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NewbieOne

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What does it mean to be a saint? What does it mean that someone is a saint, a ruler in particular? Do holy rulers never expand their realms, never declare a war on their own on an adversary? Do they live in cold austere cells in their royal or lordly castles? Do they abolish all taxes and open their treasuries to the poor or do they add new fiscal burdens on their subjects to finance the war in the Holy Land or to fund the construction of new cathedrals and abbeys? Speaking of which, do they give a half of their provinces to the church or outright hand them over to the Pope as exempt lordships? Do they abdicate and live out the rest of their years as monks when they reach old age? The answer to all of these questions is: some yes, some not. Each one is different and has different tasks to accomplish, a different role to play. They have one thing in common, though: a calling. One that they answer.

Welcome to:


The Lives of the Saints

In this AAR, we will be doing something different. We will not be covering the rise of a dynasty through centuries, from relative obscurity to the heights of fame... or vice versa (for indeed it is possible for a family of royal stock to devolve to nearly common peasantry, while we are all equal before the Lord). We will be travelling through centuries and places, zooming in on the mediaeval saints. We will not be trying to replicate their historical lives (unless for flavour and familiarity, where possible and where nothing else makes significantly more sense). Instead, we will be loading up the character in CK2 and seeing where we can take it. Some things will be very similar, others may be vastly different. There may not be the arrow or axe that interrupted the thread of life or it may hit or fall more speedily. There may be different fights, different challenges... and the difference may prove insignificant in the end for it is principle what matters. Will the saint still be recognisable? Will we even manage to play a character who might possibly be the material for a saint? In the end we will not know, but we may as well take the journey.


Note from the author: I would like to thank the folks who were with me through my first AAR (this one). There wouldn't be this one without their kind reception and encouragement. The idea finalised somewhere near the end of the discussion of that AAR. Like the above introduction says, we will not play long enough to see the future generations of the family (if any) gather the fruits. Works which are interrupted by death will be left unfinished. There will not be a huge blob 200 years later. I will not be taking any of these games any further than the character's death, although I may reload if if it happens too early (or, in some cases, too late, as with someone who died young). It will also be a balancing act between replicating some of the choices in line with the general idea of where the character went historically and where the character might have gone in such circumstances as currently true in the game, which may be different and justifying or even requiring a different reaction. This is alternative history. Events may and most likely will happen decades earlier or decades later. Empires will fall that have survived, different ones will form, wars will be fought by different opponents, some characters will not be born, others will just not die in the battle that didn't happen or of the illness that didn't catch; and we have less control over the development of a character's personality traits than we do of our lives. It will be a tale but not a narrative; on the contrary, a hands-on gameplay. If this goes well, I might start a different cross-epoch AAR, focusing on different types of characters, e.g. the most memorable rulers, the underdogs, people who should have succeeded but didn't etc.



The first instalment has arrived:


King Louis IX (Capet) of France
 
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Louis IX (Capet) of France

As of 8 November 1226, France is ruled by a child monarch:



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...of the third race of her kings:



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(who wrested the crown for the final time from the sons of Charlemagne in the year 987 in much the same fashion as the latter had taken it from those of Clovis two hundred years before, although the last Carolingian king died in office.)



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As far back as yesterday, she had a strong, adult king, albeit ill, the former crusader Louis the Lion, eighth of the name:



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...and son of Philip the Great, so called for retrieving what was lost under Louis the Young in 1152:



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Indeed, a mostly united France had last been seen under the headship of the last mentioned ruler in 1150:



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Even not a full thirty years ago did half of France bow to the King of England, who in theory bowed to the King of France:



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As I said before, that was changed by Louis's grandfather, Philippe the Great:



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...who, ironically, recovered in 1204 from John Lackland in full the fateful Duchy of Normandy (except a single barony here or there), which had been the original cause of this misery:



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...while still seeing the old duchies in the South in English hands, where they had gone in 1152 through Eleanor (Aliénor) of Aquitaine, the last of the local House of Poitou (they still rule in Antioch), who had long held those lands before as if they had indeed been a separate kingdom.



