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    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Veldmaarschalk

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coahabsburg.jpg


The true history of the house von Habsburg

Canaletto_28I29_059.jpg
Schönbrunn Palace​

Vienna, Schönbrunn Palace, February 3rd 1764
Hauptman (captain) Karl-Friedrich von Lenzburg was waiting anxiously in one of the halls of Schönbrunn Palace. Why he had been called to the Palace was unknown to him, had he gone to far in his honesty and bluntness ? His criticism about the lost war against Prussia hadn’t been mild, and now he was going to pay for that.

But then, why order him to come to the Palace ? Why not have him simply arrested and thrown into prison ? They could easily do that, he didn’t have many friends, and none of them was influential enough to save him from Imperial wrath.

Sure, he was from noble birth, but when his father died, his eldest brother got the entire estate, and told him that he better find a job of his own, cause he wouldn’t financially support his ‘not good for anything’ younger brother like their father had done.

It was true that for the outsider it seemed that Karl-Friedrich hadn’t done anything useful yet in his life, he had mostly spent his time reading and studying books, old documents and ancient maps. He wanted to become a great scholar and historian, not a very common career for a young nobleman. So when he left his family estate at the age of 20, his abilities were rather limited.

There was only one option left for a poor young man of noble birth, and that was to join the army. An army that had just lost the War of the Austrian Succession against Prussia, resulting in the loss of the rich province of Silesia. And now 14 years later, after another defeat, Karl-Friedrich was a veteran who had fought in several battles, like that of Leuthen and Kunersdorf.

Leuthen20B.jpg
The battle of Leuthen​

Then he saw a chamberlain approaching him.
‘Hauptman von Lenzburg’
‘Yes’
‘Follow me, please. Her royal highness the empress wants to speak to you’
‘The empress ?’
‘Yes, now follow me’

The chamberlain walked rather fast and Karl-Friedrich had trouble keeping up with him, they walked through halls, hallways, chambers, anti-chambers all richly decorated when the finally stood before the doors that sealed of the personal quarters of the Imperial family. The chamberlain knocked on the door and opened it and then turned around and said, ‘Hauptman von Lenzburg, her imperial highness.’ He bowed and then slowly walked back, backwards.

Karl-Friedrich, stepped into a magnificently looking hall, and on the end of that hall there sat Her Imperial and Royal Highness Maria Theresa von Habsburg, Princess Imperial and Archduchess of Austria, Princess Royal of Hungary and Bohemia.

305px-Kaiserin_Maria_Theresia_28HRR.jpg
Maria Theresa von Habsburg​

‘Hauptman von Lenzburg, your highness’
‘YES, we know who you are, we have called for you, you know.’
‘Of course, your highness.’
‘Come forward man, we hate to be talking to you on the other side of the hall !’
‘Yes, your highness.’

‘Hauptman von Lenzburg, we have heard a lot about you, you don’t seem to have a very high regard for us or our generals. You have called us relics from an age gone by !’
‘Your highness, I wasn’t referring to your highness, honestly I was talking about .......’
‘Yes, yes, we know what you were talking about and your already famous for your honest bluntness, that is the reason we have called for you.’
‘Your highness, I can explain what I meant, if I could .....’
‘Hauptman von Lenzburg, please close your mouth for a second and listen to us.’
‘Yes, your highness.’
‘Hauptman von Lenzburg, as you know, we the von Habsburg are an old and distinguished family who have ruled the Holy Roman Empire for centuries, but now after our latest defeat against Prussia. Our people begin to ask themselves on what grounds we claim that title, why not give that upstart. king of Prussia, Friedrich the imperial crown.’
‘But he is a Protestant, your highness. He can’t be Holy Roman Emperor.’
‘Since the empire has never been Holy or Roman, most of my people don’t seem to think that, that is a problem.’
‘But the von Habsburg have the more ancient rights, your highness, I know that because I have studied history.’
‘Yes that is why, we have called you here, the history about our family is well known.‘
‘Uh, do you want me to tell you the history of the house von Habsburg, your highness ?’
‘No, we already know our history, but what we want to know is, what is true about our history ? How did we acquire all those lands and titles ? That is why we have called for you, you are going to rewrite the early history of the house von Habsburg.’
‘But, why me, your highness ?’
‘Because of your honesty, hauptman von Lenzburg. If we give this assignment to someone else we know that they will try to flatter us and tell the stories prettier then they are. We want to know the truth !’
‘The truth can be a dangerous thing, your highness.’
‘We know, that is why you will only report directly to our Grand Chamberlain and to no one else.’
‘A honourable task, your highness. But how should I go about ?’
‘Your family estate is close to our ancestral home in Aargau, you can start there and maybe even visit your own family.’
‘I don’t think my brother will be pleased to see me, your highness.’
‘We have one more task for you, hauptman von Lenzburg.’
‘And that is, your highness ?’
‘As you know, the people have already started calling Friedrich II of Prussia, Friedrich ‘the Great’ but in our distinguished old family there has never been a ruler who earned the name ‘the Great’ we want you to study our ancestors and come of with suggestions who of them might be called ‘the Great’’.

