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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

DensleyBlair

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Well...it will depend on whether God wants to piss off France by going after North Africa, or the british by going after the Mediterranean, or Austria by going after the balkans.

Let's be honest, as God seems a little shaky right now, he's probably plumping for the target that seems easiest to get at the present time. So I imagine a strange garbled version of all three, instead of consistent campaigning for one in particular.
Where will the Papal Kingdom strike next? Find out next time on…

God’s Existential Nightmare!
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Goodness, that's beautiful. Are you sure God doesn't want to strike for the Ottomans? I hear Constantinople is nice this time of the year.
 

El Pip

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Blood for the Cardinal's capes, Skulls for the Throne of Saint Peter.

I tried to protest that the Austro-Hungarians hold many lands that are populated by a majority of Italians, but he would not hear of it.
He even managed to say that with a straight face. Now all he needs to do is master the "That is completely different!" response when someone mentions Greece. If he can do that then this pope will go far, even if he is now fated to end up at much hotter final destination than he hoped.
 
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DensleyBlair

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If he can do that then this pope will go far, even if he is now fated to end up at much hotter final destination than he hoped.
Here you are of course referring to the part of the Ineffable Plan which stipulates Papal contest of the Holy Land itself.
 
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El Pip

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Here you are of course referring to the part of the Ineffable Plan which stipulates Papal contest of the Holy Land itself.
Naturally. A quick crusade to take Holy Land would be absolutely in keeping with Papal Policy.

Then a popular revolution back in Italy against the opressive theocratic dictatorship means the Pope is unable to return home and so is forced to build Vatican, the Sequel, in Jerusalem.
 
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eoncommander

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Dropping in here after finally catching up. I'm really enjoying this project; I love the way you tease out the story and the characters in each entry.

I've always found Catholic doctrine to be incomprehensible (but every so slightly less so than the million and one protestant denominations - they really should streamline the faith), so I find it quite reassuring that these Popes have taken to secular modernity so easily.
 

slothinator

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Holy shit. Literally.

Looks like Italy is soon to be.

And it is! Victory at last!

The french are starting to shy away from further aggressive wars now we are whole (to be expected really) but we still have a defensive alliance. Good, because austria is certain to attack us if we do not attack them...

But at least the peninsula is united and France is still vaguely friendly. One border secure. The foundations are now laid.

Time to reclaim the few bits of Italy left? Or build a colonial empire?
It's time to seize Dalamatia for Italy, God wills it!
That all went very well. Will God be satisfied with Italy alone? Somehow I’m not so sure…
Yes, at last Italy is a thing that exists and it can use its very existence to annoy everyone in Europe!
Territorial expansion is a bit iffy now with the French being so touchy about it but feelers are being extended to other powers. For now, consolidating the home front is good enough.
Well...it will depend on whether God wants to piss off France by going after North Africa, or the british by going after the Mediterranean, or Austria by going after the balkans.

Let's be honest, as God seems a little shaky right now, he's probably plumping for the target that seems easiest to get at the present time. So I imagine a strange garbled version of all three, instead of consistent campaigning for one in particular.
Yeah, colonial expansion is very problematic in the Mediterranean but the Austrians are the easiest target among the three main directions.
Goodness, that's beautiful. Are you sure God doesn't want to strike for the Ottomans? I hear Constantinople is nice this time of the year.
That way we can finally decide who has the correct version of Christianity. I'll be selling tickets to the Pope vs Patriarch cage match.
Blood for the Cardinal's capes, Skulls for the Throne of Saint Peter.


He even managed to say that with a straight face. Now all he needs to do is master the "That is completely different!" response when someone mentions Greece. If he can do that then this pope will go far, even if he is now fated to end up at much hotter final destination than he hoped.
Well, it's pretty on-brand for a cult that eats the flesh of their god and drinks his blood.
It's the age old argument like with Alsace Lorraine: "we own it because our people live there, just don't look at Poland"
Here you are of course referring to the part of the Ineffable Plan which stipulates Papal contest of the Holy Land itself.
Naturally. A quick crusade to take Holy Land would be absolutely in keeping with Papal Policy.

