• Victoria 3 - Sign up now!

    The journey begins, sign up now and get a special in-game item when the game is released.


  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
  • Crusader Kings II Expansion Subscription

    Subscribe to the CK II Expansion and enjoy unlimited access to 13 major expansions and more!


Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
Hi there! My name is Xoxxon (that's ZOCKS-on), and this is my first AAR. And I'm pretty sure this is my first post in this sub-forum. And the first time I played this particular dynasty in CK. And the first time I've written anything for the general public. Ever. So bear with me, help me out with criticism when you feel it's necessary, and be gentle, 'cuz it's my first time.

This AAR covers the Jimenez dynasty in the 1066 scenario, specifically that branch of the dynasty controlling the Kingdom of León and led by Alfonso Jimenez in 1066. I've forgotten the settings, but they're probably both Normal. I have no plans for this particular game - it's still a sandbox for me at this point. And since I haven't played that far ahead, I have no idea whether or not I'll survive. The last time I played around in Spain, the Mongols ate me and I spent the last 100 years of the game in Sicily, crying. Who knows who'll kick my butt this time around! :D

And so, ladies and gentlemen, I present the Emperors of Hispania.
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
[size=+2]Book One: Alfonso VI[/size]

[size=+1]Chapter One: Of Family Ties and Filial Loyalty[/size]​

Alfonso the Heretic. Alfonso the Kinslayer. Alfonso the Sinful. The Demon King of Hispania. Alfonso VI of León has had many names given to him in the nine centuries since his death, none of them flattering unless you’re into black lipstick and softcore vampire erotica. Many have claimed that Alfonso deserved these titles, that the massacre of his kin and countrymen by his own hand was beyond any measure until the excesses of the twentieth century. Although it may be true that Alfonso VI took political measures which would be termed Machiavellian four hundred years later, and although it may be true that Alfonso was more prone to put his own Christian subjects to the sword than the so-called Enemies of the Faith, it is unwise to rely on the rhetoric of his successors in order to judge the final worth of a ruler who many feared and most reviled during his lifetime. Objectivity demands that we analyze the reign of Alfonso VI in light of his predecessors, his contemporaries, and the impact that he had on future generations. It is only then that we may finally abandon the last vestiges of the Black Legend and judge the history of the man and his nation with the dignity that both deserve.

In many ways, the reign of Alfonso VI merely continued the geopolitical trends set forth by his father, Ferdinand I, during his conquest of the kingdoms of Castille, León, and Navarra. The story of Ferdinand I is well known, and will only be covered inasmuch as it relates to subsequent history. Ferdinand I, son of Sancho III of Navarra, inherited Castille upon his father’s death in 1035. He subsequently warred and intrigued against his brothers, the kings of Navarra and León, throughout his reign, and ultimately gained all three crowns, plus the Muslim-held portions of northern Iberia, and christened himself the Emperor of Hispania (imperator totius Hispaniae) in 1039. Upon his death in 1065, Ferdinand I divided his lands among his five children, who swore on their honor to remain loyal to their family and their realm. Ferdinand’s eldest son, Sancho, was left the Kingdom of Castille, and reigned as Sancho II. Ferdinand’s second son, Alfonso, was given the Kingdom of León and the name Alfonso VI. The youngest, Garcia, was given the independent Duchy of Galicia. Ferdinand’s eldest daughter, Elvira, was given the County of Zamora and pledged fealty to Alfonso, while his youngest daughter, Urraca, was given the County of Soria and pledged fealty to Sancho.

It is advisable when studying medieval European history, especially that of European noble houses, to keep a flowchart handy in order to track the relations between the various members of the house and the titles they possess. At this point in the narrative, the reader is advised to begin his or her flowchart before he or she suffers some sort of neural hemorrhage.

The family tranquility that Ferdinand I so desired lasted only as long as his funeral mass – which, incidentally, was one of the longest of his century, lasting nearly a fortnight. Upon returning to his castle in Burgos, Sancho II of Castille immediately moved to undermine the demesne of his sister Urraca. His clumsy intrigues were enough to erode the loyalty of Urraca’s closest advisors, who defected en masse to Sancho’s court. Without a steward to collect taxes or a marshal to raise an army for defense, when Sancho II arrived at the gate of her hill fort at the head of his 1,000 man household guard and demanded that she surrender her claims to the County of Soria, she could do nothing but submit. She spent the next decade under house arrest, guarded by her once-loyal soldiers.

When word of Sancho’s betrayal reached the court of Alfonso VI, rumors began to spread that the King of León was planning to follow in his big brother’s footsteps. Elvira was understandably worried for her own titles, and she expressed her feelings by arriving at Alfonso’s court and demanding – in a very public setting – that Alfonso voice his intentions. Alfonso, possessing a genius-level intelligence when it came to political intrigue, knew what Elvira was planning before she herself did, and presented her then and there with a document guaranteeing her rights to her lands and, furthermore, granting her with the title Duchess of Salamanca, effectively marking her as the most powerful noble in the Kingdom, second only to the King himself. Stunned, she thanked Alfonso for making his position clear and left the court, satisfied and, more importantly, devotedly loyal to the King.

Alfonso knew through his intelligence network that Sancho was planning on uniting the crowns of Hispania through force of arms. Realizing the danger that Sancho posed to the tranquility that Ferdinand I so desired, Alfonso sought to politically isolate him before he could marshal the forces necessary to annihilate all opposition. The first move Alfonso made was to marry Constanza de Zuñiga, a courtier from the County of Viscaya, with the hopes that this would strengthen his ties with the Count of Viscaya and thereby undermine Sancho’s authority in the region. It is notable that this marriage, begun as a political union, eventually blossomed into a relationship full of love and mutual respect. Until her death in 1095, Queen Constanza remained the only true ally that Alfonso enjoyed. She provided not only emotional succor, but served as the backbone of Alfonso’s increasingly important secret network of informers, possessing the political acumen and personal magnetism to ensure that the shady individuals that made up Alfonso’s spy network would operate in unison with the crown’s best interests in mind. It is largely due to Constanza that Alfonso’s later intrigues were to prove so successful.

Alfonso’s next move was to create a bloc of united realms consisting of the Kingdoms of León and Navarra and the Duchy of Catalonia. This agreement, the Pact of Rioja, would provide mutual defense in the event that Sancho II of Castille took aggressive action towards any one member of the alliance. This move was essential in containing Sancho’s aggression – documentary and anecdotal evidence from the period suggests that Sancho was planning on marching on the tiny Kingdom of Navarra in late March of 1067, and indeed had begun the preliminary mustering and training of his army when word reached him of the alliance. Despite his military acumen and the service of his talented general, Rodrigo de Vivar, Sancho knew that he could not fight three strong kingdoms and expect to retain his lands.