266px-Fryderyk_2.jpg
Friedrich II 'the Great' of Prussia​

‘But I thought you wanted to know the truth, your highness ?’
‘You will have to find a way to solve both tasks, hauptman von Lenzburg ! And now leave, we hope to receive your first report as soon as possible.’
‘Yes, of course your majesty.’

A chamberlain arrived and Karl-Friedrich was brought to the Grand Chamberlain, where he received a payment for his future expenses and the order to travel to Aargau in Switzerland to start his mission.​
 

stnylan

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I didn't realise it was going to be quite so soon! Do you have any particular goals?
 

Veldmaarschalk

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stnylan said:
I didn't realise it was going to be quite so soon! Do you have any particular goals?

My 2nd testgame went so well (I played it to 1120), that I decided to use it for the AAR.

Goal is to take the lands that historically became the Habsburg lands, so the duchies of Austria, Styria (Steiermark) Krain, kingdom of Bohemia, kingdom of Hungary, duchy of Milan, duchy of Tuscany, duchy of Upper-Lorraine and so on. Maybe also become king of Germany (primary title) which then stands for the HRE

EDIT
Updates on this AAR might be a bit slower then usual

EDIT
Don't really know why I wrote that :)
 
Last edited:

Nikolai

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Great, a new aar so soon!:eek: I wish you good luck, and be sure I'll follow it, fast updates or not.;)
 

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Great start, mr. Veldmaarschalk. :cool:
 

Veldmaarschalk

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coahabsburg.jpg


The Early Years
1066 ~ 1079


Basle.jpg

Basel


Basel, February 25th 1764
After a leisurely journey, Karl-Friedrich von Lenzburg arrived in Basel where he would start his mission in finding out the true history of the von Habsburgs. He knew that the von Habsburg came from this area, that was so close to his own home, and he had always wondered how it was possible that his family had remained poor and obscure, while their neighbours, the von Habsburg became so rich and powerful. Sometimes he also fantasised how it would be if the opposite would have happened, would he then be, the Holy Roman Emperor now ? No of course not, his elder brother would have been the Emperor and he would be probably just be a general in the imperial army.

He wondered if he should visit his parental home, maybe his brother had changed and would welcome him like a long lost friend. But he knew that, that wouldn’t be the case, his brother wanted him far and away cause he was afraid that he would claim part of his father’s heritage.

After spending the night in a hotel in Basel, Karl-Friedrich left the town and travelled south, toward the Habichtsburg, the ancestral home of the von Habsburg and the place were they got their name from. In the ancient castle he hoped to find documents that could tell him something of the first von Habsburgs.

The relationship between the Swiss and the von Habsburgs had never been very warm, though the Swiss were now independent, the Habichtsburg still belonged to the von Habsburgs, but it had been ages since a important von Habsburg had visited the place.

rekonstruktion-schloss-habsburg.jpg

The Habichtsburg

When Karl-Friedrich arrived at the top of the mountain on which the Habichtsburg was built, he was greeted by the keeper of the castle and asked if he could see the library and archives of the castle, since he was interested in its history. The keeper, who was glad that someone showed interest in his castle, brought him to the library and explained to him where he could find interesting documents and charters and then left him alone.

After a week of studying all the different documents and charters, Karl-Friedrich could make up his first report for his empress.

‘Your highness,

The history of the von Habsburg family before the 11th century is clouded in mystery and darkness, the first accurate and trustworthy documents I could find tell about the first two counts of Habichtsburg/Habsburg in the late 11th century.

