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magritte2

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THE PREMYSLID DECLINE: POLAND, 1137-1159

In the 1120’s and 1130’s, the Premyslids were the dominant family in Central Europe. Their ascendance began when Zdik the Just inherited the Kingdom of Poland from his grandmother, Queen Swietoslava Piast the Old in 1113. Ten years later, his father’s cousin, King Borijov the wise of Bohemia was elected Kaiser of the Holy Roman Emperor. The family also included the Dukes of Moravia and Tuscany, a half-dozen counts scattered across central Europe, not to mention various alliances through the marriages of their womanfolk.

When Borijov died in 1137, the succession laws of the Kingdom of Bohemia passed the throne to the eldest male of the Premyslid dynasty, King Zdik. Zdik lost no time in fashioning a new crown for the dual kingdom, and, in honor of his Bohemian heritage, christened it the Kingdom of Bohemia and Poland. But it proved an empty title. The nobles of Bohemia were too fearful of reprisals from the new Kaiser, Gerhard II von Julichgau, to swear allegiance to their new King. The only vassal to go over to Bohemia was Borijov’s grandson, Olrich, the Count of Znojmo and he was soon brought to heel.


Some of the Premyslids in 1148:
Premyslid_1148.jpg


When Zdik died, his Kingdoms were divided because of the differing laws of the dual countries. As the eldest Premyslid, the Kingdom of Bohemia passed to Zdik’s uncle Duke Budivoj of Scalovia, while the Kingdom of Poland fell to his eldest son, BoleslawIII.

Furious that neither of his father’s two kingdoms had passed to him, Boleslav’s brother Zdik was not content with the Duchy of Kudavia and laid claim to Poland. He was backed in this endeavour by a strong alliance: his nephew, Count Zwietopolk of Plock, Duke Borivoj of Mazovia, and Boruvoj’s brother-in-law, Duke Boguvil Swidnica of Silesia. Things looked grim for King Boleslav, until in 1148, Zdik’s wife, the Duchess of Volhynia died after a long illness. Possibly believing his father had secretly poisoned his, daughter, or perhaps thinking Boleslawwould prevail in the end and wanting to be on the women’s side, Zdik’s own son, Svatopluk, turned against him after inheriting the Duchy of Volhynia. Meanwhile, taking advantage of the chaos in Poland, Kaiser Gerhard II laid claim to Bohemia and made war on King Budivoj in 1050. The Premyslids were in complete disarray.

Central Poland in 1148:
Poland_1148.jpg


Bohemia was soon overcome, but the war for control of Poland dragged on for several years. For a time, the King seemed to have the advantage over his brother, but in 1151, he made a disastrous mistake. When his kinsmen Olrich, the Count of Znojmo declared independence from the Holy Roman Empire, Boleslawagreed to support him. While his support was token and he did not suffer too great a loss when the count was forced to surrender, the sense that Poland was a kingdom in grave trouble was noted on the other side of the Baltic.

In 1153, Queen Maria of Norway laid claim to Poland. Norway had long held a beach head in central Europe, from an old crusade against the pagans by Olaf III. But most of Maria’s lands were poor and cold, and she craved the fertile farmlands of the south. Most thought her claim spurious: yes, she was the granddaughter of Swietsolava Piast, from whom King Zdik the Just had inherited his throne, but her mother had been Swietoslava’s daughter. It was absurd to claim the throne through the maternal side, while the male line was still strong, but she had the armies to back her up. By 1159, Maria had backed up her claim to the throne with an army, and the Polish rebels recognized her as Queen. Boleslawrefused to give allegiance, instead remaining as an independent Duke of “lesser” Poland. Though Premyslids still held a number of duchies in central Europe, their preeminence appeared to be a thing of the past.


Norway, 1163:
Norway_1163.jpg
 

Portal

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I sense Norway is going to be a European superpower in the near future...

Do they have any more claims?
 

magritte2

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I sense Norway is going to be a European superpower in the near future...

Do they have any more claims?

Norway has a weak claim on the Kingdom of Hungary, and a few other smaller claims in Poland and Scotland.
 

magritte2

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THE BIRTH OF IRELAND, 1122-1170

Fergus, the Duke of Leinster and Meath, was not a proud man, but he was a wise one, and he saw that Ireland would need strong leadership in the years to come. His wife Elinor Gwynyllwg had come from Wales and told him of the rising power of the Saxon Kings of England. One day, he suspected, they might come calling on his home, and Ireland was divided among many petty rulers who could not defend against such a power.

