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cyrileom

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Strike first and tell the Ilkhanate to screw off. Flex your muscles. These wars are getting too easy. We need a return to the proper wars of old, where it was actually possible to lose horribly.
 

DensleyBlair

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Strike first and tell the Ilkhanate to screw off. Flex your muscles. These wars are getting too easy. We need a return to the proper wars of old, where it was actually possible to lose horribly.

Agreed - let's make blobbing challenging again! :)
 

hjarg

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Kingdom of Aquitaine

A bit of History


Kingdom of Aquitaine was created by Charlemagne, in order to bring the southern parts of France directly under his control. Or rather, under control of his son Louis. After Charlemagne died, the Kingdom of Aquitaine was independent for a while, until it was incorporated into Kingdom of Franconia and slowly faded from the annals of history.

454px-Ludwik_I_Pobo%C5%BCny.jpg

Loius, first King of Aquitane

The people of Aquitaine were not Franks. Rather, they were descendants of Gauls and Romans, different culture and language then the Franks. But the backbone of Occitan people was crushed by Franks. The rulers of Aquitaine and Toulouse were occidental, but they were still under the rule of the Franks and it looked like it will stay that way until Franks and Occitans are molded slowly into French people.

It was 20 years ago, when things changed. King Arnauld was fighting Kaiser Leopold for his freedom and Turquetil stabbed him in the back, taking Duchy of Toulouse. Then, in confusion that followed when most of the vassals of Arnauld rose against him, Turquetil claimed several French lands in Iberia and Duchy of Gascoine. For the first time in centuries, it looked like the people of Occitane were not in danger of being franconized. Instead, they were slowly turning Norman.

Kings of Leon

King Arnauld of Leon (French crown was taken from him, remember) died in the dungeons of Kaiser Leopold II in August of 1254. Perhaps it was wise from the Kaiser to keep him locked up, for as soon as his son Jaspert I took the throne, Kingdom of Leon revolted. Long gone were the days when Eudes, Grandfather of Jaspert and Kaiser Leopold came to agreement to unite against Cathar Norman threat and now, the former French Kings were desperate to get their independence back. It was Arnauld who first broke the agreement, and now his son followed. Kingdom of Leon was rebelling against the Empire. This time, not trying to get independent, but trying to get another ruler to throne, Prince Bruno, son of Kaiser Leopold II. Things don’t always go as planned though- King Jaspert I died after coming to throne, in March 1256, at age 30. He ruled only for 1,5 years and left the Kingdom to his hunchbacked son, King Jaspert II, aged 5.

sicily340.jpg

Young King and the German Prince he supports as Kaiser

Now, Adelise decided it was time to give young King Jaspert a history lesson- why did Eudes and Leopold agree it was good time to unite the forces and why they were so afraid of threat from South.

In September 1256, just half a year after Jaspert II came to throne, Normans declared war on Leon, demanding Duchy of Aquitaine.

The War

This time, Normans were more then ready. 25 000 soldiers from personal retinue of Adelise were next to the border, waiting to cross into Aquitaine. When the war was declared, they marched across, sieging, assaulting and looting on their way. Also, Leonese holdings in Norman lands, in counties of Valencia and Asturias, were sieged by Norman levies from surrounding areas.

Leonese troops were nowhere to be seen, for they were busy fighting the Kaiser, but King Jaspert managed to call the help of Englishmen. King Nicholas the Lion of England managed to gather his armies and land 14 000 Englishman formerly known as Normans to Marsan in the Norman lands of Gascoine. This happened in February 1257.

Not thrilled by prospect of attacking Norman armies about twice their size, they just looted the province, then boarded their ships again and soon, appeared in the Duchy of Poitou, claiming to be protecting the good people of Poitou against the evil Normans and casually looting them.

sicily342.jpg

The most exiting moment of the war- English are here!

Meanwhile, Bordeaux fell, Agen fell, Perigord fell, Leonese holdings in Iberia fell. By April 1257, young King Jaspert II thought lost one of his Duchies again. Adelise usurped Duchy of Aquitaine from Duke Ives IV of Aquitaine. Once, the family of Ives, the de Poitou family, was the most powerful in all France. That changed with the coming of Normans- first, Turquetil took Gascoine from poor Ives and now he lost Aquitaine, his families powerbase to Adelise.

