Again with the Norman Invasion. Story of de Hautevilles.

Again with the Norman Invasion. Story of de Hautevilles.

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TheAnguishedOne

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A good look at your immediate family, your council, vassals and notable neighbors. Making allies is always good, if only to have less worries nearby.
 
Deus Vult!

hjarg

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Deus Vult!

The Island of Sicily is situated on the crossroads of Mediterranean. Thanks to her favorable position and fertile land it had also always attracted the foreign invaders like shit attracts flies. The Greeks, Carthagians and Romans spilled blood over the islands. Then, with the weakening and fall of Rome, Vandals, Ostrogoths and Byzantines were at each other's throats over the island. Not for long though, for then the Muslims invaded. The local resistance was fierce and it took them over 100 years to conquer all of it. Now though, the Emirate of Sicily was already deep in the decline and it was time to add yet another nation to the long list of conquerors- Normans. Robert and his brother, Roger, already started in 1061, with a successful conquest of Messina.

Wali Muhammed ibn Ibrahim Kalbid was not to blame for the splintering of Sicily. He already inherited splintered land from his uncle, Hassan II The main reason- the Kalbids were Shiite, while the rest of Sicily favored Sunni faith, causing the realm to splinter. Kalbids retained Palermo and Syracuse, while Agrigento and Malta were ruled by Sunni rulers. And of course, Messina was ruled by Normans.

1599166224236.png

Until few decades ago, Kalbids were in control of the Island. No more.

It was 20th December of 1066. Robert Guiscard’s pilgrimage finally ended. He reached his home, castle of Trani, early in the morning. By noon, everyone had gathered at the church square. Market stalls had been pushed aside as the crowd filled every nook and cranny. Robert, still in his simple pilgrim grab, climbed up the church stairs and at the door, turned around. He looked at the crowd. As one would expect. Mostly locals, Mezzogiornoans. Italians and Lombards. Some Greeks. Precious few Normans, easily distinguishable by their much lighter complexion and fairer hair. As he turned, the crowd fell silent. Expecting.

1599166494373.png

Church of Trani

Robert Guiscard spoke in fairly passable Italian, mixed with ample Franco-Norman phrases. Unbeknownst to him, this kind of mix between the languages became the standard in Hauteville-owned lands in the future. Now, though. Robert cleared his throat and started, with a loud and booming voice.

He stated that “a barbaric fury has deplorably afflicted and laid waste the churches of God in the regions of Sicily”. He urged that “the Normans and Italians and other good people of Mezzogiorno, all true Christians who have re-established peace and righteousness in their own land, they should turn their attention to the Island of Sicily and bring aid to the Christians there”. Finally, he finished with a powerful: "Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago. Let those who for a long time, have been robbers, now become knights. Let those who have been fighting against their brothers and relatives now fight in a proper way against the barbarians. Let those who have been serving as mercenaries for small pay now obtain the eternal reward. Let those who have been wearing themselves out in both body and soul now work for a double honor!”

The crowd went wild enough not to notice that Robert would fit himself quite well into the description. Instead, he removed his simple traveler's cloak and revealed a plain white shirt, with a red cross stitched on it. “This cross was stitched here by the Pope himself! The Most Holiest of Popes, Alexander II, personally promised remission of sins to anyone who follows me and that all of the people taking up arms go with the Papal blessing and with God on their side.”

“Who’s with me! Deus Vult!” he proclaimed.

1599166272876.png

Deus Vult!

“Deus Vult!” the crowd responded, in cacophony and perfect disharmony. Robert Guiscard smiled to himself, pleased, as he walked down the stairs into the crazed crowd. He checked his cross. Alexander might be a Pope, but tailor, he was not. He will need to get the stitching redone. Still, he was quite pleased with himself. Soldiers were good. Zealous soldiers were better. Zealous soldiers, fighting so he could gain two more counties, were the best.

Muhammad ibn Ibrahim was doomed. The very same day, a declaration of war was issued, claiming all his lands in Sicily.

1599165610964.png

Deus Vult!

One week later, the Norman army at Messina was gathered and ready to march. Nearly 1300 levied zealots, willing to throw themselves on enemy swords. And 10 knights, Norman elites. Led by Duke Robert himself, they marched southwards at noon. Towards the ancient city of Syracuse, where the main forces of Muhammad were gathered.

