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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Table of Contents
Introduction

ibicko

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Hello and welcome to my new Paradox mega-campaign AAR: A Tale as Old as Time. Five long years since my previous (failed) attempt at a mega-campaign AAR in A Spanish Story I have returned to (hopefully) complete the feat with a different playthrough. With Crusader Kings II nearing the end of its lifespan I felt the best way I could give this game a send-off would be with one last AAR hurrah. So I hope you will join me for the first chapter of this campaign in what will be a personal swan song of sorts to one of my favourite Paradox grand strategy games. Compared to most mega-campaign AAR’s this one will be slightly different, as every time we switch games within the series we will also switch nations to constantly spice up the international dynamic and provide new perspectives on what is sure to be a different and interesting world.
Any feedback and input you have is welcome with perhaps some suggestions on what nations to play for each installment.

So without further ado, sit back and relax for a lengthy read. This is A Tale as Old as Time...

FAQ

  • How will this AAR work?
Beginning in CK2’s 1066 start-date we will follow the journey taken by our chosen characters and nations until Victoria II’s end date of 1936 at the very earliest (with the potential to expand beyond through either Hoi IV or Darkest Hour). However, In contrast to other mega-campaign AAR’s, every time we move on to a new game we will also switch to a new nation.

  • Will there be any further reading articles?
Those who have seen my previous work on A Spanish Story will know that I like to sprinkle a little bit of wider-worldbuilding into my AARs which detail events, individuals, and nations outside of my direct control. These will also be present within this AAR.

  • What will your posting schedule look like?
I will endeavour to release at least one main story post each week every Saturday. Further reading articles will be released mid-week and will not count toward each week’s main-story post total. Any changes to the schedule will be made clear beforehand.

  • What mods are you using?
For Crusader King’s II we will not be using any mods, outside of some personal edits to add some flavour as the campaign progresses, however as the campaign continues to further titles I will look to add more mods either for gameplay or story-telling purposes.

  • What DLC are you using?
I will be using all DLC besides Holy Fury, Jade Dragon, and Monks and Mystics which I do not own. Sunset Invasion will also be turned off for this campaign.

  • What will your limitations be?
For Crusader Kings II I will seek to role-play each particular character according to their traits. Some rulers may be pious pacifists, while others viscous warmongers. Additionally, I will not be using gimmicky strategies, any expansion or actions must be realistic and justifiable.
 
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This looks interesting: I wish you luck and will tune in for a read and comment when time and nervous energy permit! :)
 
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Prologue

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And so our tale begins upon the humble isle of Mallorca. Its current ruler is Emir Hakam of the Hayyid dynasty. A lustful, cynical, paranoid schemer; Hakam may be a young, inexperienced ruler, but he holds great plans for his realm. Chief among them is expanding his holdings on the mainland and raising his own renown and prestige. Nevertheless, outside of his penchant for scheming and general shady nature, Hakam possesses very few of the qualities traditionally associated with a good ruler. Perhaps if his general ability to manage the realm fails, Hakam could always fall back on fear and blackmail to keep his vassals in line.

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Hakam’s territory spans the Balearic Islands along with the mainland provinces of Dénia and Almansa. The towns and castles within are nothing to write home about, overshadowed by the vastly more populated regions of the Iberian peninsula. Furthermore, troops would need to be ferried across the Gulf of Valencia during military campaigns, potentially leaving the realm vulnerable to attack. Nevertheless, the tiny Sheikhdoms of Murcia and Almería could prove a good staging ground for some early expansion.

