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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Berkis

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The game difficulty is set on normal.

A QUEST FOR THE BALTIC LAKE - YLVING DYNASTY AAR





brunenieks_edited-3a.jpg





CHAPTERS


1. Ylvings among other dynasties (1066-1156)

2. Danish Civil war for seniority (1157-1158)

3. King Bartomeu puts the dynasty back on track (1158-1186)

4. King Halvor's II dilemmas (1186-1219)

5. King Halvor II expands Denmark north (1219-1222)

6. Rurikovich dynasty acquires the throne of Norway (1222-1225)

7. Danish Prince Carles marries Queen of Norway Yelizaveta Rurikovich (1226)

8. Carles becomes the Chancellor of Norway and the King of Denmark (1229)

9. Carles acquires and vassalizes Oland and Gotland (1236)

10. Princess Ragna of Denmark becomes the Queen of Norway (1245)

11. Carles becomes the Magnanimous and the King of Sweden (1264)

12. After the war with Holy Roman Emperor, Ylving dynasty acquires Lübeck (1278)

13. Ragna becomes the Queen of Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland (1286)


14. The War of Icelandic independence (1300-1304)

15. The War of Fairy independence (1307-1310)

16. The Scandinavian uprising against German kings (1326-1347)

17. The English Holy War for Orkney (1344-1349)

18. King Otto acquires and vassalizes Bremen (1377)

19. King Otto marries for the trappings of Byzantine Emperor (1400)

20. Queen Gudrid puts an end to Uppland's independence (1411)

21. Holy Roman Empire attacks Scandinavia (1418-1424)

22. King Torgil conquers Kakisalmi (1426)

23. King Torgil joins crusade on Holy Roman Empire (1427-1432)

24. Prince Skofte of Denmark becomes Holy Roman Emperor (1443)

25. Kaiser Skofte merges four kingdoms within Holy Roman Empire (1452)

26. Results




















irrra.png




5kings.jpg



From 1066, for more than eighty years on, the Danish kings had been succesfully managing and defending their realm against claimants both, from the South and North. None of them behaved with impatience whether to expand their territories or only to impress their neighbours. Except, perhaps, of King Halvor I, who had unsteady character....if one grabbed him, one came away with a handful of slime. King Svend II, on his turn, enforced the law and destroyed the stronghold of Wend pirates. He had left his son Harald III to govern; but he was so unpopular that nobles assasinated him and elected the King Knud the Bewitched.

The dukes and counts of Brunswick persistently tested military skills and abilities of every consecutive Danish king. Especially, those of King Knud the Bewitched (1072-1111) and King Gregers the Old (1114-1158). Holy Roman Emperor sought to include "eternally united" Duchies Slesvig and Holstein in the Holy Roman Empire, which both had the King of Denmark as their sovereign. However, carefully managing their kingdom, bribing their vassals and paying mercenaries both Danish kings not only thwarted enemy designs, but also were able to develop military technologies and even managed to build the first Danish university. Despite some very strong vassal demands, elective Royal laws were preserved, laying down the fundamentals of a relatively modern representative system.

The Crown authority and feudal taxes were kept low. The Royal house considered it to be a criterion of nobility that it served the Kingdom for nothing.To be able to do that it had to have its own wealth, from which it could live; otherwise the thing simply would not work. With bad laws and good vassals one can still govern, but with permanently hostile vassals even the best laws cannot help.


The Kings didn't stay only defensive, however. Benefiting from the conflicts between the Swedish King and his vassals, the Kingdom was expanded conquering the counties of Smaland and Vastergotland. The Danish Kingdom acquired its rightful place on the European map and the Danish King's court among other royal houses. By the mid of the 12th century the 5th King of Denmark, King Gregers felt that his days under this Sun were numbered and everything was prepeared for a peaceful transition of power. The throne had to be left to Prince Deodat, when the last suddenly, at the age of 33, died of syphillis.




syphillis.jpg



 
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Deodat' s death triggered the Danish civil war.

