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ComradeOm

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Okay. Here goes my first AAR. Playing as Kingdom of Cyprus in 1337. Difficulty setting is Normal/Aggressive. Version 1.05 + Improvement Pack 1. My objective is simple: restore a de Lusignan to the throne of Jerusalem. After that we'll see how it goes but I have no interest in expanding unceasingly. As an additional objective I'd like to survive both the Turks and Mongols.

I was inspired to finally write an AAR by Veldmaarschalk's Last Lombard Princes of Italy and had intended to copy the format entirely. Thanks a shorter timeframe and aggressive, Muslim bashing, strategy I've decided to go with a more episodic layout. I'll be keeping the historical perspective even if I can't hope to match the quality of writing :)

As this is my first AAR I'll be welcoming tips and suggestions. In particular feel free to stop me if I get too wordy or start rambling. I'm also certain to get many historical facts/concepts wrong so please correct me.

 
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ComradeOm

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Prologue: Hugues de Lusignan and the Kingdom of Cyprus


The origin of the Kingdom of Cyprus can be traced back to the Third Crusade. This campaign was in turn a result of the disaster at the Battle of Hattin where Guy de Lusignan (1150-1194), King of Jerusalem, lost his kingdom to Saladin. It was during the following crusade (in 1191) that Richard I of England conquered the island while en route to the Holy Land. For the next two years the island would serve as a supply depot and naval base for the campaign in the Levant. After a convoluted series of exchanges Richard finally sold the island to the, now crownless, Guy de Lusignan for the handsome sum of 60,000 gold bezants. The de Lusignan's were nothing if not survivors.

Following Guy's death in 1194, it was his brother Aimery (1145-1205) who accepted the crown of Cyprus from the German Emperor Henry VI in1197. In exchange Cyprus would become one of the first components in Henry's unrealised dream of a Hohenstaufen Mediterranean. For the next several decades the island would thrive as a centre of Latin trade in Outremer.

The seemingly unlikely scenario of a de Lusignan once again ruling Jerusalem came to pass when Hugues III of Cyprus accepted lordship of the rump kingdom in 1267. Combining the two thrones did little to halt the incessant infighting in Levant politics however and the inevitable collapse came after a decade of determined Mamluk campaigning. Henry II could do nothing but provide sanctuary when Acre finally fell in 1291. For the second time in a century a de Lusignan king had lost the Holy Land.


The Eastern Mediterranean in 1337



Hugues de Lusignan
Born 1293 - died 1339
Ruled 1324 - 1339



Hugues IV of Cyprus

Eventually the lordship of both Cyprus and Jerusalem reached Hugues IV who was crowned following the death of his uncle Henry II in 1324. He was to be the first King of Jerusalem never to have ruled on mainland Levant. Unlike his uncle Hugues exhibited little urge to reclaim the lands lost to the Mamluks of Egypt. Indeed the loss of Acre and the Levant had led to the great flourishing of commerce that had turned Cyprus into one of the most important centres of trade in the Eastern Mediterranean. Much of Hugues' efforts were devoted to managing this flow of trade in the face of competing Papal and Italian (primarily Venetian and Genoese) interests.

It was this very lucrative trade that was under threat in 1337 as a series of particularly severe raids on Italian shipping in the region caused wide scale disruption to commerce. The implosion and collapse of the Sultanate of Rum in the mid 13th century had led to the rise of several petty warlords in Anatolia. Almost all of these engaged in piracy to bolster their incomes and they were, over time, slowly strangling trade in the Eastern Mediterranean. The most obvious victims of this were Cyprus, which relied heavily on trade to supplement the meagre income (7 gold bezants) from the island's lands, and the Italian trading houses. Aside from the Italians there was also strong pressure for action from within the Cypriot court with Hugues' son Guy, the kingdom's marshal, actively advocating permanent action be taken.


Southern Anatolia in 1337

Hugues had been a largely passive king who had never taken to the pretence of trying to reconquer Levant. Instead he was content to rule Cyprus rather than engage in the folly of crusades. Furthermore he was acutely aware of the dangers of inciting the mainland Muslims. Peace was maintained through a complex series of constantly shifting alliances and truces. Intervening in Anatolia ran the very serious risk of uniting the various petty Sultans by distracting them from their petty bickering and quarrelling.