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The capital in Medina Mayurqa (Palma de Mallorca) plays host to a moderate court. Perhaps the most notable of Hakam’s subjects are Marshal Hilal of Albacete, Court Imam Yahaff of Elx, and Grand Vizier Jyad. In spite of his lowborn status, Hilal has time and time again proved himself a master of the battlefield and could be put to great use in Hakam’s ambitions of conquest. Yahaff, on the other hand, has always offered good spiritual guidance, not that Hakam cares or listens to what the holy books say. Grand Vizier Jyad has always been an honest and trusted figure among the Mallorcan court. Due to Hakam's lack of diplomatic ability, Jyad will primarily be in charge of all matters of foreign affairs diplomacy.

council.jpg


The Hayyid family originated from Persia many years ago, migrating to Al-Andalus as the region came under the control of the Umayyad Caliphate. Whilst initially improving their status through the purchase of titles, Hakam’s father was able to wrestle control of the Balearic Islands and surrounding coasts following the collapse of the Caliphate of Córdoba. Given that the Hayyid family rose through the ranks thanks to their wealth, Hakam has no quarrel with the sale of titles and the appointment of ‘new men’ to positions of political power.

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Among Hakam’s immediate neighbours, the most notable would be the Aftasid and Dhunnunid Emirates, both realms act as the main bulwark against a potential Christian Reconquista. A diplomatic balance will have to be upheld with these two realms should Hakam’s personal ambition of expansion be fulfilled without Christian interference. Further north, beyond the Sistema Central, lies the Christian kingdoms of Galicia, León and Castile; though relatively tame by themselves, if united through one ruler or in an alliance they could pose a major threat to the Hayyid and other Andalusian realms. Further north still we have France, one of the most powerful Christian realms, though relatively inactive in Iberian affairs of late. In the Maghreb the major players are the Almoravids and Hammadids, potentially powerful allies or enemies depending on one's diplomatic approach.

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Hakam’s first act as ruler is to secure the future of his dynasty. Given the low status of the Hayyids few opportunities presented themselves for marriages with the other more established Muslim realms. Ultimately, Hakam is able to secure a marriage to the daughter of the Emir of Eliat, a minor noble within the Fatimid Caliphate. Yet, one wife was not enough to satisfy the lusty Emir, he soon moved to secure his courtiers’ Munya and Aiza as his secondary wives. After all, why stop at one wife when you can have three!

6.jpg


With his marriages secure and the realm's council reorganised following the death of his father, Emir Hakam of Mallorca set off to make a name for himself among the rulers of Al-Andalus...
 
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A somewhat nervous starting position, waiting to see if the Christians get organised and their hammer fall.
 
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Dangerous and perilous starting position.
 
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Sounds interesting... Subbed!
 
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Chapter I - Hakam of Mallorca

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Chapter I - Hakam of Mallorca (1066-1073)

With the matters of marriage sorted, Hakam’s attention turned to his thirst for conquest. Powerful enemies both Christian and Muslim lurked on the outskirts of his realm, but the tiny Emirate of Murcia looked ripe for the picking. The city of Murcia itself was vastly larger than anything existing within the Hayyid realm and the province's resources both material and human would aid in Hakam's survival as an independent ruler. The troops were mobilised and war was declared.

1.jpg


Yet, as Hakam’s realm was divided across the sea, ships needed to be raised to transport reinforcements to the mainland. With half the troops stuck on Mallorca, the Murcians were able to launch an invasion of Dénia. The Mallorcan army, led by Hakam himself, arrived just in the nick of time to reinforce their continental brethren.

2.jpg


Hakam himself personally led the right-flank of the reinforcements. Yet, whilst the Emir had been raised on stories of the Islamic conquests he had little real battlefield experience. The horrors of war were not something Hakam was intimately familiar with. Though the stories had told of glorious battles and heroic generals, the reality was nothing of the sort. Perhaps Hakam was never cut out to be a warrior.

3.jpg


The experience of the battlefield had broken Hakam’s cold and cynical heart. The emotions, the flashbacks, the blood. It was all too much. Hundreds of men had died under his command; wives lost their husbands, children their fathers. It would be Hakam’s first and last ever foray onto the field of battle.

