Norgesveldet - En historie om de norske kongene (CK2)

fnwilborn

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Et mine yndlingsspill gjennom tidene er Crusader Kings II. Jeg har de siste månedene skrevet en AAR, After Action Report, fra et av mine games. Jeg kommer til å poste det jeg skriver her, om det er interesse for det.:) Alt er på englesk, siden jeg skriver for et internasjonalt publikum på de offisielle forumene.;)

Her kommer historien om de norske kongene i middelalderen!
 

fnwilborn

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Haraldr I «Fairhair»
(866-898)

Haraldr, the first of the Norwegian kings, is well known for any Norwegian citizen. When he set out to unite the Norwegian petty kingdoms, he famously swore to not cut his hair before he had succeeded in doing so. After gathering his host, he set out on a long journey, a journey that left the Viking world changed forever.


The lands held by the petty king of Østlandet, Haraldr, in 867.

Family
Haraldr married only one woman, the love of his life, Røgnhildr. He was a lustful man however, and through his life he had at least five concubines. Four were brought in from neighbouring Viking lands, but the fourth, Wynnflæd, was a Christian slave bought from a petty kingdom on the British Isles.

The first of the concubines, Astrid, faced the wrath of the then petty king when she bore the child of a neighbouring noble, and ended her life in the dungeons of his castle.

With his wife and his concubines, Haraldr bore nine children that we know of:
Halfdan
Dyre
Thorolfr
Kraka
Tyke
Asta
Thordr
Saga
Ormr

The second of these children, Dyre, would ultimately succeed him as the king of Noregr, or Norgesveldet as the empire of medieval Norway is known as to modern day Norwegians.

His reign

In a lightning campaign of just eight years, Haraldr united all of modern day Norway, except the southern tip, which was held by the mighty petty kings of Jylland, in modern day Denmark.
He dared not yet declare himself king of a united Norway though, as according to the sagas he was warned by Odin himself that he had yet to prove himself worthy of the title. Not content with merely controlling the Norwegian lands, he then set his eyes on the lands of the Swedes. The northern Swedish tribes fell fast, but in 874 the warrior king suddenly changed focus and went in Viking to the shores of the British Isles.

For four years he looted the country side of the British kingdoms, and in 878 the sagas tell that Odin himself visited the king’s tent and gave him his blessings. That same year the Norwegian jarls assembled on the ting and declared Haraldr I “Fairhair” the king of Noregr.

The following twelve years, the king seemingly changed his ways and did little of warring. Emissionaries were sent to the settlers of the islands of the Vikings in the North Sea, and all but one accepted him as their lawful king.
Old habits die hard though, and in 890 a massive invasion of the British Isles were initiated, led by Haraldr himself. After securing a beachhead in northern Scotland, all of the Catholic counts of Ireland was issued an ultimatum; submit or die. All counts refused to submit, and war engulfed the Emerald Island for the next decade. The sole peaceful place was the small jarldom in the east, which was led by a relative of Haraldr.

The campaign was a huge success, one by one the counties’ armies were defeated and their lands taken. However, in mid 898 the conquering army was met by a united host of equal strength, and during battle the Viking king was hit by an arrow. Hours later the king was dead, his armies fleeing and the kingdom laid in the hands of his sickly heir and son, Dyre I.


Norgesveldet at the time of king Haraldr I’s death in 898.

Aftermath
Contemporary Christian sources show a mixed sense of dread and awe for the conquering Viking king. Within a few decades, the divided tribes of the North was to a large degree united under one mighty warrior, and the Catholic bastion of Ireland was all but fallen to the invaders.

To modern day Norwegians, Haraldr is seen as one of the most important Norwegian ever, uniting their country for the first time and laying the groundwork for the modern nation state.
 

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Dyre I
(898-901)


Where his father Haraldr is well known for any Norwegian child, Dyre I is mostly forgotten by the general populace. His rule was short, and if he’s known for anything, it’s emptying the swimming coffers of his father in the search of filling his shoes.

Family
Dyre was married to one Atpælha, little is known about this woman. He took no concubines and sired no children that we know of.

His reign
Little is known about Dyre before his ascencion to power, other than that he was prone to sickness his whole life. He was well liked by the chiefs however, and when his father died on the battlefield, he was quickly raised to the throne by his peers. It also might have helped that he was present in Ireland when the fateful arrow his his sire.

After the death of Haraldr, however, the army of his was soundly beaten and scattered. Dyre sent his troops on ships back to his lands in Northern Scotland and hurredly went back to Norway to hire fresh troops. Before he went, he swore a holy oath that he would not rest before his father’s realm was covering all of Ireland. In the meantime, the Irish wreaked havoc on his conquests. A year later, however, the tide was turned, when Dyre returned with a mighty army of Viking warriors and mercenaries. The Irish were soundly beaten, and in the next two years Ireland was subjugated, one county at a time.

During this time, Dyre was constantly sick, and getting sicker. Modern historians do not know what sickness he had, and research has led to no firm determination of what he had. We do know, however, that this sickness ultimately took his life a December day 901. His brother and second in command, Halfdan, was quickly raised to kinghood.


The state of Norgesveldet at the death of Dyre I.

Aftermath
Dyre had a short reign, and his lasting legacy was twofold. For one, he secured Ireland for Norway, by the time he died the last strongholds of the Irish counts were under siege. For the other, he emptied his kingdom’s coffers in his quest to subjugate Ireland, leaving his brother and heir in a precarious situation.

To modern day Norwegians, Dyre is little known, living in the shadow of his father and his brother, respectively.
 

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Halfdan I the Apostle
(901-935)

Halfdan I is well known amongst modern Norwegian, both as the king who embraced Christianity, as well as a tragic figure of which many a play has been written. His rule was a defining moment in Norwegian history, and his legacy was to haunt his successors for a long time.