" I look like a King, don't I?" - Count Gnupa of Slesvig asked to his wife, who was three decades younger. He had dreamed to become a sovereign since his childhood.



knight.jpg



Gnupa just celebrated his 60th birthday and was very afraid of retirement. For all of his life had been a staunch supporter of King Gregers. Gnupa had been grateful to him for the gifts and his marriage. They had monthly encounters with the King in confidence. If one sees the King every day, and especially sees him alone, one has power irrespective of his title or its place in the hierarchy. Gnupa went hunting with the King every month; he knew his weak and sides and knew his mood. He felt the power to overthrow him and felt it was "now or never" to get to the throne.

He thought that the King's successor, Duke Bartomeu of Halland, was a cretin with an impossible wife and for that matter the entire court of the King lacked distinction. " Do you consider Bartomeu is a limited brain?" - the King once asked him. " By no means", Gnupa replied "but he cannot keep a table in order, much less he could the Kings vassals and the court". The problem was that Bartomeu had flamboyant temperament, literary flair and the same, direct access to the King.

Gnupa had been pleading to introduce Royal Seniority laws (and to raise the pension age), long since he had turned sixty, but the King had ever been adamant in preserving the Royal tradition. Last month the envoy of the King of England presented to Gnupa Damascus sword and was flattering him, saying he was the most tenacious branch of the whole Ylving dynasty. The envoy was rather blunt, though, saying that the Danish King's claim on the Duchy of Norfolk prevents closer ties between the two Royal houses. Bidding farewell, the envoy mentioned another thing, Gnupa knew already. The Danish King's coffres were empty.....
 
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Berkis

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After a long and cold winter, in the spring of 1157 Gnupa decided that the time is ripe to take matters in his own hands. King of England had sworn him once more to keep his promises and come to help, sending the message by three white pigeons. While the meadows of Sleisvig were still muddy, Gnupa made one more last attempt to persuade King Gregers to introduce Royal Seniority laws, but after failing, he stroke immediately. The Danish Civil war for Seniority had started.




gnupa.jpg



At the beginning the King had suffered a loss of nerve. However, also Gnupa began to slowly run out of steam after winning the battles of Holstein and Sleisvig only with the help of some English knights, but mostly their mercenaries. His winter diplomacy hadn't been very fruitful after all. Other Danish vassals were reluctant to send their troops into the battle for the benefit of Gnupa.

King's Gregers coffres proved to be not as empty as Gnupa expected. After two months of warfare, the King decided that it was high time his vassals saw some of his personal levies. Under Ylving colours the army marched through Skane and Sjaelland in many towns drewing a huge, cheering crowd. But all in all and by large, the fate of Danish Royal succession laws and hundread year tradition was holding on mercenary swords.

After two major bloody battles in Sjaelland both sides were exhausted. Gnupa had run out of the levies, but the King Gregers of money. The war ended with White Peace, but delaying the Kingdom's development for many long years. But the King of England....he had reached his strategic goal.




englnorfolk.jpg


 
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6kings.jpg



The 6th King of the Kingdom of Denmark - Bartomeu (1158-1186) came to the throne right after the civil war ended. His future seemed unenviable. He faced low crown authority, small levies, small feudal taxation and increasingly sceptic vassals. He had to infuse the system with obedience without undermining his powers at the time when the Danish Kingdom's neighbours - Norway and Holy Roman Empire grow stronger by every year.

A year before the next and anticipated periodic attack of the Duke of Brunswick in 1167, Bartomeu invited and challenged the Duke to a game of cards and played so wildly and recklessly that the Duke assumed that he had the same attitude to his diplomacy. The Duke attacked. After repelling the attack, Bartomeu got so much needed respite to put the Kingdom's finances and house in order. Peasant revolts in Skane and Jylland were supressed, and not with a small difficulty. The rage at his enemy vassals, however, would become more and more prominent as he got older and more powerful, and would take an increasing toll of his energies and health.

