to secure Iberia for the Christians was to get rid of the minor states the Almohads might try to swallow? In this AAR as of 1207, Castile, Leon, Aragon and the Almohads are almost perfectly balanced. I'll be curious to see whether Iberia stabilizes as a result, or if it goes up in flames.

Machiavellian: Well, there's a good explanation for that you see. Uh... the leader of the Rum Seljuks in 1197 didn't like rum, so he made them change the name. But things are okay now. ;)
 

CatKnight

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18 August, 1207
Palermo, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies



We are at war.

This really comes as no surprise to students of history. After forty years of peace the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies stretches its mighty hand, clasping at... Well, so far very little. Our men have fought on the shores of the Baltic. Our women and children repealled a Saxon strike on Naples itself. Our ships war with Roman galleys for control of the Aegean. So far our reward has been sixty-four thousand ducats - our fair share of the Saxonian peace settlement. If the Fourth Crusade turns bad, then I do not know if history will record us with kindness.

Sicily and the Italian States
The first years of the thirteenth century will be remembered as violent in Italian circles. Sicily was very active.

At the conclusion of our war with Polotsk et.al. in 1198, we spent some time quietly rebuilding. In 1201 the Saxonian king attacked Hungary without provocation. We came to our allies assistance, but while our soldiers fought their way north the Saxons landed in Naples with ten thousand men. Though the common man praises the defenders, truly women, old men and children, for their valiant defense the truth is Naples held because Hungarian and Sicilian troops struck deep into Saxon territory. They finally came to the table and paid an indemnity to be allowed out of the war.

In 1203 Gdansk broke away from Hungary, tiring of three years of hostile rule. Officially we're helping Hungary put down the revolt, but they don't need the help.

That same year Venice contacted Sicily asking for support and announcing their intent to invade the Roman heartland. We agreed, and on 8 February, 1203 we declared war on them. The bad blood between our two great nations spilled into open warfare for control of the Eastern Mediterranean, and the issue is still in doubt as no one wants to crush their foe only to be at the mercy of Venetian galleys. This is ongoing. I saw fit to deal with the Fourth Crusade separately, so more details will be offered there.

Elsewhere in Sicily and Italy:
1197: Este declares war on Papacy. The Church wins, taking back land the next year.
1199: Venice, eventually with crusader help, attacks Dalmatia. Dalmatia becomes a vassal state in 1202.
1200-1203: Various improvements in infrastructure lead to greater prosperity throughout Italy
1203: 8 January - Venice launches the Fourth Crusade

The Fourth Crusade

In 1199 Venetian plans to avenge themselves on Rome (and profit by their fall) reached a head. They secretly made a deal with Isaac, the brother-in-law of the emperor, to take over after Venice's inevitable victory, and this in fact gave them the justification they needed to attack the Empire. In a stroke of good luck for this justification, Cyprus abruptly switched back to the Orthodox faith. There is no sign that Imperial influence was involved in this, but it did serve as a rallying cry to the crusaders.

Though Venetian scholars disagree, the new Crusaders were first forced to help with local troubles. In point of fact when the crusaders arrived in 1201, they found a Venice at war with Dalmatia, and despite the strong Germanic alliance at their back the Dalmatians held their own. Some thought the Dalmatians would surrender to Hungary rather than yield to Venetian rule. The doge found this unacceptable and sent the Crusaders an ultimatum: If they expected to use Venetian ships or Venetian bases, then Venice expected a little help. This they received, and Dalmatia was the first nation taken by the Crusaders in 1202.

The next year, Venice claimed Isaac was the rightful ruler of the Roman Empire and attacked. Luxembourg, Arelate, Mainz, Cologne, Germany and Gelre joined them while Serbia and Georgia rallied to the Empire's side. Blois-Champagne then also declared war, though they bowed out after a year when they realized following through on the threat was impossible. Sicily and our ally, Hungary, also declared war, and lastly the Orthodox Cypriots Venice claimed to be saving entered the fray.

For four years the armies have raged for control of Greece. Hungary bowed out of the war in 1205, having secured two border territories including the rich lands around Sarajevo, and thus avenging their earlier defeats at Imperial hands. Germany proved more stubborn, sieging Ragusa and landing in Albania. During a siege near the Imperial capital, German diplomats agreed to bow out of the war in exchange for lands already taken.

