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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Book XII: Edward IV.

CoAEdwardIV.png

Edward IV changed the Imperial Coat of Arms to his favorite color (which provided also for his later nickname).
He was also the first since decades to change the helmet of the CoA (for no known reasons).

Part I: 1272-1275 Marching against Heretics and Infidels

In late October 1272 a new emperor was crowned in the Westminster Abbey.
Like his predecessor he was a member of the Siward dynasty, which ruled England since 1114, but he was of a different branch of this vast family.

His branch of the Siward dynasty, the Siwards of Dublin was established in 1169, when Eadbert IV (the Lion 1150-1193) made his youngest son Ealdred Earl of Dublin.

SiwardsofDublin.png

Earl Ealdred led a peaceful and pious life and was already revered for his good deeds and beneficial work during his lifetime.
In 1187 he split his territory with his eldest son Aethelfrith. Keeping Dublin for himself and giving the county of Mide to Aethelfrith. On Aethelfrith lay all of Ealdred’s hope for the future but the young man died already in 1192 during a boar hunt - barely aged 22. As he died without offspring Ealdred gave the county to his second and more troublesome son Offa.
Ealdred had meanwhile been styled Duke of Meath by his father (1189) and acted as one of the five great lords of Ireland (the five were two spiritual lords of Cashel and Sligo and the three secular lords of Ulster, Leinster and Meath). As members of the Royal family the dukes of Meath were considered the Governors of Ireland (although an honorary title at best).
While Duke Ealdred was always considered a true servant of the church (in a positive way) his son Offa became a more notorious critic and troublemaker. Offa’s personal feud with some of the clergy in his county went so far that he was excommunicated at some time and even the intervention of his father on his behalf did not help to improve the situation.
So when Duke Ealdred died in 1208 (and was very soon officially recognized as a venerable saint) it was not his son Offa who followed him but Ealdred’s ten years old grandson Eormenric who became the new Duke of Meath. Offa was even barred from the regency.
When Eormenric came of age in 1214 he acted as representative of Emperor Sighere III in Ireland until his much too early death in 1219. He left behind two infant children, a daughter of three years – Aelfgifu and a son of one – Thurcytel.
Thurcytel became the third Duke of Meath. Earl Offa of Mide, his grandfather, who had meanwhile made his peace with the church (nonetheless his surname “the Sceptic” remained with him) was appointed regent – this time uncontested – until Thurcytel’s coming of age in 1234. He stayed with his grandson in Dublin until his death in 1239.
Duke Thurcytel maintained the traditional loyal policy of his family - in contrast to the dukes of Ulster and Leinster, who rebelled from time to time for various reasons. He was finally recognized as heir to the imperial throne by Aethelred VII (although Thurcytel was about ten years older than the Emperor) and was even installed as Prince of Wales (April 1262). Wales and Ireland were put under his administration (although he had to report to Empress Brunhilda).
After his son Edward (Earl of Mide since 1252) lost his first wife Agnes in 1262 he was married to the eldest niece of Emperor Aethelred VII Gytha Siward, a daughter of his brother Godwin, in 1263.
Duke Thurcytel died in 1264 and his titles of Prince of Wales and Duke of Meath went to Edward, who also took his father’s administration duties in Ireland and Wales. After the death of Empress Brunhilde in 1268 the reign over (parts of) England and Scotland were added to his duties.
Although his territorial responsibilities had been vastly increased, he remained mainly in Ireland, which he really and deeply cared for, until the death of the emperor.

Edward IV’s favoring of Ireland has given some ground for some discussions among the historians. Was he still a true Saxon? Had he been “converted” to an Irishman? The answer to these questions is a clear “no”. In the late 13th century Ireland had already stopped being solely Irish in culture. Only the Irish West could still claim to maintain pure Irish culture and tradition. The largest part of the isle had accepted a Saxon lifestyle (which had come under strong pressure from the English / Imperial lifestyle in England). Mide itself had still strong Scottish rather than Irish or Saxon influences.

Islandcultures.png

Edward IV’s coronation was not as lavish as Aethelred VII’s but impressive enough to show the imperial magnates, that Edward IV was willing to take his predecessor’s place and any ideas of strengthening nobility influence on the Imperial policy should be reconsidered. The number of participating foreign monarchs was smaller but mostly due to the circumstances that many had just ascended to their respective thrones themselves and were busy establishing their reign or they were involved in one of the many waging wars of that time. Present were: Egil of Sweden, ruler of the currently strongest Scandinavian realm (Finland was considered a Russian principality as his ruler was an Orthodox Christian), Halfdan I of Denmark (ruler of the most stable Scandinavian realm), Emperor Otto IV (he was a personal friend of Edward since childhood) and Antonino de Morra, Duke of Milano (who considered it prudent to stay on the good side of the Western Empire).

Edward IV had already taken a short survey over the holdings of Aethelred VII and he concluded that he had not the same administrational abilities as his predecessor. So he used his need to lighten his administrational burden to strengthen his connections to his nobility.
As part of the coronation ceremony he handed out some parts of his former demesne and a small portion of the Imperial demesne.

127210grantingfiefs.png

His own duchy of Meath was converted into a new Archbishopric with see in Dublin and Saebert O hEachthinghearna was created its first Archbishop (the Archbishops of Sligo and Cashel were less than pleased).
Eadric Egbertson, Earl of Shrewsbury and bastard grandson of Margaret Siward, Duchess of Hereford was made Duke of Hereford. Viviers was given to Duke Aimeric of Toulouse; Blois to Eudes FitzWilliam, Duke of Orleans. Napoli – the former residence of Aethelred VII – was given to Gastone Obertenghi, Duke of Salerno. Edward IV’s aunt Aelfgifu was made Duchess of Norfolk and his sister Edith was styled Countess of Aquileia.

127210lykianrevolt.png

In the eastern part of the empire some discontent groups had hoped, that the death of Aethelred VII had given them the opportunity to re-establish Orthodox supremacy in the region, but their local rebellion met no sympathy with the new Emperor his fierce reaction leading to an armed uprising in Lykia, which Edward IV ordered to be crushed. Marshal Gudrod Neville led his soldiers into the province and made short process with their main force (November 21st). The Lykian uprising would continue for some months but without greater effects on the empire (perhaps preventing other discontents from approaching the emperor as they saw his swift and forceful reaction).

Other regional powers seemed to consider this handling of local unrest a show of force and just one week after the victory over the Lykian rebel force, the neighboring Count of Smyrna - Ulrich d’Ardennes asked to become a vassal of the Western Empire.

127211smyrnavassal.png

The House of Ardennes once ruled the Duchy of Bavaria, until Emperor Wilhelm deposed Duke Bruno in 1269. Smyrna had come into their possession during one of the many crusades and a cadet branch had of the Ardennes’ House had been established since.
Edward not only welcomed Count Ulrich within his empire, he also added the province of Ephesos to his demesne and made him Duke of Samos.

In December Edward IV made a short review of his life so far.
He had reached the pinnacle of all he had ever hoped for. He was ruler of the mightiest realm of Europe, he had five healthy sons and a beautiful daughter. He was in good graces with the church and led a pious life.
A few days before Christmas on December 15th, 1272 – shortly after mass – the Emperor made a public declaration that he intended to live a saintly and celibate life in the future.

127212celibate.png

A few advisors had managed to convince him that celibate should mean only intercourse with the empress - not as he originally intended - total abstinence.
Nonetheless his daughter Margaret (who would be born in March 1273) would be the last child of the Imperial couple.

In January 1273 Bishop Baudouin MacPhlannchaidh of Tuadmumu voiced his rejection of the new Archbishopric of Dublin - and the general direction of the Catholic Church - by declaring himself Pope Gregory XII and his diocese the new Patrimonium Petri.

127301warwithtuadmumu.png

Edward IV reacted by declaring war on the “Pope”. This “Holy war” continued until March 15th, when “Gregory XII” surrendered and was taken into custody (where he miraculously vanished). His province was returned to the Archbishopric of Cashel.

127303peaceandwar.png

On the very same day the Emperor learned, that a Muslim, Sulayman Khaleel, had officially been elected Grandmaster of the Templar Order, a scandalous incident. The holy order had obviously been compromised by the infidels and turned against the true followers of the cross… After the stealthy infiltration, the election of a Muslim as Grandmaster was certainly a stupid blunder. Edward IV declared war on the now Muslim order at once, even setting sail for the Holy Land himself to take personally care of the whole affair. He even took his wife and his new born daughter with him.

In May Edward IV’s first detachment under the command of Hovsep Karouzeiates arrived at the gates of Hebron, the official residence of the “Templar Order”.
In May and June a few minor skirmishes took place between Sir Hovsep and Grandmaster Sulayman Khaleel but it was not before July 1273, when Edward IV and his family had arrived that the decisive battle took place. On July 12th, Grandmaster Sulyaman Khaleel was utterly defeated. The following day Hebron surrendered and the “Templar state” was dissolved. The province was added to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
All should have been well.

127307peacewithtemplars.png

Sadly young Margaret had contracted leprosy on her way to Hebron somehow. Afraid that she might spread the illness among the courtiers it was decided to banish the infant to one of the remotest provinces of the realm. Margaret was made Countess of Sozopolis, where she was banished with a group of courtiers, who had volunteered to accompany the princess to her new “court” and guard her.

127309lepercountess.png

In December the Lykian unrest flickered again, but also Edward IV remained hard the protesters did not dare to raise their weapons.

Edward IV had meanwhile (and temporarily) taken residence in the Bucoleon Palace in Constantinople, where he intended to spend Christmas. He had learned that the inquisitors Aethelred VII had requested for the Ile de France had failed in their mission and that the heretics had staged an uprising in Paris, but he was sure the local forces would be able to subdue them and refrained from actively intervening.

127307hereticsinParis.png

Another situation was much more for his interest.
The Muslim realm of Hammadid bordered too often for his taste to the Western Empire. It was present in Western Africa. It had possessions at the Nile Delta. It was a neighbor in Anatolia. At the moment it did not pose a direct threat as its possessions were quite outstretched, but what if it would connect its possessions somehow. What when it became a new Zenata-Egypt or worse a new realm like the old al-Murabitid Morocco?
On December 24th, 1273Emperor Edward IV declared war on the quite surprised King Zahir of Hammadid.