The main battle took place on 23rd of January, 1067. Let us just say that Duke Robert Guiscard was a brilliant strategist, more than capable commander of men. He knew how to position his troops, where to strike, where to push. He knew how to use the land to his advantage. Naib Salla of Mazara, the enemy commander, knew none of this.

1599165755275.png


The Norman superiority in numbers wasn’t that great. The Norman fervor was. Like hawks, they descended upon the poor Muslims. Incidentally, chanting “Deus Vult!” For a moment, the enemy lines held. Then, they did not. What was an army moments ago, turned into panicked men, all trying to flee for their lives. What was a battle turned into slaughter. Less than half an hour after the battle had begun, Muhammad ibn Ibrahim was short one army. Also, thanks to Count Abelard, short of one son and heir. Skewered by a lance on his back, the life of Alyamas ibn Muhammad Kalbid ended before it could even properly begin.

1599166386101.png

Muhammad, down one army and one son

The Normans proceeded to siege the castle of Syracuse. It was uneventful. Apart from Count Roger de Hauteville of Messina creating a new cadet branch, the Hauteville-Conzensa family in March. Robert felt kind of proud. Few decades ago, they were nobodies. Nothing as obsucre as the Hauteville dynasty. Now, they are still obscure, but at least, they are branching out!

1599166072206.png

The Sackville-Baggin... khm, I mean Hauteville-Consenzas

Syracuse fell in June of 1067. The Normans hit the jackpot. Or rather, found the jackpot hiding in a cupboard in the palace. Fella ibn Muhammad Kalbid, the second son of Wali Muhammad and for five month already, the heir of the Emir.

1599166441228.png

Welcome to the dungeon!


This was the breaking point of Wali Muhammad. One county under Norman control, one son in captivity, one son dead and one army, scattered by the Normans. Enough is enough. Few days after the fall of Syracuse, the Normans had won.

1599166328340.png

Muhammad showing serious lack of imagination.

Even better- Robert Guiscard gained the county of Palermo untouched. Without having to siege, without having to plunder the countryside. The keys to the city were delivered to him by the former Wali himself, and Robert was not above a bit of gloating. As if God was really on his side, Robert thought to himself. Then, laughed at the thought. The streets of Palermo were quiet when the Normans rode in.

1599166818892.png

Wali Muhammed giving keys of Palermo to Robert Guscard

Robert Guiscard was not a compassionate man. To show that he is not to be messed with, he started his rule of Palermo with a show of force. Jala Ammarid, captured during the siege of Syracuse, with young Fella, was executed publicly in the main square of Palermo. Just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and well, for believing the wrong God. Showing the good citizens of Palermo that Normans are not to be messed with. The message was understood well.

1599166297452.png

Execution of Jala

The rest of the summer and well into autumn, Robert Guiscard and his men spent in Sicily. Taking over half an island is a more arduous task than it seems. Small holdings to be relieved of their current occupants and to be distributed to loyal followers. Masses to be held in thanks for victory. Some mild plundering of rich Muslims. Tearing down crosses from mosques and converting them (or, in many cases re-converting them) to Christian churches. It was all going well. Robert was now considered a pious man, a true Christian. He was amused.

Until in October 1067, it was all rainbows and unicorns. Robert truly felt like he was on top of the world. Or at least, in total control of Mezzogiorno. Then, a message arrived.

1599166180133.png

Damn you and your house!

“Fuck,” was all Robert had to say.
 

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TheButterflyComposer

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Hmm. Bit of a mixed bag, that.
 

hjarg

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I'm pretty sure that there is no big surprise that I turned Robert's gaze on Sicily first and that I took Palermo and Syracuse first. The most logical place to be, after all. Or time- hit them hard and fast before they get some proper alliances in.
I'm surprised about the slaughter though. The numerical difference of levies wasn't that different. Was that the military skill of Robert and the knights?

And damn you, Mathilda. Incidentally, I tried to wed one of my sons to her, but she wasn't interested. Now i see why.

That makes sense. You'll have them all speaking Norman French in no time.

Well, I need 8 to be culture head, the current conversion rate is about 5 years per province. Meaning, in about 40 years time. Not bad indeed.
Though I think this will rather be some very interesting mix between Norman French and Italian, with some Arab and Greek added to the mix.

Some new twists on some familiar faces, many of whom we'll undoubtedly be seeing plenty more of in the future.

A man who's been as successful as Duke Robert has certainly knows the value behind a good appearance.

Also, some more faces. Abelard at least wasn't in CK2. I'm pretty sure of that. Not as a count at least.