Ireland in 1122:
Ireland_1122.jpg


He knew that leadership must fall to his house. The Ua Cheimmselags were the oldest noble house in Ireland and had ruled for nearly seven hundred years. Only the Dukes of Munster rivaled them in prestige, but Munster was ruled by a woman now, as was Connacht. The fighting men of Eire would never unite behind a woman.

It would take time, he knew, but he had come to power at 19. God willing, he had time. He began by earning the admiration of his fellows by answering the Pope’s call to arms. After returning from the Sicilian crusade, he made the first small step toward his ambitions in 1127. Noting that the County of Kildare was legally part of his realm, he made war on Earl Lorcann Ua Maill Sechlainn, and forced him to swear fealty to the rightful Duke of Meath.

In 1129, when his father-in-law died, he seized an opportunity to place his son in Gwent, the county of his wife’s birth. His son Gilla-Christ was fifteen now, nearly the age he had been when becoming Duke, and needed the experience of rulership. Besides, having a son in Gwent would give him an opportunity to monitor developments in England. Meeting King Wulfnoth the Great on the Crusade had not made him any less fearful of Saxon ambitions.

The following year, in return for Lorcann’s loyal service, he assisted him in capturing Breifne from the Duchess Scathach nic Airt ua Ruairc of Connacht. Stripped of her lands, no one would see the woman as a true Duchess, so Fergus added the title of Connacht as his own. Soon afterward, the Countess of Connacht, Condal ua Conchabair, saw the wisdom of accepting Fergus protection rather than going it alone. His realm now stretched across the middle of the island from sea to sea.


Ireland in 1134:
Ireland_1134.jpg


Lorcann’s son, Conchobar was loyal to Fergus, but still sought to extend his own power, and captured Tyrone in 1141. By this time, Fergus knew he had no real rivals on the island, and thought seriously of declaring himself King of Ireland. But such a declaration would need the support of the Holy Church to have any force. And so he began a long and expensive campaign of entreaties to Rome. And after securing the Pope’s blessing, still more gold was needed for suitable coronation raiments and the ceremony itself. Ireland was not a rich land and it took years to gather the resources, but in 1158, Fergus was crowned King by the Bishop of Christ Church, with the papal envoy on hand. In gratitude for his family’s loyal service, he made Conchobar the Duke of Meath.

His last campaign came in 1170, when he took possession of Thomond from the Duke of Munster. Now 75 years old, he saw that the remaining independent dukes and counts of Ireland would not recognize his authority during his lifetime. But the loss of Thomond would weaken the strongest of these, and perhaps his grandson—sadly, he had outlived Gilla-Christ who had died in 1165—would be able to bring them to heel, whether by diplomacy or force.


Ireland in 1173:
Ireland_1173.jpg
 
Last edited:

Portal

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Could you upload a worldview map? I would like to see the overall situation.
 

richvh

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His last campaign came in 1170, when he took possession of Thomond from the Duke of Leinster.

When did the Duchy of Leinster pass out of Fergus' control, and when did it gain control of Thomond? :wacko: :laugh:
 

Dasfubar

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Very cool concept and well written too! Subscribed.
 

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seems very interesting
 

magritte2

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Glad to hear that people are enjoying it. @Portal, I'm not sure how those world view maps are generated (is it a utility?), although you can see almost the whole map on the Dynasties map from 1143 on page 2.
 

magritte2

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THE RISE OF THE HAMMADIDS, 1139-1167

Fath ibn Khidr Hammadid, the Sultan of Africa was not a brave man, but he had enough initiative to recognize opportunities when they arose. His spies had watched over the court in Cairo for years and had seen the decay of the once potent, if heretical, Fatimids. In 1132, Bashir the Apostle had died and the new Caliph, his lisping son Musa II was of no great consequence. After a few years of his rule, his vassals tired of whims and despotic rule, and one by one, they began to rebel.