Alfonso’s attempts at solidifying the familial bloc, however, met with less success. His brother Garcia, Duke of Galicia, refused to pledge fealty to Alfonso, arguing that his realm was too far from Sancho’s to worry about military conquest and insinuating that Alfonso was merely attempting to do through intrigue what Sancho was trying to accomplish through force of arms. The insult was overlooked at the time, but would fester in the back of Alfonso’s mind, enticing him to take more drastic action against the Duchy of Galicia in the future.

In the meantime, however, more pressing matters were at hand. Alfonso’s intelligence network informed him that Sancho had found allies of his own in the Consul of Venice and the King of Scotland, and that this new defensive alliance made him feel secure enough to attack Alfonso. After all, if Alfonso’s allies intervened to protect him in the event of a war, Sancho’s allies would also intervene – and the realms of Venice and Scotland could muster more troops than either Navarra or Catalonia. Documents from the period indicate that Sancho was once again preparing an invasion force, this time to march on León and seize the kingship from Alfonso.

The time was ripe for Alfonso to make a preemptive strike against Sancho. Alfonso’s succession was secure – Constanza gave birth to a healthy heir, Domingo, early in 1068 – his treasury was full, and his claims were in order. He mustered the armies of his realm, consolidated them in the County of León, and crossed the border into Burgos. Despite the dying wishes of Ferdinand I, his family was torn apart in war. The outcome would determine the future course of Spanish history – and mark the beginning of Alfonso’s decline into sin.
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
I'm playing the latest beta. December-somethingth. And it's a little wierd as far as event titles are concerned.
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
[size=+1]Chapter Two: Birth of a Legend[/size]​

Alfonso was good at many things. He was a genius of intrigue, an illusive shadow able to strike at his enemies without warning and fade away into the night without a trace. He was an able diplomat, adept at forging alliances and marriages that furthered his geopolitical cause. If you believe the stories of his later reign, he was a virile and passionate lover, engaging in week-long bacchanalian orgies in the furtherance of his heretical faith. But he was not good at war. In fact, he was inept, his entire strategy relying on numerical superiority and bloody massed charges. This was fine when he was running down peasant armies with a detachment of heavy cavalry, but when he faced an able commander with a trained army at his back, such as Sancho II of Castille or Abdul-Haleem Ali, the Fist of Allah, he was impotent. It was for this reason that his military campaigns were so bloody and wasteful. Those familiar with the body of scholarship surrounding Alfonso VI’s reign will realize that this interpretation of Alfonso’s character flies in the face of the work of popular historians, who assert that Alfonso gloried in the shedding of blood and the screams of the dying. However, an honest analysis of his strategy and tactics in war reveals that Alfonso was not a savage and bloody warlord. He was merely incompetent.

When he marched on Sancho’s castle in Burgos in the spring of 1068, Alfonso first exhibited the ineptitude that would characterize his military pursuits throughout his reign. Although he commanded a force in excess of 5,000 soldiers, including a large number of knights and heavy infantry, he seemed unwilling to engage Sancho in a straight-up fight. Instead, he marched his army in a broad arc along the southern edge of the county, picking off stragglers and burning farmland in a clumsy attempt to outmaneuver Sancho’s forces. When, on May 13, Rodrigo de las Asturias, the Count of Asturias, finally lost his patience and assaulted the Castillian army under Sancho II on the field outside Roa, he forced Alfonso into battle. The resulting engagement, a hasty mass charge that annihilated Sancho’s force and left Alfonso with a little less than half of his original army intact, was a typical example of Alfonso’s reliance on frontal assaults and numerical superiority.

Many have called the Battle of Roa a defining moment in the War of the Four Kings, the battle that best exhibits Alfonso’s bloodlust and lack of concern for the well-being of his soldiers. Alfonso’s army has been depicted as an elite force of battle-hardened soldiers running over Sancho’s disorganized peasant infantry. However, a glance at the casualty rate of the battle puts these half-truths to rest. Alfonso unwillingly engaged in battle with his force of 5,000 soldiers against Sancho’s 2,500. Sancho’s entire force was destroyed in the battle, but Alfonso took a little over 2,700 casualties. In other words, for every casualty suffered by Sancho’s force, Alfonso’s force took 1.08 casualties. This shows that Alfonso’s troops were not the elite mounted warriors of legend, but ill-equipped and badly-led soldiers who would have been decimated by Sancho’s army had the two forces met on a level playing field.

This does not change the fact that Sancho, the better general, was defeated in bloody combat by a larger force under the inept leadership of Alfonso, a battle in which both kingdoms lost half of their total men under arms. With the main body of Sancho’s army dispersed, Alfonso felt free to invest his castle at Burgos. Throughout the nine-month siege he was harassed by the remainder of Sancho’s forces – small, independent armies led by Sancho’s loyal vassals which were easily defeated by Alfonso’s larger force. With the capture of Sancho’s castle, Alfonso marched southeast, seeking to liberate his sister Urraca from her imprisonment in the County of Soria.

It was at this time, however, that Alfonso’s diplomatic ability failed him. Perhaps it was due to stress – this was, after all, Alfonso’s first time leading an army in the field, an army which nearly deserted him after suffering heavy casualties. Whatever the reason, Alfonso soon learned that Sancho’s allies – Malcolm Dunkeld, King of Scotland and Domenico Contarini, Consul of Venice – had entered the war in defense of their ally while Alfonso’s allies had deserted him. Furthermore, while the entire army of León was occupied with the siege of Burgos, the Sheik of Molina took advantage of León’s defenselessness and marched into the County of Salamanca, claiming it as his own. These various betrayals enraged Alfonso, who for once was at the mercy of forces beyond his own control. Documentary evidence implies that it was during the siege of Burgos castle, when he learned of the Sheik’s actions, that he took the famous Blood Oath to destroy all who opposed him – not, as many claim, during his initial conflict with the Pope seven years later. Therefore, the Blood Oath can only be understood as an extension of the conflict Alfonso was currently engaged in, and limited to those who fought against him or failed to support him in this war, not as a vow to destroy all who ever dare to oppose him, as is the current interpretation.

