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nalivayko

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Unsung Ballads of Aquitaine

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Spider King of France (map of W. Europe in 1473)
Aquitaine Glory and Shame
Gaston Good Fellow (map of W. Europe in 1486, Map of Southern France in 1486)
Soldier’s Dreams (map of W. Europe in 1501)
My Beloved Aquitaine (map of W. Europe in 1519)
Fall of France (map of W. Europe in 1526)
Fall of France commentaries continued (map of W. Europe in 1531)
Seven Deadly Sins (Ecclesiastical map of W. Europe in 1531)
Armagnac Brandy (map of W. Europe in 1537)
The Gold Is Mightier Than The Sword
Again We March Through Night And Day
Again We March Through Night And Day II

***

The Spider King of France

Once France was ruled by King Louis,
Eleventh of this name.
He oft was called the Spider King,
None, but himself to blame.

His constant scheming and intrigues
Turned many friends away,
His foes list, already long,
Grew longer by the day.

His vassals pleaded hard with him,
But he was deaf to pleas.
Until the League of Public Weal
Has brought him to his knees.

King planned to tame his Counts and Dukes
They tamed him in their stead,
By Charles the Rash of Charolais
In battle ably led.

King’s brother Charles received Guyenne
To rule as his domain.
Thus land of Aquitaine ‘came free
And free it shall remain.

Two more vassals were then released;
Louis began to weep.
He paid a lot for peace that day,
Peace he aimed not to keep.

New spider’s web of plots and lies
Was cast across the land,
Burgundy’s heir punished first
By an assassin’s hand.

Next Aragon was silver-tongued
To punish Armagnac,
But then the shrewd and vicious King
Ran out of his luck.

He planned harsh vengeance on his foes.
The illness plans denied.
He cleaned his purse to save his life
And penniless he died.

Burgundy, Bourbonnais, Bretagne -
All shed the tears of joy,
But none as much as Aquitaine,
Which King sought to destroy.

Commentaries: In 1465 King Louis XI of France faced an alliance of Burgundy, Brittany, Bourbonnais, Lorraine and Armagnac. United behind Louis teenage brother Charles, they were de-facto led by Charles the Bold or Charles the Rash, Count of Charolais, future Duke of Burgundy. Jacques d'Armangac was another important leader of the self-proclaimed League of the Public Weal.

The League fought an inconclusive war with the French King, who found it wise to come to terms rather than continuing to try his luck on the battlefield. In this alternative timeline he chooses to give his brother Charles the Duchy of Guyenne instead of Normandy.

Historically, Louis was able to take Normandy back within a year, but Charles would gain Guyenne as apanage few years later. This time though, Charles receives Guyenne right away and is able to hold on to it. His brother, the king, also releases Armagnac and Bourbonnais from their vassal oaths. Armagnac is soon annexed by Aragon and while historians are not sure whether Louis XI had anything to do with this, the author of the ballad clearly thinks he did.

The same can be said about the death of Charles the Bold... Maybe the king ordered his death, maybe he didn't, the fact remains that a ruler of different name emerged in Burgundy. Louis XI did not outlive his greatest opponent by long; he succumbed to an unknown illness. Surrounded by astrologers and physicians, "who preyed upon his fear and purse", he died penniless... Some seem to think, however, that the gold was spent on increasing the French army (its numbers reduced to mere 12,000 during the last war) rather than on the charlatan doctors.

The regency council that ruled after king's death was unwilling to go to war with newborn Aquitaine (as the Duchy of Guyenne will be called here often enough), but it all may change when a strong king emerges in France. A few precious years of peace were allowed to Charles, Duke of Guyenne and Gascogne. His new domain consisted of five fairly rich provinces, two of which were renowned for their universities (University of Bordeaux and University of Toulouse).

1473.jpg


Western Europe in 1473

Blue and Light Blue: France, her Allies and Vassals.
Brown Red and Lighter Shades: Burgundy and her Vassals
Dim yellow: Castille, allied to Portugal, Granada and Aragon
Teal: Aragon
Purple and Light Purple: Duchy of Guyenne (aka Guyenne and Gascogne, aka Aquitaine) is allied to Duchy of Brittany (aka Bretagne)
Red: England
 
Last edited:

germanpeon

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Ah, this is fantastic: a new nalivayko AAR! I thoroughly enjoyed your last production and I hope this one is as epic. :cool:

PS. Is Armagnac controlled by rebels? Lets hope it revolts to you!
 

coz1

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Very cool, sir. Obviously you did not get enough fighting in with the French in your last game. A sucker for punishment, it seems. ;)

Good luck!
 