4.jpg


Despite Hakam’s battlefield breakdown and subsequent retreat back to Mallorca, Hayyid forces under the command of Hilal of Albacete had won the day, pressing their advantage and laying siege to Murcia.

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After a two-year-long siege the Emirate of Murcia finally fell to the Hayyids, the province annexed into Hakam’s growing domain.

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The experience of war had left Hakam in a crisis of conscience. He had built himself in this image of a cold, cynical, all-conquering ruler. How could he then feel this level of sorrow and emotion from losing his own subjects on the battlefield? Perhaps faith would provide the answer? As such, Hakam packed his bags in preparation for a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.
Hakam’s existing religious knowledge left much to be desired. He knew the basic tenets of the Sunni creed but certainly didn’t live by them. Ask him to recite the Quran and he probably couldn’t give you more than a few lines. But in light of his recent experiences, perhaps this trip would be a watershed in his religious life?

8.jpg


Having sailed from Iberia to Egypt, from where the journey continued on land, Hakam and his band of travellers made camp upon the road to Mecca. A rugged old man, having made camp in the same location approached the Emir offering spiritual guidance in exchange for some food. Seeing this as a potential sign from Allah himself, Hakam handed over some flatbread. The man then proceeded to cite some wisdom on God’s mercy and wrath. Surely this was a sign? A sign that Allah would be merciful rather than punish Hakam for his failure on the battlefield. This was music to his ears.

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Reinvigorated from the chat with the mysterious old man, Hakam displayed his renewed faith at the Kabah by shouting at every circuit of the Tawaf. Perhaps the Emir had turned over a new leaf on this journey?

11.jpg


However, once back home it did not take long before Hakam began to revert to his old cynical self. Several months after his return news came through that Aiza, one of the Emir’s secondary wives was pregnant. But surely it hadn’t been long enough after Hakam’s return for this to be the case? Hakam’s paranoia took hold. Surely he could not be the father of this child?

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After a bribed courtier could not provide the evidence Hakam needed, the Emir confronted his wife personally. But her answer was not what he expected. Perhaps this was all just a misunderstanding? However, deep down Hakam still harboured doubts as to the child's true parentage.

13.jpg


In a late-night conversation with Grand Vizier Jyad, Hakam’s suspicions about the true parentage of his unborn child were raised. Jyad batted the claims off with ease.
“I thought your pilgrimage had changed you my lord. Not everybody is lying to you, not least your own wife.”

14.jpg


Having been chastised by Jyad for questioning the virtue and loyalty of Aiza, Hakam once again found himself demoralised. Memories of the Battle of Dénia began to flood back. The Emir's wrath could be heard throughout the night, whilst the serving staff found his room destroyed come morning.
During breakfast, Hakam thought back to the pilgrimage to Mecca. It was through spirituality that the Emir had found temporary peace. Perhaps a great work of charity could put his mind at ease? Maybe pious devotion to the Sunni faith really was the path to salvation?

15.jpg


A few months later Aiza gave birth to her child, a son and heir for Hakam. Mundir would be heir to the Hayyid dynasty. And though Hakam still harboured some paranoia at the back of his mind, he sought to banish these thoughts the best he could. And regardless, he was happy that the succession was now safe.
Mundir would soon be joined by brothers: Abu-Bakr, Hakam, and Raf. And sisters: Shakira, Ahu, Raisa, Butayna, Nadia, and Mariam. The lusty Emir certainly got to work over the next few years...

16.jpg


News reaches Hakam that the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada had succeeded in his quest to claim the English crown, subjugating the realm from the one-month king: William of Normandy. The Nordic realm now controlled near all land from Lindisfarne to Laval.

17.jpg


The time had come for Hakam and his court to observe Ramadan. Perhaps the Emir would make a real effort to observe the holy month this time around given his renewed flirtations with faith? The month certainly started well enough with Hakam giving to the poor and needy of the realm.

