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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

hjarg

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Helloes and welcome!
This AAR is my first in quite a long time- so my writing might be a little rusty, my jokes a bit too bad (well, they were that before too) and I'm hoping you won't totally fall asleep when reading it!

Anyways, here is what I got. Don't expect updates too often, don't expect Shakespeare (but be prepared for occasional bad rhyme) and as for the style- I think i'll try to mix things up on this one.
Bear with me!

Duke Robert I de Hauteville, ruled 1057-1074

Foreword- Meet the Duke
Introduction to the Realm of Apulia
Early Politics
Holy War for Palermo, part I
Holy War for Palermo, part II
Late Years and Death of Robert I

King Bohemond I de Hauteville, ruled 1074-1115

Early Years of Bohemond
Interlude- Story of Bohemond and Maud
Final Conquest of Sicily
Interlude- Story of Thomas of Kent
Interlude- The Coronation of King Bohemond I
The Latter Years of Bohemond

King Robert I de Hauteville, ruled 1115-1126

King Robert, Part I
King Robert, Part II
Interlude- Siege of Leptis Magna

King Asclettin I de Hauteville, ruled 1126-1161

Early years of Asclettin
Interlude- How to Kill a Caliph?
The War with Caliphate, 1132-1138
The Calm Between Storm
Interlude- The Great Council
The Crusade for Galilee- the Beginning
The Crusade for Galilee- part 2
The Quieter Times
The Liberation of Jerusalem
Between Wars- Sicily in Peacetime
The War with Holy Roman Empire
Interlude- How to Die Like a King
Life and Death of King Asclettin- an overview

King Bohemond II de Hauteville, ruled 1161-1163

The Life and Death of King Bohemond II

Emperor Bohemond I de Hauteville, ruled 1161-1193

The Heavenly Kingdom, part 1
Interlude. The Heavenly Kingdom, part 2, the Coronation
Expansion of Sicily
The War with Holy Roman Empire, 1168-1169
Interlude- the Crusade
The Crusade for Jerusalem, part 1
The Crusade for Jerusalem, part 2- Seljuk Turks
The Crusade for Jerusalem, part 3- The End
War with Holy Roman Empire and Other Stuff
Go West
Four Wars and Some Funerals
What's so Civil About War Anyway?
Holy Wars are True Wars!
Coronation of Emperor Bohemond I
Canonical Disputes
You Live By the Sword, You Die By the Sword
The Life and Death of Emperor Bohemond I- an overview

Emperor Bohemond II de Hauteville, ruled 1193-1197

Three Wars and a Funeral

Emperor Turquetil I de Hauteville, ruled 1197-1244

Growing up
Interlude- Ch-ch-changes
The New Religion
Internal Affairs and Crossing the Adriatic Straight
The Crusade for Jerusalem
This Means Holy War, part 1
Interlude- The Battle of Ronda
This Means Holy War, part 2
The Empire Strikes Back on the Other Empire
Back to the East
The Fall of Kingdom of Croatia
East and West or the Holy Order Hat-Trick
The Kingdom of Portugal
The Empire Strikes Back on the Other, Slightly More Evil Empire part 2
Interlude: The Story of Demir ve Tahta
The City of Man’s Desire
The Queen and the Duchess (and of course, some Normans)
Stabbing in the Back and Other Wars
To War with the Kaiser in the Name of Free France
Two Mistakes of Kaiser Leopold
And the Wars Go on
Norman Coronation Gift to New Kaiser
Last War of Turquetil
Life and Death of Emperor Turquetil I, part I
Life and Death of Emperor Turquetil I, part II
Life and Death of Emperor Turquetil I, part III