"We are not rich enough to use up our strenghth in wars that do not earn us anything", he sometimes argued. However, 10 years later Bartomeu was forced to fight another war - Norwegian -Danish Excommunication war, which fotunately for him ended inconclusively. The Kingdom was salvaged and the old order began to gain confidence. Although Bartomeu was a good statesman and diplomat, in the history annales he will always and mistakenly be remembered as "the Unready".





ck7Brunswika1.jpg





 
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7kings.jpg




Every Ylving dynasty King had to fight defensive wars against Brunswick Dukes and Counts at least once in a lifetime.The 7th Danish King Halvor II (1186 -1229) wasn't an exception. He had to do that even twice. Neither he nor his ancestors had ever coveted the Duchies and counties south of Holstein. Holstein itself, however, where Ylving standard once was hoisted, they always rightfully considered theirs. Halvor II passionately continued this tradition.



brunswickwwar.jpg



Contrary to what happened in the neighbouring Sweden, King Halvor raised crown authority and feudal taxes. Power in the Kingdom became more centralized. In many ways he was copying the processes in the neighbouring Kingdom of Norway, which there happened a decade earlier. After centralizing power, Norwegian King Harald VI, almost completely vassalized Swedish Dukes and Counts. When the opportunity presented itself, Halvor II, did the same, grabbing his slice of cake, vassalizing Swedish counties of Narke and Ostergotland. King of Sweden found the refuge in Oland.



harald.jpg




By the second decade of the 13th century Ylving dynasty found itself almost sandwiched between Holy Roman Empire and fast raising Kingdom of Norway. Holy Roman Emperor once even said contemptuously about Halvor II, that he goes to bed as a Norwegian and wakes up as a Holy Roman Emperor' s vassal. However, with both of them King Halvor wished and managed to peacefully co-exist till the moment when the opportunity presented itself.



ck2_7.jpg


 
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Berkis

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In 1219, Norwegian King Harald VI " The Great" passed away leaving 4 children, despite he was known to be homosexual. His son King Pàl took the throne. Young Swedish Duke of Bergslagen, who several times during his life had to turn down King's Harald approaches, ever wanted to shake off Norwegian yoke and onerous vassalage. He had endured those for long decades and therefore acted immediately going into war.

Although his Chancellor and Steward both were slightly hesitant, Danish King Halvor sensed that the long awaited moment to step into neighbourly conflict, claiming the county of Sodermanland, has finally come. Supported by his Marshal and some grey eminences in his court he decided to start a campaign.


ck2_15.jpg



The most important battle took place in Norwegian Oppland, where more than 3000 Danish levies and as many mercenaries won the battle of Oppland over the King's Pàl vassals troops, who were still loyal to him. Norwegian King was furious and exclaimed that not even a scabby dog in his Kingdom would ever, in the future, accept meat from Danish King.


ck2_16.jpg


Forced to deal with three conflicts at a time and had just celebrated his 24th birthday, the Norwegian King decided to end the conflicts as soon as possible. Due to his relative inexperience. in none of all three cases, unfortunately, he managed to come out as winner.

With Sodermanland vassalized and the Duchies of Bergslagen, Norrland, Uppland and Trondelag had become independent, Danish King Halvor II had made a visibly small step forward. That, however, had put into motion many irreversible processes, the effects of which would be felt many decades later.


ck2_17.jpg

 
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Legolas

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I'm quite enjoying this!

By the way, what is Trinacria, i.e. where did it come from? Doesn't sound like a name related to the Baltic region.
 

Berkis

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I'm quite enjoying this!

By the way, what is Trinacria, i.e. where did it come from? Doesn't sound like a name related to the Baltic region.

Thanks, and

A titular kingdom in the lands of Sicily.

thanks for the explanation.


Well, i found that the name Trinacria was attributed to the triangular form of Sicily; and it is also three legged heraldic symbol, which used to have the head of Medusa in the centre, whose hair was turned into snakes by the goddess Athene. Not anymore obviously, since Sicilian parliament uses the Trinacria as its flag these days. Not sure though, whether that is this one

trinacria.jpg


Sicilians at the Baltic sea, in the middle of 13th century?....Well, obviously they managed to survive even the harshest winters:)
 
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Norwegian King' s real troubles were just beginning. Norway and Rus headed for a serious clash. King Pàl was still negotiating the outcome of the recent war with his vassals, when King Gavriil of Rus decided to press his dynasty's claims for the title of the King of Norway. Gavriil's troops began amphibious assaults on Norway across the Baltic Sea in 1222. King Halvor felt comfortable that in this war he could be a simple by-stander. As long as he showed relaxed self-confidence, the others would have respect for him, he thought.