Kingdom of Aquitaine

To be fair to poor Ives, he still had plenty- he was still the Duke of Poitou, Auvergne and Bourbon, so overall, things were still quite good for Ives. As for King Jaspert, he sure lamented the loss of a rich Duchy, but on the other hand, he surely was happy for the power of Ives was diminished even more. It’s not easy to be a King when some of your Dukes are stronger then you.

As for Aquitaine, Adelise created the title of Kingdom of Aquitaine, and Southern France had their own King after nearly 300 years. Yes, he was Norman, yes, he was vassal of the Hauteville Empire, but he wasn’t Frank and that counted for plenty down in the south.

sicily343.jpg

King Gilbert I of Aquitaine and Duke of Aquitaine and his new lands
 

hjarg

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Back and still kicking! And yet another vassal kingdom for Normans!

Chief Ragusa- Mongols are worrisome for sure. And Leon is more down :) As for rest of Lombardia- it's on my todo list. Some day.

DensleyBlair- well, we don't need it, but it seems inevitable

morningSIDEr- still, there are much more easier targets for them to conquer...

cyrileom, DensleyBlair - though about it, but the lands there are such that i'd be fighting more of attrition then Mongols. When they get some nice lands where i can kick them better, then...
 

DensleyBlair

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Nice to see you're back :)

A thoroughly enjoyable update - what is that empire on which Prince Bruno has a claim? To me, it looks like Frisia, but wouldn't be...
 

Nikolai

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Long live Gilbert I! :)
 

grumphie

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you should start warring with hungary and poland. the baltic must be conquere dby normans as well. also, it stop sthe mongols dead in their tracks unless they can beat you. which i doubt, consideirng you roflstomp the big grey blob without even calling in all your vassels.
 

cyrileom

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big grey blob =/= attrition free doomstacks of OP horse archers. Besides, even though it's a naval empire, marshalling enough troops to destroy Mongol Hordes would take months, if not a year.
 

hjarg

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Bretons and Holy Orders

University of Palermo


In May 1257, the expansion of University in Palermo that Adelise ordered a few years ago were finally finished. That made Palermo the biggest university in the whole known world. From theology (naturally, Cathar theology) to natural sciences, everything was covered. If you wanted to learn something, be it law, medicine, theology or something else, Palermo was the place to be. Extensive library, consisting of books from Ancient times, from all over Europe, from Byzantium and from Arab lands, making it a fountain of knowledge. Plenty of professors, bright (and of course, some not so bright) people from all over known world came to Palermo. The campus was turning into a city on it’s own, with extensive buildings and plenty of extracurricular activities (read: plenty of taverns and whorehouses nearby).

Laurentius_de_Voltolina_001.jpg

The bigger, improved university at session

Education in Sicily was envy to the whole world. Cathedral schools were built in every bishopric, giving students plenty of chance to get basic education. From there, university- there is one in every city in Sicily and Calabria, some specialized in one subject, some in other, some more generalized. But the University of Palermo was the top of every other school in the Imperial Demesne, dream of every scholar and thus, competition allowed only the best to join. The result- Norman warriors, bloodthirsty barbarians as their enemies called them, were actually the most cultured people in the world.

Templar Order

When the Normans took Holy Land in Crusades, they used help of both Templars and Hospitallers. In return, both Templars and Hospitallers gained lands in Holy Land to call their own personal fiefs. Templars got 3 baronies and Hospitallers 1. It worked out pretty well- Templars and Hospitallers did their best to secure the lands, keep the pilgrims safe and fight occasional Muslim raid.

When Turquetil became Cathar, the situation became kind of awkward. After all, the Normans and Templars and Hospitallers met several times in the field of battle (with Normans crushing the Orders over and over again), but in Holy Land, they lived as peaceful neighbours. Still, Turquetil was too busy to do something about it- but Adelise had the time.

In May 1257, she declared war on Templar Order, demanding their holding in Tiberias, barony of La Feve. Since the King Silvester’s troops were strong, there was no need to call upon Western Normans for the fight. 11 000 of Jerusalem’s own Normans rose in Tiberias, assaulted the castle and despite Templars trying their best to build good fortifications, the castle fell in the beginning of June.