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Truly, the cultural divide between the North and the South explains a lot about the political tensions:



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In fact, the South has in the not so distant past variously identified with the Catalan culture of the neighbouring Aragon or with the Basques of Navarre. Right now, it is the hotbed of the Cathar heresy:



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...which the local strongman, Duke Raymond VII of the long unbroken line of dukes, is accused of supporting:



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His mother was a Plantagenet and his wife is a princess of Aragon, while his father's mother was a Capetian lady. They also have a fresh blood of the now extinct Jimena, through the royal daughter Elvira Alfonsez, whose hand was given to Duke Raymond IV, the once-leader of the First Crusade, one of the men who had refused the kingship of Jerusalem (the other being Godfrey of the duchy of Lower Lorraine, which had belonged to the Carolingian dynastic heirs displaced in 987) and later was its very difficult cooperator as the independent Count of Tripoli, having failed to secure Antioch from Bohemund. They also have the blood of the tragical Bosonids (and indeed have themselves for a brief time ruled Provence) and of the house of Barcelona back before it took the sceptre of Aragon, not to mention the old house of Anjou, of which the Plantagenets are mere cadets. In all these connections the house of Tolouse is not unique among the major French vassals. If anything, they may be unique in lacking a visible Carolingian connection of their own, not that they lack it through others to whom they are related, such as Bertha Karling's who had married duke Boso of Tuscany. The Carolingian links of the other dukes of France are far more prominent, such as of the Dukes of Champagne:



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...or of the proud and resistant Flanders:



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...whose rulers, now again of house van Vlaanderen after a short break (featuring, among others, a Danish prince and an English royal, as the chiefs), in fact counts in name, which title they received from the French crown after eloping with the king's daughter who had previously been married to two Saxon kings of England, but dukes in effect and not shying away from having vassals of equal or nominally higher rank, have of late risen to a new kind of prominence:



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...(where 'de Blois' is the family name of the Dukes of Champagne), as evidenced by the current incumbent Johanna's (notice the distinct 'h' after the northern fashion) occasionally used title of Princess of the Latin Empire:



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The counts are not far less proud than the dukes. One of them, the Countess of Eu, while loyal to the French crown, is the last of the House of Normandy, which has been displaced in England after some turmoil, featuring a civil war with the participation of none other than the de Blois (and which may explain her political allegiance):



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not to mention Vermandois, the former stronghold of the Carolingians long past the entire country had passed to a different dynasty:



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(although it would be an exaggeration to call the de Coucy powerful lords or even proper peers, which is not to say that this limits their ambitions by a noticeable margin).

Will child Louis carry the difficult burden of the crown or even succeed in keeping the country together? Where will France be taken by him?



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DensleyBlair

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Nice to see the Karlings getting a mention :) (and Herbert even got a cameo ;))

A very intriguing start - it will be interesting to see how Louis does.
 

NewbieOne

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Blanche of Castille

On the day his father dies, Louis is twelve. While France is never kingless, properly speaking, and Louis is proclaimed immediately (with a coronation and, more importantly, annointment to follow), the realm will for some time remain under the regency of the widowed Queen Blanche:




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This illustrious lady hails modernly from Castille, the daughter of Alfonso VIII and Eleanor of England, who had herself been the daughter of Henry II and the famed Eleanor of Aquitaine, previously the putative wife of Louis's paternal ancestor (great-grandfather) Louis VII the Young of France, their subsequent split and Eleanor's eventual marriage to Henry having been the cause of the huge migration of effective sovereignty of the south-west quarter of France into the 'English' hands of the French-speaking Plantagenets. Louis, on the other hand, by the way, married a short-lived d'Ivrea, Princess Constance of Castille. Blanche's marriage to his grandson Louis VIII (the Lion) was part of a peace with John Lackland. None other than Eleanor chose the bride and actually brought her to France. Ironically, it led to Louis's laying claim to the English throne and actually receiving homage as the King of England from London and from the King of Scotland, though he was not crowned.