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Yet as the days wore on it grew harder and harder for Hakam to observe the fast. The temptations of both food and the flesh proved too much for the Emir and he soon began to flout the rules of the holy month behind closed doors. Perhaps Hakam would never truly embrace the religious lifestyle.

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The month soon came to an end however and so did Hakam’s ruse. Now it was time for the feast to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr! Invitations were sent around to the vassals of the realm inviting them to the capital. The feast itself was exceptional and left all of Hakam’s vassals in awe of the Emir’s wealth and generosity. Despite Hakam's lack of leadership abilities, it seemed as though fear and bribery were not the only methods he could keep his realm together.

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As part of the celebrations, it was also important for Hakam to bestow gifts upon his wives. Of course, all of them would see the Emir’s love and generosity.

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With the new land the Emir had conquered along with the swathes of prestige Hakam had somehow accumulated through his short reign, the time had come for Hakam to grant himself a new title. Contrary to the advice of many on his council, who suggested the new honour would not be recognised by the other rulers of Andalusia, Hakam crowned himself Sultan of Valencia.
“Why be an Emir when you can be a Sultan?” he thought to himself. “Far more befitting of my status, don’t you think?”

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I do hope that Norway manages to hold together.
 
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Our Sultan seems to be... conflicted, to say the least.
 
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Chapter II - The Sultan of Valencia

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Chapter II - The Sultan of Valencia (1073-1089)

“The Cruel?!? They call me Hakam the Cruel?!?” The new Sultan belted at his advisors. “How could this happen? I’m not an evil man!” He said as his council shifted their gaze among one-another.
“All this charity, all this praying and for nothing! Well, no more I say!”
It seems that Hakam’s brief flirtation with religion hasn’t amounted to much. The Sultan’s old callous nature had proved to have too much of a hold over his reputation for anybody to see otherwise.

With the reorganisation of the realm into a Sultanate underway, Hakam elects to yield the Sheikdom of Menorca to his loyal Grand Vizier Jyad in an effort to appease his subjects and move the centre of power onto the mainland at Dénia. A new local ruler on the Balearic islands would also improve the local administration. After all, the Sultan cannot be everywhere at once.

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However, when the Grand Vizier wrote to the Sultan to thank him for the new titles, among his letter was something more concerning. News had reached the diplomat that the dastardly Castilians had succeeded in their holy war, conquering much of the Aragonese interior from the Hadids. The rest of the Muslim realms on Iberia would have to be united by either diplomacy or war if they are to successfully resist the Christian menace.

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News also reaches the Sultan of a dangerous heresy making the rounds in Andalusia. The heretical Zikri faith had taken a foothold in the capital of Dénia. Strange new preachers have appeared on the city streets, sputtering all sorts of nonsense about the failings of Sunni Islam. Worse still, Hakam’s own wife had taken to following the local preachers! Though Hakam was not too fussed on the matter, and could barely point out the difference between the Sunni and Zikri creeds anyway; it was another matter for the realm's council. This could not stand! Court Imam Yahaff of Elx is dispatched to deal with the heretics, whilst Hakam demands his wife re-convert, fortunately Hakam's threats prove sufficient to make Hasti think twice about her decision.

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In celebration of the formation of the new Sultanate, Hakam organises a Furusiyya, a tournament pitting the greatest horsemen of the realm against each other. The tournament, lasting for several days, would see the warriors of the realm display their equestrianism, archery skills, and ability with a lance.

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Despite Marshal Hilal being the heavy favourite for victory in the tournament, first prize ultimately goes to an unknown local rider of little renown named Fadl, with Hilal coming second. Many questions are raised about Fadl’s victory, with allegations of cheating being spread among the other competitors. However, an investigation into the matter is not high on Hakam’s agenda, and so the lowborn goes home a happy man.

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Having observed a number of neighbouring realms dogpile on the Emirate of Granada, Hakam decides he also wants a slice of the pie. In early March 1078 war is declared on the weakened Emirate for control over the province of Almeria.