127312warwithhammadid.png

In January a group of Orthodox extremists tried to use the outbreak of the war in their favor, but their attempt was already crushed just two weeks later by local forces.

On January 24th the first English troops under the command of (Catholic) Sulayman ibn Mirdas arrived on Hammadid territory – in Figuig to be more exactly – where he met with a local levy under the command of Umar Amin. Although Sulayman ibn Mirdas remained victorious in the following skirmish, he was gravely wounded and had to be replaced by Manasses of Orvieto a few days later.

A Hammadid counter attack on Lykia by Hamza bin Hammad, Sheik of Attaleia was stopped by Edric O’Fearghails on January 25th. The attack led Edward IV to a declaration of war on the Sheik in retaliation.
A month and a day later Edward IV and Sheik Hamza met personally on a battle field in Attaleia, where the sheik had to taste the full force of an Imperial attack and had to retreat.

In March the English took control of Figuig and Edward IV and Hamza bin Hammad met again in Attaleia, where the sheik had to learn painfully that his chances had not improved. A week after his last defeat Attaleia was annexed and the sheik without land, while his former neighbor Karaty of Ghazni, Bey of Ikonion was selected the next target of Edward IV’s invasion.

127404peacewithattaleiawarwithikonion.png

April 19th saw another confrontation between Edward IV and Hamza bin Hammad. This time in Ikonion. For Hamza bin Hammad it would be the last battle. During the skirmish he would receive a mortal wound leaving for the rest of the conflict the Hammadid troops in Anatolia without proper command structure (and without any commanders). At the end of April Manasses of Orvieto would fight Umar Amin in Figuig again and in early May Edward IV and Edric O’Fearghails would rout leaderless companies of Hammadid soldiers in Ikonion and Dorylaion.
May 1274 would also see the first of many clashes between Hovsep Karouzeiates and Halil Ahmed over the control of Pelusia at the Nile Delta.

Pelusia would fall into the hands of Hovsep Karouzeiates just a few days before Ikonion surrendered to Edward IV (with the besiegers and besieged trading places in Pelusia). With the surrender and annexation of Ikonion the war ended in Anatolia (as there were no remaining Hammadid possessions) and the fighting concentrated on Northern Africa (July 4th).

127407peacewithikonion.png

The new phase had an unpleasant opening as it started with a defeat of an English reinforcement army by the hands of a local Hammadid company on July 13th. But it was only a minor setback and King Zahir was not able to profit from his victory on any of his many fronts.
By August he had lost control over the Beni Yanni territory and his vassal in Tell Atlas was drawn into the war by Edward IV (who had meanwhile left Anatolia again and was on his way to London).

127408beniyannitakenwarwithtellatlas.png

In August, September and October the English increased their pressure on the North African kingdom. Aboughamr Karouzeiates invaded Al Djazair, where he confronted a weakened Umar Amin and Gudrod Neville advanced into tell Atlas, where he crushed the local resistance.

The ongoing success of the Emperor during this war came more and more to the awareness of his immediate neighbors, especially the Christian dukes bordering the Western Empire. To a certain degree they welcomed his success, as he was weakening a religious enemy but on the other hand the Western Empire was growing more and more powerful, which made them uneasy.
On October 10th, 1274 the Alliance of the Border Lords was founded with the declared target to prevent any territorial growth of the Western Empire within Christian Europe. Founding members of this alliance were:
Stefan von Habsburg, Duke of Upper Burgundy - whom Edward IV had personally insulted on his travel to the Holy Land
Gui II de Foix, Duke of Savoy - who feared for his duchy should the Western Empire attempt to unite his French and Italian possessions, regarded himself as Swedish governor of Italy and was a personal friend of King Egil of Sweden
Leopold von Franken, Duke of Genoa – who, like Gui II of Savoy feared an English attempt to unite its possessions and regarded his family (he stemmed from a cadet branch of the Salic dynasty) a rightful rulers of Italy.
Eadric Egbertson, Duke of Hereford – he had joined out of personal ambition. Being a bastard from a female line of the Siward dynasty he considered him (somehow) tricked of the Imperial crown, which should be rightfully his.

Edward IV was aware of the formation of the alliance and considered it rightful to a certain degree. Not that he considered attacking them, but to a degree they acted in the interests of their lieges against a conceived threat Stefan of Upper Burgundy and Leopold of Genoa for Otto IV, Gui II of Savoy for Egil of Sweden.
Only the participation of Eadric of Hereford disappointed him to a certain degree. He did not act in favor of his liege but only for his own interest and he did so from a position Edward IV had placed him as a favor.
As the alliance posed no direct threat and was defensive in its purpose Edward IV decided not to act upon it but to concentrate on the African war for the time being.

In December the English had a series of successes like the annexation of Tell Atlas (which led to a declaration of war on Sheik Zafir of Biskra) or taking control of Al Djazair, that Edward IV decided that his claims were now strong enough to form a new royal crown under the mantle of the Western Empire.

127412mauretania.png

On December 16th he declared himself King of Mauretania and was crowned as such in a small ceremony in Westminster Abbey during the Christmas festivities in the following days.
On a more comical side note Sheik Ayyub Banu Suleim of Arta, ruler of a tiny Egyptian sheikdom in Greece, used Edward IV’s coronation ceremony to let an envoy declare him his personal enemy (but he refrained of declaring war on the Western Empire).

With himself as new King of Mauretania Edward IV had not ended the war with Hammadid.
In February 1275 he even denied a peace agreement with King Zahir, when the Hammadid ruler refused to cede Pelusia to the Western Empire. A few days later Biskra was annexed, the war was extended to the sheikdom of Kabilia and the Hammadid demesne province of Orania was taken under English control.

127502biskraannexedwarwithkabilia.png

But February was also the first month were signs appeared, that the war had been long enough.
Minor nobles like Eudes de Cherlton, Count of Rouergue started to think, that it might be possible to carve a realm of their own, while the Emperor was looking elsewhere.
On February 27, 1275 Edward IV showed him, that he was wrong.

127502rouerguerebels.png


- To be continued with Part II: 1275-1278 Family and other Revolts -​
 

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I was ill this weekend and I spent the whole time rereading this AAR and sleeping, in that order of importance. I have to say I still love it and encourage you to keep up the good work! Cheers!
 

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This is probably my favorite CK AAR. Well done and thanks for entertaining us with it!
 

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demokratickid & tajerio: Thank You for Your praise... and I am very sorry that I can't keep a faster pace with the updates currently as the company I am working for is experiencing the most successful year in its history... with dire consequences for my spare time...
 

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Part II: 1275-1278 Family and other Revolts

In early 1275 the Western Empire was still involved in its war with the Hammadid realm and had its first signs of war tiredness, like the revolt of the Southern French Count Eudes of Rouergue.
In April religious tensions in the newly conquered regions were added to the list. The Muslim populace did not take kindly to the new Christian overlords. Edward IV did not belief in compromise in religious matters either. In Tell Atlas where the religious unrests concentrated he ordered swift and harsh reactions. Gatherings of protesting subjects were violently dispersed, their leaders arrested and executed. The revolt collapsed on April 11th, three days later the sheikdom of Kabilia was annexed.
Another two months later the province of Lemdiyya fell under English control making the situation desperate for the Hammadid King Zahir.

127504kabiliaannexedandaethelredmarries.png

June was also the time when Edward IV’s eldest son Aethelred came of age and it was time to give him a bride. He was the only surviving child from Edward’s first marriage and he had been given the name Aethelred in reference of Edward IV’s predecessor Aethelred VII.
The relation between young Aethelred and his father can be described as odd at best as it was always overshadowed by the emperor’s almost irrational love for his second son Baldred.
Baldred was the only son from Edward’s marriage with Gytha Siward. The “Imperial marriage” as it was called by Edward IV himself.
Although all marriages of Edward IV seemed to have been "not unhappy" at last, his second marriage was conceived by him as something special. The two children of Duchess Gytha considered as more worthy as the others. That Aethelred had also a Siward mother did not count as much (Duches Agnes had been the daughter of Eadfrid Siward, Duke of Bedford).
Especially Baldred had been favored by his father in (almost) every way he could. The only thing he dared not to change, was the line of succession. Aethelred remained crown prince.
Oddly enough their father’s behavior had not clouded the friendship between Aethelred and his five years younger brother. Aethelred protected and cared for his younger brother and Baldred adored him in return.

The court was somewhat surprised by the emperor’s choice of Aethelred’s wife. Maud Siward was surely a capable woman and able administrator of her brother’s possessions (Maurice Siward, Duke of Lancaster). The marriage was also a visual political pact between the two Siward branches.
But Maud was also at least twenty years her groom’s senior. So the marriage was not only to forge an alliance with the most English Siward branch (beside the Oxfordian Siwards perhaps) it was also to prevent any (legitimate) offspring from Aethelred.
Edward IV added another humiliation for Aethelred. Traditionally the eldest son was styled Prince of Wales, when he came of age. Edward IV did no such thing. Aethelred received no title nor fief whatsoever. The newlywed couple was instead ordered to take residence at court, where they had to stay under the watchful eye of the emperor.

In July 1275 the war in North Africa flared up somewhat again. Marshall Neville was quite active that month defeating smaller Hammadid armies in Beni Yanni (July 6th) and Al Djazair (July 29th).
In August a desperate attempt of King Zahir to turn the tide was stopped in Auvergne, where the local militia routed a group of Muslim mercenaries on August 24th. After the fall of the Atlas Mount territory a few days before, they had received the command to assassinate the emperor in London.

127509atlasmounttaken.png

They had not met him there anyway.
In mid August Edward IV had left London to take care of Count Eudes of Rouergue personally.
They met in two skirmishes in October and November, the emperor obviously superior in numbers and military skill. The revolt of the count ended on November 28th, when he surrendered to Edward IV and renewed his oath of fealty.

