fabiolundiense

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THE CROWN OF GOOD KING WENCESLAUS



Greetings, loyal gamers ! Welcome to my very first AAR in EU4. As my signature shows, I’m much more of a CKII player. After about 100 hours of gameplay in EU4, I feel brazen enough to start an AAR to chronicle my progress and/or lack thereof.

For the record, I have played as Bosnia and Cyprus, abandoning while the Ottomans were destroying me. I ran away to Thailand (pre-Mandate of Heaven), but after 400 years of gameplay the result was pathetic. Idem as Ethiopia, where my old nemesis the Ottomans eventually caught up with me. Then I tried Burgundy, which wasn’t so disastrous.

This time, my starting nation is the independent Kingdom of Bohemia, member of the HRE. Dateline : 1444. The style of this AAR will be dynastic 3rd-person narrative. Trying to duplicate real-life history does not interest me, an alternative Europe is my reason for playing. (As Burgundy, I did not create the Netherlands.)

My goals for the first 200 years :
— survive
— expand both within and without the HRE, hopefully attaining the Baltic Sea
— develop trade
— become Emperor at least for a couple of generations



I wish you a pleasant reading.
 
Last edited:

fabiolundiense

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BOHEMIA : A NEW DYNASTY, A NEW ERA



The Extraordinary Diet of Prague had attracted crowds to the Royal City like none seen in over a hundred years. An extraordinary assembly for extraordinary times. The previous ruling house of the Most Catholic Kingdom of Bohemia was no more. Rivers of spilled blood had spelled annihilation not only for the erstwhile royal family but for more than one ancient, crest-bearing family. Blood spilled in the name of God, Devil, Honour, Tradition, Blood — all the usual excuses. Every province in the realm could still feel the trauma of the last Hussite War, and the more recently failed Hungarian campaign. The people desired but one thing : peace.


A few surviving families, led by men of unswerving valour and compassion for the suffering of low-born and high-born alike (with perhaps a slight prejudice for the latter) had summoned the surviving peers of the realm to an Extraordinary Diet over the octave of the feast of Saint Martin. For an extraordinary decision had to be made : who was to sit henceforth on the throne of Bohemia ?


The Diet had gone on for over a week already. Everyone possessing a claim to the throne — and many more who only believed they possessed one — had received ample time to defend his claim. The hour had come for an election. Four candidates remained. Four distinguished noblemen had allied themselves through marriage to four Bohemian families. Three were from fellow princely Houses of the Holy Roman Empire, including one from the Elector House of Saxony. The fourth was from outside — a prince of neighbouring Poland.



bohem00a.jpg
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bohem01.jpg



The secret ballots had been cast. The results had been tallied once, twice, and now for the third and last time, to ensure against bribery or fraud.

“Please, holy Mother of God, please, Saint Martin, let them not choose the Bavarian,” whispered Lord Anton Kolowrat, the interim Supreme Chancellor.

“Did you not just now vow to set aside all ancient rivalries, my Lord ?” whispered his nephew Milan who was also his personal secretary.

“Bavaria was never included in that vow,” replied the weary diplomat.

A trumpet sounded. At last, the fate of Bohemia was to be announced.

When the bishop of Plzen, a relation of the royal house of Bavaria, appeared on the balcony of the palatial Castle of Prague, the diplomat could not abstain from sighing with relief. His prayers had been answered.