Family
Halfdan was married to Gloth, of which little is known, and he had six children, of which the second son was to inherit down the line:

Budrli
Bersi
Steinn
Rögnfridr
Sveinn
Tyke

His reign
Already at start, Halfdan’s reign had signs of trouble. He finished the work his brother and father started in Ireland, with the island being united under the Norwegian crown, save a chiefdom in the east where a relative was let be independent. Trouble stirred at home though, and to keep power, Halfdan was forced to give away power to his chiefs, leading to a weaker position for the young king. Small rebellions were quickly crushed, but two years into his reign a major revolt happened in his new won province in Ireland. Halfdan assembled his host, and met the rebels in battle. The equal sized armies met, but Halfdan’s host barely lost the battle and fled north. There they met an even bigger host, as news of the success had spread and led to the rebels getting increased support.

After this second battle the Norwegian armies was all but depleted and at home unrest were brewing amongst the chiefs. When the Irish rebels got even more reinforcements and the entire island was all but under the total control of the rebels, Halfdan hired a local mercenary company in a last attempt at getting back control of the situation. However, he was captured in battle and in the Treaty of Dublin in 906 he was forced to sign off the entire island to the leader of the Irish uprising, who became the first king of a united Ireland weeks later when he invaded the independent chiefdom of Halfdan’s distant relative.

Entering a deep personal crisis following the loss of Ireland to the Catholic Irish, Halfdan began questioning if not the strength of the Catholic nations meant that their god could be the One True God after all. When a Catholic bishop in 909 asked to enter the realm and tell his court about their God, Halfdan not only allowed him to enter, but asked to be personally schooled in what this God was all about. The bishop met with great success, and in May 21st 910 Halfdan and all of his family was baptized into the Catholic Church. To the astonishment of contemporary chroniclers, most of the Norwegian chiefs agreed to follow their king and get baptized. Modern historical research has proven that Norway had had contact with Christian missionaries as early as the late 700s however, so the groundwork was already done.

Not far after, the first steps by Halfdan to implement what is known to a modern reader as feudalism, after the model of the continental kingdoms, were made. This work would take generations to complete, but the major work is reckoned to have been done already before Halfdan died. Low on money, a problem that would continue for generations due to local resistance against both the Christianization and enactment of feudalism, he borrowed money from Jewish moneylenders to build up his demesne. He also began wars against the small neighbouring chiefdoms in modern day Sweden, which all was still Norse pagan. Pleased by this, the Pope sent him huge monetary support by several occations the next few years.

At this point, the problems began to amass. The mightiest Norse kingdom, Jylland controlling most of modern day Denmark, declared war, at the same time as heathen rebels in Trøndelag rose. Days later, Halfdan’s nephew Haraldr rebelled to take the throne. The remaining vassals rally together around Halfdan, but the pagans of Finnmark rebels to seek independence. After a long and arduous campaign, the pagan rebels were put down, only to rise again weeks later. Luckily for Halfdan , Haraldr is slowly losing his war, and as both realize their common Catholic faith in Norway is in danger, Haraldr proposes a white peace. Halfdan readily accepts. Only Jylland left to beat, Halfdan’s spirits are good, but then another disaster happen: The largest pagan realm left in Scandinavia, the kingdom of Svithjod, declares war. All of Halfdan's recent marriages for political alliances now prove decisive, as the Catholics kings of Europe answers his call for help. After years of fighting, Halfdan’s allied forces wins victory on all fronts in 925. The same year, the discovery of Greenland was made known.

Filled with righteous rage against the infidel, Halfdan amasses his tribal armies in 926 and attacks Svithjod. But in a betrayal sung about by skalds for centuries thereafter, Halfdan's son in law, the king of Scotland, declares war to get control of Sudrreyjar, and Halfdan is forced to call off his attack on Svithjod after mere weeks of fighting. It takes a whole year, but finally Scotland’s armies are driven back. Halfdan is beginning to question how to deal with his far flung assets in the North Sea, however, as they are hard to protect, and his enemies in Scandinavia are many.

Back in Norway, the king faces another pagan uprising, but his armies make them pay and he renews his holy war against the pagans left in Sweden. As he feared, however, the islands in Scotland was becoming a liability, and when the petty king of Sudrreyjar, curiously enough situated in England, declared war for the control of Sudrreyjar, he quickly gave in, sources citing the need to focus on the core of the realm.

The many setbacks had become much to bear for the king, and in august 935, king Halfdan was found dead in his bed. Rumour has it he ended it himself. He had been depressed for a long time, seeing his life as a long journey of suffering. In the confusion after the sudden death of the old, but healthy king, Halfdan's son and designated heir Bersi I rose to the throne, but his brother Budrli rallied support from the Swedish provinces and declared the previously dead kingdom of Svithjod independent under his rule. For now the brothers were at peace with each other, but both eyed the other with suspicion and sharpened their swords.


The confused situation following the death of Halfdan I, the realm divided between two brothers and with contested borders.

Aftermath
Halfdan’s reign was a long and troubled one, resulting in the loss of Ireland as well as the division of his Scandinavian empire. He was important for the future of the nation in that he instituted Christianity in Scandiavia, as the first ruler in this region. He also began the long road towards a feudalisation of the kingdom. His reign also saw the start of a decline that was to last for a long time, as both the kingdom’s income as well as manpower was severly depleted.

To modern day Norwegians, Halfdan I is well known, both as the founder of Norway’s Christian roots, but also as a deeply tragic figure.
 

fnwilborn

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Bersi I the Ill-ruler
(935-947)



Bersi I’s reign was in general a time of decline for the Norwegian realm, and the king is often glossed over quickly when the time period is covered. His reign being in the shadow of the eventful reign of his predecessor and successor, Bersi I is not especially well known outside historians’ circles.

