• 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

kaeim

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This AAR is heavily inspired by magritte2's AAR 'A History of the World According to Paradox - a Hands Off AAR'.

I will be playing a variety of obscure counts throughout Europe and do as little as possible to ensure that I have no impact.

I am using only one mod in this game which is CK2Plus Continuation which can be found here

In addition, I am also making use of the interesting scenario included in CK2Plus Continuation which begins this AAR on December 25th, 1000.

Warning - this AAR will be text heavy and have few pictures.

Germany, 1000-1010



The lands of the Holy Roman Empire in the year 1000 extended from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean and from the Kingdom of France to the Duchy of Poland. Her neighbours were few and far from being able to challenge her might when she so chose to extend a fist. However, despite her apparent strength, she had never been so threatened. Internally, the Empire had never been weaker. In Italy, her lords stood irate by the constant emphasis of Germanic issues over Italian ones, while powerful lords of great ambition were never hard to find.

In 1002, the Dukes of Tuscany, Ravenna, Susa, Lombardy and Modena met together in a secret conference supported by the newly elected Pope, Celestine II, who had no great love for Otto III and desired buffers between the Empire and the Papal States. Together, the lands of the Italian lords dominated central and north-eastern Italy. It was agreed amongst themselves that the rule of Otto III no longer suited them, and independence was a word more to their liking. However, even with all their resources, it was generally accepted that attempting rebellion against the rest of the empire was a bad idea – unless there was something to distract the Emperor’s forces.

Brief thought was given to the Boleslaw ‘the brave’, Duke of Poland whose lands lay to the east of Germany, and who was currently decimating the Duchy of Bohemia for Moravia. Although Bohemia was not part of the Holy Roman Empire, the growth of what was becoming a powerful rival was drawing attention. However, when Pope Celestine had his agents in Poland sound out Duke Boleslaw he was only able exact a promise of future aid.
However by June 1001, a man had been found who was more than suitable for the Italian plans. Duke Eudes II was a member of the Karling dynasty whose ancestors had created France and the Holy Roman Empire. However, in the year 887, the last Karling ruler had been the great grandson of Charlemagne, Charles III, who was overthrown in a coup after which the Carolingian Empire collapsed into five successor states. Duke Eudes II was the last of his family in the Holy Roman Empire with any meaningful titles, and he was often said to have proudly boasted of his family’s great history. A man given greatly to trust, he eagerly fell into the claws of the Italians when they offered to make him Emperor in exchange for their independence.

On December 1002, the Lower Lorraine League declared independence against Otto III. The whole of north Italy and north-east Germany turned against the Emperor. Eudes II, although a poor warrior, was well served in his marshal who consistently defeated any army sent by the Emperor against him. The Italians had chosen well in their distraction. The name of Karling resonated hard in the mind of Otto III who instead of focusing on the Italians chose instead to send his strength against Eudes II, but paid heavily for it. The Italian armies conquered Switzerland, Tyrol, Verona and Carinthia, eventually threatening to march upon the capital itself.

On November 5th, 1003, Otto III came to terms with the Lower Loraine League. To a man, the Italian lords signed the treaty offering them independence, breaking their promises to Eudes II who was left without a single ally. Upon advice from Pope Celestine, Eudes II agreed reluctantly to the same terms as the Italians.
In a single swoop, the Holy Roman Empire had lost most of her Italian possessions and north-eastern Germany.






After the disaster of 1103, Otto III retreated into himself. During the war of independence, Otto III had taken a devastating wound which, despite it having healed, continued to plague him for the rest of his reign. On December 15th 1006, Otto III fell into a sudden coma and three days later, died. When the lords of the Holy Roman Empire came together, it was decided that Otto III’s cousin, Heinrich, would take the throne. However, after barely a year of rule, Heinrich died of a sudden illness.