Africa in 1139:
NorthAfrica_1139.jpg


After patiently watching for several years, the Sultan saw his chance to strike. He feared to strike against the Caliph directly, but the rebel Emir of Tripolitania, Abdul-Haq Tajaddin, had far fewer men at his disposal. Fath declared a Holy War for Tripolitania, vowing to bring the lands around the Gulf of Sidra back to orthodoxy in their faith. It took six years of campaigning, but the war was successful. He granted these newly acquired lands to his favorite son, Zafir, signaling his intended successor. Zafir’s tutors had reported his skill in numbers and stewardship, and he was an honest and diligent young man.

Although the tyrannical Musa II had brought most of his unruly vassals in line, the Emir Matar Aktavid had broken free of the Caliph. But the gluttonous Matar still followed the Shia Caliph’s incorrect theology, and so Fath was determined to bring him down, succeeding in 1149. He could not extend his rule further east along the African shores without direct conflict with the still-powerful Fatimid Caliph, but at least he had arrested the spread of heresy.

The last years of his reign forced him to leave for Spain to try and resolve the succession crisis that followed the death of Sultan Fadl in 1146. At the urging of his youngest wife Zahra Abbadid, he had tried to mediate the conflict between her brothers and wound up campaigning in Al Andalus himself. The war ultimately cost him his life in 1153. Sadly, he had outlived his favored son, Zafir, and the throne passed to his five-year-old grandson, Salah ibn Zafir.

Africa in 1153:
NorthAfrica_1153.jpg


Seeing little opportunity for expansion in Africa, the boy sultan’s advisors watched the situation in Italy and Sicily with close interest. The Christians were in disarray. The Doges of Pisa and Genoa fought one another over Capua, and after the death of Wulfnoth the Great in 1142, England had fallen into general civil strife. Duke Eadred Wake of Apulia had declared his independence from Godwin II.

The crafty Mayor Marwan of Misratah, the regent, could not resist. He declared a Holy War on England for Sicily in 1155, reasoning that Godwin II was too tied up in struggles with his vassals to stop him. This proved a serious misjudgment. The war was going poorly at the time of the shocking assassination of Salah in 1158. The word was that he was murdered by Dua bint Mahtar Tahirid, though why the woman desired the child dead was unclear. Whatever the cause, the child’s death enabled the Sultanate to pull its forces out of Sicily with only a small loss of prestige. The new Sultan was the boy’s uncle, the Sheikh of Bizerte and Atlas Mountains, Buwayh ibn Fath the Fat.

In 1159, Buwayh was alarmed by rumors that Pope Vitalian II was planning another crusade, fearing he might choose to urge the Christian Kings southward after the attempt to regain Sicily. When his spymaster Sayeed Sayeed found out that the Pope was sending them East against the Fatimids in another attempt at Jerusalem, a great laugh emerged from his ponderous belly. The fall of the Duke of Apulia had not discouraged Godwin II’s vassals from their rebellious ways. His own cousin, Thurcytel of Godwin, Duke of Sicily declared independence, and Buwayh was quick to bring his army across the sea. Quickly overwhelming Thurcytels’ men, he captured the north shore of Sicily in 1160, before the Saxon King could bring his forces to bear on Thurcytel’s stronghold in Benevento.

The ongoing crusade continued to distract the major powers of Europe, enabling Buwayh to make war on the Doge of Pisa in 1167, capturing much of southern Italy two years later. Buwayh knew further expansion at this time would prove difficult. But he also knew that both the Christians and the Fatimids, perhaps because of their lack of true faith, had shown that they would fall to bickering at the slightest opportunity. And when they did, the Hammadids would be there to take advantage, as they had for the past thirty years.


Africa in 1173:
NorthAfrica_1173.jpg
 

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I hate those weird kind of maps, I just want to see a broad shot of the world with Independent Rulers mapmode. Or maybe Religion too.
 

magritte2

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THE 2ND JERUSALEM CRUSADE AND THE FATIMID CIVIL WAR (1159-1174)

Vitalian II had become Pope as a young man and was still a man of middle years. Thirty years had passed since the successful Sicilian crusade, and it was time to remind the Mohammadans that Christian Europe was still strong and united in its opposition to the heathen. It had been thirty years since the successful Sicilian crusade, and it was time to set sights once again on Jerusalem, so that pilgrims could safely journey there. The previous attempt had been an abject failure, but the Fatimids were said to be decadent now, addicted to luxury, losing the respect of the fierce Bedouin tribesmen that had long formed the backbone of their armies.