Reinforced by the Count of El Bierzo, the last of Alfonso’s vassals to mobilize, Alfonso marched on the County of Soria early in 1070. Unfortunately for the King, Domenico Contarini ambushed with 3,000 Venetian soldiers – a further manifestation of Alfonso’s military inability. Having trapped and surrounded his enemy, the Consul of Venice offered Alfonso his freedom in return for the contents of his treasury. Alfonso accepted and Domenico allowed his army to march back into Burgos, returning himself to Venice. The delay caused by this confrontation gave the Sheik of Molina enough time to capture and occupy Salamanca, an event that wore at Alfonso’s increasingly fractured sanity.

Alfonso met these strategic reverses with characteristic indecision. When the Venetian army evacuated Soria, Alfonso marched back in and besieged Urraca’s former castle for a month. Some time in the middle of 1070 he learned that Ramon Berenguer, Duke of Catalonia and his former ally, had declared war on the Sheik of Molina, occupied Molina, and was marching to liberate Salamanca and claim it for his own. In response, Alfonso lifted his siege and marched southwest in an attempt to beat the Duke to the siege. When he arrived in Salamanca, he found his former castle already invested, and Ramon refused to cede authority of the siege to Alfonso, citing the venerable and very mature military tradition of “finders keepers.” Incensed and helpless to intervene, Alfonso marched northeast, taking Soria around the same time that Salamanca fell into the Duke’s hands.

Urraca, having been freed from her imprisonment when Alfonso’s army occupied the castle, showed a definitive lack of appreciation for Alfonso’s deeds, charging him with betraying their father’s wishes by warring on Sancho. Astonished at her lack of gratitude, Alfonso left her to her own devices and began the long march back to Burgos to negotiate an end to the war.

By this point, Alfonso’s character had changed. He had witnessed the carnage of battle for the first time. His allies, Sancho of Navarra and Ramon Berenguer of Catalonia, had abandoned him. A piddly little Sheik had taken a part of his demesne, which was subsequently lost to Alfonso’s former ally. Even his own siblings, united in purpose during his father’s reign, had betrayed him in various ways – Sancho by plotting against him, and the other three by questioning his loyalty to the wishes of his deceased father. And, thanks to the Consul of Venice, he was broke. All these facts, these instances of betrayal, gave Alfonso the sense that he was besieged by those around him. He was convinced that he had no true friends or allies in the world, and came to the quite reasonable conclusion that the only way he could ensure that he would never be betrayed again was to amass as much power as possible. If he could make himself a fortress, none would dare to oppose him – and only then would he be free to create meaningful human relationships without fear of betrayal. It was with this mentality that Alfonso entered into negotiations with Sancho.

It is significant to note that Alfonso did not originally enter into war with the goal of claiming the crown of Castille. Quite the opposite, actually – those documents still in existence, including a significant body of literature recently discovered in Burgos, hint that Alfonso merely wished to chastise and humiliate his brother. Circumstances beyond his control, however, forced Alfonso to take drastic measures. Thus, he crowned himself King of Castille in December, 1070 – in his mind, the first step on the road to power.

Of course, the war was not over. Alfonso returned to his castle in León to find it surrounded by a thousand raging Scots led by Malcolm Dunkeld. Engaging the dispersed forces of Dunkeld over a period of six months, he was able to convince the King of Scotland to agree to peace. Thus ended the War of the Four Kings in early summer, 1071.

The end of war was not the end of Alfonso’s intrigues, however. When he returned home, he and his queen planned and put into motion a series of events engineered to repay those who, in Alfonso’s mind, betrayed him. Over the course of the next four years, at least three significant people would pay for their deeds in blood, and a sequence of events would be put into motion that ultimately gave rise to the legend of the Demon King of Hispania.
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
[size=+1]Intermission: Hispania in 1071[/size]

With his brothers fighting amongst themselves, Duke Garcia of Galicia was free to turn his attention away from Castille and León and towards the conquest of new lands along the southwestern edge of Hispania. Late in 1068, as Alfonso VI of León was sitting outside the gates of Sancho’s castle in Burgos, Garcia marched south, through the Duchy of Braganza, and attacked the holdings of the Emirate of Sevilla in central Portugal. Although initially successful in capturing and retaining the counties of Alcantara, Évora, and Alcacer do Sal, Garcia was killed in battle with the Emir in 1070 and was succeeded by his two-year old son, Juan. With Garcia’s death, the further expansion of Galicia was checked.

The aforementioned war between Ramon Berenguer, Duke of Catalonia and the Sheik of Molina granted the Duke title over the counties of Molina and Salamanca. Greedy for more land, Duke Ramon attempted to expand southwards into lands controlled by the powerful Emir of Toledo. The resulting war lasted a decade (1070-1080) and resolved very little. The Emir of Toledo was joined by the Emir of Sevilla, who was smarting after the short war with Galicia and seeking revenge against the Christians. By 1075, the Duchy of Catalonia – ruled by Ramon’s son Berenguer, as Ramon had been killed in battle two years previously – had lost the counties of Salamanca and Molina to the Emir of Sevilla and the war had ground to a standstill, all three powers having been bled white in the vicious fighting.

With the loss of the War of the Four Kings, Sancho II of Castille lost his kingdom but retained his ducal titles and demesne lands in Burgos and Soria. There is no indication of his plans after 1071 in the documents of the period – it is generally assumed that Sancho simply wished to father an heir, improve his demesne, and live the rest of his life in peace. How long this attitude would have lasted had Sancho been left to his own devices is unknown, but it seems uncharacteristic that the deposed king would have remained quiet for long. However, it is not this author’s task to posit alternative histories of Hispania, only to recount the facts as he sees them, and in this case the facts lead us down a different path, following the career of Alfonso.
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
J. Passepartout said:
Very nice. I will be reading along.

Awesome! Thanks! :)

I'm also currently taking bets on how long I'll be able to maintain this level of detail before the quality of my writing goes down the toilet. Current odds are 25:1 against that I'll be able to make it to 1454. :D
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
[size=+1]Chapter Three: Of Crabby Counts and a Pissed Pope[/size]​

Nothing in Alfonso’s character suggests that he was a vengeful person. Granted, the events of the early 1070’s seem to indicate a streak of wrathfulness, but it is a wrathfulness tempered by a strong sense of justice. It is fairly well established that Alfonso felt betrayed by his strongest allies, and he can’t be blamed if this took a toll on his patience and drove him to drastic solutions to his problems. The man was only human, after all.