Gavriil.jpg


King Pàl was able to resist the assaults with mixed success for more than three years, but in autumn 1225, he was left with very few loyal troops,. The final battle was that of Saxholm in Varmland.

On September 9, two hours before dawn the first Gavriil' s storming parties by means of yells egged themselves and each other on to attack. Gavriil first sent in his auxiliaries herdsmen and nomads, who had come from the countries of Asia. They were armed only with a spear and carried a narrow wooden shield. As the their scaling ladders were raised against the walls of Saxholm, they were showered with arrows, seething pitch and molten lead. Many of assailants, badly burnt and screeching, tried to run away, but Gavriil's personal levies, posted by the ditch stretching around Saxholm walls, clove their skulls with their swords and threw their bodies into the ditch to help fill it in. After these irregulars, Gavriil sent in his Catholic allies and also renegades who had rallied, thirsting for plunder, to hîs standard. It was terrible thing to hear them invoking Christ and the Blessed Virgin crawling up a ladder. In a dusk Gavriil allowed the survivors to withdrew.

Next morning Gavriil' s levies opened their attack. These were swift, savage men who laughed gleefully as they clambered up in ecah other' s shoulders in swarms to rech the top of the Saxolm wall. They attacked in close waves, yelling and reviling Catholics with menaces too frightful to record. There were perhaps few hundred King Pàl's troops left, when Gavriil' s personal levies hoisted their flag on the top of Saxholm's wall. The battle was over and King Pàl was forced to recognize thirty-two year old Yelizaveta, of Rurikovich dynasty, to be the Queen of Norway.

Jelizaveta.jpg


King Halvor would have liked King Pàl to stay, becuase he thought that such a clumsy opponent and neighbour, he would never see again. However, a major shift in balance of power between dominating dynasties in the Northern Europe had happened. Nobody else understood it more clearly than Danish King' s wife, Queen consort Ashild. She had been the neck that turns the head of King Halvor for all his life. With her extraordinary intellect and traits she had every right and possibility to do that. With the quikckest eye for the right combination at the right moment, she would sacrifice everything , even her personal hatred to the success of the dynasty. She cleraly saw that a recent upheaval in Norway may be beneficial to Ylvings if the position among the stars will have been right. In order to fill other kingdoms, but Holy Roman Empire in particular, with sufficient respect for Ylvings, they would have to show themselves capable to join even with Orthodox dynasty....

queenconsort.jpg

 
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Machiavellian

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I am really enjoying this tale so far. I look forward to more to come.
 

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Thanks for your encouragement!


Although strangers who were wandering around, at a time were frowned up, Ashild coaxed King Halvor to visit Gavrill in confidence, while the last was still in Saxholm. He had to arrive in Saxholm in disguise, without being noticed or recognized. Danish King' s court and vassals had to be kept in dark about the visit. Making around twenty kilometers a day on a difficult terrain together with his Chancellor Adam d'Hauteville, they finally reached the town on the first day of 1226.

Gavriil was still very elated and made them to wait for a whole week, before he settled in a mood for a meeting. When it finally happened, celebration and jubilance on the occassion of taking Saxholm had hardly finished. Gavriil, who consumed vodka as if prohibition was just round the corner, was hardly sober sitting at the table full with porridge, eggs, pirogi, kvas, sweet kasha, honey and prianiki. Halvor had to join him in what turned out to be his longest meal ever. Short northen winter days confused with long nights, incoherent ramblings and toasts to a long life of the Kingdom of Rus. Gavriil, half-jokingly offered Halvor to convert to Orthodoxy, which he had to decline politely.