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Vann the Red

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I'm in.

Vann
 

nalivayko

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germanpeon, thank you and yes, Armagnac is under rebels control... they buggers managed to cross the border into Gascogne and gave me hard time for about six month. Something tells me I will not see them defect to my domains...

Capibara, let's hope the start won't be the end then :)

comagoosie, yes, thank you, took me about three damn hours, I hope the rest will come easier than that.

coz1, yes, me a masochist... Not, it's not that. Somehow all the countries I wish to play end up bordering France... Not sure why.

Qorten, welcome, glad you came out of the shadows :)

Vann, glad to see you in this AAR as well.

No update yet, except that I switched to a different map and provided the legend. Please let me know what you think of it.
 
Last edited:

nalivayko

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Aquitani Glory and Shame

To arms! To arms! The Duke has cried.
I left my house and my bride,
Our host in battle yet untried
Has marched on Rousillion.

When southern France became undone,
We saw our foes turn and run,
With every battle so far won,
We marched to see Liyon.

Our lads were doing their best
To put the French élan to test,
Liyon had fallen like the rest
We dreamed of victory.

Life with our dreams would disagree -
French King would not allow us be.
He came with guns, and cavalry,
And plenty infantry.

We stood our ground first with pride,
Surrender offer was denied,
The French were coming like a tide
With weapons raised up high.

Our colours fell to rise again,
Our blood was shed, we felt no pain.
To save our dearest Aquitaine
We were about to die.

The trumpets signaled our retreat -
We’ve tasted our first defeat.
Our Duke was soon the foe to meet
To offer terms of peace.

He did not pay with gold, but shame.
Duke said the Bretons were to blame -
They would have lost their land the same.
How did we come to this?

Commentaries: At first sight this ballad is typical of any given ballad written during numerous French-Aquitani wars. Historians still tend to disagree which particular one is described here. However, in my opinion, the reference to Bretagne in the end of the ballad points to the first ever war between the newborn Duchy of Guyenne and Kingdom of France.

After the years of regency rule France finally received the king to her liking. King Gaston was a capable monarch, equally skilled in state administration, diplomacy and military affairs. In 1473 he waged war against Duke Charles of Guyenne and his ally Francis II of Brittany. Duke Bourbon chose to stand aside and watch allied armies struggle for survival.

France was allied to Scotland and Norway. Two vassals - Orleans and Provance - also heeded the call of the French King. Their combined forces numbered tens of thousands.

Guyenne and Bretagne could muster only 15,000 men. At first Aquitani forces were successful, a small army under one of Duke Charles' captains conquering Rousillion, Languedoc, Provence, Dauphine and Lyonnais. Duke Charles himself repelled several large French armies in the north, but eventually was overcome by combined French-Provencale army. Duke of Bretagne was even more unfortunate. Unable to keep any conquered territory, he lost all his lands to the French and was contemplating a separate peace.

Thus, Duke Charles was forced to "shame" himself, by buying peace with his ally's lands - Armor to France and Finistere to Scotland.
 
Last edited:

comagoosie

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again very nice poem.

and whoa, just noticed your totally awesome map, how on earth did you make it? :D
 

coz1

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I foresee many more battles with the French in the future. No doubt that many more poems will be written about such. Hopefully they'll have a happier ending.

Sweet map in the previous post too. Very nice. :cool:
 

Cyrus_The_Great

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Ahh, this poem reads really wonderfully. I have long been considering an AAR silmilar to this, and this certaintly acts as an inspiration.

