- Oct 22, 2019
CK2's Monarch's Journey officially retired on the 2nd of September.
We are very thankful for the community, and players, who enjoyed our challenges!
You can still read the Rulers' stories in our thread about the Monarch's Journeys
We are also running regular mini-activities Stories of the World called "Did You Know?", "Where Are We?" and "Guess The Character" if you want to follow along
List of Rulers
Konan II de Rennes Llewellyn II "The Great" Aberffraw Saad Mordechai, High Chief of Baghdad Konstantinos Angelos Louis II "The Stammerer" Karling Shajar al-Durr Paul I Subic Arwa Al-Sulayhi Harald Hardrade Hethum I Kulin Kulinić Liao Hongji (Yelu Hongji) Basarab I of Wallachia Mindaugas Mindaugas Grand Mayor Botstain of Gotland Stefan the First-Crowned
in 1217, Stefan the "First-Crowned" secured the title of "King of all Serbian lands and the coastland" from Pope Honorius III. Under the Nemanjić dynasty, which was to rule the Serb lands for the next 200 years, a powerful state emerged to dominate the entire Balkan Peninsula. It was founded, in part, on the ability and administrative capacity of its rulers and also on the establishment of a link between church and state.
Stefan Nemanjić had two brothers with whom he lived tumultuous stories: The envious Vukan who overthrown Stefan after their father chose him to rule, and the pious Rastko (Saint Sava) who founded the cradle of Serbian Christianity and crowned Stefan King of Serbia.
Botstain of Stenkyrka, Grand Mayor of Visby, 1066: This titular republic is based on the island of Gotland, off the coast of Sweden. This is easily one of the more profitable positions on the map.
While expanding in Finland may be relatively pointless, the rich fields of Germany, Frisia, France and England all beckon. With the nearest competition in Genoa, you certainly have the upper hand.
But be warned! Should Erik "the Heathen" take control of Sweden, you will very quickly be eliminated, or forced to convert, which would undoubtedly be fun.
Gotland is Sweden's largest island. The province includes the islands of Fårö and Gotska Sandön to the north, as well as the Karlsö Islands (Lilla and Stora) to the west.
The island is very profitable thanks to its agriculture & trading. From a military viewpoint, it occupies a strategic location in the Baltic sea.
Botstain has been Visby's Grand Mayor in 1066.
Mindaugas, 1203–1263, was the first known Grand Duke of Lithuania. Before him, the country was ruled by a number of dukes and princes presiding over various fiefdoms & tribes, while the southeast lands were challenged by the Tatars from the Mongol Empire.
Now generally considered the founder of the Lithuanian state, he is also credited with stopping the advance of the Tatars towards the Baltic Sea.
Mindaugas extended his domain into regions southeast of Lithuania during the 1230s and 1240s.
He was baptised as a Roman Catholic, enabling him to establish an alliance with the Livonian Order, a long-standing antagonist of the Lithuanians.
During the summer of 1253 he was crowned King of Lithuania, ruling between 300,000 and 400,000 subjects.
While Mindaugas's ten-year reign was marked by various state-building accomplishments, his conflicts with relatives and other dukes were rampant, and Samogitia (western Lithuania) strongly resisted the alliance's rule.
He broke peace with the Livonian Order in 1261 and was assassinated in 1263 by his nephew Treniota and another rival, Duke Daumantas.
His three immediate successors were assassinated as well.
The disorder was not resolved until Traidenis gained the title of Grand Duke in 1270.
Basarab I (14th century) was a voivode (Military commander) & later the first independent ruler of Wallachia.
He became "disloyal to the Holy Crown of Hungary" in 1325 as he seized the Banate of Severin & raided the southern regions of the Kingdom of Hungary.
Soon after, Charles I of Hungary invaded Wallachia, but the Wallachians ambushed and almost annihilated the royal troops in the Battle of Posada, which occurred between 9 and 12 November 1330. The Battle of Posada ended Hungarian suzerainty in Wallachia, and the first independent Romanian principality was consequently founded. Basarab's descendants ruled Wallachia for at least two centuries. The region of Bessarabia, situated between the rivers Dniester and Prut, was named for the Basarab dynasty.