The new ruling house of Bohemia was the House Jagiellon, the same dynasty as the ruling house of Poland.



~~~​



In virtue of his advanced years, poor hearing and even poorer health, Lord Anton was often granted a private audience with the new King. Despite a vivacious desire to continue in diplomatic service, the diplomat knew that the time to recede into the background was overdue. The new monarch had very graciously, and gently, concurred. Today was to be his last private audience in any official capacity.

He sat — an undue courtesy on which the monarch insisted — on a cushioned fauteuil in no wise inferior in comfort to the royal chair.

“I would not dream of letting you go without hearing from your lips some word of counsel, my Lord.”

“I am ever at your service, Sire.”

King Otokar of Bohemia smiled. Coming from this courageous aristocrat, that clichéd response rang true.

“You know perfectly well what my subjects are saying,” the king went on. “We clamoured for peace, they say, and in nine years of this reign we have had three wars. The first, against a religious order, to further the ambitions of my kinsman in Poland. The second, against a prince of the Empire. Neither of these were our enemies until now. The third, against our own brethren. And they are right, of course.”



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“Have you anything to say in my defence ?” the king asked.

Lord Anton’s eyes flashed with something akin to anger. “The fools !”

“Stay your ire, my Lord. It will get us nowhere.”

Lord Anton sighed. “In sooth. I would much prefer to die happy than angry. My counsel, Sire ? Let them open their eyes to look further than the end of their nose. That religious order — warrior knights ! — is of another age. Their uselessness surpasses even their wealth. I say again what I have said before : the sooner Your Majesty laid claim and took possession of the lands of the Teutonic Knights, the better.”

King Otokar chuckled. “The Elector of Brandenburg would sooner have my head !”

”Remind your subjects, Sire, that the Pope thinks no ill of your decision. Indeed, we now have a Cardinal in Rome, a fact your critics cannot ignore. The Ansbach affair was unfortunate. A trap set by the jealous Bavarian to abuse of his alliance with you to further his own ambitions — which include, as Your Majesty has heard me repeat a thousand times, putting himself on the throne of Bohemia in your stead. But you turned that trap to the advantage of the Crown, reaping war compensation for the peasants, let them not forget. As for the Hussites, there will never be peace in Bohemia for as long as they breathe. That successful war brought us closer to deliverance than we have ever been before.”



bohem03.jpg

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“The end justifies the means ?”

”Let them not forget either that Bohemia has risen to heights of prestige unknown in the memory of any alive today. Our traditional enemy Hungary will always hate us passionately. The King of Denmark now considers us worthy to count as a rival in both arms and trade. Your Majesty’s rule has effectively unearthed and banished all corruption from the Court. No one in the Empire can say the same. And our fighting men have never been so well equipt or well trained — which explains all the aforesaid.”



bohem07.jpg

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The two men sat in silence for a while, the only sound in the room being Lord Anton’s laboured breathing. At last, the king rose and pulled on a silk cord.

“That nephew of yours,” he murmured, “is he trustworthy ?”

“Your Majesty may trust him as far as I do myself. And I have always abided by the maxim that one is never so well betrayed than by one’s own kin.”

King Otokar smiled again. “What did I do to deserve a minister as wise as you ? God keep you well, Your Grace.”

Lord Anton bowed.



~~~​



Over the next few years, King Otokar’s government continued much in the same vein. The only difference, as he explained once or twice to a select privy council, was that he conceded the fact that the great majority of men reckon their worth in terms of quantity more readily than in quality. For that reason, the Treasury was instructed to spend liberally when it came to building more roads, more churches, more marketplaces, more military outposts. In return, he expected more taxes, and hence more income. In one domain alone did he never swerve from a policy of prudence : the conquest of more territory.

In the fourteenth year of his reign, the Emperor passed away. A Diet was convened in neutral Hamburg to elect the new Emperor. King Otokar arrived with a suite of ministers, valets and secretaries, more than half of which were drawn from the upper echelons of the Bohemian bourgeoisie. A few noble cavaliers and their squires were also permitted to accompany him. In exchange for this honour, they were instructed, upon pain of treason, not to have commerce with any member of the suites of Bavaria, Brandenburg, or the Palatinate.

“Sire, will they not perceive such behaviour as an insult ?”

“For every one that does,” said the king, “four more will take it as an offence if you do speak to them.”

The nobles, outraged that the king had preferred to surround himself with low-born city-dwellers rather than well-established Houses, were at first astounded and then excited that, in the first day of the Diet, their ”upstart” Jagiellon monarch already commanded the support of two Electors. In the end, the Electors decided to grant anew the mission of overlord to the Habsburgs of Austria.



bohem09.jpg



But problems, once solved, have a tendency to return, as weeds in a garden. The lax manners bred of habit brought a return of underhanded dealings, bribes, corruption. The Treasury suffered, but few seemed to take notice. The Cardinal of Prague was brought into the Royal Council, in the hopes that his presence would improve the morals of the rest of the Court.



bohem11.jpg



In 1462, after a year of planning, Bohemian troops marched into Bamberg. The Count of Wurzburg objected vehemently, but was forced to recognise the de facto annexation of Bamberg by the Bohemian Crown. No ambassador from the Court of Emperor Leopold VIII appeared on the horizon with a letter of protest. Bohemia’s courtiers soon understood why. Their Bavarian ally had been behaving with ever-growing belligerence towards all his neighbours — except Bohemia. When Augsburg was invaded and annexed in 1465, the Germanic princes had had enough. Emperor Leopold threw down the gauntlet and marched into Munich.