Emperor Robert I Guiscard de Hauteville the Syphilic, ruled 1244-1245

End of Robert I Guiscard The Syphilic

Augusta Adelise I, ruled 1245-1304

Adelise Begins her Rule
Aragon and Castille
Norman Invasion of Normandy
Traditional Coronation Gift to the Kaiser
Byzantine Adventures
Kingdom of Aquitaine
Bretons and Holy Orders
Coming Home. Semi-interlude.
Like Taking a Duchy from a Baby
Two Wars and a Mysterious Death
Last Duchy of Italy
Back to Iberia and Other Matters
Free Trade Zone of Ireland
Quest for Albion
Interlude- Changes to the Empire
The Scotland is a Mess
Norman Greece
Quest for the Mediterranean
Doomstacks on Horizon, Part I
Doomstacks on Horizon, Part II- the Battle of Kairy
Doomstacks on Horizon, Part III
Fighting for the Catharism. Kind of..
Anarchy in the UK
Attack on the Holy Roman Empire
Ripping Apart Hungary
Semi-interlude. From Mercenaries to Ceasars
Catharism, Children, Excecutions and Alps
Lost Lambs
More of Europe, Please
Germans and French
Blood in the Pusztas, Part I
Blood in the Pusztas, Part II
Revenge on the Mongols
Mare Nostrum
Thus, the Empress Departs
Life and Death of Augusta Adelise

Augustus Sayer I, ruled 1304- 1349

Sayer and the Holy Roman Empire
Bring Out Your Dead- Interlude
End of Leon
The Flood, part 1- Normans are Coming
The Flood, part 2- To the Baltic Sea
The Flood, part 3- Clearing out Pawns
The Flood, part 4- Away with Mongols
The Flood, part 5- The Norse Lands
The Flood, part 6- Pushing into North
The Flood, part 7- The Flood Becomes a Trickle
Killing Kaisers
Jihad and Holy War for Mesopotamia
Interlude: The Rise and Fall of the Holy Roman Empire
Picking up the Pieces
Do Not Poke the Sleeping Dragon
The Great Northwen War(s), Part I
The Great Northern War(s), Part II
New Traditions
Quiet Times
To the Unknown Seas!
To the Eastern Edge of the Known World
Yet Another Sea
End of the Golden Horde
End of the Badai Dynasty
How To Kill Khagan(s)- a Picture Book
Whack-a-Mongol
The Last Kingdom
You Live by the Knife, You Die by the Knife.
Life and Death of Augustus Sayer

Augustus Joscelin I, ruled 1349-?

No One Can Stop the Norman Invasion

Short History of de Hautevilles
 
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hjarg

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Duke Robert recieving crown from hand of unknown origin

“The Italian winters are so mild,” though Duke Robert. His aged body enjoyed the last rays of the sun, the gentle breeze, the quiet clash of waves.

He and his entourage had left the castle early in the dawn. To show that they had a busy and successful day, servants were carrying fresh corpses of several deers and even a wolf. Now, they had ridden to the sea, to catch the last rays of the sun.

The beep blue tone of the Adriatic sea had always amazed Robert Guiscard. In his home in Normandy, the sea was more gray, more violent. Not to mention the stories of the sea in his homelands, where Normans actually came from. And the snow... and the polar bears. Robert could really consider himself to be a lucky man.

One thing was certain- he could not have even dreamt of all this when he left his home, ages ago. Sixth son of a minor holder, there would be no easy life for him. Roaming the lands, trying to find out his fortune. Well, that usually meaning going to the bushes next to some major road and liberating the travellers from their worldly possessions and sometimes even their lives. Robert grinned- he had done that long time ago. Though the family chronicles are sure to pass up on that period of life.

All the way from Normandy to the Southern Italy. It had been a long journey, but the place was just perfect. Locals lords trying to gain independence from Byzantine Empire, Arabs from Sicily plundering and collecting tribute. With all that fighting and chaos, there is more then a good chance for a man who commands small army of loyal soldiers and knows his way around battlefield to make their fortune.

To be honest, Robert wasn’t the first Norman to come to Italy. His brothers had been here before. His brothers William Iron-Arm and Drogo had been in Italy since 1035, fighting as mercenaries for the Byzantines, then for local lords against the Byzantines and finally as themselves. When Robert joined them, the older brothers had already gained some lands.

Only when Pope Leo IX decided that it was time to curb the Norman power, and managed to gather a coalition of local Lombard lords, Byzantine Empire, himself and also gained 600 Swabian soldiers from Holy Roman Empire, was the time for Robert to shine. Outnumbered more the 2:1 in the battle of Civitate, back in 1053. It was Robert’s troops and bravery that turned the tide of the war. The Pope himself was captured and the local coalition shattered.

