volksmarschall

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Ibn Khaldun's philosophy is still valid in this timeline. Maybe in all timelines, but definitely valid here.

The author, whether it be the "historian's" persona, or the human behind the avatar "volksmarschall," is obviously a devotee of Ibn Khaldun.

And on this note, anyone who has read Ferdnand Braudel will also know why this "history" is making so many seemingly odd references to great figures of the past, mythology, ancient history and other such things, while describing a history that roughly runs from the middle 15th century to the beginnings of the 17th century. Tour de force: Alexander, Augustine, Machiavelli, Ibn Khaldun; Achilles, Hector, Aeneas, and Turnus...who's next? Who has read enough classical literature to see what other (formerly) famous figure will appear to help our narrative along? :p
 

The Number 9

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I also moved capitals to Barcelona to reflect this, it was also in a more suitable location than Angers/Anjou

:eek:

This is completely unacceptable !! :mad::mad:


I was a bit late, but your AAR is still great. I just read 2 or 3 pages in a row (yes, I was that late).
 

volksmarschall

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:eek:

This is completely unacceptable !! :mad::mad:

I was a bit late, but your AAR is still great. I just read 2 or 3 pages in a row (yes, I was that late).

Welcome return mon ami. Well, Provence is still France! Remember, how I'm envisioning and writing myself almost in a CK2 manner whereby my dynasty/nation is just an extension of France, yet, due to the complications and nuances of the politics of French bloodlines, the Valois-Anjou also want a kingship to break under the shadow of the senior Valois in Paris! We can't have two kings of France just yet! :p ;)

So Barcelona, and this newly inaugurated kingdom of Catalonia, suffices the personal ambitions of being king, while still ruling the appanage titles. Although if I ever get to the real meat of the game, and AAR, due to my ever slowing ability because of schedule priorities, one can only wait to see the coming storm over the Mediterranean and France itself. Might make you happier, or sad, I suppose in time we'll see. :p
 

volksmarschall

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BOOK I: THE RENAISSANCE

PART TWO: POLITICS AND WARFARE


VII

The War of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors

The English defeat in the Hundred Years’ War shattered the legacy of the old Angevin Empire that held sway over Western France and England, as well as English pretensions to the French throne. Defeat brought forth confusion and economic ruin, to which the Houses of Lancaster and York would ride forth to do battle for the English crown. The Lancasters, as rooted in the Plantagenet Dynasty, made claim to their continued right to rule the throne, while the York, also rooted in the Plantagenets, claimed rightful lineage to the throne with the promise of revival and reconstruction of the English monarchy.

Civil war was soon to be a common occurrence in Europe and the British Isles in particular, but the War of the Roses was notable for its scheming, rivalries, and intra-filial squabbles and rivalries. The death of the mentally unstable but peaceful Henry VI threw the kingdom into crisis. As the Lancasters and Yorkists took up arms to save the integrity of the kingdom – both sides claimed – the resulting civil war was decisively consequential.

The Lancaster victory, consummated at the Battle of Oxford, would pave the way for the Tudors.[1] The Lancastrian victory over the Yorkist pretenders helped ensure a new, stable, and centralizing English monarchy which was badly needed after over a hundred years of conflict with France, rising debt and growing expenditures, and needful rest after decades of bloodshed.

The defeat at the hands of France is what motivated the House of York’s push against the Lancasters after Henry’s death. The Yorkist pretenders claimed that the House of Lancaster was incapable of ruling over England, as evidenced by the English expulsion from Europe and Henry’s general inability to be a competent king. The House of York found its most daring and charismatic figure in Richard, who murdered his own brothers to inherit his father’s titles and launch his bid to seize the kingdom.

zUZ1TSc.jpg

FIGURE 1: “The Murder of Edmund,” by Charles Robert Leslie, 1815.

Immortalized by William Shakespeare’s play, Duke Richard IV, Richard’s ambition was quintessentially Machiavellian in nature despite claiming Richard to be Machiavellian being a historical anachronism considering Machiavelli had yet to write his misunderstood treatise on principalities. His power was ruthless, evidenced by his cunning and willingness to kill off his own brothers to inherit his father’s duchy and launch his march on London to seize the throne. He was backed by French money and forces who saw the Yorkist rebellion as but another way to weaken the English. And Richard’s battlefield prowess, or the prowess of his forces, was initially on display as they routed the Royal Army on two separate occasions as they swarmed down upon Oxford.