“Your Majesty’s troops await their orders, Sire,” Otokar’s Chief Commander announced.

“Enhance the border patrols, Count Wilfred, but let no one cross over.”

“Sire ?”

“As of this day we are no longer allied with Bavaria. Let them reap alone the rewards of their unbridled greed.”

The conflict lasted the better part of five years. In the end, Bavaria was utterly humiliated. All the provinces she had annexed were restored to independence. Otokar’s success in keeping Bavaria close when necessary, and far when critical, earned him much esteem throughout the Empire. Consequently, his proposal to pass a statute authorising Hussites and other heretics to be burned at the stake was passed unanimously.



bohem12.jpg

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But not everyone praised Otokar’s line of conduct with his former ally Bavaria. The Elector of Saxony saw fit to despatch a letter of outrage to Otokar, choosing even not to abstain from slander and insult.

At the news of the contents of this missive, the instincts of the old nobility flared. His Majesty cannot possibly forgive Saxony’s behaviour.

”Forgive them I can, and I do,” replied the King. ”But fail to retaliate, that we cannot do. Saxony shall learn that forgiveness goes hand in hand with superiority.”



bohem15.jpg



Whereupon an embassy found its way to the pompous Court of Vienna, where a contract of marriage was accepted, uniting a princess of Bohemia with the Imperial Family of Austria. Simultaneously, Otokar marched his troops into Wurzburg’s sister province of Nuremberg. Emperor Leopold made no objection to its annexation by Bohemia. Outmanoeuvred, Saxony decided to cool her temper. The Papal Court, itself allied with the Emperor, sent signals that it was not displeased with the House of Jagiellon in Bohemia. In 1473, the new Bohemian bishop of Nuremberg — re-baptised Norimberk — was created Cardinal. So much good fortune falling Bohemia’s way threw the Elector of Brandenburg into despair.

”Next, he will imagine himself succeeding to the Imperial Crown !” he roared.

King Otokar had reigned over Bohemia for nearly thirty years.