He had other reasons to think they might succeed this time. He had discussed the idea with Kaiser Gerhard II, with the vast resources of the Holy Roman Empire behind him, and his close associate, Gottfried von Rheinfelden, the Duke of Swabia. They were ready to take up the cross with him. And so, in 1159, Vitalian made the call, and began preparations to sail to the Holy Land. He was joined by thousands of soldiers from all over the Holy Roman Empire, from Genoa, from Provence, and even from places as far away as Brittany, Gwynedd, and Munster.


The Eastern Mediterranean in 1158:
Fatimid_1158.jpg


The initial battles were difficult as the Christians struggled to organize themselves as they disembarked from their ships and faced immediate hostility. But they persevered, and as more crusaders arrived, the tide began to turn their way. The Pope himself led the troops in important victories at Sarafand and Massada, as they captured more and more fortresses at Palestine. But then the Fatimids began to show their own might, able to bring reinforcements in more quickly. The young Caliph Abdul-Haq ibn Musa acquired a reputation for bravery, and began to retake the castles and towns lost earlier in the war.

But in 1164, Abdul-Haq died in battle for Jerusalem at the hands of the Duke of Provence, and his uncle Tayyib Ibn Bashir took over. Tayyib would not live long, dying a natural death in 1166 without ever taking the field against the Christians. Tayyib was succeeded by his short-tempered and highhanded son, Abdullah II. By 1168, the tribes were getting restive, and the Crusaders saw little resistance as they captured Jerusalem and made one last push to consolidate their holdings in Palestine. Though they held many towns and fortresses they lacked a secure route between them and the sea.


The Holy Land in 1168:
Fatimid_1168.jpg


Then. dramatic news came from Cairo. The Caliph had been overthrown and imprisoned, reputedly for shamefully offering peace terms to the Christians, and Abdul-Salaam Thughrid ‘the Conqueror’ ahd been proclaimed Sultan. The fierce tribes were said to be rallying behind him and gathering their strength to push the infidels out of Palestine.

Exhausted by nine years of war, seemingly with no end in sight, and hearing word of trouble at home, Gerhard II abandoned the Crusade. Disappointed, but with no hope of carrying on without the powerful Kaiser at his side, Vitalian II declared the crusade ended.

In retrospect, this would be viewed as a mistake. Abdul-Salaam would live barely a year, and his son Murad. Though brave and convivial, the young man had a terrible temper. Within a year of gaining the throne, he had so offended Rasul Yousifid, the Emir of Damascus, that he had sworn an oath to depose him. Emir Badr Abukirid of Alexandria soon followed suit, claiming independence. By the following year, Murad was in a struggle for survival as the Caliph’s nephew Akhbar ibn Tayyib, the Sheikh of Al-Aqabah claimed the Sultanate for his own. Many of the remaining Fatimids joined him in this war.

Murad made peace with Akhbar in 1174, ceding the Sultanate of Egypt, while retaining titles to Anatolia and Sicily for himself. But the Empire was now splintered, weaker than it had been in centuries. The coup that Abdul-Salaam had promised would restore vigor to the Sultanate had instead shattered it.


The Eastern Mediterranean in 1178:
Fatimid_1178.jpg
 

kaeim

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Men of Rome, now is your time! Take back what is yours, and show these Arabic menaces what Roman steel can do to their innards! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaah!!

Btw, the BZE seems to have a piece of land in Egypt, maybe mod that out? I know you try to be hands off as much as possible, but realism should triumph in this AAR, and having an outpost that deep in Egypt seems weird :/
 

magritte2

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It is weird but I have a save from a few months before it became Byzantine and that province was an outlying posession of an Emir who was loyal to the Thughrids, and whose other lands are in Armenia, and it was occupied by rebels. So it appears that when the Thughrids lost the war for Egypt, the rebels must have taken posession and--since the province is still Orthodox--they pledged themselves to the Byzantines! I'll have to cover that when I do an update on the Byzantines.
 

magritte2

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THE FALL OF BRITTANY, 1168-1181

When the Duke Konan IV de Rennes had left for the Jerusalem Crusade, his advisers had been somewhat concerned, as he had no son and his daughter was yet a child. Still, Konan was young and had plenty of time to produce one—although rumor suggested the handsome duke preferred his soldiers to his wife. But in the closing months of the crusade, Konan IV had died, leaving his 12-year-old daughter Andreva as Duchess.

