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Hastu Neon

Lt. General
49 Badges
Nov 29, 2002
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Victorious through God’s grace: de Hautevilles’ chronicle


Table of content

List of Main Characters

1187 >>>> 1212 >>>> 1237 >>>> 1262 >>>> 1287 >>>> 1312 >>>> 1337 >>>> 1362 >>>> 1387 >>>> 1412 >>>>>>> 1452
Tancred (b 1135, d 1190); Count of Lecce 1149-87, Duke of Apulia 1187-90.

Roger V the Maniac (b 1170, d 1220); Tancred's son, Duke of Apulia 1190-1220.

Guillaume IV (b 1185, d 1226 - suicide); Roger's brother, Duke of Apulia 1220-26.

William V the Just (b 1208, d 1244); Guillaume's son, Duke of Apulia 1226-44.

Hugh (b 1227, d 1291); William's son, Duke of Apulia 1244-91.

Stephen the Winter Prince (b 1251, d 1292 - assassinated); Hugh's son, Duke of Apulia 1291-92.

Godfrey the Prudent (b 1269, d 1315); Stephen's son, Duke of Apulia 1292-1315.

Athanasios (b 1287, d 1318 - suicide); Godfrey's son, Duke of Apulia 1315-18.

Alexios the Grand Duke (b 1308, d 1369); Athanasios' son, Duke of Apulia and Calabria 1318-69, Athens 1327-69, Urbino 1347-69, Titular Doge of Pisa 1354-69, Defensor civitatis Beneventi 1359-60 and 1362-69, Protector of the Kingdom of Sicily 1368-69.

Theophilos (b 1344, d 1370 - killed in battle); Alexios' grandson, King of the Two Sicilies 1369-70.

Isaakios the Great (b 1363, d 1408 - dead by plague); Theophilos' son, King of the Two Sicilies 1370-1408, King of Egypt 1381-1408, King of Italy 1387-1408.

Ashot the Plagued (b 1386, d 1412 - dead by plague); Isaakios' son, King of the Two Sicilies, Egypt and Italy 1408-12.

Theodoros the Magnanimous (b 1407); Ashot's son, King of the Two Sicilies, Egypt and Italy 1412-onward.

- - - -

Chronology of the Duchy of Apulia
Preludes: #1 #2 #3 #4 #5

1187: Tancred promoted to Duke of Apulia by King William II.
1190: Tancred dies, succeeded by his inept son as Roger V of Apulia.
1196: Widower of Sophie, Roger V remarries with Berenguela, sister of William I of Castile-Leon.
1203: Taking part in the Third Crusade, Roger V takes Maan and instates his younger brother Guillaume as count.
1211: Duke Roger V runs into madness; Apulia governed by his closest women.
1220: Roger V dies hopeless during the war to liberate Roma, succeeded by his brother Guillaume (IV).
1226: Widowed and marred by popular discontent, Guillaume IV commits suicide at age 41, succeeded by William V.
1236: During the war against Libyan pirates, William V acquires the province of Hellas, one of their most dangerous dens.
1244: William V "the Just" prematurely dies surrounded by popular affection, the year after King Geoffroy II's departure.
1244-48: Just ascended to the Duchy of Apulia, Hugh launches successful expeditions to conquer Bari and Athens. Uncle Humbert is appointed Count of Hellas.
1255-58: The inheritance of Naxos by Hugh's son Stephen and the conquest of Thessalia secure the Hauteville link with Greece.
1260: Undeserved suspicion on public behaviours and private beliefs causes Pope Dietrich to excommunicate Hugh of Apulia.
1275: Only after 15 years Pope Dietrich's successor, Pere II, lifts the Church's ban on Hugh of Apulia.
1287: The expedition of Humbert (Hugh's cadet son) to be appointed podestà of Pavia succeeds, but King Richard of Sicily keeps the town for himself. As a compensation for the lost benefit, Hugh names Humbert Count of Bari.
1291: Feeling death coming, Hugh arranges marriages to strengthen the dynasty's power, and dies in the love of God and people.
1292: The ambitious and wily Stephen "the Winter Prince" is assassinated by a killer hired by his foe, Leo of Durazzo.
1292-95: Godfrey inherits Stephen, focusing in the first years in office on consolidating his internal authority.
1306: After roughly a decade spent in leisure at Naxos, Godfrey returns home to provide for his sons Athanasios and Tancred.
1307-08: During the succession stage from Richard to Henry, Godfrey of Apulia conquers El-Arish for his own son Tancred.
1310: Godfrey profits from the magnate rebellion to annex Taranto to the ducal demesne.
1311-14: Through subtle deals, Godfrey manages to gain the Duchy of Calabria for his grandson Alexios and Salerno for himself.
1315: Prince Godfrey dies at the zenith of his power, succeeded by Athanasios.
1315-18: Athanasios rules only three years until suicide, provoked by the loss of his dears killed by pulmonary typhoid.
1318: Athanasios' son Alexios, already Duke of Calabria, inherits also Apulia and merges the two in his person.
1324: Alexios' minority regency ends in 1324, during a period in which Apulia is hard hit by an epidemic of pulmonary typhoid.
1326-27: Alexios usurps the title of "Prince of Athens" from Boghos after a successful raid on Alexandria.
1327-28: David (Alexios' brother) becomes marshal and boosts military improvements, also thanks to the support of the Scottish affines.
1339-47: Through force and diplomacy, Alexios manages to extend his sway over Central Italy (Urbino, Siena and Ancona) and Corfu island.
1353-54: Trade competition with the Pisans turns into a violent skirmish and, with a short expedition, Alexios gets the opening of the Tyrrhenian Sea to Apulian vessels and becomes titular Doge of Pisa.
1359-60: Alexios comes to help Benevento but then has to stand the terrible devastation brought by the Khwarizmian hordes, with Taranto and Salerno cruelly besieged. Only the killing of their Sultan Zartosht stops the advance towards Lecce!
1362: Alexios recovers Benevento and gets the allegiance of the count of Arborea (Northern Sardinia).
1368: Alexios becomes Protector of the Kingdom; since this year, affairs (and chronology) of Sicily and Apulia become intertwined.