Therefore, if he was involved in the death of Sancho in 1073 (and even that much is uncertain), it would have been simply to ensure that the former King of Castille would not threaten the stability of Christian Hispania again. Alfonso did not truly desire Sancho’s lands in Burgos and Soria – the fact that he gained them upon Sancho’s death was only due to the fact that Sancho failed to produce a male heir to the throne. The involvement of Alfonso in the plot on Sancho’s life is merely hearsay and conjecture based on propaganda spread after Alfonso’s death. There is no concrete proof that Sancho was murdered. All we know for certain is that, in early 1073, the former king fell to his death from the battlements of his castle in Burgos.

Many later scholars have asserted that Alfonso was also involved in the death of his nephew Juan, the child-duke of Galicia. They argue that one of Alfonso’s assassins crept into young Juan’s bedroom in late spring of 1073, smothered him with his own pillow, and escaped the castle before the alarm could be raised. Again, this account is based on propaganda. What is known for certain is that Duke Juan was found dead in his crib one morning. Those familiar with current medical literature might identify this as a case of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a common occurrence throughout history. The fact that Alfonso subsequently inherited the Duchy of Galicia upon Juan’s death is a mere coincidence – since Juan’s eldest uncle, Sancho, had died a few months previously, Alfonso was the next in line to inherit upon Juan’s death. It is unreasonable to assume that, since Alfonso profited from the deaths of both Sancho and Juan, he was involved in any way.

The interpretation of these events has been colored by the one death of a noble Spaniard in which Alfonso undoubtedly played a role, that of his sister, Duchess Elvira of Zamora. In early 1074, during Elvira’s birthday feast, a serving boy stabbed the Duchess six times in the abdomen and fled blindly into the depths of her castle. Eventually cornered by the Duchess’ guards, the boy reportedly shouted, “Long live King Alfonso!” before being run through. At the time, Alfonso denied any foreknowledge of the attempt on Elvira’s life, but on his deathbed he confessed to hiring the assassin. However, even though there is concrete evidence linking Alfonso to the killing of Duchess Elvira, this does not necessarily mean that he played any role in the deaths of either Sancho or Juan. Of course, this reasonable observation never swayed the opinions of Alfonso’s enemies, who began to refer to him as “Alfonso the Kin-Slayer” from this point forward.

With the deaths of these three Spanish nobles, Alfonso’s personal demesne grew five-fold, encompassing the counties of León, Burgos, Soria, Zamora, Compostela, and Santiago. He also enjoyed the fealty of Lope de Haro, Count of Viscaya; Rodrigo de las Asturias, initiator of the Battle of Roa and Count of Asturias de Oveido; Bernardo de las Asturias, Count of El Bierzo; Nuño de Lara, Duke of Asturias; Leonor de Solis, Countess of Alcantara; and Juan Ponce de Leon, Count of Évora and Alcacer do Sal. He was also the most powerful noble in Hispania, able to muster twice as many soldiers as any other ruler on the peninsula, including the powerful Emirs of Sevilla and Toledo. He seemed to have achieved his goal of unassailability in the space of four years – from this point on, no secular ruler would ever betray him.

Unfortunately for Alfonso, secular power did not necessarily translate into spiritual power in medieval Europe, and one ruler still had the power to attack Alfonso from the spiritual realm. Pope Alexander II monitored the rise of Alfonso with great interest, and with good reason. Documents recently unearthed in the depths of the Vatican’s secret archives indicate that Alexander II had been looking into the possible theological justifications for a crusade to liberate Jerusalem from the Fatimids as early as 1064. It is possible that Alexander II saw in Alfonso a valuable ally in the successful prosecution of a crusade in the Holy Land. It is more likely that Alexander II saw Alfonso as a significant buffer between the powerful Muslim rulers in southern Hispania and the rest of Western Christendom. In any case, Pope Alexander II was somewhat dismayed when he learned of Alfonso’s role in Elvira’s assassination in 1074, and resolved to make the errant monarch aware of the significance of his immortal soul.

To claim that Pope Alexander II could have suggested that Alfonso change his ways in a more gentle manner than he did is an understatement. Instead of urging caution and offering the opportunity for absolution, the Pope instead insisted on a personal audience with the King in Rome and threatened him with excommunication if he declined. In response, Alfonso sent a letter to Alexander II which suggested that the deceased nobles merited their demise due to their lack of filial loyalty and demanded in no uncertain terms that the Pope concentrate on the Kingdom of God and leave the kingdoms of men to their own fate. This overreaction is atypical with regards to medieval monarchs, but not surprising – Alfonso most likely saw this Papal criticism as another betrayal on the part of those who the king once trusted. Alfonso’s response called the Pope’s bluff, and in response the Pope reluctantly excommunicated the king in 1075. Further correspondence between the two rulers simply widened the schism between them, and when Alfonso offhandedly remarked that he would make a better leader of Christendom than Alexander II, the Pope declared him a heretic as well as an excommunicant and refused to take part in any further discussion. From this point on, Alfonso VI was persona non grata in Western Christendom.

It is interesting to note that the earliest examples of propaganda vilifying Alfonso VI date from the years 1075-1076, right after he was declared a heretic. In these works, Alfonso was reported to consort with devils and demons, to drink the blood of virgins, and to engage in mass orgies with the women of his court. At least some of these works can be attributed to Alfonso’s vassals, especially Lope de Haro, who took a leading role in the turmoil immediately surrounding Alfonso’s excommunication. Others were penned by high-ranking members of the clergy who were concerned for the spiritual well-being of their respective flocks and their own landholdings within the Kingdom. Many scholars have interpreted the less supernaturally-themed of these works of propaganda literally, depicting Alfonso as a sexual deviant, power-hungry autocrat, and even a cannibal.

On the other hand, it does seem that Alfonso took some radical steps with regards to religion and society after his excommunication. Equating the actions of the Pope with those of the clergy within his kingdom, he sought to limit the power of the priests in order to constrain their ability to betray him further. At the same time, he realized the importance of religion to his subjects, and sought to establish a new national church with himself at its head instead of the Pope. These misguided attempts at reconciliation only fanned the flames of rebellion further, however, and did nothing to stem the tide of libelous propaganda.

It is at this point that the reputation of Alfonso as the “Demon King of Hispania” was created, and his subsequent actions towards the rebellious nobles and clergy of the realm did nothing to improve his reputation among the crowned heads of Christendom. Indeed, it is commonly regarded as a miracle that the First Crusade, which was declared in May, 1076, was not directed toward Burgos or León instead of Jerusalem. A crusade in Hispania was unnecessary, however, as the fallout caused by Alfonso’s excommunication was more than enough to slaughter fully a third of the residents of the Kingdom of León and tarnish Alfonso VI’s reputation for all time.
 