The was was not over though. The Templars had one of their famous armies, over 5000 soldiers from all over Europe, stationed in Holy Land. Over 1200 Knights, 3000 Heavy Soldiers, 1000 archers and mix of other troops emerged from their holding in Jaffa and sieged the province.

The Normans attacked them outside Arsuf. Outnumbering the Templars 2:1, the battle went surprisingly well. In 19th June, the Templars were on the run and after being beaten once again, outside Haifa, the war was over. Templars gave away one of their holdings in Holy Land, with 2 more to go. The peace was signed in August 1257.

sicily344.jpg

Templars defeated

sicily345.jpg

... and surrendering

Holy War 1 For Brittany

Brittany, the westernmost part of France, was divided into two. Biggest part was ruled by Duke Hywel 1, a 15-year old boy. Smaller part, 2 counties, were held by Queen Mabille I of Wales. Now, Normans wanted both of them. Since Adelise already took one province of Normandy, it was wise to continue expanding her lands in that direction.

In August 1257, some days before the war in East was over, she declared war on Hywel, claiming Brittany Norman. After the war for Aquitaine, her personal retinues had marched North, reaching Mortain.

From there, the bigger army marched to Rennes, while smaller one to Nantes. Bigger army assaulted all the way and by the end of September, Rennes was Norman. Breton forces, about 2000 of them, gathered in Welsh lands, but dared not to move. So, main army instead marched towards them and in 2 battles, destroyed the enemy. Normans marched on to Leon to siege the province.

Then, the English arrived. With 10 000 soldiers, they landed in Rennes and took the newly conquered capital of the province in a surprise assault. Both Norman armies got orders to assault quickly and then march back. 25 000 Normans met English in the fields outside Dol in February 1258. The battle was victorious, with most of the English killed. The Normans combined their forces, took yet again the castle of Rennes and marched to Nantes, where Welsh troops were sieging. Welsh were beaten and the province was under Norman command by April 1258.

sicily346.jpg

English intervention troops defeated

Meanwhile, new army of English had arrived in Rennes. They were properly crushed, and one Norman amy was sent to hunt strays from Penthievre. Then, the English sprung their trap. 10 000 Normans were attacked by 14 000 English, while the other Norman army was attacked in Rennes by 4000 English, hoping to delay the Normans until the other army is crushed. It was in the May 1258 when Normans were in a tough spot...

First, the main Norman army crushed the 4000 Englishman and marched to the rescue. The other Norman army was marching around, trying to avoid the battle. They lost troops in small skirmishes, and the English were already confident of their victory. Then, the reinforcements arrived. It was in the fields outside Monkontour, where the chasing English suddenly found themselves facing two Norman armies of over 20 000 soldiers combined. And not just Norman armies, but elite armies belonging to the Empress herself. Nothing as silly as light soldiers there. Amount of knights alone was more then all Holy Orders combined... By the end of the day, English armies were defeated and killed to the last man.

sicily347.jpg

English ambusing Normans- and the result

Combined Norman armies marched West, to Leon, and took the city of Brest. With that, the war was over and in July 1258, the peace was signed. Former Duke Hwyl of Brittany, who just reached 16 years of age, fled to Wales. Poor chap, he was powerful Duke, looking for prosperous brides from all over Europe, hoping to get a good Duchess. Now, he is just a courtier, living of mercy of others and has no hopes of carrying the family line ahead. Adelise didn’t care much though, but gave the Duchy as a Merchant Republic to Gilbert de Hauteville.

War with Hospitallers

While the retinues were busy fighting the war in Brittany, the Adelise did not forget the East. In January 1258, she declared war on Hospitallers, claiming the barony of Belvoir in the County of Safed. 5000 soldiers from Safed and rest of Duchy of Galilee rose to siege the castle, while Hospitallers formed in Beirut, only to be attacked by 15 000 soldiers from Jerusalem. Most of the Hospitallers were killed, rest slaughtered when they tried to retreat to Belvoir and soon, 20 000 Normans were at the gates of Belvoir. The castle fell in assault and by March 1258, the castle was Norman. Peace was signed and with that, Hospitallers lost their lands in the Holy Land.