bohem16.jpg

bohem17.jpg


~~~​
 

Asantahene

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Well I'm always up for a @fabiolundiense AAR even if an EUIV one so count me in! What are your strategic aims my king? You seem to have made a strong start amongst the complex dealings of various European courts
 

volksmarschall

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EUIV is wonderful, better than CK2 :p

And Bohemia, such a great nation to choose, with so much potential too!
 

fabiolundiense

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Well I'm always up for a @fabiolundiense AAR even if an EUIV one so count me in! What are your strategic aims my king? You seem to have made a strong start amongst the complex dealings of various European courts

Hi there, good to "see" you here, Asantahene ! :)
Hmm, my strategic aims ? Not an easy question, I'm afraid. I'm still learning the possibilities. My head reels from the fact that in just 40 yrs of gameplay I've already had to break two of my four alliances.
I like the idea of establishing colonies, but here I am without access to the sea. If I can get to the Baltic, there might be some chance.
Become Emperor ? That would certainly help ! But having to grovel before all those other Electors ? Ugh :rolleyes:

EUIV is wonderful, better than CK2 :p
And Bohemia, such a great nation to choose, with so much potential too!

Greetings, mein Herr ! As said above, I'm still learning the ropes. Just discovered that the Hussites will disrupt everything and I'll have to massacre every last one of them. So messy :-o

I like your writing style! I will be watching for sure. :)

Greetings, Le Pix ! And thank you kindly ! There should be another post by the week-end :)
 

botho

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Subbed! Nice writing style indeed. Maybe use closer up screenshots of the map as well? I don't know exactly where Bamberg and Nuremberg are, and I was constanly thinking 'did that give him a border province to a new nation'.

Anyway, good luck ! I'm never bothered into becoming Emperor. I always ally the Emperor, I never become Elector though. And I leave whenever I feel confident enough to up my government.
I do hate Bohemia though! They always put up a fight
 

stnylan

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Off to a suitably bellicose start.
 

fabiolundiense

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Subbed! Nice writing style indeed. Maybe use closer up screenshots of the map as well? I don't know exactly where Bamberg and Nuremberg are, and I was constanly thinking 'did that give him a border province to a new nation'.
Anyway, good luck ! I'm never bothered into becoming Emperor. I always ally the Emperor, I never become Elector though. And I leave whenever I feel confident enough to up my government.
I do hate Bohemia though! They always put up a fight

Greetings, Parabool ! Thanks for subscribing ! I'll try to remember to include more map shots (it's a habit I haven't acquired yet).
All the HRE mechanics are a bit involved. Bohemia is an Elector, but that isn't why I chose to play that country. I chose it simply because it was neither a super-power nor a banana republic :D

Off to a suitably bellicose start.

I finally figured out that it's a good idea to annex something early in the game. Before the AI allies all the super-powers against you ! :mad:
 

fabiolundiense

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Florence, Constantinople, Paintings and Books
1477 - 1502



At this time, King Otokar betook himself south to the sunnier climes of Florence and Rome where he sojourned for nearly four years. One notable benefice deriving from this prolonged absence was the introduction of exquisite works of Italian painting and sculpture to Bohemia. Masterworks from Tuscany were already very much à la mode in Vienna and even in Munich. Architects, engineers and painters began flocking to Prague to embellish the aspect of the capital city’s churches and squares. They found ample inspiration for decorating chapels and salons both following the beatification of a Jagiellon princess, Agnes of name. Consumed with envy, the nobles houses of Bavaria disgraced themselves by publishing pamphlets of increasing hostility towards their former ally.



bohem18.jpg


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Aesthetics, however, in no wise lulled King Otokar into neglecting the fine art of military discipline and the machinery of conquest. Upon his return to Prague in 1478, the king so increased exercises and the tactical precision of the royal regiments that, in a matter of years, the soldiery of Bohemia became renowned throughout the Empire as a body of unequalled valour.

They were soon to prove themselves worthy of their reputation.



bohem21.jpg



The rulership of the Habsburg emperor had ceased to inspire confidence amongst his subjects, even amongst the Germanic princes. Tensions only increased when the emperor’s health began to decline. King Otokar deployed an army of ambassadors to gather support for the Palatine Elector as successor to the Imperial Crown. Saxony took umbrage at this initiative. In 1482, the Saxon nobleman who had married into a Bohemian ancient family passed away. By tacit mutual agreement, the pact of non aggression that marriage had implied was forgotten.

In the spring of 1484, after a reign of four and twenty years, Leopold VIII von Habsburg passed away. Three months later, in the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare in Ravenna, the Palatine Elector was chosen as head of the Empire.

Immediately upon his return to Prague, Otokar led his fighting men into Saxony.

Despite a prolonged winter and miserable fighting conditions, Bohemia showed the world that forgiveness did indeed go hand in hand with superiority. In September 1485, the Saxon Elector sued for peace. Bohemia annexed the province of Saxony and received war damages.

The following spring, King Otokar passed away. It was the forty-second year of his magnificent reign.



