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Paraipan

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In the Shadow of the Vesuvius





Introduction
The History of the Kings of Sicily from the War of the Sicilian Vespers to the end of the Napoletan Wars of Succession


The fourteenth century was drawing it’s curtain over Europe and over the Kingdom of Naples. This century started promising for the Southern Italian kingdom. Despite losing the island of Sicily to the Aragonese in the late 13th century, the kingdom retained it’s prominence in Italian politics.


Charles I of Naples

The first two Angevin monarchs, Charles I (1266-1285) and Charles II (1285-1309), father and son, embarked on ambitious quests, the first one trying to restore both the Latin Empire and the Kingdom of Jerusalem under his rule and the second to recover the island of Sicily, lost by his father during the Sicilian Vespers. Neither one was fully successful in their adventures, so when Charles II’s son, Robert I (1309-1343) inherited the kingdom, the economic and cultural level of Naples had never been lower, from the cultural progress under the Normans up to the financial powerhouse of the Hohenstaufens.


Charles II of Naples

Known as Robert the Wise, he transformed the kingdom from a bellicose state to a center of culture and learning. Under his patronage the University of Naples flourished, attracting students from all over Italy. He also granted rights to Tuscan merchants, improving the economy of Naples. The city itself witnessed the prosperity of Robert’s rule, as superb building, monuments and statues being erected, changing King Robert's capital from a dirty seaport to a city of elegance and medieval splendor.

Although being concerned by the economic and cultural aspects of his kingdom, Robert didn’t neglect the political and military scene of Italy. Having opposed two Emperors who tried to invade Italy (Henry VII of Luxembourg and Louis IV of Bavaria), intervening in Papal and Florentine politics, ruling wide possessions in Piedmont and becoming Lord of Genoa (1318-1334) and Brescia (1319) Robert gained the nickname of “the peace-maker of Italy”.


Robert I of Naples

His biggest disappointment though, was his inability to provide a male heir for the kingdom. His son Charles, styled Duke of Calabria during his life, predeceased him in 1328, leaving his eldest daughter Joan as heir. Joan I inherited Naples in 1343, after the death of her grandfather, King Robert. After Robert’s enlightened rule, which made Naples the biggest player in Italy, Joan’s reign would almost destroy the kingdom.


Joan I of Naples

Joan's first husband, Andrew, who was planning to claim the throne for himself, was assassinated in 1345 by a group of noble conspirators, probably at the Queen’s orders. This brought the darkest event in the history of Naples, the kingdom being invaded and conquered by Andrew’s brother, King Louis the Great of Hungary, also a member of the Angevin House.


Louis the Great of Hungary

Eventually Joan would reclaim Naples, as Louis’ forces were struck by plague in 1352. Peace was signed the same year restoring the status quo ante bellum, but the humiliating defeat of their kingdom would haunt the Neapolitans for a long time. Queen Joan would marry for three more times (with Louis of Taranto, James IV of Mallorca and Otto, Duke of Brunscwick) but neither one of the marriages would produce any heirs. Although an Angeving branch was still alive in the person of Charles, Duke of Durazzo, Joan would adopt Louis I of Anjou, a younger son of John II of France.

Having allied herself with France, and thus supporting the Avignonese Antipope, in 1380 Pope Urban VI declared her a heretic and stripped her of her kingdom (the Kingdom of Naples was nominally a papal fief), bestowing Naples upon Charles of Durazzo. The Queen reacted by switching the inheritance to Louis of Anjou. For the second time in 30 years, Naples was again overcome by Hungarians, as Charles of Durazzo invaded Southern Italy with Hungarian support. He entered Naples on 26 July 1381 and besieged Joan in the Castel dell’Ovo. Joan was forced to surrender after his husband, Otto of Brunswick tried to relieve her but he was crushed and made prisoner.


Pope Urban VI

Charles had Joan killed on 12 May 1382; she was smothered with pillows, in revenge for the method of assassination inflicted upon Andrew. The Neapolitan kingdom was left to decades of recurring wars of succession between the senior branch of the Angevin line, the Anjou-Durazzo dynasty and a cadet branch of the same line, the Anjou-Valois. After Joan’s murder Charles of Durazzo became King of Naples as Charles III, while Louis, already Duke of Anjou and Count of Maine, inherited the counties of Provence and Forcalquier, in Southern France, previously ruled by Joan I and her predecessors, the Angevin Kings of Naples.


