Chapter I - Setting the Stage
The Kingdom of France has been ruled by the House of Capet since the late 10th century when Hugh Capet rose to the throne of France. Roughly three hundred years later, Phillip IV became king of France. His predecessors all failed to unite the French lands and the English King Edward II Plantagenet was still Duke of Aquitaine.
In 1310 France was everything but unified - Anjou, Armagnac, Auvergne, Bourbonnais, Burgundy, Foix, Orleanais, and Berry had all sworn their allegiance to Phillip IV but it was rumored that the Duke of Burgundy was making plans to eventually break free.
Dauphine had joined the Holy Roman Empire, which was ruled by the Count of Luxembourg. Phillip IV knew that reconquer the Dauphine was only possible by facing the Emperor on the battlefield.
On New Years' Day of 1310, Phillip IV met with his small council, composed of bureaucrat Joseph de Siroac, diplomat Jules de La Monthe and army reformer Louis Francois de Luynes to discuss the Flemish threat. The small council advised the King to expand the standing army by 4.000 crossbowmen and furthermore, it was agreed to conduct a spy mission in Picardie in order to connect Calais with Caux by direct land connection but since the Flemish were allied with the despised English war was not an option for the moment.
The French Aristocracy was powerful and quite influential and provided the kingdom with better cavalry units. Aristocrats also believed that they were natural leaders (+1 leader without upkeep, +10% cavalry combat ability, -10% cavalry cost, -10% national manpower modifier
). Some of the leading noble families had good ties with the crowns of Aragon and Austria, which led to new alliances.
Francois, Phillip IV's new-born son, was the heir of the throne but because the king was already 41 years old, he made plans for a potential regency and decided that Pierre La Porte, his old friend and archbishop of Reins, should rule in the name of Francois until he comes of age. News spread through Western Europe that Bremen was elected leader of the Hanseatic Union.
A Scottish courier from Edinburgh arrived in Paris informing the small council that King Robert I of House Bruce had guaranteed the independence of France. The small council was most amused by this and wondered what intentions King Robert I had.
Plans were made to go to war against Provence/Naples and so two envoys were sent to Barcelona and Wien to enquiry whether they would support the just and noble French cause. The envoys returned home with good news and war was declare in mid February. General de Castaing led the royal army which attacked marched on Marseille and Avignon - the Pope joined the war on the defensive side.
The influential aristocracy demanded that one of their own should be appointed as judge of Toulouse. Phillip IV was tired of their constant demands and decided it was better to let the people vote, which greatly reduced the aristocratic power in Toulouse. After the siege of Avignon was won, a peace treaty was signed in Firenze with the Pope in exchange for 47 ducats.
The war with Naples was going well - by February of 1313 all of Provence was occupied but the Neapolitan king refused to accept the French terms for peace. In the meantime, Habsburg troops were making progress and laid siege on Napoli after occupying Pescara and L'Aquila. Trinacrian forces were pushing towards Napoli from the south and took Calabria.
After more than three years of war, peace was made with Naples. Toulon and Marseille were returned to their rightful owner - Anjou.
In a small council meeting, Siorac pointed out that the stability level of certain provinces could be higher and therefore he proposed a new policy which aimed at increase stability (Increase Stability policy was enacted
de La Mothe published a manual called The Blue Book which explained how to improve relations with foreign countries more efficiently.
Phillip IV was still upset that his predecessors never reconquered Lyon and so he declared war on Dauphine in the January of 1315. He made an alliance with Castile because he knew that the Holy Roman Emper was going to take over leadership.
And it happened as he had predicted.
Orleanais and Bourbonnais both sent messengers to Paris to ask the small council that appoint a regional governor in their respective counties.
The French army occupied most Brittany by 1317 and in a separate peace Armor, Brest and Tregor were incorporated into the Kingdom. General Castaing led an army to Dauphine, which had previously lost its entire army. Soon Lyon, Gap and Bourg were occupied. The siege of Grenoble proved to be much more difficult because the city was located in the Alps. After suffering high attrition for over 750 days, the city watch at last raised the white flag and opened the city gates.
Henri VII, Holy Roman Emperor, realized that the war was lost and accepted the Phillip IV's demands to return Bourg, Lyon, Grenoble and Gap to France. The country was at peace again and the King was advised to remain at peace for a few years because the people were tired of war (war exhaustion is 4.16 and manpower pool is depleted
). News spread from the British Isles that Scotland had conquered most of Ireland.
Joseph de Siorac hired a cartographer to draw a map of Western Europe and Northern Africa. Once completed, de Siorac gave the map to Philip IV. The King was pleased with the state of the world - only the Austrians were worrying him. Frederich von Habsburg, King of Austria, became also King of Bohemia.
To be continued...