Family
Bersi I was married to Eleonora, a formidable woman who introduced a continental court culture to the Norwegian capital. Together they had seven children:
Iliana
Refil
Kraka
Ale
Gunnarr
Helena
Aleta

His reign
Faced with the equal of a cold war with his brother and large opposition inside his realm, where many wanted to install the pretender Haraldr as king, the first time of Bersi’s reign was a shaky one. But by bribes and diplomacy, the threat of Haraldr were removed, and Haraldr was skilfully neutralized by a promise of leading the regency if the king fell ill, along with a place on the king’s council.

Months later, promising news came from Svithjod, where an alliance of nobles had presented the king's brother with an ultimatum: Give the crown to Bersi or face rebellion! Sadly the months went by without anything happening and when push came to shove, nothing came of this. Internally however, things began to move. A month after the ultimatum in Svithjod, Bersi’s own vassals challenged his rule, naming his relative Ormr the true king. Lacking troops to counter the rebellion, Bersi hired a mercenary company and soon it was quelled. The throne was safe, but the treasury was dangerously low. Unable to take on his stronger brother's kingdom, and having a hard time keeping away plots to place other relatives on his throne, Bersi resigned to his castle.

He was soon forced out of his castle, however, as the heathen kingdom ofJylland declared war to take the province of Skåne. Unable to withstand the attack, and having a track record of poor management of his country, Bersi was now called “the Ill-Ruler” behind his back. He soon was forced to sign over Skåne to the heathen king.

Determined to strengthen his realm, even if weaker than what it was at its height, Bersi kept good relations to his brother in Svithjod and used the next years focusing on converting his realm to Catholisism. While the nobles all were Catholic by this point, the populace at large were to a large degree still heathen. The massive conversion campaigns paid off quickly enough, and soon a majority of the provinces were Catholic. Relations with the nobles were tenous though, as most of the realm still was tribal, despite the official institution of feudalism under his father.

In 945, Bersi's brother Steinn, the jarl of Jamtaland, became a threat to the throne. Steinn were by far the strongest vassal in the realm and Bersi schemed to take away his county in Oppland. This would mean that the entirety of eastern Norway would be in his demesne. Steinn refuse to give in, and a civil war ensued. By this point the king were an old and infirm man, but despite his court urging him to remain at home in the castle and letting his underlings take care of the campaigning, the king went to the battlefield. During the first battle between his army and Steinn’s, he got a heavy blow to his head and went into a coma he never recovered from. Hurredly, the appointed regent sought white peace and got it. A power struggle ensued,everyone knowing the king would soon die. Swayed by his silver tongue and winning personality, the nobles decided to vote for a distant relative of the king, a Varangian of great diplomatic clout, but little else to speak of in the matter of skills. The Varangian were also named Bersi, and when Bersi I died a month later, Bersi II was crowned king.


The realm at the death of king Bersi I the Ill-Ruler.

Aftermath
Bersi I’s rule was a time of continued decline. Overshadowed by both his father and his successor, he is not well known among modern Norwegians. His reign is noted by later historians as not being as bad as it has been claimed though, seeing as except the war with Jylland, he kept clear of the marked decline of his brother’s kingdom, which saw a slow loss of land to the emerging power of Suomi in the east, as well as constant crippeling rebellions. Compared to this, his reign must be seen as a relative success.
 

fnwilborn

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Bersi II the Just
(947-977)



Bersi II’s reign is known as quite successful compared to his predecessor. While the territorial gains were small compared to for instance Fairhair’s, his diplomatic clout and political manouvering were superb, making for a upturn in the kingdom’s affairs.

Family
Bersi II were married twice, first to a daughter of a local noble, and later to the daughter of the Eastern Roman Empire, showing his skill in making valuable political connections. He got the following children:

Alvør
Maer
Sara
Kjartan
Skuld
Hrane
Helena
Holmfrid
Vigdis

And he also got two bastards, which would become important later in the course of history:
Borkvard
Olafr

His reign
Supported by most of the Norwegian nobles, the throne of Bersi II was secure, but soon a rebellion amongst his subject following the Norse religion was instigated. The rebel leaders wanted to reinstate the Norse religion in Norway, and when the tribe of Komi took advantage of the situation, declaring war for the Finnish parts of the realm, the situation was becoming dire. Bersi II inherited the troubles of Bersi I in having few troops and a small income, but it was slightly better due to Bersi II’s good relations with the nobles. Mercenaries were hired to take out the steamrolling rebellion, and a large victory was made, but the mercenaries left when the money was gone, and the rebellion was not yet crushed.

Focusing on winning the religious war in the south, and at the same time ridding himself of the threat of the long-time pretender Haraldr, who had his powerbase in the disputed land, Bersi let the heathens take the Finnish land and in the meantime defeated the Norse rebels. After a year of stalemate in the north, peace was made, ceding the territory to the tribe of Kola.

Meanwhile Bersi continued his nominal support of his relative in Svithjod, but refusing to send in his armies, thus keeping the rival kingdom in perpetual turmoil. Proving himself to be a good administrator, Bersi increased the crown authority as well as beginning a centralization of the realm, and after a few years, Bersi feels secure enough to try to revoke the county of Oppland. The jarl of Jamtaland was a dangerously powerful vassal. The revocation was flatly refused and once again the country was in civil war. The war was almost won when the jarl died, and the nobles withdrew their support, forcing Bersi to end the war. But with his diplomatic clout, Bersi won the nobles back over to his side, and issued the new ruler the same ultimatum his father got. War was renewed.

Politics were a tricky thing in Norway though, the nobles were afraid the king would become too powerful and in Svithjod the heathens were marching on in a big rebellion. When the jarl died, war was again ceased, with an increasingly frustrated king working in the shadows for renewed hostilities. After half a year of cajoling, another ultimatum was issued and turned down. War was again a fact. And this time, Bersi made sure the war went to its conclusion, consolidating his power. Greatly encouraged, he then tried to revoke the county of Heidmark. The count refused, but weak as he was, he lost soon thereafter. Two years later, he gained control of the jarldom of Trøndelag, when the young jarl died under suspicious circumstances.