Charles III of Naples

Louis of Anjou immediately pressed his claims over Naples. The invasion force Charles III had to face, counted more than 40000 men, including those of Amadeus VI of Savoy. Later a French army would join the expedition, under Enguerrand VII, Lord of Coucy. Charles III’s forces, around 14000 men, were able to divert the French from Naples to other regions of the kingdom and to harass them with guerrilla tactics, until the unexpected death of Louis of Anjou, in 1384, when the French abandoned the campaign.

With the French threat removed, Charles III was able to pursue other goals. By 1385, his relations with Urban VI had strained, the Pope excommunicating the King, who replied by sending an army, under Alberico da Barbiano to besiege the Pope in Nocera. Urban was freed after six months by two Neapolitan barons who had sided with Louis of Anjou, Raimondello Orsini and Tommaso di Sanseverino.

While Urban took refuge in Genoa, Charles left the Kingdom to move to Hungary. Here, on the death of Louis the Great of Hungary, he had claimed the crown of Hungary as the senior Angevin male and ousted Louis’ daughter Mary of Hungary in December 1385, but on 7 February 1386, Elisabeth of Bosnia, Mary’s mother, arranged to have him assassinated. He died from wounds on 24 February. Mary and her husband, Sigismund of Luxembourg succeeded him in Hungary, while in Naples the nine year old Ladislaus (named in honor of the King-Knight Saint Ladislaus of Hungary) became King.


Queen Mary of Hungary

Under his mother’s (Margaret of Durazzo) regency, Ladislaus' rule was under constant threat. At the time the kingdom saw a rebellion of the barons (fomented by Urban VI), and there was a risk of a French invasion, since in 1385 the pope had assigned the throne to Louis II of Anjou, the son of Louis I of Anjou, and the head of the junior Angevin line.


Louis II of Naples

In 1389 Louis II finally took the throne of Naples from Ladislaus. A war lasting 10 years between the two Angevin branches followed, culminating with Ladislaus retaking Naples in 1399. Louis II returned to rule his lands in France (Anjou, Maine, Provence and Forcalquier), while Ladislaus was crowned King of Naples.


Ladislaus of Naples
 
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Paraipan

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Hello and welcome to my first EU3 AAR. The first update was an introduction, providing a historical background for what is to come. The style of this AAR, will be a narrative(hopefully)-history book, as several other AARs I've followed lately.

I'm playing the 4.0 alpha of the Death and Taxes mod with normal options everywhere, except AI aggresivity, which is set to low and no lucky nations. Also I started the game on the 1st of November 1399, instead of the usual 14th October, because I wanted to start with Ladislao Durazzo as King.

My primary goal is to restore Ladislaus' inheritance (Naples+Hungary) and also to try and restore the Latin Empire and possibly the Kingdom of Jerusalem (both of which the Anjous of Naples claimed). Also I will be praying for Ladislao's in-game heir, Giovana de Valois (Joan of Anjou, Ladislaus' sister) to have somekind of a hunting accident or fall ill or something, so Ladislao could have a male heir and prevent the Angevins from dying.

I will be trying to keep everything within historical plausibility. If something weird happens in-game (which I'm 100% sure it will) I will try to weave a plausible story around it or not report it at all.

The next update will cover the in-game reign of Ladislao Durazzo, or at least a part of it.

Hope you will enjoy and any kind of comments are welcomed. And by any kind of comments, I really mean any kind. Within forum rules, of course.
 
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Hastu Neon

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Always good to see Naples AAR (btw, are you from Italy?).
And Ladislaus was a great king, unfortunately died too early before being able to unify the peninsula around 1410...
 