Then a popular revolution back in Italy against the opressive theocratic dictatorship means the Pope is unable to return home and so is forced to build Vatican, the Sequel, in Jerusalem.
Tune in next century for a really complicated three-way Israelo-Palestinian-Papal conflict.
Dropping in here after finally catching up. I'm really enjoying this project; I love the way you tease out the story and the characters in each entry.

I've always found Catholic doctrine to be incomprehensible (but every so slightly less so than the million and one protestant denominations - they really should streamline the faith), so I find it quite reassuring that these Popes have taken to secular modernity so easily.
That's great to hear! I'm glad the format works well since it's a little bit anomalous but I think it's fun to have a more "ground level" view of the action.
I really enjoy getting into the nitty-gritty details of theology (Does Christ have a single nature or one nature? What even is the difference?) and I've been mulling over some mod that might incorporate these features. In any case, the birth of the modern world requires a certain secularity from its popes and Innocent XV will fully embody this spirit.


PS. Happy Easter to everyone! (no, not you Quartodecimans) Also here's your customary reminder to vote in the Q1 2021 ACAs for all those worthy AARs that you've been reading.
 

El Pip

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I really enjoy getting into the nitty-gritty details of theology (Does Christ have a single nature or one nature? What even is the difference?) and I've been mulling over some mod that might incorporate these features.
More of a CK-era issue surely?

That said who could possibly object to a mod that incorporated Nontrinitarianism and endless arguments about Miaphysitism and if it's differences from Monothelitism are semantic or substantial.
 

slothinator

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More of a CK-era issue surely?

That said who could possibly object to a mod that incorporated Nontrinitarianism and endless arguments about Miaphysitism and if it's differences from Monothelitism are semantic or substantial.
Definitely a CK thing, I'm warming up my modding muscles on the new game by converting an old mod and we'll see if I can come up with something interesting.
It's always great to see how many groups there are that say almost the same thing but not quite and end up making everyone furious. (See monophysitism, miaphysitism, monoenergism and monotheletism)
 
Chapter XXXIII: The Lying Name of Empire New

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Patrizio Formica

Monday 3rd of February 1879
I had hoped that the first day of the conference might relieve a little of the boredom accumulated in the last few days, but I suppose I was mistaken. The day's proceedings consisted mostly of the main players sizing each other up and lobbing backhanded compliments at each other in the hopes of gaining a minute advantage at the negotiating table. Bismarck, the man of the hour, just passed me by with a nod carefully calculated to be the bare minimum acknowledgment possible and then flew over to Sir Edward Malet to compliment him about the sheen of his buttons or some other suitably British thing. The only man who had the decency to stop by and ask after the Pope was Beñomar who brought me the greetings of King Alfonso and wished me a good conference. The rest of the day was really more of the same, I would just chase after the refreshments in the hope of seeming busy and then shuffle around without making eye contact and trying to find a gap in the circles of ambassadors where I could occasionally chuckle or offer some mumbled comment of approval.
I hated every moment of the charade and I can't believe I have to spend two months here in talks about who-knows-which god-forsaken land in the middle of Africa. I didn't even receive much of an assignment from Innocent, just "report back any important decisions" which I presume means "let me know who is shouting at whom and how loud". My comfort here is that it feels like Innocent wants to give me one last job before I permanently retire and, with everything going on back in Italy such as constitutions and the war, he had many worse options available.
I suppose I better get my rest now; I need to make the most of the time I have to myself these days.

