Calbrenar

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Sancho - 1066


sancho.jpg



I am Sancho of Aragon. I rule the mountain Kingdom of Aragon. It sounds prestigious doesn’t it? The truth is that in terms of the power struggles of the Iberian peninsula I am a non-entity. My kingdom encompasses a single county and my vassals are weak. My cousins all rule larger realms and the four of us, along with Duke Berenger of Barcelona, are all that stop the Andalusian Muslims from expanding into Catholic Europe.

I count myself a part of that group but in reality I am not. The weakest of my cousins, Antso IV, rules the Kingdom of Navarra which is twice as large as my own realm. Duke Berenger, of Barcelona, and Sancho II of Castille, yet another cousin, rule realms twice again as large. Further west, two more cousins, Alfonso VI of Leon, and Garcia II of Galicia, push the catholic frontier to the ocean.

I wish I could say that I have proven equal to the task of securing the peninsula, but in truth the Andalusian’s have pushed north to the very borders of my capital.


iberian.jpg



I will be the first to admit I have neglected my duty. I am called flamboyant and I do not deny that I have a fondness for fine clothes but I am content. Or at least I was.

Last night I had a dream. I believe it came from God. This dream showed me a map very different from the ones my cousins and my Marshall are always showing me, pushing their little pieces around and encouraging strikes against the heathen Muslims. No this map showed the Muslims stretching into Europe, our people slaves, and mighty France under siege. I could see that Duke William’s invasion of England had succeeded but the isles were fractured. France itself, ruled by a young boy, was suffering rebellion and now incursions by the Muslims. The Kaiser subdued pagans and bided his time while the other nations were weakened.

I do not know why God showed me this. Was I to warn my cousins? Surely they were far more capable than I. Yet the vision came to me. I possessed few skills that could counter such a threat. Such strengths as I had lay in books and intrigue.

My children were as yet unborn and my wife was a child herself. She brought me no power, her only claim being to the neighboring county of Urgell. I could not count on my cousins; in my vision they had squabbled amongst themselves and been devoured by the Muslims. France was unlikely to be of help. Phillipe was a boy and France had long counted on the Iberian frontier to bolster the mountains and keep the Muslims out. With William’s pending invasion of England the Muslims would be the least of their concerns.

I would need to secure powerful alliances… but how? The obvious answer was my sisters; both unmarried, both princesses...They could be used. Urraca was my heir and far more skilled in diplomacy then I, despite being five years younger. At 19, she was nubile and could secure a powerful alliance. I would have to gamble on producing children after using her to get support from a powerful ruler. While Uracca disliked me, Sancha despised me. At 18 she saw herself as being denied her rightful inheritance. Both of them would have to go, but to where? It seemed prudent to keep Sancha away from me. Ireland was out, almost as much of a mess as the Iberian peninsula. England would soon be racked by war, and in any case all three claimants were married. No, France it would have to be. The young Philippe was unmarried. An alliance with France could bring many benefits. Could Sancha be manipulated into marring Phillippe? On the surface it seemed obvious… she would be Queen, and Philippe could be manipulated into supporting Aragon under the twin obligations to family and to Pope. Philippe it would have to be then. Yet I couldn't forget that in the vision France was divided. I would have to ensure that France remained strong.


betrothal.jpg



God willing Sancha would be pleased enough at the thought of being Queen of France that she would refrain from plotting against her brother. It seemed likely that it would not be worth the risk with Urraca ahead of her in the line of succession. Urraca could not be married off until I had a child and so she had to be placated with the possibility of being Queen. If anything there should be more danger from Urraca then Sancha yet Sancha was the sister that I could always count on. Once my heir was born she would have to be handled carefully to ensure she did not rise above her station.

Lastly, there was the problem of Isabel. In the vision I had been married to a different woman. God was saying that I would have to make the ultimate sacrifice of giving up my beloved wife in order to protect the church. Isabel would have to go.


isabelmustdie.jpg
 
Last edited:

Melrick

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I've wondered what it would be like to play one of the Iberian provinces, so I'll be interested to see how you do.
 

Calbrenar

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I've wondered what it would be like to play one of the Iberian provinces, so I'll be interested to see how you do.

I was going to try the Duke of Portucale but in my multplayer try as them I got overrun by 3+ muslim nations while my king and Leon fought each other and ignored me. Plus Portucale started with 0 eligible people for alliances and isn't related to the other kings like Sancho is. So I'll keep my fingers crossed. My biggest concern is I have one province and the muslim territories will take forever to start producing funds so I will have to try to get some territory from Barcelona or my cousins.
 