It was at Oxford, however, that Richard met his demise. Fate had reared its ugly head against him. In the midst of battle, leading a grand charge, he became isolated when he was knocked off his horse. His officers and companions were quickly isolated and killed off as well. He attempted to ride to his freedom using a horse provided by a young earl who sacrificed himself so that Richard may live. He stumbled again, and as Shakespeare famously captured because Shakespeare was the world’s finest historian and biographer, “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!” Alone, isolated, and horseless, Richard was slain and the Yorkist rebellion crushed after its initial victories.

The demise of Richard IV was not the end of the War of the Roses, but it brought about the end of the climax, or apogee, of the conflict. The main Yorkist army, united under its cunning and dastardly figurehead, was defeated and in shambles. The Yorkist armies fell upon themselves with lesser men squabbling for its remains with their own fantastical dreams of seizing the throne for themselves. Less than a year after the Yorkist defeat at Oxford, the War of the Roses came to an end after a period of turbulent scheming and politicking.

b64duda.jpg

FIGURE 2: A portrait of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was arguably the masterful creator and architect of the modern English language. A great poet and writer, he rose to prominence in the 1590s and early 1600s. His dramas and literary works are second to none. His historical biographies, however, something wanting. Nevertheless, his imagination of historical events, captured in his dramas, have influenced modern English literature and culture ever since. His famous play, Duke Richard IV, one of his finest and most memorable works. A modern re-imagination produced by Director Richard Loncraine cast the famous English actor Ian McKellen as the titular villain. Sadly, Ian McKellen is more remembered by American audiences for his portrayal of Gandalf in Peter Jackson's cinematic telling of another great English writer's works, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
But the victory won by the Lancasters over the House of York was short-lived insofar that the parent branch of the Lancaster House was soon to go extinct. A junior outgrowth, the House of Tudor, rose to fill its vacancy.

The rise of the House of Tudor was truly Machiavellian. Machiavelli stated that good fortune, and luck, was as much part of the rise of political power as it was shrewd planning and cunning execution to seize power. In fact, Machiavelli gave everything, and nothing, to chance. What did he mean? Machiavelli argued that those who showed merit were themselves the recipients of luck. The men whom we remember as having risen by their own merit actually rose by luck and their recognition of their lucky opportunity. Those who recognized the opportune moment to pounce were the truly meritorious. For if luck is not on your side than no amount of shrewdness, hard work, or cunning could afford you your spot under the sun. As evidenced by Richard IV who was far more cunning and cruel than his Lancastrian counterparts yet was not able to seize the throne.

The House of Tudor benefitted from the luck of the Lancasters in the War of the Roses, and then the luck that befell unto it when it inherited, or subsumed, the old throne and crown which the Lancasters had preserved in their trial and tribulations. The Tudors, by contrast, had not done any of the heavy lifting to gain the throne but there it was, given to them as if Fortuna herself had ordained them to lead the Leviathan and spread its tentacles over half of the Atlantic.

The Tudor dynasty’s rise was marked by the transition to the age of exploration and sail. England, having abandoned Europe, turned her eyes to the Americas. The Central Atlantic and Caribbean were ripe for the taking. England was later made more unique through the Protestant Reformation and the birth of the Church of England. Fortune may had ordained the Tudors to transform England, the Atlantic, and the Protestant North Atlantic world, but the Tudors effectively handled their power and prestige well. They were efficacious and productive. They were stout and courageous. They were, by every standard of Machiavelli’s work, the ideal “princely” dynasty.

The transformation of England, her rise to great power status, her rise to colonial giant, and her rise to being a center of the Protestant world, all coincides with the rise of the Tudors. If not for the great success and equally fortunate and mysterious rise of the Du Quenoy in Anjou to becoming that fourth race of kings of the European continent, the 16th century may have very well have been remembered as the Tudor century.


[1] In game the Tudors are the ruling dynasty of England.
 

stnylan

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It sounds like in this timeline the grand old rivalry across the Channel continues.