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~~~​



He was succeeded by his son Jirí, a prince who had played an important role in bringing the realm’s fighting force up to excellent standards. His sense of repartee and perceptive mind had also made a most favourable impression on the ministers at Court.

His ascension to the throne was, however, immediately followed by controversy.

“I am accused of what ?” he cried.

“There is no accusation whatsoever, Altezza,” replied Monsignore Umberto da Forlí, the Papal Legate who had appeared at Court two days earlier. “Certain documents have reached the attention of His Holiness whose precise interpretation is much subject to debate.”

“Other documents in my possession, on the contrary,” retorted Jirí, “reveal none too clearly that Their Graces of Saxony and Bavaria are conspiring against the throne of Bohemia ! The word Crusade was employed. To my knowledge, Monsignore, Crusades are waged only against Infidels !”

“It is common knowledge, Altezza, that Hussite heretics were once strong in this kingdom. His Holiness would be greatly distressed if it were reported that they continue to propagate their senseless doctrines.”

At length, it was decided that an auto-da-fé would be celebrated in Prague, during which fifty or sixty suspected Hussites would be burned at the stake. When invited to light the first pyre himself, Monsignore da Forlí declined.



bohem24.jpg

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At the same time, the new Habsburg prince sparked his own wars of conquest, causing Jirí’s ministers to entertain second thoughts about the wisdom of their alliance with Austria.

“He is exercising his right, my Lords,” said Jirí. “The Italian dukes, and Venice in particular, have for too long flaunted their disregard for the authority of the emperor. Besides, the Doge of Venice has been excommunicated. He is unfit to rule.”



bohem25.jpg



A minor crisis occurred during the summer of 1492. After reigning less than eight years, the emperor passed away. A Diet was convened in Potsdam. Thanks to Jirí’s diligent diplomacy, the Palatine Elector was chosen to carry on the mission of safeguarding the Empire. The Habsburg prince, deprived of the imperial crown for a second time, demonstrated his displeasure by invading Alsace, which he annexed without eliciting a murmur from the newly elected emperor. At Court, Jirí continued to make excuses for his overly zealous ally.

“We have not been called to assist in these Habsburg aggressions, my Lords. For that we can be nothing but grateful. Furthermore, the longer we have Austria on our side, the better the chances that he will not negotiate a Royal Marriage with Hungary.”

For Hungary, Bohemia’s implacable foe, was known to be courting the Viennese in view of forming what Jirí could only imagine as a most diabolical alliance.

“So be it, Sire,” the Supreme Chancellor replied, “for the time being. But Austria and Bavaria are birds of a same feather. Birds of prey, to be precise. Beware, lest they hunger after Your Majesty’s demesnes !”



bohem26.jpg

bohem27.jpg



Subsequent developments reflected the volatile nature of relations between princes of the Empire, and indeed between the ancient families of Bohemia, so imbued with the sense of their own nobility, and so jealous of privileges that had long ceased to be relevant in the changing world. Nonetheless, it came as a shock when the Emperor, whom Jirí had intrigued to put on the Imperial Throne, allowed it to be understood that Bohemia, in his eyes, had fallen into disgrace.

“The Devil take the Palatine scum !” exclaimed Jirí.

“Fortunately, Sire, our ambassador to the Court of Denmark can boast of happier events. Relations between our two kingdoms are much improved.”

Diplomacy on the home front pressed further ahead. For the king had found a way to consolidate his position amongst the peers of the realm by flattering their sense of importance. He decreed that they should enjoy the privilege of electing their monarch, and not only when the throne became vacant. (What would happen to any squire who refused to endorse the election of a Jagiellon prince remained politely vague.)



bohem28.jpg


bohem29.jpg



The king’s preoccupation with the nobility led him to fall slightly afoul of the more enterprising bourgeoisie. As a further sign of the Royal Family’s precedence, he had commissioned a brilliant Bohemian architect to turn the king’s residence in Prague into the Eighth Wonder of the World. Funding for the sprawling new wings came from increased taxes. But the artisans threatened revolt, and Jirí was obliged to recognise that he needed the backing of the merchant class as much as he needed the nobility. Taxes were reduced. Then Jirí won back their full respect when he announced that Bohemia would sustain her calling as patron of the world-renowned School of Florence, and that local artists could apply for aid in pursuing their training at the feet of Florentine Masters. The incident of the taxes was immediately forgotten, and the life of Jirí’s father, King Otokar of Bohemia, became the stuff of legend.



bohem30.jpg


bohem32.jpg



Meanwhile, the incessant quibbling amongst the German princes contrived to play into Jirí’s dreams of expansion. The Elector Prince-Archbishop of Mainz had declared war on the Count of Wurzburg. Lacking sufficient soldiery in his service, the Prince-Archbishop later settled for a White Peace. Jirí made his move immediately thereafter. Without giving Wurzburg any time to recover, he marched his men into that province in the spring of 1497. The Count capitulated, thus allowing Bohemia to annex the last remaining province of the Duchy of Franconia.

Not surprisingly, the Emperor saw fit to demand the restoration of the Count to his rightful demesne. Jirí despatched a succinct note to the emperor inviting him to drop the matter, lest Bohemia withdraw its support for the Palatinate at the next imperial election.



bohem31.jpg

bohem31b.jpg


bohem33.jpg