It was not long before her rule was challenged. The Countess Eliza de Rohan, whose demesne encompassed half of Brittany, declared war to place her chancellor—and Andreva’s uncle--Jakez mab Padrig de Rennes on the throne. But fortune favored the young Duchess initially, as her forces captured Eliza’s husband in battle. But more dangerous challengers were on their way:


The de Rennes family in 1173:
DeRenne1173.jpg


Brittany in 1173:
Brittany_1173.jpg


The stage for the next phase was set up by the confusion in England at the time. When Godwin II died, his throne had passed to his grandson, Godwin III, who had lived only two months after inheriting. His younger brother, Richard I was proclaimed King, but the powerful Duchess of York, Joan of Hwicce had no intention of swearing fealty to a corpulent dwarf, and made war to place his still younger brother, Albert, on the throne. In 1172, Duchess Isabel the Merry of Gwynnedd declared war on Andreva, seeking to place her steward, Eystein Crovan, the Bishop of Langollen. Eystein’s rather feeble claim derived from his mother, Ysabelle, who had been the Duke Konan III’s sister. Normally, Isabel would no doubt have feared to set sail for Brittany, leaving her lands unguarded against the English, but with England in civil war, placing an ally in Brittany seemed worth the risk.

The vultures were soon circling. King Sancho VI of Castilla and Galicia reasoned that if the Bishop of Langollen had a claim, so too did Brechte Billung, who was the daughter of another of Konan III’s sisters. Some theorized that he pushed Brechte’s claim merely to spite his rebellious vassal, Duke Pere II of Galicia who—as Konan IV’s brother—had a much stronger claim.

And so four armies squared off in Brittany. In 1176, Andreva relinquished her title after being besieged by the Welsh, and Eystein became Prince-Archbishop of Brittany, but Castille and Countess Eliza continued to make war. Always sickly, Eystein died after only a few years, and was succeeded by Helge Dosenrode, who had been bishop of Langollen after him.

The independent Archbishopric of Brittany was short-lived. King Albert had defeated his brother and reunited England and his confidante the Duchess of York, asserted that her kinsman, the Earl Hearewald of Cumberland, first cousin to Konan IV, had as good a claim as any to Brittany. At her urging, Albert crossed the English Channel.

As none of the minor powers involved in the struggle for Brittany could challenge the Kingdom of England, the war came to a close in 1181. Nearly two hundred years of Breton independence under the de Renne family had ended, and the English had another foothold on the continent.

England in 1183:
England_1183.jpg
 

magritte2

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AN ELEGY FOR ABYSSINNIA, 1175-1183.

The royal line of Abyssinnia had long feared this day, but Queen Adina Zagwe was determined to face the coming invasion bravely. She was admired by her people for her wisdom but she could find nothing in her books that gave her hope against the Egyptian invasion.

Abyssinnia in 1178:
Abyssinnia.jpg


Though it had been the strength of the Fatimid Caliphate that had inspired fear for her and her predecessors, it was their weakness that had proven her undoing. Abyssinnia had long maintained an uneasy peace with the Caliphs; their true enemies had been the Rassids in Harer. But when Caliph Abdulah II had been imprisoned and the Caliphate overthrown, a century of treaties had become dust. At first, Adina had wondered whether the muslims would be so splintered that she might have an opportunity to free the Nubian Christians from tyranny. But the civil war had been brief. Though Abdullah II was technically still Caliph, real power now lay in the hands of his brother Akbar, the Sultan of Egypt. With his holdings in the Levant and Anatolia lost to the Thughrids, Akbar now cast his greedy gaze to the south. And even without their other possessions, the teeming masses of the fertile lower Nile enabled him to raise armies far larger than anything she could muster.

She did her best to face this threat, sending her chancellor, Bishop Aeren of Roha with an army up the Nile. He sent encouraging words of triumphs over the weakly defended towns of upper Nubia. But Akbar had sent his main force down the Red Sea coast, and invaded Abyssinnia from the north. Her reserve army led by Bishop Berhanua of Teseney was destroyed, and when she called Aeren back to defend the homeland, he too was defeated. With the fall of her last highland strongholds, Doqaqit and Ginbo in 1183, the proud and ancient Abyssinnian kingdom was extinguished.
 

Nikolai

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Poor Abbysinia. :(
 

Bballman23

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This is great. Love the way you're covering the world, it's very interesting. Central Europe still boring I assume?