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In a more distant past, though, Queen Blanche goes back to the former d'Ivrea kings of Italy: the last independents Adalbert and Berengar, who were faced with subsumption into the Holy Roman Empire, and the tragic Arduin, who died a monk, 'in his own time,' after being effectively deprived of his kingdom by Henry II, the last emperor of the house of Otto, the one for whom the Holy Roman Empire was established and who in 951 invaded Italy, got himself crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy and one year later reduced the d'Ivreas to vassalage but allowed them to stay as kings... for a time.




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[OOC: The list and regnal numbers in the game need some fixing.]


However, the house of Ivrea, so named after the now defunct Italian marquessate which was created specially for them (after a failed attempt to put a king of Italy on the throne of France), are not Italian in origin. They are Anscarids, descended from a count in Burgundy. The county of Mâcon is still in the hands of the family, now ruled by a wee heiress:




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For a time, so was the entire duchy, under only one ruler, Otto William:




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... from whom it was confiscated by royal France, eventually ending up in the hands of Capet cadets of House de Bourgogne, the current holders, one of which family is the husband of Johanna of Flanders. The d'Ivrea, on the other hand (a younger line, though, as the main line united into the German Hohenstauffen), moved on to rule the Duchy of Gallicia in Spain, in the person of Raymond, who married (regularly) the powerful Queen Urraca of Castille, Leon and Gallicia, the last Jiména in those kingdoms, who claimed the title of Empress of All Spain. Urraca and Raymond sired Alfonso VII, the first Anscarid to put on a royal crown after 112 years (although Raymond as the ruler of Gallicia had been styled everything from count to emperor, including 'consul'), and are the great-great-grandaprents of Queen Blanche. And thus great-great-great-grandparents of Louis.




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A younger brother of Raymond, on the other hand, previously known as Guy of Vienne, was elected Pope Callixtus II at Cluny:




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[OOC: Should be II, as Pope Callixtus I ruled in early 3rd century]


Beatrice, the last of the main line of the Anscarids, married Frederick I Barbarossa. Otto, one of their younger sons succeeded her, and married Margaret of Blois, granddaughter of a previous Theobald of Champagne (who are really only counts in name, just like Flanders but their power is great).




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DensleyBlair

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I love the detail in these, and like how much effort you must put in with regards to all the links :)

Keep 'em coming!
 

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NewbieOne

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Nice to see the Karlings getting a mention :) (and Herbert even got a cameo ;))

A very intriguing start - it will be interesting to see how Louis does.

Thank you! And, by the way, House Capet's about sole connection to the Karlings was through a Herbert of Vermandois's daughter. Otherwise it was the eloquence of certain two lords in 987, which put them on the throne ahead of the dynastic heir being the Duke of Lorraine. You can see some of the great vassals had a better one.

well it looks like Louis will find it quite a challenge to become a saint .... given all those starting problems

Indeed, the trials will be hard but only through tough testing is a saint made! The historical saint Louis had a lot to go through, especially in his Egyptian captivity (which I'd need to play in a totally unrealistic way game-wise to reflect, so I won't and this will be rather missing).

I love the detail in these, and like how much effort you must put in with regards to all the links :)

Keep 'em coming!

Thankee. I'm trying not to overload the reader with information. Let me know when I overdo it. ;)

Very nice update!With such ibtersting details .Well done

As well! Hope I can keep it up when we move from the historical starting conditions to the adventures of this character. Note: I'll need to make some things up as we go, I might use a different colour for them or something.
 
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NewbieOne said:
Thankee. I'm trying not to overload the reader with information. Let me know when I overdo it.

Will do (although I dont imagine I'll ever have to, the balance at the moment is nice - it sets the scene well without being too overbearing:))
 

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Coronation Waiting

While the regency will carry on for a while yet and years will pass before Louis begins his personal rule and while a monarch of France theoretically accedes upon his predecessor's death (in fact, just before the death of his father, Louis's future vassals took an oath of fealty to him, while in the previous generations of Capetians the eldest son was generally crowned during the father's lifetime, so feeble was the primogeniture and actually the entire dynastic right of the early Capetians, some of the Carolingian-related reasons for which I showed you above), none commands the same respect as an annointed king (which, in France, frequently saves to patch up dynastic shortcomings). It has only been three years and some months since Queen Blanche herself was crowned at Rheims together with her husband, Louis VIII, the father of Louis, the now king.



