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unmerged(87106)

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Nice update

I say that you go back to reign summaries if you wish to finish in a reasonable amount of time...



:) asd
 
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I just read through the entire AAR,and I really have to compliment you on it. You manage to achieve a tone that is very much like a documentary on TV, or a short but concise history book. I also like your reinterpretations of gameplay events, which make a lot of sense the way you portray them. Very well done.
 

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Well suppose some feedback is in order now:

phargle: To be frank time isen't really my primary concern. I wouldn't want to go EU III anyway before there has been a release of Magna Mundi for "In Nomine", which I would love to use as the foundation of my conversion.

asd21593: Glad you liked the update. I think for the moment I'll stick to the current format since as I said time is not really pressing at the moment. I just wanted to know whether all my readers where fine with the current format and not upset about how epic the updates have become in comparison with the earlier ones.

Zanza: Thanks for commenting (especially since it is in such a nice way :p ).

The_Guiscard: The kind tone you have described is pretty much what I was aiming at so your comment gives great satisfaction too me. I'll try to keep it up and am off course glad to have you on board. :)

And as for updates in general: I have (and as a matter of fact still am) fairly busy. I've just started my 9 month social service which includes a decent amount of seminars I have to attend and over the weekend I'm away due to my aunts birthday. Furthermore I am organizing a big "Farewell-Party" for all my friends who are leaving at the end of the month to join the army, spend a year abroad or start their studies at some place far away. So everything is quite packed at the moment. I will still try to bring you an update before September but I'd say their's just a 30% chance of me manging that.

~Lord Valentine~
 

Lord Valentine

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panther-anthro: God them MM-fellows have been busy boys! I'll better follow their example and hurry up then. :p


Ranald I "the Conquerer"​
Born 1135 - Died 1183
Ruled 1140-1183


4-3.jpg

Part Four: The Scots Revenge


The Cast:


Ranald I, King of Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Guillaume de Nevers, Duke of Flanders and traitor
Geoffroy I, King of France

The negative effects of the annihilation of Marthachus Dunkelds army should not be overestimated. The army that was lost was not a royal one but a disorderly mob of retainers, mercenaries and criminals and therefore neither the royal treasury nor the armies striking force had decreased. On the other hand the death of Martharchus Dunkeld removed a potentially troublesome figure from the stage. Still in Scotland many nobles jumped at the opportunity to declare that all wars across the channel where as useless as they where dangerous and expensive. Their aim was clearly to oblige the young king to instead turn his ambition to consolidate his hegemonia over the British Isles.

But Ranald, the dashing young champion of chivalry that he was, failed to comply. Seeing Scotland's honor and reputation at stake he announced yet another campaign to take place next year. Sensing that his vassals where unenthusiastic about yet another European adventure the king decided not to issue a feudal summon but instead only mobilized the tenants from the royal domain itself.

An assembled army of some 12.500 men set sail from York in early March 1156 after the king had parted, after the shedding of many tears, from his (once again pregnant) wife and his 3 year and 2 year old sons James and David. The king set foot onto the Low Countries on April 8th. He was determined to fight the war with diplomatic as well as military means. The king issued a proclamation that gave safety guarantees to all towns that surrendered to him and promised considerable trading privileges for the mercantile metropolises which where increasingly engaged in the ever expanding wool trade of Lancashire and Yorkshire.
This strategy payed of handsomely. To finance his wars duke Guillaume had made increasing financial and military demands on the cities of his domain. The burghers of the great cities of Antwerp, Brabant, Ghent and Brügge cared little for the strife between their duke and his liege but where deeply concerned about the possibility of it emptying their coffers and leaving the once richest region of France destitute. Therefore on city after the other opened it's gates to the Scottish conqueror who kept his promise and saw to it that no looting took place.

The renegade duke was faced with an increasingly desperate situation and even a successful ambush in which some 2.000 freshly arrived Scottish reinforcements where massacred could not improve his situation. Unable to run anywhere with his subjects deserting him at an alarming pace he was forced to risk what little he still had in battle. The dukes diminished forces of 6.800 men met with Ranalds 8.000 just outside of Antwerp on July 23rd. The outcome of the battle was never in doubt since the Scots had both superior numbers and moral and above all an inspiring monarch to lead them. The French army was routed within two hours and at the end of the day over 5.000 of it's number had been killed or captured, the most notable captive being duke Guillaume himself.