- - - -

Chronology of the Kingdom of Sicily
1202: Influenced by Innocenzo III and Bohemond de Poitou, William II supports the Third Crusade. Also Roger V of Apulia sets sail from Brindisi in June.
1204: William II dies, succedeed by Geoffroy I.
1209-10: Pope Hartwig's assault on Napoli brings out a war that ends with the brutal sack of Roma by the Siculo-Norman army.
1223: Geoffroy I intervenes again in Roma to free the city from Muslim yoke. The Apulian post of Maan is lost the following year.
1226-28: Quick series of royal successions: Geoffroy I dies in 1226, succedeed by Osbert who in a short span is followed by his 5-year son Geoffroy II.
1230: Geoffroy II returns Roma to the Pope, but cannot keep his own court safe from the intrigues of the Guelph faction.
1237-41: Geoffroy II crushes Libyan piracy in Central Mediterranean and takes over North African coast.
1254-55: King Aubrey resumes the campaigns of Geoffroy II, conquering Cairo and consolidating the Siculo-Norman grip on Egypt.
1268-70: War against the Sultanate of Khwarizmian arrests King Aubrey's conquest of Syria before he can consolidate any gains.
1283: Aubrey is succedeed by Richard, while the whole Sicilian Kingdom - and Hugh's Apulia in particular - continues to prosper.
1297: Hard pressed by Emperor Ernst and his successor Ulrich, the Sicilians have to abandon Pavia after ten years of rule.
1308: Herman of Roma leads a revolt (not supported by Godfrey of Apulia) against Henry, the new King of Sicily.
1337: David (Alexios' brother) liberates Jerusalem during the Sixth Crusade, but Osbert of Cairo takes over the Holy City, making pretence of being the highest lieutenant of Mauger of Sicily.
1343-50: Mauger suffers terrible defeats at the hands of the Swabian Emperor Folkmar and the Khwarizmian Sultan Zartosht.
1355-58: Mauger sees his capital Messina sacked by a surprise Khwarizmian raid; three years later he dies, succeeded by the incompetent Abelard.
1363-68: The disgraceful King Aberlard "the Mule" conducts a foolish campaign in the Levant which leaves the motherland exposed to Khwarizmian attacks. In December 1368 Alexios finally imprisons and deposes Abelard assuming power as Protector of the Kingdom.
1368-69: In his last 5 months in charge as Protector, Alexios vigorously re-establishes royal control and reforms the government apparatus.
1369-70: Theophilos succeeds as King of the Two Sicilies but dies in battle just nine months after his coronation.
1370-72: Given the heir Isaakios' minority and the many threats facing him, a regency under the sway of his uncle Alexios is set up at once.
1370-88: Isaakios' regency and then reign are most severely beset by the Black Death, which he also would contract but survive in 1388.
1379-83: Isaakios proceeds to the conquest of Egypt, establishing there a new Hauteville kingdom and countering the Muslim raids.
1383: Messina is relieved from Muslim occupation while the Tuscan Republic pledges allegiance to King Isaakios.
1384-87: Isaakios claims and gets for himself and his successors the Iron Crown of Italy after defeating the last Swabian supporters.
1388-89: After recovering from plague, Isaakios must rush to Sicily to deal with rebellions while malcontent grows in the whole realm.
1389-92: Ignited by noble opposition to the king's harsh policy, a civil war erupts; Lecce and other royal cities must undergo terrible sieges.
1392-97: Isaakios endures several years of unrest before being able to stabilise a somewhat diminished kingdom.
1402-04: Isaakios backs the Chersonid emperors in the internecine strife which wracks Byzantium and gains Ephesos and Abydos.
1408: In April Isaakios patronises the Pope's return to Roma after 150 years of captivity in Galicia. The great king dies of plague in July.
1408-12: Ashot the Plagued's four years of rule record few relevant facts: among them, there is the Sicilian conquest of Famagusta (è1411).
1412: Queen Mother Anna becomes regent for Theodoros with the strong and interested backing of Pope Louis II.
1416-19: The Byzantine assaults (also directed at the Apulian coasts) represent a major risk during Theodoros' younger years.
1420-27: At this time the kingdom enjoys the blessings of peace and plenty. Lecce hosts the council of 1425, called to reform the Church.
1428-34: Theodoros weds Beatrice, sister of the French King. Another war with Byzantium (1429-34) results in the acquisition of Buhairya.
1430s-50s: The rays of Humanism and Renaissance flare upon the splendid kingdom of Theodoros.
1452: Campaign is over, Theodoros is still king amidst domestic acclaim and international praise.