However the pressure exerted by both his eager son and the Italians, coupled with deteriorating trade revenues, could not be ignored. In the early months of 1337 Hugues embarked on a tour of Western Europe to try and summon support for a crusade against the Turks. Given the mounting tensions between the kings of England and France and the continuing warfare in Italy it is not surprising that little was achieved from this venture. What crusading enthusiasm could be mustered was directed almost uniformly towards Jerusalem, the Pope would reissue a call to retake the Holy Sepulchre in July, with little attention given to the Turks.

On returning to Cyprus in early 1338 Hugues found himself with little choice but to rely on his own soldiers. His allies the Hospitallers in Rhodes had pledged a small detachment but would not commit the order itself. Despite the eagerness of his son, the onset of an unknown illness delayed Hugues' departure from Limisol until late November 1338. The small navy's destination was the Sultanate of Karaman directly north of the island.


Hugues Lands at Seleukeia

After a short and uneventful voyage Hugues arrived in Seleukeia in the first week of December 1338. There he was met by the combined armies of Saltuk of Karaman who had clearly been warned of the Frankish approach. The armies were evenly matched but eyewitness accounts, admittedly exclusively Christian, attest to the superior skill of the Frankish tactics. The result was a bruising encounter that forced Saltuk to retreat north to the refuge of Ikonion with less than a third of his army intact. Immediately Hugue's forces began to invest the city and, on 5 January, Seleukeia surrendered to the Christians. Four days later Hugues took the decision to march inland. The victory over the dishevelled forces at Ikonion was swift and comprehensive. The fortifications fell less than a month later, on 2 March 1339

This campaign can be differentiated in almost all crusades in the Eastern Mediterranean since 1250 in that it was more than a raid or mere piracy. Contemporary accounts suggest that Hugues was committed, or perhaps resigned, to administrating the new lands as part of his personal demesne. This can only be viewed as a war of conquest. When, in May 1339, Muslim nobles in Seleukeia objected to prolonged infidel rule they were brutally suppressed and forced conversions carried out throughout the province. While stoking anger amongst the neighbouring Muslim lords, these actions, and their success, are indicative of preparations for permanent occupation.


The Kingdom of Cyprus in 1338

By committing Cyprus, however reluctantly, to the occupation of lands in Anatolia, Hugues had passed a major crossroads in the Kingdom's history. The former problem of piracy shrunk into insignificance when compared to the new reality of defending Frankish rule in its new lands. At the same time the campaign, matched by the neighbouring Muslim conquest of Armenia Minor, ensured that Christendom retained a foothold, however tenuous, in Outremer.

On 22 November 1339 Hugues de Lusignan died of his illness, possibly dysentery, aged 46. He was survived by his wife Alice d'Ibelin; sons Guy, Pierre, Jean and Jacques; and daughters Eschive and Marguerite. Hugues was succeeded on the throne by his eldest son and Marshal Guy de Lusignan.

 
Last edited:

Fiftypence

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So Cyprus has a foothold in Anatolia. I suppose the best thing to do now would be to take out those small coastal states to build up the strength to defeat the Ottomans. Also, makes a nice change to see an AAR using the 1337 scenario.
 
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CatKnight

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In principle I agree....best to consolidate the Anatolian coast. Just tell Guy to watch their alliances/vassalages/etc. closely. Cyprus isn't ready to duel the entire Muslim world.

Yet anyway :)

EDIT:
Hugues de Lusignan
Born 1293 - died 1239
Ruled 1324 - 1239
I feel bad for this guy, living his life backwards like this. :)
 
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Veldmaarschalk

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A very ambitious goal you have set yourself.

Hopefully you will succeed.

Where is the CoA of Cyprus based on btw ?
 

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Definitely you will need to look at for opportunities. The problem with toeholds is that their either expand ar get stomped out of existence.

And welcome to the joys of AAR-writing. I hope you have plenty of fun doing so!
 

ComradeOm

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Guy will definitely be looking to expand. The key in this scenario is to build up a powerbase on the mainland before the Muslims decide to wipe you out. I know from experience, this being my second run of this scenario, that such a response is inevitable. So the first few years of Guy's reign will be critical.

CatKnight said:
I feel bad for this guy, living his life backwards like this.
As if being King of Cyprus wasn't difficult already :) Fixed.

