Salik

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hooray for the Irish! haha
and might I say again, that I love the way you describe something as "small" as a rebel faction popping up on the map.
can't wait for more! =D

Well, this was a rather surprising turn of events, and right in my backyard too... Due to the very tense situation in Europe, and Harald IV's abysmal diplomatic skills combined with a taste for conquest, the Irish states are the only friends of Denmark in Western Europe. But then again, nobody seems to have very many friends at the moment.

So does this mean that Ireland, or at least part of it is independant?:eek:

Yes, two independent states, Ulster (of course... :rolleyes:) and the rest of the island. Both are vasals of Harald IV

Glad to hear that the Irish have overthrown their cruel governors (not saying that the Danes are.. in fact, Denmark is possibly one of my favourite European companies.;))

Well, as long as they pay their taxes, they are free to do what ever they want

apart from declaring war, entering alliances, forming royal marriages or conquering foreign provinces in war

Ireland! Excellent! :D

Awake indeed :D
 

King_Richard_XI

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Well, as long as they pay their taxes, they are free to do what ever they want

apart from declaring war, entering alliances, forming royal marriages or conquering foreign provinces in war

I caught that disclaimer.;)
 

unmerged(104889)

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Hello, Salik! I started reading this AAR in early stages but then I was absent from the forums (second time) for few months and this AAR has been subscribed since. I just wanted to tell you that I'm going to sit down in next days with a cup of coffee and finally start reading this through :).
 

Salik

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I caught that disclaimer.;)

Duke Art didn't... :D;)

Hello, Salik! I started reading this AAR in early stages but then I was absent from the forums (second time) for few months and this AAR has been subscribed since. I just wanted to tell you that I'm going to sit down in next days with a cup of coffee and finally start reading this through :).

Hi! I do remember you commenting back in the early days. Welcome back, I hope you have enjoyed the read.
 

Salik

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Chapter XXVI: Fear of God Is the Strength of the Realms(1)

Gyldenstjerne.png


Coat of arms of the House of Gyldenstierne

After the conquest of Norway and Riga in 1609 and the incorporation of Prussia in 1615, Harald IV was at the height of his power. The entire Baltic coast was ruled by him, as was the entire arctic region of the Western hemisphere. He had overseen the largest expansion of the kingdom in more than a century, and firmly established the House of Gyldenstierne as its rulers. After the Irish revolt of 1616, he could add “High Lord of Ireland” to his already long roster of titles. At the age of 55, Harald controlled the largest landmass of any European king, but was also by far the most loathed. Only his Irish vassals and the king of Muscovy, his former brother in law, could be counted among his actual friends, while the other great powers and the vast majority of the smaller ones, saw him as an aggressive, barbaric warmonger. Of course, all the great powers were extremely suspicious and antagonistic towards each other, and none of them dared declare war against the others without a very urgent conflict of interest, so the unpopularity of Harald never became a threat to the kingdom.

Internally, reforms were urgent. The Kongelov had replaced the old feudal system with a system in which the king was the only, supreme authority in all worldly matters. The establishment of provincial courts had given the peasants the opportunity to seek justice from the king rather than from their local noblemen. However, these changes were still very theoretical. The nobility and the church owned the land, while the peasants leased it. The lease was often passed on from one generation to another at a more or less fixed priced. In many cases, a village would be the property of a nobleman who lived in an entirely different part of the country, but could still evict the entire village if he should so please. This system meant, that the peasants were still not independent of the nobles. Even though the local lords no longer served as justices of peace, they held enormous power over the people who leased their land. The distribution of land was neither efficient nor equal.
Meanwhile, the kingdom and the duchies had different laws, indeed Sweden, Denmark and Norway did not have a common law, due to the Union Act of 1471 and the Bergen Treaty of 1600. In all three kingdoms, provincial laws from Medieval times were still in force. This made the centralized judicial system extremely inefficient, and in many cases, the nobles would still rule as they saw fit.

The Kongelov had enabled all men, regardless of birth, to have high positions within the administration, and indeed the lower tiers of the administration was filled with men of common birth, many of whom worked hard to reform the kingdom to a post-feudal world. However, the highest posts were still held by noblemen, who flooded the king’s court and, whether willingly or not, prevented most of the reforms that were so desperately needed. The king was satisfied with listening to the servile flattering of the noblemen rather than taking the honest advice of those, who were immersed in the real workings of the state.

jesus.jpg

Depiction of Harald IV’s vision of the suffering Christ in 1616.