2-4.jpg


The by now world renowned Scottish knights charging at the Battle of Antwerp. On the order of their king they displayed the "lilies of France" to show their allegiance to the French loyalist cause and therefore not fighting for personal gain or profit but for honor.

With total victory won Ranald now had to turn to the more important issue of pacifying a region that had been a constant thorn in his French ambitions. He sent a letter to his father in-law king Geoffroy offering to hand over to him both the duchy and the traitor duke if in return he would be granted the cities of Ghent and Brügge with the surrounding countryside as fief. Not really in a position to demand anything since the whole duchy was in Ranalds hands anyway the king accepted. Thus Ranald officially payed homage to Geoffroy at Rouen on August 18th. He then returned to Scotland leaving behind some 4.000 men who where to play an important role in bringing down the last centers of rebellion over the course of 1157 and thereby reestablishing total royal control over France for the first time in years.

3-3.png

The southern Part of the British Isles and Northern France in 1157. Note the end of the civil war in France and Scotland's first acquisitions on the continent.


Normally this would have been yet another reason for celebration on a lavish scale but there at home bad news awaited the young king. Queen Emma had died in childbirth a few weeks earlier with the child, a boy named Henry by his mother before her death, dying only a few days after his mother, even before he could be baptised.



I know not as long as usual, but we wont to get along after all. :D
~Lord Valentine
 

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Perhaps it's time to sit down a bit, as the nobility is a bit restless...
 

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I apologize for the recent inactivity but I had some issues with my Internet connection this weekend which happened to be exactly the time when I wanted to write the next update. ;) So stay tuned for the next installment in the next week.

The_Guiscard: Well this whole reign is somewhat about lifting the Scottish monarchy to the forefront of European powers. How successful it will be in the long run is the other question...

Kurt_Steiner: Looking at things rationally your probably right. But medieval monarchs are not exactly renowned for their rational outlooks. :p

asd21593: Exactly! The starter has been served, let's see what's on the menu as main course.

Spothisto: Your estimation of the situation is probably right. I suppose king Robert isn't sleeping very well back in London at the moment. :p

~Lord Valentine~
 

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Ranald I "the Conquerer"​
Born 1135 - Died 1183
Ruled 1140-1183


4-3.jpg

Part Five: The Furies visit Scotland


The Cast:


Ranald I, King of Scotland, Ireland and Wales
James MacMúrdoch, leader of the baronial opposition
Douglas Bruce, friend and lieutenant of the king

The death of his beloved queen was a critical turning point in Ranalds live. The king, although no older than 21 years, was said to have aged ten years within days. After an elaborate funeral ceremony, the king suspended all regular (and one might say "jolly") activities at court for an undefined space of time and retired to a barren monastery on the Isle of Man, where his grandfather king Guthred was said to have been held for some time after his deposition. Virtually over night the king stopped ruling. A group of royal commissioners, headed by the Archbishop of York, took over the day to day routine of governing but no cohesive policy was developed or carried out since the king was unwilling to give his servants even the vaguest hints of his wishes.

But even while Ranald secluded himself from worldly affairs events kept steadily turning. In January 1158, less than a year after the end of the French civil war, king Geoffroy of France finally succumbed to pneumonia leaving the Scottish prince Fergus to inherit his pacified kingdom. The Duke of Berwick, as his official style as heir to the kingdom of Scotland was, set of for France with an escort of 1.200 men in early February to take possession of his inheritance. The transition of power was remarkably smooth. Many French nobles had been exhausted by years of civil war that had caused so much death, havoc and destruction throughout the land. Also there was a considerable admiration for Ranald. Thus Fergus, though only a minor of 5 1/2 years was recognized as lord of France by almost all vassals of the crown.
To further strengthen the authority of the first monarch of a new dynasty the new king, in spite of his age, was crowned at Reims in June.


95324-004-E5F9972C.jpg
The coronation of Fergus of Scotland as king of France in 1158, a moment that changed world history forever.​

With the inheritance of the realm of France by the heir to the throne of Scotland a union of the two countries now seemed very likely. This was a prospect that naturally worried the Scottish nobility a lot more than the French. The latter where confident enough to believe that in such a union they would be the senior partner. Was France not the most powerful Christian state in western Europe after all? Also it would in fact be the reigning king of France (though he may have been born in Scotland) who would inherit the realm of Scotland. Many Scots magnates on the other hand had horror visions of their positions being usurped by Frenchmen, their country being subjected to "Frankish" laws and customs and their wealth being wasted on Frances continental wars.