Eudes II meanwhile suffered greatly as a result of his Italian allies. Their desertion had left him in a difficult position between the kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire. On August 1004, his vassals began abandoning him in favour of their own rule. By 1009, Eudes had barely any vassals remaining to him, all of whom had abandoned him, some few returning to the Holy Roman Empire, others choosing to go down the road of independence. On April 1009, Eudes II was suddenly invaded after the French king, Robert II, discovered a claim on the county Breda. On December 25th, 1009, Eudes was forced to surrender the county of Breda to Robert II. With no titles remaining to him, Eudes found the doors of his former vassals closed to him, eventually finding residence in his distant relative’s court in Champagne.

Although often the children of the Emperor or a family member would be elected after the death of the Emperor, not enough support was given to the three year old child Heinrich IV, duke of Bavaria and Mainz. After the electors came together, it was decided that new blood was needed on the throne. In the end, it was Duke Adalbero of Carinthia who was chosen from amongst themselves.

Adalbero was very much a new man of the Holy Roman Empire. The Duchy of Carinthia itself had been previously a possession of Emperor Heinrich, but had been taken in 995 by Otto III and granted to Adalbero for his service. When Heinrich was elected as Emperor after Otto III, Duke Adalbero had watched warily. Addalbero was by nature a man of paranoia, and feared the loss of his titles which had only just been gained. Upon Adalbero’s election in 1008, there was no man now more powerful than he to prevent him from acting upon his suspicions. On March 13th, 1008, barely a month after election, he immediately ordered the Duke of Bavaria and Mainz, the three year old Duke Heinrich IV and the son of Emperor Heinrich, to relinquish the county of Nurnberg, a county traditionally part of the duchy of Bavaria. The boy’s regents refused, hoping for aid from other lords, but to no avail. Within the span of a year, Duke Heinrich IV was forced to surrender his lands and to be confined to the dungeons.

Rumours soon began to spread that Heinrich IV was being treated in a way that reflected in no way his position as the son of a former Holy Roman Emperor and a Duke of the Empire. In February 1010, gripped by paranoia, he soon discovered that one of his vassals, the count of Nassau, was plotting to incite the Duke of the Upper Lorraine, a powerful vassal on the French border, to rise against him. His attempt to arrest the count failed however, and word spread that the Emperor, far from arresting a treasonous subject was in fact arresting honourable subjects! Within a few days, no less than five Dukes, three Prince-Bishops and three counts had joined the rebellion.



The war lasted less than two months before victory had been achieved. Reacting with a speed no one thought possible, Adalbero had gone straight for the leader of the rebellion, Count Johann of Nassau, defeating his small army and capturing both Johann and Prince-Bishop Adam of Mainz. With the charismatic leader gone, the rebellion quickly fell apart. In the span of a mere two months, Adalbero had captured nearly half of the most powerful rebellious nobles in the Holy Roman Empire, and prevented a bloody civil war from marring his reign. With a huge proportion of the nobility in his dungeons, it seemed as though nothing would be able to challenge Adalbero.
 

Bullet Storm

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Nice start!

Also, if you don't want to influence the game at all, just use the "observe" cheat. It will allow you to not play as someone, though when you load a game where you have been observing, you will have to select a character then use the cheat again. To use the cheat, press "~" and type "observe" and press enter.
 

kaeim

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Nice start!

Also, if you don't want to influence the game at all, just use the "observe" cheat. It will allow you to not play as someone, though when you load a game where you have been observing, you will have to select a character then use the cheat again. To use the cheat, press "~" and type "observe" and press enter.
Thanks for the comment! I know about the observe cheat, but I don't like using it because it misses out a lot of information which involves a lot of backtracking to find out what happened and why it happened. While using the 'observe' cheat is good if you want to only skim through the history of your game, in my case it doesn't work at all.

What I've done is basically set it up so that everytime something happens in the game, there's a pop-up and the game pauses. I created a spreadsheet for every individual country organised by their de jure kingdoms, let the game run and write down what's happening. It gives me a more comprehensive view, although it does take a very long time. So far I've played the game for around 6 hours (maybe more), and have only seen 10 years.