After that, there was no stopping of Normans. And no stopping of Robert. His elder brothers being dead already, it was now his turn to take over the title of Count of Apulia. When the treaty of Melfi was signed between Normans and Pope in 1059, it was Roger who signed it.

Now it was 1066. News had reached from England that William the Bastard had crossed the sea and conquered himself a Kingdom of England. Who would have thought vikings would make such a name for themselves... and Robert had a feeling it was just a beginning.

Robert Guiscard, Count of Apulia, Duke of Apulia and Calabria, ruler of South Italy, turned his horse around and beckoned his man to follow him.

He smiled and reached for his pouch. From penniless adventurer to the Duke... He took out one coin and looked at it. When he was young, he dreamed of gold, glory and adventure. Now, he got his own money. Literally.


Bonus of being a Duke- you look at your money, you look at your own face
 
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hjarg

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From the “History of Hautevilles” by John Smith

The late years of Robert Guiscard.

In 1061, Robert Guiscard, and his brother Roger, managed to gain first foothold in Sicily- the launched a surprise attack on Messina and took the town before Muslims even knew what is going on. Another successful campaign, showing Robert’s cunning in military matters.

With that, Normans extended their reach of South Italy even further. Their state was the most numerous, powerful and extensive then other realms combined. Add to that County of Capua, ruled by another Norman, it looked like Normans were here to stay.


The Duchy of Apulia

As typical of that era, Norman Dukedom was answering to Robert Guiscard, but remained semi-independent. Robert himself had full control of two counties, Apulia and Catanzaro. Rober, his brother, ruled over Messina and Reggio and Foggia was ruled by another Robert from the Hauteville dynasty. Count of Taranto was also a nephew- i'm sure you're beginning to see the picture. Count Geoffery of Bari was the son of Robert’s sister, also a Norman, though he was part of the Conversano dynasty. Another Geoffrey, count of Lecce, was also of Norman origin, though not in any way related to Hauteville family. Only Italian vassal was the Bishop of Benveneto, Ulderit. A bitter Italian who hated Robert’s guts, but who was too afraid to do anything against him.

In addition, Count of Capua, Richard Drengot, was married to the sister of Robert, so with some marriages and some nepotism, de Hautevilles had managed to secure the Southern Italy to their power.


The vassals of Duchy of Apulia


And the family tree of De Hautevilles- all that awesomeness from loins of one man!

By 1066, Robert Guiscard was in his 50-s. Though his birthdate remains unknown, most scholars agree that it was around 1015, making him 51. Still capable and cunning, he lacked any diplomatic skill. He was on his second marriage, to Siegelgaita of Salerno- incidentally, making the last independent Duchy in Southern Italy his ally, for Siegelgaita was the sister of Duke of Salerno.


Duke and Duchess

Main pretenders to the crown were Bohemond, son from Robert’s first marriage and Roger, son from Robert’s second. Of course we all know the decision and at the time, Roger’s position gave him a clear advantage- since the annulment of Robert’s first marriage, Bohemond was officially bastardized. Besides of them, Robert had one more son and two daughters.


And the two pretenders
 

hjarg

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From the “History of Hautevilles” by John Smith

The Marriages

Year started with celebrations. Duke Robert, wanting to secure his relations and to legitimize his claims, started to marry off his relatives, hoping to gain support and recognition from “older” families- ie the families in power.

January and February saw celebrations all over the Cannae, as several Hautevilles marry members of nobility all over Europe. Total 7 weddings take place during that time- including 5 princesses for all the grooms. De Hautevilles now have shared ties with Arpad, Jimenez and Yngling dynasties- not to mention marrying sister of the current Holy Roman Emperor. Plus, 2 nieces of Robert married nobleman, who were adopted into Hauteville family and settled in Cannae as well.

It also meant fresh new blood, or nubile young men and woman, arriving into the court- ready to enlarge the number or Hautevilles running around.

Of other things to note, “The Chronicle of Kingdom of Sicily”, written by 15th century monk Abelardo, seems to hint that during that time, Roger took raising two of his eldest sons to his own shoulders.


The wedding of Princess Adelheid of the Holy Roman Empire, sister of the Emperor and Robert de Hauteville, niece of the Duke

The Rebellion of Bishop Ulderit of Benevento

In the February of 1067, the long-lasting tensions between the Bishop and the Duke finally came to a conclusion- and a violent one. Bishop openly raised his flag to rebellion, denouncing the rule of the Duke. Obviously blinded by rage and forgetting the military might and cunning shown by Robert, he raised his 150 soldiers and attempted to gain independence.