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[Coronation of Louis VIII of France and his wife, Blanche of Castille]

According to an English hagiographer:


William of Puy-Laurens, a contemporary historian, assures us, that Archambauld of Bourbon, this king’s great confidant, told him, that he died a martyr to chastity; for when physicians proposed to him a remedy which is forbidden by the laws of God, he rejected it with horror, saying, 'It is better to die than to save my life by a mortal sin.'


And so Louis the Lion died before he reached the age of 40, three years into his reign, leaving in his last will his wife Queen Blanche as the regent for young Louis.

Perhaps Eleanor of Aquitaine was right in her decision that Blanche we would be better for a Queen of France due to her personality (as actually a different sister, Urraca, who would become Queen of Portugal, had been betrothed to Louis), as she was not far from her husband in this regard. According to Joinville, the King's friend and trusty follower, who wrote down the story of his life:


Great need had he in childhood that God should guard him; as by the good teachings of his mother, who taught him to love and believe in God, and set men of religion about him. Child as he was, she used to make him repeat his Hours and hear the lessons on Feast-days, and often told him as he recorded later, that she were rather he were dead than that he should commit a deadly sin.


Or, in a finer and more memorable rendition:


'I love you my dear son, with all the tenderness a mother is capable of; but I would infinitely rather see you fall down dead at my feet, than that you should ever commit a mortal sin.'


Joinville knew the story from the King himself. If we once again turn to him:


He called me once, and said to me: 'You are of such subtile perception in all matters touching religion, that I am afraid to talk to you, and for that reason I have called in these friars here, for I wish to ask you a question.' The question was, 'Seneschal, what sort of thing is God?' I answered: 'Such a good thing, sir, that there is none better.' 'Well answered indeed,' said he 'for the very same answer is written in this book that I hold. Next I ask you,' said he, 'Which would you rather: Be a leper, or have committed a deadly sin?' And I, who never lied to him, replied: That I would rather have committed thirty deadly sins than be a leper. And when the friars were gone, he called me all alone, and made me sit at his feet, and said to me: 'What was that you said to me yesterday?' And I replied: That I still said the same. 'You talk like a hasty rattlepate,' said he, 'For there is no leprosy so foul as deadly sin, seeing that a soul in deadly sin is in the image of the Devil. And truly when a man dies, he is healed of the leprosy of the body, but when a man dies that has committed deadly sin, great fear must he needs have lest such leprosy should endure so long as God shall be in Heaven.'


And Joinville was no light-weight himself. On one occasion he talked down the founder of Sorbonne, and even Louis, who came to the latter's defence, couldn't succeed... and afterwards apologised for trying. But more on this at a different time. Right now Louis is in his early teens. Speaking of which, let's get back to him:



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It seems our Louis is Brave, Ambitious... and Chaste. I was actually surprised when I looked at his character sheet (one of the many I saw before I thought I could keep one, and this was not an easy decision: there will actually be another, alternative account of Louis's life). Brave goes without saying but but the other two? ('Whose views in war were exempt from the usual passions of ambition, avarice, and revenge'.) Chastity actually was a strong feature in the life of the historical Saint Louis, for which he had a particular love (according to the Englishman), except he simply is not as known for that as for his other achievements or traits. So in a way this was fitting, especially for a 12 years old Louis still awaiting his coronation. As for ambition, you will see later why I decided to keep it.



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And here are the other major direct vassals (skipping the barons, majors and smallest bishops, other than the Abbot of St. Denis and the Mayor of Paris). These are the folks we will have to stick with for the rest of the tale, or their offspring in some cases, so a list is much in order:



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[Apparently, some of the titles have been adjusted up or down for the needs of the game. This is not a problem as many of the titles were a matter of convention (more on French titles of the period). Theoretically, a count was someone in charge of a city, a duke ruled a province. This did not actually reflect their true power, nor did they actually care that much, and it was entirely feasible for a more powerful count to hold a less powerful titular co-equal as a vassal (if not even actually somebody of a nominally higher rank). The Count of Toulouse, apart from being a mighty peer of France, was actually a real duke, except of Narbonne, reviving an old Roman title. Even so, he was easily the equal of the dukes of Aquitaine (now the King of England and that'd be Henry III, son of John Lackland and equally troubled about legitimacy). Champagne were actually counts but they were some of the most powerful lords in the realm. Eventually, the current Theobald IV (the Troubadour) actually became the King of Navarre.