A strong noble opposition emerged which made their voice strongly heard in the parliament to commemorate the return of the king to government in 1160. They strongly argued their fears and declared that the authority of the king of Scotland was indivisible and that the integrity of Scotland could not be undermined by a monarch bearing the crown of a foreign crown and perhaps even residing in a foreign land, thereby reducing his subjects to slaves. They urged the king to revise the succession by splitting the inheritance. The kings firstborn son Fergus should retain his royal title as ruler of France and inherit the Scottish holdings on the continent while the kingdoms of Scotland, Wales and Ireland should go to the kings second son David. The king, even after all these years still wearing black in mourning, was in no mood for such a compromise. He argued strongly against any partition of the inheritance, pointing to the disastrous effects such a policy had had in the past, that in the long run it would lead to a leading steady decline of power and wealth of the crown and strife within the dynasty. The king denied the demands of his lords in parliament and dissolved it, in a remarkable show of royal authority.

This however was not the end of the story. Disappointed once again at the heavy handedness of Ranalds rule a group of magnates centered around the Earl of Northumberland, the Duke of Morray and the Duke of Ulster chose to seek redress of their grievances through force of arms. Their plan was to put as much military pressure on Ranald as possible to force him into the settlement proposed in parliament or, if the most drastic step had to be taken, force him to abdicate in favor of David. Thus begun the "Great Baronial War". The conflict lasted from 1161-1164 which was mostly due to the fact that most nobles of the realm, although ultimately loyal to Ranald, where highly reluctant to take up arms once again especially against their countrymen, with whose cause many at least sympathized. Hampered by a treasury still depleted by the foreign adventures of the 1150s, the king had to fight the war with very limited resources. Fortunately the English where unable to capitalize on this Scottish weakness since king Robert II had finally died in 1161 and the ensuing struggle over the succession through the country into anarchy. The war dragged on inconclusively until Ranald won a decisive victory at Whitham in 1163 capturing James MacMúrdoch, earl of Northumberland and killing the duke of Ulster in battle.

With the insurgency finally crushed in 1164 the king held what would go down in history as "Victors Parliament". Ranald was in no forgiving mood and had all participants of the rebellion, down to the lowliest esquire attained for treason, thereby sentencing them to death and confiscating their property. Two days after the execution of the traitors the king began with a massive redistribution of land. The kings son David received the Duchy of Morray and the Earldom of Lancaster, thereby making the 11 year old boy the richest magnate of the realm. The other chief beneficiary was Douglas Bruce, who received the now vacant earldom of Northumberland. This was to be the powerbase from which the Bruce dynasties meteoric rise over the course of the next 150 years was to occur. The scion of a major gentry family from the Lowlands, he was the latest rising star of this industrious dynasty. His father had been a trusted retainer of Lord Roger Dunkeld and given such good and absolutely loyal service the Roger even appointed him a member of the regency council in charge of the kingdoms from 1140-1152 in 1141. Furthermore he had secured a knighthood for him on the occasion of Ranald coming off age in 1151. His brother (and thereby Douglas Bruce uncle) Collin Bruce had even risen to the powerful post of Lord Treasurer and would in the end be enobled as "Baron Wakfield" by a grateful Ranald in 1169.
Young Douglas had been a youth companion of the king and one of his most trusted lieutenants in the wars in France, so much in fact that when the king left France for good in 1156 he left Bruce behind as commander of the 4.000 strong Scottish expeditionary force. After having also distinguished himself in the "Baronial War" his long service had now been rewarded in a kingly manner.

With the baronial opposition crushed royal authority in Scotland seemed stronger than ever before. Yet the wounds of this conflict and especially Ranalds cruel confiscation of the property his enemies which left their families destitute would prove the ideal breeding ground for more deadly strife in the future...
 
Last edited:

czam2007

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Well worth the wait. your scottish heir inherits the kingdom of france, this is the beauty of CK that makes it surpass all other PI games.
wot site do you get those cool pics from?
 

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The_Guiscard said:
Holy moly - Scotland stands to inherit France! Now that's something. :eek:


Actually France inherits Scotland, as Fergus is already King of France and when Ranald dies his son will gets Scotland, Wales and Ireland added to his Kingdom. Basically, good bye Scotland.

