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phargle

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The Fall of the Kingdom of Poland

And the Fate of the House of Piast

In 1066, Poland was ruled by Boleslaw Piast, an energetic and proud king known throughout Christendom as a valiant and talented warrior. These talents would prove to be Boleslaw's doom, for his gains in the east presaged the events that would undo his kingdom. The first such gain was Kiev, which submitted to Polish rule in 1066. Boleslaw instituted elective law to cement this union, effectively promising the Russian prince that he would inherit Poland upon Boleslaw's death.


The king married a Hungarian princess named Krisztina, a union that proved fruitful. At first she bore him only daughters, Zwinislawa and Beata, but a prince was finally born during the Polish conquest of Prussia in 1071. Boleslaw named the boy Jakusz and decreed that Prussia would be his. Despite the happy and prosperous marriage, Boleslaw fathered many bastards. Krystyn, born in the same year as Jakusz, would prove to be the most important of these illegitimate children.


By late 1073, the lands of Danzig, Prussia, and Samogitia had fallen to Poland. Boleslaw had guided his kingdom into a strong alliance with the German emperor, and the two kings divided Pommerania between themselves. Boleslaw continued to father daughters over the next several years. Danuta was born in 1075 and Helena followed in 1079. A month later, Boleslaw returned to the field to lead Polish armies into the Pagan lands of Lithuania.


With assistance by the Teutonic Order, the Pagans were swept aside in less than two years. Boleslaw was proclaimed king of Lithuania by the pope on June 20th, 1081. Despite a rumor among the peasants that Boleslaw was a coward rather than a hero, the king continued to prosper. The prince of Kiev inherited Novgorod in 1082. Boleslaw began conquering the remaining isolated Pagan tribes.


The expansion over half of Russia proved to be too much. The pope turned on Boleslaw in 1083, excommunicating the king for his obsession with the north and his failure to crusade against the Saracens. The next year, half of Novgorod was inherited by a Byzantine noble. By 1085, peasants were in revolt in villages around Poland. Boleslaw sought an opportunity to reverse his fortunes. In 1086, he made the fateful decision to attack the Pagan Cumans. The short war proved disastrous. Silesia refused to send troops and seceded outright in 1087, while thieves swept through many Polish towns. The only bright star in the war was Krystyn, the king's bastard son, who had become a brilliant strategist. It was too late, however. In January of 1088, the war was over and Poland was defeated.


Krystyn became marshal that year, and protected Boleslaw against dozens of revolts. Opole, Krakow and an independent Kiev left in 1088. Sandomierz followed the next year and Wielkopolska broke away two years later. The conflict with Rome grew sharper when Henryk Archbishop of Sandomierz was proclaimed pope and moved the papacy to Poland. Despite Krystyn's best efforts at raising soldiers for the king, Poland crumbled rapidly. When Boleslaw's brother died and his duchy was inherited by a foreigner, the king moved to protect Krystyn. The young man was added to the succession and Krystyn's own bastard child was murdered. These decisions provoked Prince Jakusz to rebel in 1093 and Podlasia and Mazovia supported Jakusz against the king the next year. On May 12th, 1094, Jakusz seized the capital and Boleslaw was driven into exile in Novgorod, where he proclaimed himself duke. Jakusz was sorely injured in the battle and retired to Prussia.


Jakusz, seeking protection after betraying his father, negotiated an alliance with the king of Germany. Prussia swore loyalty to Heinrich and became part of the empire. The same year, his wife gave birth to a son. Jakusz named the child Zbigniev. Boleslaw was overthrown again, and this time he fled to Prussia, where he reconciled with his son and became marshal.


By 1096, Jakusz had fallen into a deep depression. He killed Zbigniev in March of the next year, a move that made the bastard Krystyn his new successor. Years dragged by and Krystyn died of an illness, but not before fathering a son of his own. Jakusz meanwhile lingered on in agony. The year 1101 began with his wounds becoming infected, and his condition worsened into pneumonia over the summer. Boleslaw lived in relatively good health, leading armies for the excommunicated German king against wayward vassals until his own death in 1103.