And yes, looking pious is a good thing.

Glad to jump on this one in the beginning!

Glad to have you from the beginning!

The duke better hope no one finds out about his....original thoughts on sin and faith. ;)

I'm certain no spymaster could discover this!

Liking the story so far. I enjoy the comedic tone and the cynicism of Duke Robert the Fox. I think he has a fine future ahead of him, although he might catch pneumonia if he keeps staying out in the rain.

Thanks! Well, he is a cynical character, so it kind of fits well. :)
Also, one pneumonia isn't so bad. Just, not before Bohemond comes of age, please! :D

A good look at your immediate family, your council, vassals and notable neighbors. Making allies is always good, if only to have less worries nearby.

Ah well. Apparently, making allies doesn't stop the enemies. Unfortunately.
 

hjarg

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Cora Giantkiller

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Well, I need 8 to be culture head, the current conversion rate is about 5 years per province. Meaning, in about 40 years time. Not bad indeed.
Though I think this will rather be some very interesting mix between Norman French and Italian, with some Arab and Greek added to the mix.

Well, sure, but in geologic time...

Best of luck with the war against Tuscany.
 

stnylan

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So the duchess Matilda is feeling a need to bring down the competition is she?

Well, it will stop Robert from getting soft :)
 

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The Duchess Matilda seems like a powerful rival, with double your manpower judging by the screenshots. Fortunately you have an amazing commander on your side or you might have been doomed to defeat.
 

Specialist290

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A quick and relatively bloodless (for Robert, at least) conquest-- not much more that you can ask for than that. Matilda, though, sounds like she will be some serious competition...

Being able to see who fought and / or killed whom during battle is a nice touch to the casualty screen :)

Out of curiosity, what are the practical benefits to creating a cadet dynasty, as opposed to leaving them part of the main line?
 

Nikolai

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Oops. Mathilda will be a tough nut to crack I imagine.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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A grand speech before an overall easy war. Now we see if Mathilda proves to be a tougher challenge.
 
The Welcoming Party

hjarg

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The Welcoming Party

The Council

“I mean, Lancano is part of the Spoleto, and therefore it is within a rightful domain of the Duchess,” Bishop Abelard started. “Perhaps the most wise course of action would be just to give it u...”

He stopped mid-word. No words were even needed. Murderous glares of the Duke, his brother and three of his nephews or by other words, Robert Guiscard’s totally nepotism-free council, made him wisely close his mouth.

“No,” it was Count Robert of Messina who opened his mouth first.

“Hell no,” added Count Abelard of Camrada.

“Out of the question,” commented Count Geoffrey of Bari

“Fuck no,” added Count Robert of Lanciano. “If she wants land so much, I can give her a small plot. About two meters in length, half in width and one and half in depth. That is all she is going to get!”

“You see,” Robert Guiscard ended the conversation. “We Normans are good at taking, but not so good at giving. So let us just all pretend you didn’t say it. Nor thought of it.”

Abelard just nodded. “Sorry, my Liege,” he said, quietly, eyes looking at his feet.

“So, how are we going to defeat this Italian bitch?” asked the Duke. “She seriously outnumbers us, after all”

“Our allies, of course,” said Robert of Lanciano. “Both Salamon of Hungary and Nikephoros of Epirus will certainly be of help. With both of them on our side, the numbers tip to our advantage.”

“Yes, naturally,” replied Robert Guiscard “But it takes time for them to reach us. We need something to hold off the bloody Tuscans now!”

“Mercenaries?” asked Abelard. “I know a band, you know. Nearly a 1000 extra men...”

“We are stripped of cash though,” said Robert Guiscard. “We have about 70 gold. We would need about twice as such. And I really hate to go to red. It does not help the morale of men...”

It was Bishop Abelard who opened his mouth again. “The Pope has money,” he said. Now, he had undivided attention of Duke, his brother and three of his nephews. “And since you just liberated Palermo and Syracuse from the infidels, he looks at you favourably. If you add that the disastrous war against fellow Christians can result in Muslims from Africa coming to prey upon the weakened Normans and retake the island, he can be persuaded”

“Brilliant!” said Robert Guiscard. “How much can we squeeze out of Alexander?”

If Abelard was shocked at the Duke’s words, he did not show it. “Around 100 or so,” he said.

“More than enough. See to it!” Duke said.