- - - -

Universal Chronology
1188-89: Alfons II of Aragon takes Cordoba, while Guy of Jerusalem routs the Emir of El-Arish and expands his domains southward.
1192: Having defeated the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, the Prince of Armenia Minor Leon Rubenid rebels against his Byzantine master.
1192-93: Castile absorbs the Kingdom of Leon. The Iberian crusaders capture Cadiz and Valencia from the Moors.
1195-99: The Moors are finally driven out of Iberia by Christian crusaders. Castile-Leon incorporates Navarra.
1199: In Constantinople, Theodoros of Cherson deposes Alexios III, the last of the incompetent Angelid Emperors.
1201: Pope Innocenzo III proclaims the Third Crusade to relieve the Kingdom of Jerusalem, among mixed reactions from Latin kings.
1202-34: The Burgundian (1202-08) and Thirty Years (1207-34) wars oppose Philippe II of France to Holy Roman Empire and Angevin England, respectively. The Capetian kingdom comes out severely diminished and disrupted from this long period of warfare.
1207: The Latin soldiers of the Third Crusade capture Alexandria, while the Byzantines occupy Medina and Mecca.
1216: The death of the great Heinrich VI Hohenstaufen leaves the Empire in chaos for decades.
1228-35: Emperor Werner leads the Fourth Crusade to save Jerusalem from the Muslims, but efforts do not pay off. Odon de Lusignan, King of Jerusalem, is taken prisoner and then ransomed, with his realm severely reduced in size.
1231: Rastko the Great, already King of Serbia, defeats Ladislav Asen and annexes Bulgaria.
1237-47: Mongol raids in Europe and the Levant begin, led by Genghis Khan's generals Subotei and Yegu Omar: Crimea, Novgorod, Kiev and Caucasus are stormed and sacked, thousands people are put to the sword.
1248: Civil war in the Holy Roman Empire ends with Augustin's victory, but leaves Hohenstaufen central authority much weakened.
1248: Portugal and Aragon encircle and beat William of Castile-Leon-Navarra. Deprived of sizeable land, the Castilian star fades.
1256: The Fifth Crusade led by French and Scots ends with the capture of Tunis, but without any progresses in the Levant.
1257: The treaty of Toledo sanctions the fall of the Castilian ruling branch of Borgonha (replaced by the House of Lara) and the forceful ascent of King Henrique II of Portugal.
1260-82: Mongol internal strife brings to the dissolution of the Ilkhanat and the arrest of the Golden Horde's tide in Europe under rulers Gughlug and Chilagun.
1263: Yves of England takes Bourges, the French capital, but in the ensuing decades his successors must cope domestically with the Barons' War.
1273-84: The Castilian civil war and the First Aragonese-Portuguese war confirm the predominance of Aragon in Iberia.
1289: Duly restored by Augustin (King of Italy 1220-61, Emperor 1248-61), the Holy Roman Empire annexes Denmark after his successor Ernst's triumphant campaign.
1296-98: Marred by internecine bloodshed between the two brothers Bartan and Yegu, the Golden Horde collapses in few years.
1303-06: After a century of English domination, Charles IV retakes Paris. The Treaty of Saint Blaise confirms the Angevin retreat.
1318-22: With the deeds of great leaders as Torbjorn and Trian, North Europe starts to fear the power of Norway and Scotland.
1321: After the progresses under Charles IV, the levies imposed by Louis VIII plunge France into several years of civil strife.
1325: Upon death of Pope William, another Hauteville pontiff, Osmond, comes to power in the Holy See of Santiago de Compostela.
1335-68: The Great Northern War ends with the defeat of the last Angevin King of England (Henry V) and the triumph of Ruadrì of Scotland.
1348-50: Crippled by dynastic crises, Portugal is defeated again by Aragon and gives up vast territories.
1351-62: Rudger, the last Holy Roman Emperor, falls to a terrible combination of internal and external foes. In 1360 the "Renunciation of Nice" sanctions the dismantling of the imperial power and the creation of the German Confederation.
1354-66: Venice, Austria and Bohemia are the biggest winners of the Hohenstaufen rout, getting the lion’s share of the ex-imperial domains.
1358-73: Pope Richard III acquires by evil means the Duchy of Santiago but is then defeated by King Alvaro of Aragon.
1376-93: Ruadrì of Scotland dies childless in 1376 and the dynasty of Aed follows, but consolidates only in the early 1390s with Duncan III.
1395-1407: The kings of Aragon Ramiro III and Garcia I defeat Portugal, Castile and the Papal States in a row, forming the Spanish nation.
1400-01: The falls of Acre (in which the last Lusignan ruler, Eriprando, is killed) and Tyrus mark the end of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
1422-28: In Spain the line of Aragon extinguishes with Bernardo, the crown passing to Affonso de Borgonha. Six years later Affonso takes over Portugal and joins it in a personal union with Spain.
1427: The French invasion of Spanish Rosello leads to the War of the Auld Alliance, one of the first examples of patriotic wars.
1437: After a long Milanese leadership - now decayed - the German Confederation reshuffles focusing on its German-speaking core.

- - - -

Historical Atlas of Europe and the Mediterranean basin














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Dear readers,

Welcome to the third and last section of the Apulian Persons Project. It follows the AARs you can find in my signature: first played with EU2 (1492-1819) and second one with Victoria (1836-1920). The final section comes back to the origins, and namely to those peculiar years when the brilliant Norman Kingdom of Sicily was on the verge of a dynastic succession crisis.

Real history has been merciless with the closing members of the Hauteville family. After the astonishing conquest of a realm among the most prosperous, tolerant and multi-cultural of the Middle Ages, the inability to have a successor for William II the Good (dead in 1189) paved the way to the Hohenstaufen rulers. The short dominance of the Swabian dynasty, culminating with Frederick II, brought to the shining “Saint Martin’s summer” of Southern Italy, but also to a lethal deathmatch with the Papacy, resulting in decades of draining warfare and finally a take-over by the Guelph party led by Charles of Anjou. From then on, Southern Italy never regained such a strong status in Europe …

AAR starts in 1187, when King William II is still alive (but childless). Our beginning character is Tancred de Hauteville, Count of Lecce – too easy starting as a King! – who has a feeble claim to the succession as illegitimate son of Roger III of Apulia (dead in 1148) and therefore as King William’s cousin.

