• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Mr. Capiatlist

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I have read, I read and I shall read.
You have my comments, my loyal Author.
And you shall have my updates, loyal reader.

This is going to be very unusual EU3 AAR, that's for sure! I hope you drive them Caliphs back to Africa and the Middle East!
It will, but that is what will make it fun.

Present and accounted for!
Welcome back.

Yarr feed my insatiable hunger for prussian history rawr!!
I shall. I hope to have an update out tonight or tomorrow. I still have some 26 to do for Homelands.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Bastions
Prologue One: The Saxons
Part 2


kát se ánglos kræsáláfan, gágáfan hie
What the Saxons saw, they conquered​

Marshal Aethelstan was left as regent to rule during the minority of Earl Aethelweard, son of the late Morcar. Despite their success against the Sambians and Samogitians, the Saxons still worried about their other neighbors, namely the Yatviags, a tribe of Prussians that lived farther inland. Aethelstan worried that the nation was becoming segregated, and if it got too bad revolts and poverty would explode. So his solution was the Act of Freemen, which allowed Prussians and Letts to not take the jobs of their fathers. It also offered citizenship to any Saxon that came from afar and to pagan chiefs who converted to Christianity. Many Saxons, including the descendents of Harold Godwinson, would take this offer. But in doing so, Aethelstan personally expatiated the end of the Saxon culture. As pointed out to him by his friend Alfred, there were far more Prussians and Letts then Saxons. And many had already started intermarrying, creating the first generation of Balts which would soon dominate the culture and language of Prussia.

However, many were displeased. Some Saxons left Prussia, others moved out into the surrounding areas. It was this movement outward that forced the next round of conflict with the Yatviags. In 1075 Aethelstan led his peoples in a war of conquest against the neighboring tribes. The Yatviags, who were normally united, were in the middle of a civil war. Too busy fighting themselves, they stood little chance against Aethelstan and his army of well-seasoned men. In the court, Gytha, Morcar's widow and Aethelstan's lover, made sure that Aethelweard's rule was not threatened as well as defending the actions of the Marshal. Nobles grew discontent with Aethelstan's regency and pushed for changes, but got none. These nobles were allowed to build estates in the newly conquered regions to pacify them and to get them out of court.

In 1076 a bishop from Rome was sent to the small, fledgling nation to tour it and act as the Pope's emissary to Aethelweard. The small boy was declared "Duke of Prussia", the first official usage of the name "Prussia" by Western Europeans as well as a "Crusader of the Black Eagle." It is from this title that the coat of arms of Prussia is derived, a black eagle armed with golden talons and a golden beak.

But Gytha and Aethelstan saw the truth. The Pope was trying to butter them up so that he may try to influence their actions. The Pope was looking for a tool in the East to help combat the expansion of the Russian Princes. It was likely that soon Prussia would be asked to join the Holy Roman Empire as an arm of their crusades. Native Prussians were pagan, they worshipped a pantheon of Gods each with a purpose and place, the Saxons were Catholic, but not nearly as devout as the Germans or Italians. There was a mistrust of the centralized church, and it was this mistrust and half-heartedness that stunted the spread of converts in the small Duchy. But with the inference of the Papacy the number of witch hunters and missionaries exploded. This led to revolts from the people. Aethelstan and Gytha did very little to quell these revolts, as they planned to appease the people rather than the nobles. The nobles and church quickly quelled many of these revolts anyways, leaving little for the Duke to do. But as the nobles increased their power, Aethelstan saw a way to weaken it, ever so slightly.

It was called the "Division of Land" an act that made the entire coast line of Prussia territory controlled by the Duke. Counties were set up inland, but they could only be tapped into through donations to the nation and usually went to the highest bidder. As the revolts moved closer to home, Gytha and Aethelweard fled Mariengrád to Sambigrád. Aethelstan stayed to lead in the defense of the capital. Eventually it was too much and Aethelstan could no longer just defend the city, he declared a crusade and with the army crushed the revolts and put an end to the revolt in the capital, killing many chiefs at the same time.