Paraipan

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In the Shadow of the Vesuvius





Prologue


The cozy warmth of the Southern Italian fall was starting to fade of. Rain was becoming usual, and the sweet, pungent smell of freshly harvested wine grapes coming from the hills was being washed away. The mist was scattering as the first day of November was timidly trying to impose itself over the previous long and freezing night. Just as the first rays of light were making their way through the dispersing clouds of the night and hitting the eastern slope of the Vesuvius, casting a shadow over the city of Naples.

As small group of knights was standing at the gates of the city. Judging by their looks and equipment they weren’t just some nobles wanting to attend the joust in town. Their armors, although masterfully crafted, were showing signs of battle and their horses were clearly not the kind of horses nobles took for travelling, they were more likely warhorses. The man at the head of this group, of around twenty knights, was even more striking. His armor, probably crafted in Milan, the only place where such armors were made, was displaying a curious coat-of-arms. The Cross of Jerusalem in the middle, flanked by the red and white stripes of the Arpads and the armorial of the Anjou-Naples house, were easily recognized on the armor, as well as on a flag flown by another knight. Despite proudly displaying them, this man wasn’t in control of any of those Kingdoms, his flag only representing his claims.


Soon the large gate of the city opened, producing a creaking sound, which probably woke all the Neapolitans from their sleep. Spurring their horses the knights entered Naples, where they were welcomed by a group of well dressed men, all important barons of the kingdom. One of them, a large man, in his late 30s walked forward toward the knights.

“Welcome to your capital, your majesty.” said the fat baron with a large grin on his face, although not long ago he was supporting the other claimant of the Kingdom of Naples.

“T-t-t-thank you, it’s good to b-b-be back after all those years.” said with his usual stutter Ladislaus, the King of Naples, who was ousted from his Kingdom exactly ten years ago, when he was only twelve years old, by his rival, Louis II of Anjou. “B-b-but we don’t have time t-t-to celebrate, we must assemble the army and help Raimondello.” continued the King, talking about Raimondo del Balzo Orsini, the Count of Lecce, one of the conspirators who planned the return of King Ladislaus. His premeditated rebellion, forced King Louis II to leave Naples and fight him, giving Ladislaus the excellent opportunity to enter and retake the capital city.

Hearing about the successful plot, Louis II fled Southern Italy, returning to his domains in France, where he begun planning another invasion of Naples, in order to retake his throne. But until then, Ladislaus was yet again the King of Naples. One of the coats of arms on his flag was now rightfully displayed, all he needed now was Hungary and Jerusalem.
 
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Paraipan

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Always good to see Naples AAR (btw, are you from Italy?).
And Ladislaus was a great king, unfortunately died too early before being able to unify the peninsula around 1410...

Yes, Naples always makes an interesting game every time I play it, and with such a backround history, it would make a great AAR (and I'm not from Italy, I'm from Romania).

About Ladislaus, I found out about him on AH.com, where someone was trying to do a TL about him uniting Italy. I was planning to start the game in 1408 after he conquered Rome, but that felt like cheating, and it would have deprived me of the fun of doing that myself.
 

Paraipan

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In the Shadow of the Vesuvius





Chapter I
The Cypriot Adventure and the French Invasion


Although being supported by most of the Neapolitan barons, not everybody wanted Ladislaus as King. Even if Louis II wasn’t the most popular King, he made some allies during his reign, mostly in the persons of the small nobles and the burghers, by granting them a certain level of autonomy. Revoking this autonomy was Ladislaus’ first move in his new reign, causing several provinces to rise up in open rebellion against the new King, the first one being Abruzzi. As he was just coming out of a ten year conflict, Ladislaus was in no position to defeat the rebels and he left Abruzzi to the rebels while he started expanding his army. He spent the year 1400 putting down all the rebellions against him.




By summer his rule was strengthened, but strangely enough, this wasn’t the most important event that summer. Louis II of Anjou, who had retreated to his domains in Provence, Maine and Anjou had managed to anger the King of France, who had seized all his lands. Now Ladislaus’ main rival didn’t had a powerbase anymore. The year would end with a diplomatic conflict against Venice, who had annexed the Despotate of Epirus, which was also claimed by Ladislaus.