However, following the upheavals of the institution of Catholisism, which was now widely spread, and the institution of feudalism, something few of the nobles had taken any heed to, Norwegian economy and manpower was exhaused. Norse paganism ran rampant in Denmark and southern Sweden, and neither Svithjod nor Norway could keep their lands in the south. When the powerful Danish Jyllanders came for the last county in Skåne, Bersi II decided to focus on his core lands and handed it over within months.

The heir to the throne was currently the beaten jarl of Jamtaland, Bersi's bitter rival. But when it was discovered that the jarl had been plotting against the king, he was promptly arrested and stripped of his jarldom, only keeping the two counties. He was still popular amongst the nobles, but he was for the moment not a threat. With skill Bersi manoeuvred his son into position of heir to the throne, and married him off to a Byzantine princess. A few weeks later his wife died and he promptly married the princess' sister. Having a dual connection to the strong Eastern Roman Empire, the king’s prestige and influence skyrocketed.

The elective gavelkind of Norwegian inheritance law meant that power was divided each time a king died. With his increasing control over the kingdom, Bersi II in 970 changed the law to normal elective, and at the same time increased centralization to high. With his control over the jarldoms, his choice would be king after him. His power secure, and Sweden weak after decades of war against the heathen, Bersi declared war on his relative, for the control of Trøndelag, de jure Norwegian lands. During the war, the king got a severe depression, after he slew his kinsman the king of Sweden in close combat. This depression was to haunt him on and off for the rest of his reign.

Even in a depressed state however, the king were still a skilful diplomat. Shortly after the war with Svithjod was over, his nobles present an ultimatum: Institute inheritance by primogeniture. The king agreed, and modern historians have found evidence it was he who was the spider behind it, afraid another inheritance law change would anger his subjects too much, he manipulated them to themselves suggest the law change, manipulating them to his end. A year later the king was found dead in his bed, rumours having it he ended his own life. His eldest son Kjartan was raised to the throne without much issue.


The kingdom of Norway on the death of Bersi II.

Aftermath
Bersi II was a highly successful king who greatly improved his kingdom’s prestige and influence. Military he had mixed success, but he left his kingdom in a much stronger position than he got it. He ranks among the most popular of the medieval Norwegian kings amongst the modern Norwegian audience.
 

fnwilborn

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Kjartan I
(977-985)



Kjartan I’s reign was compared to his predecessor a mediocre one. He did have his successes, but they were small and costly for the realm, and while having a promising start, he died before he could do any big deeds.

Family
Kjartan was married to Hafrid, a daughter of a local noble. He had only one trueborn son, who would later inherit the throne. His children was as follows:

Gyla
Ingrid
Cecilia
Ivar

He also had one astard son:
Bersi

His reign
Kjartan did not make it easy for himself when he took over the throne. His first act was to increase the crown authority, centralizing the power further in his hands. This led to some resentment, but no immediate turmoil.

A year into his reign, the mighty pagan kingdom of Jylland declared war to claim the last Norwegian holding in Skåne. Determined to turn the last two generations’ tide of losses in the south, he gathered his host and hired a mercenary company. The two armies met in Skåne, and the Norwegian army won a devastating victory. Kjartan quickly accepted the Jyllander king’s terms for a white peace, only to send a declaration of war back to the fear stricken enemy king, demanding the whole of Skåne back under the terms of holy war.

In the meantime, the king of Sweden, as Svithjod now styled itself, begged for help against the Suomi heathens. While the official policy for the last couple generations had been to heed these calls from the brother kingdom, and keep a defensive line, Suomi was now huge and Kjartan had a war to fight in the south, and he feared this endeavour could be compromised if a stray Suomi army came his way. He therefore turned down his kinsman’s desperate plight.

In the middle of the Jyllander war, the heathen Sumonesko rebelled in Finnmark. Months later the war for Skåne was won, but the cost had been great monetarily, and while the mercenaries had been let go, the crown was in debt, making the morale among Kjartan’s troops poor. He therefore had to let the Suomonesko revolt fester for a few months. During this time the Suomonsko rebels took control of all of Norway down to Trondheim, but by then the crown’s finances were in better shape and the poorly organized rebels were soundly crushed and sent fleeing back to Finnmark, where they were slaughtered to the last man, making an example for future rebels.

In early 982, the jarl of Jamtaland was discovered to plot for a claim on the Norwegian throne. Deeply disturbed by this, Kjartan had little time to ponder on the matter, as months later Folki of Hordaland, the pretender Haraldr’s son, declared war for the Norwegian throne himself. Only two months later, Jylland declared war for the province of Burgundaholmr in Skåne. Only two months after this, while Kjartan’s forces were battling the pretender forces, a peasant revolt happened in Trøndelag. Not daring to fight a three way war, Kjartan let his kinsman escape with only a white peace, so he could focus on the peasant rebels.

Unable to meet the Jyllander army directly, Kjartan hoped his allies in Britain and continental Europe would heed his call to arms. Thankfully they did, but it would take some time before their forces would arrive. Kjartan therefore went to Trøndelag with his army, meeting the peasant rabble. In close combat with the rebel leader, a lucky axe maimed him and cost him an arm. The wound festered and a month later he died in agony. The realm was now in the hands of his only trueborn son, a three year old boy.


Norgesveldet at the ascension of Ivar I.

Aftermath
Kjartan I did well enough in his short reign, but died before he could make any big mark on the history of Norway. He is such not very well remembered by the modern Norwegian populace. If he is known to a Norwegian today, it is rather as the father of the unfortunate Ivar I.
 

fnwilborn

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Ivar I
(985-992)
(first reign)



The first reign of Ivar I was a tumultuous time for Norway. Almost all of his reign embroiled in civil war, the child king was doomed from the start.

His reign
The little three year old king’s first two years on the throne were comparably peaceful ones. His uncle the bastard Olafr was appointed regent, only to be deposed within months by the young king’s mother. The same year of his ascension, settlers from Norway are reported to have reached Greenland. Central control of these colonies are practically non existant though.