For most of 1103, Jakusz suffered as his illness grew worse. He finally expired in October, leaving his duchy to his nephew Ziemomysl Count of Krakowskie. Ziemomysl was a Piast by virture of being son of Krystyn, the bastard child of Boleslaw. His inheritence was unlikely and left an eight-year-old child as lord of the House of Piast.


Ziemomysl had become duke of Prussia and Samogitia. The scattered remains of Poland lay to the south. Silesia was partitioned between a Bohemian king and the Republic of Venice. Independent archbishops ruled much of the kingdom's center. The east remained the property of the duke of Novgorod, a powerful Russian ruler in the north. What was left was either the property of the Cuman empire or the pope himself. Ziemomsyl was only a child, but his advisors filled his head with thoughts of Poland reborn. He swore an oath, as only a child can, to recover the kingdom his grandfather had lost.

 
Last edited:

phargle

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I began as Boleslaw and worked to build up Poland. Once it was strong, I worked to tear it apart. When Boleslaw was about to be conquered, I reloaded as Prussia and let Pagans wipe the kingdom out. Then I killed off my heir so that the underage son of the bastard Krystyn would become duke of Prussia.

My goals -

o Rebuild the kingdom of Poland and Lithuania;
o Take revenge on the Cuman empire;
o Defeat the treacherous Russian princes;
o Restore the House of Piast.

My standards -

o Each noble will be roleplayed according to his traits;
o Expansion will be limited by my goals, except insofar as traits may dictate otherwise;
o Defeat driven by roleplay will be preferable to victory driven by gameplay.

My AAR -

o Will generally be one post per ruler;
o Will not fall behind my gameplay;
o Will take into account suggestions in the thread for directions the game should take.
 

Veldmaarschalk

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Interesting approach about the ever so Popular Poland :)
 

coz1

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Good start and the history is covered quickly but concisely. Should be a valiant effort to try and rebuild Poland what with all the vultures around you. Watch that King of Germany. Though he might help you out if he collapses himself.
 

EvilSanta

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Interesting.I hope this aar doesnt affect Knuds adventures through.

You seem to be really able to write nonhumorous aars too.Are you planning to publish a book? :confused:
 

unmerged(9046)

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Nice start. That font size in the first post made me feel like an old man as I had to squint to read it!

:)
 

phargle

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The Fall of the Kingdom of Poland

And the Fate of the House of Piast

Ziemomsysl was a boy of five when he inherited, so Prussia was governed by his steward, Dobronega of Marienburg. She oversaw the implementation of feudal contract law. The resulting tax collectors and forest wardens upset the native Pagans who objected to the desecration of their holy sites. Revolts broke out and would continue to plague Prussia throughout Ziemomsyl's reign.


The revolts drew the attention of the papal inquisition in 1105. Dobronega ruled with the assistance of several Pagans, and the papal delegation demanded that they convert or be purified. Chancellor Bettin in particular drew their attention, and she was tortured until she converted to Catholicism. She died of her injuries two months later, further inflaming Pagan hostilities.


Marshal Boleslaw, no relation to the former king, was instrumental in putting down these uprisings over the next few years. He hung several traitors in Chelminskie and conquered the Cuman province of Lubusz when its chieftain was disavowed by the Pagan king. Dobronega used the victory in 1108 as a opportunity to give in to some Pagan demands and end the rebellions in Chelminskie. The successes of Prussia attracted attention from the king of France, but his offer of an alliance was rejected. Dobronega and Boleslaw worked instead to reconcile with the excommunicated German emperor. In May of 1109, the steward died and was replaced by her relative Jolanta, but by this time the Piast brothers Bajoras and Ziemomysl were teenagers and began to try to assert their authority.