“Ok, Bishop Abelard will try to get some gold from the Pope,” Robert Guiscard concluded. “Nephew Robert will call for our allies. Count Abelard will contact the mercenaries. All clear? Let us go, we have a war to win!”

1599304297757.png

Saved by the Pope!

Meeting

An army was marching toward Trani. Half of them, just your average peasants, but the other half, more weathered soldiers. Lightly armored, sure. But still capable men. Two knights rode in front of them, carrying a banner of multiple golden lions (the more, the merrier of course) on a red background, separated by a white stripe.

Duke and his entourage were there, expecting. The knights stopped, the army stopping at their heels. One of the knights dismounted and kneeled before Robert Guiscard.

“My Liege,” he said.

“Oh, fuck off,” said the Duke, dismounting as well.

“And a merry fuck off to you too,” replied the knight, grinning and rising up.

Robert reached the knight and gave him a proper bear hug. Plus a few pats on his back.

“It has been too long, Perctarit!”, he said. “How’s your father?”

“Happily retired, living a peaceful burgers life in Camarda,” he replied.

“So, you’re in charge now?” Robert asked. “That is a pleasant surprise. Come on, you were but a boy when we fought alongside your father.”

The Duke suddenly felt his age. Sill, he continued. “Now, tell me all about how your father is doing, and what the Longbeards have been up to these years!

With this, the Normans and the Langobards joined camp, while Duke Robert and Perctarit spent an evening in Trani, drinking and reminiscing. The next morning, the combined armies marched northwards, feeling a bit of hangover, from the Duke in charge to the lower peasant. Reunions can have consequences.

1599304410832.png

Preferring the local businesses

Battle of Lanciano

It was the Venetians, most likely. The allies of the Duchess Matilda, due to her marrying Carlo Conarini, son of Doge Domenico II of Venice. Who else would get an idea that hey! why should we march when we could sail? There is some logic to if of course. Moving by sea is faster, and perhaps added with arrogance, like we shall show these Norman upstarts how things are and be done by Christmas. Land in Lanciano, take it as fast as possible. Normans will be cowering in fear somewhere in the South, most likely. After taking Lanciano, march south, beat the army of Robert Guiscard and force him to give up claim.

A fine plan, overall. But with one wrong assumption- that the Normans will be cowering in the South. Instead, the Normans and Longbeard mercenaries were marching northwards. Even better- unsure of her chances, Matilda had hired mercenaries. Just in case. And while the original Tuscan forces with Venetian allies were landing in Lanciano, they were landing in neighboring barony, Chieti. Meaning that Normans could pick them off one by one, if successful.

1599304466315.png

This looks like a recipe for disaster. If you happen to be a Tuscan, at least.

The enemy outnumbered the Normans by little over 1000. Then again, the Normans had Robert Guiscard. The enemy had some random Venetian. Robert positioned his troops in a way that forced the enemy to attack in an unfavourable position, still embarking from the ships, while the Norman main forces were in the coverage of the woods. This mattered little though. Robert Guiscard mattered the most. His knowledge on how to use the troops. His timing of the attack. His personal bravery, as he and his gallant knights charged into battle, slaughtering peasants left and right.

1599304172889.png

As the battle starts, Normans have just a tiny advantage. Or by other words, enemy was caught by their pants down.

The enemy did try their best, attacking the Normans as they embarked. Meanwhile, Tuscan mercenaries in the next province were still in the process of disembarking as well and were of no help, so the Tuscans and Venetians were on their own. Against a numerically inferior opponent, sure. But a numerically inferior opponent who just happened to be very good at warfare.

Before long, the Tuscans and Venetians found themselves not fighting, but fleeing back to their ships, preferring the questionable safety of Venetial galleys to the cold steel of Norman knights. It was 2nd of April of the year 1068. Normans won their first victory in the war, losing only little less than 300 soldiers while killing about 1300 enemies. About a third of their army. It was a good start, but the war was not won yet.

Count Robert of Messina won the little peasant-slaying contest by reaching a kill score of impressive 73. Geoffrey de Mowbray, a simple knight, become second with a score of 67 skewered peasants and Geoffrey of Bari and Abelard of Camrada shared the third and fourth positions by killing 62 of them both.

1599304116454.png

Great success. And amazing kill-score.

Matilda’s mercenaries had started their march to the rescue after disembarking properly. Unfortunately, Robert won too soon- meaning they could still turn back and flee. It was a shame, for the Normans were hoping to curb their numbers as well, but you can’t have it all.