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The war with Hammadid had ended five days before.
After a small skirmish between Gudrod Neville and Abdul-Malik Ahmed in Figuig, the last Hammadid stronghold in Mzab had surrendered and with the entire realm under English control King Zahir had no other choice but to accept unconditional surrender.

And Edward IV left nothing for the unlucky defeated monarch. The whole realm was annexed. Of the conquered territory Edward IV kept nothing for the Imperial demesne. He distributed it instead among his nobles.

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Two new Archbishoprics were erected, Kabylia and Alger. The province of Figuig was added to the Archbishopric of Fes. Biskra was given to Duke Guttorm of Constantine, Ikonion to Count Torbjörn of Dorylaion. Count Torbjörn of Dorylaion was also made Duke of Anatolia.
Four knights, who had excelled during the campaign, received some fiefs (only partly spoils of this particular war). Sir Gagik became count of the long besieged Pelusia, Sir Tryggve became count of Safed, Prusa went to Sir Aimeric and Attaleia was given to Sir Adalberto.

It gave Edward IV great credit, that he had not only refused to keep anything of the conquered land to himself but had also added some part of his own demesne to the given fiefs.
From a strategic point of view the victory over Hammadid had closed the breach between the western and central African possessions of the Western Empire. From now on the territory from Gibraltar to the Gulf of Gabes was part of the empire.

In December Edward IV further improved his reputation, when he publicly promised to remove some titles from his official nomenclature (the titles were already held by some of his vassals and it had led to some irritations when the claims had been publicly voiced on some occasions).

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The first months of 1276 went surprisingly uneventful but in late May one of the traditional uprisings of Duke Moenach of the Isles started.

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Prince Aethelred - bored by the enforced idleness - appealed to his father to be allowed to lead the campaign to the north, but his wish was denied (so Edward IV’s wish to see his second son on the throne was not strong enough to seek the possibility of the death of his eldest in combat).
Perhaps it would have been better to allow the prince to leave the court. It might have saved the court some stress during the following months in which Aethelred attempted to gain some form of occupation besides hunting.
It did not help the situation that his wife Princess Maud had meanwhile been given a place among the emperor’s councilors – a position consequently denied to Prince Aethelred. For some time he tried to replace the emperor’s mistress of the robes, but Edward IV made it very clear that one of the last places he wanted his son was at the center of gathering information.

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The greatest part of the year was filled with annoying intrigues between Edward IV and Aethelred, Aethelred and his wife, Aethelred and various councilors, councilors among themselves and various courtiers.
It could have been a peaceful time to enjoy… but it was not.

Despite (or because of) the strained climate at court Edward IV had organized adequate places for his younger children abroad. In November Prince Oswiu left for Frankfurt to live at the court of Otto IV and Prince Alfwold was given into the care of Pope Clement III.

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Shortly after Prince Alfwold had left for Rome, where he was to meet with the Pope, Duke Moenach was again brought to heel and peace was returned to the empire.

In January 1277 Edward IV’s youngest son – also named Edward – followed his brothers into the world of international diplomacy. The mission of the seven years old was slightly more difficult than Oswiu’s and Alfwold’s. Both were sent to courts with currently positive relations towards the Western Empire and its ruler. Edward was sent to Poland.
During the reign of Aethelred VII Imperial-Polish relations had suffered a strong blow, when the Western Empire opposed the attempts of Lambert of Poland to conquer Hungary. Now with Aethelred VII and Lambert dead, Edward IV and Lambert’s successor Mszczuj III tried to rebuild some kind of positive relations.
Mszczuj III was busy re-stabilizing the desolate realm his father had left him, Edward IV interested in a stable situation outside his direct sphere of influence.
Edward IV’s interest in stabilizing Europe went so far in 1277, that he invited (what he considered) the most important rulers to an “international conference”. (The words “nation” and “conference” were of course not used.)

The conference took form in an Imperial feast in March 1277 in Venice.

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On the invitation of Edward IV Emperor Otto IV, Mszczuj III of Poland and Karol of Hungary gathered in the Lagoon City.
During the following banquets, jousts and other festivities the monarchs and their accompanying counselors tried to settle at least some of the troubles and disagreements their respective realms had haunted in the past.
Of course not all problems were solved, but for some time peace reigned in Central Europe.
Sadly King Karol of Hungary attracted some kind of fever on his way back home and he died a few weeks later, but his successor Spytihnev II honored the agreements King Karol had made with Mszczuj III of Poland.

Edward IV returned to London, where he repeated in June his relinquishing of internal claims like in 1275.
The following month he intervened in an armed conflict between the Duke of Ulster and his eldest son Count Aengus of Tir Eoghain.

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Edward IV sent Fedelmid O’Neill - a cousin of Aengus, who lived at court - to mediate between the two conflict parties but Fedelmid O’Neill was attacked by Aengus with armed forces in December during a visit in Tir Eoghain, which was repelled by his accompanying men. The conflict was finally resolved by the Duke (with the support of the slightly enraged Fedelmid O’Neill), when he took his son’s castle, overwhelmed him, revoked his title and put him under house arrest for some time (April 1278).
The conflict had widened slightly by that time, as Count Aengus had been successful in gaining the support of Count GillaIsu of Ulaid against the emperor (February 5th, 1278).

The Irish family conflict was only a spark in comparison to the other conflicts which had arisen in the meantime.
In August Pope Clement III had renewed the appeal to liberate Antiocheia from Muslim occupation.

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He was somewhat disappointed, when Edward IV despite having no other obligations considered it inappropriate at the given moment to engage himself in a crusade.
He claimed that the empire had still not fully recovered from the war with Hammadid and he did not dare provoking the freshly strengthened Seljuk Turks, who were allied to the sheiks of Alexandretta (Antiocheia was part of the minor Muslim realm of Alexandretta).

September made 1277 to an “anno horribile” for Edward IV.
Friends and counselors of his younger sons tried to force a decision upon the emperor to change the succession laws and to divide the Western Empire among all sons after his death. It is not exactly clear if the sons of Edward IV where directly involved with this group. Alfwold, Oswiu and Edward were still considered children and abroad during the incident. Baldred was reaching adulthood but he was also abroad and loved his elder brother. Aethelred had nothing to gain from the group and was clearly opposed to their intentions.

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The “New Witan” as this group called itself proposed, that Prince Baldred should gain the British Isles, Normandy and Flandre. Prince Alfwold should have been made King of remaining France and should gain Aragon in compensation for Normandy and Flandre. The rest of Iberia should be given to Prince Oswiu and Northern Africa as Mauretania to Prince Edward. The remaining provinces in Italy, Greece, Anatolia, the Holy Land and Egypt should remain with Prince Aethelred, who should also wear the Imperial crown as a kind of overlord over the Western Empire.
Edward IV was enraged by the proposal, which he outright refused. But he also refused Prince Aethelred’s appeal to install him as Prince of Wales to squelch further attempts in this direction. For a short time Aethelred was even put under house arrest until he agreed to sign the “(House) Treaty of Shame” his father forced upon him.
In this treaty Edward IV recognizes Aethelred as his rightful successor but still denies him the title Prince of Wales (or any other title beside crown prince). Aethelred had also to abstain from intercourse with his wife (some of the few things the prince seemed to have enjoyed). He had to stay unwed should his wife before him as long as Prince Baldred lived and he had to recognize his younger brother Baldred and his (male) offspring as his rightful heirs.

The incident of the “New Witan” sheds a new light on the rule of Edward IV.
His successes in war and diplomacy seemed to have covered up his lack of internal administration. The ongoing reduction of the Imperial demesne had additionally weakened his position. At least his inability to keep (some of) his magnates at bay in the succession question did not lead to a similar loss of power like during the early reign of Eadbert IV.
His handling of the “New Witan Crisis” further alienated his eldest son and the “Treaty of Shame” not only made him look ridiculous to the outside world, it was only thanks to the excellent relations between the two brothers that the elder did not everything in his power to get rid of this odd obstacle to a “normal life”.
It is clear that the “Treaty of Shame” was not intended to go public (and it was certainly not Prince Aethelred, who published it as it showed him in a very disadvantageous position). It was probably Princess Maud - robbed of a virile lover by this treaty – who played the treaty into the hands of Pope Clement III.
His Holiness was not amused and reprimanded the emperor for his unchristian position towards marriage.

To make a bad autumn worse it was in late November 1277, when the Hospitaliter Order – with the blessing of the Patriarch of Jerusalem – formed an independent state.

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It was intended as beach head for the crusaders invading Antiocheia. Edward IV strongly voiced his disagreement with the decision to cede a part of the Western Empire and for a short time tried to reverse the decision.
That he not only did not support the crusade but actively undermined the efforts of those actually participating put strong pressure on the initially good relations with the Holy See. After a visit of high ranking delegates from the papacy Edward IV aborted his attempt to reincorporate the order state. But his standing with the other Christian monarchs and even among his subjects had already suffered.
For some months Edward IV attempted to the diplomatic damages of autumn 1277, which was complicated by a religious uprising in the Nile Delta. The inhabitants of that region had misinterpreted (or had been misinformed) the emperor’s position regarding the actual crusade and his conflict with the Holy See as acts of tolerance or even sympathy for the Muslim Faith.

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Edward IV destroyed these hopes when he ordered military actions against the protesters which led to violent and armed skirmishes throughout the province. The violence continued until May, when the uprising collapsed due to insufficient stocks. Edward IV then showed some mercy and supported the beaten peasants with food to avert a famine.

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Edward IV arrived in Rome in the first days of June.
He immediately met with Clement III and after a short meeting the emperor did public repentance for his last actions. Although he did not renounce the Treaty of Shame or swore an active participation he agreed to pay an enormous sum to contribute to the holy cause.

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After celebrating mass together Pope and Emperor went their respective ways again.
On his voyage home again Edward IV was informed about the outbreak of an armed conflict between the Archbishop of Sevilla and his vassal Count Knud of Cadiz.
Edward IV decided to intervene in the conflict and sent armed envoys to Cadiz (June 27th).