Cunning, valiant and lover of arts, in real history Tancred of Lecce is recalled as the last Norman King of Sicily, heroically ruling for only five years (1189-94) against the claims of the Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich VI Hohenstaufen and his wife Constance de Hauteville (Tancred’s aunt). Unfortunately, Tancred’s military successes did not save his family because, shortly after the premature passing of his elder son Roger, death – supposedly by heartache – took away also the king and with him the fortunes of the Hautevilles.

Hey, but this is an open-ended game and can offer alternative scenarios!

Settings: AAR based on CK 1.05 with TASS mod. Game on Very Hard / Normal. House rules will obviously include: no cheats, no reloads, “plausible” game-playing.

Enjoy it!

Hastu Neon

PS. “Victorious through God’s grace” was actually Tancred’s motto.
PPS. Today's is my birthday: this AAR is my gift to myself!
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Ah, the Apulian person project been following it from the beginning (I think) and will do so once more.

Do we get another General Corleone? (hehe doesn't hurt to try)
I. Prelude #1: the Normans in the Mediterranean
I don’t want to bother you with a long summary of the Norman conquest of Southern Italy: being the Duchy of Apulia one of the most favourite countries in CK 1066 scenario, many of you are well informed about how in a couple of generations a group of Norman mercenaries was able to set a Kingdom spanning from Naples to Malta. The following slides will give the basics, but you might want to get more on Wikipedia (personally, I believe it is a very interesting reading):



A first trace of Hauteville members in Italy dated back around 1035, with William Iron Arm and his younger brother Drogo as key characters in those early stages of expansion; by 1091 their younger half-brothers Robert Guiscard (“the Cunning”) and Roger the Great Count expanded their control on both the continental part and Sicily, through a series of campaigns against Byzantines, Lombards, Saracens and the Pope himself. An epic poem composed by William of Apulia (nothing but his name is known) tells their deeds.

Unruly vassals, dynastic issues and - again - the opposition of the Pope and his foreign supporters prevented the effective unification of the County of Sicily with the Duchy of Apulia and Calabria until 1127-30. In that period Roger II inherited the whole Norman domain and gained Antipope Anacletus II’s support to his coronation as King of Sicily (comprising also the peninsular part, obviously), later inaugurating a long period of peace, tolerance and prosperity.

Towns thrived; merchants traded the produces of a fertile land in the whole Mediterranean basin and artisans made profits under the enlightened rule of unified laws and customs. The growth of military and especially naval strength kept all rivals at bay, limiting the danger of invasions from outside. The royal government hired Latin, Greek and Arab officers for the administration of a centralised authority and – that was really incredible in a period of bigotry and religious zeal – tolerated all faiths, races and languages.

This fortunate period came to an end only with Roger’s death in 1154 and the succession of his fourth son, William I. By that time, Tancred of Lecce was already a young boy; therefore we can give a closer look at that period …


Mosaic with Christ crowning Roger II, Palermo
II. Prelude #2: the Kingdom of Sicily during Tancred’s infancy


Hauteville family tree in 12th century; kings of Sicily shown in yellow
Historians have not much reliable information on Tancred’s childhood. His birth date is generally believed to be 1135, few years after the proclamation of the Kingdom of Sicily. Father and mother were Roger III, Duke of Apulia and eldest son of King Roger II, and his mistress Bianca, daughter of Achard II, Count of Lecce.

During Tancred’s babyhood, the newly established realm was already in deadly trouble. Sponsored by both Pope Innocent II and Holy Roman Emperor Lothair (strongly opposing at that time the constitution of a Norman realm in Southern Italy), Rainulf of Alife rebelled against King Roger II and was invested by his backers with the title of Duke of Apulia, thus challenging the status of Roger III. Despite Tancred’s father fighting valiantly against Rainulf, the serious defeat of the royal army at Rignano (30th October 1137) left much of the kingdom’s continental part in the hands of Rainulf and his German patron. Only two years later, with Lothair back in Germany and Rainulf dead of fever, Roger III was able to lead his troops to re-conquer Apulia, secure the control of Naples and even capture the Pope, forcing him to finally acknowledge all Hautevilles’ titles.

Happy years followed Rainulf’s risky insurgence: with the Assizes of Ariano (1140) the “two Rogers” launched a policy of authority centralisation and legislative unification of the realm. The Constitutions approved during the assizes were very innovative for that time: they even stated that all Roger’s subjects were equal, without distinction of ethnicity or religion. As final act, Roger II issued a new coinage standard, the ducat, named after the Duchy of Apulia, which would gain much popularity – and many emulators – during the Middle Ages and Modern period.


The first ducats showed the effigy of Roger III besides his father, King Roger II, and the inscription “Sit tibi, Christe, datus, quem tu regis iste ducatus” (translation: “O Christ, let this duchy which you rule be dedicated to you”)
Having secured the monarchy against domestic opponents and land attacks coming from North, Roger II focused on fleet building: under the resourceful Grand Admiral George of Antioch, Sicily took control of some coastal bases in Northern Africa and revived its incursions against the Byzantine Empire during the Second Crusade (1147-48), taking Corfu and raiding Athens and other Greek towns.

In May 1148 Tancred became orphan because of Roger III’s sudden death when the Duke of Apulia was only 30 years old, trailing a terrifying curse that was depriving Roger II of his male heirs: actually Roger III’s younger brothers Tancred, Alfonso and Henry had already died in the previous years. The King’s only surviving son, William, succeeded to his elder brother as Duke of Apulia. Tancred inherited the County of Lecce from his maternal grandfather in 1149, when he was only a 14 years old bastard – therefore taken in not particular esteem in the royal court and blatantly opposed by his uncle William, the 18-year old hereditary prince.
III. Prelude #3: William the Bad, an uncomfortable liege

Tancred lived in relative peace until 1154, when his uncle William I succeeded to Roger II. Upon ascension to the throne, the new king revoked the rights of Tancred and Simon (illegitimate son of Roger II) over Lecce and Taranto, respectively. Greedy and heavy-handed with nobles in asserting royal authority, but also inexperienced and probably ill-advised, William I was to suffer a prolonged series of internal revolts and external threats (again, coming from the Pope and German and Byzantine Emperors – could you imagine a more deadly hug?).