One morning, after almost two weeks, when Halvor' s hangover made him feel like a creature from another planet, Chancellor d'Hauteville came into his room telling that Gavriil accepted the offer. "What offer?" - Halvor asked hesitantly, with a dry mouth and scared look on his face. "To marry Yelizaveta to your son Carles" - Chancellor replied nonchalantly, as if reminding him of his lord' s right of the first night. Halvor wasn't sure at all, that he had dared to make such an offer to Gavriil; at least he didn't remember. Only in the afternoon, when Gavriil's spymaster came in with a paper, fully written in Cyrillic and asked him to initialize it, he became aware that indeed something had happened. For a brief moment he was suspicious because a spymaster had been sent as a messenger. First he thought to request to translate the meaning of the text; but then he took a risk and decided to rely upon frankness and bona fide of Gavriil. Hay had to be made, while the sun shines. He put his Royal initials at the bottom of a paper scroll. Carles' fate, who just had turned sixteen, has been sealed. He knew, Ashild would be happy.

marriage.jpg

 
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King of Rus Gavriil Rurikovich was fond of being compared to his Great Great Grandparent a Viking chieftain and later Duke Rurik, who established town of Novgorod and became a founder of the Kingdom of Rus. Gavriil, therefore, didn't consider himself to be a conqueror - he was simply bringing his dynasty back to his ancestor' s lands. With Yelizaveta in the Norwegian throne his quest for the Baltic lake was almost completed. Ylving dynasty remined one of the final hurdles to overcome.


ck2_12.jpg


The marriage was set to take place in St. Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod. From Sjaelland, King Halvor and Carles with his entourage had to sail to the Gulf of Finland, then up the river Neva to the huge Lake Ladoga and on to the mouth of the river Volkhov. At the gates of Novgorod beggars were gathering to feast on leftover food. Carles met his future wife in the Cathedral under helmet shaped cupolas. Every part of her face was painted with some type of cosmetic, her hair were loose, since wedding was almost the only time a woman could wear her hair like that. The ceremony was followed by an incredible celebration with jugglers and other entertainers. Gavriil freed twenty prisoners, including his half-brother to mark the occassion.

medieval-wedding-450x313.jpg


Marrying Yelizaveta, Carles had become the stepfather of her only daughter from her first marriage, Sbyslava Ilyaovna, heir to the Kingdom of Norway, who would turn sixteen very soon...
 

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Extending Rurikovich dynatsty holdings to Norway and nominating Yelizaveta to the throne, Gavriil thought he would convince his vassals that he was respected abroad and would put up with a lot at home. He, however, had taken a gamble, since Yelizaveta had had a claim not only to the throne of the Kingdom of Norway, but also to that of the Kingdom of Rus. Therefore, not everyone was excited about the wedding. Gavriil's wife Queen Darya and the Duke of Livonia Kirill Kobylin openly and in the presence of Gavriil' s vassals, expressed their indignation at the decion to get allied with Ylvings. In their view, damage control should have been done by diminishing Ylvings' influenece upon Yelizaveta by all means. Besides the Duke of Livonia, also the Duke of Lesser Poland and the Duke of Galich hold rather unfavorable opinions about Gavriil and his policies. If some more reckless steps from Gavriil's side would have followed, a war with the vassals could break out at any moment.
Gavriil' s position was indeed precarious. His chancellor, influeneced by irreconcilable vassals, came out with the proposal to move Norwegian Kingdom's capital to the small Norwegian town of Rost in the very North of Norway, beyond the Arctic cercle, far from the Baltic Sea and far away from Ylvings. Gavriil had to agree almost immediately.

Duke Iziaslav II of Chernigov, who was known to be in love with Yelizaveta, went to extremes and challenged Carles to the private duel of honour only a week after the wedding.


iziaslav.jpg


The Duke was weak, but brave. The duel, though, began as anything, but honourable; Iziaslav carried sand in his pocket and threw it in Carles' face. Iziaslav made the first blow, which Carles blocked with his shield. Carles offered to withdraw him the challenge, but when Iziaslav refused he shattered Iziaslav's right arm, but leaft him alive.