Melrick

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I was going to try the Duke of Portucale but in my multplayer try as them I got overrun by 3+ muslim nations while my king and Leon fought each other and ignored me. Plus Portucale started with 0 eligible people for alliances and isn't related to the other kings like Sancho is. So I'll keep my fingers crossed. My biggest concern is I have one province and the muslim territories will take forever to start producing funds so I will have to try to get some territory from Barcelona or my cousins.

Yeah, that was why I haven't tried them yet, because it looked like it would be a hell of a challenge. Good luck with your game!
 

Calbrenar

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I did a test multiplayer game as Aragon with a friend playing as wales and it was not pretty. I'm a little nervous that my first AAR will be very very short. Hopefully Philippe will want to protect his brother-in-law until he secures some lands.
 

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I've played several games as Navarre so I think you can pull this off. Alliance with France is a great start. I bet you can get them to fight your wars for you. Try to grab Zaragoza and the neighboring provinces when their allies are committed elsewhere. You will have to get a little lucky - you need Castille and Leon to fight the Muslims and not each other. You also need Barcelona to survive. If it doesn't France will grab the territory.
 

MajorHeartfire

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I just recently lost my game as Aragon (was my first try though). It was harder than EU3 by far, and getting a CB on your own cousins wasn't easy. Didn't think about Barcelona though. They were always tied up fighting a losing battle against Valencia (and eventually Mauritania).

Died by 1100 with Sancho still as my King. Gallicia was upended by Leon and Castille (didn't that happen in real life too?) and then Leon fell to the nearby Moorish nation (Babyoz or something like that :p). Valencia took out most of Castille, about the time I finally secured all three of my Aragonian provinces (Zaragoza, Cala, and Alba). Within half a decade, Mauritania, and Valencia had declared war on me. Like you, I had married into the French royal line, but they were too late to help me. As Alto Aragon finally fell, the French showed up with about 4,000 troops. A few more months and I would have lived to fight another day.

The biggest problem I was having was when I was outnumbered by Maur and Valencia my mercenaries wouldn't have time to moralize up before they were engaged. Often times I had to buy two mercenary stacks just to have a chance. If I had lived another 3 years I would have married Brittany into my territory though! (At least, if I understand marriage I would have... Brittany's unmarried Duchess was betrothed to my male heir, this would give me their territory upon Sancho's death right?)
 

MajorHeartfire

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Oh, and btw. In the last couple of paragraphs you seemed to switch to third-person (everything else is in first-person), unless I am reading it incorrectly... Might wanna fix that.
 

Calbrenar

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Oh, and btw. In the last couple of paragraphs you seemed to switch to third-person (everything else is in first-person), unless I am reading it incorrectly... Might wanna fix that.

That's because at the beginning he's talking to some unknown person and at the end he's convincing himself that he's doing the right thing by killing his wife.
 

Calbrenar

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I've played several games as Navarre so I think you can pull this off. Alliance with France is a great start. I bet you can get them to fight your wars for you. Try to grab Zaragoza and the neighboring provinces when their allies are committed elsewhere. You will have to get a little lucky - you need Castille and Leon to fight the Muslims and not each other. You also need Barcelona to survive. If it doesn't France will grab the territory.

Yeah Leon/Castille teamed up against Galicia in my multiplayer game but the biggest problem I had was that castille declared on Zaragosza immediately and then had the nerve to request me to join ;/ So I think i'll have to err on jumping the gun
 

MajorHeartfire

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That's because at the beginning he's talking to some unknown person and at the end he's convincing himself that he's doing the right thing by killing his wife.

Ah. Ok. Didn't seem too clear at first but I got it now. Thanks for the reply!
 

MajorHeartfire

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Whatever works man. Don't stress yourself out. AARs are a side project :p

I have just always been a big fan of Aragon in Paradox games.
 

Calbrenar

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Sancho - 1066 - Continued

I had other problems closer at home. My council was not sufficient for the task at hand. To defend against the heathens, no to crush them as God demanded, I needed great men around me. Only two of the men of my council were of sufficient skill and one of them was my Chancellor, and brother, Garcia. In fact, if he hadn't of been a Bishop he would have been my heir. He was highly skilled in the arts of diplomacy but not overly fond of me. My Steward was the pride and joy of my council. The rest of them were average at best, incompetent at worst.

council.jpg


I only had two vassals and they were both council members. Since I needed Garcia's council and since he was no threat to the line of succession I couldn't simply fire my Marshal, Galindo. While I had no doubt that Galindo would accept my decision I knew my high handedness would anger my more diplomatic brother. To make matters worse Garcia's piety was such that he paid his taxes to His Holiness, Pope Alexander. While I believed the church needed its due, God clearly had plans for me.