Robert Guiscard’s reply was switft and brutal. Just 2 weeks later, first units of Normans had crossed the border and were starting skirmishes with Bishop’s forces. By the beginning of March, Bishop was utterly defeated and 600 Normans were siegeing his holdings.

During that time, when defenders attempted a sally, Robert was first into the battle- and one of the Bishop’s soldiers managed wound his sword-hand with a pike. According to legend, Robert dropped his shield and grabbed the dagger, ending the life of the soldier. But his right hand was wounded. People say that from that day onwards, he never used a shield, using his left hand to fight.

By July, Bishop Ulderit was defeated, his holdings controlled by Normans and his reign over. Understanding that resistance is futile, Ulderit surrendered and was promptly put into prison. There, he was forced to resign all his rights to Benevento to Duke Robert. After that, the former Bishop was set free. Sources mention that his life ended in court of Salerno a few years afterwards, as an old and bitter man.


The sad end of Bishop Ulderit

A new Bishop was appointed by the Duke. Scholars to this day can’t agree on his choice- was it good, bad or just meant as a prank. Anyways, Duke Robert granted the title to his courtier and a fellow Norman, 4-year old William Mowbray-Aubigny.


And the new Bishop

With the rebellion crushed, the troubles in Dukedom were over. Rest of the year nothing happened, but it was clear that the realm was preparing for something bigger. So, when Duke Robert declared war on Sheikdom of Palermo, claiming to rid the world of Sicilian raiders and pirates, it was not much of the surprise.

Dukedom of Apulia was entering another war, and with an enemy more powerful then the poor Bishop.
 

Saithis

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Hurrah, the de Hautevilles! One of my favourite families to play.

The writing is pretty solid and I'm enjoying the style. Subscribed.
 

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Long time since I've seen a hjarg AAR.:) Your work was always quality. Signing on!
 

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Looks like a fun ride. I had the great good fortune to read JJ Norwich's two-volume history of the Sicilian Normans in the wrong order, so it had a happy ending! Looking forward to this.
 

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Ahh, Apulia. One of my favorites in CK. Rich, strong dynasty, close to heathens, can easily become a kingdom. The possibilities for war are endless :)
 

morningSIDEr

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Very good thus far, a good choice of nation, looking forward to more. Consider me subscribed.
 

hjarg

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Thanks for the replies! Next installment coming tonight- if all goes well! :)

And Nikolai, i'm flattered- someone remembers my AARs!

Aetherius, Lord Blekinge- you got it all wrong! These pesky Muslims better watch out for me!
 

Aetherius

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I think you must take this initiative ! Bring the war and the destruction on the tunisian soil !
 

hjarg

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The Holy War for Sicily against Palermo

February 1068
Training grounds in the castle of Capua seemed much busier then usual. More troops, more determnination. More clashes of steel and occasional cheer at the archery range after someone hit the bullseye. Or missed badly.

Bohemond did not pay any attention to that. He was focused on the wooden training sword and sheild in his hands- and on his father, carrying the same kind of sword in his left hand.

“Now, son, focus!” Robert cried and tried to stab him. His sword moved quickly- and since he was using his left hand, it was more difficult to block. Bohemond moved his shield and blocked the blow. Followed by hail of blows, each more difficult to block, until the sword passed through his defences and his his left side. Though the sword was wooden, it still hurt and Bohemond fliched. Robert grinned and started to say something- but Bohemond used the opportunity to stab Robert in his foot.

Robert laughed and patted his head: “You’re a brave lad. But one thing- when i was hitting you, you were solely focused on defence. That meant that you gave all initiative to me, so it was only a matter of time until i got through. Next time, when defending, remember that- defence is good, but you should always look for an opportunity to strike!”

“Yes, father,” Bohemond nodded.

That moment, horn was sound outside castle gate. Robert rushed off, telling Bohemond to keep training with his younger brother.