By year 1228, Carles managed to strenghthen his position in the court of Yelizaveta. He had become the Chancellor of the Kingdom of Norway, almost inevitably having his say in some of the key decisions made, but also, because the daughter of Yelizaveta and Carles, Ragna Carlesdatter was born.


CarlesChancellor.jpg


Yet a year after Carles became the King of Denmark. From his father and particularly, the mother Queen Ashild, who brought him up and educated, Carles inherited various good traits. He was quick, brave, charitable, grey eminence. The modesty and absence of show had continued to mark previous generations of Ylving dynasty kings throughout their lives. It was time to change it.


CarlesKing.jpg

 
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Just days after Carles came to the throne, Holy Roman Emperor raised his levies in the counties next to Holstein. That was the scenario, which reminded so many others during the previous centuries. Carles, whose many vassals had negative opinions about him, decided to wait and not to raise Danish Kingdoms levies. He was determined not to do anything that might provoke Keiser Ulrich the Ironside. His intuition paid off. After weeks of negotiations the Keiser agreed not press the claims, but only in return of Carles' promise that the succession in Denmark might be changed to nothing else, but Gavelkind.


Daysafter.jpg


After negotiating, Carles got much needed respite to improve his relations with vassals. The most unfavourable was Mayor of Swedish Kalmar, Anund af Kronoberg, whom Carles appointed as his steward and sent on a mission to research economy tech in the county of Veliky Ustug in the Kingdom of Rus. Two thoughts didn't leave him alone though. The first the succession laws in Denmark. Elective system was too heavy and unpredicatable; besides Carles wished to enlarge his demense. He knew he would change the law sooner or later. Another was the future of the throne of the Kingdom of Norway. Yelizaveta's daughter Sbyslava stood in his way.


sbyslava.jpg


Half a year later, when on a cold polar night Yelizaveta's traits of being weak and depressed were the most visible, Sbyslava was drowned in the Arctic ocean with a large stone hung around her neck.


Kill.jpg

 
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Legolas

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Why would you send your steward to help some other country's province research technology?
 

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Why would you send your steward to help some other country's province research technology?

Well, in this case the passage probably has more prosaic meaning, but....the game allows one to send a steward to another kingdom or county on such a mission. When I noticed that, my line of thinking was something like that- once you have a vassal, who has a very negative opinion about you, you may nominate him to a certain position and then basically send him to exile to avoid a war. If your vassal is on a mission in the steppes of Rus, is he still able to wage and conduct a war against you?
 

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Oh, I never thought about that. I wonder if this actually works in the game, i.e. if the game properly tracks the locations of council members.
 

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In 1232, for the umpteen time, Duke of Brunswick attacked Denmark to acquire Holstein. And for the umpteen time, Danish King was forced to defend, and again, like his predecessors, did it successfully. (One can even estimate with mathematical precision - as soon as a new Danish King comes to the throne, whether on the same or the next year, the Duke of Brunswick attacks, as long as Holstein is in Danish hands).


pirmaielikt.jpg


The kingdom was tehnologically advanced enough to face even the most serious challenges. Carles was grateful for the work, the previous generations of Danish rulers had done. The remains of the Swedish Kingdom had to be absorbed once and for all. Notwithstanding to the war waged by the Duke of Skane against him, in late 1235 Carles declared war to the Swedish King Gregers III. After besieging Borgholm in Oland, which was Swedish King's last stronghold, for two months, Carle's levies began their onslaught on the first days of 1236. It was swift and violent and by sheer weight of numbers they forced the defenders back. Some of the Swedish ships managed their escape to Gotland.


accepted.jpg


But the escape didnt help them much because Gotland was Carles' next target. Had the Count Sverre of Gotland and his Regent Bishop Olver accepted the challenge and battle, they might have won, since Carles was short on money, his vassals patience and ships. That, however, was rather a lot to ask of a Regent, who in spite of some of Gotland's nobles pressure, mainly shared the assumptions of the King Greger III, who had just been dethroned.


Gotlande.jpg