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The emperor himself continued his journey home. When he arrived in Rouen, he was informed, that the revolt in Ulster had finally ended and that Count GillaIsu of Ulaid was an imperial vassal again.

Back in London Edward IV ordered a great tourney to be held to celebrate his reconciliation with the church.
The tourney started in early September but it did not stand under a good sign.
Duke Maurice of Lancaster, the brother in law of the crown prince still felt highly humiliated by the Treaty of Shame and insulted the emperor when he publicly asked him if he personally controlled the chastity of his son and daughter in law by sleeping between them every night or how he made sure that they never escape his (or his spies) sight.

The mood was similar aggressive between some of the other participants of the tourney. The tension between the Count of Nevers and Count Gilchrist of Trent went so far, that the Count of Trent declared war on Nevers. This declaration drew Nevers’ father the Duke of Burgundy into the conflict. He joined the war to protect his vassal (and son). Edward IV was informed of the situation and jumped the opportunity to strengthen the imperial position in Northern Italy. He also joined his vassals in their fight against Trent.

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To their luck Trent had a few months earlier taken a “vacation” from the Middle Empire, while Otto IV had been busy intervening in Poland. Otto IV had since then taken no measures to regain the province, he was much too busy in the North and East of his realm.

Imperial forces under the command of Marshal Gudrod Neville invaded Trent in November.
On November 23rd the invaders met with the provinces military. Count Gilchrist was personally leading his troops into the ensuing battle, which was fought fierce and without mercy.
At the end of the day the English could claim victory and the subjects of Trent had also to mourn the loss of their count. Gilchrist Crovan, Count of Trent was to be found among the dead. His successor Ruadri was still an infant and so the comital counselors agreed to a peace proposal Gudrod Neville made them: if they became vassals of the Western Empire all hostilities against them would end immediately.

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While the ink on the peace treaty dried another (small) zone of unrest appeared. This time Earl Svend of Gloucester rebelled against his liege the Archbishop of Salisbury.
Edward IV decided that this was too close to the capital to be ignored (and perhaps the recent events had persuaded him to stay away from court for some time) and decided to intervene in person.

- To be continued with Part III: 1279-1280 The Sword of the Caliph –​
 

tudor

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Part III: 1279-1280 The Sword of the Caliph

1279 started with the Emperor in arms.
On January 13th he could be found at the gates of Gloucester, facing the rebellious Svend de Breteuil, Earl of Gloucester. The first skirmish between their men ended in favor of Edward IV and Earl Svend had to retreat into the city. For exactly a month the siege continued, before the earl dared another attempt to break free. He failed and was forced back into the city again. After three more weeks under siege he finally gave up his (senseless) struggle and surrendered (March 6th).

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Edward IV put a relatively mild punishment upon him. Not only was he allowed to keep his comital title, his province was taken out of the diocese of the Archbishop of Salisbury (the rebellion had started as a personal feud between the archbishop and Earl Svend). Earl Svend became Edward IV’s direct vassal and the spiritual care was given to the Archbishop of St. David.

With Gloucester at peace again only one other armed uprising remained within the empire. Count Knud of Cadiz, also a member of the de Breteuil family was still fighting for his independence. His chances to reach his goal became significantly smaller on March 20th, when his main (and only) army was beaten by imperial soldiers under the command of Sir Hovsep Karouzeiates.

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The following siege lasted for almost three more months before he too surrendered. Like his English relative he was confirmed as count and not further punished.

By the time the Cadiz rebellion had been solved the empire had been thrown into a wholly new situation for almost two months.

On April 17th 1279 to the complete surprise of Emperor and the Imperial court the Caliphate of Egypt had declared war on the Western Empire.

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Caliph Shamsaddin had not forgotten the humiliation he had suffered from the hands of Aethelred VII at the beginning of the caliph’s reign. Now more than a decade later he felt strong enough to reclaim his lost possessions.
The court’s reaction was near to complete confusion. Almost nobody could remember when an outside power had declared war on the empire.
The situation was made worse by an overambitious clergyman who accused the Imperial Steward Bianca de Morra of having caused this war declaration as she had used magical arts to increase the empires income and now her black magic had attracted the outlandish devils.

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Normally these lunatic antics and accusations would have been ignored but in this up heated situation a trial was held at the imperial court. Bianca de Morra was lucky some people had kept some their minds in line and the court session was able to proof her innocence.

On June 1st the first battle of this war was fought.
It took place on the fields of Arta. Ayyub of Arta had once sworn personal enmity to Edward IV and now his son Ishaq and successor had joined his liege in his attempt to re-conquer the lost provinces of the Caliphate and to fulfill his father’s oath.
Perhaps he had not expected to be given the opportunity to fulfill it so directly. It was Edward IV himself who was leading the Imperial army in Greece. The small army of Arta had no chance to withstand the full onslaught of the imperial army. The Muslim men were almost swept of the battle field and Sheik Ishaq was forced to withdraw to the North.
But not everything went as smooth as the first battle. On June 9th, Hovsep Karouzeiates suffered a hurting defeat from the mercenary leader Harald Knytling, who worked for the Caliphate, near Tyrus. That the imperial army was forced to retreat to regroup destabilized the Holy Land for some time and stopped the intended full scale attack on the Egyptian center.

Sadly June was also the month when Siward friendly Pope Clement III died. Edward IV had not given a recommendation or named a favorite but it seemed that the curia was at least sympathetic to the emperor. On June 12th they elected an Irish Archbishop to the Papal Throne.
Archbishop Rudolf of Cashel took the Papal name of Nicolas III. His diocese was given to his former suffragan bishop Halkjell of Urmummu.

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In July Edward IV deposed Sheik Ishaq of Arta and annexed the small sheikdom (July 25th).
The Caliphate retaliated by taking control of the Nile Delta (though they were not able to formally annex it as the official ruler was Edward IV himself).

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On a personal level the Egyptian war even proved beneficial.
Crown prince Aethelred, who had accompanied his father to Greece reconciled (to a degree) with Edward IV, who in return gave him his own commando.

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One of his first orders was to calm down the religious uprisings in Arta, which had started shortly after the imperial army had left the province.

In October the English advanced further on the Greek front, when Bard Knytling defeated the local militia of Dyrrachion (October 13th). But only two days later one of the central aspects of the English strategy failed, when Caliph Shamsaddin defeated the gathering English invasion force under the command of Saewald O’Braonain in Buhairya.
Beside the Greek successes the war had been a single catastrophe so far. The Imperial forces seemed ill prepared for the Egyptian attack, which in turn seemed well equipped and trained.
Earl GillaIsu of Ulaid interpreted the situation even so far that the time was ripe for another attempt to achieve independence (October 21st).

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On November 1st Egypt was able to book another success, when Tyrus fell into their hands. It seemed the Imperial military organization was in complete disarray and at the brink of collapsing.

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It took the English another month, before they were able to turn the tide somewhat.
On December 13th a “new” invasion force arrived under the command of crown prince Aethelred together with the rest of the original invasion force they were able to retake the Nile Delta. With the conquest of the new beach head (beside Pelusia which the crown prince had used for his forces) he decided to carry the war to Gabiyaha. A task he gave into the hands of Diarnait MacDubhSithe.

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To the North the siege of Dyrrachion was in its last days. Besides smaller skirmishes with the local militia no larger military resistance had formed and on December 28th the province was finally conquered. Edward IV declared the sheikdom annexed and extended the war to the Egyptian vassals of Ochrid and Strymon.

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The army of Diarmait MacDubhSithe arrived in Gabiyaha in the first days of 1280. He was welcomed there by and Egyptian force under the command of Kamal Boccasini. After a series of tactic manoevers they finally clashed on January 13th with Diarmait MacDubhSithe being victorious. He had not sought the decision one moment too soon just a week later a second Egyptian army arrived. This time led by Ibrahim Banu Kahzrun. Hearing that a third force was already on its way Diarmait MacDubhSithe charged and defeated Ibrahim’s army before the second and third armies were able to join forces. The Muslim commander, Ibrahim Banu Kahzrun, found his death on the battlefield (January 20th).
Again just a week after his victory the third army arrived (under the command of Sadiq al-Hawas). Pushing his soldiers to their limits Diarmait MacDubhSithe was able to win a third battle within two weeks (January 26th).

February 1280 started quite amusing for Edward IV when an envoy from Strymon arrived at his camp and had the audacity to demand over 7.000 pounds of gold for a peace treaty with his prince. Laughing Edward IV send the herald back to his master with delusions of grandeur at the same time ordering Bard Knytling to concentrate his efforts on Orchid first – as Strymon provided such good entertainment.

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About the same time the emperor received news from Ireland, where Marshal Gudrod Neville had defeated the Ulaidian army and was expecting the earls surrender any time soon.

The month ended on a catastrophic note for the empire nonetheless.
In the last days of February the defenses of Cyprus collapsed, its armies surrendered and the entire principality became an Egyptian province under the direct rule of the Caliph.

In March Bard Knytling finally arrived in Orchid. He was expected there by Kamal Boccasini, whom the Caliph had ordered to leave Egypt and to reorganize the defense of Greece.
He was not nearly finished with his work but he gave Bard Knytling more than enough trouble to overcome his position. Bard Knytling finally succeeded in driving the Egyptian forces into the neighboring province but he had more difficulties than in his past encounters (March 22nd).
In Gabiyaha Diarnait MacDubhSithe was again confronted by a member of the former ruling Banu Khazrun dynasty. This time it was Adhid Banu Khazrun son of the recently deceased Ibrahim Banu Kahzrun. Like his father he was unable to overcome the English invader. Unlike his father he survived the encounter (March 25th).

April became Edward IV’s favorite month of 1280.
On April 14th came the long expected surrender of Count GillaIsu of Ulaid (who got another chance of becoming a faithful vassal). Two days later the last defenders of Orchid surrendered too. Edward IV ordered the ruling sheik deposed and annexed the province into his personal demesne (at least until the end of the war).