If I understand the law of inheritance correctly.
 

czam2007

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Spothisto said:
Actually France inherits Scotland, as Fergus is already King of France and when Ranald dies his son will gets Scotland, Wales and Ireland added to his Kingdom. Basically, good bye Scotland.

If I understand the law of inheritance correctly.

That is correct
 

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A new update is in the making! With a bit of luck it will be finished ere the weekend is over!

czam2007: I too love the whole dynastic aspect of CK. I would have loved to see something similar in EU III since the dynasty was also the most important factor in inter-states relations in that timeframe.

The pics I have assembled into a huge library after hours of googeling for suitable images. I can't recall where exactly this one was from.

The_Guiscard: Now that's a marriage diplomacy coup worthy of the Habsburg isn't it. :D

Spothisto and czam2007: Since Fergus was only 5 years old when he became king of France it seems doubtful indeed just how "Scottish" a ruler he will be when he inherits his fathers crowns. A lot of potential trouble and strife ahead I can assure you!

~Lord Valentine~
 
Aug 3, 2008
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What can I say? Let me answer with an old motto of the house of Habsburg, modified for the house of Atholl:

Bella gerant alii, tu felix Alba nube.
Nam quae Mars aliis, dat tibi diva Venus.

Others may wage wars, you happy Alba marry.
For what Mars gives to others is granted you by divine Venus.
 

Lord Valentine

Lord Protector of Britain
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Sorry about the recent inactivity but I have been sick with a bacterial infection of the throat. As soon as I have fully recovered and my working schedule allows I will continue the work on the next update. I plan doing a first Interim-Post on the development of one of the major realms in the game, which is going to play a significant role in the next regular update.

Can you guess which? :p

~Lord Valentine~
 

Lord Valentine

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Ok fellows after a long delay due to sickness and work here is the next update and as announced it is a bit of a novelty. To commemorate the new AARland Choice Awards I have thrown in a first interim update to highligth the development of another realm that will feature prominently in future updates. I virtually took me days to work out the storyline, get the pics together and write to update, so I hope you enjoy it! Also for all of you who haven't voted for the AARland Choice Awards yet I would like to encourage you to do so. And If you've really liked this AAR I would be truly honored if you would consider my little work. [/shameless-self-advertisement] :D

Oh and by the way I have been posted to a seminar for the next two weeks so it will be difficult for me update in this space of time. But since I am back for the weekends I perhaps can pull off a little miracle. Who knows... :)


The_Guiscard: Well I'd say that's the way to do it if your a small realm. :) But inheriting France is something I didn't reckon with. Eat your heart out Habsburg!

Interim: The Awakening of a Giant
Holy Roman Empire 1066-1159

Part One: Trials and Triumphs - The Reign of Henry IV (1054-1094)

Holy_roman_Empire_Map1.jpg
The borders of the Holy Roman Empire in 1066.​

In 1066 the Holy Roman Empire seemed to be an empire on feeble feet. While it's rulers as heirs to the empire of Caesar Augustus and Constantine claimed absolute temporal and spiritual power over all of Christianity they had over the last 50 years increasingly lacked the power necessary to push this claim. Hungary, Southern Italy and Poland had shaken off all signs of subservience to the German Emperor and even more alarmingly the great lords within Germany and the always unruly Italian cities had shown a dangerous tendency to heap scorn upon the orders of their lord.
Outside of Francia, the family domains of the current emperor the 16 year old emperor Henry IV out of the Sallian dynasty, the imperial authority seemed challenged at it's best, non-existent at it's worsted.

The next 20 years where characterized by continual struggles between the emperor and various alliances of renegade dukes, counts, unruly cities and disgruntled peasants. Some of the greatest among them like Henry of Nordheim, duke of Bavaria, even claimed the crown for themselves.
In the end however the emperor succeeded in crushing his enemies due to several reasons.
He had obtained the aid of several great Lords, most notable Magnus Billung, duke of Saxony, whom he granted nearly vice-regal powers in the north and his brother in-law king Salomon of Hungary. Of great importance where also two families whose rise in the service of Henry IV should latter haunt his dynasty. The first was Vratislav Premyslíd, duke of Bohemia whose considerable resources where an immense asset to Henry's cause. As compensation Henry granted him a truly unprecedented honor. He elevated the status of his realm from a duchy to a kingdom, not knowing that this would create one of the greatest rivals of the Empire for supremacy in the East in the long run.
The other was Frederick von Hohenstaufen, count of Schwaben. Originally in the service of the rebel duke of Swabia, Rudolph von Rheinefelden, he deserted his cause as early as 1170 and rose to become the most renowned knight and feared captain of the emperor. As a reward he was granted the forfeited titles and honors of his former liege.
Furthermore the Emperor received important moral support from the Pope since he had vowed to go on a crusade once victory was his.
In 1187 he had finally achieved this aim. His enemies where either dead or in exile, the royal domains greatly increased, his two sons Rudolph and Charles endowed with the lands of the duchies of Bavaria and Brandenburg respectively and thus imperial authority as stronger than ever before.
The next year he crossed the Alps with a grand army, subjugating whichever Italian town dared defy him. In Rome he was crowned emperor by pope Urban II and before a joint congregation of nobles, clergymen and citizens of Rome renewed his vow to liberate the Holy Land.