In 1401, the King of Naples married Mary of Lusignan, daughter of James I of Cyprus. Several months later news have reached Naples, that the throne of Cyprus had been usurped by Giovanni Saraceno, a mercenary captain in the service of the King of Cyprus and former member of the Navarrese Company, which operated in Greece. Giovanni led the Cypriot Greeks in an anti-French revolt and after the rebels conquered the island, the Greeks proclaimed Giovanni, Despot of Cyprus. The rightfull King of Cyprus, Janus, Mary of Lusignan's brother, died a few days later in a prison, probably murdered.




Ladislaus laid claim on the throne of Cyprus by the right of his wife and started preparing an invasion of the island. He set sail in October 1401 from Taranto, at the head of fife thousand men and landed on 19 November, near Paphos, where he engaged the forces of Giovanni I of Cyprus. Ladislaus won the battle and captured Paphos. Proceeding towards Nicosia, Ladislaus won several other small skirmishes and ambush attempts by Giovanni Saraceno, and by February 1402, the Cypriot forces were almost completely defeated. Giovanni and his remaining forces retreated to Nicosia and Ladislaus besieged them in the city.



The Battle of Paphos


In April while Ladislaus was still in Cyprus, Louis II of Anjou, recently reconciled with Charles VI of France, invaded Naples at the head of a French army. The French King wanted to give Louis II the crown of Naples back, as a compensation for Maine, Anjou and Provence, lands confiscated by the French King in 1400. Louis II besieged Naples but was defeated by Raimondo del Balzo Orsini in May, being forced to lift the siege. While he was retreating to Abruzzo, with Raimondo pursuing him, another French army landed in Calabria, besieging Reggio. Louis II was soundly defeated in Abruzzo, having him forced to flee Southern Italy once again, while his forces disbanded. Raimondello then headed for Calabria to engage the second French army. Meanwhile, in July, the Neapolitan fleet defeated a French one in the Gulf of Taranto, limiting the French invasion capabilities, but in August, Raimondello was defeated by the French in Calabria, retreating to Naples. This forced Ladislaus to return to Naples, leaving only a small force to besiege Nicosia, he arrived back in Naples in November.




Ladislaus took command of the forces in Southern Italy from Raimondo Orsini and destroyed a small French detachment which was pillaging Abruzzo, under the command of John, the Duke of Berry, Louis II’s uncle. But this delay allowed Louis II to return to the Kingdom of Naples, merging his forces with the French army in Calabria. Now the French had almost twelve thousand men in Southern Italy, while Ladislaus only had eight thousand. In January another Auvergnese raiding party landed in Abruzzo, while the Neapolitan navy was pursuing the French transports in the Mediterranean. Ladislaus defeated again the raiding party in Abruzzo, but if he wanted to defeat Louis II in Calabria he needed more troops. He started recruiting soldiers from Naples, Apulia, Abruzzo and Foggia and by April 1403 he had at his disposal twelve thousand men, just as the French. But this expansion of the army took it’s toll on the economy of the kingdom, Ladislaus being forced to raise new taxes and mint more coins to support the newly created regiments.

The King tried to lift the siege of Reggio in June, but was defeated by Louis II, who continued to besiege the important city, on the shores of the Strait of Messina. The same month the small force left to take Nicosia bribed a Puglian mercenary captain in the service of Giovanni of Cyprus, and managed to enter the city, capturing the usurper and imprisoning him. But this great news was eclipsed by the fall of Reggio in the beginning of August. With Calabria secured, Louis headed for Naples, where he defeated again Ladislaus and started to besiege Naples. Having ran out of money, Ladislaus had to take expensive loans from Venetian and Genovese merchants in order to continue his campaign, continuing to undermine his kingdom’s economy. Another Auvergnese detachment landed in Abruzo, Ladislaus defeated it, but the survivors didn’t scattered as they did previously, retreating instead towards Naples, where Louis II’s force was camped.