Initial wave of Tuscans was beaten back successfully. They still outnumbered the Normans though and Robert Guiscard was pretty certain that they will stay off the boats in the future. The result of the war was still uncertain.
 
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stnylan

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First blood to the heathen... sorry, Normans :D
 

hjarg

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I'm seriously not sure why Matilda decided to take the boats to my lands. But when the enemy makes a mistake, you can interrupt them in their most vulnerable moment. I was thinking i'd have to play cat and mouse and keep them running around, chasing me or something until the Hungarians arrived (and them bastards seemed to be going to Firenze instead). But with an advantage like this... well, this was glorious. I'm sad the mercenaries got off though.

Well, sure, but in geologic time...

Best of luck with the war against Tuscany.

Yeah, what's a few decades compared to millions of years. True that! :)
And this was lucky enough, i think! :)

So the duchess Matilda is feeling a need to bring down the competition is she?

Well, it will stop Robert from getting soft :)

Apparently, the Duchess looked South and thought that hey, easy targets. Boy, was she wrong. Robert is anything but soft! :D

The Duchess Matilda seems like a powerful rival, with double your manpower judging by the screenshots. Fortunately you have an amazing commander on your side or you might have been doomed to defeat.

And even worse, with fat enough purse to hire mercenaries!
But you are right, Robert Guiscard changes everything.

A quick and relatively bloodless (for Robert, at least) conquest-- not much more that you can ask for than that. Matilda, though, sounds like she will be some serious competition...

Being able to see who fought and / or killed whom during battle is a nice touch to the casualty screen :)

Out of curiosity, what are the practical benefits to creating a cadet dynasty, as opposed to leaving them part of the main line?

Hit them fast and hard, before they can make any alliances and gain strength- that is always my motto :)
And yes, battle result screens are much better. Especially the knights part.

It wasn't me who created the cadet branch, it was Count Robert. It does not give me any maluses, for I'm still the head of the Hauteville family, including the Hauteville-Consenza's. But this gives Count Robert similar powers over Hauteville-Consenza's as I have over the Hautevilles. Or something. I'm not totally sure.

Oops. Mathilda will be a tough nut to crack I imagine.

At least, it is tough nut, not impossible nut, like the Byzantine Empire for instance would be. Could be worse.

A grand speech before an overall easy war. Now we see if Mathilda proves to be a tougher challenge.

Well, can't blame Normans for being good at warfare.
And yes, Matilda is a bit tougher indeed. Though, if Normans were up to their full strength, things would not be that bad. I'm already over 2000 in theoretical levies. Had Matilda waiting for a year, things would have been easier.
 

hjarg

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First blood to the heathen... sorry, Normans :D

I understand this is a reference of some kind, but I have no clue what it is! :D
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Continued excellence and determined nepotism. All is going well. For some reason, Alexander really is easy to squeeze for money...
 

Nikolai

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An important early victory :D
 

TheAnguishedOne

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I quite like the personality of the council right now, they're all pretty entertaining.
 

KingJerkera

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Well it's been awhile since I've followed a good story count me in.
 
Sacco di Firenze

hjarg

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Sacco di Firenze

LOL?

“Ehh, they’re the ones running around naked, screaming LOL? LOL?” Robert Guiscard asked.

Bishop Abelard just sighed. It was hopeless- his Duke did not know, or apparently, did not care.

“No, my Liege,” he started patiently. “They believe that the Holy Bible is the only source of authority and they don’t believe in sacraments like baptism and confessions... And they don’t believe in priesthood.”

“Hmph. So not running around naked?” Robert Guiscard repeated himself.

“My Liege, you must have confused them with Adamites,” Abelard replied.

“And lolling about?”

“The etymology of the name comes from derogatory name for those without proper academic backgro...”

“No lolling then?” Robert quickly interrupted. Before it could evolve into proper academic explanation.

“I’m afraid no running around naked and no lolling, my Liege," Ablerad compressed the doctrines of lollardy to a format the Duke liked.

“I kinda liked the lolling. Well, perhaps they can be convinced? But no priests, you said?” Robert continued further.

“The Lollards indeed does not believe in theocracy, but believe in lay clergy- that means any man, but not a woman, of course, can preach the word of God,” Abelard shuddered at the thought. “They also do not believe in icons or reliquaries, are quite literal in their interpretation of the Holy Bible and disallow Holy Wars- in fact, they promote peace?”

“Bhehh, pacifists,” Robert’s face turned like he ate something sour. “Count me out then!”