Bohemond and Roger training

Small retinue of about 20 man, all wearing heavy armour and quite impressive weaponry, requesting entry to the castle. Their leader, man in his 30-ies, stepped forward and bowed to the Duke. Then he said something in foreign language, beckoned one of his followers and ordered him to translate:

“Honourable Duke, on behalf of Pere de Barcelona, leader of the Catalan Band, we greet you,” he said with a smile and slight bow. “We have travelled as per your request and are ready to start negotiations.”

Robert welcomed them in and during an evening of festivity, a treaty was signed with Catalan Band. Robert was now 60 gold poorer, but had additional 1500 man in his army.

Few days later, a declaration of War was sent to the Sheikh of Palermo, and a Call to Arms was sent to all the vassals- every single armed man in Ducky Apulia must take up arms and move to Reggio.

June 1068

Field outside Reggio saw more then 2500 soldiers gathered. Soldiers did their usual thing before the battle- whoring, drinking, checking their armour, sharpening their weapons. The field was covered with different flags- all the vassals. Counts, cities, even some bishops had decided to send their troops. Heavy infantry, light infantry, cavalry back there. The most numerous of them all were the Catalans.

Robert shaked his head. In future, he would need much more soldiers on his own. Mercenaries are expensive, unreliable and most likely employed elsewhere the moment you need them. But that is concern for the future- now it’s more important to kick some Arab ass back to Africa.

From the declaration of War back in February, Sheikh Muhammad had mobilized the troops and marched to Messina, sieging the main Norman castle of Taormina. The castle held strong and 1300 Muslims were happily pillaging and burning the surrounding countryside.


Muslim siege of Taormina

But that’s about to change. Robert gazed at the city of Reggio- you could see the city in the distance. And the port of the city filled with galleys, waiting to take the troops across. Even better, he most likely had managed to do it in total secrecy, so that Arabs would be taken completely by surprise.

“It is time!” Robert turned around and told his council. “Tonight we board. During the night, we pass the straight and attack Arabs during the dawn. It’s time for Norman Invasion!”


Two opposing armies with just a streak of blue between them
 

hjarg

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The Battle of Taormina

The natural defensive position of Taormina is pretty much ideal. Situated on a hill, next to the sea. You can never cut the fortress totally off from the world unless you use a navy. You cannot attack from more then one direction. The strong walls of the castle make offence even more hard. So it is no wonder Arabs hadn’t made much of a progress there.

The siege had been going on for 4 months, but the fortress showed no sign of surrendering. Fresh fish every day and ample supply of beer made the defender’s life easy and Arabs didn’t try to assault, they just hoped the fortress would surrender eventually.


Castle of Taormina in modern days
25th of June was a normal day for Arabs. The looted surrounding villages, shouted obsenities at castle defenders, had an overall good day and then went to sleep. Their camp was situated on the foot of the castle, little more then arrow’s shot away from the castle. Good position if you want to close the castle completely off. But that also meant that Arab forces were situated in a peninsula- behind then, the fortress. Sea on both sides. Only way in from one side.

And on 26th, shortly after the sunrise, Arab forces woke up to the sounds of thundering hooves, horns and overall screaming. Forces of Duke Robert had crossed the strait during the cover of the night, had landed about 2 km from Taormina and marched for the rest of the night. Advance parties had silences any stray Arabian forces, so the surprise was complete.


The Battle starts

Before even giving them time to react, the Normans charged. Heavy knights under the command of Robert himself charged the disoriented Arabs and rest of the army followed. It was more then a massacre then a battle. With nowhere to flee, Arabs did give their best. But then the castle gates opened and the garrison attacked Arabs from behind, totally decimating their will to fight.

After 2 hours, the Arab army was destroyed, soldiers either dead or prisoners- and as a prize, the Sheikh in shackles- and a war won.


And the conclusion

With just one battle, Robert had acquired 2 counties, with rich and fertile lands and total 3 castles. Under the swordpoint, Sheikh Muhammed was forced to give up all his holdings.

The next day, victorious Apulian forces rode to Palermo, the capital of the province and one of the richest cities in the world.


Robert Guiscard de Hauteville recieving the keys of the cityof Palermo
 

morningSIDEr

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Very impressive gains, the Sheikh and his forces were seemingly caught completely off-guard. Although I daresay whilst this has undoubtedly strengthened you, it will also surely awaken all nearby Muslim forces to the danger you pose.