At the beginning of 1404, Ladislaus tried again to relieve Naples, but once again Louis II managed to reject his attack, as he continued to put pressure on Naples. The King recalled the small force left in Cyprus, which arrived in May, after the Neapolitan navy destroyed the Auvergnese transports which had brought another small French force, under the command of the Duke of Berry and Auvergne in Abruzzo. Reinforced by the regiments returned from Cyprus, Ladislaus attacked again Louis II, near Naples. Although their attacked was repulsed again, this time the Neapolitans managed to inflict serious losses on the French, marking the turning of the tide in the war. Another offensive followed in August, with the same result. Ladislaus didn’t relieved Naples, but the French lost more men than the Neapolitans, again. As Ladislaus was getting reinforcements faster than the French, as he was fighting at home, another attack was initiated in October. Louis II, miraculously managed to hold his ground again, Ladislaus retreating to Foggia.




In December, the Cypriot Greeks revolted against Ladislaus. This time, the leader of the rebellion, Alexandros Phrangopoulos declared the island to be under the sovereignty of the Byzantine Emperor. The few Italians left to govern the island for the Neapolitan King, retreated to Nicosia, trying to resist the rebels and hoping for help from Southern Italy, but their hopes seemed unrealistic, as on the 1st of January, 1405, Louis II of Anjou entered in Naples.




Louis II ordered the Auvergnese to proceed and siege L’Aquila, while himself, in a reckless move, attacked Ladislaus in Foggia. Drunk on his earlier successes, Louis II didn’t considered the fact that out of his initial fourteen thousand men, he only had over three thousand now, while Ladislaus’ troops, although very low on morale, had their ranks full. As the Auvergnese captured L’Aquila at the end of January, Ladislaus and Louis met in an all or nothing battle near San Severo. Ladislaus made excellent use of his superior numbers and completely destroyed the French force. Louis II himself was captured by Ladislaus, who begun negotiating for peace with his rival and with the King of France.




Although defeated, the French could still negotiate from a strong position, as Calabria, Naples and Abruzzi were still under their control. Also, imprisoned in Naples by the French forces, was Joan, Ladislaus’ only sibling, and heir in case he would remain childless. Also Ladislaus’ situation wasn’t at all very good, as he risked the bankruptcy of his kingdom if he continued the campaign and try to recapture Naples and rescue his sister and regain control of his kingdom. So, in February, under the mediation of the French Antipope Benedictus XIII, Ladislaus signed a peace treaty with the French. Convinced by his cousin, Louis II gave up his claims on Naples in exchange for the hand of Joan of Durazzo. This way, if Ladislaus would remain childless, the two branches of the Capetian House of Anjou, the Anjou-Durazzo and the Anjou-Valois would be united under the descendants of Joan and Louis, ending the twenty year old conflict which plagued Southern Italy.



The wedding of Louis II de Anjou-Valois and Joan of Anjou-Durazzo, 1405, Avignon


In the summer of 1405, Ladislaus left for Cyprus, to impose his rule again. He defeated Alexandros Phrangopoulos on 23 July, in the Battle of Nicosia and a week later was crowned King regnant of Cyprus, as his wife, Mary of Lusignan, in whose name he invaded the island had died in childbirth, also losing the child, in 1402.


 
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Paraipan

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Subbed, this is good stuff!

I agree, subbing as well

Thank you both. I'm glad you liked it.

Some gameplay notes about the first chapter. You probably figured that the French didn't invaded me to put Louis II on the throne, that's not possible in EU3, sadly. They were guaranteeing Cyprus (or they had it in their SoI, I can't remember now) and joined them when I declared war. I made up the whole story to justify why the heck France would care about Ioanes Saraceno (that was his name in game, not Giovanni), enough to go at war for him. Now you might wonder why didn't I made peace after taking Cyprus, as we all know that in the wars for imposing a PU, the target of your CB is always the leader of the alliance, in my case Cyprus, not France. Well, that felt like cheating and I wanted to defeat the French invasion before making peace with Cyprus.
 

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Excellent job outlasting the french. Lets hope for a quick wedding to celebrate the victory lest the Valois line seize power.
 

Razgriz 2K9

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Thank you both. I'm glad you liked it.