Anyhow, this is really well written and for me the first update stands out a lot, the style of that one is really reminiscent of the time period. Keep up the excellent work!
 

nalivayko

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comagoosie, simple Photoshop effects, really. I'll use your post as an excuse for giving credit to the following people:

trashing mad - for his .bmp Europe map and English Patriot - for an idea and inspiration.

coz1, I'll have to diversify the style so that the ballads do not sound all the same. I imagine it would be rather hard, although I hope to always find something unique about particular war. Changing the POV also helps, I imagine.

rcduggan, I am amazed no one noticed my screw up, Grananda was given extra two provinces... will have to adjust that in the morning :)

Cyrus_The_Great, there was another AAR similar to this in EU2, but I cannot recall who was the author. It may have been about Ireland. And after re-reading both ballads I do have to agree, the first one comes across a bit more authentic... Of course, the ballads were translated from Occitan to English by Ukrainian whose first language was Russian. Accidently, he was born 500 years after the first events in this AAR took place. Rather tough to get 100% authentic :D
 

nalivayko

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Gaston Good Fellow

Gaston, he was a good fellow,
Like all the kings should be
But should thou call him mellow
He’d hang thee from a tree.

Gaston, he knew no fear,
He’d pick a fight or three.
Of peace he steered clear
And went on conquering sprees.

Gaston, he did not spare
One neighbor from his wrath.
And no one would dare
To cross his warring path.

Gaston, he was a terror;
He humbled Aquitaine.
But then, the gravest error,
Provoked all kings of Spain.

Gaston, he came so sure
To Burgundy... and fled.
For he had to endure
The war with Spain instead.

Gaston, he was a warrior true,
And he resolved to fight;
But Albion invaded too
And added to his plight.

Gaston, he was a schemer,
With Burgundy made peace.
Gaston, a clueless dreamer,
Then thought the war would cease.

Gaston did not suppose
Guyenne would rise again;
And yet to war she goes
For Duke and private gain.

(alternative ending)

And yet to war she goes
For how could she abstain?

Commentaries: After Duke Charles passed from wounds received in the first French-Aquitani war, the crown of Guyenne was given to Julien I... a capable monarch and leader. He waited patiently for the opportune moment to strike back at France. Soon this moment came.

King Gaston, whom the ballad above sings many a praise, committed a strategic error by attacking Burgundy... right after the truce with Aquitaine and Bretagne has expired. Eager for revenge, Duke Julien still waited further developments and soon he was rewarded for his patience.

First, France and her allies were attacked by Portugal, who thought she could afford the war with Castille and England on her side. Then came Aragon. France quickly made peace with Burgundy, for she was being overun by the Anglo-Iberian forces. Then Guyenne entered the war dragging Brittany along, which did not make King Gaston I any happier.

Still, the war lasted long six years, French fighting like lions for every inch of their country. Numerous peasant rebellions constantly delayed the invaders' progress. It was a close call, but the coalition prevailed at last.

Aragon cashed out first in 1481(?)

Bretagne bailed out soon after, receiving Maine for her troubles in 1482.

Castille made peace on behalf of the Grand Alliance in 1485, France was forced to release Bourbonnais (Duke Borbon was probably forced to give vassal oath during brief French-Burgundian conflict) and Bearn (made Duke Julien I of Guyenne very happy) and set free Duchy of Dauphine, which quickly allied itself to Castille.

Guyenne made peace with France in 1486, three provinces were demanded and all received: Auvergne with its nearly impregnable fortress, a site of many a siege during the war, Poitou and Languedoc.

Two months before that event Bretagne waged war on Scotland (and, consequently, France) again, aiming to get Finister and Armor. Aragon too came back for seconds. France future in 1486 certainly looked bleak.

1486.jpg


Western Europe in 1486

Yellow: Castille, allied to Portugal
Red: England, allied to Portual
Dark Blue and Light Blue: French, her allies and her vassals
Brown Red and Lighter Shade: Burgundy and Lorraine, allied
Purple and Light Purple: Guyenne (Aquitaine) and Bretagne, allied
Teal: Aragon, currently allied to Guyenne
 
Last edited:

Amric

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Now who is the opportunistic warmonger? :) Nice poems. Seems you picked your points well and snatched victory after the hard fought battles we've come to expect from you. I am presuming you are planning on supplanting France as the preeminate power in former Gaul?
 

Qorten

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Very nice updates. And very nice maps!

Certainly some interesting twists there. First update looking rather bleak for Aquitaine, then suddenly a gang bang on France, you sure had some luck there that happened.
Let's hope the troubadour nation will continue to prevail and overcome the French once and for all!