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Naturally, after Hakam’s last experience of war, he would leave this campaign in the hands of his generals. Commander Giyasaddin would take command of the Hayyid forces, whilst the Sultan remained in his cosy castle back in Dénia. After the month-long march into Granada, the Hayyid army faced little resistance. Almeria was fully occupied within a year, leading the remaining army to march inland in search of what was left of the Granadan levies.

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Both sides ultimately met at the Battle of Andújar. The Granadans stood little chance, outnumbered almost 2:1, Hakam’s forces inflicted the decisive blow.

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By the following year, the Granadans had surrendered. Almeria was part of the growing Hayyid Sultanate.

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Seeing the emerging threat posed by the expansionist Christian kingdoms, Hakam thought it necessary to secure a diplomatic agreement with the other Moorish realms. A betrothal between Prince Mundir and Princess Ghada of the Aftasid Emirate would create the foundations for a bulwark against the Spaniards. Later marriage agreements would also be struck with the Zirids and Hammadids within the Maghreb.

11.jpg


But soon after, both León and Galicia invaded the Aftasids with the goal of conquering Badajoz and Beja respectively. With Hakam’s forces still recovering from the Granadan war, conflict with the Spanish kingdoms could not be risked at this moment. Fortunately, many of the other Moorish realms had troops to spare, ultimately driving the Aftasids onto victory. For all Jyad's talk of a united front against the Christians, Hakam didn't seem overly enthusiastic about committing his troops to foreign wars.

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With Hakam’s heir Mundir approaching maturity it was important for him to be introduced to the various vassals of the realm so that they may become better acquainted with their future ruler.

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Whilst some of the meetings went down well, with Court Imam Yahaff offering to tutor Mundir in the Koran, and a number of vassals being impressed by Mundir’s diplomacy; it was also clear that Mundir had a temperamental streak, having started a fight with the daughter of the Court Physician.

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By the time of his sixteenth birthday, Mundir ibn Hakam had established himself as a crafty man of intrigue, though perhaps not as accomplished as his father. Mundir seemed almost a carbon-copy of his father in all ways but one. Thanks to his father’s religious phase, and the tutelage of Imam Yahaff, Mundir was a much more learned and religious man relative to the Sultan.

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With a capable heir now of age, Hakam was in a position to reflect on his own legacy and achievements. And what better way to do this than with a statue? After several months of work, a new monument was unveiled at the town square in Dénia. A masterpiece of sculpture, the bronze statue stood boldly above the square clutching its sword with the scabbard. Hakam’s bronze double would continue to watch over the denizens of Dénia for many years to come.

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News reaches Dénia of the goings-on in the world. Major revolts are taking place in both England and Byzantium. An Anglo-Norman alliance of Earls had risen up against the Norse King of England, Magnus I with the aim of putting Robert Curthose, son to the one-month King, William of Normandy, on the throne.

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Meanwhile, in Byzantium a four-way civil war had broken out over the succession to the Purple throne. Perhaps this civil war would provide an opportunity for Seljuk or Fatimid expansion within the region?

18.jpg


Great news reached Hakam in August. Thanks to the diligent work of Imam Yahaff of Elx the horrid Zikri heresy had been fully removed from Dénia and the heretical preachers were nowhere to be seen within Hakam’s realm. The council celebrated a job well done amongst themselves. The Zikris were gone, and would surely never be seen again...

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Several days later news reaches the capital that the Dhunnunids had launched an invasion of Jaen giving Hakam the perfect opportunity to add Granada to his growing realm. The troops were mustered and once more Hakam's commanders led the Hayyid army into battle whilst the Sultan sat at home.

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With the Dhunnunids occupying most of the Granadan forces, the path to the capital was clear for Hilal’s forces. Marshal Hilal in command of around 6000 troops took to besieging the province. All seemed to be going swimmingly on the front lines.