sicily348.jpg

Last moments of Hospitallers in the Holy Land

Holy War 2 for Brittany

As soon as Hwyl was defeated, the Adelise declared war to Queen Mabille I of Wales, demanding the other parts of the Duchy of Brittany. In July 1258, the war started again. English joined to the rescue, but they were still exhausted. Both Wales and England participated in the previous war for Brittany, both send soldiers over Le Manche and both got their asses kicked. So, Normans saw no resistance whatsoever as they assaulted the holdings. By September 1258, the war was over and the Duchy Norman.

sicily349.jpg

And with this, Brittany is Norman
 

hjarg

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Well, the most important thing learned today was that two simultaneous wars can be done, but are annoying!

DensleyBlair- messed up the shields somehow. So Frisia is the new Holy Roman Empire or HRE is the new Frisia or something..

Nikolai - and may he produce as many genius offsprings as possible! :)

grumphie- planning to- eventually. As you can see, i'm pretty busy conquering everything else already. And i actually used some vassals- to siege some lands the Emperor has away from main area.

cyrileom, grumpie- but i can make my own doomstacks! Attrition-free, if i keep them on board of ships! We'll see, i think i'll have to kick Mongol ass sooner then later.
 

DensleyBlair

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Palermo sounds interesting, what with all the extra curricular activities ;)

Another enjoyable update :)
 

morningSIDEr

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The campus was turning into a city on it’s own, with extensive buildings and plenty of extracurricular activities (read: plenty of taverns and whorehouses nearby).

Always the most important buildings in any university!

Good updates, more rapid progress made, Aquitaine and Brittany gained for Normandy alongside parts of the Holy Land, nicely done.
 

hjarg

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Coming Home. Semi-Interlude.

The gray sea of the Channel at April was not a pleasant sight. Cold, threatening, with gusts of wind blowing and rocking the ship. For someone who grew up in the Mediterranean area, it was the most unwelcoming sight of them all. Despite being covered fully in her mink coat, a resource that came even further north and east, from lands suffering Mongol threats, Adelise did not feel warm. She grasped at the rail of the ship and tried to make out the land barely visible through the fog. She shivered as cold waves hit the ship and splashed her with salty water.

The ship was not a Mediterranean galley that Adelise was used to, but instead, a longship. Low ship, with not much comforts, sturdy Normans manning the oars, each of them armed to the teeth and ready to give their lives for their Empress. Only one problem- they all smelled. Horribly. The stench of unbathed sweaty men, stinking bilge water and salted fish was all making Adelise puke.

Tapisserie_bato1.jpg

Adelise on a boat

She held back though- there was no way she was going to embarrass herself in front of these men. Instead, she moved to the bow of the ship and gazed forward. All that made her feel like her ancestors, leading a sweaty and unwashed band of Nordmen to the fertile shores of Gallia, to loot and plunder the locals, burn their churches, drown their monks and take all valuables. Or perhaps she thought of the times of Rollo, the viking chief who decided to stay. Who accepted Christianity, who settled in Normandy instead of looting and then sailing back. Of the founder of Normans.

Though Hauteville historians do their best to show that Hautevilles are direct descendants of Rollo, Adelise knew better. de Hautevilles were Normans, true. They were even amongst the soldiers of Rollo- but they were only soldiers. Hiallt, the founder of Hauteville dynasty, was a companion of Rollo, who got a village for his services, named it Hialtus Villa, and thus the family got their name- and their lands in small village of Hauteville-Sur-Mer. Nothing significant, until most of the family moved to Italy, to find their fortune there.

Robert Guiscard wanted to find his own lands to rule, his own fortune. So he and his brothers set to Italy, where the lands were rich and local rulers weak. Little did he dream that his grand-grand-grand etc children will be returning to his homelands- as conquerors. But that they have. Normans already took province of Mortain from the French- now all that was left were two provinces in English hands. .