As an aside, 20+ years ago I had the great pleasure of watching Ian McKellan's Richard III as part of my A-Levels. A capital show.
 

The Number 9

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Well, Provence is still France!

Oh, it was just because you seemed to assume Angers was not a suitable location to be a capital. :)
And if I now live in Paris, Angers is my city (thus my avatar with the Duchy of Anjou). So I'm a bit partisan !

No worries, it was just a (bad) joke. :)
 

volksmarschall

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So much shade being thrown on the English, but what else can you expect from the French.

I'm so glad you liked it and caught it. Part of the joy of crafting this AAR is writing in the persona of the historian, who doesn't hide his prejudices, while also reworking OTL history and culture to fit the new timeline of the game. Hence Richard III (as king) having to become Richard IV since Richard, in killing his brothers in this timeline, inherits his father's duchy, becoming Duke Richard IV of York. And while praising Shakespeare (whom the real life volksmarschall really loves), this historian also throws shade at him at the same time because he is no Molière in the eyes of our partisan French historian! :cool:

It sounds like in this timeline the grand old rivalry across the Channel continues.

As an aside, 20+ years ago I had the great pleasure of watching Ian McKellan's Richard III as part of my A-Levels. A capital show.

I've always loved Richard III, play and re-imagined film. Great stuff. And McKellan played Richard superbly. But volksmarschall, and our historian, could therefore not resist praising McKellan, while also belittling "Americans" who haven't seen Richard III and know Ian only from playing Gandolf! :p

Oh, it was just because you seemed to assume Angers was not a suitable location to be a capital. :)
And if I now live in Paris, Angers is my city (thus my avatar with the Duchy of Anjou). So I'm a bit partisan !

No worries, it was just a (bad) joke. :)

I figured it as much. But also wanted to make clear how I'm writing and playing as if Provence is an extension of France. Which is hard to do given the dynamics of Eu4. But at the same time, like so many French noble families, the want for a kingdom is also there! But we can't have France, just yet at least. But we can have Barcelona! Plus, given how in-game I switched to Monarchy, it is fitting that a monarchy is a kingdom and not a duchy. And since Provence/Anjou is a duchy of France, well, I can't have the "capital" in a French territory. I have a fondness for the Capetian House of Anjou in real life. Hence my happiness with this surprising game I had as Provence. And just had to share it.

Partisanship is good. Because I find France to be a spiritual home. Both in literature, philosophy, and Gallican Catholicism; though I be a mutt with lineages from Hungary, Slovakia, Spain, Germany, and the Philippines. Such is a thing being "American." But the French, well, they we blessed by God to know how to make fine win, beautiful churches, and blessed with a language that is so aesthetically pleasing and wondrous in prose, and blessed with high-class intellectuals and writers of all stripes, from the likes of Raymond Aron, Daniel Tanguay (who teaches in Canada), Pierre Manent, Gilles Deleuze, and Alain Badiou -- though now the real life volksmarschall betrays his longstanding education in philosophy and political philosophy.
 

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more please!
 

volksmarschall

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BOOK I: THE RENAISSANCE

PART TWO: POLITICS AND WARFARE


VIII

Fracturing and Consolidating Italy: The First Italian War

Ever since the collapse of the Western half of the Roman Empire, Italy had been divided among smaller fiefs, principalities, duchies, and republics, all of whom were, in some manner, derivative of the latifundia system and church order which had survived the dissipation of Roman political juridical order; needless to say Italy during the Renaissance was under intense pressure and constant fighting. Italy had already suffered tension between the conflict of Pro-Papal forces and pro-Holy Roman Empire, the wars between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, the most amusing of these conflicts being the War of the Bucket between pro-Ghibelline Modena and pro-Guelph Bologna over a stolen well bucket still proudly on display at Modena’s city hall. While the Angevins had turned Naples – Southern Italy – into the crown jewel of their empire, Northern Italy was always where the politics of a fractured Italy met the most intrigue and conflict.

When Machiavelli wrote his infamous primer for princes, The Prince, part of the text was a call for the Medici to consolidate their political power – in the city state of Florence and the Papacy – to unite Italy and drive off the barbarian invaders: The Germans, French, and Spanish. While this did not come to pass, two powers in Northern Italy vied with each other, along with the smaller Italian states, for supremacy.

