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stnylan

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Ah, Dithmarschen. A very interesting place, I look forward to see what you make of it.
 

Firehound15

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"Ein freies Volk"
Prologue
___________________________________________


Saints Mary and Oswald, Patron Saints of Dithmarschen

A marshy land, draped in mist and ocean fog. Fields of grain and cabbages, ready for harvest. This is Dithmarschen, home to a free people hopeful for the future. Among these bogs and Atlantic crags rests a society unbound by serfdom and feudalism. While the historical development of the region has all but stripped away this appearance, this lost world ought to never be forgotten - its influence upon the course of modern history is far, far too immense.

Dithmarschen was not originally particularly unique in its character. Indeed, so-called “peasants’ republics” (in German, bauernrepubliken) existed all across the northern edges of the Holy Roman Empire, kept afloat by the sheer determination of their leaders, the phenomenal willpower of the free peasantry, and quite often a significant amount of luck. While fundamentally at odds with the interests of nearly all their neighbors, they somehow managed to retain independence. To survive was not simply an option for these communities, but a necessity.

However, by the mid-fifteenth century, the increasingly powerful members of the Holy Roman Empire, flourishing in the aftermath of the Golden Bull, began to see such bauernrepubliken as easy targets for subjugation. Because they were afforded neither the privileges of the Imperial nobility nor the Free Cities, the annexation of these marshland “republics” almost always resulted in no consequences for the committed party. Further, it did not exactly help the free peasantry that they had become quite wealthy in their independent agricultural pursuits. Naturally, this resulted in a jealous nearby nobility, often further endangering them.


Regions of the Republic of Dithmarschen

In the face of increasing pressures from potential overlords and the weak influences of the Bishopric of Bremen, the pseudo-anarchist society which had existed in Dithmarschen for centuries began an effort to consolidate, reorganize, and protect its interests. To govern the region and support its interests, a body of sixty judges was initially planned. However, when Strandmannsdöfft (one of the five traditional regions of Dithmarschen) did not send any representatives from its powerful landowning peasantry, the number was reduced. Thus, the Dithmarschen Landrecht, or Achtundvierzig (“Forty-Eight”) was first organized, placing February 13th, 1447 as the true beginning of the Republic of Dithmarschen.

To call Dithmarschen a republic, however, would be as dishonest as calling Ancient Athens a monarchy. Indeed, while it possessed several relatively progressive features for its time (most notably the formal abolition of serfdom), there were no popular elections, no secret ballots, and no opportunities to remove members of the Achtundvierzig. All members of the Dithmarschen Landrecht were “elected” for life, and were chosen not by any formal vote, but by complex mutual agreements between the wealthiest and most powerful free peasant families. While acting as an informal legislature for the independent state, and while technically operating in a fashion which enabled those without hereditary rights or membership in the cloth to hold influence, their judgments were completely insulated from popular opinions. Indeed, democracy in Dithmarschen only existed on the level of the community, and unlike the democratic practices of the Classical Era and Enlightenment, it lacked any foundation in ideology whatsoever.

The most prominent institution, thus, was not the Landrecht, but the alliance of local parishes which provided the underlying administration needed for the organization of the area into a political state. These parishes helped to unite the religious foundations of power (a necessity in the period) while also serving as meeting places for the local populace. It could very easily be said that as cantons are to Switzerland, parishes were to Dithmarschen. Although not all have expressed adoration for this institution, which many accusing it of enabling the effective non-election of achtundvierzigers and domination of the political system by wealthy landowning families.


Sankt-Johannis-Kirche, in Meldorf, often called "Meldorf Cathedral," served as the original meetingplace for the Achtundvierzig.

From among the achtundvierzigers who formed the first Dithmarschen Landrecht, the most prominent quickly became Henning Rachel, a forty-five year old man from Mitteldöfft. The Rachel family, claiming its origin from Bavaria in the seventh century, were immensely wealthy, and their desire to retain that wealth (as well as expand their power) manifest itself very clearly in Henning Rachel. Naturally, he was immensely rebellious, hoping to maintain the sovereignty of Dithmarschen even in the most dire of situations. This, however, was the only way in which he was well-suited to the leadership of the fledgling bauernrepublik. His coarse personality made him very few allies, and his refusal to concede to compromise initially hampered any attempts to secure significant powers for the Landrecht.