The Holy War for Normandy was actually a short one, for the English had little soldiers left. They tried to stop the Norman onslaught in Brittany, and lost tens of thousands of soldiers in the battle. So, when Adelise declared war on England herself, the former Normans did not have enough soldiers to offer any effective resistance. The War for Normandy lasted from November 1258 to April 1259. On one side- personal retinues of Empress, rested, trained, motivated. On other side- exhausted English troops that have lost more then one battle against the Normans. The only battle was in the beginning of April, when 21 000 Normans defeated 10 000 English. With that, war was over. England had no more troops to spare and soon, gave up their holdings in the continent.

sicily351.jpg

The only battle in the war

Adelise had been also travelling for over two months. There was no hope that she would arrive in time. Ship from Palermo to Marseille, from there small Tour de France to Atlantic coast, staying with vassals, enforcing ties with the Normans of Southern France. You know how it goes- Empress and her retinue, about 200 courtiers and servants plus 500 bodyguards, arrives in a city, barony or Duke’s palace or whatever, stays there for one-two nights, east the poor Baron/Mayor/Duke/King poor and then move on like a hungry swarm of locusts, looking at their next target. Result- all the local Normans feel privileged that the Empress will stay at their castle. They even fight upon who gets to be the host and they do their best to offer more entertainment, more exotic food and so on as their neighbour. Resulting in lot poorer rulers who instead of wasting money on rebellions try to recover from the visit of Empress and even better- feel happy about it!

Adelise was still at the bow of the ship when the fleet entered the Seine river. Rowers sighed as they took the oars and begun to row the ship upstream. Not an easy task, for the melting snow in spring made the current strong. But already, there were Normans greeting their own Empress, standing in the mouth of the river and greeting. As the fleet approached Rouan, the greeters became more and more numerous, shouting praises to Adelise, then joining the fleet and marching towards Rouen.

Over the time, Normans who went to England had changed. They had formed an English culture, a mix of Saxon and Norman cultures, and have assimilated. Normans left behind remained Norman though. So, the language English and Normans spoke was a bit similar, but nevertheless different. Customs changed, people changed and suddenly, Normans were becoming second-class citizens of England. Finding new hope under the true Norman Empire did not seem so bad at all...

As Adelise sailed to Rouen, the crowd grew and grew, when there were at least tens of thousands native Normans coming to greet their new Empress. From there, the procession moved to Cathedrale Notre Dame de Rouen, where Adelise crowned William, count of Mortain, as Duke William II de Hauteville of Normandy. William sweared fealty to the Empress, promising his troops should the need arise. After that, there was much cheering, celebrating and drinking and eating when the evening fell. Celebrations lasted for two weeks, and then Adelise travelled back to Palermo, leaving William in charge of his new Duchy.

Brazilian_ball_for_Henry_II_in_Rouen_October_1_1550.jpg

Empress sailing to Rouen

sicily350.jpg

William II Conqueror, Duke of Normandy. Well, more like William II Who Got Given a Good Conquest Cause He Was Named William, but that is too long, so let's settle for Conqueror

De Hautevilles had came home... or one could say, they had taken home to themselves.
 

hjarg

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And i'm still alive! Happy new year to everyone and one of my new years promise was to make more updates! Don't be too mad if i can't hold on to that promise! :)

DensleyBlair, morningSIDEr - what university would be complete without these two? Well, as far as medieval university goes :p
morningSIDEr - what can i say, i'm rollin', i'm rollin', i'm steamrollin'!
 

DensleyBlair

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Just when I was beginning to think this had died... You do know how to time things :)

Nice to see another update, and such an enjoyable one at that. It's good to see the whole of Normandy back in Norman hands - well, proper Norman hands :)

I look forward to more updates.
 

Athalcor

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Great AAR! Just started reading this, but I already like it so much. One should learn from you how to write ;).
 

unmerged(58610)

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Normandy is back in Norman hands. England's little soldiers gave rise to pictures of a dwarf army and dwarves can be fearsome soldiers, but no-one is able to withstand the Normans. That William is just about passable; ugly wife though. Is this Adelise's jealousy of any other beautiful woman?

War against the Mongols may lead to more lengthy updates, though adding the HRE title before you do would uinderline Norman supremacy in the West.
 

cyrileom

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Can you post a screen of vassals and their respective strengths? Just so we know how powerful they are in comparison to you. I know that decades ago you could raise about 2000-2500 men in every Sicilian county. I wonder how good your vassals are faring, in case of a revolt.
 

unmerged(24320)

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it took me a few days, but have read it all ! i am really glad to have found it ! !

most excellent AAR ! !