The war with Jylland which Ivar inherited from his father were two years later still not decided, and the situation turned for the worse when Bersi, the bastard halfbrother of the king declared his intent for the throne and declared war. In the confusion in the start of the civil war, the previous regent and uncle of the king manoeuvred into the postion as regent again, and months later tries a coup de etat to take over the kingdom for himself. Ivar and his court barely escaped and the civil war was now a three way affair.

Later the same year the other bastard uncle of the king also declared his intent for the throne, and the civil war now being between four parts, the regency council realized they needed to cut their losses. Peace feelers were sent out to the Jyllanders, and not long after the Treaty of Skåne was signed.

The troubles for young Ivar contined, however, as Haraldr, a distant relative, declared his intent for the throne. Days later news arrived that Niklar Hypatiosson, a noble upstart, also wanted the kingdom for himself. The situation was now a complete mess, and Ivar had now in reality lost, fleeing from place to place with his enemies in pursuit. In 991 Pierre’s Host declared war on Ivar to conquer the Scottish province of Morray, and moved in on the defenceless piece of land. In March 992, the bastard Olafr corned and captured Ivar and forced him to sign away the kingdom. With this, the reign of Ivar I was over, and Olafr I the Usurper declared himself the rightful king of Norway. He still had half of the country in open rebellion, however.


The sitation in Norgesveldet at the fall of Ivar I.

Aftermath
The first reign of Ivar I is remembered in Norwegian lore and littature as a period of great strife and instability, but the period has also been a great inspiration for later playwrights and authors, the long flight of Ivar being the inspiration for some of the greatest novels of the 1800s.
 

fnwilborn

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Olafr I the Usurper
(992-1017)



The reign of Olafr I was a time of much civil strife, but he is also remembered as a shrewd ruler who strengthened Norway in a time where much could have gone the way of the dodo for the struggling realm.

Family
Olafr I was married to Frida, the daughter of the king of East Francia and Bavaria. Together they had three children, the youngest their only son and Olafr’s heir and successor:

Kristina
Kraka
Skuli

His reign
Officially, Olafr were on his ascension a bastard of the house Trausti. But not long after his victory, the king dug up documentation that his father Kjartan I actually had legitimized him as his trueborn son and heir on his death bed. His enemies of course refuted these claims, but might makes right and their only chance to deny him the right to call himself a true Yngling was to defeat him in battle.

In a dire situation with many claimants to the throne, and also a shrewd more to neutralize his defeated enemy Ivar until he got a stronger grip on the throne and could sire a heir of his own, Olafr appointed Ivar as his heir if he were to die without issue. Seeing as Ivar still was a child and had his armies depleted, this was a calculated risk that in the end paid off.

Olafr immediately after his ascension married Frida, the daughter of the king of East Francia and Bavaria. To his horror his new father in law refuses to send help, and he had to continue his fight on his own. Being supported by conservative forces, Olafr’s reign saw Norway fall back to tribal organization. The inheritance laws were further changed to gavelkind, meaning the demesne of the king would split in the event of more than one son.

The change to tribal organization gave some benefits however, one which was that the king could rely on tribal armies at his disposal. This immensely strengthened him in his fight against the pretenders. Not long after his ascension, Faste Bartholomaisson joined the fight for the throne, but Olafr was on the offence. In 993, the first of his enemies had to give up, as Olafr’s brother Borkvard accepted total defeat. Two years later his kinsman Haraldr does the same.

In 996, Olafr gets an opportunity he doesn’t fail to exploit, as Ivar begs for mercy for his kinsman Haraldr, and to have him released. Olafr immediately sends the poor lad to the dungeons, removing the largest threat to his realm in pure land and manpower. Two years later the last three pretenders, Faste, Niklar and Bersi respectively, admits defeat and is imprisoned.

December the same year Olafr shocked his nobles by banishing several of the defeated nobles, to enlarge his at the time still small demesne. Due to his might, victories and great prestige, together with the fear of being next, no one in the realm dares to object. Olafr’s control over the country is total, to the degree a medieval king’s power could be.

On the eve of the new millennium, Olafr declared war on the sorrow rests of Sweden for the province of Ångermansland. Sweden is weakened by attacks from the pagan realms bordering it, as well as an unending civil war. The same year is also the first time historians have registered the splintering of the Norse unified culture, as there is signs of parts of Norway and Sweden considering themselves as Norwegian and Swedish, respectively. Important to history is also that in 1001, the news of the discovery of Vinland comes to the Norwegian shores. The colonies settled in America the following decades are lost to history within decades, but this shows how far and wide the Vikings came, centuries before Colombus.

In 1002, a noble named Niklas assembles a host to take the Norwegian throne, but merely a year later he is crushed and never heard of again. Right after his demise, Olafr declares war on Suomi and the Suomi rebels in the ongoing civil war in Finland. Two years of fighting later, land is handed over by the rebels, while Suomi proper accepts return to status quo ante bellum.

Olafr didn’t get much rest however, as the year after, the king of Scotland declared war for the control of the northern tip of Scotland held by Norway, the province of Katanæs. The Scots assembled an army almost thrice the size of Norway, and judging the future of Norway to be in Scandinavia and not in far flung and poorly defendable outskirts, Olafr a year later again gave up the province. Sensing weakness, the pretender Faste, who had been released earlier for a large sum of ransom, again goes to war for the throne. He assembled a vast host, and over three years of fighting ensues, ending in 1010 with a white peace, both sides unable to score a defining victory.

After a couple years of rebuilding his armies, Olafr then in 1012 went to war against Sweden for the province of Medelpad. The fight is a cakewalk for Norway, and Sweden soon has to give up. However, the pagan realms of Suomi and Uppland, between them controlling half of Sweden and all of Finland, declare war on Norway for more Swedish land. Their armies are more than twice those of Norway’s, but Olafr moves around, trying to defeat their armies before they can converge. Ultimately however, the war is lost, and in 1017 the province of Járnbaraland is lost to the Suomi. Only weeks later, the old king dies of a sudden heart attack. The realm is now in the hands of his 15 year old son and his regency council.