After the marriage to Vibeke Kruse in 1615, the king became even more secluded from the administration of the state. His daughters by Kruse were married to some of the most powerful noblemen in the country, most of whom shared the king’s Sehestedian theology. The king was already a religious man, who did not see himself indebted to anyone but God, but when he had a vision of the suffering Christ in 1616, he immersed himself fully in the service of the Lord rather than of his country. He became distant and did not seem to care for anything other than his religion. This let Vibeke Kruse and her sons in law usurp the power of the king. With a paranoid king, who was surrounded by religious fanatics, and who saw himself as beset by the forces of evil, the last years of Harald’s reign was a religious tyranny. Witch processes became widespread and the ideas of the counterreformation, though more or less abandoned, had a resurge. The king descended into madness and died in 1619 at the age of 59.

Christopher was heir to the throne, but was only 13 years old at the time, so Vibeke Kruse and her sons in law formed a regency council. The Kongelov stated, that no one who had not partaken in the Eucharist could be anointed king, and the regency council made sure that Christopher’s first Communion was put off indefinitely, using various arguments such as his (alleged) backwardness and inability to understand the ceremony. The hope was, that somehow the third son of the king, Harald, who was also the youngest child he got by Vibeke Kruse, might be installed as heir to the throne, thus ensuring the continued reign of the council. The kingdom was entering a dark period.

(1) Motto of Harald IV, increasingly used during the last years of his reign, and during the regency council.
 
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Salik

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Those sneaky clauses get you every time... :rofl:

Yep. Duke Art was not the only one to be hit in the back of the head by an unexpected clause.

Ah, women... Always so selfish about their kids. Should make for nice conspiracies and intrigue!:D

What is a 17th century court without conspiracies and intrigue? You don't expect them to actually rule the country, do you?;)

BTW, writing on next chapter is slowly coming to an end. This is going to be one of the updates with least relation to actual game events, which makes it harder to write. It should be up something during the week though, if I can get into the right mood.
 

Salik

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Chapter XXVII: The Kruse Regency

Gyldenstjerne.png


Coat of arms of the House of Gyldenstierne

Upon the death of Harald IV, his widow Vibeke Kruse and her sons in law formed a regency council for crown prince Christopher, who was only 13 at the time. According to the Kongelov, his coronation was put off until he would have his first Communion, which was delayed indefinitely due to the crown prince’s alleged backwardness.

HaraldIVsdd.jpg


Harald IV on his deathbed. Crown prince Christopher is receiving instructions from his father on how to govern the realm according to the scripture. In the background, several of the later members of the regency council are attending the king in the characteristic black coats of the Sehestedian puritanists.

The regency council had been de facto rulers of the country since Vibeke Kruse was anointed queen. Harald withdrew from the court to commit himself to prayers and serving God, and his sons in law surrounded him in the private chambers of Frederiksborg Castle, influencing him to an extent of almost complete control.

jorgenrosenkrantz.jpg
Corfitz_Ulfeldt.jpg
sehested_christen_thomesen_c.jpg

Oluf Trolle, Jørgen Ulfeldt and Christen Reventlow (left to right) were the leading figures of the regency council. They all wear the highest facial hair fashion of the day.​

The sons in law were all appointed to the highest offices in the administration. Oluf Trolle, who was a large landowner in Småland and Skåne, became Marsk, or supreme commander of the army, while Jørgen Ulfeldt, great-grandson of Peder Ulfeldt of the Republican Party, was Rigshofmester, a rough equivalent of minister of finance, and Christen Reventlow, the brother of the famous archbishop Jakob Reventlow, was Rigskansler, head of the judiciary branch. These offices were remnants of the feudal monarchy, and were by custom given to deserving noblemen, who could run their administrations without much supervision. Other sons in law were appointed to high admiral and head of the Royal Vinland Trade, consequently controlling the trade with the colonies. These offices made them obvious choices for seats in the Regency Council, though it was apparent to most people that this in fact meant giving the Kruse family, as they were known, unlimited power.

The regency council consisted of the most ardent followers of Sehestedian Theology among the nobility. Although official policy had relied heavily on Sehestedianism under the reign of Harald, the movement had given way to a much more open minded and tolerant religiosity in most parts of society. The hardcore followers of Sehested, like Ulfeldt and Trolle, called themselves Puritans because they wanted a purification, not only of the faith, but of society as a whole. All suggestions of heresy were stricken down with great fervour and severe punishments. Witch processes, which had been happening occasionally since the 15th century became widespread, with thousands of men and women being burned on the stake in the period 1615-1622. In the city of Danzig alone, 50 people were tried and found guilty of witchcraft in one year, 1619. Most of them were part of the Polish Conspiracy, a postulated plot between Reformist burghers and the king of Poland to turn over the city in case of war, giving the Poles access to the Baltic Sea. Conveniently, the sentenced were all prominent members of the Burgher Movement, a movement to finish the reform of the kingdom that had been initiated by the Kongelov.

hekseafbrnding.jpg

The burning of the Polish conspirators

No action was taken against the kingdom of Poland on the matter, which underscores, that the evidence was faked. This fact was already acknowledged in the 1650’ies, and all the sentenced were posthumously pardoned.