I've got a lot written to be honest, in particular Hungary will be really interesting to write about. Its just a matter of writing it up, sorting the material and allowing the game to run ahead. I'm trying to get to 1020 in my game so I can see what happened in the long term instead of just the short term.

On another note to anyone reading this, is my writing making it easy to understand what's happening in my game or not?

Norway, Denmark and England – 1000-1007​

King Ethelread of England was of the venerable house of Wessex whose members had included the illustrious Egbert of Wessex, (reigned 802-839), Alfred the Great (reigned 871-899) and Ethelstan (reigned 924-939). Under the rule of the Wessex dynasty, they withheld the great Viking invasions which saw her English rivals conquered. Under Alfred the Great and his descendants, the Vikings were pushed back further north until at last, the dynasty of Wessex ruled one great kingdom where once there had been three.

The strength of his ancestors was not to be found in Ethelread , however. The throne had passed to Ethelerad in 978 in less than auspicious circumstances. The throne of England was originally meant to be passed to his half-brother Edward who was murdered in a castle owned by Ethelread‘s own mother, Elfthyth. Nor did Ethelread himself succeed in winning the hearts of his vassals. By the age of 32, he was known to be a king overly proud of himself for no apparent reason. Not only was he slothful, but he was known to be cowardly in battle and would make and break promises without a care in the world.



In 980, word reached the Norsemen of the murder of the young king Edward. Just as they had in the 9th century, the Vikings began to raid England’s shores once again, at first in small bands, but soon growing in size and scope. In 991, a group of Norse raiders crushed a English army at Maldon sending shockwaves throughout England. In the aftermath of the battle, Ethelread met with the leaders of the raiding band and came to terms with them, paying them a sum of 22,000 pounds of gold and silver in exchange for them to leave.
Despite this payment, Viking raids began once again began in 997, and Ethelread was forced to begin paying an annual tribute to the king of Norway and Denmark, Sveinn Forkbeard. However, in May 1003, Etherlraed declared a general massacre of all Viking men in England. A month later, Sveinn Forkbeard declared war for the throne of England.

Sveinn Forkbeard was a man well suited to warfare and deceit. In the 980s, he had led a coup against his own father, conquering Denmark from him. In the 990s, he waged war in Norway, conquering much of the country for himself. However, even after having conquered two kingdoms, the man of warfare found himself greatly bored with peace. When word came of the massacre of Norsemen in England, he eagerly marshalled his forces and ships.

Before he invaded England however, Sveinn sailed for the duchy of Nordreyjar which dominated the whole of western Scotland. There, Sveinn met with Sigurdr II where it was agreed that Sigurdr would pay homage to Sveinn. In a single stroke, Sveinn now ruled western Scotland.

Etherlraed soon found himself greatly outmatched by Sveinn Forkbeard and his Danish, Norwegian and Scottish warriors. The English were unable to stand against the Norsemen who defeated every army sent against them. Sveinn conquered and plundered at will across England. In June 1004, a minor skirmish with English forces outside of London saw king Etherlraed himself captured and brought before Sveinn where he was forced to abdicate his kingdom to Sveinn.

In the span of thirty years, Sveinn Forkbeard had successfully conquered the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and England, forging an empire that spanned across the North Sea. Yet, as many would-be conquerors would have told him ruefully, it was an easy matter to conquer a kingdom but extremely difficult to hold it afterwards, especially with three distinct kingdoms separated by sea. Before Sveinn could even begin the task of reorganising England, matters in Norway called his attention.



In August 1004 the Swedish king, Olafr Skotkonung, invaded the county of Afheimr, seeking to break the land connection between Sveinn’s Danish and Norwegian territories. Sveinn was forced to raise new levies from the his newly conquered subjects to add to his weakened army and sail back for Norway to defeat the Swedish. For two long years, the armies clashed before in March 19th, 1006, Sveinn was captured by Olafr, and forced to surrender Afheimr.