Nothing immediately suggested to me how to get my brother to shift his payments to me and I needed him too much for now.
Wait... That was it! If I revoked Galindo's title and followed it by revoking Garcia's as well then Garcia would be furious. I could, however, tell him that it was necessary in order to let him take his proper place as my heir. I would have to marry Uracca off to make him believe it... but to whom? My cousins and I were already allies and any one of them who refused to aid me in the name of family was unlikely to change their mind by wedding my sister. Duke Ramon of Barcelona was already married and Duke Nuno of Portucale was unlikely to be able to offer any real support.
England would soon be beset by war as both William of Normandy and Harold of Norway were fighting for the English Crown. I needed allies to assist me not ones who would need my help.

After conferring with my brother, still unaware of his approaching designation as heir to the throne, I decided on Prince Knud of Denmark. A legitimized bastard, he was second in line for the throne and furthermore his father was likely to want to keep any alliance with Aragon strong in the hopes that he could count on us against the Holy Roman Empire and the Swedish. Obviously, God considered the Iberian Peninsula far more important than the northern pagans, but the Danish King didn’t need to know that.

Lastly, I needed to start a war immediately before my cousins began infighting. Zaragoza was close…

warzaragoza.jpg


In the coming days I would thank God for the Vision that he graced me with. My cousins all had problems at home. Garcia’s Duke, Nuno of Portucale, declared his independence as did my cousin Urraca the Countess of Zamora. Yet both Galicia and Leon agreed to aid me in my war, as did Navarra and Castille.

rebellion.jpg


What’s more Knud and my sister were wed and we could call on the Danes if we had need. I decided to hold the Danes in reserve for now.
I hadn’t forgotten Isabel. She was only 15 years old but who was I to ignore a command from God? In order to make the transition as painless as possible I pretended to have an interest in her best friend Munadona. It pained me to lie but I knew God would condone my actions. I hinted to her that were Isabel to die quietly in her sleep that Munadona would find her life quite changed by a marriage shortly thereafter. Needless to say she was quite pleased

bff.jpg


plotting.jpg


Munadona kept her end of the deal.

isabeldead.jpg


As promised so did I. I gave her a marriage that would change her life.

munadonamarried.jpg


I wished her well as a baroness somewhere in Russia. I heard the winters are quite nice. She seemed unhappy but you can’t please everyone.

garciaunhappy.jpg


Garcia was beyond unhappy. Despite being heir he was not pleased with me to say the least. It was time for more marriages. I formalized a betrothal with Philippe’s daughter Emma. It was essential that I secure French aid and with dual marriage ties it was all but assured. Garcia I betrothed to Harold’s daughter. If he kept his throne he would make a powerful ally. If he did not a claim on the throne of England was nothing to sneer at. Look at William of Normandy for example. Either way the war was likely to be decided before the betrothal came to anything and if it hadn’t I could always break it—God would forgive me.
It was time to expand my court. None of my cousins had anyone interesting at hand but my spies found me someone. 19 years of age, Richard of Huesca was a relative of Robert d’Hauteville and had claims on both Apulia and Calabria. What’s more he was moderately skilled at the arts of war.

robert.jpg


I invited him to my court and told him a duchy could be had with patience. I granted him Galindo’s barony and appointed him to my council as Marshal. Galindo could not object as he was leading from the front lines. I had added Catalyud and Albaracin to my wars to prevent my cousins from focusing too much on their rebellions. Unfortunately Duke Berenger of Barcelona was after Zaragoza as well. He was one old man that would keep. One did not defy the will of God and prosper.

On a more positive note my Stewards Boson came to me with some economic ideas which I implemented. I would have to find him some land.

stewardideas.jpg


I invited several holy men to my court and ironically most were very unlearned and quite martial. I trusted to God and he favored me by sending me Arias, a brilliant scholar who was also skilled at diplomacy. I granted him my bishopric as God had no doubt intended and made him my court Chaplain.

arias.jpg


My court was now in much better shape as far as my vassals were concerned.

vassalsone.jpg


The war was going well with the exception of Duke Berenger’s interference.

warone.jpg


King Sancho had a Castillian army laying siege to Catalyud while a combined Aragonian and Navarran army invested Albarracin under my cousin King Antso. Duke Berenger continued to siege Zaragoza.

Sancha was clearly interested in putting Philippe’s son on my throne.

sanchaplotting.jpg

I did not want to anger Philippe so I decided to risk letting things go until the betrothal was formalized.

Unfortunately, by the time she was married

sanchagone.jpg


She was no longer afraid of her brother.

sanchaplotdenial.jpg


It seemed my brother’s life was in the hand of God.
 