The most serene Republic of Venice was a great maritime and commercial power. He ships spanned the corners of the Mediterranean like the Phoenicians and Carthaginians of old. The Syrian Wars between the Mamlukes and Ottomans only aided Venice’s seafaring ambitions and power as she prospered during the war between the two great Islamic powers in that cradle of civilization and the birthplace of Jesus and Christianity. Venice was not without her detractors and supporters. The great dialectical competitor to Venice was her maritime and commercial rival Genoa. The Republic of Genoa, stretching from the northern Italian shores and Corsica to the Black Sea, also stretched across many of the same shipping lanes. It was like Leviathan meeting Tiamut for the first time, mixed with all the byzantine infighting of political and papal politics – the Guelph and Ghibelline rivalry now extending to Genoa and Venice because of the non-Italian power players in the region.

LpfkMBM.jpg

FIGURE 1: Niccolo Machiavelli. Machiavelli was deeply influenced by the Italian Wars, which was impacted in his writings and political philosophy. An ardent opponent of French, German, and Spanish endeavors in Italy, Machiavelli could be described as an early Italian nationalist. His belief that republicanism was the way forward was not necessarily influenced by classical republican ideals, but by the realization that republics could offer their citizens a “buy in” in which their well-being and social mobility was tied to the fate of the state. In this way republics would be stronger than any monarchy could ever dream because the peasantry lacked the same myth of upward mobility and opportunity as promised by republican states.

The Habsburg dominated Holy Roman Empire had come to back Venice and took a quietly anti-Papal political stance given that the Papacy was dominated by her rivals in Paris. The French, meanwhile, aligned with Genoa with the support of the Papacy. Pope Clemens VII, who had elevated Duke Charles IV to kingship, had a special relationship with Franco-Angevin ambitions in Italy which happened to coincide with political courtship to the Republic of Genoa for the time being – especially since they both faced a mutual foe in Savoy.

In some ways, Charles IV was in great conflict with John I of France – trying to break out of the shadow of the Ile-de-France – and the Habsburg archduke and Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. Within this rivalry also stood Doge Marco Molin of Venice and Saving Dictator of the Republic Antonio Negrone of Genoa who were supported by Maximilian and Charles respectively, with Clemens VII in an implicit alliance with his Franco-Genoese supporters against the ambitions of Maximilian and Doge Molin.

The outbreak of the Italian Wars hit Machiavelli and the central Italian republics hard. Infighting between families and old allies broke out as old rivalries and scores to settle were renewed. The French presence in northern Italy swamped over Savoy with much ease, made easier by the alliance with the Swiss cantons who desired the prize city on the Lake of Geneva to call their own. At the same time, German-Venetian presence in Milan acted as a barrier between that unstoppable force and immovable object. In the midst of this titanic struggle, stood the minor power brokers like Niccolo Loschi of Lucca and Gonfaloniere Medici of Florence.

Beyond the quintessentially byzantine nature of Italian politics during the Italian Wars, which were only magnified following the Reformation, the Italian Wars did lead to dramatic revolutionary change in the manner of warfare itself. While medieval and early renaissance warfare was dominated by skirmishing, marching, and men-at-arms and citizen militias with limited “standing army” presence, the Italian Wars changed all of that. The great powers of Europe turned in the direction of a more professionalized, or at least professionally hired in some cases, military force. The French gendarmes and artillery corps swept away Savoyard and Milanese presence as they crossed the Alps like Hannibal of old. The German pike and shot formations were adopted to counter strong French reliance on cavalry.* Swiss mercenaries found themselves in the service of the highest bidder, and strong relationships with the Angevins already fostered through the War of the Public Weal and a growing treasury with the capture of Catalonia ensured a strong Swiss military presence in French army camps.

8Wbj385.jpg

FIGURE 2: “The Triumph of Charles IV into Nice as the god Mars.”

While the Italian Wars began to change the nature of European land warfare, it did little to change naval warfare. In fact, naval warfare in the Mediterranean had changed little since the days of Carthage and Rome. Galleys and other oar-oriented rowing warships were still the most common sight on the sea. Soldiers manned the decks like the Roman legions on the corvus had once done to achieve naval supremacy over the Carthaginians. While that most famous battle between France, Spain, and the Ottoman Empire off the island of Lefkas (or Lefkada) was described as a “land battle fought on wooden soil,” the same could be said for the battles between Genoa and Venice for control of Mediterranean trade seafaring lanes.