As you can see, there's already Charles of Anjou as duke and Robert of Artois as count, both brothers of Louis. In reality, both were counts and both were made by Louis in the 1230-ies, not by his father or otherwise at the time of Louis's accession. I guess the game wants to keep them as eminent historical figures, hence they got different dynastic names and their titles from the get go. But I'd much rather this were left up to the player until the historical dates of appointment. Especially given that there's no particular reason to put Charles in as the duke of the entire Duchy of Anjou, while he was only a count in name, just like his other brothers, and Anjou wasn't in fact in the royal domain in 1226. Peter of Brittany had to give it up in order to be forgiven for his rebellion against the crown. Initially, it was the landless (in the game) Jean who was the count of Anjou and also of Maine, before dying in 1232, when Charles (the later d'Anjou) was 6 years of age. And Alphonse was the count of Poitou and Auvergne (in foreign hands as of 1226). Also, Louis's demesne is already higher than his effective limit at the start of the game, so this is not an issue. This does need fixing but the only fixing I did was to correct the birth date (and order!) of Louis and Robert. For some reason, apart from certain minor discrepancies, Robert actually was shown as the elder brother (which he was not). I simply didn't want to go far from the vanilla, as this is supposed to be a gameplay AAR.]

Evidently, while many are not filled with particular enthusiasm for new rule, by far, however, Johanna of Flanders outclasses them all in her lack of appreciation. Let us inquire into her reasons, of which she has many:



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Short reign is the usual, as is 'foreigner', of which there is no wonder, for she is Dutch. Her dynastic name is simply Van Vlaanderen. Can one get any more Flemish that that? Also, quite a lot of her de iure has passed into the royal domain. It did during the reign of Johanna's father, Baldwin IX of Flanders (VI of Hainaut), in which case 'reign' takes an entirely different meaning than in the case of a count, as it is the same Baldwin who became the first Latin Emperor (as Baldwin I) and parted this world in uncertain circumstances in a Bulgarian prison, named Baldwin's Tower after him. He reigned only one year, which ended in his capture following the (second, or who knows how many) Battle of Adrianople in 1205. Ironically, in the first Battle of Adrianople a true Roman Emperor, Valens, perished fighting the Goths in 378. And in early 9th century (811 to be exact), a Byzantine emperor, Nikephoros, whose name translates as, 'the Bringer of Victory,' died also fighting Bulgarians like Baldwin, except at Pliska, which was the Bulgarian capital at the time. The other similarity is that according to the legend, both Nikephoros's and Baldwin's skull were made into a drinking cup by the respective Bulgarian ruler. Bulgarians also claim that Baldwin sealed his fate by trying to secude Kaloyan's wife while in captivity, while the other version is that Kaloyan simply entered a fit of rage upon hearing of the revolt of Philippopolis, a little west of Constantinople, with Adrianopolis along the way.



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[Baldwin's prison in modern times, source: wiki]

While Johanna is sometimes termed the 'Princess of the Latin Empire', which is an exaggeration, as acceding to a royal or even imperial crown (as evidenced by the history of the Holy Roman Empire) does not automatically make your offspring royal or imperial princes, except perhaps after many generations of rule by your dynasty, (we can't really deny her to be called, 'Johanna of the Latin Empire' anyway), the 'empire' itself has passed out of the hands of the Flemish dynasty. Right now it is ruled by the Courtenays, who are... Capetian cadets. While their name is older, they proceed agnatically from Peter of Courtenay, a younger son of King Louis VI of France:



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[Historically, the Courtenays didn't fare well and they experienced a lot of humbling at the hands of the Bourbons. They were denied the status of the 'Princes of the Blood' (Les Princes du Sang), even though the Bourbons themselves descended from a son of King Louis IX (yes, this one) and were 9 generations and 300 years away from the throne (as you can read at the French nobility site or at wikipedia). They were even rather officially treated as not having a right to the throne, even though the difference between them and the Bourbons themselves was about 3 generations and somewhat about 100 years.]