Despite such immense personal flaws, Henning Rachel was still the clear choice for when the Landrecht needed to select a Chief Judge. In this position he began to consolidate his authority, and prepared extensive plans for ways in which Dithmarschen might be able to maintain the full extent of its recently-gained independence. Encouraged by the political marriage of his son to Louisa Müller, the daughter of a prominent Strandmannsdöffter family. Seeing that even the initially skeptical southern regions of Dithmarschen had begun to open up to the new government, Henning Rachel made a reasonable - yet still surprising - first move. The Landrecht would formally establish a military guard for the protection of Dithmarschen.
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Yes - the times they are a-chaning, and Dithmarschen will have to change too, or die.
 

Duke of Kings

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Huh, I was thinking of doing a Dithmarschen AAR. But I'm nonetheless happy to see one.

Good luck, and subbed!
 

Firehound15

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“Töten oder getötet werden”
1447-1457
___________________________________________


The Free Imperial City of Lübeck, c.1350

Dithmarschen, as it elevated itself to de facto Imperial immediacy, was a land without friends. Faced with insolvency and barely capable of maintaining its expanding army, drastic measures had to be taken by the Landrecht to prevent a circumstance in which it would be left susceptible to attacks by nearby rivals. Ultimately, Henning Rachel and his supporters pushed for a two-part solution: improving diplomatic relations with regional powers and reorienting economic plans toward trade. Rapidly, income from Lübeck became the primary source of funds for the fledgling republic.

While not enjoying unusually good relations with the political leadership of Lübeck, Dithmarschen easily established itself as an influential stop for trade between the Baltic and England. Funds were cut for the newly established Guard and instead shifted towards Achtundvierzig-sponsored shipping. While Dithmarscher finances were not left much better off by these arrangements, they did provide a foundation (at least in part) by which stability would someday he achieved. An economically-inspired view of world history might even pin many successes of the region on this shift.

Diplomatic engagements were also particularly fruitful, first earning an alliance with the Free Imperial City of Hamburg (whose protected status and economic power gave a sense of legitimacy to Dithmarschen), and later a pact of mutual support with Heinrich IV von Welf, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. While the support of Brunswick was not likely a matter of charity, they eagerly invited representatives from Dithmarschen to learn from their five-year campaign against the Prince-Bishopric of Münster.

The duration of the seizure of Ösnabruck, itself one of many wars fought to strengthen secular power at the direct expense of clerical interests, should have been substantially shorter given the relative strength of Brunswicker forces compared to those of Münster. Unfortunately, strategic mistakes and a general unwillingness to engage enemy armies led to an extension of the conflict beyond a reasonable time frame. While this was non-ideal for Brunswick and its allies, it served as an important experience for Dithmarscher military representatives, who began to understand the pike formation as a useful tactic for the lightly equipped Dithmarscher Guard.


The rediscovery and reinvention of the phalanx during the Renaissance provided the background of fifteenth century pike tactics.

These successes effectively guaranteed Henning Rachel’s continued role as leader of the Achtundvierzig, as well as providing him with the influence and power to begin more radical plans for strengthening Dithmarschen. It was around this time, in 1453, that the Danish began to assert their dominance over the Duchy of Holstein, and one of Rachel’s primary supporters, Heinrich Russe, began to speak in favor of an unusually aggressive and confrontational policy. Töten oder getötet werden, “kill or be killed,” became the call from the more militant families of Dithmarschen, mainly from Westerdöfft and Osterdöfft.

While initially rejected as a possibility by Rachel due to the relative youth of the government of Dithmarschen (as well as its unstable position), the concept of preemptive warfare became very popular among parish meetings. Soon, even the skeptical Strandmannsdöffters, who did not even initially recognize the Dithmarschen Landrecht, were joining the calls for warfare and arming themselves in preparation. When representatives from Brunswick, Dithmarschen’s “loving protector” arrived, suggesting that they expand by weakening a rival state of the Holy Roman Empire, the road forward became especially clear.

Thus, it was decided that Dithmarschen would go on the offensive, aiming to secure its longevity not through a defensive pacifism, but by joining with the legions of aggressive conquerors who presented the very existential threat from which they sought to escape. A force of freemen, militia, and guards loyal to the Landrecht boarded barges and crossed the Elbe, landing in the Land of Hadeln, whose inhabitants were sympathetic to the Dithmarscher cause. This provided an effective jumping-off-point for the effort to win a victory over the Prince-Archbishop of Bremen and Prince-Bishop of Verden.


The Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen (yellow) was the primary target of Dithmarscher aggression.

The “invasion” as some modern historians have called it, was effectively concluded at the Battle of Weißenmoor, where a numerically superior enemy force was soundly defeated by recently mustered Dithmarscher forces under the command of Henning Rachel himself. Forcing the enemy back with casualties of over three-thousand men, the region rapidly fell to Dithmarschen, and with the support of Brunswicker reinforcements, the major fortified city of Stade was captured within a year. Unfortunately, the intervention of the Pomeranian Gryfs and the County of Oldenburg resulted in an escalation of the conflict beyond what had initially been anticipated.

While a garrison was kept in Stade under the command of Rachel, the Brunswickers under Johann Julius Brach regrouped and met with the remnants of the Oldenburger army. While the battle was essentially minor, Oldenburg itself remained heavily defended, and was captured only after a brief-yet-volatile siege. The Brunswickers became known in the conflict for the brutality of their tactics, although they - suspiciously - left as much of the city unscathed. Indeed, it became clear to Rachel that they possessed a desire to seize Oldenburg for themselves, although they eventually acceded to the county simply being diplomatically isolated in the event of a settlement.

After the city of Oldenburg was subdued by Brunswicker forces, they conceded to a particularly unfavorable treaty, which released most of their treasury to the possession of the
Achtundvierzig. This became a vital moment, enabling the struggling treasury of Dithmarschen (which had to resort to loans in order to maintain the costs of its campaign) to become resilient enough to conclude the conflict. Later that year, Pomeranian forces would finally be defeated, and by August 14th, 1455, the war was over. The resultant treaty was primarily aimed at expanding Dithmarscher territory at the direct expense of the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen, and stripped away essentially all of its lands east of the Weser - although the Prince-Archbishopric was allowed to retain some of its territory in the region, as well as continued Imperial immediacy.


Dithmarscher territory following the Wattenmeer War

The acquisition of such a substantial amount of territory had immense repercussions for Dithmarschen, particularly in regard to how it might interfere with the then-present system of government. Ultimately it was decided that serfdom would be abolished on lands previously owned by the Prince-Archbishop himself, although the land itself was simply transferred to the Landrecht to supervise and maintain. As such, no formal political representation was given to the newly acquired region, although it was given all the same rights and privileges held by the lands of Dithmarschen itself. The largest distinction, however, was the continued presence of certain noble families of the region, who while essentially stripped of their prior rights, were left almost completely unaffected by the transition. Despite a relative maintenance of the status quo, the clearest beneficiaries on the southern side of the Elbe were the inhabitants of the Land of Wursten, which was a much weaker bauernrepublik formerly under the supervision of the Archbishop.

The transition, on the whole, passed smoothly, although the effort earned the ire of the Emperor himself, who immediately sent a demand to the Achtundvierzig that they might return the land to the Prince-Archbishop of Bremen. Naturally, they refused him and what they believed was part of his effort to capitalize upon their prior weakness. In an act of defiance, they formally incorporated the region. The Emperor, embroiled in a war with the King of Bohemia, was indisposed, and could do very little to match his threats. It appeared that, either by luck or by God, the new acquisitions could be retained, and Dithmarschen could continue its quest for survival.


The Seal of the Russe Family

Notwithstanding his immense successes, nearly ten years as leader of the Landrecht and three years in the field commanding troops had left quite a toll on the political popularity of Henning Rachel himself. In his absence he lost influence among the Achtundvierzig, which instead began to support the younger brother of Rachel’s close confidant, Heinrich Russe. Naturally, Rachel was upset at only discovering the shift after his return, although he continued to sit as an influential member of the Dithmarschen Landrecht for the remainder of his life. His successor, Nicolaus Russe, was described by all accounts as a easily-angered man, but also as a more skilled commander than either his brother or Rachel. For Russe, however, a simple task had not exactly been laid out. In fact, he was expected to serve as Dithmarschen’s response to an increasingly domineering Kingdom of Denmark - a response with many consequences.
 
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stnylan

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Ah an important acquisition. Vital indeed.
 

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blitzthedragon

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Never heard of Dithmarschen. Now I gotta sub!
 