Some gameplay notes about the first chapter. You probably figured that the French didn't invaded me to put Louis II on the throne, that's not possible in EU3, sadly. They were guaranteeing Cyprus (or they had it in their SoI, I can't remember now) and joined them when I declared war. I made up the whole story to justify why the heck France would care about Ioanes Saraceno (that was his name in game, not Giovanni), enough to go at war for him. Now you might wonder why didn't I made peace after taking Cyprus, as we all know that in the wars for imposing a PU, the target of your CB is always the leader of the alliance, in my case Cyprus, not France. Well, that felt like cheating and I wanted to defeat the French invasion before making peace with Cyprus.

Personally, I don't know if SoI's still in effect when the pretender took the throne. Although I have played EU3, not once have I ever declared war on Cyprus because of my fear of fighting France.
 

Paraipan

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Excellent job outlasting the french. Lets hope for a quick wedding to celebrate the victory lest the Valois line seize power.

Also the wedding between Joan and Louis II was to justify Joan's in game dinasty, "de Valois". This is in case, Joan survives Ladislaus and becomes queen.

Personally, I don't know if SoI's still in effect when the pretender took the throne. Although I have played EU3, not once have I ever declared war on Cyprus because of my fear of fighting France.

With the claim on throne CB, you don't really need to worry about France, because you can always peace out after you complete the siege of Cyprus. And I checked the screenshots, Cyprus was guaranteed by France and Venice. France joined, as you already know, but Venice was involved in a war against the Ottomans and all their Balcanic provinces (from Albania, down to Athens, including Epirus) were under occupation, so they refused to join Cyprus against me. If Venice had joined, I would have been in real trouble, as I wouldn't had the control of the Mediterranean no more.
 

Paraipan

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In the Shadow of the Vesuvius





Chapter II
The Conquest of Sicily


The death of Martin of Aragon in February 1402 led to an interregnum, during which Castile, Portugal, England and France tried to put their own candidate on the throne of Aragon. Martin’s son, Martin I of Sicily, co-ruler of the island based Kingdom of Sicily, with his wife Maria of Sicily, predeceased him in the summer of 1401, so with the death of the father in 1402 the male line of the House of Barcelona was extinct. The only living member of the house was Maria of Sicily, but the Aragonese laws excluded women from the line of succession. In 1406 the Interregnum ended with the Compromise of Girona. As Aragon was invaded at that time by English, Castilian and Portuguese forces the Parliamentary representatives decided after brief deliberations to elect Carlos de Avis, a member of the Portuguese royal house, as king. The Parliament decided that from all the candidates, the Portuguese one was the most benign, as from the other side of the Iberian Peninsula, the Kingdom of Portugal couldn’t really exercise any influence over Aragon. The English and Castilians refused to accept the decision and the fighting continued.




Among the other candidates was James, the Count of Urgell, great-grandson of Alfonso IV of Aragon and probably the most legitimate candidate. He was supported by the English and the Navarrese. The Castilian candidate, Ferdinand de Trastamara, brother of King Henry III of Castile and nephew of Martin of Aragon, probably had the first chance of becoming King, thanks to the military might of Castile, but as the Aragonese Parliament feared that electing Ferdinand would mean the surrender of their Kingdom to the Castilians his claims were rejected. Finally, the candidate with the weakest claim, was no one else than, Louis II of Anjou, the former King of Naples, former Duke of Anjou, former Count of Provence, and the list could continue. His first wife, Yolande of Aragon was King Martin’s niece. They got married in 1400 but Yolande died in January 1404, while Louis was campaigning against Ladislaus in Naples. Despite the short marriage the couple had a son, Louis, born in September 1403. The landless adventurer Duke/King appealed on many occasions to his cousin Charles VI, the King of France, to support his planned invasion of Aragon, but the French King, annoyed by the failure of Louis II’s Neapolitan adventure, rebuffed him every time. Thus, France will be the only power to remain inactive in this conflict.




Refused by the French king, Louis II had to swallow his pride and appealed to his former rival and current brother in law, Ladislaus of Naples, to grant him an army to invade Aragon with. Although tempted to accept in the first place, having the prospect of his sister becoming Queen of Aragon, Ladislaus, fearing an Aragonese or Sicilian invasion had signed, back in 1400, an anti-Aragonese alliance with Henry III of Castile. In the honor of this pact Henry III asked Ladislaus not to get involved in the conflict. Ladislaus accepted Henry III’s request and didn’t lend his support to Louis II, but fearing that the replacement of the House of Barcelona with a more powerful Royal House in Aragon will also bring Sicily under the influence of this new dynasty, damaging his chances to recover the island, he decided to act.