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However, back in Dénia, Hakam was not exactly feeling like himself. A slight dizziness, tiredness was it? Hakam wasn’t quite sure what was wrong with himself, but it was certainly something. After a thorough check-up by Court Physician Ya’far, it seemed that Hakam had come down with rabies. A dog bite from a previous hunting trip seemed to be the likely culprit. A deadly disease, Hakam would need to trust the physician with his life, but proved far too paranoid to try any of Ya’far’s more ‘experimental’ treatments.

22.jpg


With Hakam’s condition worsening by the day, Ya’far was soon giving the Sultan 24/7 care. But the Court Physician believed he had found a solution for the Sultan’s malaise. Ya’far produced a horrendously smelling jar containing a mixture of cow dung and various herbs and proceeded to smear it upon Hakam’s chest. The cure, allegedly a remedy from some far-flung land near Hindustan stunk out the palace for a number of days. But remarkably, several days later Hakam was feeling slightly better.

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But alas, the feeling proved fleeting. On December 12th 1089 Hakam ‘the Cruel’ fell dead in his bed reeking of cow’s dung. It took the servants several days and multiple shifts to fully clear the stench out of the Sultan’s suite.

24.jpg
 
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Our next update will be the first of a few further reading articles I have been working on.
Next Wednesday we will be looking over the current situation in the Kingdom of England, and how the succession crisis of 1066 led to the current civil war.
I'm aiming to make the further reading articles more akin to actual historical enquiries compared to the more narrative-based posts which follow the Hayyid dynasty.
I hope you are all enjoying the AAR so far, but there is a lot more to come so stay tuned.
 
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Maybe there was something particularyl objectionable about his charity making him cruel? :D
 
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Perhaps the new Sultan will be better than Hakam? After all, he is more religious...
 
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FR: Robert’s Rebellion - The Fallout from 1066

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Further reading Title card.png

Robert’s Rebellion - The Fallout from 1066

For one to understand how Robert’s Rebellion came about, we must first look at the events of the English succession crisis of 1066. With the death of the childless Edward the Confessor, Harold Godwinson was elected by the Witenagemot to succeed to the throne of England. However, the accession of the new Saxon king was not well met by the other pretenders to the throne. Both William of Normandy and Harald Hardrada of Norway launched invasions of the island nation in an attempt to claim the throne for themselves.

Storms along the North Sea delayed the Norwegian invasion plans, and thus William of Normandy was the first to make landfall at Hastings, setting up camp to prepare for the advance onto the capital of Winchester. However, Before any advances could be made Norman forces were set upon by the Anglo-Saxon army. For the early periods of the battle, it appeared as though Godwinson’s forces would succeed, the English King’s Huscarls holding the line against the Norman troops. But soon the tide turned; discipline was in short supply among the English troops allowing the Normans to break the Huscarl lines, and take Godwinson as their prisoner.



In the aftermath of the battle, Harold Godwinson relinquished his claim to the Kingdom of England, recognising William as his liege lord. William was ruthless in his pacification of the nobility. Those who refused to immediately bend the knee were disinherited and replaced with Norman lords. Only the Dukes of York, Winchester, and Warwick, along with a number of other minor northern lords, remained of the old nobility once William’s campaign was completed. But hold onto the kingdom he could not.


Despite William's initial victory, the north remained a stronghold
of Anglo-Saxon rule


Norwegian forces had soon landed in York and began to make their way south for the long march to meet William’s forces. Both armies clashed at the Battle of Bedford but with the Norman troops still recovering from their long campaigns against the Saxon resistance, Hardrada’s troops were able to come out best and claim England for the Norwegians.



However, upon his assumption of the throne, Hardrada offered a compromise to the existing nobility allowing them all, including the new Norman lords to retain their seats should they acknowledge Norwegian rule. Seeing the writing on the wall, many lords chose to swear fealty to Hardrada, rather than risk a long, drawn-out and futile resistance.