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The emperor’s most favorite date was April 21st. On this date his favorite son Baldred was married to Jorunn Siward, daughter of Count Pons I of Toulouse.
The bride had been chosen by Edward IV with great effort. Not only her personal attributes were praised high by the chroniclers. It was said she added beauty of the mind with a beautiful mind. She had also the right genealogy in the eyes of the emperor. Her father Pons Siward, Count of Toulouse (since 1274) was the son of Ivar Siward, Count of Toulouse (1256-1274). Ivar Siward again was the offspring of Gudrid Siward, Countess of Toulouse (1215-1256) and Duchess of Poitou (1256-1259) the third daughter of the first Siward Emperor Sighere III (King 1202-1213 / Emperor 1213-1223).
The young couple had been married by Pope Nicolas III in Rome. A week later they visited Edward IV in his camp in Greece where the emperor styled Baldred Duke of Bedford. It seems Edward IV could not help it. Not only did the younger son receive a title (which was still denied to Aethelred). He gave Baldred a title on which Aethelred had a greater claim than his brother (Aethelred’s mother Agnes stemmed from the Siwards of Leicester, the Siward line which held the title of Duke of Bedford until it became extinct in the male line in 1257).

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May began less fortunate.
Two of the counts Edward IV had installed after his victory over the Hammadid kingdom where almost simultaneously overwhelmed and deposed by Egyptian forces. Count Aimeric of Attaleia and Count Tryggve of Safed were unable to withstand the might Egypt had sent against them. Both provinces were added to the personal demesne of Caliph Shamsaddin.
With these good news and an enormous Egyptian army the Caliph attacked Diarnait MacDubhSithe in Gabiyaha.
The ensuing battle was long fierce and bloody and for a long time it was unclear which side would gain the upper hand. The sheer number of soldiers was in favor of Egypt but Diarnait MacDubhSithe was an experienced war veteran and the equipment of the English army was slightly better than the Egyptian.
Both sides suffered heavy losses but after several days it was clear, that the Egyptians had not been able to break the Imperial lines. Slowly the Imperial army was able to gain foothold and to push the Egyptians back. On May 8th the Egyptian army suffered a surprising hit, when Caliph Shamsaddin was severely wounded during an Imperial offensive.
The Egyptian army finally retreated taking with them the dying Caliph.

Caliph Shamsaddin died on May 11th.
The Qasim family seemed ill prepared for the event of his death and the other major families sought out the opportunity to put one of their own on the Egyptian throne. The following internal struggle was relatively short (thanks mostly to the external threat of the Western Empire) and it was not the Qasim family who came out victorious.
The new Caliph Seyfullah stemmed from a Muslim dynasty which had already several run-ins with the Siwards.
Again the Western Empire fought against a realm ruled by a bin Taishufin.
But however short the throne crisis had been, the Egyptian advance had lost some of its momentum and the following phase of Egyptian re-orientation gave the advantage to the Western Imperial side.

While the Egyptian pretenders had fought for the throne, the Western Empire had annexed Gabiyaha (May 15th) and Strymon (by crown prince Aethelred on June 7th).
Pope Nicolas III had died and had been replaced by Archbishop Florenc of Granada, who took the Name Nicolas IV (June 6th). The following day Edward IV had invested Edulf Khoury, Bishop of Malaga with the now free see of Granada.

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About a month after Caliph Shamsaddin’s death the situation had almost returned to “normal” (whatever that means during a war).
On June 10th started a series of battles between Marshal Gudrod Neville, who had finally arrived from Ireland and Ghalib Banu Khazrun over the control of Safed. Over the period of three months the two generals would fight several battles and skirmishes. Gudrod Neville would always be the victor in every encounter but he would also be not strong enough to overcome the stronghold’s defenses for a long period of time.

In Buhairya Diarnait MacDubhSithe fought several battles against Zubeyr ibn Mirdas. The situation was similar to the conflict between Gudrod Neville and Ghalib Banu Khazrun. Except that their struggle started somewhat later (July 7th) and that Zubeyr ibn Mirdas was replaced by Aarif bin Taishufin after their second encounter (it is not clear if Zubeyr ibn Mirdas was killed or only replaced by a general more loyal to the bin Taishufin regime).

Another conflict zone was “founded” near Tobruk, where Saewald O’Braonain fought Adhid Banu Khazrun several times.

The war concentrated on these battle zones during the summer of 1280.
At the same time Caliph Seyfullah tried to establish his reign within the Caliphate. Though there are no armed revolts reported for this time he had to appease some of the major families.
Edward IV had meanwhile corresponded with his friend Otto IV and in late August he decided to finance an company of mercenaries to support Otto IV in his attempt to consolidate the Middle Empire against the resistance of the German magnates.

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Safed was the first fortress to fall under the English attacks.
On September 20th the main fortress surrendered and the province was under complete Imperial control. The following day it was decided to move against Baalbek, a move which brought Baalbek’s ally the sheik of Madaba on the plan. The sheik felt loyal (and brave) enough to honor his alliance and declared war on the Western Empire the day his ally was attacked.

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Crown prince Aethelred had meanwhile re-conquered Famagusta (while his father continued his march towards Limisol) and the war council decided it was time to move against the Sheikdom of Beirut. Again – like Baalbek – the ally of the local ruler declared war on the Western Empire. This time it was the Sheik of al Habbariyah who wanted to challenge fate.

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Despite the news of victories and conquests which were broadcast by various ways within the Western Empire a few of the more notorious nobles again saw their chance to separate from the empire while the emperor was not looking (or so they thought). Most prominent among them was Count Eudes de Rouergue, who again tried to make his county a kingdom late September 1280.

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The emperor was informed on September 29th and he ordered a minor courtier, Hemming Knytling - who had accompanied him to Cyprus, to return to Gaul and to take care of the rebellion.

While the emperor was shortly distracted by the (local) French uprising his commander Hovsep Karouzeiates had arrived in Attaleia, another region Edward IV wanted returned to the Western Empire. The local militia was under the command of Latif bin Taishufin, a younger brother of the Caliph. Latif had been sent to strengthen Egyptian control over Anatolia and – if possible – conquer other Western Imperial provinces. On September 30th it could be said that his quest had failed. Hovsep Karouzeiates handed Latif bin Taishufin a decisive defeat, almost obliterating the Egyptian detachment. Latif bin Taishufin retreated and fled to central Egypt with his few remaining men.

In October Edward IV was informed that another uprising had taken place in Brittany. Like many other uprisings in the past it was a conflict between father and son. This time the eldest son of the Duke of Brittany, the Count of Leon had taken to arms. It was a considerable short rebellion, even before Edward IV could decide how to intervene, the rebellious youth was subdued by his father and the rebellion ended (October 14th). After a short house arrest, the young man was reinstalled as Count of Leon.
Two days later other good news reached the emperor: Diarnait MacDubhSithe had finally gained complete control of Buhairya.

128010buhairyataken.png


- To be continued with Part IV: 1280-1282 The War with Egypt continues –​
 

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I've read this over the course of the last few days. Keep up the good work!
 

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Sorry for this very very long time without an update, but not only did I have a major computer crash (although no savegames were lost) but reinstalling is also delayed as my brother has convinced me to spent some time with him and some friends in "A Galaxy far far away"...
 

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Hope the reinstall goes well.
Looking forward to your next update! :D
 

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Part IV: 1280-1282 The War with Egypt continues

The good news of October did not end with the conquest of Buhairya.
In late October envoys from Madaba and al Habbaryah arrived at Edward IV’s camp near Limisol on Cyprus to seek peace with the Western Empire. Although they had not much to offer - they lay outside the empires sphere of interest and the armies they could muster posed no threat to the imperial forces. But the pure existence of their declarations of war posed a distraction and so Edward IV was more than willing to accept their peace proposals. On October 25th the peace with Sheika Rahima of Madaba was signed. The treaty with Sheik Fariborz of al Habbariyah followed on October 27th. The row of good news was completed on the following day, when the emperor was informed, that Attaleia was back under English control.

128010minorsseekpeaceandrecaptureofattaleia.png

In November 1280 an incident took place which vastly increased Edward IV’s reputation within the Christian world.
The province of Gabiyaha had been added to the imperial demesne just a few months ago. As it was tradition among the Siward rulers (at least with provinces where the majority consisted of Muslims) among the first buildings ordered to be build were chapels and churches. Closely connected to the construction of these buildings was the sending of missionaries – on a voluntary basis.
It seems the missionaries in Gabiyaha had worked quite convincing. Although considered among the heart regions of Egypt the local peasantry converted to the Catholic faith within a few weeks. Whispers of a wonder made the round and it was (later) generally believed to be a great sign that God had forgiven Edward IV’s errors of the past and that his rule had been blessed.

128011miracleoffaith.png

Of course this mass conversion alerted also the Muslim zealots, who wanted to state an example on the populace of Gabiyaha. An army of Muslim volunteers under the command of Mansur ibn Mirdas invaded Gabiyaha with the intention to eradicate its population and burn the entire region down. This was prevented by Diarnait MacDubhSithe, who arrived in time before Mansur ibn Mirdas could do any real harm. Diarnait MacDubhSithe and his men overwhelmed the Muslim army and drove it out of the province on December 2nd.
Six days later the city of Limisol surrendered to Emperor Edward IV giving the control over Cyprus back to the Western Empire in fact (but not de iure).

128012limisoltaken.png

Meanwhile Tobruk became the place of a curious cat-and-mouse game between the army of Saewald O’Braonain and Egyptian militia. Smallest leaderless bands of Egyptian soldiers intruded into the province just to be evicted by the English for several months. The situation would not change far into spring 1281.

Diarnait MacDubhSithe moved into the Nile Delta to intercept another army of Muslim volunteers on their way to Gabiyaha. This time they were commanded by Sami of Mecca a close relative of Emir Abdul-Rahman of Medina. The emirate kept its official neutral position towards the ongoing war between Western Empire and Egypt, but it was clear that a Christian province so close to the Muslim core region was highly vexing.
Sami of Mecca fared no better than Mansur ibn Mirdas. Like the previous army his men were strong in faith not in battle prowess. Diarnait MacDubhSithe’s victory on December 21st was acquired relatively easy.