J. Passepartout

Shah Space Invader
7 Badges
Apr 28, 2002
4.617
18
Visit site
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
Well, keep up the detail as long as you can, because it is very good. I think if I was writing it, I would only do one king, though. Not the whole campaign.

I especially liked the accusations levied at King Alfonso. Not something your average king likes to hear from his vassals. :D
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
J. Passepartout said:
Well, keep up the detail as long as you can, because it is very good. I think if I was writing it, I would only do one king, though. Not the whole campaign.

I'm beginning to agree. At first I was planning on doing the whole campaign, figuring if I was gonna fail, at least I'd fail spectacularly. But with the onset of "real life" I honestly don't have enough time to sit down and write. It's annoying, especially since I'm finding that I actually like it.

I especially liked the accusations levied at King Alfonso. Not something your average king likes to hear from his vassals. :D

heh... yeah... people get touchy when you proclaim yourself Pope. Odd... :D
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
[size=+1]Chapter Four: All Against the King[/size]​

It is commonly accepted today that violence begets violence. Once the hand is raised in anger, it is reasoned, it cannot be lowered. The middle decades of King Alfonso’s reign seem a proof for this hypothesis – a war, which led to assassinations, ultimately generated the bloodbath of the late 1070’s and 1080’s. A closer look at the events, however, generates a different conclusion – violence does not beget violence, people beget violence. It is this author’s assertion that, had Sancho not plotted to unite his father’s former realms by force, and had the other siblings allied to oppose him, the violence of the War of the Four Kings would not have necessitated the further violence of assassination and, later, execution which followed.

Execution of a noble was never undertaken lightly in medieval Europe – indeed, save for the most heinous crimes against God and man, most nobles were immune to capital punishment by the powers that be. This, however, was not so during the civil war which wracked the Kingdom of León in 1077. When Lope de Haro, Count of Viscaya, rebelled – the first of the Spanish nobles to do so – his castle was swiftly occupied by forces commanded by Alfonso after a cursory battle in which his entire army of 1,000 was destroyed. De Haro himself was hung from the battlements by Alfonso’s rampaging troops, ostensibly at the King’s command. This action confirmed the popularly-held attitudes regarding Alfonso’s demonic soul and prompted the other nobles of his realm to revolt almost in unison – the Counts of Asturias de Oveido and El Bierzo and the Countess of Alcantara threw off the yoke of Alfonso’s reign in the spring of 1078, led by Nuño de Lara, Duke of Asturias. Two thirds of Alfonso’s broken kingdom were in revolt, two thirds of its populace up in arms against his reign. Juan Ponce de Leon, Count of Évora and Alcacer do Sal, and Pedro de Valladolid, Count of Valladolid remaining tenuously loyal to the heretic king.

Only those who accepted Alfonso’s heresy, including half of his court and the inhabitants of his demesne lands, remained true to the King during his time of need. These knights and soldiers were mobilized in the name of the crown, organized into two large armies of 3,000 men apiece, and marched into the rebellious provinces. Rodrigo de las Asturias, Count of Asturias de Oveido, was, after Lope de Haro, the first rebellious noble to fall, “compelled” to fall on his own sword in the Roman style upon his capture by the King’s forces and the annihilation of his army in late spring, 1078. Nuño de Lara, Duke of Asturias and leader of the rebellion, fell in battle in the summer, defending a breach in his castle walls minutes before Alfonso broke through and razed the structure to the ground. Bernardo de las Asturias, Count of El Bierzo – the only rebel count who was able to mount a successful attack on the King, investing his castle in León and nearly destroying it – was captured in battle and hung from a tree like a peasant early in 1079.

Oddly enough, Leonor de Solis, the Countess of Alcantara was allowed to retain both her life and her lands after her army was decimated during an abortive march on the King’s castle. There is considerable evidence showing that Alfonso was in negotiations with the Emir of Seville to attack the Countess and annex her lands once her army was destroyed, and so the King may have been allowing her enough rope with which to hang herself. Such an attack by the Emir was not to be, however, occupied as he was with his war with the Duke of Catalonia and the Emir of Toledo, who launched an attack against him in a moment of moral weakness and overwhelming greed. Thus, Leonor de Solis was allowed to live in peace.

Counting on further revolts, and with his kingdom once again plunged into debt, Alfonso took steps to confiscate Pedro de Valladolid’s lands late in 1079. Surprisingly, the Count accepted, declaring that he’d rather live landless and free than as a slave to the Devil. With this act, the only vassal Alfonso could possibly count on for any sort of support was Juan Ponce de Leon. The King found himself in dire need of that support in the coming months.

The continual warfare surrounding the kingdom remained unabated - luckily for Alfonso, as any outside intervention would have spelled disaster for the monarch. In 1078 Ramiro Jimenez, Duke of Navarra and uncle of the King of Navarra and Aragon, Diego, undertook a crusade to liberate Hispania from the Emirs of Sevilla and Toledo. Due to the bloodshed of the Sevilla-Toledo-Catalonia war, Ramiro had an easy time of it, marching from county to county annexing lands at will. Furthermore, King Diego inherited the County of Braganza from its former lord, expanding its holdings in western Hispania. With Navarrese power encircling his wounded kingdom, Alfonso sensed a threat and acted with the steady hand and calm mind of a wounded, cornered, and frightened animal.

Alfonso’s declaration of war against Duke Ramiro early in 1080 was followed closely by a declaration of war against the Duke’s only vassal, the Countess of Salamanca, upon whose lands Alfonso had a legitimate claim. King Diego of Navarra, fourteen and impetuous, quickly rushed to his vassal’s aid. Years of warfare with the Emirs had drained the Navarrese armies while the short respite between the civil war and the Salamanca War (as it came to be known) was enough to build Alfonso’s armies back up to fighting strength. The Duke’s armies were quickly overwhelmed and crushed and his castles occupied, as were those of the Navarrese King and the Countess of Salamanca. The war was concluded a mere sixteen months after its declaration, with Alfonso gaining the crown of Navarra (with Diego retaining his title to Aragon) and Duke Ramiro as a vassal, and having regained his lands in Salamanca eleven years after having lost them to the Sheik of Molina.