Though this provided short-term stability for Hardrada’s rule, it would ultimately be the undoing for Norse rule in England. With Hardrada’s death in 1085, his empire was divided between his sons, with Magnus gaining England and Olav Norway. It is important to note that both of Hardrada’s sons were legitimised bastards, providing fuel for any remaining Norman or Saxon claims to the throne. Many of King Magnus’ policies also alienated the Norman nobility. Historians suggest Magnus gave much more deference to the remaining Saxon rulers, giving them positions on his advisory council, whilst Norman lords were treated with suspicion and kept away from the seat of power in Jorvik.



Only one year into the reign of Magnus did Robert of Normandy declare his intention to claim the throne as his father had before him. The vast majority of Norman lords elected to stand with their brethren, whilst the remaining Saxons supported Magnus in his defence of the realm. Importantly though, the powerful Duke of Warwick, despite being a Saxon lord was swayed into joining Robert’s cause. Edwin was well known to be an ambitious, scheming man who would easily betray his friends or countryman if it benefitted him personally. It is likely that promises of wealth and power from Robert led the Duke to betray his Saxon brethren.

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Most English historians agree that support from Edwin of Warwick proved pivotal to Robert’s successful campaign. With the onset of the civil war, forces loyal to Robert of Normandy were concentrated within the English midlands, whilst Magnus' supporters in Northumbria and Winchester were divided. The Duke of Winchester was very easily defeated, quickly surrendering to the Normans. With the loyalist army considerably drained the remaining forces gathered at Jorvik in an attempt to weather the oncoming storm. By 1087 the Norman army marched north to meet King Magnus in the field of battle. Both sides met at Doncaster in the autumn. The battle was a rout, with King Magnus slain and the remaining loyalist forces retreating to Cumbria.

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Whilst loyalist forces attempted to rally around Magnus’ son Armond Hagalín, their strength had been significantly diminished by the loss of their figurehead. In late 1087 Robert Curthose of Normandy acceded to the throne of England, marking the final victory of the Normans over the Saxons and Norse. The history of England would forever be changed, its cultural outlook and politics now much more connected with its southern neighbour France than the Scandinavian kingdoms. In the centuries to come, the political, cultural and economic outlook of the English lands would be greatly affected through Norman rule. This was just the beginning of England's changing role on the European and world stage...

 
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So, the Normans defeated the Saxons, then the Norse defeated the Normans, and then the Normans defeated the Norse...

Also, what says that the King of Norway won’t attempt to take England? He should have a claim, right?
 
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So, the Normans defeated the Saxons, then the Norse defeated the Normans, and then the Normans defeated the Norse...

Also, what says that the King of Norway won’t attempt to take England? He should have a claim, right?
Yes, Olav of Norway holds a claim to the Kingdom of England. Even in light of the Norman victory don't think that Norway is completely done with its involvement in British affairs...
 
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England does sound a delightful mess :)
 
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Chapter III - The Christian Advance

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Chapter III - The Christian Advance (1089-1093)

With the death of Sultan Hakam, it was his son Mundir who would take the throne in December of 1089. Mundir had inherited a growing realm and a war with Granada which at least thus far was going relatively well. An easy batch of prestige could be earned for the new ruler should he be able to make good on his father’s promise to conquer the neighbouring sheikhdom.

new ruler.png


Unlike his father, Mundir was not one to cower in the castles of Dénia. If his army was on the field of battle, he would make camp and march with them, even if not personally in command. Having already secured the province of Granada the Hayyid army some 5,000 strong made their way to face the Granadan army head-on in Córdoba.

1.jpg


At the Battle of Cabra, the Granadan forces were overrun and outmatched. Lacking a commander on the left-flank and with the right-flank surrendering early into the battle it was a slaughter for the remaining troops. That battle alone was enough to see the enemy concede defeat. Mundir basked in the prestige of the victory with a celebratory march through the city of Dénia.