In Baalbek the old opponents Gudrod Neville and Ghalib Banu Khazrun met again on December 26th and the old situation as in Safed returned: Ghalib Banu Khazrun attacked and was repulsed – at the same time slowing down Gudrod Neville’s siege of the fortress. The sheikdom would be annexed in February 1281 but it would not give a positive impulse to the English soldiers as almost at the same time Egypt would be able to take Buhairya under control.

128102baalbekannexedandbuhairyalost.png

The year 1281 opened with a new scene of battle.
Bard Knytling had arrived near Amman, where he was expected by Fariborz Khwarizm-Shah, Sheik of al Habbariyah. Although Sheik Fariborz had had some time to inspect the battlefield and to make some preparations before his opponent arrived, Bard Knytling proved his better and send him fleeing south on January 16th.

Another place of crisis was brought back to memory on January 27th, when the emperor’s envoy Hemming Knytling defeated the rebellious Count of Rouergue, Eudes de Cherlton, in sight of his home residence. Another small skirmish would take place on March 17th, before the count would accept his hopeless situation and would accept the emperor’s offer to rejoin the empire (March 30th).

128103peacewithrouergue.png

Bard Knytling’s brother Harald arrived in Beirut on February 23th, bringing reinforcements to the Holy Land. Already on the following day he and his men were intercepted by Harun Hagioprokopites a relatively young Greek commander of the Egyptian army (he was the son of a Greek converse and a Muslim mother born near Constantinople during the Egyptian occupation). Harald Knytling was able to repel the first attack with some luck and when Harun Hagioprokopites had reorganized his troops and started a second attack in mid March. Gudrod Neville and his men had already arrived from Baalbek. The Marshal had merged the two armies into one and had taken command. Against this new force Harun Hagioprokopites and his men stood no chance and on March 15th they were utterly defeated. A week later Ghalib Banu Khazrun arrived also near Beirut and the old game of attack and retreat continued. Now with the new variant: Ghalib Banu Khazrun and Harun Hagioprokopites attempted to evict the Imperial army in turn (but never making the attempt to join forces to attack).

About a two weeks before Diarnait MacDubhSithe had arrived in the Egyptian province of Sarqihya, where he stayed for the next months, squashing all attempts to raise an effective defense of the region.

On March 23rd Hovsep Karouzeiates landed in the Nile Delta.
He arrived much to the shock and horror of the Egyptian commander who was trying to reclaim the Delta for Egypt. It was no one else but Latif bin Taishufin the Caliph’s brother who had been beaten so soundly by Hovsep Karouzeiates not so long ago. Latif bin Taishufin had had a good month before. He had already reclaimed Buhairya for the Caliphate in February and had hoped to establish a new direct connection of the Egyptian main provinces to the Mediterranean Sea. After a short skirmish he decided to leave field – and province - to the English commander for now.

In mid April Edward IV was informed that a new rebellion had appeared in southwest Gaul. This time it was Count Iestyn of Perigord, who was rebelling against his liege the Duchess of Aquitaine. What made the event interesting for the emperor was the fact that Aelfgifu Siward the Duchess of Aquitaine was the sister of Edward IV’s predecessor Aethelred VII. As the emperor always felt quite responsible for the last members of the former Siward mainline he ordered a larger levy to be raised for the occasion than normal.

128104perigordrebels.png

The rebels did not stand a chance against the forces raised against them and by July Perigord was back into the fold of the Western Empire.

128107peacewithperigord.png

The peace settlement saw Count Iestyn as direct vassal of the emperor and out of the responsibility of the duchess. But it was only a separation for a limited time. Like so many other rebellions within the Western Empire it has been one of the more violent quarrels between parents and children of the Imperial nobility. Count Iestyn was the eldest son of Duchess Aelfgifu and it was expected that Perigord and Aquitaine would be re-united under his rule one day.

Two days after Edward IV had received the message from Gaul concerning the uprising in Aquitaine he received grave news from the war in Egypt: an Egyptian commander had actually managed to defeat an Imperial army (April 18th 1281). It did not matter much that the army which Kemaladdin Pires had defeated in Gabiyaha had only been a reinforcement corps with no titled commander (at least no one “of name” is recorded). The defeat alone was threatening support lines and made some strategic re-considerations necessary. To prevent this incident from becoming the source for an Egyptian recovery and inspiration Edward IV decided to march against central Egypt in person.
He chose Tobruk - where Saewald O’Braonain was already operating - as landing basis. He arrived there on May 15th, just in time to intervene in a battle between Saewald O’Braonain and Aarif bin Taishufin, who had arrived in Tobruk just the day before. Saewald O’Braonain had already gained the upper hand in the battle and with the arrival of the emperor and his men Aarif bin Taishufin saw his only chance for survival in a hasty retreat.
The provinces capital withstood the English siege for almost another month before finally surrendering to the emperor (June 9th).

128106liberationoftobruk.png

The following month Edward IV arrived in Buhairya with the intention to re-conquer the province. Ghani Banu Khazrun a son of Gudrod Neville’s constant opponent Ghalib Banu Khazrun made an attempt to prevent him from doing so. Already a few hours after the initial contact of the two armies it was clear, that neither Ghani Banu Khazrun’s men nor his personal tactical skill were a match for the emperor. One has to admit that the Muslim command possessed personal courage as he was leading some of the Egyptian attacks in person but it was all for naught. At nightfall most of his men were slain and he himself had perished too during the battle (July 19th).
The few surviving men of Ghani Banu Khazrun’s army joined a passing Egyptian reinforcement detachment, which was itself routed a few days later by Edward IV’s men (July 27th).

The siege of Beirut was also coming to an End. After another small skirmish between Gudrod Neville and Ghalib Banu Khazrun on July 24th the city finally surrendered on August 3rd before Ghalib Banu Khazrun was able to reorganize his men.

128108beirutannexed.png

As Gudrod Neville had been able to take Sheik Harun of Beirut prisoner he was able to force him to officially cede the entire province to the Western Empire.
With the conquest of Beirut the war in the Holy land ebbed down somewhat. No major battles are recorded for the remaining time of this war. Even the skirmishes between Gudrod Neville and Ghalib Banu Khazrun seemed to have stopped finally.

Edward IV had meanwhile decided to leave the conquest of Buhairya to Bard Knytling, who had arrived in the province together with the news of the conquest of Beirut. Edward IV himself turned southward towards Gizeh.
When he arrived there on August 20th 1281 he was already expected by the Egyptian commander Mansur ibn Mirdas. But all preparations Mansur ibn Mirdas had made could not prevent Edward IV from soundly beating his opponent. Mansur ibn Mirdas was finally forced to flee to the North, right into the waiting arms (and soldiers) of Bard Knytling.
It was a terrible situation for the Muslim commander for the next months. Wherever he tried to escape, one of the Imperial commanders was already there, waiting for him and slowly reducing the Egyptian force to almost nothing.

While the Egyptian war was entering its final phase the Imperial court showed clear signs, that Edward IV had been absent for too long. During the emperor’s absence the courtier’s morale had lapsed greatly and among them most prominent some of the emperor’s children. The court’s morale decline had its scandalous peak shortly after the sixteenth birthday of Princess Aelfwyn. She was caught in a most obvious situation with her lover on August 23rd.

128108daughterhasaffair.png

That an Imperial princess had a love affair was scandalous enough for the chroniclers (and such a young one) but that the lover with whom she was caught was a prelate – Archbishop William Douglas of Dublin – caused a general outcry. That Archbishop William was about three times older than the princess was not so much the problem but that an archbishop had dared to approach a female member of the Imperial family in such a matter was a novum.
Both lovers were immediately put under house arrest. Archbishop William was later sent to his diocese with the strict order not to leave it again in his lifetime. Princess Aelfwyn was sent to Egypt to receive her punishment directly from her father.

Bard Knytling regained control over Buhairya in early October 1281.

128110buhairyataken.png

At first he intended to join the emperor in Gizeh (were Edward IV was fighting the tattered remains of Mansur ibn Mirdas’ army) but he was then ordered to march towards Cairo. Diarnait MacDubhSithe had meanwhile reached Quena, where he destroyed the local resistance before continuing his march south to Nubia.

In late October Edward IV was informed that the Count of Zadar, German Dunkeld was gathering discontents and opponents of the emperor’s rule at his court – for unknown reasons. Another more prominent member of this new cabal was Boris Palaeologus, Count of Serdica, who joined in December 1281. As their goals remained unclear for the time being Edward IV took no further actions than to put them under closer surveillance.
Not a member of the new cabal but still somewhat discontent with the rule of Edward IV was Alberico Lancia, Count of Ferrara. He had hoped for a more central role of Italy during the rule of Edward IV with the clear aim to push Germany and Sweden out of the peninsula and to unite Italy under one ruler again. So far this had not happened and with the personal friendship between Edward IV and Otto IV the possibility of a German / English war was very unlikely.

128110ferrararebels.png

It is not completely clear what the count wanted to gain by his uprising. What he got was the emperor’s attention (for a short time). Edward IV ordered Hovsep Karouzeiates to take care of the Italian affair and then returned to preparing his next moves in Egypt.

Another side of Edward IV showed in November 1281.
The inhabitants of Demetrias after giving the Imperial administration great trouble with local uprisings and other forms of resistance (mostly religious inspired) were facing starvation as the harvest had not been brought in properly. To avert certain death from his subjects (even the more disloyal ones) Edward IV ordered supplies transported into the starving province from other parts of his demesne and despite the ongoing war in Egypt he even visited the province.

128111aidforpeasantsindemtrias.png

It was a very brief visit as he was on his way to meet with Otto IV in Venice but it was much appreciated by the general populace.

On November 22nd Edward IV and Otto IV met in Venice to sign an official alliance between the two empires.