It was this old conflict on sea, moreover than land, which broke the back of Venice and her German allies. The stalemate around Milan was offset by a series of brutal naval battles between the Angevin-led Genoese fleets and the Venetians. The Battle off Malta may have ensured Genoese naval supremacy over the western half of the Mediterranean until the terrible defeat at the hands of the Ottomans at Gorgona Scalo, and helped to secure French domination of Savoy, but the battle was not necessary a terrible setback for Venice. As mentioned when examining the Syrian Wars between the Ottomans and the Mamlukes, the Venetians were the great beneficiaries of that struggle in the eastern Mediterranean which opened up the possibility of renewal and retrenchment for Venice given the conflict between the Turks and Mamlukes paved the way for the Venetians to sweep into the void created by the great crashing of oars and sails between Constantinople and Alexandria. But it is peculiar how to see how the geography of the Mediterranean prevented the same revolution in warfare to occur as the Italian Wars fostered on land.

99Yxy1l.png

FIGURE 3: The Genoese victory at the Battle off Malta. The Genoese victory off Malta against the Venetian navy ended the First Italian War. It also marked the high watermark of the Genoese navy and Genoa as a great power. Over the next fifty years Genoa’s star shrunk as she was overshadowed by her French partners both in Italy and in the Western Mediterranean, along with becoming overshadowed by the growing threat of Ottoman ambitions which ultimately led to the loss of their Black Sea colonies and the disastrous Battle off Gorgona Scalo. Nevertheless, the Battle off Malta in 1518 is still fondly remembered and celebrated by Genoa even to this day.

One might take sympathy on the Italians for their longstanding corruption as being a legacy of mutual discord and mistrust among one another during the Italian Wars. Surely there was an opportunity, not solely with the Medici, but with other Italian noble families, to have united under a consolidated front. Instead, old rivalries and wounds were re-opened by predatory and ambitious powers that were situated over the Alps. It would remain a long time until Italy was unified again, but the myriad of disconcerting and impossible to follow alliances brings me to much pain and misery to write about any further.


*This is reflected in game by my choosing of aristocratic ideas.
 

stnylan

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I remember reading a very good biography of Hawkwood some years ago now, which demonstrated just how atypical Italian warfare was from the rest of Europe even a century before the the EU4 timeframe. Very much a harbinger of sorts for what was to come.

A couple of years ago I got as a present a translation of Macciaveli's History of Florence. I haven't gotten around to reading it for one reason or another, but I hope to manage it one day.
 

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interesting!!! I'dlike a map of Europe when you can
 

volksmarschall

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I remember reading a very good biography of Hawkwood some years ago now, which demonstrated just how atypical Italian warfare was from the rest of Europe even a century before the the EU4 timeframe. Very much a harbinger of sorts for what was to come.

A couple of years ago I got as a present a translation of Macciaveli's History of Florence. I haven't gotten around to reading it for one reason or another, but I hope to manage it one day.

Ah, you will enjoy it when you get to reading it. Though, being in political philosophy, I'm more partial to the Discourses on Livy myself.

interesting!!! I'dlike a map of Europe when you can

You either read my mind or are anticipating another image interlude, which is what I'm planning next in order to transition into the next part of the AAR. I'll make sure to include a map of Europe!
 

volksmarschall

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If you get a chance will try to form Italy?

I suppose my question to you reveals the future fate of the Italian Peninsula, but can Provence form Italy? Italy will be factoring prominently in the rest of the AAR -- especially because of happen chance marriages and wars and the fate of Naples! ;)
 

volksmarschall

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APPENDIX OF IMAGES, 1C


Y6MqQab.jpg
hMIUPcE.png

FIGURE 24: The Battle of Cremona, 1521. The decisive land battle of the First Italian War (1520-1525) in which the Franco-Angevin forces won a decisive victory against the combined armies of Savoy and Milan, destroying Italian opposition before the Habsburg-led German armies of the Holy Roman Empire could intervene on behalf of the northern Italian states. The French victory at Cremona led to a bloody stalemate in the Duchy of Milan.