Pope Adrian IV excommunicated the Sicilian King and supported the rebellion of the barons, which favoured the landing of an expedition sent by Emperor Manuel I Comnenus to recapture Apulia (1155). As his father in the 1130s, William witnessed from his capital Palermo the temporary loss of control over the continental provinces before being able to move on those lands at full strength.

The Byzantine troops were still besieging Brindisi when William arrived with his army in May 1156 and obtained a striking victory, which put a definitive end to the Greek ambitions over Italy and convinced the Pope to sign a truce. The city of Bari, which had supported the Greeks, was completely destroyed (same destiny of Milan under Frederick I Barbarossa few years after). Even if there is no historical evidence of Tancred’s deeds during the Greek-Norman war, we should assume he was not happy with an outcome favourable to the man who had dispossessed him of the title of count.


Norman footsoldiers
The victory did not put an end to William’s troubles: his clever and ambitious Grand Admiral Maio of Bari was particularly ostracized by the Hauteville court members (apart from Queen Margareta, which was rumoured to have a love affair with him) and other Norman barons. Maio was untouchable while victorious, but suffered a loss of influence when Mahdia, the Sicilian base in Tunisia, was seized back by Almohads in 1160: in the same year, Matteo Bonello murdered Maio and an insurrection ensued. At that juncture, Simon and Tancred resolved to join their forces with Bonello and stormed the royal palace.

The coup of 9th March 1161 seemed to be a success, at least initially. Despite many casualties, Simon and Tancred got full control of the palace and imprisoned King William, trying to convince him to yield the crown to his elder son Roger (9 years old) under Simon’s regency. William I took deliberately time in the hope of any help, and was lucky again, because after three days the bishops of Sicily asked for the king’s liberation. Pressed by the mob, Simon and Tancred were forced to free William and retreat from Palermo. Matteo Bonello was imprisoned and blinded, the hereditary prince Roger died (someone even believes that his father William kicked him to death) and after an ineffective resistance Simon and Tancred left the Sicilian island.

William reacquired full control and pacified the realm, appointing a triumvirate of Maio’s smartest associates to administer the government, including grand protonotary (a sort of chancellor) Matteo d’Ajello. William pardoned the seditious nobles on condition of exile: both Simon and Tancred left the kingdom and took shelter at Manuel I Comnenus’ court. Unexpectedly, William the Bad’s last years (he died in 1166, only 35 years old) were quiet…
robou, Deamon, Fookison: thanks for your support!
A couple of preludes more and then we can start with the real stuff!

As many play Duchy of Apulia in the 1066 scenario (Robert Guiscard), I thought it was useful and interesting knowning the history of the three Norman kings who ruled in 12th century (Roger II, William I, William II) before the onset of the 1187 scenario.

Historians believe that this period (with the "appendix" of Frederick II's rule up to 1250) was actually the "Golden Age" of Sicily and Southern Italy before the decadence which begun under the Anjou and Aragonese split domination.

Who knows how the history would have progressed if the Hauteville dynasty had not extinguished with William II and the kingdom had not become an easy target for Papal, Imperial, French and Iberian ambitions?
IV. Prelude (#4): Tancred’s rights restored​

Tancred did not spend so many years in Constantinople after the failed coup: William the Bad’s son – King William II – was only 13 years old when inherited the crown of Sicily (Margareta’s regency lasted until 1171) and a general appeasement was necessary to strengthen the new sovereign. Therefore, many seditious noblemen were recalled from exile, pardoned and restored in their titles in order to avoid their connection with and support to foreign invaders. Among others, also Tancred was reinstated as Count of Lecce and additionally bestowed with the lordship over Ostuni [my real life homeland!], a small thriving town north of Brindisi belonging until then to the royal demesne.

In the following years, which were particularly wealthy and peaceful for the whole Kingdom of Sicily (differently from Northern Italy, ravaged by the war between Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and the Communes, supported by Pope Alexander III), Tancred of Lecce secured a primary role at court, strengthening his relationship with William II and chancellor Matteo d’Ajello.

Tancred has never been particularly affluent, but his wisdom and goodwill have gained him much popularity. He married (presumably in 1170) Sibilla di Medania, who shortly after gave birth to a male heir, Roger. Other four children furthermore delighted their marriage: Marie Albine, Medania, Guillaume and Constance. Little news had been transmitted on that period, which we assume was very fortunate.

Tancred is also a valorous combatant: he directed the royal armies in a number of skirmishes against Barbarossa’s troops until a 15-year truce was established with the Treaty of Venice in July 1177 and sanctioned by the marriage of Princess Constance (posthumous daughter of Roger II) with Frederick I Barbarossa’s son, Heinrich, in 1186. The Count of Lecce played also a major role during another Greek-Norman conflict, which started in 1185 during the convulsions following Manuel I Comnenus’ death. Tancred and his brothers-in-law, the Grand Admiral Margaritone of Brindisi and Richard of Acerra, commanded the Sicilian expedition (80.000 men and 200 ships) that took the Ionian Islands, Dyrrhachium and Thessalonica before being stopped on the way to Constantinople by Isaakios II Angelos in the Battle of Strymon River (7th November 1185), which forced the disheartened Siculo-Normans to retreat from the Balkans.
Interesting to read about the history of the Hautevilles, as I don't know any history from that time of that region. I will follow this!
V. Prelude #5: a preliminary balance​
Before action can begin, I would like to give you a sense of what Sicily was at those times, when the Norman entity had roughly a century of unified history (the last Arab citadels on the island surrendered in 1091). Not without pride, I believe this could be considered the brightest period for Southern Italy and the following achievements stay there to give evidence of its prestige among leading European powers …

  • The Constitutions of Ariano: an organic and innovative effort to establish a common legal code for a medieval kingdom and prevent feudal fragmentation, issued 75 years before English Magna Charta. It is not imprudent saying that Sicily was the most complete example of absolute monarchy between the Roman / Byzantine Empire and early Modern nation-states.