MajorHeartfire

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Good update. I like that you are taking the stance of a heavily-religious Catholic just as Sancho would have. But, Sancho is still a King and there are things he has to do even above God!
 

Forster

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This is interesting. I tried as Leon, Castille and Portucal and got creamed in the fratricidal wars followed by massive Muslim invasion. Ugh. I will follow this with interest.
 

Calbrenar

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Sancho – 1071 – 1076: Holy Wars Abound

I have been moderately successful in implementing God’s plans so far. The heathens defeated our initial force and Duke Berenger snuck into take Zaragoza for Barcelona. I repaid him by using our allies to take Tarragona before he could conquer it and added it to Catalayud and Albarracin.

kingdomofaragon2.jpg



Arias turned out to be a mistake. He converted to some branch of Catholicism known as Lollard and tried to convince me it was God’s will. Fool. Didn’t he realize that God spoke to me? I threw him in prison where he belonged. Let him rot. Aragon is a divine sword that cannot be corrupted by the flesh it is plunged into or the hand that holds it.


There was only one thing to do. Barcelona was far more powerful than us and must have his eye on the throne of Aragon. Berenger and his vassals backed us as we increased the authority of the crown. Was he truly supporting us or did he have his eye on how to administer the realm once he took it? I knew that could not be allowed to happen or all would be lost. It seemed the best thing to do would be to initiate another war. I could count on the Duke’s honor not to invade while I was fighting the heathens. With that in mind I declared war on Valencia. They had three counties that would remove a great deal of their power and add to my own in time. I did not have the troops to challenge Valencia.


mediumcrown.jpg



Sancha had yet to find any backers in her blot to kill my brother and our marriages had gone off without a hitch. I was a little shy of Emma, sister of the King of France, but I hoped we could make things work. I needed France. With France busy in a war against Kabylia for Sardinia, a war I was ostensibly helping in, they weren’t able to fully support me. My cousins as usual were delighted to assist, with the exception of Antso as his son was fighting for the throne. Would they be enough to defeat Valencia? It was time to unleash the Danes.

valenciaholywar.jpg


King Svend was delighted to help against the heathens and sent a large force under one of his barons that made short work of the Valencians with the help of my cousins. My army did not even take the field, shattered as it was from the previous wars. The revolt in Catalyud was beyond its count, hampered as he was by the lack of any income or men due to religious and cultural differences. I was not much better off, barely 500 men could I raise to my banners.
Murcia was defending against both Philippe and the Kaiser and I decided to add them to my war. I also declared war on one of Murcia’s rebellious vassals. All must serve the glory of Aragon. Philippe had successfully completed his war so I invited him to join along with my cousins. Lastly Cordoba stood alone and would make a fine addition once its inhabitants were properly converted.

Despite the numerous foes I went to war at my biggest test was at home. I believed God tried to temp me with the vastly more attractive flesh offered by one of my coutiers.

noaffair.jpg


Attractive as she was I knew that she was far more dangerous than any of the Andalusian nations we had yet faced. Were Emma to find out it could jeopardize my alliance with Philippe and that must not happen. I had to be patient. With God’s help I had made enormous strides yet in many ways conquering was the easiest part. The question was could I hold it?

Our alliance with House Godwyn did not look like it would amount to anything as William had succeeded in his conquest of England.

williamsuccess.jpg


One of his dukes immediately revolted and went for the crown with support from Godwyn. Philippe took this as his chance to press his claims against Normandy and I wondered how long it would be before he would expect Aragonian support. Didn’t he realize that Iberia was far more important than his petty squabbles?

emmapregnant.jpg


Emma has fallen pregnant and I am honored with proof in my faith in God. It seems that my alliance with France would hold and I would succeed in my goals in Iberia. My son Sancho II would inherit everything I did.

sanchoii.jpg


I had managed to hold my cousins together. No Jimena territory had been lost to the Anadlusians. Unfortunately not all my cousins lived. My cousin Garcia ofGalicia fell during my wars to save Iberia as did my cousin Sancho II of Castille. Both realms were ruled by Sancho’s son Fernando II who continued to supportthe cause of God.

All was not well however. Emir Muhammad the Ill-Ruler declared war on Fernando for the Duchy of Portucale. I knew my cousin would require my support. Unfortunately I am bound by higher oaths to God. I drew my forces together and did the only thing I could… I declared war against them myself. I could not be distracted by defending my cousins territory when I needed to gain strength myself. I summoned my remaining cousins to my aid as well as Philippe and Svend. As expected Philippe wanted my aid against William and I reluctantly gave it. Someday I would make France pay for forcing me to accede to their petty territorial claims while I fought for God himself. But for now I needed France which meant I needed Philippe.

All glory to God.

kingdomofaragon1076.jpg