1079wernerI.jpg

Werner I von Habsburg, born around 1025 died around 1079.
Werner I was the son of a man named Ratbod and was the first man who named himself count of Habichtsburg, I have not been able to find a grant of this title, so it might be that Werner I just made himself count. But since his neighbours respected his title, his claim must have had some justification.

Heinrich_4_g.jpg

Emperor Heinrich IV

Werner I was a direct vassal of emperor Heinrich IV of the Salian dynasty. A rather uncommon arrangement in those days, since the emperors mostly only had dukes as their direct vassals. This would suggest that Werner I was a rather important man in those days.

Werner I his land consisted of what today is the Swiss canton of Aargau, his land was surrounded by other counties, some of them ruled by families who would later also make a name of themselves, like the von Hohenstaufen (the counts of St. Gallen), the von Hohenzollern (the counts of Schwaben) and coincidentally also by my family, the von Lenzburgs who were counts of Bern.The most powerful neighbour of count Werner I, was Berthold von Zähringen, the margrave of Kärnten and Verona and count of Breisgau.

As far as I can tell, Werner I was married two times. His first marriage was with a lady called Reginlind, her last name is unknown but she is referred to as a von Habsburg also, but I doubt she was a relative of Werner but it is more likely that she took the family-name of her husband. They had two children Otto and Ida. Otto was born around 1060 and when he became count was referred to as Otto II, this would suggest that there was a count Otto I before him, but I couldn’t find any evidence of his existence. Ida was married to a count in what are now the Austrian Netherlands, Godfried van Leuven.

Werner I second marriage is important, cause this was the first time that the von Habsburg tried to increase their power beyond their local area, through marriage. His second wife was namely, a lady called Agnes d’Aquitaine, whose father was a very important and powerful duke in the kingdom of the Franks (or France), his lands made up almost 1/3 of that kingdom. But this marriage-strategy didn’t succeed. The only son of this marriage, Albrecht died in his infancy, but it did gave the von Habsburg a claim on the dukes of Aquitaine, Guyenne and Gascogne. This marriage also produced a daughter, Elisabeth who was married to a Rupprecht of Bar.

Werner I seems to have abdicated in around 1079 in favour of his only living son Otto and after that year is no longer mentioned in any document so I must presume he died soon after wards.

I am now studying the charters from count Otto II von Habsburg and I believe that I will be soon able to sent you my next report, your highness.


Your respecting servant,
Karl-Friedrich von Lenzburg.’​
 
Last edited:

Veldmaarschalk

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Nikolai said:
Great, a new aar so soon!:eek: I wish you good luck, and be sure I'll follow it, fast updates or not.;)

Thanks, glad to have you on board again.

Wämö said:
Great start, mr. Veldmaarschalk. :cool:

Thanks, compliments are always nice.


Marrying Agnes d'Aquitaine is an exploit, nothing came of it luckily. This started as testgame, that is why I married her, wasn't my intention for the real game.
 

stnylan

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That was a pleasant little daydream, and a nice variation of format as well.
 

Ayeshteni

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I shall chose this AAR to read in the CK AAR's methinks. :D

Interesting premise with your 'narator'

Ayeshteni
 

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coahabsburg.jpg




Otto II and the First Crusade
1079 ~ 1097

kloster-muri1615.jpg

Muri Abbey


Muri Abbey, may 2nd 1764
After having spent the best of two weeks in the Habichtsburg, Karl-Friedrich had moved on the abbey of Muri, also in Aargau. The abbey had been founded by the father of count Werner I, Radbot in 1027 AD who also became the first abbot of the abbey. The abbey of Muri was also the burial place of all the early von Habsburgs.

In the Habichtsburg Karl-Friedrich had found a few documents on how the von Habsburgs acquired their next title, the Margravate of Steiermark, but the sources were not clear on how and when exactly that inheritance took place. All that was said was that count Otto II had married Berta, a daughter of the Margrave of Steiermark, Leopold von Chiemgau and that in 1093 the son of Otto II and Berta, Werner II became the Margrave somewhere in the last decade of the 11th century. Karl-Friedrich hoped to find some notes or documents in Muri that would tell him how, exactly Werner II became the Margrave.