  • A strong economy: the Kings of Sicily protected trade, improved manufactures and encouraged the immigration of Lombards to repopulate deserted areas. Sicily regained the appellation of “granary of the Mediterranean” and royal monopolies favoured production of key commodities like metals, fish, salt, cotton and silk.

  • It was a common belief that tax revenues from Palermo only were higher than those raised in England. Such meticulous and pragmatic administration (inheritance of the long-established Byzantine practices based on public servants like giustizieri, camerarii and balivi) was considered one of the most efficient bureaucracies of the Middle Ages. The Kings of Sicily never had to borrow to fund wars, embassies or art works.

  • Arab-Norman culture and religious tolerance: Muslim intellectuals were supported and publicly revered, like the cartographer El Idrisi (his Tabula Rogeriana, drafted two centuries before Marco Polo’s voyages, was deemed reliable and reproduced until the Iberian sailors charted the Atlantic Ocean in 15th century). Nevertheless, historians agree that by the second half of 12th century an inexorable process of latinisation was gradually weakening Sicilian multiculturalism.

  • Military tradition: fearless warriors on land, under the four “Grand Admirals” the Normans established their predominance also in the Mediterranean Sea for decades, despite the fierce competition of several powers, including the dynamic maritime republics (Venice, Genoa, Pisa), Aragon, the Byzantine Empire and a number of Saracen potentates.

  • Valuable contribution to Crusades: given its position, warfare and abundance of cadet sons, Norman Sicily was a natural candidate to a pre-eminent role in the Crusades. Take Bohemond of Taranto (Robert Guiscard’s son), who led the First Crusade from Constantinople to Syria with one of the boldest group of soldiers and acquired for himself and his heirs the Principality of Antioch. Nevertheless, Roger II was also capable to keep friendly liaisons with the Fatimids.
Would William II, his loyal vassal Tancred and their successors stand this legacy?

The map hereunder depicts the geopolitical situation at the outset of action:

VI. King William’s fears eased
After 10 years of marriage, William the Good and Joan Angevin are still childless: despite their young age (32 years old the King, 21 the Queen), the lack of heirs is putting at risk the continuation of the royal lineage. Only Tancred of Lecce and Simon of Taranto – with their respective heirs – have a remote succession right, unfortunately “tarnished” by the fact that both are illegitimate relatives to William II.

The risk of a succession crisis is not the only concern for the Hautevilles: the gradual latinisation of the realm under the “two Williams” has produced a more homogeneous nation, but also discontent among the largest ethnic minorities, the Greeks and the Arab-Berbers, particularly diffuse on the island. The firm Sicilian/Papal association – Tancred himself has been a stern supporter of Alexander III (1159-80), Lucius III (1180-85) and Urban III (1185-87) in their struggle against Frederick I Barbarossa – and the steady support to Catholic missions’ proselytism has not helped in easing the dissatisfaction of those minorities.

Also from an administrative standpoint, the two parts of the Kingdom have traditionally featured different structures: direct royal authority over the island and extensive parts of Calabria, feudal assignments in the remainder of the continental section. At this time, four vassal counts stand out among other minor figures: Tancred and Simon, whom you have been already introduced to, Helion of Benevento – descendant of a bastard son of Roger Borsa – and the ailing Guglielmo il Vecchio (“the Old”), Count of Monferrato (soon to be succeeded by Conrad). Even if all of them are longstanding vassals to William II, political fragmentation and undue personal ambitions remain risks to be scared of, particularly in the absence of a male son for the royal couple.

To avoid potential disputes on the line of succession in case of death without any living hereditary prince, on 9th January 1187 the King upgrades Tancred of Lecce to the ducal status, as primus inter pares among the relatives of the royal dynasty. Yet, William II chooses for Tancred a title – Duke of Apulia – that is particularly dear, because it has traditionally been granted to elder sons of the King of Sicily and was the title of Tancred’s father when he died almost 40 years before. Thus, the assignment cures a long-lasting disregard of Tancred’s rights and makes him proud again in front of the Hauteville relatives.

As an astonishing sign of fate, Simon of Taranto dies two days later, leaving a widow with a little child, Roger, and Tancred’s claims over the town. In spite of his efforts to establish an interested tutelage of Roger, the newly appointed Duke of Apulia would not manage to control Taranto in his life.

Also Tancred has to solve some dynastic issues, as his crazed son Roger is now adult and available for marriage: the choice is very important, because under the Salic primogeniture law regulating the succession rights in the Siculo-Norman realm, it is eventually Roger’s progeny to get the first hereditary claim. After Emperor Isaakios’ insulting refusal to marry his niece Eirene to Roger, the choice shifts towards the lively 22 years old Sophie, elder daughter of Humbert Duke of Savoie, who kindly consents the prestigious union.

While Sophie is approaching Lecce for the nuptials – arranged on 15th February – tales about Queen Joan’s pregnancy start to spread through Messina, where the royal couple resides. Tancred’s sister Marie and her husband Margaritone, holding major roles at court, are among the first associates to get knowledge of – and convey to Lecce – the pleasant news. The heir to the throne, Geoffroy, is brought to life without any problems on 23rd October.