When word reached England of the capture of Sveinn Forkbeard, England erupted into warfare. In Scotland, King Kenneth III declared war for the disputed county of Cumberland. In England itself, the Anglo-Saxon Dukes of York, Mercia, East Anglia and Sussex declared independence, each man dreaming of becoming a new Alfred the Great, throwing back the Vikings from their lands and eventually restoring the kingdom of England to Anglo-Saxon hands, preferably their own hands. Sveinn once again was forced to take to his army, long weakened by years of fighting, and sail to England and Scotland to deal with these challenges.

However, unlike his previous war for England, matters had changed. The English lords, unlike Sveinn, had taken advantage of the years of peace to rebuild their forces while Sveinn’s own was weakened from the years of warfare. For over six years Sveinn had fought in England, Norway, Sweden and Denmark against a multitude of foes, and he was growing old. For another year, he fought the rebellious Saxons with what remained of his army. However, in 1007, Sveinn finally accepted that peace was needed. In September 16th, 1007, he surrendered Cumberland to Kenneth III, and granted independence to the rebels.

Despite his defeat however, Sveinn still ruled over three kingdoms, even his English fiefdom was now heavily divided. Half of England had broken away to seek their own independence, yet even so the rich south was now his. The ancestral lands of Wessex had finally been conquered, and the rebellious English were now surrounded by Norsemen on every side. With peace finally in his hands, Sveinn began the long process of organising his kingdoms, increasing crown authority in all three kingdoms. When he died, he intended for his sons to inherit their lands in good order. And even if he had been defeated temporally, Svieinn knew that what he had conquered once, he could conquer again.

 
Last edited:

Bullet Storm

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Wow, Sveinn own the North Sea!

And don't worry, i can understand what's going own very well. The amount of effort you are spending on this AAR is outstanding, i hope that you can keep it up!
 

Forster

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It is awesome, but more maps or pictures would be nice, if possible.
 

kaeim

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Haha, Canute is just going to be Sveinn's son!
It'll be interesting to see what Canute will make of his kingdoms! Thanks for the comment!

Wow, Sveinn own the North Sea!

And don't worry, i can understand what's going own very well. The amount of effort you are spending on this AAR is outstanding, i hope that you can keep it up!
Interestingly, this is very much like OTL, when Sveinn and his son, Canute, ruled England, Norway and Denmark. I hope to keep this up as well! Thank you for the comment

Awesome :) Will follow, very interesting so far.
Thank you :)

It is awesome, but more maps or pictures would be nice, if possible.
I'll see what I can do, although don't expect too much. Out of curiosity, can anyone recommend good screenshot software that isn't fraps? I'm getting annoyed with the "Map Saved" that always appears in the middle of the photos.

Update coming up in a bit!
 

kaeim

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Bulgaria and Byzantine: 1000-1005

The relationship between the Bulgarian and Byzantine Empires was one of constant warfare which can be dated back to the very creation of the Bulgarian Empire. The first Bulgarian-Byzantine war began when the Bulgars first settled in late 6th century in Byzantine territory, and continued in 680 AD when the Bulgars began to expand southwards, thus setting off a series of wars in for which the possession of the Balkans was at stake. By 971 AD, the Byzantine Empire appeared to have finally have the upper hand over its European rival who was overwhelmed with conflicts with Croatia, Hungary, various Russian principalities and the Kangaras Khanate.


[SUP]Bulgaria, 1000 AD[/SUP]

During the reign of the Bulgarian emperor, Peter I (reigned. 927-969), the Hungarians began raiding deep into Bulgaria, even reaching as far as the Byzantine Empire, leading to furious accusations that Bulgaria had simply bribed the Hungarians with military access into the richer Byzantine provinces. In 965, these rumours became true when Peter I was forced into an official treaty, granting Hungarian raiders access through Hungary to the Byzantine Empire. After many refusals to break the treaty with Hungary, in a standard display of Byzantine diplomacy and scheming, they eventually bribed the prince of Kiev, Sviatoslav, to invade and pillage Bulgaria on their behalf.