~~~​



“The Duke of Silesia, Sire,” the castle major domo intoned.

“Show him in, Wojtec,” sighed Jirí.

The Duke of Silesia, nominal head of Bohemia’s vassal territory on the border with Poland, rushed into the audience chambre.

“Your Majesty ! Something must be done immediately ! The hordes of refugees — no respect for privilege or good manners ! They’re eating us out of house and home —”

“A good day to you too, Your Grace,” replied Jirí. “No respect for good manners, did you say ?”

“None whatso — oh !” The Duke took a hold of himself and bowed silently.

“And how goes our loyal Silesian Guard, Your Grace ?”

“The Silesian Guard ? Very well indeed, Sire, if I may say so myself. They are the talk of the entire —”

“Excellent. I know all about the refugees from Constantinople, my Lord. It seems that the Turks have allowed them to escape with many priceless objects, notably some very ancient and holy manuscripts. And some pagan ones too.”

“Really ?”

“I trust you have nearly finished making an extensive inventory of this fabulous treasure that Heaven has graciously accorded us ? Bohemia’s destiny as a pillar of wisdom, beauty and science rests in your hands, my Lord.”

“Inventory ? I — well, that is — I was not —”

“Excellent ! You have the King’s permission to spend lavishly on the safekeeping of this legacy,” said Jirí, pulling on a nearby silken cord. The major domo appeared at the door.

“A propos, Your Majesty, the cost of feeding all these —”

“Pray excuse me, my Lord, but pressing matters await me. Those uneducated Magyars have declared war on the Turk. Heaven only knows how many priceless manuscripts they will destroy in their lust for silver and gold. Meanwhile, the Habsburgs have annexed Salzbourg, and Brandenburg is ravishing what remains of Saxony. Sad times for the civilised world, Your Grace !”



bohem34.jpg


bohem35.jpg



In a different room not very far from the audience chambre, where not even the major domo was admitted, Jirí conferred with an untitled man whom he placed in much higher esteem than the Duke of Silesia.

“You are sure of this ?”

“Less than three thousand of the king’s men-at-arms remain around Pest, Majesty,” the man replied lowly. “Whereas the Bosnian rebels have already reached four times that number.”

“Then the plan shall proceed.”

Two leather pouches, each containing a hundred ducats, exchanged hands. Not that Jirí pitied the plight of the Bosnian people oppressed by their Magyar overlords. It was the neighbouring Slovaks he was interested in. With Hungary fighting the Ottomans, and Bosnian rebels honing in on them from the rear, it was Jirí’s hope that he would be able to liberate, little by little, his Slovakian neighbours, and welcome them, like the Byzantine refugees, to fair and prosperous Bohemia, together with the lands that were rightfully theirs.



bohem36.jpg




~~~​
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Well now this is interesting. Jiri has been mostly patient, but now he makes a move.
 

Asantahene

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A most cunning...and underhand move. I'd be nervous about your emperor though my lord-he likes you not
 

fabiolundiense

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Well now this is interesting. Jiri has been mostly patient, but now he makes a move.

He may look like a stagnating pond, but his ambitions run deep ;)


A most cunning...and underhand move. I'd be nervous about your emperor though my lord-he likes you not

Believe me, I am ! I don't believe the scum will ever like me for expanding the Empire. (He's probably terrified of me, deep down.) :D
 

stnylan

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He may look like a stagnating pond, but his ambitions run deep ;)
I am so going to have to steal that expression for use sometime. Stagnating pond! Brilliant.
 

fabiolundiense

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FOR LOVE OF GOLD
1502 - 1518



Heinrich, by the grace of God Prince-Archbishop of Utrecht, to
His Holiness Paul, Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome, greetings.
As it was in the beginning of the New Creation, so it is now, and
alas may be forever until the blessed day of the Parousia. The
men of this world appear to prefer darkness to light, death to life !
Everywhere we turn, we hear tales of war, plunder, greed, lust
for short-lived riches and contempt for the mores and wisdom
of the ages that have gone before. This Holy Roman Empire sets
a sorry example to the rest of the universe. What used to be a
fellowship of over forty Christian princes may soon be reduced
to a band of murderous usurpers. For that reason, it may be just
as well if their number were to fall from forty to less than thirty.
The Duke of Saxony, once a proud knight of illustrious pedigree
is now a homeless vagrant, bereft of his rightful lands and titles
by an insatiable Marquess of Brandenburg. Equally heinous is the
suffering the King of Bohemia mercilessly inflicts on our faithful
Hungarian brothers. Adding hypocrisy to injury, he dares to style
himself the ”Liberator of Slovakia.” Let His Holiness not be duped
by such flagrant untruths. But perhaps the worst example of all
comes from black sheep spawning within the very bosom of Our
Saviour’s holy Church ! Some vulgar monk in the district of Cleves,
professing humility but in fact consumed with vanity and self-
importance, has found no better occupation than to use his pulpit
to breed malevolence against the teachings of Christ….




bohem37.jpg



Jirí put down the letter that his Spymaster had intercepted. He didn’t mind being accused of hypocrisy by a lowly prince-archbishop. Rome was being flooded with letters of more or less identical wording, everyone denouncing everyone else, accusing their neighbours of crimes of which they themselves were guilty a hundred times over. What irritated him more was that a copy of the letter had been sent to the Emperor. He was sure there was an undercurrent of intrigue somewhere. The question was, did it merit some tactic of counter-measure ?

He decided that the answer was no. The war against Hungary was going well. Pinned between the Ottomans to the south and the Bosnian rebels to their north, the Hungarian soldiery found it no easy task to repel Bohemia’s fighting men.

It was with great satisfaction that, three years later, he negotiated peace with Hungary whereby the Slovakian province of Érsekújvár left Hungary to become part of Bohemia. By curious coincidence, it was around the same time that Jirí understood the nature of the intrigue between Utrecht and the Palatinate. In November of 1505, the emperor elevated the gossipy prince-archbishop to the dignity of Elector.



bohem38.jpg


bohem39.jpg



“If the Prince-Archbishop of Utrecht can be bought by the emperor,” he speculated, “there is no reason to suppose he cannot be bought by me as well.”

Some misfortunes, however, are to be blamed not on the intrigues of one’s enemies but on one’s own foolishness. Such was the case of the scandalous habits of the Cardinal Archbishop of Prague. A life of luxury and less-than-honourable financial transactions could not remain hidden from the public indefinitely.

“The Cardinal has been exiled to the island of Stromboli,” reported Jirí’s Chancellor Chancellor.

“Good riddance,” said Jirí. “Confiscate his horses and his new carriage. They are surely worth no small fortune.”

But the impact of the Cardinal’s disgrace went further than anyone expected. Fifteen months later, an entire province on the border with Brandenburg declared their adherence to the “protesting” or “reformed” church.

At the time, no one could have foreseen the devastating effect this event would have on the entire continent.



bohem40.jpg


bohem41.jpg