With Sophie’s arrival at Tancred’s court, the definition of key assignments is completed with the Duke’s closest relatives retaining the most sensitive questions, based on relative strengths and attitudes: Sibilla as spymaster, Sophie as steward and Roger as marshal of a 1.600 men strong militia.

Good AAR, but I assume you're not using DV for some reason?
Never bought DV. When the expansion came out I was more interested in purchasing EU3+NA+IN and skipped this one.
But I have always understood DV wasn't a massive expansion. Just an improvement of graphics plus a couple of add-ons like stability and fosterlings, wasn't it?
Never bought DV. When the expansion came out I was more interested in purchasing EU3+NA+IN and skipped this one.
But I have always understood DV wasn't a massive expansion. Just an improvement of graphics plus a couple of add-ons like stability and fosterlings, wasn't it?

Well, yeah, but it makes the game so much more streamlined and simple. It also fixes historical inaccuracies, adds a lot of events, and in my opinion, makes the game more fair to play.
VII. Warfare against infidels​
Anno Domini 1187 does not record particular events in the Kingdom of Sicily – except for the dynastic evolution previously described. Yet, this year marks the continuation of religious warfare in Iberia and Holy Land, two conflicts not involving William the Good as his foreign policy has been traditionally equidistant among crusaders and heathens (so far).

The Iberian Crusade (overture, 1187-88)


The “Audita Tremendi” Bull issued in April by Pope Giaconto I (who very shortly presides over the Church after the death of his predecessor Urban III: Pope Cencio I will succeed in June, after only few months of pontificate) inaugurates the “Western Crusade” against the Moorish Emirates in Iberia, another important step of the Reconquista.

The Papal calling comes when Fernando II of Leon is already engaged in a difficult war against the Emir of Badajoz. The primary citadels targeted by the crusaders are Valencia and Cadiz, the two most important ports that can supply deliveries to the various Muslim states in Southern Iberia, but also Cordoba will be invested later by the Christian fury.

In May 1187 Philippe II Auguste of France is the first extra-Iberian leader to take up the Cross, designating Raymond de Tolouse as chief commander of the expedition. The French army marches towards Valencia, where in December a cruel attack causes the massacre of 2.000 Moors, just before Raymond accepts an ignominious truce offer from Emir Muslihiddin, giving him the chance to take shelter inside the city walls. After five months of siege, the sneaky Moorish Emir bribes also King Philippe Auguste’s benevolence: thus, the French Crusade ends with the acquisition of Castellon and a quantity of gold, but very limited appreciation in the Christendom.

The French departure does not represent a serious damage to the cause of the Iberian kingdoms: the odds of the war definitively reverse when Fernando of Leon manages to conquer Badajoz in early 1188, at the same time as Castile and Aragon enter their own war of Reconquista against Cordoba, also supported by warriors sent by the sovereigns of England and Scotland. Alfons II of Aragon takes the lead of this second wave, which defeats on the battlefield Emir Abdul Razzaq and seizes Cordoba on 2nd November 1188.

The death of Fernando of Leon, succeeded by his 17-year old son Alfonso IX, and the required consolidation of the Christian conquests before moving on more challenging targets (Cadiz and Sevilla, but also Valencia which has boldly resisted the opening assaults) impose a temporary break to the Christian armies. Yet, in less than two years Badajoz and Cordoba have fallen under the rule of God and the Iberian kingdoms have strengthened their positions versus the Moors.

Fighting in the Levant

The growing Muslim pressure over the Crusader states becomes clear when the federation of the Assassins and the Emir Mamun of El-Arish launch a combined raid against the Hospitalier Order’s fortress of Baalbek, which endures several months before surrendering to the latter in early 1188. Simultaneously, Ahmad of Aleppo and Qasim of Edessa attack the Duchy of Antioch, depriving it of the town of Alexandretta that becomes a valuable port for the landlocked Emirate of Edessa.

Only Guy de Lusignan, King-Consort of Jerusalem has enough forces to counter the Muslim advance in the area. In June 1188 he repositions his knights to recover Baalbek from Emir Mamun. The fortress is soon surrounded by Christian soldiers and cut off from supplies, while other troops are dispatched to Southern Palestine. During the autumn of 1188, Guy directs his attention mainly to the siege of Baalbek, Mamun’s only stronghold north of Jerusalem. After the fall of the castle, Guy decides to definitively crush the Emirate of El-Arish, securing Sinai against the threatening ambitions of Salah a-Din. The army into Southern Palestine takes one town after the other: with the defeat of the last Mamun’s bastion in June 1189, Guy’s prestige reaches its peak.

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VIII. Tancred, a tired old man
Coming home from the Balkans, Tancred is a respected and influential leader, but he is ageing and the vigour and fortune of the past are unavoidably fading away, as clearly testified by his last years of government. Until his death in 1190 at the age of 65 years, a long series of ill-fated episodes would negatively affect Lecce and its surroundings.

If some of the following events are driven by the Divine Providence and therefore unquestionable, nonetheless Tancred’s diminishing administrative control over the province brings about the proliferation of brigands and smugglers who, now uncontested by the power of rule, become a serious detriment for common people. Despite a promising, productive harvest in September 1187, since the following year farming begin to stagnate due to the lack of manure, resulting in a reduction of yields – and therefore income – for one of the Italian provinces most reliant on agricultural produces.


Economic situation of the Italian peninsula
In early 1189 an outbreak of smallpox and a fire at the local fishery come to complicate even more the situation of the Duchy. The combination of enduring felonies, disease and economic difficulties marks this year as the very annus horribilis in Tancred’s life. In his last months, the status of the Duke resembles the shadow of its past: with the treasury coffers emptied by the falling tax revenues, sick and lethargic, Tancred becomes a neglected old man for his courtiers.