Motivated in part by somewhat of a consciousness of her injured de iure rights, we decide to give her a loan of confidence. While she is not getting Artois back...:



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Besides, she would go to war over them anyway and the counts would be defenceless. As we do not want Robert to stop being the count of Artois:

We decide to bestow Robert, the eldest after Louis (who himself was a second son, as Philip, his older brother, died in his teenage years), with the entire duchy of Normandy, which makes the Countess of Eu and the last of the House de Normandie, his vassal, as well as Philippe 'Hurepel' Capet, Count of Mortain, his uncle. Incidentally, the husband of the Countess of Boulogne. With Normandy's vast resources behind Robert, Johanna should be discouraged enough from waging de iure war over Artois (or so we think).



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We also provide for the future of the other two royal brothers (who receive no land so far). We marry Jean to Maria de Bourgogne, the daughter and heir of Johanna of Flanders by her husband Ferdinand, Prince of Portugal, as Portugal is another country currently ruled by Capetian cadets, same that still hold the Duchy of Burgundy through a different member of the house. This makes the young couple-to-be very remote cousins.



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And Alphonse we marry (historically!) to the daughter of the Count of Toulouse and Duke of Narbonne, abbreviated to Duke of Toulouse for convenience (historically, she inherited her father and Toulouse reverted to the crown as per treaty with Duke Raymond).



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In recognition of his high rank as a major vassal of this crown, we make her father the Seneschal of the Kingdom:



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Apart from the more titular and honorific great officers of the crown, here are the men who will help Queen Blanche keep the realm together (you can see Marshal Archambaut's County of Périgord in the picture above; he is one of the second echelon of direct royal vassals):



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We certainly have a job for the chaplain right away. In fact more than enough for one man.



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We are ready to proceed with the coronation.
 
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mike the knight

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The King's Crowning

While the road is dangerous, as is the whole kingdom for its new king save for where loyal hearts beat, we need to tarry no longer. We can finally set of for Rheims:



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Already on our way, we receive the good news from Flanders and from Toulouse (underneath).



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And bad news from our court: evil powers accost the first candidate for a tutor.



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Ancel, one of the bishops, the most worthy in the Queen's eyes, agrees to become the replacement. (Historically, his mother had 'sole guardianship' of him but I needed to make some adjustments.)



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And the first territorial concession that we need to make:



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Thibault is not up in arms and he probably sincerely believes that the land should of right be his, and we neither want nor can afford to estrange him. The lords of Champagne are a lofty race, and rather characteristic. Theobald's grandfather, Henry, was the King of Jerusalem in right of his wife Isabelle (Isabelle I, not the current Isabelle II, the Kaiser's wife, in between whom Maria ruled; ever since 1186 women have reigned in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, four of them now, beginning with Sibylla, wife of Guy, from whom proceed the de Lusignans of Cyprus, cousins of those from the Lusignan County in Poitou), although he did not use the title.

Once upon a time, Henry had this adventure, as related by Joinville:


Artauld of Nogent was the burgher whom the King most trusted, and he was so rich, that he built the castle of Nogent l'Artauld with his own money. Now it chanced that Count Henry came down out of his hall at Troyes to go and hear mass at Saint Stephen on the day of Pentecost; and at the foot of the steps there knelt a poor knight, who thus accosted him: 'Sir, I beseech you for the love of God, to give me out of your wealth the wherewithal to marry my two daughters whom you see here.' Artauld, who was walking behind him, said to the poor knight, 'Sir Knight, it is not courteous in you to beg from my lord; for he has given away so much, that he has nothing left to give.' The generous Count turned round to Artauld, and said to him: 'Sir Villein, you speak untruly when you say, that I have nothing left to give, why, I have you yourself! Here, take him, Sir Knight! for I give him to you, and will warrant him to you.' The knight was in no wise abashed, but took him by the cape, and told him: That he would not let him go until he had come to terms with him; and before he could get away, Artauld had made fine with him for five hundred pounds.