Firehound15

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“Unzufriedenheit I”
1457-1463
___________________________________________


King Christopher III 'The Bavarian' of Denmark

The Kingdom of Denmark under the leadership of King Christopher III reflected all that Dithmarschen was not: powerful, traditionalist, and domineering. The Duchy of Holstein had been fully integrated not five years before Denmark shifted its attention towards the small marshland republic of Dithmarschen. First by threats of war, and later through more overt methods. By 1469, Denmark would even begin to favor interpretations of succession which gave it a claim to the territory. It was primarily due to this threat that Dithmarschen had adjusted itself - yet it did not develop in such an expected fashion.

Nicolaus Russe was expected to provide the same sort of military perspective as Henning Rachel, but unlike his predecessor’s keen eye for organization, he worked in broad, sweeping political strokes. It was this exact command mentality which had earned him the leadership of the Achtundvierzig despite the popularity of its prior Chief Judge. However, this characteristic also proved to be his most dangerous flaw, often placing him in a politically inopportune moment. One such moment was this, where Dithmarschen required all of the leadership and eye for detail which it could muster.

The first of Russe’s proposals involved recovering local legitimacy in the eyes of the Church. Respectable relations with the clergy were pursued, and the parishes made clear their loyalty to the Holy Father. This policy was immensely successful, paving the way for a more substantial initiative dealing with the Dithmarscher army. The pikes of the Dithmarscher Guard were standardized, and tactics favoring ambushes by the numerically inferior force were adopted. As these were put into practical use, they served the country particularly well during Dithmarschen’s unwilling participation in several intra-Imperial squabbles.


The standardization of pikes and infantry tactics was an important development in Dithmarscher history.

While these efforts served Dithmarschen very well, Russe proved to be a wholly incompetent administrator. By 1460, just three years after his ascension, it became clear to the Dithmarschen Landrecht that he had been using his influence to favor his family and associates. Further, his chosen allies became caught in several embarrassing embezzlement schemes. While chosen as a practical, effective military man, Russe proved to be wholly incapable of improving the national condition. It appeared that the Achtundvierzig would again fall under the influence of Henning Rachel, until his death early the next year.

Out of the ensuing chaos rose Moritz Köster. A young, efficient planner who had distinguished himself in the reorganization of the lands south of the Elbe. In many ways, Köster was Russe’s opposite. While the one was a military mastermind, the other was a practical (for lack of a better term) bureaucrat. Indeed, while Köster lacked all of the flair of his incompetent forerunner, he contained within himself the precise assets for which Russe initially gained influence. This attitude was manifest perfectly in improved relations with the County of Oldenburg, occupied by Brunswicker-Dithmarscher forces just six years prior. An alliance quickly ensued in light of Brunswick’s continued military conflicts and the need for Dithmarschen to find support from outside any potentially dangerous “allies.”

News had also arrived from elsewhere in the Empire - the Electorate of Saxony had been destroyed following a disastrous war against the Thuringians, and in its chaotic absence, the Emperor was presented the opportunity to create a new elector. Thus, the Prince-Bishopric of Strasbourg, known for its loyalty to the Habsburgs, was elevated. Immediately, immense repercussions could be felt, with the disputed Imperial succession suddenly becoming explicitly clear. In hushed tones, in dark corners of the Holy Roman Empire, the suspicions were made obvious - although it has never been confirmed as to whether the Emperor was truly involved in the defeat of his primary rival and critic.


A woodblock engraving of Stade, c. 1550

In Dithmarschen, however, there were not such shadowy intrigues afoot. Instead, all conflict seemed to come to a head with a revolt in Stade. There a loose alliance formed between the burghers and weakened nobility, who intended to separate from Dithmarschen and regain Imperial immediacy. While the rebels were easily defeated by the garrisoned army, this event was only the first in a line of many reactive attempts by dissatisfied dissidents to reject the realities of life under the Achtundvierzig. Indeed, it was difficult for esteemed members of the local aristocracy to submit to the will of what was ostensibly a farmers’ council, but it became much more difficult for them to do so while being stripped of their traditional privileges.

Such issues are largely believed to have been exacerbated by the leadership of Köster, whose clear favoritism towards the agrarian lifestyles of Dithmarschen would only continue to grow into his most damning vice. Although the region of Stade had been left mostly intact, it became particularly obvious to the prior established class of the area that Köster intended to begin the gradual process of reorganizing them among lines more akin to those of Dithmarschen. This was fine for regions such as the Land of Wursten, which had already existed in a similar fashion to its new overlord, but the city of Stade and the quarter of ecclesiastical lands under noble administration were unlike anything which the Dithmarscher Landrecht had ever had to consider. Unfortunately, Köster only took the revolt as a blank cheque. In its aftermath, he quickly moved to suspend the rights of Stade and formally reincorporate it under a similar parish system to that in use in Dithmarschen. This was a decision that would ultimately be responsible for the recurring regional crises that shaped the next thirty years of Dithmarscher history.
 

stnylan

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It sounds like Dithmarschen is undergoing some moderately serious growing pains.
 