“You were not seriously considering...?” Ablelard gasped. “My Liege, I did not offer you to join Lollards! I just informed you that we have a Lollard outbreak in Benevento!”

“That is bad, right?” Robert asked.

“Heresy this close to the Holy See! Vassal of the Holiest of Pope converting to heresy! Of course this is bad! Even worse, your brother-in-law, Gisulf II of Salerno, joined Duke Landolf IV in his unholy ways!”

“Wait, so they’re heretics now?” asked Robert

“Well, yes, my Lord”

“Good!” Robert bared his teeth for a wolfish grin.

“Good, my lord?” Abelard asked, in confusion

“It means I can take the lands of Salerno without bothering with claims and without upsetting my wife. Much. Praised be LOL!” Robert smiled.

“It’s not the...” Abelard just gave up. “Yes, my Liege! Good!”

“We have a war to win first though...” Robert effectively ended this religious lesson.


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Look, Lollard Lombards!

Battle of Napoli

Throughout the summer, Normans and Tuscans had been playing a game of cat and mouse, though who was cat and who was mouse was a bit unclear. Tuscans and the mercenaries had joined forces, numbering nearly 4000. They still seemed to want to avoid direct confrontation. A bit unwise, for time was on the Norman side. Forces of King Salamon were marching southwards, tipping the scales on the Norman side.

Finally, in October 1068, Hungarians had reached Foggia. Robert Guiscard ordered his troops to march to Napoli, where forces of Matilda were stationed. Fortunately for Normans, the Duchess also managed to get herself deep into debt, making her soldiers in a foreign land, facing them horrible Normans again and without a pay. Not good for morale.

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Normans advancing

This time, Robert was facing the Duchess herself. She was a passable general, but nothing compared to Robert. The Duke tiptoed around her forces, avoiding direct confrontation, until her troops were tired and demoralized- and until the Hungarians marched in. Then, the combined armies attacked- and it did not go well for the Tuscans. Again, around a third of their army was killed, while the rest ran back towards Tuscany.

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The Battle of Napoli. And by gods, count György looks like he's got it.

The End of War

This time though, the Normans followed. Hungarians too. They caught up with the Tuscans in Cortona in January 1069. Again, Robert harassed the Tuscans until the Hungarians, and this time, also the armies of Doux Nikephoros arrived. Then, they all charged. Long story short, Matilda once again lost about third of her men and fled to direction unknown.

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This time, the Normans followed

This battle cost Robert dearly though. His nephew, Constantine, son of Humbert, died in the battle. Only 23 years of age, Robert had great hopes for him. But alas, it was not to be, for the cruelties of war spare no one.

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Good-bye, Constantine. I hardly knew ya!

This time, the Normans did not pursue. The Hungarians and Eperians started the siege of Siena, as the Normans marched to Firenze and put the capital of Matilda under siege. Meanwhile, Matilda, knowing full well she is going to be defeated, her heartlands filled with enemy forces, tried one thing in her desperation. The siege of Lanciano. Robert did not react in any way. He just hoped that the castle would do what it is meant to do- withhold the siege.

In June, Siena fell and forces of Salamon and Nikephoros marched southwards. Kind of a pointless exercise, for Firenze was just days away from surrender.

On 4th of July, 1069, the magnificent city of Firenze was sacked by Normans. Quite ruthlessly. Adding 26 gold to the coffers of Robert Guiscard. It also meant that Matilda was now more than eager to talk peace.

As a compensation for transgressions against peace-loving Normans, Robert asked Matilda for 356 gold pieces. She had no choice but to agree, spiralling her further into debt. Now, she was almost 500 gold in the red and was a subject of mockery both within her own holdings and within the whole Holy Roman Empire.

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Matilda after war. Deep in debt and low on prestige.

Duchy of Sicily

At the same time, Robert made himself a bit better- he found new ways to increase control in his newly-conquered territories. And became a bit more dreadful to his enemies as well.

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Overseeing and dread. What more?

Now, loaded with money from Matilda, the first thing Robert Guiscard did was to proclaim himself a good, proper Duke of Sicily. He also made it his primary title. He left his capital still in Trani though, for the province of Palermo still needed a bit of conversion and pacification. Still, it was a magnificent celebration, blowing through most the money gained from Matilda in one crazed party, lasting for several weeks.

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New Duchy of Sicily

“It is good to be a Duke,” said Robert Guiscard. “Twice the Dukes is twice the better!”