WhSMFOX.png

FIGURE 25: Princess Isabel, painted ca. 1504 by Augustin de Saint-Germaine. Princess Isabel was the wife of Duke Charles IV prior to his elevation to King of Catalonia by Pope Clemens VII. She was, by all accounts, a beautiful and adventurous spirit whom Charles fell in love with as if struck by Cupid’s arrow. Their marriage, from 1494 until her death in 1500, produced only one son, Nicholas, born in 1498. Her death caused Charles to hire several sculptors and painters to memorialize her. Charles’s fidelity to her has been under much scrutiny in recent scholarship, but the fact that he never remarried has been the strongest argument that he loved her and no other could ever suffice to replace her.

5AACLrT.png

oiBGLwH.jpg

FIGURE 26: Augustin de Saint-Germaine, a leading French Renaissance painter who was hired into the services of the Angevin court. He became a close confident of Duke/King Charles IV, painting several memorializations of Isabel for him. He also authored visually based version of Virgil’s Aeneas, Augustine’s Confessions, and Dante’s Divine Comedy.

piUUrv3.jpg

FIGURE 27: Augustin de Saint-Germaine’s “Charles and Isabel in Love,” ca. 1505.

otvRxJn.png

FIGURE 28: The Western Mediterranean World at the end of the First Italian War, ca. 1525.

FBy4INE.jpg

FIGURE 29: Augustin de Saint-Germain’s “Venus’s Farewell to Aeneas.”

VGecKvQ.png

KjxqCl9.jpg

FIGURE 30: A Renaissance printing press. The Printing Press, invented in Venice, caused a revolution in literature, philosophy, and theology. It wouldn’t be much longer until the rise and growth of the printing press coincided with the Protestant Reformation, leading to a series of brutal religious wars between Catholics and Protestants over the continent of Europe, of which the Angevins factored prominently in winning the titles “Great Catholic Monarch.”

L3Y4iPl.jpg

FIGURE 31: An etching from an illustrated copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy. This particular etching depicts Virgil and Dante crossing the River Styx en route to the City of Dis. The River Styx was the fifth circle of hell, where all the wrathful souls who gloried in violence and war perpetually fought with one another for all eternity. He who loves war shall spend his eternal life waging war. Traditionally, the Catholic understanding of Hell is based on the disordered affections of one’s loves. What you loved in life was representative of what your soul would experience in Heaven or Hell. Heaven being the place of eternal happiness and bliss, representative of the soul's proper ordering of love, and Hell to place of continuous dissatisfaction, representative of the soul's disordered and misdirected love.
 

Levgar

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I suppose my question to you reveals the future fate of the Italian Peninsula, but can Provence form Italy? Italy will be factoring prominently in the rest of the AAR -- especially because of happen chance marriages and wars and the fate of Naples! ;)

And regarding if Provence can form Italy, it's been awhile since I last played eu4, but I think you can form Italy if you culture shift to an Italian culture.
 

volksmarschall

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I'm glad I found this awesome series.
And regarding if Provence can form Italy, it's been awhile since I last played eu4, but I think you can form Italy if you culture shift to an Italian culture.

Thanks for the kind words, and glad you're enjoying this AAR! As I said somewhere at the beginning, I enjoy playing as Provence for the challenge, but this game went particularly well, and weird (primarily through royal marriages, succession rights, and how the Valois branch of the family died off and I got a new dynasty - du Quenoy - as I've made mentioned and alluded to, so I decided I had to share it in the way that volks knows how to share games and AARs! Plus I wanted to have the feel of Braudel's Mediterranean World; hence why we're also rolling across other parts of the world as well. I hope it's worth it because it did take time to get files and names and info from the other nations and their events and rulers so I'm accurate in dates, names, and what not when discussing the rest of Europa.

You know, I've never considered forming Italy in my Provence play thrus even though there's oftentimes a lot of Italian grabbing. So I'll have to check into that; especially since, well, with all the Italian expansionism Italian cultures are eventually promoted. We'll even detail a lot of cultural demography later in the AAR where appropriate.

Cheers! :)
 

stnylan

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Some very well chosen images