Firehound15

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“Unzufriedenheit II”
1463-1472
___________________________________________

Mortiz Köster’s new approach to governance did not have many inherent fans. Of course, such a reality was natural, given his own lack of charm and the aggressive fashion in which he promoted his semi-reformist agenda. Even in Dithmarschen itself, a growing number of powerful families began to attack the way he had put down the rebellion in Stade, and seeking a quick political gain, aimed to have the Achtundvierzig replace him. Noting such obvious overtures, he pursued a clever strategy of glorifying the Dithmarschen Landrecht while providing favors to the wealthiest members of Dithmarscher society. While many of these efforts were essentially minor in the scheme of Dithmarschen’s history, there are some notable exceptions.


Similar to the Florentine Guilder, the Dithmarscher Geelden was a small gold coin.

The first such move was the implementation of a new form of coinage for the small bauernrepublik, which aimed to replace the borrowed currencies of the region’s earlier history with a new, proper coinage. This Dithmarscher Geelden, which honored the Achtundvierzig of 1464, was an important first step in the historical development of future economic strategies for the small state. This was also especially important as it asserted a sort of “independence” for Dithmarschen during a time when the Hanseatic League and Kingdom of Denmark were entering a brutal confrontation over the harassment of merchants in the Baltic. This conflict would be so disastrous for the Danish that they would be forced to return the Duchy of Holstein (now under the Badener Geroldsecks) to imperial immediacy.

This period of rather chaotic warfare and strife provided a second opening by which Köster could affirm his dominance over the Dithmarschen Landrecht. As Stade had been (temporarily) pacified and the various regional powers of the northern Holy Roman Empire were preoccupied, he began plans to secure even more territory for Dithmarschen. It was upon the suggestion of his closest supporters that he turned his attention towards the weak Principality of Lüneburg. Its territory, politically centered in Celle, was mostly sparsely populated, and its mostly-agricultural character had an imminent appeal to Köster, although his oversight of significant cultural differences would later cost him immensely.


The Coat of Arms of the Princes of Lüneburg.

While the Prince of Lüneburg was (distantly) related to the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, their split had become somewhat noteworthy, with no small amount of disdain being expressed by each side regarding their kin. One example being the Brunswicker insistence upon ownership of “Lüneburg,” even though nearly all land associated with the name belonged to the Principality. Furthermore, with Brunswick busy recovering from one of the many intra-Imperial feuds that they had made themselves privy to, Dithmarschen met no opposition from the Welfs, although the Brunswickers had also made clear that they considered the territory as belonging somewhat to them.

Regardless, in late 1465, an army under the command of Anton Nann provoked a pre-emptive attack by the Lüneburgers near the border, and began the capture of the territory. During this conflict, Nann became particularly well-known for his skill in both personal combat and matters of tactics, and began to develop a legacy of his own. A tall, well-built man, his personal valor made him a well-liked character in most circles. This would prove to be most useful, as his capacities were manifest in the rapid conclusion to the conflict and its relatively quiet aftermath. His plan, which involved allowing their Hamburger and Oldenburger allies to eliminate the remnants of the enemy army after an easy victory, was extremely successful, and his methods of short-term military administration were both practical and relatively just. Of course, this meant that he was hated – for a time – by the more extreme elements of the Achtundvierzig.


The Blecherners partly received their name because they were perceived as having an "annoying bell-like youthfulness."

Led by young “traditionalists” like Joachim Rachel (the grandson of Henning Rachel), the Blecherners – as they were called because their brass belt buckles and insatiable personalities – provided the very beginnings of factionalism within the Dithmarscher Landrecht. However, this is only a half-truth. In reality, true organized factions would take far longer to develop, and the Blecherners were united only in their disdain for Köster and disapproval of his and Nann’s attempts to slowly strip power away from more local governments. Regardless, they formed the minority, and their complaints did not extend far beyond meetings of the Achtundvierzig.