Veldmaarschalk said:
Where is the CoA of Cyprus based on btw ?
I was actually wondering about that myself. The crest itself seems to be that of the Hospitallers, who IIRC briefly had their HQ on the island, but I've had no luck in researching this on the internet. Either way it’s a pretty good looking CoA
 

coz1

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A most excellent start, detailed and very clear in the history and action. I am enjoying this one already. And I like the scenario. It seems filled with tension as you try and stay strong. The explanation for moving the capital was perfectly done and I agree that trying to hold the coast and expand from there would be prudent. How large a demesne can the King have? I suspect he'll need all the soldiers he can muster.
 

Veldmaarschalk

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ComradeOm said:
I was actually wondering about that myself. The crest itself seems to be that of the Hospitallers, who IIRC briefly had their HQ on the island, but I've had no luck in researching this on the internet. Either way it’s a pretty good looking CoA
Ah, silly me ! You are using the Improvement Pack and in the IP the kingdom of Cyprus now uses the 'kingdom of Basra' tag and the CoA is the CoA of the kingdom of Basra

The correct historical CoA of the kingdom can be found here

But still the CoA is very cool :cool:
 

ComradeOm

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coz1 said:
How large a demesne can the King have? I suspect he'll need all the soldiers he can muster.
That's the one thing I don't have to worry about. The 14th century bonus (+3) and the kingdom multiplier (x2) mean that my demesne limit is around 12.

Veldmaarschalk said:
Ah, silly me ! You are using the Improvement Pack and in the IP the kingdom of Cyprus now uses the 'kingdom of Basra' tag and the CoA is the CoA of the kingdom of Basra
D'oh! I missed that update.

I think I'll keep the current CoA though. It just looks so damned good :)
 

unmerged(60841)

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Good luck with this, if memory serves the real Lusignan's imploded right around the time the game ends, I hope you can do better- they're an intriguing family.
 
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A fantastic start! A great setting, and your writing is exceptional! Looking forward to the rest. :)
 

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Introducing Guy

Guy de Lusignan
Born 1315 - Died ?
Ruled (1339-?)


Guy II of Cyprus*

When Guy de Lusignan inherited the throne at the age of 24 he was already a veteran of the often vicious Cypriot politics. Always a proud and ambitious child, the tough soldier had risen rapidly to the position of marshal within his father's court and soon commanded one of the most influential factions on the island. Unlike his father he had never been content to rule Cyprus and more than one account of his early life mentions a burning desire to reclaim the throne of Jerusalem. That the Christian kingdom in the Holy Land had been lost by another Guy de Lusignan can only have stoked the young man's ambition. The lure of Jerusalem would prove to be a constant factor, if not the divine guidance that some have made out, in the young king's actions.


The Church Militant, Andrea Bonaiuti, 1365-68
Back Row; Left - Right: Pope Urban V, Emperor Charles IV, Guy II of Cyprus, and Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy.


In the preparations first expedition to Anatolia, in 1338, Guy had proven amongst the most eager for war. He has largely been credited with influencing his father's decision to establish a permanent presence on the mainland. His first act as king (December 1339) was to relocate the royal court to Seleukeia; a daring move considering the precarious state of relations with neighbouring Muslim powers. Their suspicions were probably well founded… even in the early days of his reign Guy clearly planned an aggressive and expansionist policy to relieve his position. He was not unaware that without rapid expansion and solidification there was little to stop the Christians from being swept into the sea… again.

In this regard Guy was almost certainly right. Both the Sultans of Germiyan and Eretnid commanded large hosts and were extremely wary of their new neighbour. The young King desperately needed time for his new lands to recover and begin contributing soldiers to their defence. However this did not preclude any immediate expansion.

Hospitaller Woes (1340 - 1343)​

In April 1340 Guy seized the opportunity presented when Ayaz of Attaleia, Sultan of Tekke, chose to assist the Sultan of Ottoman in his war with the Hospitaller Order in Rhodes. It was not an occasion to be missed. While claiming to be rallying to the defence of the Order, the armies of Cyprus did notably not enter Attaleia until Ayaz's fleet had already left for Rhodes. When word reached the Sultan at sea he desperately reversed his fleet's course in an effort to relieve the siege of his city, which had stubbornly refused to surrender immediately. Despite victory in battle on 28 July the fortifications of Attaleia would not be breached until 29 August, an expensive delay. As with Seleukeia any rebellion from the nobles was ruthlessly dealt with. The Muslim populations of both Attaleia and Ikonion would suffer severe persecution during 1341.