The current abbot of Muri was a bit reluctant to show this Austrian captain the personal files and documents of the von Habsburg that were stored away in the abbey, but after Karl-Friedrich told him that he was a von Lenzburg, so a Swiss who was just serving in the Austrian army. the abbot completely turned around and acted like Karl-Friedrich was the Pope or the Emperor himself. It seemed that the von Lenzburg name still meant something Aargau.

After a few days studying the documents and gravestones in Muri he was ready to sent his next report to empress Maria Theresa about the second von Habsburg, Otto II.

‘Your highness,

Hereby my second report on the von Habsburg and as I have told you in our meeting, the truth can be a dangerous thing.

1097ottoII.jpg

Otto II von Habsburg was born in 1060 AD and died during the first Crusade in 1097 AD. Otto was married with Berta von Chiemgau and they had four children, Werner (II) (born in 1091), Heinrich (born in 1092 AD ), Ulrich (born in 1094 AD) and a daughter Binhilde (born 1096 AD). In his younger years, Otto II also fathered two illegitimate sons, Gozelo (born 1089 AD) and Rupprecht (born and died in 1092 AD).

Two important things happened during Otto II's reign.
1. His eldest son, Werner (II) became the first Habsburg Margrave of the Steiermark. It took me some time, before I had found out how had this happened, since it was strange that the former Margrave, Leopold von Chiemgau and his son, Stefan both died on the same day during a hunting-trip. In the abbey of Muri, I have found documents that clearly stated that these weren’t accidents, but cold blooded murders, instigated and paid for by count Otto II. He paid 210 gold ducats exactly for the two murders, as can be read in a contract that was made up by Otto and the assassins and which is filed here in the abbey of Muri.
2. The other important thing was the First Crusade to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims. Emperor Heinrich IV, had called upon all his vassals to join him on this Crusade. Otto II, who seems to have been a very precise man, who documented everything, agreed to join his liege, but on one condition that Heinrich would pay. The emperor agreed to this, what we would now call blackmail. But though the Crusade was a success that resulted in the liberation of Jerusalem, Otto II didn’t reach that city, he died somewhere in Asia Minor in a skirmish with the Turk.

ottoman-crusades.jpg

The death of count Otto II

I have taken the liberty to take both contracts of Otto II into my possession, I believe it is to dangerous to leave those documents in a place where everybody who is interested in this matter can find them.

I will now make my way to the city of Graz, the capital of the Margravate of the Steiermark. To see what I can learn about the life and deeds of Werner II von Habsburg.

Your faithful and trusting servant,
Karl-Friedrich von Lenzburg.’​
 
Last edited:

Veldmaarschalk

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Jape said:
Original format and easy to read, plus a definately interesting dynasty- I'll be following this, good job Veldmaarschalk :)

Polar Mongoose said:
Wow that was quick. A good start, I look forward to reading more.

Ayeshteni said:
I shall chose this AAR to read in the CK AAR's methinks. :D

Interesting premise with your 'narator'

Ayeshteni

Thanks all, I hope I don't dissappoint you all. But I can already tell you that some nasty secrets will come out. :)
 

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One nasty secret indeed, and very wise of the man to abscond with the documents. Of course, while he has them and the Empress does not... I wonder what temptations might come his way.
 

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coahabsburg.jpg


Werner II, the first Habsburg Margrave
1097 ~ 1120


graz-alt.jpg

Graz


Graz, July 22nd 1764
Graz was an old garrison-town built around the Schlossberg, Karl-Friedrich knew the town well cause he had served there for awhile and he still had some friends in the town. But he had decided not to visit them, but stay incognito in a hotel. He else had to explain to them why he was in Graz. He reckoned that in Graz it would be more easier to find notes, documents and other facts about the von Habsburg.

As capital of the former Margravate of the Steiermark, Graz had a long common history with the von Habsburg, since Steiermark was the first title the von Habsburg acquired in Austria. Karl-Friedrich wondered how his empress had reacted to the news that this first title was gained by such devious ways and so had put the whole legitimacy of the von Habsburg in danger.

In his assumption that in Graz more documents and charters would have survived the centuries he was right, though the facts about the first Habsburg margrave were still scarce there were plenty of records about Werner II’s sons.

‘Your highness,

I have been in Graz now for several weeks and I have found enough information to tell you the history of Werner II von Habsburg, margrave of the Steiermark, count of Habichtsburg and Steiermark.