His heir Roger, feeling the imminence of succession, begins to ignore his father’s prudent words and continue to waste those few ducats cashed-in by his conniving wife Sophie in indulgent expenses. Apart from the tuition of the growing – soon to be married away – Marie Albine by a local noblewoman and the education of the younger Medania and Constance, only limited funds remain to finance other expenses. Tancred’s other son Guillaume, potentially involved in the administration of the Duchy in case of Roger’s aggravating madness, receives a court education.

In some measure Tancred's activism had compensated in the past William II’s laziness, limiting Heinrich Hohenstaufen – King of Italy, but soon to succeed his father Frederick I Barbarossa also in Germany – in his attempts to restore a substantial authority over Italy, nominally part of the Holy Roman Empire but increasingly autonomous after the Peace of Constance, signed by the Emperor and the Lombard League in 1183.

Needless to say, the marriage between Heinrich and Constance de Hauteville has not settled down, but on the contrary intensified the goals of the young King of Italy (and Holy Roman Emperor since its father’s death in 1189). Using either threats or blandishments, Heinrich secures nearly all of Northern and Central Italy; one after the other, the most important rulers are induced to surrender: Duke Humbert of Savoie and the free Communes of Central Italy recognise the imperial authority and put themselves under his protection. Foolishly, in early 1188 also the Magistrate of Ancona refuses Tancred’s – and therefore Sicily’s – shelter and runs in Heinrich’s arms.

Among these harmful happenings, finally a good one: on 12th May 1189 Sophie gives birth to a male heir to Roger, named Richard. His grandfather Tancred would not be able to see him reaching the first birthday, because he dies on 9th May 1190.

IX. Roger V takes power

Roger’s flawed nature – needless to recall his craziness and overindulgence – radically affects the ducal government. Upon his ascension to power, the new Duke orders an increase in tolls, but his financial ineptitude and the continuing economic slump do not allow getting the expected results. Just comparing monthly income in 1190 with early 1187 gives the sense of recent difficulties: Tancred was able to raise 3,3 gold units in a month, whilst Roger cannot count on more than 0,5 gold units today. In such situation, even the selfish Duchess Sophie receives limited allowance for her caprices!

In his attempt to gain new supporters, Roger begins to back the monastic orders, particularly the Knights Templar, at the expense of ecclesiastical institutions. Diocese bishop Rainulf Torelli, one of the most trusted counsellors at court when Tancred was alive and loyal to the Roman curia, reluctantly accepts Roger V’s shift towards monastic supremacy and informs Pope Paolo II. Resentful, Roger cuts Church donations by more than one fourth and gives even more prominent assignments and privileges to the Templar Order, including in the following years the education of his heir Richard. Also Roger’s younger sister Constance would be given a monastic education.

From 1192 the treasury coffers occasionally provide Roger with some ducats to sponsor charitable deeds, as helping the poorest during the smallpox disease (receding from Lecce only in 1195) or developing a new library in a wing of the ducal palace.

Overall, Duke Roger’s first years of ruling match with a period of relative tranquillity in Italy, fostered by an appeasement between Papacy and Holy Roman Empire. Heinrich VI von Hohenstaufen has completely reasserted the imperial authority over Northern Italy – including now also the wealthy maritime republics of Genoa and Pisa – and avoided any possible dynastic controversy after Empress Constance gives him two heirs, Irmeltrud and Burchard, before dying in 1196. On the other side, Pope Paolo II has been only left with the support of the Kingdom of Sicily against the triumphant German Emperor and therefore is forced to inaugurate a conciliating policy following the wise and prudent recommendations of William II.


The Italian peninsula in early 1290s

Rumours from distant lands – The Anatolian struggle
Great news come from Anatolia, where Emperor Isaakios Angelos and the heroic Prince of Armenia Minor Leon Rubenid wage war against the Sultanate of Rum. Freshly empowered after the death of his brother Roupen III, Leon engages a deadly fight with Kay Kusray, the Seljuk Sultan of Rum. Supported by the Byzantine troops sent in Anatolia by Emperor Isaakios, Leon displays an exceptional strategic competence, managing to take control of almost all the Seljuk provinces in less than one year. Quite surprisingly, by 1191 the Seljuk realm retains an effective control on a couple of provinces, being Anatolia completely reabsorbed in the Byzantine Empire, mainly thanks to Leon (“the Magnificent”). The echo of his deeds comes to Lecce with the accounts of a noble warrior called Humbert Mitylenaios, who escaping from the shattered Anatolian lands reaches Duke Roger’s court in February 1191 and takes service as marshal.


Leon Rubenid
Emperor Isaakios’ death in 1192 changes completely the scenario: his 10-year old son Alexios III Angelos succeeds him but cannot exercise an effective control on his lieutenants. Few months after Alexios’ instatement, Leon Rubenid refuses to acknowledge his fealty and rebels against him. It is strategos Manuel Komnenos – son of the former Emperor Andronikas Komnenos – who comes to assist the legitimate Emperor against the seditious Prince of Armenia Minor, inflicting him a series of defeats. Inevitably, this sort of Byzantine civil war affects the continuing military effort against the Sultanate of Rum, which recovers some of the lost provinces while Manuel Komnenos and Leon Rubenid are fighting each other, weakening the Roman Empire positions in Anatolia.


The Levant at the height of Leon Rubenid’s power (red-circled areas): an Empire still undivided and a troubled Sultanate of Rum. The situation would be soon reversed by Leon’s rebellion against the new Emperor Alexios III
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