The year 1109 saw more interest by the great kingdoms in the affairs of Prussia, as both England and Byzantium sought alliances with Ziemomysl. Jolanta and Boleslaw encouraged loyalty to Germany and Ziemomysl agreed. Swamps were drained in Krakowskie, but this meant the destruction of yet another Pagan holy site and an uprising broke out once again. Ziemomysl ordered Boleslaw to crush the Pagans, and the marshal moved quickly to defeat them and take power away from the clergy in both Marienburg and Chelminskie.


Heinrich von Franken, son of the emperor and count of Poznanskie, noted Boleslaw's victory and decided to become a vassal of Prussia in 1110. Ziemomysl worried about having the prince as a vassal and grew stressed. He prospered nonetheless, being declared duke of Wielkopolska by the pope in 1111 and leading a campaign against Silesia the same year. Silesia fell in August and Ziemomysl celebrated by arranging a marriage with Beata Bodzeta, a relative of an independent Polish count.


The celebration was premature, as Prussia was betrayed by the new emperor of Germany. Eckhard von Franken made a separate deal with Venice and was given Silesia. Ziemomysl's wife Beata grew stressed as well. The next year saw revolts continue in Chelminskie, but it also saw the birth of Ziemomysl's first child Maria.


Shortly after Maria's birth in October, Ziemomysl and Boleslaw plotted to seize the Archbishopric of Krakow, which had been diminished after losing lands to the pope. A quick invasion crushed the province in November and the archbishop offered his surrender the next year. Boleslaw's scheme to prevent a repeat of the betrayal of Silesia had succeeded, but Ziemomysl's experiences in the war turned him into a fanatical priest. He grew disinterested in pursuing war against the archbishops that ruled much of Poland.


In 1112, Jolanta passed away and Ziemomysl began ruling Prussia outright. Beata grew ill in September of the next year and died two months later. Ziemomysl had already arranged to marry the insane Márta Kapylon of Bereg, a relative of the duke of Mazovia, and the two were wed a few days after Beata passed away. Ziemomysl attempted to make peace with the Pagans in Marienburg in 1113 by giving into their demands, but a revolt immediately broke out and was put down violently.


Pope Henryk began the year 1115 by invading the Pagan province of Peremyshl, but he died while on campaign and the new pope did not share his enthusiasm for conquering Poland. Ziemomysl took this opportunity to conquer the Pagan province himself. He gave the land to Bishop Bolko of Chelminskie. The bishop's departure provoked yet another revolt in Chelminskie, which was put down violently by Boleslaw. Márta gave birth to two more daughters, Grzymislawa and Winczeslawa, and Ziemomysl married his sister Ludmilla to a relative of the king of Bohemia in 1115. In 1117, Bajoras sought to expand his power by becoming his brother's spymaster, but Ziemomysl thwarted his efforts. Over the course of the year, Bajoras went mad.


Márta finally gave birth to a son in 1118, but she became depressed during the pregnancy. Ziemomysl celebrated the birth of his heir by forcing the Pagans in Marienburg to convert to Catholicism. Yet another German emperor arose as Gerolamo von Franken was crowned king, and this Italian was focused on a war with Provence. Ziemomysl was required to lead an army in 1119. He returned to Prussia the next year to spend time with his newborn son. Kugis proved to be very energetic and healthy for a boy of his age, but Ziemomysl could find no joy after what he had experienced in Italy. On August 5th, 1120, the duke of Prussia took his own life. Kugis inherited at the age of two. It was unclear whether the insane Bajoras Piast or the older, more cautious Boleslaw Brochwicz would become regent.

 
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Veldmaarschalk

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Ziemomysl wasn't up to the task. Another long regency period
 

Nikolai

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Heh, rise and fall and rise again. I'm following.:D
 

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Mmm, something serious but enjoyable... I'll be following it... :)
 

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Hmmm...I was about to say you are doing well but then your last comment suggests perhaps not. I hope it's not too bad. What happened - the von Franken's invade? :eek:
 

stnylan

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Crikey! A good start to the AAR though.
 

phargle

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Eh, I'll probably post the next update . . . I basically got enough land by sheer audacious luck that I can restore the kingdom of Poland with one short and easy war. I may have forgotten to reset the difficulty levels.
 

coz1

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Well, you could certainly tear it down again and then reset the levels. And here I thought you got your head handed to you. Not that I wished for such, but downfalls are just as entertaining (if not more) than success.
 