The Tekke Campaign of 1340

While critics of Guy were not particularly impressed by his attempt to relieve the Hospitallers, with many claiming it represented the same self-interest and avarice that had led to the fall of Jerusalem, not even his apologists could put a positive spin on the next news. The conflict over Rhodes had similarly motivated the young Emperor Ioannes Palaiologos of Byzantium to intervene in Anatolia. A series of victories over the Ottomans threatened to return Greek rule across the Bosporus. In response Sultan Orhan had agreed to sign a military alliance with Guy de Lusignan to protect his southern lands, and newly conquered Rhodes. While alliances with Muslim rulers were hardly unusual in Outremer politics this deal was badly tainted by the timing and very recent fate of the Hospitallers.

To Guy however the alliance served one overriding purpose - it stood as a powerful deterrent to the Sultan of Germiyan as Cyprus rebuilt its military after a busy year. In hindsight it proved a shrewd move. When the inevitable Muslim backlash against Cyprus came, as it did in 1341 when Sultan Kılıç of Eretnid attempted to add to his gains in Armenia Minor, the silence of Germiyan ensured the survival of Cyprus and its new gains. This war was brief, lasting from September to December 1342, but bloody with thousands left dead on the fields of Tarsos. Following the Turkish declaration of war Guy had seized the initiative by attacking before Kılıç could muster his vastly larger, by a magnitude of 5-1, armies. Many Muslims would later lament Kılıç's decision to settle for peace when in such a position of strength. Apart from the resultant truce the war achieved nothing for either side.

In the north the Ottomans had failed to stem the Greek advance and Nicaea was returned to the Empire. A German crusade against Turkish pirates in the Aegean had further reduced Muslim power in the region. It was not lost on many observers that, despite the gains made, the Hospitaller lands at Rhodes remained in Ottoman possession, Orhan's successor having being granted them in the peace settlement with Byzantium. Regardless of the survival of the Ottomans it was clear that the map of Asia Minor had, once again, been redrawn.


Anatolia in 1341

*Seeing as the original Guy (of Hattin infamy) was never actually King of Cyprus I'm unsure as to whether the current one should be Guy I or Guy II. For the sake of narrative convenience I'll be using the latter.
 

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Hopefully this Guy doesn't overreach as well, he's very ambitious. Looking forward to the next chapter.
 

CatKnight

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Bah. If the Hospitallers couldn't save Rhodes, that's hardly your problem. Still, that Ottoman stain is troubling and should be dealt with.

Regarding Guy I/II ... it would really be up to the ruler. I've heard of a few cases where something major happened (conquest, unification, etc.) and they simply started over with the count. Guy II works well in this case, since he wants to be able to claim lineage to Guy-of-Hattin if he wants Outremer.
 
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Near thing with the Eretnid. And a good thing the Sultan died. Having the Ottomans as allies in their current state wouldn't be useful. But the question is, will anyone of note want to sign an alliance with Guy now, seeing how both of the kingdom's previous allies have been crushed? ;)
 

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You're starting to have quite an appreciable powerbase there. Some more small sheikdoms to swallow up at a later date as well.
 

coz1

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Indeed, a wise move to ally with the Ottomans and now a wise move to reverse course and take them out for good. And interesting campaign, but as has been mentioned - watch your over-reach.
 

ComradeOm

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Thanks for the comments everyone. I have to admit that I'm never quite happy with the quality of my writing and the feedback is definitely reassuring :)

Shuma said:
Near thing with the Eretnid.
Tell me about it. By all rights this AAR should have ended right there with Eretnid steamrolling me. I can only assume that I got insanely lucky when my second peace offer was accepted. Usually I try to give IC reason's for my or the AI's decisions but this one is completely unfathomable.

With regards the overreach comments, I'm still very much in the expansionist phase and am gunning to take out the Muslims before they decide to gang up on me. At this point in the game both Eretnid and, to a lesser degree, Germiyan still substantially outnumber me. That's not even mentioning Egypt or the Mongols.
 
Jul 29, 2002
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Hoover up all the little microbeydoms, then the Ottomans, then kick the shit out of the Byzantines.