Unfortunately, the peaceful lull which followed the quiet war was not to last. In 1468, just two years after the expulsion of the Prince of Lüneburg, Köster began to reform the local administration of the area, just as he had in Stade. The first such move was the denial of traditional rights for the Free Imperial Town of Lüneburg, while the second was the forceful revocation of noble powers in the area. Particularly, the institution of serfdom was abolished, destabilizing the whole region. The historian Friedrich Sanders would later write of the decision, noting:

“Indeed, the act was one of immense courage and philosophical importance, it was also one of immense stupidity. Instead of accustoming himself to the local society and developing a method by which its own cultural predilections could be used against it (primarily through burgher privileges), he stripped nude the helpful elements of that region’s culture, and instead clothed it in a thrifted drapery. It should be obvious as to why they did not appreciate his efforts – Köster made no effort whatsoever to make them appreciate his efforts.”

While Sanders’ assessment takes on a particularly hostile tone, it is nonetheless now generally agreed that Köster had made a grave error in applying such an approach to the Lüneburg Heath and Wendland. For while the lands near Stade had already been independent of a powerful nobility for quite some time, the shift was much more abrupt in the newer case. Indeed, this action would set the course for an extremely difficult time for Dithmarschen, as it became particularly clear that a widespread dissatisfaction existed among the populace of its added territories. The attention of the Achtundvierzig, however, would not be allowed to settle upon such brewing internal crises, as extremely troubling information arrived in 1469.


The Lüneburg Heath is a mostly sparsely populated area of woodland which came under the control of Dithmarschen in 1466.

A very large war had erupted between an alliance of ecclesiastical princes and secular princes in the heartland of the Holy Roman Empire. The combined forces of Mainz, Trier, Münster, and Cologne, as well as numerous other states, united against successive attempts for territorial domination in what would retrospectively be referred to as the League of Koblenz. With such a powerful base, they aimed to assert some semblance of supremacy. Naturally, Dithmarschen was obligated to join its ally, Brunswick, in such an important conflict, although it, in fact, possessed very little stake in the war. To this end, Dithmarschers were driven more by the fear of an uncooperative shift in power among Imperial states than by a desire for victory by their allies.

To the Achtundvierzig’s disappointment, the War of the League of Koblenz would not be resolved at the speed of the last Dithmarscher engagement. Despite significant initial headway, the secular forces faced a string of defeats culminating in a loss at the Battle of Lohe, in which nearly six-thousand men (including the majority of the Dithmarscher contingent,) had fallen during the fighting. Following Lohe, the League’s forces committed to a strategy which would first eliminate Dithmarschen, then use its territory as an effective base for further attacks. When fourteen-thousand soldiers came streaming into the region, the Dithmarschen Landrecht had no option but to flee, moving temporarily to Vörde, which was the most established community supportive of the Achtundvierzig outside of Dithmarschen itself.


Dithmarscher Guardsmen preparing for a skirmish against the League of Koblenz.

Amidst the chaotic flight from Meldorf, further news arrived, with the nobility of Celle openly declaring their support for the Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg. The situation was further exacerbated when they began to take up arms against the bauernrepublik, hoping that the intervention of friendly nearby states would ensure their victory. Fortunately for the Dithmarschers, Nann (now the first Marshal of the Dithmarscher Guard) moved in to swiftly subdue the enemy. Unfortunately, while his men would be successful in defeating the separatists, he would be killed by a stray arrow shortly before returning to report on the revolt of the nobility. Having died with Dithmarschen still occupied, Nann is claimed to have uttered the dying words: “If only I had lived to see Heide reclaimed…” Although these last words only began to be attested in the 1530s, over half a century after his actual death.

Regardless, this shocking death aroused countless suspicious, with Köster (now stripped of the widespread support which had followed him throughout roughly eleven years in power) being accused of arranging for the death of his most prominent potential rival. While it is still unknown if such claims were correct, they did succeed in ensuring his replacement as Chief Judge. Thus, with Dithmarschen still occupied, widespread dissatisfaction amongst the war-weary populace, and a soaring deficit, a compromise emerged. To replace Köster would be Dithmarschen’s first leader of an aristocratic background: Maximilien von Wiemerstedt.
 

stnylan

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That is not such a positive set of developments.
 

Firehound15

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That is not such a positive set of developments.
Yeah, things really took a dive around 1468. All the way down to -2 stability, if I recall correctly, not to mention the whole other host of issues I briefly touched upon.

It certainly makes for a good story though, no? :D