128111imperialalliance.png

Both men had a time of relative success behind them. Edward IV had increased the territory of the Western Empire and was just successfully repulsing the attack of the Caliphate of Egypt. Otto IV had reunited the greatest part of the Middle Empire which had (almost) collapsed during the rule of his grandfather.
Now both of them considered it necessary to show the world (especially the Muslim part) that the two secular heads of Christendom stood united against any threat.
After this short moment of greatness both rulers returned to their respective “boiling points” and just two weeks later Edward IV was already back on the Egyptian battlefields were he showed Ilyas of Mecca the superiority of English tactics (December 9th).
Roughly another week later the region around Gizeh was considered secured and Edward IV joined Bard Knytling in his siege of Cairo.

128112gizehtaken.png

The gods of war granted Egypt a last success at the beginning of 1282.
On January 12th Caliph Seyfullah received the message that his men had taken control of the Nile Delta but it was only a hollow victory.

128201deltalost.png

The provinces around the delta remained under English control and so no logistics advantage could be gained and just a week later the caliph’s enemy was blessed by another wonder of conversion by his god.

It seems that Edward IV’s mercy had made a great impression in Demetrias. Just two month after their ruler had rescued them from certain death his grateful subjects abandoned their old beliefs and accept the catholic faith of their emperor. The mass conversion took place on January 19th and coincided with a victory of Hovsep Karouzeiates over the rebellious Count Alberico of Ferrara in Italy and a declaration of war on Sheik Mansur of Adana by Edward IV.

128201warandconversion.png

The last armed encounters of the Egyptian war took place near Cairo on January 21st, where Edward IV met with Ilyas of Mecca again, who unsuccessfully attempted to lift the English siege of the Egyptian capital and on February 2nd near Tobruk where Vaclav de Provence defeated Abdul-Madjud bin Taishufin a son of the caliph.

Two days later – on the very same day – the last two free provinces of Egypt fell under English control. Diarnait MacDubhSithe had occupied Nubia for the empire and Caliph Seyfullah surrendered Cairo personally.

128202egyptatpeace.png

The following peace negotiations were short and for the Caliphate of Egypt they were devastating. Not only had the Caliphate to return all provinces taken from the Western Empire during the rule of Caliph Shamsaddin, Edward IV took also a great number of provinces in Greece, the Holy Land and Egypt itself.
Most humiliating for Caliph Seyfullah was certainly the official recognition of the complete loss of the entire Nile Delta.
An added humiliation was certainly that Edward IV distributed the freshly gained territories in a great ceremony within the caliph’s palace (“before the ink on the treaty was dry”).
Beside smaller fiefs (the size of manors) which were handed out to several knights there were four main beneficiaries. First there was Count Gagik of Pelusia, who was given the additional provinces of (Nile) Delta and Gabiyaha. He was also elevated in rank, when Edward IV made him Duke of Damietta.
Symeon Choniates, nephew of the former Princess Basileia of Cyprus (who had meanwhile passed away) was reinstated in his aunt’s principality. Like her he received Limissol and Famagusta before being styled Prince of Cyprus.
Althgough he was not present in person (as he was fighting in Italy) Hovsep Karouzeiates also benefitted greatly from Edward IV’s distribution of lands and titles. The emperor gave his loyal and able commander the provinces of Orchid, Dyrrachion and Strymon and made him Duke of Dyrrachion. In his new position Hovsep Karouzeiates had become one of the more important players in the Greek part of the Western Empire.
The final installation was the “punishment” for Aelfwyn Siward. Edward IV gave Safed, Baalbek and the prestigious Beirut and Tyrus into her hands and made her Duchess of Galilee. But she also had to make a public vow of chastity and she was not allowed to leave her new gained duchy during the lifetime of her father.

128202fiefsgalore.png

With his victory over the Caliph of Egypt Edward IV had reached the peak of his rule.

Egyptianwar1279-1282.png

The Egyptian war 1279-1282

- To be continued with Part V: 1282-1284 The tumbling Victor -​
 

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Part V: 1282-1284 The tumbling Victor

On February 12th 1282 the newly installed Duke of Dyrrachion - Hovsep Karouzeiates – defeated the Marshal of Ferrara Alberico Lancia, who had attempted to break the duke’s siege of the capital of Lancia’s liege. Exactly one month later Alberico Lancia made another attempt, but the result remained the same. The imperial siege held and the days of the Ferrarean rebellion were numbered.
The city was finally taken on March 23rd and only two days later the Duke of Ferrara was already a “loyal vassal” again.
Although the rebellion of Ferrara was thus ended, the imperial focus remained in Northern Italy.
Edward IV decided to become involved in the Milanese succession war, which at that time was already raging for almost five years.

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The Duchy of Milan (or Lombardia as it was also called) had been ruled by the de Morra dynasty since 1136 as an independent realm (with short interruptions from 1208-1217 and 1220-1226, when the Dukes Obizzino and Basilio accepted the Middle Emperors as their lieges).
In 1276 Duke Antonino (ruled from 1252-1276) had died without legitimate children. His only surviving offspring was his bastard son Emanuele, whom he had installed as Count of Maan, when he became sixteen in 1275. The ducal title went to his grand nephew Matias, the grandson on Antonino’s elder sister Maria. Her daughter Anna had been married into the Trpimirovic dynasty.
The new duke was still a minor and his mother did not trust the local Italian nobles, so she brought a great number of Bosnian and Croatian courtiers with her to Milan.
Anna’s barring the Italians from positions in the council and her numerous attempts to depose Emanuele from his position in Maan. Soon alienated her Italian courtiers and subjects and finally lead Emanuele into open rebellion in 1277.
To Anna’s chagrin Lombardia was not at the height of its possibilities. Various petty wars with the neighboring sheikdoms in the recent past had drained the duchy’s resources, so that the ducal forces and the forces of the count of Maan were evenly matched. For the next five years skirmish followed skirmish with varying results (with most battles centered near Pavia, only the first took place near Maan).

Edward IV had no great interest to allow the Trpimirovic family a growing foothold in northern Italy. He preferred a probably grateful count from the Holy Land. Additionally the de Morras living in the empire were also at odds with their Croatian cousins.
On March 25th 1282 – the day of the return of Ferrara into the fold of the Western Empire – Edward IV declared war on Matias Trpimirovic, Duke of Lombardia.

It was only four days later that Pope Nicolas IV died.

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As it had become (almost) tradition a bishop form the Western Empire was soon elected as new Pope. This time it was Archbishop Guy of Sligo, who chose to become Martin II.
To the Curia’s and court’s surprise Edward IV decided, that the Archbishopric of Sligo would not see another successor of Archbishop Guy. The former demesne of the archbishop was added to the imperial demesne and the Archdiocese of Sligo was divided between the neighboring Archbishoprics Cashel and Dublin.

The crisis which would overshadow almost the entire remaining time of Edward IV’s reign started – quite harmlessly – in northern Iberia. Count Guifre of Urgell rebelled against his father the Duke of Barcelona. It was not uncommon, that such violent outbursts happened and normally they were solved in relatively short times.
Edward IV had every intention to shorten this rebellion but he had concentrated his own forces in northern Italy in order to fight against Duke Matias of Lombardia.

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As he did not want to derive resources from the Lombardian war he ordered the most powerful noble in the region –Duke Bertrand of Toulouse – to send some of his soldiers in support of the Duke of Barcelona. It is questionable if that was a wise decision.

The house of Toulouse had always been a dangerous and troublesome family. They were a hot tempered and proud kin, who still dreamed of restoring the independent Toulousian realm of 1092-1189. The Dukes Gui (1092-1131), Guitard (1131-1160) and Florenc (1160-1189) had managed to separate from the French realm and had conquered a large part of Aquitaine before Florenc was forced to accept King Siegmund of France (1178-1214) as liege. Time and again they had rebelled against vassalship and although they had never been able to regain independence, they had always managed to strengthen their position (although they had been unable to regain the name giving province of Toulouse, which was currently held by a sideline of the Siward dynasty).

It seems Duke Bertrand had interpreted the Emperors request as a sign of weakness. At first he raised troops as he was asked, but only three weeks later - on May 9th 1282 - the duke ordered these troops to march against the emperor.

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He was joined in rebellion by his son Barnard, Count of Agen, who sent his father additional men.
Within moments the entire southern France was in rebellion.

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While the rebels were organizing their sizeable army, the imperial forces under the command of Mikkel Knytling had their first victory against the Lombardian forces under Robert Malatesta near Milan (May 22nd).
A few days later the imperial army was joined by the forces of Emanuele de Morra and they started a joined siege of Milan, which would last until late July. The Lombardian generals Roberto Malatesta and Raimond Tomacelli made attempts to break the siege but were repelled each time.

On June 27th the rebels had a minor setback, when Duke Bertrand’s son Count Barnard of Agen fled his father’s camp with the treasury (about 1.300 pounds of gold), which he offered to Edward IV for peace for Agen and personal sanctuary at the emperor’s court – both requests were accepted.

Just one day later Robert de Beaumont, Duke of Northumberland and his son William, Earl of Warwick joined the rebels. The Beaumonts thought this a good opportunity to set the Norman banner again on the British Isles and hoped that they could fortify their position while the de Toulouses kept the Imperial forces on the continent.
They were quite surprised, when they received the first blow.
Robert von Franken, a member of the German imperial family who had taken residence in England led some imperial companies at the gates of Durham, where he surprised and overwhelmed Earl William and his men (July 25th). It was a short but bloody encounter and the young de Beaumont was killed during the skirmish.
Filled with sorrow and rage Duke Robert attacked the “other” Robert in a series of battles throughout the remaining year.

On the Lombardian front a confusing set of events had been set in motion. Milan had been gained and lost again within a few hours. The city had surrendered to Emanuele de Morra and in his joy he had signed a peace treaty in which he was recognized as Duke of Lombardia. What he had overseen, was that Milan proper and Pavia remained under the rule of Matias Trpimirovic, who chose to take the title of Count of Pavia.
Feeling that he had betrayed his war ally, Duke Emanuele offered to Edward IV to become his vassal – as Duke of Lombardia and for his possessions in the Holy Land, which the emperor accepted (August 2nd 1282).

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On August 26th imperial general Aldimir Angelos suffered a heavy defeat against the Toulousian army near Viviers, were his attempt of a surprise attack was clearly unsuccessful. Luckily for the emperor the rebels did not pursue the defeated army, which gave the Imperials a chance to regroup.