This flurry of war declarations sickened Juan Ponce de Leon, who rebelled shortly after Alfonso’s armies marched on Ramiro’s castles. The Count marched his army of 1,000 to besiege the King’s newly-regained castle in Salamanca, but was engaged and defeated by Alfonso’s army soon after entering the county. However, during the battle the King was captured, and was forced to sell the taxation rights on the remaining industries in his kingdom as well as the hill fort in Soria to pay the ransom. Alfonso returned to his kingdom unharmed, but humbled by the experience, and vowed to never again engage in warfare unless war is thrust upon him.

Duke Ramiro of Navarra, holding the titles to Rioja, Cuenca, Molina, and Castellon, had no intention of being a placid and subordinate vassal under the King who destroyed his army and deposed his nephew, and thrust war upon Alfonso in the summer of 1082. His army having been destroyed twice in the past five years – once by the Emirs, once by Alfonso – was in no shape to fight, and was quickly crushed in battle outside the Duke’s castle in Rioja. By 1083, the Duke’s lands were subdued. Ramiro fled into exile in his nephew’s court in Aragon before Alfonso’s forces could capture and execute him, but he lost all his lands and his only vassal, Bermudo de Najera, Count of Plasencia. This new vassal of Alfonso soon rebelled, not wishing to serve under an excommunicated heretic, and his army was quickly and ruthlessly destroyed. The Count, however, was permitted to retain his lands. Once again, Alfonso reasoned that the Emir of Sevilla would march on Plasencia within the year and once again, the Emir disappointed him. With this last gasp, the civil war burned out – with no nobles left to rebel, there was no organized force to oppose Alfonso’s rule over his lands.

By the middle of 1084, Alfonso was able to declare himself Emperor of Hispania, holding the kingships of León, Castille, and Navarra as his father did when he gave himself a similar title in 1039. This move angered both the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, but as they were already annoyed that an excommunicated heretic could wield so much power on the borders of Christian Europe, Alfonso reasoned that he had nothing to lose and everything to gain by raising the ire of these two rulers even more. Despite this ultimate military and political victory, the Kingdom of León was wounded and bleeding freely. The first rumblings of general discontent amongst the peasants and clergy were heard in early 1080, and would eventually lead to widespread civil unrest, the suppression of which required harsh suppressive measures by the crown and did nothing to reverse Alfonso’s bloodthirsty reputation. The civil war of 1077-1084 was only the beginning of a tragic period in Leónese history, one which the average peasant was lucky to survive.
 

J. Passepartout

Shah Space Invader
7 Badges
Apr 28, 2002
4.617
18
Visit site
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
I like this Juan Ponce de Leon... I don't recall seeing him when I play CK, is he an heir or a random character?

If Ferdinand couldn't hold the Empire of Hispania together in peace, war won't help our Demon King. Anyway, I hope this mysterious Real Life loosens enough to let you write more.
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
J. Passepartout said:
I like this Juan Ponce de Leon... I don't recall seeing him when I play CK, is he an heir or a random character?

I think he's random. I've seen the "Ponce de Leon" surname in other games. I just get a kick out of him. "Juan Ponce de Leon." Once I've defeated him, he'll spend the rest of his life in an ill-fated quest for the Fountain of Youth. :D

If Ferdinand couldn't hold the Empire of Hispania together in peace, war won't help our Demon King. Anyway, I hope this mysterious Real Life loosens enough to let you write more.

I'm not sure when it will, to be honest. I just graduated, so now I'm looking for a job somewhere in the US or Canada. Once I get it, there'll be packing and moving and all sorts of happy, time-consuming things that'll keep me away from CK. But it'll all sort out eventually. I won't abandon this AAR - I've been mulling over writing one for too long now to give up once I've started.
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
J. Passepartout said:
From college? Congratulations!

(Also congratulations if it is from high school, but your phrasing leads me to the former)

Thanks! Actually, it was grad school - my third degree. It's about time I actually made a contribution to the world. :D
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
[size=+1]Chapter Five: The Slaughter[/size]​

By the beginning of 1085, King Alfonso VI had no vassals whatsoever. Most of them had been killed on the field of battle or executed ingloriously upon capture, along with their most ardent supporters. The rest fled the realm, living the remainder of their lives in landless obscurity in the courts of other nobles. Although this suited Alfonso’s purposes just fine – in his view, it was better to have no vassals than unreliable ones – it further tarnished his reputation in the eyes of the world, as his former vassals sought to spread as much propaganda against the heretic king as possible wherever they went. It is through the efforts of these refugees that the legend of the Demon King spread from Iberia throughout western Europe.

Alfonso had a very bad reputation among his subjects, as well. The peasants in the realm worried that their eternal salvation was in jeopardy while they were living under a heretic. The clergy did nothing to quell their fears, believing as they did that Alfonso was indeed a danger to the souls of his subjects. These fears were manifested in the Peasant Revolt of 1080, when thousands of peasants rampaged throughout the County of Salamanca, burning the crops and tearing down the courthouses and royal posts through which Alfonso ruled. Alfonso initially vowed to let the revolt run its course, reasoning that the peasants would grow tired and hungry and return to their crops by harvest time. However, driven by religious zeal and the fear of eternal damnation, the revolt snowballed. What began as a hundred peasants grew to several hundred, then approached several thousand. When they invested the castle dominating Salamanca and threatened to raze it, Alfonso was forced into action. He marched an army on the peasant mob and, in a quick and brutal battle, slaughtered them to a man early in 1081.

Alfonso’s hesitation to deal with the revolt and his continued insistence on being Pope of his own Christian church did more damage than the peasant rabble in Salamanca could have ever done. Peasants and clergy across the realm saw the example of Salamanca and understood that the common man could rise up against Alfonso’s heretical rule and destroy those institutions that allowed him to govern. With their destruction, it was reasoned, Alfonso’s heretical rule could not touch them, and their souls would be saved. Thus, the rest of Alfonso’s reign was plagued by uprisings by the peasants and clergy throughout his realm. Bands of men and women armed with farm implements and fire expressed their discontent at Alfonso’s counter-intuitive style of religious governance, and were ruthlessly ridden down by Alfonso’s knights or slaughtered by his archers. It is still not known how many people were killed through Alfonso’s efforts at suppression, nor how many villages, churches, and monasteries were razed in an attempt to bend the people to his will. What is known for certain is the number of saints that the Catholic Church recognized due to their resistance to Alfonso’s rule – one hundred were canonized, and at least twice as many were beatified.