On January 970, Peter I died and was succeeded by Boris II, who was forced into virtual vassalage to Kiev who had succeeded beyond all expectations had crushed anything Bulgaria threw at him. With Bulgaria open to Kiev's armies and having been well plundered, the wealth of Kiev's former paymasters seemed to beckon them onwards. In 970 and 971, joint Bulgarian and Kiev armies launched a series of campaigns into Thrace, which eventually ended in Byzantine victory, and even the capture of Boris II himself. The Bulgarian Emperor was then returned to Constantinople where he was forced to abdicate his kingdom to the Byzantine Empire. To guarantee that none of Boris II’s dynasty would lead any rebellions, Boris’ brother and only heir , Roman, was castrated to ensure the end of the Krum dynasty.

The long series of conflicts that had occurred for over three hundred years seemed to be coming to a close, the Byzantium restoration of the Imperial borders along the River Danube finally appeared to be within reach. The annexation of Bulgaria was officially proclaimed, its capital Pliska was occupied as well as the seat of the Bulgarian Patriachate.

Western Bulgaria remained uncontrollable however, and in 976 four brothers; David, Moses, Apoh and Samuil liberated all lands north of the river Danube. In the same year, a new Byzantine Emperor, Basil II, inherited the Empire, and immediately found himself fighting against his overly powerful Anatolian nobles before immediately being pushed into warfare with the Fatamid Caliphate.

By the year 1000 AD, Basil II had finally brought his nobles into submission and had defeated the Fatamids. His only remaining enemy was the Bulgarians who were now ruled by the youngest brother, Samuil. During Basil II’s wars in the east, Samuil had constantly launched raids into Thrace, and had successfully conquered the Duchies of Adrianopolis, Epirus and Thessalonika. By this time however, Basil was able to turn full attention to Samuil and now looked to reconquer the Empire of Bulgaria.


[SUP]The Bulgarian Emperor Samuil[/SUP]

In 1001 AD, Basil II marched with an army of 12,000 men into Bulgaria. His aim was to crush the pretender Samuil's host, recapture the capital of Bulgaria and then conquer Bulgaria once and for all. The battle that followed was nothing but a disastor for Basil II. Over half of his men were killed or captured during the fighting in Bulgaria, and by May 23rd, 1002, Basil II was forced back into Thrace. It was clear to all by that point that Basil II’s attempt for Bulgaria was over. In desperation, he attempted to treat with Samuil, offering to relinquish his claim on the throne and grant Bulgaria its independence. Whether Samuil responded to Basil II is unknown. What is known is that instead of making peace, Samuil launched his own counter invasion, seeking to recapture the Duchies of Adrianopolis, Epirus and Thessalonika. Basil II led what remained of the army to the capital, Constantinople where they awaited resupply and reinforcements from Armenia, while Samuil began the besiegement of Philippopolis, Thessalonike and Chalkidike.

The year 1003 saw Samuil forced to lift his siege as Basil II successfully raised a new army and tried to pin down the Bulgarian host. Discontent was epidemic in the Byzantine Empire over the Bulgarian ulcer. The attempted occupation of Bulgaria had gone on for over 30 years with money and manpower thrown down the drain. Now all of Byzantium’s gains had been lost, and a Bulgarian army was no more than a few days march from the capital itself! Basil II needed a victory against Samuil soon, or else he knew his lords, tired of taxes and warfare, would begin plotting once again. It appeared that Basil finally had his chance when Samuil, having drawn away Basil from Constantinople itself, chose to launch a daring raid against the capital. Upon hearing of Samuil’s march, Basil forced marched his men to catch Samuil at Adrianpolis on September 1003.