2.jpg

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In the aftermath of the victory over Granada, Sultan Mundir elects to move his court to the newly conquered city. A fortress in the hills known as Al-Ḥamrāʼ would be his new base of operations, provided the site could be refurbished and refitted to suit its new occupant.

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Being an introspective person, Mundir was well known to regularly retreat to his personal study for private sessions of prayer and meditation. After several days of soul-searching, Mundir emerged a diligent man, more ready and able to work for what he wanted.

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This victory had given him a lot to think about. With his father's death, it was no easy feat for the young Sultan to inherit the throne at only 23 years of age. Mundir had much to live up to if he were to keep the realm united and prospering. The bronze statue at Dénia was a continuous reminder of his father's legacy. But after several days reflection Mundir came to the conclusion that his father perhaps wasn't as grand of a figure as the stories portrayed him. Though this victory had been on the back of his father’s war, ultimately it was Mundir who brought it to a conclusion. His success in war (despite not actually fighting) had contrasted greatly with his father’s battlefield misery. Mundir was his own man, no longer in Hakam's shadow.

8.jpg


But Mundir wouldn’t sit on this one sole victory. Another enemy had reared its head. The Christian Kingdom of Castile had launched a holy war to capture Toledo from the Dhunnunids. The Moorish realms would need to stand together if they are to fend off the Spaniards. This would also be the perfect opportunity for Mundir’s armies to test their might against Christian steel.

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With the troops mobilised and ready to face the infidel the Hayyid army made its way north. Under the command of Sheikh Yahya, Mundir’s army sought to retake Alcalá from the Castilians.

10.jpg


With the Hayyid arrival at Alcalá it had become clear that the Castilian force had left the province in a hurry. Perhaps news of the imminent arrival of the Hayyids led them to scamper north beyond the mountains? The castle of Alcalá itself had only a token force of fewer than 100 men left behind to defend. The superior numbers of Hayyid troops allowed for an easy assault, the surrounding area was retaken in no time.

11.jpg


Mundir’s army then marched into Castile proper to take on the Christian army. Though the Castilian army only numbered some 2,500, they had attacked the Dhunnunids at a moment of weakness, thereby outnumbering their enemy. Hayyid aid was necessary to keep Toledo in Muslim hands.

12.jpg


The army hit the Castilians at El Burgo. Despite the low number of Castilian soldiers, the army held out for much longer than expected, primarily thanks to the veteran Castilian commander Rodrigo Diaz, nicknamed El Cid by the Spaniards. Though the battle was long and the Castilian forces held out night after night, the Hayyid onslaught ultimately proved too much. On the 10th night of the battle, the remaining Castilians fled along the path of the Ebro river with the Hayyid army in hot-pursuit.

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The Castilians gave the Hayyids a good run-around, but both armies eventually met again at Alcalá. Though El Cid put up a valiant fight for an infidel, Hayyid steel prevailed in the end. The commander and his troops raised the white flag.

15.jpg


With their army decimated, the Castilians sued for peace and Toledo remained within the Islamic world for another day.

20200614144743_1.jpg


However, Mundir had been so bogged down in the Castilian war that he had failed to spot the Christian expansion going on around him. Upon his return to Granada Grand Vizier Jyad told Mundir the grave news. The dastardly French had captured Valencia from a rebellious vassal of the Dhunnunids, placing them right on the border of the Hayyid Sultanate.

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Furthermore, the tricky Leónese had conquered the Emirate of Badajoz from the Aftasids, almost doubling the size of their realm overnight. Powerful enemies were mustering along the Hayyid borders and Mundir needed to be ready to defend his realm.

18.png


Map of the known world circa 1093:
ck2_map_1.png
 
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It seems as if Mundir is a pious warrior... Perhaps he will participate in Jihads?

What’s up with the Mega-Fatimids and weaker Seljuks?
 
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