cCXM4BVl.jpg

Thursday 20th of February 1879
Finally, a change of pace that I can write home about. The last weeks of staring at maps while others wink and make contented sounds at the stroke of a ruler did absolutely nothing to gain my attention. My greatest achievement in this time was the realization that the tiles on the ceiling are slightly larger than those on the floor to account for perspective, so not much of a fun time.
Nonetheless, today our dear host Bismarck gave us quite a show for the sake of some forgotten deserts in Somaliland and Hereoland. The British ambassador, Malet, had been arguing with the Chancellor for a while that these regions were of vital interest to Indian Ocean shipping and surely the German Empire would not wish to burden itself with such disconnected provinces that would give it no advantage. Bismarck shot back that the only way Britain had ever left Europe was through the acquisition of "disconnected provinces that would give it no advantage" and it was about time for other nations to make their mark on savage land. Malet replied that Britain needed these colonies to ensure its access to India, but Bismarck would not be dissuaded and became redder and redder to the point that a couple of aides were exchanging glances to see if they might need to physically restrain the towering man from his British counterpart.
Unfortunately for, well everyone I suppose, the discussion ended in a status quo with Germany maintaining its colonies in the two regions and Great Britain maintaining its unsanctioned ports just out of eyeshot. In the aftermath of the meeting, I noticed the iron chancellor sneaking away while offering a fat cigar of the highest quality to Courcel who seemed reluctant at first but accepted the offer nonetheless. This might also be worth a report, but I might just wait a few more sessions to see if a true accord is made.
I think tomorrow we'll start to deal with the Portuguese claims in East Africa, but I expect it to be a calm enough day since they have a historic presence in the region and there isn't really a valid justification for major changes. Here's hoping that I'll have the chance to witness another day of theater.

Wednesday 12th of March 1879
God, I can't stand that Karl, I knew that he would be frustrating, but I hadn't anticipated quite how much. Today we had to talk about the Inner Congo and what is to be done with that uncharted land of which we really only have an approximate size and nothing more. Everyone knew that this territory had been de-facto claimed by the King of Sweden's African Association for the Civilization of the Congo and there was uncertainty over whether to accept this claim or divide up the land among the triad of France, Germany, and Britain. Though I was not privy to further details, I heard rumors that the three powers had attempted to reach a deal on this question in the past weeks, but negotiations had broken down over the possession of some river or other landmark and the last meeting had ended with someone, the identity of which changed from telling to telling, storming out in a rage with no lack of profanity.
Today's meeting lent credibility to the rumors from the offset when Bismarck, Malet, and Courcel proposed in unison that the Inner Congo should be assigned to King Karl's humanitarian association for the enlightenment of the savages. In their harangue, they stated that, because Sweden-Norway had kept itself removed from broader European politics since the Congress of Vienna, its King would be a prime candidate to hold this land in trust without fear that he might fall on one side in the future.
With the three largest players so aligned, the vote for approval went through without much real opposition. Sure, I did my part and relayed Innocent's opinion that Belgium or Portugal should be granted the region, but the proposal predictably fell on deaf ears and ended with my token objection to the original motion.
The end of the day brought the conclusion of another conflict that had begun to flare up between the big three but this time it appears that a compromise was reached at Britain's expense. The regions in question were Cameroon, Gabon, and Outer Congo with the expectation of future expansion to the North of the Swedish Congo. In the end, with backroom deals far from my eyes, Germany took Cameroon, and France the remainder while Britain was outvoted at every step until Malet's look of shock and anger became an anticipated moment of levity for me.
Despite my initial skepticism, the conference has turned into a genuine amusement even if it is only as a passive observer. The play of glances and comments that can be interpreted in a bouquet of ways and require involved decoding are laid out in front of me as a rebus of continental proportions. I don't lose sleep over the British being rebuffed especially since they managed to secure claims on most of Africa; in any case, I'm surprised that the Germans and French could reconcile so quickly after the war, but I imagine that the Colonies are worth but an Alsace-Lorraine.