Let us hope that Thibault will live up to his grandfather's name. Louis himself is also in favour of accepting loss himself rather than inflicting it on his vassal, as he would one day teach his own son to do.

Historically, Thibault was Louis's vital supporter in the latter's early reign (and I wanted to keep it that way since so many other things would need to change already).

En route to Rheims, we stop at Soissons to pick up the bishop, who will be presiding at the coronation, as the see of Rheims is currently vacant (not really in the game--the archbishop of Rheims should be represented as a duke under the king but is only a vassal count of Champagne in the game and those always have a holder). At Soissons, Louis is knighted and swears to serve God, to protect the weak and poor, and the innocent, the widow and the orphan, and lay down his life for them if need be.



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On Saturday, 28 November 1226, the eve of the first Sunday of the Advent, we arrive in Rheims to prepare for the rites. In the morning, Louis is woken up by the bishops and the secular peers and they proceed to the cathedral. In lieu of the Archbishop the Bishop of Soissons receives the Holy Ampulla, carried tither by a barefoot Abbot of Saint Remi, the same Saint Remi, or rather Remigius, who converted Clovis, two dynasties and seven and a half centuries ago. Clovis and Louis are really the same name, although written differently. Louis once again swears to serve God and protect the Church, and his shirt is removed so that he can be annointed (in later years, a shirt with holes would be used when the passage of time softened the monarchy). He shivers with cold. 'To thee, O Lord, have I raised my soul; and in thee do I place my confidence,' he thinks (according to the English hagiographer) and recites the coronation oath.



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[Pic source: wiki]

The thirteen years old duke of Burgundy as premier lay peer of France, carries the crown to the altar from where the bishop will take it and place on the king's head. The young Robert as Duke of Normandy holds the square banner. Somebody from England mans the other, acting for the Duke of Aquitaine. The bishop of Noyons brings the royal belt, which the ever so slightly older Hugh of Burgundy fastens on Louis's waist. Johanna, draped in black lions on a golden gown, and her husband come forth with the sword of Charlemagne. The prelate of Châlons steps up with the royal ring. The one of Beauvais drapes the mantle, all azure blue with golden fleurs-de-lys over his shoulders and he stops shivering. From the bishop of Langres, he receives the sceptre of Dagobert, while Raymond of Toulouse, crouching on the stone floor, fixes the spurs. Thibault smiles from behind the Oriflamme, as if saying, 'courage, boy!'. Amidst the prayers, the words 'annoint' and 'annointed', amidst mentions and references to priests, prophets and kings of especially the Old Testament, fall so often you cannot count, it all flies so fast.

Finally, the crown of Charlemagne lands on his head and, although there is some doubt initially that it might simply slide down his temples, it sticks. The bishop intones Te Deum and soon you cannot even hear your own thoughts.




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[Pic source: wiki]
 

mike the knight

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I hope that you have not opened their appetite for more land mate :D Always be careful about your tutor and pillows ;)
 

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I hope that you have not opened their appetite for more land mate :D Always be careful about your tutor and pillows ;)

The royal demesne is strewn across a number of de iure duchies. The other aspect of the same problem is a number of small-sized duchies that can be formed either by the king if he hurries or by a vassal (if he hurries harder), whether duke or count. But Louis is not the type to participate in a land-grab like that. ;)

Very nice - I lik the detail you put into the coronation, I can tell you do a lot of work on this :)

Thank you. :) Yeah, I'm trying my best. I always want my readers to get something out of an AAR other than its own merits. I kinda like the convention that you either just read the words as they go or click the links for more information and more background, for example, depending what suits you better at the moment (or in general).
 

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Early Reign

As Louis is now a crowned King of France, and theoretically a crowned knight, as far as he still is from personal rule, these days are coming to an end:



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And to think that less than half a year ago, he and his brothers were still playing with the father, back then very much alive and strong as ever, until he contracted dysentery on his way back to Paris from a war against the southern barons.