To fully grasp Yelü Hongji's story, read our recap:
Emperor Shengzong, Hongji's grandfather, died in 1031 and left behind instructions designating his son Yelü Zongzhen as heir. The latter becomes emperor under the name of Liao Xingzong at only fifteen years and his reign is immediately threatened by internal conflicts. Her mother is a concubine, Nuou Jin. However, Zongzhen was raised by the wife of Emperor Shengzong, Empress Ji Dian. Nuou Jin quickly manages to marginalize Ji Dian and her supporters. To achieve this, she mounted a plot that led to her exile and the execution of most of her supporters during a long purge. Nuou Jin even sent assassins to kill Ji Dian, but the latter committed suicide. With the death of her rival for power, Nuou Jin declares herself regent and begins to personally lead the missions of the emperor. As Xingzong becomes more and more dissatisfied with the power confiscated by his mother, Nuou Jin tries to replace him with another of his sons, Zhong Yuan, whom she raised personally and who is therefore more docile. However, the latter informed the emperor of their mother's plans and Xingzong immediately condemned her to exile. During the rest of his reign, the emperor continued to compete with his mother for power. Supporters of the latter occupy key positions and her influence is such that she allows herself to return to the capital and organize a ceremony during which she ends her exile herself. Zhong Yuan is rewarded for exposing his mother's dark designs. He quickly climbed the ranks one after the other until he obtained a position of governor outside the capital. The Historian Frederick W. Mote explains the importance of these internal conflicts and what led to the decline of the Liao dynasty. According to him, it shows that "what is fueling the succession problem in the imperial clan is a source of weakness from the leadership. It has wasted people, dispersed energy and diverted the attention of the leaders from their tasks at the government.".
Then, when Emperor Xingzong died in 1055, his eldest son, Yelü Hongji ascendeded the throne. Unlike his father, he is not at the center of an inheritance crisis. While Ji Dian and Zhong Yuan are still alive and their influence could interfere with the succession process, none have moved. Even if his reign begins under good auspices, it is however in prey to internal conflicts between factions within his government, aggravated by the weakness of the emperor's generals. Manipulated by a rival minister, Daozong commits the first big mistake of his reign by ordering the execution of Xiao A La, one of his loyal ministers and close friend. The Liao History book speculates that if Xiao A La had not been executed two major incidents during the reign of Daozong could have been avoided. The first is the rebellion carried out in 1063. This year, several important members of the Yelü clan, led by the grandson of the emperor Shengzong, tried to assassinate Daozong during a hunting party. He was saved by the troops led by his mother, the Dowager Empress Ren Yi. All those who took part in the conspiracy were executed in vengeance, including the direct members of the imperial family. This purge of leaders reinforced the power of Chancellor Yelü Yixin and his ally Yelü Renxian, a military leader. When the latter died in 1072, Yelü Yixin began to consider the son of Daozong and future heir, Prince Jun, as the only threat against his accession to power. So he schemed a plan to eliminate Hingji. At first, he suppressed the emperor's wife, fabricating evidence that the latter had a relationship with a palace musician. Falling into Yelü Yixin's trap, Daozong ordered his wife to commit suicide. The conspirator then schemed a new plot to induce his own enemies to mount a coup to put Prince Jun on the throne in place of Daozong. While the emperor is not convinced at first, Yelü Yixin finally manages to convince him to exile his son by fabricating a false confession. Prince Jun was immediately exiled and Yelü Yixin sent assassins to eliminate the prince and his wife, in order to avoid his return and not to be discovered. The treachery of Yelü Yixin was finally discovered in 1079 when the latter tried to convince the emperor to leave the new heir to the palace during a hunting party. When other members of the court protested that the young man would be in mortal danger by staying near Yelü Yixin, the emperor finally understood the situation. In 1080, Yelü Yixin fell from his rank and sent to a position of low importance in the provinces. Shortly after, he was executed.
Aside from Yelü Yixin's conspiracy, the only notable event in Daozong's reign was a war between 1092 and 1102 between the Liao and a Mongol group, probably Tatars, known as the Zubu. The latter live near the northeast border of Liao territory and suffered several wars against the Liao when the latter tried to extend their influence in this direction. In 1092, the Liao attacked several other tribes in the northwest and in 1093 the Zubus attacked the Liao, managing to infiltrate far enough into the Khitans's lands. The Liao will wait 1100 to capture and kill Chief Zubu and another two years to defeat the last Zubu forces. The war against the Zubus constitutes the last successful military campaign waged by the Liao dynasty.
Kulin Kulinić was the Ban of Bosnia from 1180 to 1204, first as a vassal of the Byzantine Empire and then of the Kingdom of Hungary.
He signed the Charter of Ban Kulin, which encouraged trade & established peaceful relations with the neighbours.
In 1183, Kulin led his troops with the forces of the Kingdom of Hungary and the Serbs, who had just launched an attack on the Byzantine Empire. The cause of the war was Hungary's non-recognition of the new emperor, Andronikos Komnenos.
Without difficulties, the Byzantines were pushed out of the Morava Valley and the allied forces breached all the way to Sofia.
The Charter of Ban Kulin was a trade agreement between Bosnia and the Republic of Ragusa that effectively regulated Ragusan trade rights in Bosnia, written on 29 August 1189. It is one of the oldest written state documents in the Balkans and is among the oldest historical documents written in Bosnian Cyrillic.
The charter is of great significance in both Serbian and Bosnian national pride and historical heritage. It is considered as the "Brith Certificate" of the Bosnian statehood.