On top of this social upheaval, Alfonso was faced with economic hardship. Sixteen years of near-constant warfare had annihilated the realm’s treasury, and Alfonso was deeply indebted to various moneylenders and merchant families – a fact which, no doubt, did nothing to improve the king’s standing in the eyes of the Church. Throughout the first half of the 1080’s, Alfonso was forced to sell off the taxation rights to much of his infrastructure, including forestries and mines. He also lost at least one castle, in Soria, and many minor fortifications due to dilapidation. This degradation of the realm’s infrastructure gave the peasants one more good reason to revolt – they were starving.

It took a good ten years to pay down all the debt that Alfonso accrued, but by 1090 the realm’s finances were stable, and the king was able to regain some of the taxations rights that he lost during the depression, and then some. Fortresses and castles were rebuilt throughout the decade of the 1090’s and the royal bureaucracy was expanded. Courthouses and royal posts, often burned by rampaging peasants, were rebuilt quickly, and Alfonso was once again able to govern effectively over the far-flung reaches of his realm. By 1100, the economy of the empire was on better footing than it had ever been in the past.

The king’s personal life, however, was still tumultuous. The court of León was continually in upheaval as refugee nobles sought to take up residence in the realm and other important courtiers, including two marshals and a diocese bishop, defected to other courts in protest of Alfonso’s heresies. This flow of courtiers was fueled by the Crusade in southern Iberia, as the Emirs and the Duke of Catalonia were still attempting to batter each other into submission. The dissolution of France also played a major role – with the Kingdom of France breaking up into many minor, independent duchies and counties, and subsequently being conquered by their neighbors or re-conquered by the King of France, many French nobles welcomed refuge anywhere, even in the court of a heretic. One such noble family, the house d’Empuires, would rise to prominence during the later rule of Alfonso, contributing important courtiers and generals to the King’s crusade.

Alfonso’s horrible reputation as a kin-slayer, as well as his status in the eyes of the Church and the nobility of Europe, did nothing to stabilize his family life. Although Queen Constanza remained by Alfonso’s side until her death in 1095, the king’s son, Domingo, and his three daughters were less loyal. Upon attaining the age of majority, one of his daughters ran away from home, defecting to another court in Europe. His other two were quickly married away to nobles in Germany and Italy at their own insistence. Only Prince Domingo remained with his father, albeit unwillingly. He knew that, in order to gain Alfonso’s favor, he would have to appear loyal to the heretic king, and took pains to fool Alfonso into accepting him as a loyal vassal. Domingo’s knack for intrigue was matched by his father’s, who was aware of Domingo’s shifting loyalties and reasoned that, once he gained lands of his own, he might feel powerful enough to rebel against his father. Therefore, after arranging a marriage between Domingo and Helene von Hohenzollern, eldest daughter of Friedrich von Hohenzollern, Count of Schwaben, he granted Domingo the counties of Viscaya, Rioja, and Navarra and the titles Duke and King of Navarra. With this, Domingo was free to pursue his own agenda independent of his father – and ended up being too busy solidifying his rule over his lands to contest Alfonso’s rule over the empire.

When Constanza passed away in 1095, Alfonso’s heart broke. His most loyal companion and most valuable ally in the struggles of his reign had left him. In his misery, Alfonso grew restless, and sought to hasten the coming of his own afterlife. Perhaps he was also fueled by a desire to improve his reputation in the world, or perhaps he was simply bored of killing his own subjects. Whatever the case, Alfonso’s eye turned south, towards the constantly squabbling and weakened Emirates of southern Spain, and he began to nurse thoughts of Crusade.
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
[size=+1]Chapter Six: Crusader Kings[/size]​

Alfonso was not the first Iberian to go on a crusade. The Dukes of Catalonia had been carrying on an epic struggle against the Emirs of Sevilla and Toledo since the 1070’s – albeit a fruitless, ill-advised, and ultimately ill-fated one. His son, Domingo, took up the cross in the name of God in the spring of 1095, officially declaring his participation in the crusade to free Jerusalem, by then still in the hands of the Fatimids. Domingo, however, had neither the men nor the resources to mount an effective invasion of the Holy Land, and his armies did nothing but sit in their castles and camps for the next seven years. Alfonso thought this a stupid move, and informed his son of this in no uncertain terms, but Domingo’s response was lost to history – if, indeed, there was a response, as the son and father were not exactly on speaking terms by that point.

Although Queen Constanza stood by Alfonso throughout her life, she never embraced his heresy, a fact that Alfonso fully accepted. Their love was more powerful than their religious leanings, and if both were reconciled to the fact that they would not spend their afterlives together, they made the most of their lives on this earth. When the queen died, Alfonso conducted her funeral service with the utmost respect for her religious beliefs, granting her a full Christian ceremony free of the trappings of Alfonso’s heretical beliefs and presided over by an official from the Papacy. Pope Alexander II misunderstood Alfonso’s actions as an attempt to reconcile with the Church, and offered the emperor another opportunity to pledge obedience to the Pope and be absolved of his sins – for a generous charitable donation to the Church. Alfonso again turned the Pope down flat. It is said that Alexander II, when receiving Alfonso’s reply, was so overcome with rage that he suffered a massive stroke and died on the spot. His successor, Gregory VII, was no better at reconciliation – after offering Alfonso another opportunity to repent and being rejected, Gregory VII created a more potent form of excommunication entitled “double-secret excommunication” and applied it to Alfonso. The Pope and the Emperor were no longer on speaking terms.

Despite his bitterness toward the Church, Alfonso sincerely wished to regain some status with the crowned heads of Europe and, possibly, do God’s work in this world. Lacking any other direct way to improve his standing aside from tithes, Alfonso proclaimed a crusade against Sulayman al-Amiri, Sheik of Valencia in 1100. Immediately upon receiving Alfonso’s declaration of war, Sulayman appealed to his ally, Nizamaddin Duh’l-Nun, Emir of Toledo, for aid. Nizamaddin cheerfully mobilized his armies and marched on León as 4000 Spaniards under Alfonso’s leadership descended upon Valencia. Decades of war having drained southern Spain of manpower, Alfonso was met with limited resistance and invested the Sheik’s castle in Valencia. It seemed that Alfonso was destined for victory.

That is, until Domingo, King of Navarra and Alfonso’s only son, declared war on his father later that year in an attempt to wrest the throne from the old man. Immediately, 5000 men were rallied under Bishop Ramon Berenguer d’Empuires and marched on Domingo’s home castle in Viscaya. The army of Navarra, 1100 strong with King Domingo at its head, met the invading force on the field before the castle and was slaughtered. Domingo, having been captured, offered his entire fortune for peace. Acting on behalf of the king, Bishop Ramon accepted.