Meanwhile, prince Harald, the son of Harald IV and Vibeke Kruse, was being positioned to take over the throne. He was born in 1615, just inside of the dynastic marriage between his parents, making him a legitimate heir to the throne, even if he was behind his older brothers in the line of succession. Unlike them, Harald was brought up by his parents, and stayed in the court during the regency council while Christopher and Christian were almost kept in captivity, hidden away in the large western tower, Blåtårn, which was a prominent feature of Frederiksborg Castle. So strong was the powerbase of the Kruse family, that they were able to keep the legitimate king from his throne.

However, the Burgher Movement only grew in strength after the process against the Polish conspirators. The anger against the religious tyranny grew with every burning of an innocent man, with every farmer being evicted by an arbitrary decision from his landlord and with every obvious case of corruption in the administration. The people had been promised an end to noble power by the Kongelov, and instead they had seen a few noblemen seize power and enrich themselves at the expense of the country. The two young princes, known as “the princes in the tower”, became the rallying point of the burghers and peasants, as they pressed for the fulfilment of the promises made by the Kongelov.
 

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Aufstand! Let's have a good old fashioned rebellion to save the one and righteous heir to the throne.

blog-revolution.jpg

Work in progress on the revolution (it will not be televised)

That is some awesome facial hair.... AND conflict... :rofl:

It cracked me up when I previewed the post and realized that I had unintenionally chosen pictures of three people with the same beard. It could not pass unnoticed
 

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Chapter XXVIII: The Ascension of Christopher Gyldenstierne

Gyldenstjerne.png


Coat of arms of the House of Gyldenstierne

”In the name of his Excellency the Marsk, I demand to see the prince!”
“I am afraid the prince is unavailable at the moment, sir”
“How dare you reject the authority of the Marsk? Don’t you see that I carry his seal with me?”
“Be that as it may, sir, the prince is unavailable.”
“Don’t force me to run you through, you rascal. I need to see the prince immediately”
“His highness is not in the tower, sir, he is at the library with the young Schumacher, sir”

The captain of the royal guard threw one last scornful look at the servant before he rushed back down the stairs of the tower. The library was at the other end of the castle, and prince Christopher spend most his time there with that whimsical librarian Schumacher. He should have known. If he was too late, the Marsk would be furious. As he rushed across the courtyard, he screamed at two guards crossing from the kitchen:

“Treason! The prince is in danger! Follow me to the library!”

The three men rushed in the door and up the stairs to a big room with large windows on one side and shelves full of books on the other. A large table stood in the middle of the room, books and sheets of paper strewn across it. Three chairs were around the table, and two of them were filled. In one sat Peder Schumacher, the young royal librarian, son of a wealthy Copenhagen merchant, and introduced to the court by the bishop of Copenhagen, Hans Tausen. In the other sat a big boy, the prince. He had made it in time. Only when the prince turned his head to look at him did he realize, that it was the wrong prince. This was Christopher’s younger brother, Christian.

“Where is prince Christopher?”
“Oh, he is at mass in Vor Frue”
“MASS!?”
“Yes, as every Sunday, the mass is led in the cathedral by his Excellency the bishop, it is quite spectacular compared to the one here at court. I personally suggested that the prince go there. I am sure you are very busy, but you should go too. I am afraid you will miss the communion, though. You really should have gone earlier.”

The captain, dumbfounded, stared at the two men by the table. This was not good. The Marsk was going to be very displeased, that much was sure.


On the 6th of July, 1622, prince Christopher received his first communion from bishop Hans Tausen in the Vor Frue cathedral of Copenhagen. In what has latter been described as a coup against the Kruse Regency, the bishop, who was of common birth and a strong supporter of the burgher movement, invited the prince to mass in the cathedral and served him his first communion. The invitation was given through the royal librarian, Peder Schumacher, who was a protégé of the bishop. The regency council was advised of the plans, but too late.

How involved the prince was in the actual planning is unknown, but the maturity with which he made his next move suggests that he was not merely a puppet in the hands of Tausen.
Returning to the castle, he approached his stepmother and informed her, that with God and two hundred people attending mass as his witnesses, he had now reached majority as defined by the Kongelov, and the service of her and his brothers in law was no longer needed. The Regency Council was disbanded, and his coronation would take place on his 16th birthday, the 2nd of September.