This crusade was enough to settle concerns from Rome, but at the same time made Rome and the Prussian people more blood thristy. They wanted war and so the attention of the people turned to a small tribe to the north.


Prussia in 1076.
 
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Mr. Capiatlist

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Prologue One: The Saxons
Part 3


izsutt næ sáŝjes in ien próŝjedus dárb
Never send a German to do a Prussian's job​

The Tribe of Kurs, a small but venerable tribe on the Baltic coast was the next target of Prussia. It was part of a plan concocted by Duke Æthelweard and Marshal Æthelstan to keep the Papacy in the dark about their dislike of the Pope's presents in the small Christian nation. It also served to expand their own power while simultaneously legitimizing it. In the short "Catholic Period" of Prussian history, Prussia came into existence and expanded. But this attracted attention from other nobles. Notably the Teutonic Knights, a crusader order that was convinced it could spread Catholicism into the four corners of the Earth, by force if necessary. So after the Tribe of Kurs was conquered and annexed as part of the growing Duchy, the Teutonic Knights sent their grandmaster to Prussia with a writ of permission from the Pope. Prussia was requested to submit to the Teutonic Knights so that the Baltic could be converted.

The Knights had been guaranteed a large amount of land stretching from Danzig in the west and Pskov in the East. In it Prussia was supposed to be a small Duchy centered on Sambigrád. The demands were seen as insulting by the Prussians and quickly rejected. The Teutonic Knights were barred from entering the nation. Friction grew between Prussia and the Papacy. Many trace it back to purpose. The Saxons fled to Prussia looking to continue living as they had before the Norman Invasion. The Papacy assumed that they existed to spread Catholicism. In 1082 the Papacy decided enough was enough. He sent his own troops to quell what he called a rebellion and a heresy. The Cardinal he sent delivered a simple message, submit or be crushed. Given a land-hungry Poland to the south and a even hungrier Holy Roman Empire to the west, Duke Æthelweard had no real choice but to accept a treaty that was vassalage in everything but name. Prussia had to recognize Papal supremacy and allow the Cardinal to install one of his own lackeys as Bishop in Prussia.

But it was not all a loss for Prussia. The Duke was able to get a term of his own in. He demanded, for his loyalty, the claims of the Teutonic Knights to be transferred to Prussia. The Pope agreed and the Duke was able to move again a much bigger target: Poland. It wouldn't be a direct war, rather a small proxy war fought between the Tribe of Danzig and the Duchy. Danzig had long been envied by Poland for use as a port and a much needed coast. In 1083 Prussia invaded the region and in doing so angered the Kingdom of Poland. The King demanded a Papal hearing and in front of the Pope in Rome, Æthelweard defended his actions and won a major victory over the Kingdom of Poland.

The core Prussian territory, and the place that would later give birth to a new language, culture and to a lesser extent a religion was already in the making. With a few exceptions the entirety of Prussia in 1083 would make up nováde próŝjá (State of Prussia) and is entirely in ápvidus báltikjá (Baltic Region).


Prussia in 1083.
 

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I'm really enjoying these little prologues. Keep up the good work. :)
 

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Prologue One: The Saxons
Part 4


próŝjá wors in baɵir ien páp un ien sinik tó mas
Prussia was too small for both a Pope and a King​

As Æthelstan grew older, he stepped out of the limelight, choosing instead to spend his time with his family and try his best to enjoy his remaining years without the stress of being regent. Æthelweard was more than happy to have the freedom to act on his own. In 1084 he was fifteen years of age and continued his resistance to the Papacy. It was around that time when missionaries began to show up en masse in Danzig. Their torture and conversion of the pagans angered Æthelweard, not out of compassion, but out of a common enemy that he had his pagan subjects had. It was the passing remarks of a pagan guard, suggesting that the Duke could just leave the Papacy, that would push Prussia down an irreversible path and separate her entirely from Western Europe. He wrote to the Prince of Kiev, who ruled most of the Rus, with a very interesting proposal.