MariaTheresaExhibition-ImperialCrow.jpg
37922-004-3B88CD9E.jpg

The symbols of imperial authority. The original imperial crown and the imperial orb, representing the emperors claim to be the ruler of all Christianity.

The subsequent Crusade, in which the French monarch Philip II joined, was a complete success and ended in the reconquest of not only the conquest of the holy cities along the coast of the Levant but also the capture of Damascus, one of the richest cities in the known world. While in Jerusalem Henry was acclaimed "king of Jerusalem" and subsequently crowned. It would be up to his successors however to get a papacy envious of growing imperial power to recognize this title. Henry returned to Germany, the perhaps most celebrated monarch of his age. There he secured the election of his eldest son Rudolph as "king of the Romans" thereby seeing to a save succession. He died in 1192 and was interred in the Dome of Speyer.

Part Two: Stagnation and Conflict - The Reign of Rudolph I (1094-1131)

When Rudolph I came to the throne in 1094 he was 21 years old and probably had little experience of governing, since his duchy of Bavaria had mostly been ruled by ministers appointed by his father and Rudolph since his youth had shown an inclination for martial pursuits rather than the tedious business of administering a realm. It quickly surfaced that he did not possess the political acumen of his father. He managed to alienate such old allies of his fathers as the by now aged duke Magnus of Saxony, whose extraordinary position of power Rudolph seems to have tried to cut down. Magnus reacted to this with outright rebellion, which Rudolph found hard to quell since few dukes of the empire where ready to follow their king in a war which he had in their eyes unjustly begun. The conflict only ended when 7 years later Conrad, son of the by now deceased duke, submitted to the emperor on the condition that his possessions and privileges should remain untouched. Undeterred by this lack of success Rudolph now turned to the East and waged several costly wars against Poland between 1106 and 1129.

This was a severe political blunder. The wars not only brought no gains, but also ruined the empires prestige, helped it's rivals (Bohemia was able to seize the rich provinces of Silesia from Poland, laying the foundations for the eastern European empire of Vacláv I, while Denmark conquered most of Polands Baltic Coast) but also distracted the emperor from affairs within Germany. Many princes where able to wage their own private wars, amass great amounts of land and usurp royal prerogatives in the virtual absence of the emperor. But the worst was yet to come. When in 1130 Rudolph asked the magnates of Germany to elect his son Otto as his successor they refused. To make matters even more grieving the opposition was lead by the emperors brother Charles of Brandenburg who's lands had suffered the strongest under the constant warfare with Poland. It was under these circumstances that a few months latter in 1131 "out of pure melancholy" as one chronicle puts it Rudolph I died. He left the marvelous inheritance of his fathers in shatters.


Part Three: Rise to Unknown Greatness - The Reign of Otto IV (1131-1159)

Few people would have thought that 30 year old Otto would emerge to become the perhaps greatest Holy Roman Emperor of all time. After the ruinous reign of his father it was highly doubtful whether he would actually become emperor at all. Since there was however no consensus on who should succeed to the imperial dignity if not Otto the threat of civil war was ever looming over the deliberations of the empires magnates.

This is where Frederick Barbarossa entered the political stage. He was the grandson of Frederick von Hohenstaufen who had climbed to the rank of duke in service of Henry IV. In 1131 he was 38 years old and perhaps the most powerful man in the empire. His father and grandfather had skilfully aggrandized their inheritance through means of marriages and sometimes use of force and added to their duchy of Swabia the Italian Lordships of Trieste, Pavia and Bologna as well as the county of Sedan in France. They where related in one way or another to almost every family of importance in Northern Italy. As a young man Barbarossa had given both moral and material support to Rudolph's ill fated wars and had been amongst his most brilliant generals. In exchange he had received the Lordships of Monteferrat and Canossa in Italy as well as various prestigious offices attached to the crown of Italy which in many ways made him the de-facto ruler of that kingdom. When he married Alessandra d'Este, daughter and heiress of the duchy of Milan in 1126 he finally surpassed any of his peers in wealth and power.