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The Fall of the Kingdom of Poland

And the Fate of the House of Piast

By September of 1120, the arrangement between Bajoras Piast and Marshal Boleslaw began to sour. Bajoras once again failed to become the duchy's spymaster and power shifted to Boleslaw. Boleslaw was more merciful than Bajoras and tried to appease the Pagans by leaving some of their holy sites intact. Their young ward continued to grow, but his previous energy was gone.


The crusades continued to rage and one of Prussia's vassals joined the German emperor in his war against the hated Turks. Boleslaw tried to keep Prussia out of the crusade, but in 1122 the emperor himself demanded that Boleslaw send in troops. Boleslaw reluctantly raised an army and sent it to Anatolia with the mission to seize the holy city of Nicaea.


The Pagans took advantage of the army's absence and resumed their revolt against their Christian masters. The boy Kugis was specifically blamed for all the Pagans' troubles. Fortunately, the crusade went well and Vratislav of Marienburg, the vibrant count of Galindia and Lubusz, crossed into Anatolia before winter set in. Nicaea was conquered by Christmas.


Vratislav attempted to continue onward to Antioch, but his army was destroyed at Alexandretta and he was forced to return to Prussia. Bajoras, frustrated with this failure and his lack of a role in the court, went into self-imposed exile. By the end of 1123, Nicaea had also been lost. For Prussia, the crusade was over.


The Pagan uprising swept through the provinces of the coast until it was crushed in 1125. The rest of the former kingdom of Poland was plagued by a long war between the Archbishop of Mazovia in the north and the pope in the south. Boleslaw planned to defect to the papal kingdom when Mazovia fell, but the tide turned. The cautious warrior allied with Mazovia instead. Boleslaw's armies overran the exhausted provinces of the south. Pope Gyula panicked and surrendered everything. A surprised Boleslaw even found himself given the city of Rome. By 1127, the young Kugis was master of almost half of his grandfather's old kingdom.


Boleslaw distributed the new provinces to the Piast sisters and worked to ease the tensions brewing in the enlarged duchy. He decided that Bajoras presented too tempting a person for the disgruntled vassals to rally behind. In 1128, the hapless fool was murdered at his mansion in Dorpat.


The fateful decision to invade Mazovia came in 1129. The war went badly at first, with setbacks at Sudovia and Czersk, but greater Prussian numbers proved decisive and Mazovia surrendered in 1130. Bolko Piast, a grand-nephew of the original King Boleslaw, distinguished himself in battle at Kujawy. Boleslaw kept the counties of Plock, Czersk and Sudovia for himself and retired. He died later that year.


Amidst great celebration, the kingdom of Poland was declared on September 12th, 1130. The man most responsible for its resurrection did not lived to see it reborn. Instead his son, also named Bolko and now a powerful count, attended the coronation. Unknown to everyone there, he was plotting to overthrow the new king.


Bolko left little room for error. Kugis was killed and then assassins were dispatched to murder the young princesses. Grzymislawa, Maria and Wiaczeslawa were all killed at their country homes. Bolko summoned the bishops back and had himself proclaimed King Bolko I of Poland. The kingdom disintegrated into civil war.


By chance, the tyrant failed to completely wipe out the House of Piast. Soldiers were sent to kill Bolko Piast of Kujawy, but the young boy managed to escape with his family to Rome. His line had acquired a claim to the city during an earlier war. One Bolko overthrew his leige to seize a kingdom; the other pledged himself to the duke of Tuscany and began to consider how to rebuild his fortunes.

 
Last edited:

stnylan

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So, what do you intend to do now? Play as Bolko Piast perhaps and seek to reclaim the throne a second time?
 

Murmurandus

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The Bolko Wars are coming...

Bring them on... :)