1110wernerII.jpg

Werner II was born in 1091 AD and as I have told you in my last letter, through his mother, Berta von Chiemgau, he inherited the margrave of the Steiermark. Werner II died at the age of 29 in 1120 AD. Werner II was married to Márketa Árpád, a lady of the first royal Hungarian house, though Márketa was of a junior branch of this house, the marriage is still significant because it was the first link between the von Habsburg and the crown of Saint Stefanus. They had four sons, Albrecht (born 1108 AD), Rudolf (born in 1111 AD), Werner (born in 1114 AD), Otto (born in 1115 AD) and two daughters, Richenza (born in 1109 AD), Ute (born in 1116 AD).

The marriage dowry of Márketa consisted of some estates in the county of Vas in the kingdom of Hungary, these estates were used by Werner II to lay a, somewhat forged, claim to the entire county of Vas, though all documents I have found and read clearly show that the Árpád kings of Hungary never intended to give away the entire county as a dowry.

Werner II was away many times from his family, because the new emperor Conone von Franken, a grandson of emperor Heinrich IV von Franken, often called upon his dukes and margraves to support him in his wars against the kings of England and Wales and the dukes of Champagne and Brittany. The duty of raising the children therefor fell on their mother Márketa and all things seems to point out, that her second son, Rudolf, was her favourite.

One of the neighbours of Werner II, was Rudolf Staden, the margrave of Österreich and son of Heinrich Staden, the margrave of Brandenburg, making the Staden’s a very important family in those days. Rudolf and Werner weren’t the closest of friends, something had happened in the war against England, what exactly is unknown, but the two margraves became fierce rivals. And this rivalry lead to the death of Werner II.

jousting_bg.jpg

Werner II in a jousting tournament

During a tournament in 1120 AD, margrave Werner II fought out a duel with the young son of Rudolf Staden, Konrad Staden, and in that duel Konrad was almost killed by Werner II. From the reports I have read it seems that most people found it dishonourable that an experienced knight like Werner II would fight a boy of just 15 years old in a duel. Margrave Rudolf who was furious when he saw his one and only son and heir lay seriously wounded on the jousting field and swore, in public, that he would get even with Werner II. A few weeks after the tournament, Werner who was inspecting some of his manors around Graz, was shot by an arrow. The man who did this was never caught but everybody knew who was behind it, margrave Rudolf Staden of Österreich.

Werner II’s widow, Márketa demanded justice from her liege emperor Conone von Franken, but to no avail, the Staden were just to important and influential. But emperor Conone, who didn’t want his vassals to squabble amongst each other while he was preparing for a Crusade to liberate Antioch, did offer his mediation. He suggested (some sources say demanded) that there would be two marriages between the Staden and the von Habsburg. Ulrich Staden, the youngest brother of margrave Werner would marry the eldest daughter of margrave Rudolf, while Albrecht, the eldest son and heir of Werner II would marry the youngest daughter of margrave Rudolf. Since the last two persons were still children, it would take some time before this marriage would be effectuated. With these marriages, emperor Conone hoped to have settled the matter of this dispute.

With this nasty bit of history I end my report on margrave Werner II, his reign started the involvement of the von Habsburgs with Österreich and Hungary and is therefor important, but not important enough to reward Werner the name, ‘The Great’.

Your honest servant,
Karl-Friedrich von Lenzburg.

PS
I will have to stay in Graz a while, could you please sent some extra money to Hotel Schlossberg in Graz, where I am staying.’​
 
Last edited:

Veldmaarschalk

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stnylan said:
One nasty secret indeed, and very wise of the man to abscond with the documents. Of course, while he has them and the Empress does not... I wonder what temptations might come his way.

Karl-Friedrich is wise enough to not mess with an empress ;)


EDIT
To explain what happened in the game
Werner II, did an assasination attempt on Konrad Staden, that failed and in the counter attempt got assissinated by the duke (margrave) of Austria :)
 
Last edited:

Nikolai

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With this "forced" marriage I guess we'll soon see the two titles united, eh?:p
 

stnylan

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He's really starting to excavate up those worms. I wonder if he has thought whether or not he will be allowed to live knowing all this truth?
 

Ayeshteni

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hmm, intrigue *ahem* I mean't intriguing.

Aye.