On 27 November 1406, Ladislaus declared war on Sicily. Having already concentrated his forces in Reggio, he started crossing the Straits of Messina with ten thousand men, while his navy made sure the Sicilian ships won’t block their crossing of the strait, by attacking them in the Port of Palermo. Joined by a Castilian fleet, the Neapolitans defeated the Sicilians, blockading them in Palermo. In December Ladislaus reached Messina, where he left a small force to besiege the city and dispatched another one to capture Syracuse, while he took the bulk of the army and advanced towards the capital of Palermo with only eight thousand men. The Sicilians decided to cut off Ladislaus’ march and met him in the Battle of Cefalu on the 1st of February 1407. Outnumbering their opponents by almost two thousand men, the Sicilians won the day and forced the Neapolitan King to turn back.




With the Sicilians on his trails and not capable to return to Calabria, since the force left to capture Messina didn’t succeeded yet, Ladislaus decided to make a final stand. On 10 March, he carefully chose a good defensive position near Torrenova, on the right bank of the Rosmarino River, where he would meet the Sicilians the next day. Outnumbered and low on morale, because of his earlier defeat at Cefalu, Ladislaus was in a tight spot. He carefully arranged his forces, with his right flank supported on the Tyrrhenian and his left one backed by a tall hill. Facing the Rosmarino River, which during the summer is almost dry, but during the spring reaches it’s biggest level, his center was entirely composed by his experienced infantry. In the centre and on the left flank, on higher elevations Ladislaus positioned his archers and crossbowmen, while the cavalry was composing most of the right flank.


At the first stroke of light the Sicilian army was becoming visible on the horizon, across the Rosmarino River. The Sicilians, confident of their superiority didn’t hesitate to much and launched the offensive. As they were slowly crossing the Rosmarino, from their higher positions the Neapolitans bombarded them with a downpour of arrows and bolts. Crossing the river, faster than the infantry, the Sicilian cavalry launched a reckless attack against the strong Neapolitan centre where the Neapolitan infantry was bulked. The Sicilian charge failed almost immediately as the strong Neapolitan line held tight together. The Sicilian cavalry retreated, but Ladislaus gave order to his cavalry, positioned on his right flank to stay put, as he feared a fake retreat of the Sicilians, but when the retreating horsemen were clogged by their own infantry, still trying to cross the Rosmarino, it became clear for everyone that Ladislaus had won the day. He ordered his cavalry to deliver a swift charge, followed by an all out attack by his infantry. Before noon, the Sicilians were routing and Ladislaus was looking proudly over the battlefield, enjoying his succes. More than four thousand Sicilians died in the battle, while the Neapolitans lost only six hundred men.




The Sicilians regrouped though, and Ladislaus had to pursue them around the island to prevent them to reorganize their army. Four more battles were fought, at Paterno (1 April), Nicosia (May), Roccalumera (7 June) and Giarre (16 June), at the end of which the Neapolitans had crushed all open opposition within Sicily, proceeding on besieging the main cities of the island. Also in May, the Neapolitan fleet blockading Palermo withdrawn out of sight from the coast, luring the Sicilian navy out of the port. The Neapolitans then struck, defeating the Sicilians, in a naval battle in which a Castilian fleet also participated. Mary of Sicily was besieged by Ladislaus in Palermo, the capital of Sicily soon became the only city which didn’t willingly surrendered to the Neapolitans, Syracuse (on 1 January 1408), Messina, Catania, Ragusa, Agrigento and Marsala all surrendering before the 1st of April.