The battle raged for hours on the river Hebros. Prior to the battle, Samuil had succeeded in bringing the majority of his men over the river, stranding Basil II's forces on the wrong side of the river, forcing him to fight across the river in order to reach the capital. Even so, the Byzantines were fighting to save their homes, had the superior numbers and desired to save Byzantine honour. It seemed all but inevitable that the battle would end in a Byzantine victory. However, just when it seemed victory would be theirs, the Byzantine left flank collapsed suddenly when their commander, Theophylact, the Doux of Thessalonika, was unhorsed and drowned in the river. When the left flank broke, panic spread through the ranks and the Bulgarians, sensing victory, charged. The Byzantine force had broken, and with that the battle and the war itself was lost.

Basil II successfully escaped to Athens where his attempts to rebuild yet another army was met in blunt refusal by the Doux’s who had enough of wasting manpower and money on the Bulgarian issue. He was met with a stark ultimatum - end the war immediately or else.

On February 13th, 1004, Basil II came to terms with Samuil, surrendering his claim to the Empire of Bulgaria and giving up the Duchies of Adrianopolis, Epirus and Thessalonika. The land connection between Byzantine’s Greek and Anatolian possessions was cut, and Constantinople itself now lay no more than a few days march from Bulgarian territory.


[SUP]The Bulgarian-Byzantine Empires, 1004 AD[/SUP]
 
Last edited:

Nikolai

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Good idea to mimic magritte's awesome AAR.:) I will be following!
 

Forster

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Good update.
 

kaeim

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Right, does anyone have any requests about which region they'd like to see updated? I've got a lot of exciting things happening around the world, so really you lucky devils, its up to you which you'd like to see first

Well, maybe Basil's not such a Bulgar-Slayer
He's definitely going to be known as the Fatamid-smasher...

I am really likening the story so far, keep it up.
Thank you :)

Good idea to mimic magritte's awesome AAR.:) I will be following!
Thank you :)

Good update.
I'm glad you approve :)
 

Nikolai

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I'd love to see Asia, then Europe. In the early game, that's where the action is.
 

kaeim

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I'd love to see Asia, then Europe. In the early game, that's where the action is.
Well, I've just played an hour's worth of CK2+, and I'm happy to say that I've got enough material to write up two new updates. As requested, I'll do an Asian update on the Fatamid Caliphate, as well as the Umayyad Caliphate...expect an update hopefully by tonight
 

Nikolai

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Great! :)
 

kaeim

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The Caliphates, 1000-1013​

The Fatamid Emirate was established in 909 in Algeria and at its peak ruled North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen (See map). They ruled this vast Caliphate from the city of Cairo, and backed their claim to rule through the matriarchal linage to the Prophet Muhammad. However, by the year 1000, Fatamid rule over eastern North Africa had ended, and the boy Caliph al-Hakim now ruled.



Caliph al-Hakim came to rule in 996 at the age of 11 when his father, Caliph al-Aziz fell ill and died while defending Syria from the Byzantine Empire led by the formidable Basil II. While Caliph al-Hakim was a minor, the Fatamid Caliph was ruled by his Vizier, Barjawan. As the boy matured however, Barjawan noted with discomfort the Caliph display unsettling traits. As a child, he associated with several unsavoury travellers who practiced the cruel art of impaling. He was often quick to anger, and was a cruel Caliph, often treating his captives most harshly. Perhaps most worryingly, he was incredibly orthodox in his zealousness and was quick to find heresy everywhere. In a vast Empire where much was governed through powerful Emirs, it was a worrying thing when a ruler would not listen but demand obedience at the risk of shedding much blood.

Despite Barjawan’s attempts to educate the young Caliph properly, it was to no avail. In the year 1000, al-Hakim came of age and one of his first actions was to remove Barjawan as both regent and Vizier, banishing him from the centre of power. Alienated and disturbed by the young Caliph’s actions, he made for the Emirate of Jerusalem where he encountered the Emirs of Jerusalem, Sinai and Damietta. What he disclosed to them is unknown, but whatever it was inspired them to declare a war of independence in 1002.