As a founder of first defacto independent Bosnian state, Kulin was and still is highly regarded among Bosnians. Even today, Kulin's era is regarded as one of the most prosperous historical eras, not just for Bosnian medieval state and its feudal lords, but for the common people as well, whose lasting memory of those times is kept in Bosnian folklore, like an old folk proverb with significant meaning: "Od kulina Bana i dobrijeh dana", which means "Since Kulin Ban and those good ol' days".
Hethum I ruled the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (also known as "Little Armenia") from 1226 to 1270. He was the son of Constantine, Lord of Baberon & Princess Alix Pahlavouni of Lampron and was the founder of the dynasty which bears his name: the Hetoumids.
He traveled to the Mongol court in Karakorum, Mongolia, which was recorded in the famous account "The Journey of Haithon, King of Little Armenia, To Mongolia and Back".
During Hethum's reign, the expanding Mongol Empire became a concern. As the Mongols approached the borders of Cappadocia & Cilicia, Hethum made a strategic decision and submitted to Mongol suzerainty.
Hethum sent his brother Sempad to the Mongol court in Karakorum. There, Sempad met Great khan Güyük, and made a formal agreement in 1247 in which Cilician Armenia would be considered a vassal state of the Mongol Empire.
After Hethum I sent his brother to the Mongol court as a Reddition/Vassalization, the newly formed alliance later won a few battles and captured Baghdad in 1258.
They would rapidly lose it in 1260 against the Egyptian Mamluks who rallied.
The Egyptian Mamluks defeated the Mongols at the historic battle of Ain Jalut. Hethum's son "Leo" was captured.
Hethum was able to ransom his son by conceding territory to the Egyptians. He abdicated in 1270 to Leo, and lived out the rest of his life in a monastery, as a monk.
Harald Sigurdsson, 1015-1066, was given the epithet Hardrada "Hard Ruler".
Before becoming king, Harald had spent around fifteen years in exile as a mercenary and military commander in Kievan Rus' and of the Varangian Guard in the Byzantine Empire.
Harald amassed considerable wealth during his time in the Byzantine Empire, which he shipped to Norway for safekeeping.
He finally left the Byzantines in 1042, and arrived back in Norway in order to prepare his campaign of reclaiming the Norwegian throne.
In his absence the Norwegian throne had been restored from the Danes to Olaf's illegitimate son Magnus the Good.
In 1046, Harald joined forces with Magnus's rival in Denmark (Magnus had become king of Denmark), the pretender Sweyn II of Denmark.
Magnus, unwilling to fight his uncle, agreed to share the kingship with Harald, since Harald in turn would share his wealth with him.
The co-rule ended abruptly the next year as Magnus died, and Harald thus became the sole ruler of Norway.
Not long after Harald had renounced his claim to Denmark, the former Earl of Northumbria, Tostig Godwinson, brother of the newly chosen English king Harold Godwinson, pledged his allegiance to Harald and invited him to claim the English throne.
Harald went along and invaded Northern England with 10,000 troops and 300 longships in September 1066, raided the coast and defeated English regional forces of Northumbria and Mercia in the Battle of Fulford, near York.
Harald then marched 300km~ in only 4 days to meet Harold Godwinson's forces in the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Exhausted, Harald's army was completly swept by the English army and both Hardrada and Tostig were killed.
When the Viking shield wall finally broke, the invading army were all but annihilated and only 24 longships carried the survivors back to Norway. Harald's death brought an end to the invasion and also the end of the Viking Age.
Arwa Al-Sulayhi, 1048–1138, died 22nd Shaban, 532 AH or May 5, 1138 was a long-reigning ruler of Yemen, firstly as the co-ruler of her first two husbands and then as sole ruler, from 1067 until her death in 1138.
She was the last of the rulers of the Sulayhid Dynasty and was also the first woman to be accorded the prestigious title of Hujjah in the Isma'ili branch of Shia Islam, signifying her as the closest living image of God's will in her lifetime, in the Ismaili doctrine.
As female sovereign, Arwa has an almost unique position in history: though there were more female monarchs in the international Muslim world, Arwa and Asma bint Shihab were the only female monarchs in the Muslim Arab world to have had the khutbah, the ultimate recognition of Muslim monarchial status, proclaimed in their name in the mosques. She founded several mosques, the most prominent of which is Queen Arwa Mosque.
Arwa improved the economy of Yemen, taking an interest in supporting agriculture & building numerous schools. She also moved the capital from Sana'a to Jibla, where the eponymous mosque & palace were constructed.
Queen Arwa's dynasty, the Sulayhid (1047-1138), was at war with the Najahid dynasty their entire existences (1050-1158) for the control of Yemen. Najah of the Najahid was not recognized as a sovereign by the tribal elements in the Yemeni highlands, as he was an Abyssinian slave.