In January Castile accepted Carlos de Avis as King of Aragon, but took in exchange Alicante. England did the same thing in June, taking Roussillon, the only Aragonese province across the Pyrenees, a province that could prove useful for the English in the Hundred Years War. On 14 June a small Neapolitan detachment stormed Malta, capturing Mdina in only eight days but as the Neapolitan fleet was trying to bring this detachment back on the mainland, a superior Aragonese fleet attacked them. The strong Aragonese fleet was until now blockaded in Valencia and Barcelona by the stronger Castilian, Portuguese or English fleets, but now, as the war of succession was over, the new king, Carles I de Avis, was trying to bring Sicily back in the Aragonese sphere. Mary of Sicily, now an aging widow promised the young Carles her hand and her kingdom if the King would relieve Sicily of the Neapolitan invasion. The Aragonese fleet won the Battle of Malta, ending Naples’ naval dominance in this conflict. The Neapolitan ships retreated to Syracuse, leaving two thousand Neapolitan soldiers isolated in Malta. In the Italian mainland, because of the Neapolitan’s army continued absence and excessive taxation on the peasantry, several small peasant revolts sprung in the beginning of 1408 but by summer, due to being unopposed they merged their forces. After burning down the castles and domains of several barons, the rebels laid siege on Taranto in July and in August on Naples itself.




The tide of the war seemed to turn against Ladislaus, whose siege of Palermo seemed to drag on forever as he was no longer able to blockade it’s port and the Aragonese were supplying the city by sea, but on 21 August Mary of Sicily died, probably of consumption, at 44 years old. Although they weren’t married yet, and no such document existed, Carles I of Aragon claimed that Mary had named him as her successor and started to prepare an invasion of Sicily. The population of Palermo, without a queen to rally them and tired of the long siege finally opened the gates of the city for Ladislaus on 1 September. The King of Naples entered the city and proclaimed the reunification of the old Kingdom of Sicily, becoming the first king since Charles I, the founder of his dinasty, to rule both Southern Italy and the Island of Sicily.




The situation wasn’t at all that favorable for Ladislaus, though. Facing an imminent Aragonese invasion in Sicily and an open peasant revolt in Southern Italy, the King had to act quick. He appealed to his old friend and ally, Henry III of Castile who agreed to help him. Henry III threatened Carles I to renounce his claims on Sicily or Castile will invade Aragon. In no position to fight a land war against his stronger neighbor, Carles agreed and made peace with Ladislaus giving up his claims on Sicily. Satisfied, the King of Naples gathered his forces and left Sicily, returning to the Italian mainland to suppress the peasant’s rebellion. By Christmas Day, 1408, Ladislaus crushed all rebel forces. In the spirit of the upcoming Holy Day, Ladislaus strengthened his cognomen “the Magnanimous” by granting amnesty to all the rebel peasants which weren’t killed in battle.


 
Last edited:

Ashantai

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Great update, despite some defeats and roadblocks you triumphed! Well done.
 

Paraipan

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really nicely written ... and you are establishing a powerful kingdom in Southern Italy

Hopefully my kingdom will encompass more than Southern Italy soon.

Great update, despite some defeats and roadblocks you triumphed! Well done.

Actually this is why I decided to make an AAR about this game. Usually in my EU3 games I somehow manage to win every battle and steamroll every rival, but in this one there were enough setbacks so the game would actually resemble a plausible history.


And thank you both for stopping by and commenting on this AAR.
 

damienreave

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This is excellent. Great background and personalities for the characters. I love it! Historical plausibility at its best.

Also great to see more D&T AARs.
 

Estonianzulu

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Excellent work, good thing you had Castillian aid, fighting off another foreign invasion with revolts in your backfield would not have been fun
 

Paraipan

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This is excellent. Great background and personalities for the characters. I love it! Historical plausibility at its best.

Also great to see more D&T AARs.

Excellent work, good thing you had Castillian aid, fighting off another foreign invasion with revolts in your backfield would not have been fun

Thanks!

And yeah, Death and Taxes is one of the best mods, can't wait for the official 4.0. I just hope it will be save compatible with the alpha version, on which I am playing this game.

The Castilian aid was only ficition, it didn't happened in game. Actually I offered Burgundy, the leader of the alliance, 25 ducats and they accepted, removing a Burgundian-Polish-Aragonese coalition off my back. I thought that wouldn't make much sense in the context of the story and appealed to the Napoletano-Castilian friendship, which was already mentioned in the beggining of the chapter.