When the Emirs revolted against Caliph al-Hakim in 1002, they did so during the Fatamid holy war for Nefoud. The young Caliph sought to expand his influence further into Arabia against the Sunni rulers. When word reached the young Caliph of his rebellious vassals, he was most enraged at having been forced to give up his religious war and deal with rebels.
The war against his rebels was a quick one. He already had an army, busy rooting out the Sunni heretics. It was no more than a few months before the Caliph had swarmed over his enemies and captured them. His response to the rebels was a most vicious one. His army was given leave to pillage their peasants, to plunder their homes and do as they pleased. Even worse were his actions against the rebellious Emirs. Each of them was cruelly murdered. Rumours quickly spread that the Caliph had killed them most slowly and cruelly, impaling each of them in turn and watching them constantly as they died a long and anguished death. Upon their deaths, al-Hakim declared their lands forfeit to him.

The Caliph had overstepped himself. The Fatamid Emirate was extremely decentralised. Its Emirs were all but independent of the Caliph. Their loyalty to him was dependent upon the personal word and honour of each individual Emir. They owed the Caliph no taxes, and gave to him what soldiers they chose at their whim. They were their own force, and the Caliph was utterly dependent upon them for his rule. When word rumours reached the Emirs, to a man they were appalled. The Caliph had no precedent or right to take the lands of his Emirs. While the Emirs had committed treasonous acts against the Caliph, there was no cause for their brutal deaths. Plotting immediately began against the cruel al-Hakim.

In 1006, the opportunity for revolt came when the Byzantine Empire, stung by its heavy defeats in Bulgaria, turned to its old rivals for the opportunity to restore prestige to the defeated Basil II. In January 1006, they declared war against the Satrap of Edessa, seeking to extend their influence further east. The Fatamids were the traditional stopgap to Byzantine aims in the East. Caliph al-Hakim’s own father, Caliph al-Aziz, had died against the Byzantine’s attempt to conquer Syria. When word came to Caliph al-Hakim of the Byzantine offence, he immediately summoned his levies from his soldiers and marched north to the defence of his fellow co-religionists. Caliph al-Hakim’s Emirs had not forgotten the cruel actions of the Caliph, and responded by sending the bare minimum expected. When the Caliph marched north, they acted.

In June 1006, the Emir of Kanzid declared war on his distant Caliph, raising his hosts and marching directly on the bordering county of Cairo, the capital of the Fatamid Emirate. Almost immediately, as word of the rebellion spread, each and every Emir joined. From Sicily to Syria, from Tunisia to Mecca, the Emirs rose. Within two months, not a single Emir remained loyal to the Caliph.

By January 18th, 1007, the war of independence had ended. Caliph al-Hakim was forced to acknowledge the total disintegration of the Fatamid Empire. An Empire which had once ruled over the whole of North Africa was reduced to half of Egypt, made up of the traditional Emirates of Sinai, Damietta and Cairo. The rest of the Empire had achieved its independence and freedom, leaving a mass of rulers where once only one had existed. The traditional rival of the Byzantine Empire had disappeared, leaving her the sole superpower in the region. Yet, the example of the Fatamid Emirate was a powerful one to any ruler. If the wishes of vassals were not respected, then the reign of a would-be ruler would be short and result in a bloody end.
Less than a few months later, Caliph al-Harim died in battle against more rebellious vassals in northern Egypt. His brother, the 18 year old al-Muizz II, inherited a broken shell of a once glorious Empire. What would replace it was impossible to know.



Perhaps in better times, some Muslim rulers would have looked to the ancient Umayyad Caliphate who ruled most of Iberia. If any plans were made to submit to them however, they were ended a few short years after the disintegration of the Fatamid Emirate.



The Cordoba Caliphate was ruled by the young Caliph Hisham II, who succeeded his father, Al-Hakam II, in 976 at the tender age of 10 years. Hisham was kept from governance however by his regents,l the first minister Jafar al-Mushafi and his mother Subh. Hisham was kept from any political influence, and in 997 was even forced to hand over his authority to one of his generals, Al-Mansur.