At present, as near as we can tell, the Romans, Serbs and Georgia continue to stand together against Venice, Gelre, Cologne, Mainz, Arelate, Luxembourg (all together), Sicily, and Cyprus. The Empire hasn't lost yet.

4cr1207.txt


Western Europe
Though the continued chaos in England is still the story of the day - especially with the French Commisse confiscating all continental lands from the Plantagenet family, Scotland's recent history is interesting. As you know, Scotland had been annexed by England and Brittany years ago. In 1198 they broke away in Glasgow, only to be crushed the next year. The Scots bid their time, and on the death of King Richard they negotiated with John to be released as vassals late in '99. That very same year Austria, Orkney, Brittany, Burgundy, France and Blois-Champagne all declared war. England's refusal to go with their old alliance is certainly one of the main reasons the French went ahead with the Commisse in 1202 reclaiming English lands, cancelling their vassalage to the English throne, their royal marriage, and declaring war. This in turn caused Brittany and Burgundy to join France and cancel their own vassalization agreements.

Meanwhile, Scotland's war of independence with Brittany turned serious in 1202 when Northumberland and York both defected to their throne. Over the next several years they gave some land to Orkney and some to Brittany. The north is at peace, though badly fragmented. The south, of course, is in a major continental war that show sno sign of ending.

Elsewhere:
1197: Normandy defects to Blois-Champagne
1198: Pope interdicts France to little effect
1199: Castile declares war on the Almohads and allies. This is ongoing.
1200: Baleares line ends, they are annexed by the Almohads
1201: Magdeburg declares independence, but is quickly seized by Mainz
1202: Portugal declares independence from the Almohads
1202: Leon, Castile and Aragon agree that a weak state cannot stand against Almohad aggression, and they invade Portugal, taking it in 1203.
1202: The Commisse turns into a war between France, Brittany, Burgundy, Orkney and Austria vs England. This is ongoing.
1204: Toulouse, Provence, Sardinia and Papacy declare war on England and Scotland - ongoing

weu1207.txt


Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe's major story is the Fourth Crusade. It was a time of change in eastern Europe. Having virtually destroyed Austria, Bohemia reunified with Germany in 1198, only to break away in 1203. The next year Bohemia was forced to acknowledge German leadership and became vassals again. Kiev rebelled from Ryazan, but fell to Bulgaria. Hungary annexed Gdansk, but as you know they simply broke away again. Croatia revolted from Hungary, and they too were crushed. Polotsk destroyed Smolensk, but lost land to Norway and Vladimir, their time in the sun coming to an end.

The Cumans managed to keep busy the last ten years. In 1199 the Bulgar Khannate stormed over the border, seizing a great deal of land in the peace of 1203. The Khannate declaration of war was in response to the 1199 Cuman victory over Ryazan which won them two provinces. The next year, taking advantage of Cuman distraction with the Bulgars, Georgia and the Roman alliance invaded and seized some border territories. Following the Bulgar victory, Ryazan decided they wanted revenge and pulled Bulgaria into a war with the Cuman. In 1206, they destroyed Novgorod-Severeski as a warning to their enemies.

eeu1207.txt


Asia and Africa
The Mongol Horde has finally picked up speed. Under their leader Chingiz, the Mongols annexed the Naiman Christians in 1198 and the Altai in 1200. They took land from Qara-Khitai, the Jin and Koryo. At this point the Mongols are in a major war with Qara-Khitai and the Uzbek tribesmen. If they should fall, then the Mongols will be able to cross the Urals into Europe proper.

mon1207.txt


Elsewhere:
1197: Ayyubids annex Makkura in ancient Egypt
1197: Song China wins a minor war against Xi Xia
1204: Damascus loses to Azerbaijan and the Rum Seljuks, giving land to the latter and becoming vassals to Azerbaijan.
1205: Dsungaria revolts, defecting to the Mongols
1206: Songhai and Ghana in Africa declare war on Tuareg and the Almohads
 

Judge

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Wow the Bulgur Khanate is really on the rise and so are the Uzbeks. Wonder if they will be able to stop the Mongols though. I don´t give them much of a chance. Nice update :)