At the time, many expected that Prussia would submit to a larger Kingdom in order to secure its land and stability. Poland was the clearest choice, though Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Germany all vied for influence over the small Duchy. These countries tried to temp Æthelweard, or at least get a foot inside the door by offering princesses. But Æthelweard did not accept a Catholic bride, instead he asked the Prince of Kiev for the hand of Anastasia, a younger daughter of the Prince. The marriage did not last, however. Despite her beauty, kindness and winning the heart of the Duke, she made enemies with the bishops and the nobles and was poisoned on Christmas during a state dinner. Her death, and the death of an unborn heir, left Æthelweard scarred and lost for much of his life. Æthelweard correctly arrested the Bishop with a dinner knife and had him put to death the next day. He then went into seclusion, disappearing off the face of the Earth for three long years. When he did emerge it was to wed a second wife and move on with his own life.

Æthelweard married Markéta, daughter of the King of Bohemia, even though he made ties with a Catholic country, he had already decided that the time had come to leave the Papal flock and join the Russians and Greeks in the Orthodox faith. It would be a major shock to many, but Æthelweard needed to rule his own nation, and if this is what it took, so be it. However, many sources point out that Æthelweard never converted himself, instead his children were baptized as Orthodoxites, he himself would remain in between churches for the rest of his life.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Meanwhile in Iberia...
The Caliph comes later... I don't have many notes from Iberia at the very beginning because I didn't think they'd win.
 

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I'm really enjoying these little prologues. Keep up the good work. :)
Indeed, I didn't follow closely, certainly at the start of the CK campaign so these updates are excellent to show what led us to this very interesting situation Prussia is in.
 

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Bastions
Prologue One: The Saxons
Part 5


laft næ ien swærd ungeŝárpan
Never leave a sword unsharpened​

In 1095 Æthelweard began a campaign within his own court to win over the nobles to the idea of converting to Orthodoxy. His son, six years old at the time, was the first Prussian baptized in the new state faith. Eadbert, as he was called, would eventually become King of Prussia after his father. Æthelweard had already realized that it would be impossible to convert all the nobles, especially at once, instead he needed to get at least a majority support so he could move forward with freeing Prussia. Many nobles agreed just out of the same attitude toward servitude, Prussians wanted to be free. They had escaped from England to flee persecution, here was another example to fight that same persecution from a new source. There was worry of Papal intervention, but Æthelweard quickly dismissed these worries, promising that Prussia would prevail over any invader. The Duke was able to convince many within his court to convert.

But shortly after this success, Æthelstan died from old age. He left Æthelweard grief stricken again, but also parted a terrible truth; that he was actually a Norman who had fought alongside the Conqueror until a defeat left him armyless. He had then disguised himself as a Saxon farmer and joined the ranks of Morcar to flee from the island. His real name was Stephen de Seagrave, and before his death he gave Æthelweard as much advice as he could. The strongest of all was to never leave a sword unsharpened, that Prussia was surrounded by enemies and her only chance was to fight until those enemies no longer existed. He would eventually be made into a saint, and the patron saint of Prussia and the royal family. He was given a Saxon funeral in Mariengrád bay, like Morcar before him.

In the Autumn of 1095 the Pope sent a monk to excommunicate all of the Prussian court for siding with such heresy. However, it was met on deaf ears. Æthelweard pointed out it was not possible to excommunicate people who were not part of the flock. The Duke accused the Pope of ruining Europe, damning her forever to rule under Islam. The Crusades in Iberia were a terrible failure, leaving much of the peninsula under the command of the Muslims. He also said that Western Europe had turned its back on the East, forever isolating itself from potential allies. While many in Europe agreed with these statements, few were willing to follow along. The Pope removed his troops and men from Prussia without a fight. Æthelweard was once again the sole ruler of Prussia.

Prussia eventually received blessing from the Emperor of Rome as well as the Prince of Kiev, who still remained close to his former son-in-law. In 1097 St. Stephen was added to the Prussian canon, thus officially marking the beginning of the Prussian church, a branch of Greek Orthodoxy. However, the Prince of Kiev bore a warning, the Prince of Polotsk was envious of Prussia and wished to add the realm to his own. The Prince of Kiev hinted that he would at least turn a blind eye if Prussia were to fight the rebellious Prince.