The Regency council had no response to this move. They no longer had any legal base for their rule, and since the lower tiers of the administration were filled with burghers, who supported prince Christopher, they could not force their ordnances through either. The Marsk, Oluf Trolle, had formal command of the army, but most of the commanders quickly supported Christopher, and refused to follow orders from Trolle aimed against the righteous king. The archbishop of Lund, Jakob Reventlow, brother of Christen Reventlow and member of the council, tried to remove Hans Tausen from his position and declare all sacraments distributed by him null and void, but the implications of such a move would be too severe for the population of Copenhagen, so the idea was dismissed. It still lead to a large conflict between Tausen and Reventlow, as shall be seen.

chrisopherIII.jpg


On the 2nd of September, 1622, Christopher III was crowned king of Denmark-Sweden-Norway, duke of Estland, Kurland, Pomerania and Mecklenburg-Ruppin-Magdeburg, Prince of Danzig, Bremen, Riga and Hamburg, Lord of Greenland, Vinland and adjoining territories, high Lord of both Irelands by bishop Hans Tausen. The celebrations were the most expensive in the history of Copenhagen, and were attended by emissaries from all the major courts of Europe. This heralded the beginning of better relations with other countries, as Christopher charmed the foreign emissaries and effectively erased the memory of his warmongering, crazy father.
 

King_Richard_XI

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I love the idea of the "Treason" being Communion.. I half expected the teacher to murder the Prince up to then.:D

This looks set to be a Golden Era for Denmark. Forward the Danes!
 

Salik

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Chris is pulling the right moves with the foreign guys, nice! We'll see how THIS turns out... Ahaha! :D

He is sticking it to the man (well... I guess he IS the man... but still)

I love the idea of the "Treason" being Communion.. I half expected the teacher to murder the Prince up to then.:D

This looks set to be a Golden Era for Denmark. Forward the Danes!

I am not quite sure how much the captain knew about what was going on, he might have been told by Oluf Trolle that there was an actual treath to the prince's life.

Chris will be remembered for many years, that much is certain
 

Salik

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Heh, I expected something different when you mentioned treason. Good thinking!

Treason, as beauty, is in the eye of the beholder...

Next update is really taking some time to write, and I've got a bad cold, but I hope it will be up soon.

Untill then, take care!

EDIT: Okay, I just finished it. Here it is.
 
Last edited:

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Chapter XXIX: Lord Peder and King Christopher

Gyldenstjerne.png


Coat of arms of the House of Gyldenstierne

Feudalism is normally said to have ended on the 2nd of September 1622, when Christopher III was crowned. Although it makes little sense to pinpoint such a large change in the societal structure of a country to a single day, it is not completely unwarranted. Christopher had become the symbol of the burgher movement, and he did not disappoint. Within half a year of his coronation, the kingdom had been transformed. Drawing on the advice of Peder Schumacher and Hans Tausen, and on his own experiences with the Kruse Regency, Christopher started centralizing royal power even more than before. The institutions of Marsk, Rigskansler and Rigshofmester had proven prone to corruption. While they were meant to be a delegation of responsibilities to trusted people serving the crown, they had instead been used to usurp royal power to benefit those in office. It was no coincidence that Jørgen Ulfeldt had been living in luxury in his mansion on Gråbrødretorv while the revenue from the Sound Due, which was part of his responsibility, had seemed to dry up, or that Christen Reventlow had seemed to have a preference for unqualified, wealthy nobles when appointing justices. So in January 1623, the Judiciary Act was proclaimed, by which the offices of Rigshofmester and Rigskansler were incorporated under the crown. In February the Militia Act was passed, dismantling the office of Marsk, and making the king supreme commander of the armies. No more would a corrupt noble like Oluf Trolle use the army to increase his own power.

Of course, the king would not actually perform all these tasks himself. Instead, two advisory chambers, the Statskancelli, dealing with most internal matters, and the Rentekammer, responsible for the state finances, were installed. These chambers had no official power, however, the men who were admitted to them had great influence on the affairs of the state. The royal bureaucracy was growing, centralizing power in Copenhagen.

With the growing importance of Copenhagen, the old medieval city was no longer big enough for the influx of people, so a coherent project of expanding the city was started. Some of the most beloved areas of Copenhagen, such as Kastellet, Nyboder and Christopherhavn, were built during the late 1620’ies and early 1630’ies. Most of these areas were build using army conscripts, commandeered to work under the Militia Act.

dokoen_aerial.jpg


OnVandet_2513-01.jpg


Nyboder2.jpg


Modern day images of some of the areas build during the reign of Christopher.


overview.jpg

This contemporary painting of the celebrations on the 10th anniversary of Christopher’s coronation shows many of the new buildings around Frederiksborg Castle, including the stock exchange and the seamen’s church on Holmen.

Peder Schumacher played a major role in these reforms, and in 1626, after the negotiation of the Ulster Treaty, by which the duchy of Ulster was finally incorporated in a unified Ireland, he was elevated to the new, honorary nobility under the name Griffenfeld. He became the second most influential man in the realm, head of the Statskancelli and the Rentekammer and closest confidant to the king. And in 1627, he was behind the most enduring change to the country: The break with Rome.

griffenfeld.jpg

Peder Schumacher, count Griffenfeld