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Now it will be up to Louis to be the big man. To finish off the introduction to his early reign, let us get back to the brother we have perhaps discussed the least so far: Charles of Anjou (one of the most colourful characters in real history). Charles rules Anjou:



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While, as you can see, it was reclaimed by Louis's grandfather about twenty years ago from the rulers of England, it used to be a Capetian stronghold back in the Carolingian days:



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The Plantagenets were heirs, a cadet branch, of the original House of Anjou, who were themselves cadets of the older House of Anjou, the so called Fulk-Geoffrey lineage, due to the prevalence of those two names. Around the time of the Plantagenets' accession in England, Fulk of Anjou married Melisende and became King of Jerusalem iure uxoris. The aforementioned Queen Isabelle, wife of the Henry of Champagne who likewise became a iure uxoris king, was Fulk's granddaughter. About Sybilla and Guy you already know (de Lusignan, of course, just like Count Hugh over here, under the King of England in Aquitaine; the Kings of Cyprus are his cadets actually), as well as of the ensuing decades of passage of the crown through women.



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Last in Geoffrey Plantagenet's line, at least in these parts, was the misfortunate young Arthur of Brittany, who did not ultimately inherit the English crown despite being King John's elder brother Geoffrey's son. Geoffrey had been Duke of Brittany in right of his wife, Constance. Brittany is independent. Another similar 'great absent' is Provence, which actually used to be under under the French crown in somewhat tighter terms than the loose suzerainty, while theoretically being under the empire (the Counts of Toulouse/Dukes of Narbonne, who are the neighbouring French vassals, used to rule there).



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Over a hundred years ago, these lands belonged to the mighty but sometimes ill-advised Bosonids, who reached for the royal dignity under the Carolingians and actually took France itself (or Western Francia, as it was then) in the person of Rudolph of France, who ruled for 13 years from 923 to his death in 936, elected by an assembly of nobles, much like the Capetian (Robertian) kings. Right now, it is ruled by the House of Barcelona, who about sixty years ago subsumed the Kingship of Aragon, marrying the female heir, Petronilla of Aragon, another last female Jiména (who only rule in Navarre any more in the male line, although apparently renamed, as we will see later) after the fashion of Urraca of Castille, the one who married the ancestor of Louis's mother, starting the d'Ivrea dynasty in Castille. The Provençal branch of the House of Barcelona will become important later in our story.

The last to discuss in this way is Louis's own Poitou, another reconquest of his grandfather, the sister-duchy of Aquitaine previously under Eleanor. Not all of it belongs to France, for precisely the county of Lusignan under the aforementioned count Hugh, who is an English vassal and whose domain of three counties borders the now-French duchy on the south-east side. He too will feature into our story later.



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Like I said before, the original de Poitou (or de Poitiers) rule in the Outremer, now holding both the Principality of Antioch, which has passed to them from the Hautevilles, whose Sicilian inheritance has been subsumed by the Hohenstafen Holy Roman Emperors:

[Note: In the historical life of Saint Louis, the mighty Hohenstaufen dynasty (from the borders of Denmark to the nothern parts of the island of Sicily) would come down crumbling and their last heir, Conradin, would be executed for 'treason' for rising against Charles d'Anjou, having lived all of 16 years.



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And Tripoli:



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Also from the Middle East comes the first significant news:



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The Mongols seem to have pressed the overpowering Muslims so hard that the latter have decided to call a jihad on them by the Caliph, to retake Persia, which must have fallen to the Horde. We wonder what that will mean for us.

In early November dies another of the King's direct minor vassals, Baron Philip of Montfort-l'Amaury, a maimed cripple, probably a veteran of Louis's father's or grandfather's campagins. The widows of these knights will be provided for abundantly, if not directly by the king himself. You will see in a moment.



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We decide to tie Johanna closer to the crown and at the same time inspire her towards charitable works.



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While still a rather fickle woman, she seems more cooperative now. Time will show if she's ready to leave Robert alone with Artois, too.



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The King of Scotland sues for Queen Blanche's hand. He is denied, she is too committed to her son, not to mention that her husband was still alive what? two months ago?



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On 17 January 1227, news from the papal court arrive that:



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...the Pope has called a crusade for Jerusalem.

The queen, Isabelle II (daughter of John of Brienne, still alive and going well), is wearing an imperial crown as the wife of Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor.]
 
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Many holy wars are ravaging the World ....Such a messy place is France I think also...