Meanwhile, Valencia fell and Sulayman al-Amiri fled into exile in Toledo. Alfonso’s army marched on La Mancha and, finding it occupied by forces under the Emir of Sevilla, continued on to Calatrava. The castle and the county fell halfway into 1101, and Alfonso disbanded his army in an attempt to coerce the Emir’s forces out of hiding, so they could liberate La Mancha and give the king the opportunity to take it back.

The ploy worked, but was almost a disaster for the Emperor’s cause. An army 3000 strong led by the Emir’s marshal and one of the greatest military minds of the century, Abdul-Haleem Ali, the Fist of Allah, invested the castle in Caltrava and, when that fell, liberated La Mancha from the Emir of Sevilla in 1102. When his army moved to leave the county, Alfonso marched back in at the head of 4000 fresh troops. He met Abdul-Haleem’s force of 3000 outside the castle in La Mancha. Abdul-Haleem fought with characteristic skill and bravery, outflanking Alfonso’s numerically-superior force and driving them back with heavy casualties. Alfonso retreated to higher ground, where he made his stand with the surviving half of his army. The engagement that followed was long, drawn out, and brutal, and lasted three days. Despite his superiority as a general, the Fist of Allah could not break through the Demon King’s lines, and withdrew west, into Calatrava, with the remnants of his army. Alfonso invested the castle in La Mancha with his 1,500 remaining troops. After a quick engagement with the now-deposed Sulayman al-Amiri, now a general for the Emir of Toledo at the head of 800 troops, La Mancha fell to Alfonso. Sulayman al-Amiri received a horrific injury during this battle, and died a few months later, having been captured and placed under house arrest in his old castle in Valencia.

With the breaking of the Emir’s army at La Mancha on June 4, 1102, Nizamaddin could not maintain an effective resistance against Alfonso’s army. With the fall of Calatrava late in 1102, all of the Emir’s lands which were contiguous with the Empire of Hispania had fallen. Alfonso, himself drained of manpower and not wishing to march through the Emir of Sevilla’s territory to besiege the last of Nizamaddin’s lands on the extreme southern coast of Spain, agreed to peace with the Emir. Alfonso’s Crusade was over by Christmas, 1102.

Alfonso spent the rest of his years in blessed relaxation, rousing only to slaughter the occasional peasant army threatening to tear down the very fabric of the medieval social system. He continued to support the idea of crusade despite his heretical stance on the central beliefs of the Catholic Church. In 1104, for example, he granted Froilán Ponce de Leon, the seven year old Count of Faro and Silves, the gold necessary to declare himself Duke of Alagarve, solidifying his hold over Muslim lands recently conquered from the Emirate of Sevilla. However, despite his full treasury and ideological support of crusade in the Holy Land, Alfonso steadfastly refused to participate in the liberation of Jerusalem. Such a quest was, in his eyes, both foolish and wasteful, and he let everybody who asked know this. This was characteristic of Alfonso’s character – pragmatic to a fault, he refused to follow in the Church’s footsteps even if it were to repair his stature in the eyes of the world and, possibly, of God.

On November 29, 1104, Alfonso I, Emperor of Hispania, King of León and Castille, Duke of Asturias, Galicia, Salamanca, and Castilla, Count of Leon, Burgos, Valencia, Asturias de Santillana, Asturias de Oviedo, Molina, La Mancha, El Bierzo, Castellon, Compostela, Cuenca, Valladolid, Zamora, Santiago, Soria, Calatrava, and Salamanca died. Even though he was a heretic in the eyes of the Church, he was highly respected as a military leader – despite his utter lack of finesse on the battlefield – and as a ruler. Since his sins made an official Church burial impossible, his corpse was burned and the ashes scattered to the wind over the ramparts of his castle in León. Popular opinion of the time was so strongly against him that his image was stricken from every mosaic, painting, and sculpture in the realm and his name all but struck out of the official chronicles of the time. Only his family history, kept by his loyal chronicler and bishop Ramon Berenguer d’Empuires, survived the destruction, hidden in a secret vault in a shrine in Burgos. It is thanks to this chronicle that the details of Emperor Alfonso I’s life and deeds survives to this day to counterbalance the vicious propaganda promulgated after his death.

In the end, we must ask ourselves, was Emperor Alfonso I truly the Demon King of legend? He slaughtered thousands, possibly millions, in the pursuit of an abstract and ultimately unattainable ideal of personal security. His attempts to control the hierarchy of the church, including his assumption of the title of Pope of the Iberian Catholic Church, fly in the face of every medieval convention of his day. His intrigues and the assassination of his sister would have made the Renaissance princes of Italy uncomfortable. And yet, underlying the moral corruption was a very basic, very vital human spirit. Alfonso was driven by perfectly reasonable motivations – he merely wanted respect, possibly even the love of those who were closest to him. His relationship with Empress Constanza is a manifestation of this, as is his early family life and his ultimate loyalty to his father’s wishes. Therefore, we cannot judge the Emperor only by the number of people who died by his hand, but by the content of his character. Only then can we realize that Alfonso was totally, and possibly fatally, human, and worthy of our respect, if not our admiration. In the end, Alfonso could have been any one of us.
 

J. Passepartout

Shah Space Invader
7 Badges
Apr 28, 2002
4.617
18
Visit site
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
I think that packing off Domingo to be a king was a good idea, especially in light of what happened to him.

Anyway, very nice to see relative stability and further conquests. I liked the idea of the Fist of Allah fighting the Demon King. Anyway, now that this demon is dead, does Domingo inherit? And do we get an essay on the merits of this new emperor?
 

Xoxxon

Narf!
77 Badges
Oct 5, 2001
374
0
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
J. Passepartout said:
I think that packing off Domingo to be a king was a good idea, especially in light of what happened to him.

Yeah, he was gonna rebel if I didn't. And it just didn't seem right in light of the storyline to have him rebel against his father. It'd be a betrayal that would've driven Alfonso over the edge. It's probably best that he decided to wage war as an independent ruler when he did, when Alfonso was psychologically in a happier place.

Anyway, very nice to see relative stability and further conquests. I liked the idea of the Fist of Allah fighting the Demon King. Anyway, now that this demon is dead, does Domingo inherit? And do we get an essay on the merits of this new emperor?

Domingo definitely inherits. And spends the rest of his reign trying to undo the damage that Alfonso caused. And there's a juicy bit about insanity later on... well, you'll see how it turns out.