HochzeitBarbarossa-2.jpg

The marriage of Barbarossa to Alessandra d'Este was to have great ramifications for the future of Italy as well as the empire.



Barbarossa mad it clear that he had chosen to support Otto's bid for the throne and through his numerous connections and legendary wealth the election was eventually brought to a favorable outcome. Otto IV, as he was now known, quickly proved himself to be a vigorous, strong ruler. For the first three years he traveled Germany, restoring royal prerogatives, confiscating land and property unlawfully acquired by magnates during his fathers reign. Always by his side, ready to back up the wishes of his liege by force was Frederick Barbarossa. He like many other supporters of Otto profited handsomely from these confiscations. His status was further enhanced by being granted Franken and the Palatine.

But soon it became clear that Otto's ambitions went a lot further than simply reestablishing his power in Germany. News from the East where troubling. Vaclàv I of Bohemia after several successful wars against Hungary had turned his attention to Poland, from which his father Bretislav had already seized Silesia. Weakened by the decade long war with Emperor Rudolph and the weak rule of the imbecile king Casimir II, Poland offered little resistance and by 1131, the year of Otto's election Vacláv had managed to get recognized as king of Poland based on his descendens from Świętosława Piast, daughter of Casimir I of Poland. To further strengthen his rule he married Anna Piast, sister of his rival Casimir II, whom he had murdered in 1135.

This great accumulation of power on his eastern border deeply worried Otto. However he realized that he would need a "casus belli", something that would stir his countrymen to support him. He did not wish to make the same mistake as his father in leading a major war without noble backing and neglecting affairs in Germany. In the end a solution came quicker and in a stranger way than he probably thought.

Political instability in Italy came to a head in 1137. Ever since 1129 when a Tuscan raiding party compromised not only of brigands but also of noble adventurers had sacked and pillaged the sub-urbs of Rome the popes had been highly sensitive to the territorial integrity of their state. Although the hold of Barbarossa's family over Italy was remarkably strong he was unable or unwilling to put an end to the frequent raids on papal territory which where launched from both Tuscany and Urbino. In 1137 pope Innocent II reacted rather dramatically by excommunicating Frederick Barbarossa and placing the interdict upon the whole kingdom of Italy. But Barbarossa was not a man to be thus insulted. Without consulting with the emperor he called his entire Italian network of relatives and allies to his banner and marched on Rome. Quickly the entire Papal states where overrun and the city of Rome itself stormed and pillaged for other a week. Innocent had fled the city just in time.

Now a homeless fugitive he had to resolve who to turn to. Appealing to emperor Otto was out of the question since it would have been both an indirect admittance of the superiority of the secular emperors power over the spiritual one of the pope and not very promising since Otto had so far always stood by Barbarossa. Instead the pope fled to the court of the only king who seemed to equal Otto's power, Vacláv of Bohemia and Poland. At first the pope was received graciously by Vacláv who granted him considerable lands in Poland as his domain. Over the course of the year however it became apparent that the king had now real interest in furthering Innocents cause, on the contrary! He demanded of the pope that he should absolve him from the murder of king Casimir II, excommunicate a number of his enemies, elevate a brother and two of his cousins to the rank of Cardinal etc.. In other words: He wanted the pope as nothing but the instrument for the aggrandizement of his dynasty. When the pope refused Vacláv in one of his frequent violent fits had him arrested and thrown in chains.

To say this was extremely short sighted does not give sufficient credit to this folly. Catholic loyalists enabled to pope to send a message to "the all godly princes of Christendom" urging them to go on a crusade against Gods "most accursed and satanic enemy" the king of Bohemia. This gave Otto exactly the kind of justification he was looking for. A great crusade atmosphere gathered momentum in Germany and in spite of the fact that Barbarossa, his most important ally, was still excommunicated himself, Otto managed to assemble a vast host. Thus began a conflict which was to rage from 1139-1149 with little interruption. At first Vacláv held his ground being a seasoned commander and having perhaps the most experienced and best trained forces in Europe at his disposal. Over time however the weaknesses of his government where beginning to show. Many devout Catholics turned their back on him and all those nobles whom Vaclávs arbitrary rule had offended together with the sons of the many men executed during his terror reign swelled the ranks of the Teutonic invaders. By 1144 much of Poland was lost and it seemed as if Vaclávs cause was lost. But then the political map was once again redrawn by the rebellion of Barbarossa.