September was again a mixed blessing for Edward IV. His men were able to storm Milan, which fell into imperial hands on September 18th, but four days later he received the news that the Templar Order had used the empire’s preoccupation with its troublesome West to restore another Templar state with Hebron as capital, weakening the empire’s position in the Holy Land.

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With too many fronts needing his attention Edward IV refrained from opening a new conflict with the Templar Order… and on this path with the Holy Father.

In October the Lombardian war concentrated on Pavia. Edward IV had meanwhile received “support” from Otto IV, who had personally arrived on the battlefield. Unlike the Western Empire which had only “newly discovered” claims on Pavia and Milan the Middle Empire’s claims on these regions were genuine and ancient. With this new player on the stage the war turned into a “race for the price”.
On November 28th the Western Empire won the race – but barely. Only hours after the city had surrendered, Edward IV already publicly declared Pavia (and Milan) not only annexed by the Western Empire, within moments he gave them to their rightful lord – Emanuele de Morra, Duke of Lombardia.

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With the end of the Lombardian war a sizeable number of imperial soldiers became free for disposal.
Almost immediately they were sent against the Duchy of Toulouse.

Already in early December the rebels suffered a major setback, when Carcassonne fell into imperial hands (December 9th). Despite Duke Robert of Northumberland’s many attempts to kill him, Robert of Franken was able to take Durham later the same month (December 29th), letting the year end on a more friendly note for Edward IV.

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On January 5th 1283 the rebellion on the British Isles ended.
When Warwick surrendered to the Imperial besiegers, Duke Robert lost his last free stronghold.

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The following peace treaty was harsher than common. Duke Robert was allowed to keep his title as Duke of Northumberland and he was allowed to keep the lands generally associated with this title, but he had to give up the possession of Warwick, which had remained in the de Beaumont family for centuries. The city was added to the Duchy of Hereford.

Three days later one of the more curious rebellions appeared on the war stage. Pons Siward, Count of Toulouse joined the rebels of Duke Bertrand of Toulouse (who on the very same day had to endure a defeat by the hands of Marshal Gudrod Neville near Montpellier). Only a few days later the young count suddenly collapsed among his courtiers and was dead leaving the rebellion two his infant son Pons II, who was barely older than a year. Pons II’s guardians thought it best for the child to abort the rebellion and surrendered the county to the emperor on February 14th. Fate was not kind to Pons II nonetheless. He died fourteen days later.

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The fight against the Duchy of Toulouse had meanwhile taken “the normal course”.
Duke Bertrand’s preferred residence – Bordeaux – was taken on January 23rd and the duke’s main force was beaten by Gudrod Neville near Montpellier again on March 11th.

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The empire slowly returned to something deemed “normal”.
In March Edward even held court in Bordeaux, were he granted Tobruk an Attaleia as fiefs to minor nobles from his entourage (March 18th).

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He remained in the city some time longer and it was there he met with Duke Bertrand… and the Toulousian rebellion finally ended.

The peace agreement was similar to the one made with Duke Robert of Northumberland. Where Duke Robert had to give up Warwick, Duke Bertrand had to surrender Bordeaux. Warwick was added to the Duchy of Hereford, Bordeaux was given to Duchess Aelfgifu of Aquitaine.

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A month later Urgell finally surrendered to Barcelona and the empire almost returned to its status before the great western rebellion… just more fragile, poorer and with fewer resources.
As if he wanted to counter this impression Edward IV laid claim on the Italian crown in a great ceremony. He did not declare war on its current titleholder Emperor Otto IV as he knew in its current state the Western Empire and the Middle Empire were to evenly matched (the Western Empire weakened from the rebellion, the Middle Empire strengthened by Otto IV’s re-conquests) but he had set a sign for the future (and put additional strain on the relations to the Middle Empire).

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Oddly enough this show strength actually improved the general situation of the realm (perhaps his subjects found it somewhat inspiring).

The next five months were spent in relative normality - only growing concerns for the deteriorating health of the monarch can be found throughout the reports and chronicles. Perhaps the stress of the war with Egypt and the following times of uncertainty had taken a greater toll on the emperor than anticipated.

In October the peaceful times were interrupted by a feud within the de Villeneuve family. Otto de Villeneuve, Count of Bejaija openly rebelled against the rule of his father, the Duke of Constantine (October 3rd).
As the situation was similar to the Urgell rebellion Edward IV did not want to risk the involvement of another vassal and send his Marshal Gudrod Nevill directly this time (unlike the Urgell incident the empire was not at war this time) on October 4th.

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To everyone’s surprise Edward IV took a step a few weeks later no one had expected – at least not in the current state of the empire.
On October 27th he declared war on the Kingdom of Sweden and while everyone was preparing for an invasion of the Scandinavian kingdom he again refocused their attention when he extended the declaration of war on Sweden’s Italian vassal – the Duchy of Savoy in the following month (November 24th).

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The following months were spent with war preparations on both sides which reached into the next year.
They were only shortly interrupted by news from Africa, were Gudrod Neville had landed in Annaba and had already successfully repelled an attack by Count Otto of Bejaija.

On February 16th another unexpected thing happened. Completely surprising Emperor Edward IV died (probably he had a stroke).

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He certainly was not one of the best rulers of the Western Empire (especially at the beginning of his rule), but he had successfully repelled an Egyptian attack and the numerous mass conversions during his rule were soon interpreted as a special blessing by god.
Although he never amassed as much praise or followers as his predecessor he was nonetheless soon recognized as blessed by the church and so the blessed Aethelred VII the Great was followed by the blessed Edward IV the Green.

To his son Aethelred (VIII) Edward IV left a weakened – nonetheless still strong – empire, which was at war with one of the more powerful Scandinavian realms for the control of Italy.

- To be continued with Interlude XVI: Europe 1284 - After the Death of St. Edward IV the Green -​
 

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Interlude XVI: Europe 1284 – After the Death of Edward IV. The Green


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Europe 1284

During the rule of Edward IV some changes have taken place in Europe. Especially some of the smaller realms have been eliminated by their larger neighbors.

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Imperial Core

The Imperial core still consists of the British Isles, Gaul and Iberia.
Absolutely nothing has changed here under Edward IV’s rule.

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Western Mediterranean

After the destruction of the Hammadid kingdom northern Africa is now firmly in the hands of the Western Empire.

Italy has again lost an independent realm.
The escalation of a succession dispute between the Trpimirovic family and a (bastard) line of the de Morra dynasty (the last de Morra Duke of Milan had died without legitimate children) in Milan had first turned into a civil war and had drawn the Western Empire into the conflict. After the war was concluded in his favor the victorious new Duke decided to join the Western Empire as vassal.
With the Western Empires strengthened position in northern Italy the Middle Empire’s rulers claim as sole Kings of Italy has come under more pressure than ever before.

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Scandinavia

After eight years under Swedish rule the kingdom of Norway has re-emerged in 1282. It was a successful rebellion of Torfinn Yngling, descendant of the old Norwegian Yngling Kings of Norway (deposed in 1210 by the House of Orkney, which in turn was deposed by the House of Telemark in 1213).
The Swedish strength has still not fully recovered from this uprising and the following civil war, so King Erik X (since 1283) has not many resources to counter the attack on its southern vassals (Savoy) by the Western Empire.

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Russia

Finland is experiencing the last years of King Danilo’s reign. The borders have been generally stable - only to the East a rebelling count has found protection under the rule of Kiev. To the West the realm has lost its German provinces. On the other hand Finland was able to gain a great part of the northern Baltic during the uprising of the Polish magnates against their King Lambert and their ensuing (short lived) independence.
Georgia has flourished under King Kuluk (1262-1282). It has gained an enormous territory by defeating the Il-Khanate. But the glorious days will soon end for Kuluk’s successor Taus II. Prince Sviatopolk of Chernigov (now titled Prince of Alania) has come of age. Prince Sviatopolk had regarded old King Kuluk as a kind of fatherly mentor. A role Taus II is not able (or willing) to fill - as both nobles share a personal animosity against each other. Already in 1285 the Prince of Alania will violently separate from Georgia - taking with him about 90% of the kingdoms territory.

Kiev is experiencing a stable rule under Prince Vasilii but soon the principality will find itself struggling against the new power of Alania. It will ultimately lead to Kiev’s downfall.

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Central Europe

Otto IV was able to reunite the central provinces of the Middle Empire again. He was even able to regain a few provinces previously lost to Poland and Hungary. The development in Italy is not much to his liking but he still holds proudly the title of King of Italy. He has also added the title of King of Bohemia, when the tiny Kingdom was crushed by the Middle Empire and Poland in 1279 (with Otto IV gaining the title and Mszczuj III getting the land) ending the short lived Arpad kingdom of Bohemia (1272-1279).

Poland has developed well under Mszczuj III.
The king was able to re-unite most of the realm’s core provinces (except Prussia) and lost only a small amount of territory to the Middle Empire and Finland at the outskirts.
Mszczuj III was even able to expand his realm towards Bohemia and southward at the costs of Hungary.

Hungary is still far from its glorious past. King Karol has died in 1277 and the country is now ruled by his son Spytihnev II.
The new king was able to subdue most of the unruly Hungarian dukes (with the exception of Pecs) and to even push back the republic of New Venice but some of its northern provinces where gobbled up by Poland when they rebelled against Spytihnev II’s firm hand. Also some of the border counts are still in uproar (and in danger to be absorbed by Poland).

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Levant

The failed attempt of the Caliphate of Egypt to regain its leading position in the eastern Mediterranean has instead confirmed the former empire’s decline. Although the Caliphate will keep a certain cultural influence for some years its time as dominating factor in the Middle East are over.

Georgia’s advancement into the region will soon be stopped by internal strife, while the Empire of the Seljuk Turks will continue its stabilization. Sultan Kürboga II, ruler of the empire since 1268 has the declared target to re-establish his realm and confirm its position as leading Muslim empire.

- To be continued with Book XIII: Aethelred VIII. -​