Norgesveldet at the death of Olafr I the Usurper.

Aftermath
Olafr I the Usurper is one of the big Norwegian kings of the Middle Ages. Reuniting and strengthening the realm during a time of civil strife, his reign was a huge success. However, his reign also saw a reactionary backlash, where feudalism for a while was abandoned and succession laws were restored to the traditional gavelkind.
 

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Skuli I
(1017-1023)



Skuli I’s short reign saw new Norwegian setbacks and civil war, but it also saw the decisive turning point of the struggle between Christianity and paganism in Scandinavia.

His reign
Skuli was on his ascension to the throne merely nine years old, and a regency council was set up for the young king. The first decision made by the regency council was to send missionaries into the neighbouring realm of Suomi. The threat of paganism was immense, and threatened the very continued existence of Christianity in Scandinavia.

The threat was made sure not long after, when the pagans of Uppland declared war for the control of the province of Vermaland. Suomi, while letting the missionaries stay and work in their realm, soon joined in on the attack. Together, the heathen realms proved to be too strong for Norway, and after his armies were all but extinct in the battle of Herjedalen, Skuli and his regency council had to admit defeat in late 1018.

Sensing weakness, the bastard cousin of the king, Bersi the Cruel, declared war for the throne, and Norway was yet again embroiled in civil war. To make matters worse, within days news arrived that another cousin of the king, Anders, were hiring an army to make his own claim on the throne. Merely a month later, the count of Vestisland declares his support for Anders’ claim and declares war to press it.

Being in a three way civil war, the news from Suomi of the king’s decision to be baptized was a welcome thing. At last the threat of paganism was waning. However, it soon became clear that there were no friendship between the Suomi and Norway, as the recently converted king weeks later declared war for the control of the previously lost province of Angermansland. Seeing their situation being precarious, the regency council quickly cedes Angermansland to the Suomi, to the king’s frustration. He publicly vows revenge on the Suomi, promising the reconquest of the lost land as soon as he reaches adulthood.

In 1020, the pretender Bersi dies from disease, and the kingdom is down to only one pretender. However, two years later, with the pretender Anders on the defensive, another cousin of the king, Arne, declares war for the throne. With days to his sixteenth birthday, the king in early 1023 decides to take personal control of the army chasing the pretender armies. His regent initially refuses him to go, but being a persuasive young man, and having days left to being of age, the young king gets his will. This would turn out to be his undoing. Meeting the army of Anders in battle, the king foolishly let himself be cornered by the enemy and is slain the day before his sixteenth birthday. Being without his own heir, the stage for the return of Ivar I is set.


The realm of Norway on the second ascension of Ivar I to the throne.

Aftermath
The reign of Skuli I was a short and troubled one, but his lasting legacy was huge. The biggest pagan realm in Scandinavia, Suomi, was converted under his regency, and never regained the power it once had. The tide was turned for paganism in Scandinavia, never to return to its lost glory again. With his death, the bastard line of the Ynglings also came to an end, and Ivar I regained his throne without bloodshed.
 

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Ivar I Ironside
(1023-1046)
(second reign)



The second reign of Ivar I was a complete turnaround compared to his first. Where he was a weak child king who went from defeat to defeat in his first turn at the reins of Norway, his second reign was a story of a king going from strength to strength.

Family
Ivar I was married to three women in his life, Gurli, Odelt and at last Ingeltrude. Between them, these three women gave him eight children, two of which would eventually become kings:

Sigurdrr
Anna
Thordr
Borkvard
Skuld
Gunnarr
Ingjerdrr
Asa

His reign
As a result of his deal with Olafr on the end of his first reign, Ivar was the appointed heir when Skule met his unfortunate end. While the late king gave his life on the battlefield, the battle itself was decisive and Ivar would days later receive Anders’ surrender. The following year the pretender Arne was also forced to bend the knee.

Immidiately after ending the civil war, Ivar declared holy war on Uppland, which was in the middle of a civil war. The holy war’s goal was to return the duchy of Västergötland under Christian control, and less than three years later the exhausted realm of Uppland gave up.

Not the man to rest upon his laurels, Ivar at once turned his eyes on the recently converted realm of Suomi. In a long and weakening civil war, the country was an obvious target, and Ivar went to war to restore the county of Angermansland to the Norwegian throne.

Two years into this war, which had turned to a slow conquest, as the Norwegian armies conquered, but the Suomi king refusing to give in, the heathen petty king of Orknö in the North Sea declared war, demanding the control of mainland Trøndelag. Not long after news arrived that the king’s cousin Throdr was hiring men for an attack to claim the Norwegian throne.

In 1030, the war with Suomi was finally won, and Ivar’s armies turned to the North Sea to stop the Orknö threat. The battle hardened troops of Ivar soon defeated the heathen petty king, just in time to return to Norway proper and meet Thordr in battle. In 1032, Thordr was soundly defeated and forced to bend the knee.

Not the man to waste any time, Ivar then declared a de jure war on the petty king of Orknö. Historians still argue why he went for a de jure war, which meant the heathen would retain control of his lands as a vassal to Ivar. Due to the crown’s intensive missionary work on Orknö for the last few years at this time, many historians argue Ivar thought the petty king was close to seeing the light and wanted to give the man a chance to retain control of his lands as a loyal Christian vassal. Time would prove him wrong, but the war was quickly ended and for the time being, the heathens were in control of Orknö as the only heathen vassals in Norway.

In 1035, news of a planned attack by Ivar’s kinsman Ingolfr reached the Norwegian court, but for once the attack came to nothing. Secure that no attack would come, Ivar declared a holy war on Uppland for the duchy of Bergslagen in 1037. The heathen had no power to withstand the mighty Norwegian war machine, and surrendered little over a year later.