Al-Mansur was a man of great ambition, and looked eagerly to the neighbouring Catholic kingdoms. Of the Catholic nations in Iberia, there were three. The Kingdom of Castile, the Kingdom of Navarra and the Duchy of Barcelona. Desiring glory, Al-Mansur chose to declare a holy war for Barcelona, intended to turn upon the remaining two afterwards.

Alas, despite Al-Mansur’s bravery and battle in skill, none can overcome death. After having conquered Barcelona in 1002 for the glory of the Cordoba Caliphate, he died soon after of an illness. Caliph Hisham thus retook his authority. The Caliphate remained at peace for the rest of the decade. Caliph Hisham preferred luxury and good eating to the hardships of campaigning. He was content with the acquisition of Barcelona into the Caliphate, despite its now newly-created border with the Kingdom of France – a wholly more powerful opponent than her fellow co-religionists in Iberia. Yet, France chose not to launch any wars against Cordoba, preferring to focus her attention on the Holy Roman Empire which was entering a period of unrest. Much better to focus on opportunities against a fellow Christian nation than to conquer lands filled with restless heathens.

So it was that there was peace for a time. For how long this state of affairs could have lasted is unknown, for on February 13th, 1010, Caliph Hisham died of an illness at the age of 44, leaving only one son, Mahdi, to inherit at the age of four.

It is a well-known fact that powerful lords often chafe under the rule of weak rulers. When the four year old child inherited, there was a general desire amongst many to go their own way. While strong kings or even a strong regent could stop such misgivings, there was none to be found in the courts of the boy-Caliph. Nor were there men without such claims to the Caliphate of their own.

Only a few days after the death of Caliph Hisham, what is known today as the Fitna of al-Andalus began. In the space of a year, civil war broke out and brought the collapse of the Caliphate of Cordoba. It began when Emir Suleyman of Tangier and cousin to Caliph Mahdi declared war for the throne of Cordoba. In the span of a year, every Emir had broken from the Caliphate to pursue feuds, launch raids against the Christian kingdoms unauthorised or even just to fight for fighting’s sake. By June 1011, the young Caliph Mahdi was imprisoned, and the war was over. Yet, the Cordoba Caliphate did not survive the war.

By its end, the Cordoba Caliphate could only claim to rule over a few separated provinces in Iberia. The Emirs which had once paid homage to the Caliph had become virtually independent, answerable to no one but themselves. During the brief civil war, the Christian kingdoms had done their part to cause the collapse. Mercenaries were sent from France, Navarra and Castile to join the fighting and chaos that accompanied a civil war. Cordoba itself was repeatedly looted, destroying many monuments such as the Alcazar de los Reyes Christianos and the Medina Azahara. In less than a year, nine separate independent Muslim states had emerged where there had once been one.

During the civil war, the Christians had done more than just send soldiers to cause chaos however. In May 1010, Navarra went to war against the revolting Emir of the Tuyyibid Emirate and conquered it by December. Castile also sought to take advantage of the fractured Caliphate to expand its own territory. In April 1012, King Alfonso V of Castile declared war on the Emir of Beja. However, even with the civil war, many Emirs retained links with their fellows through marriage and simple pragmatism. The Emirs all rallied to the aid of Beja and fought against Castilian king. In May 1013, King Alfonso V was captured in battle, and forced to end his war in June. The lesson was clear to any Christian ruler seeking to expand into Iberia; although divided the power of the Muslims was not broken. It would take many years and great single minded dedication if the Christians hoped to eventually rule the entirety of Iberia.



However, even this victory could not disguise the obvious. The great Muslim Fatamid and Umayyid Caliphates had been wholly broken. The great bulwarks against the Christian nations had ended. In the east, the Byzantine Empire had lost its only true rival, and could easily strike where it willed. In the west, the collapse of the Cordoba Caliphate meant that France could breathe more easily without the threat of the Muslim sword hanging over the south. Whether the Muslims could rise again as they once had remained to be seen.