~~~​



After reigning three-and-twenty years, King Jirí passed away peacefully in the spring of 1509. He was succeeded by his son Václav. Many at Court would have preferred to see the crown of Bohemia pass to Jirí’s grandson, a youth of wondrous vigour, intellect and assiduity in matters of government. But Václav the Fifth saw no need to satisfy his courtiers on that count. Before many months had passed, however, the new king had painted himself into an administrative corner. He was obliged to affix the Royal Seal on a new Constitution for Municipalities, whereby local aristocrats recovered some of the powers they had lost during the Hussite Wars.

To his credit, he did succeed in restoring the diocese of Prague to its former rank. In 1512, Pope Paul III once again awarded the Cardinal’s hat to the new Archbishop of Prague.



bohem42.jpg


bohem43.jpg


bohem44.jpg



But the Ministers of Bohemia’s government cared little for dramas concerning titles, mitres and seating arrangements at Royal Banquets.

“This new continent discovered in the West attracts the world’s attention more and more, Sire,” the High Steward was saying. “The French, the Portuguese, even the Scots are amassing new riches heretofore undreamed of.”

King Václav burped loudly. “A new continent, crawling with giant spiders, venomous beetles and other such beauties. A most insalubrious place, is it not ?”

“Living conditions are different from ours, as should be expected in a new world. The emperor sees fit to ignore the opportunities that have opened. We feel he shall soon pay heavily this mistake. What says Your Majesty ?”

“Undreamed of riches,” the king murmured. “Gold, I believe.”

“Plenty of it, to be sure.”

King Václav grabbed the crystal cup at his right elbow and threw it on the table before his Ministers, where it shattered into a thousand pieces. “Let the man amongst you who can give Bohemia a coastline, a shipyard, and a sailing fleet worthy enough to carry her flag do so without delay. Otherwise, entertain no more such fantasies. I know where there is gold — much closer to home !”

He was referring to the gold mines of Slovakia, in the regions still controlled by Hungary.

“My Lord of Bamberg !”

Sweating profusely in his seat, the Count of Bamberg, the king’s Marshal, replied : ”Your Majesty.”

“Your report !”

“All commanding officers are presently well-trained in the tactic of deploying invisible sharp shooters, Sire.”

“Hungary ?”

”The king of Hungary has assembled a new army and moved them to the Southern Marches. The Sultan is moving north towards the same area.”

The High Steward gasped. “Is Hungary again going to march to war against the Ottomans ?”