By this time, Ivar was getting known to his people and his enemies as Ivar I Ironside, ruling with justness, but also using an ironfist against his enemies. In 1039, another Upplander civil war happened, and Ivar once again sent his armies against the pagan realm, seeking the control of the duchy of Skåne. Once again his armies were successful. The following year he even managed to steer his oldest son and heir Sigurdrr into the Swedish throne and with this election the dual thrones of Norway and Sweden was set to once again become one realm.

In 1041, the heathen vassal of Orknö showed his true colors, when he rebelled against Ivar, taking two of the North Sea vassals with him in a quest to regain independence. In a daring move, the heathens invaded Norway proper and abducted the Queen, Ingentrude. The poor woman was made the concubine of the petty king of Orknö. Enraged, Ivar personally led the charge against the heathen army, chasing it out of Norway proper and back into the North Sea. Invading Orknö itself, and crushing the heathens soundly, the rebels were forced to bend the knee once again. The rebels were stripped of their titles and banished from the realm, and Ingentrude was returned to Norway. She was never the same again, becoming secluded and shy, and keeping to herself for the rest of her life.

In late 1045, distaster struck in Sweden. Sigurdrr was subjected to a coup de etat and dethroned. He was also imprisoned by the new king. Ivar assembled his army to free his son, but before he could declare war, he died of a sudden heart attack, 64 years of age. The Norwegian throne was now legally occupied by a foreign captive.


Norgesveldet at the start of Sigurdrr’s reign, much enlarged during his father’s successful reign.

Aftermath
Ivar I Ironside’s second reign is remembered by modern Norwegians as a time of resurgence of the medieval Norwegian empire. Going from success to success, Ivar proved himself to be one of the big kings of medieval Norway. His only blemish was the succession; leaving his throne to a king in foreign captivity.
 

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Sigurd I
(1046)



Sigurd I never reigned except by in name. He rose to the throne a captive and lost it a captive.

Family
Sigurd was married to Elduara and had two children:
Beata
Borkvard

His reign
While he was king of Sweden, Sigurdrr adopted the national identity of Swedish, changing his name to Sigurd, and trampled on his Norse roots. When he succeeded his father, he was as such deeply unpopular among his Norse vassals. The Swedish usurper demanded a steep sum for his release, and Norway had neither the money nor the will to pay his ransom. Within a month, the Norwegian nobles rallied around his younger brother Thordr and sent his regent an ultimatum; surrender the throne. His regent was all too eager to do so, and Sigurd’s reign came to an end before it had really begun.

The realm when Sigurd I was deposed.

Aftermath
Sigurd I is largely forgotten by modern Norwegians, never having a chance to prove himself or rule at all. Some historians even argue he shouldn’t be counted among the Norwegian kings at all.
 

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Thordr I
(1046-1067)



Thordr I’s reign was apart from his many wars, pretty uneventful. He did however finally reinstate feudalism in the Norwegian realm. His reign in the end lives in the shadow of his impressive son and heir.

Family
Thordr was married to Sunniva, reknowned in her time as one of Europe’s big beauties. Together, they had four children, among them one son, who would later succeed his father:
Alfridr
Alvör
Halla
Ragnarr

His reign
Soon after Thordr’s takeover, Sigurd, serving no need for his captors, was freed. Thordr decided his brother is too much of a threat and plotted to kill him, but before his plot could be set in motion, it was discovered that Sigurd was plotting the same to him. This gave Thordr the excuse he needed to imprison his brother and remove him as a threat.

In 1049 the first of many wars were initiated by Thordr. He declared war on the much weakened Suomi for the control of the county of Länsipohja, and the Finnish realm stood no chance. Not the one to rest on his laurels, Thordr then in 1052 declared holy war on Uppland for the control of the duchy of Uppland. This war proved to be a long one, as Uppland gave stiff resistance and their lands was discovered to have been greatly fortified over the last few years. In 1057 the war was won however, and when the beaten petty king died the year after, Thordr assembled his host and declared renewed war, this time for the duch of Östergötland. The lands and armies of Uppland already weakened; this war was over in merely a few months.

Following this war, Thordr gave his armies a well-deserved rest and worked on finalizing his administrative reform, formally reinstituting feudalism in 1060. A warrior at heart, four years later he again declared war on Suomi and the Suomi rebels for control of the province of Hälsingland and Lappi, respectively. In 1067 both wars were decisively won, but Thordr, being old, infirm and bedridden at this point, had no involvement in the doings of the war, nor peace. Later that same year, he died in his bed, making his only son Ragnarr king at the age of 15.


The state of Norgesveldet at the ascension of Ragnarr I.

Aftermath
With his wars, Thordr I greatly enlarged Norway’s territory, and his reinstatement of feudalism would prove to be final. His most important legacy would prove to be his son and heir Ragnarr I, however, one of the great kings of medieval Norway.
 

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Ragnarr I the Cruel
(1067-1116)



Under Ragnarr I a second golden age for Norgesveldet began, the first being the rise under Haraldr I Fairhair. With the extent of the empire growing and the economy booming, Ragnarr is considered one of the really big Norwegian kings.

Family
Ragnarr was married to Leontia, with whom he had four children. He would be succeeded by one of his grandsons. The children were as follows:
Glodr
Sigrid
Åke
Sofia

His reign
After a consolidation period, stabilizing the realm and taking charge of government after a brief regency, Ragnarr I declared holy war on Uppland for the control of Småland. This was the last lands held by the heathen in Sweden, and when the war was won a year later, the only parts of Sweden not under Norwegian control, was the small holdings of Sweden in the south east.

During the war, a charismatic preacher turned Helsingland to the Lollard heresy and shortly after rebelled. The rebels stood no chance however, and lost to the armies of the king mere monhs later.

The next few years were spent improving the royal demesne and increasing the throne’s powers, by increasing crown authority. The improving of the royal demesne would be a focus on the king through all his reign, greatly improving the economic and military power base of the kingdom.