Barbarossas grievances against the emperor had begun in 1142 when imperial troops freed the pope from polish imprisonment. Otto swiftly took the opportunity to strike a deal. In exchange for being recognized as king of Poland and Bohemia Otto would restore the pope to his state and even further endow him with the county of Urbino. This directly hurt Barbarossas ambitions in the area since he had been governing the lands of the Papal states since their occupation in 1137. Consequently he ignored all orders by the emperor to let Cardinal de Gonera retake possession of Rome in the name of the pope. Enraged at this disobedience Otto stripped him off all his offices. But Barbarossa was not known to take a lot of slack. He at once rose against his former benefactor and quickly overran all of Italy. At Pavia he even crowned himself "king of Italy". Then he advanced into Germany where his arrival initiated a rising of all sections of the nobility disaffected with Ottos rule.

Faced with such a massive challenge of his authority Otto had to personally take charge of a large campaign in the "Reich" which took nearly three years to complete. He was in the end successful because most of the renegade nobles had not accepted Barbarossa as their leader since many had grievances of their own against him and most feared that after already haven taken the style of "king of Italy" he would now aim for the imperial throne itself. Thus German resistance to Otto was fractured. At the same time many Italians took the opportunity to free themselves of the heavy-handed rule of the "foreigner" Barbarossa. The city of Rome itself rebelled and declared their independence as the "Roman Republic". In Milan a young man who claimed to be the bastard son of the late duke Giovanni d'Este was took charge of the city to the thundering applause of the mob. Barbarossa still was a formidable opponent and it was only after a hard won victory at Legarno in 1147 that Otto could finally be sure of his flank and once again turn his attention to Bohemia.


1957Goettingen.jpg

The victory of Otto IV over Frederick Barbarossa at Legarno meant the collapse of the rebellion in the empire. Barbarossa had to flee the realm while his estates where confiscated.

After two more years of fighting in 1149 Otto had won a total victory. Vacláv was captured in hiding in Bohemia put on a show trial for "defying the god appointed authority of his majesty the Roman Emperor Otto IV" and executed. Afterwards Otto "the Greatest", as he was now known from now onwards, was crowned king of Bohemia and Poland by the successor of the late pope Innocent, Celestine II. As a compensation for the lands lost to the republic of Rome Otto granted roughly a quarter of Poland to the Holy Father to be held as fief. The emperors had finally triumphed and made the Papacy subservient once again!

charlemagneempebio.jpg

Otto the Greatest, as envisaged nearly 400 years latter by Albrecht Dürrer.

The next years where also filled with triumphs. During consecutive campaigns the Otto forced both the kings of Denmark and Croatia to acknowledge the suzerainty of the emperor, while Hungary was humbled by having to cede a few strategically important border castles as a guarantee for their good behavior.
A final exclamation mark on a incredible reign was the Reichstag held in Augsburg in 1158. Not only did the nobles in attendance recognize Ottos 8 year old son of the same name as "king of the Romans" but it was also the scene for yet another triumph over the Hohenstaufen. Barbarossa had died in 1151 in exile in Constantinople. Now his son William tried to save what little he could by formally bowing before Otto at Augsburg and begging his forgiveness and mercy for the ills his father had done to him.


Foltz_-_Kaiser_Friedrich_Barbarossa.jpg

William "the Lion" of Hohenstaufen submits to Emperor Otto at Augsburg.

In the end Otto forgave the young Hohenstaufen and restored to him his German lands. His families Italian possessions however remained forfeit .When Otto died in the next spring he left behind the a mighty empire, the like of which the West had not seen since the days of Charlemagne. The Holy Roman Empire stood like giant above all other Christian realms and seemed more than ready to take on the emerging Scottish Empire....

Europe16593.png

The Holy Roman Empire at the death of Otto IV in 1159
 

Kurt_Steiner

Katalaanse Burger en Terroriste
Feb 12, 2005
20.043
638
That's what a I call AN empire. Indeed... Impressive.