“An air of déjà vu, my Lord ? He who commits the same mistake twice shall pay twice as dearly his folly !” Suddenly, the Council Chambre was filled with King Václav’s laughter.

Three months later, Bohemia’s fighting men invaded Hungarian-controlled Slovakia.



bohem45.jpg


bohem46.jpg



The Ministers, sceptic at first, swallowed their pride at the turn of events. Incredibly, the king of Hungary seemed to have learned nothing from his earlier campaign against the Sultan. Leaving all of the north of his realm undefended, he effectively opened the floodgates to Bohemia. With King Václav himself in the fore, the fighting force swept towards the capital city of Pest. One battle and the city was lost. Six months later, the Castle of Zagreb also fell to Bohemia.

With her allies Poland, Austria and Trier, Bohemia again and again met Hungarian forces, already weakened by their forced return from engagement with the Ottomans. Tens of thousands fell. At long last, after four years of suffering, Hungary capitulated.



bohem47.jpg


bohem50.jpg


bohem51.jpg



The peace treaty that was signed did not award Bohemia the Slovakian gold mines. Curiously, the realm’s own mines suddenly discovered a new, untapped vein. Despite the loss of so many Bohemian youths, the Ministers waxed ecstatic, congratulating their king for his courage and perspicacity.



bohem53.jpg


bohem49.jpg



Apart from a few simple folk in and around Prague, the world seemed oddly indifferent to the acute pain that inflicted the Royal Family at this time. Crown Prince Václav, once so popular, died suddenly in the midst of the Second Slovakian War. Perhaps because he died not on the battlefield, but in the course of a hunting party at a country estate of the Duke of Silesia. It then became apparent to all that the Prince was addicted to pleasure and frivolity, rather than to the more noble and glorious duties of leadership and war. A sumptuous funeral was celebrated for the Crown Prince in the Cathedral of Prague. Prince Jan Peter, the new Heir Presumptive, of whom little was known outside the Court, now found himself the focus of attention.



bohem48.jpg



Alas, misfortune has the habit of striking not once, not twice, but thrice in the same place. The survivors of the war had barely returned to their loved ones when the spectre of the Hussites rose again to spread despair, doubt, and reckless abandon of the straight and narrow path of right.

“People are wondering whether the old beliefs have not been corrupted through age and neglect,” reported Brother Francis, the king’s confessor.

“Only the idle have time for such pointless speculation,” said Václav. “They should be out earning their livelihood.”

Three weeks later, the situation had worsened.

“It has become the latest fashion, at least amongst the country folk, to sit together around a single candle and read from Holy Scripture, Sire,” said Brother Francis.

“Read from Scripture ? Nonsense, Brother, country folk can’t read.”

“Perhaps someone else is reading it to them. A priest from Prague has translated the Good Book into our vernacular tongue.”

”Burn his blasphemous books ! And burn that insolent priest as well.”



bohem54.jpg


bohem55.jpg



King Václav’s orders were carried out to the letter. But they had no hope in stemming the tide that had begun sweeping like a plague over the entire continent. Sadly, the Holy Roman Empire seemed to be the most vulnerable, for it was there that the root of schism took hold most firmly. It spread north to Denmark, and west, even to pious France. Within months, it became clear to Václav that what was at stake was not points of doctrine at all. What was at stake was who would take control of the Church’s purse-strings.

”Perhaps it’s not quite as pointless a question as I thought,” he murmured.



bohem56.jpg




~~~​
 

stnylan

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A more practical way of getting gold it has to be said.
 

Asantahene

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The winds of a new kind of religious fervour are in the air...
 

fabiolundiense

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A more practical way of getting gold it has to be said.

It is definitely one of my goals in this game to get myself a coastal province. At the moment, Hungary appears weak. An offensive down through Croatian territory to the Adriatic looks feasible. But so does an offensive to the north-west where arch-enemy Brandenburg plots evil deeds against me....

The winds of a new kind of religious fervour are in the air...

Grrr, I wish there was another option in this game for dealing with heretics than having to massacre them, then wait a few decades before their religious zeal suddenly disappears :confused:
 

fabiolundiense

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  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
Hussite traditions need to be firmly rooted back into the fold. Long live Luther!

The AI is pushing very heavily in that direction, that's for sure. But the AI that lives in my computer hates me and wants me to die. Ergo, I always go the opposite way the AI wants me to go :D