Saturday 29th of March 1879
We have reached a final decision on the Franco-British border, but I don't think it will do anyone any good. Even though we have been wrapped in discussion for weeks over who has the right to own Outer Hausaland and the Upper Volta, I suspect that there is a Penelope unstitching the agreement every night. First, we started with a river then we found that the maps of the river were insufficient, so we moved to hills and mountains but found that the region has few of these features, none of which of strategic importance. The only possible method was then to improvise with Malet and Courcel exhibiting themselves in mental acrobatics as they attempted to justify their claim on this patch of desert or fallow land. All the while, I noticed Bismarck making little asides to different minor ambassadors and even myself at one point. Though I can't quite remember the exact words, it was something to the effect that Malet reminded him of a camel trying to drink in every last drop of desert as if his life depended on it. Today the dispute was finally settled in the most unsatisfying way possible for all parties when our Prussian friend managed to gain approval for a preliminary border halfway between British and French claims with the eventual possibility of review after an expedition is sent to the region. Everyone knows what that means, but war later is better than war now with all conference members involved.
I think we're all tired of Berlin and we will benefit from a return to our homes and business as usual. I'm looking forward to the next conure breeding season and I'll be back just in time to plan which morphologies I should aim for in the next generation.

ArssliU.png

Africa After the Berlin Conference, disputed areas striped.​

Author’s note:
Cardinal Formica retired in April of 1879 and died peacefully only ten months later and is still today honored by the Italian Aviary Association with a plaque in their Roman headquarters.
Regarding his political contributions, he is a little-known cardinal from the pre-unitary period and is usually mentioned for his poor performance during the ’69-’70 war against the Kingdom of Sardinia.
His most significant positive contributions are in the medical field where he implemented the details of Pope Callixtus’ healthcare reforms by inaugurating the first national vaccination in the Papal States.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Hmm. Something is going to go down over Africa at some point...
 

El Pip

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An early mis-step from the new Pope I think. Sure the Papacy was never going to get anything out of the conference, or probably even have any influence, but sending an actual diplomat might have been a better long term investment. Some diplomatic connections and relationships formed over a Ferrero Rocher and a well timed quip could be useful later.

Instead he sent Formica who frankly could have just not turned up and I doubt anyone would have noticed.
 

eoncommander

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My greatest achievement in this time was the realization that the tiles on the ceiling are slightly larger than those on the floor to account for perspective, so not much of a fun time.
A delightful use of one's time, if you ask me.

Is it the unification war that Formica refers to, or some other conflict to come?
 

TheButterflyComposer

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An early mis-step from the new Pope I think. Sure the Papacy was never going to get anything out of the conference, or probably even have any influence, but sending an actual diplomat might have been a better long term investment. Some diplomatic connections and relationships formed over a Ferrero Rocher and a well timed quip could be useful later.

Instead he sent Formica who frankly could have just not turned up and I doubt anyone would have noticed.

Yeah, shouldn't they be adopting OTL Italian diplomacy of being a hissy toddler that everyone else needs to look after/placate every so often, because the outcome otherwise is a load of blood and poop and screaming?
 

DensleyBlair

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That's still a fair amount of Africa unaccounted for, and an awful lot under contention. Europe is going to go to war yet, I think.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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That's still a fair amount of Africa unaccounted for, and an awful lot under contention. Europe is going to go to war yet, I think.
Unfortunately, I think it's going to be Italy kicking it all in twice. Libya is the obvious target for them, and just enough of a conquest/change that everyone else will get involved.
Plus, given the papacy is in charge of Italy, I can only expect them to carry on to try and reclaim more Holy cities from the Ottomans. The holy land is the obvious target but constantiople is important too.
This may well be how they make amends with Austria. They gang up on ottoman together, making an utter mess of everyone else's plans.
 

El Pip

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I can only expect them to carry on to try and reclaim more Holy cities from the Ottomans
Given the declining religious quality and education of the last few popes this could result in Papal armies conquering Mecca and Medina from the Ottomans, due to confusion on what exactly the Holy cities of Christianity are.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Given the declining religious quality and education of the last few popes this could result in Papal armies conquering Mecca and Medina from the Ottomans, due to confusion on what exactly the Holy cities of Christianity are.
Hey, someone says they saw god there once. Or an angel. Whatever.
 

El Pip

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Hey, someone says they saw god there once. Or an angel. Whatever.
The important thing is, lots of people like to go there for some god bothering reason or another. This means lots of warm bodies that can be charged for entry and then further fleeced in the over-priced gift shop (is there any other kind of gift shop?). And that will be the main thing the Curia will focus on.