In 1072, a second Lollard uprising happened, only to be quelled within months. After the rebellion had been taken care of, Ragnarr declared war on the duke of Sjælland for the control of the county of Sjælland, and the war proved easy for the Norwegian armies.

The next few years were realitively quiet, Ragnarr continuing the build-up of the royal demesne. A royal claimant assembling a host died tragically when a lone bowman shot an arrow to his knee and neck, and in 1080 two rebellions happened. One was another Suomonesko revolt, which was quelled the year after. The other was a peasant rebellion that was over fast, as its leader was captured in the first battle between the peasants and the Norwegian army.

The same year the Suomonesko rebellion was quelled, another piece of Denmark was acquired, when the duke of Sjælland was again declared war on, this time for the control of the county of Fyn. In 1085 total control of Denmark was achieved, when the count and duke of Jylland, both independent, was declared war on, and soon both nobles surrendered.

Soon after Denmark was secured, Ragnarr declared a holy war on Sakakunta, the now independent rebels of Suomi, for the control of the duchy of Sakakunta. No lands were acquired however, as on the verge of victory; the chief of Satakunta declared his intent to convert to Catholisism and the war ended with his baptism.

In 1092, the king’s bastard nephew assembled a host with the intent of taking over Norway. With his new found power due to the buildup of his demesne and strengthening of the crown authority, Ragnarr had no problem setting an end to the rebellion within short time however, and little over a year later, the nephew was forced to bend the knee.

In 1095, both the Norse pagans of Orknö and the Suomonesko pagans of eastern Sweden rebelled, but within months both rebellions were crushed. Following the war, Ragnarr continued his buildup, until in 1001, another holy war, this time for Kola, was declared on the last big stronghold of Suomonesko paganism in Finland. Within months, also this war was won.

In 1103, disaster struck the king, when after years of pain after being maimed in an accident as a child, the king’s sole son and heir dies of complications. The king’s underage grandson Sveinn was now the new heir.

The next few years, Ragnarr intensified his buildup of the country, founding the city of Kinsarvik in western Norway and a new castle in western Sweden. In 1115, Ragnarr’s last was was declared, when he claimed a de jure claim war on Suomi for the province of Kola. With this war won, the Suomi, once the masters of Finland, only owned one province, way down in the Baltics. Shortly after this war was concluded, Ragnarr I died peacefully in his sleep, an old man with an impressive list of accomplishments behind him.


The realm of Norway at the death of Ragnarr I.

Aftermath
Ragnarr I is remembered as a mighty king, one of the major ones to rule Norway during the Middle Ages. Why he got the nickname of “the Cruel” is lost to history however, the nickname is found several sources, but no explanation is made to why he was known as this. His expansions were big, but the lasting and most important legacy was his improvement of the Norwegian economy. Sources show that the economy under his reign increased more than six fold, giving him and his successors a much needed economic base to project power with.
 

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Sveinn I the Fat
(1116-1146)



Sveinn I was a consolidator, who also did his share of expansion. His marriage to a Byzantine princess helped him secure his position internationally, while his skill at administration meant much for the state of the realm after he died.

Family
Sveinn was married the the sister of the Byzantine Emperor in power under most of his reign, Sofia. Together they got four children, one of which would follow him on the throne. A curious fact is his two daughters were named the same:
Karin
Karin
Øysteinn
Åke

His reign
The first two years of Sveinn’s reign was spent consolidating, creating dukes where his predecessors mostly had ruled over counts. This reorganizing was at its height in the early years of his reign, but would continue all the way through it.

In 1118, Sveinn made his first offensive war, securing Bornholm from the pagan chief of Weligrad. This war was to last for two years of mostly sieges, but the one battle that happened severly wounded him, and in the aftermath he was seen wandering around camp, speaking and hissing in weird tongues against invisible foes. This irrational behaviour would follow him to his grave. Modern historians speculate that he suffered from mental illness, but the contemporaries of his were sure he was possessed. Whatever the reason, the wound was healed a year after the war was concluded, but his mental problems would never quite disappear. In 1124, the king was involved in an accident, severing his hand, but while being one handed for the rest of his life, he survived without any further complications.

The same year, he declared war on Satakunta for the control of the duchy of Satakunta. With his victory in 1126, he was in control of almost all of Finland, and his prestige soared, giving him the opportunity to rise the crown authority, and ultimately reinstate succession by primogeniture in 1130. At this time another Suomonesko revolt happened, but it was quelled within months, his armies well organized and large much thanks to the reforms and development made by his father.

The same year primogeniture was reinstated; Sveinn also let himself be crowned as king of Denmark. Immediately after getting crowned, another war was declared on Sweden, and shortly later on the Swedish rebels, continuing the slowly absorption of Sweden into Norway. Both wars were won within a year.

1133 would see another Suomonesko revolt happen, and then quickly being quelled, and in 1134 the king almost died when he got pneumonia. He didn’t recover before the year thereafter. He then quickly went back to the quest to unite Scandinavia, declaring war on Suomi for the county of Suomi. The war was won within a year.

Having all but united Scandinavia under the Norwegian crown, Sveinn set his eyes on his neighbour in Russia. Gardariki was suffering under a civil war, and calling in his brother in law in Byzantium, he declared holy war on the reformed Slavic kingdom for the duchy of Pskov.

At the same time the second crusade for Jerusalem was declared. The first crusade was a disaster, but the second actually succeeded in securing the Levant for Christianity, and the kingdom was handed into the care of the Knights Hospitaller in 1141. The new kingdom would survive for a few decades before being reclaimed by the resurgent forces of Islam.

In 1142, the holy war against Gardariki was won, and Sveinn returned his focus on Sweden, attacking for the control of the county of Gotland. The war was quickly won. Then disaster struck, as some of his vassals declared war to enforce a lowered crown authority. The king led his forces against the rebels, and during the heat of the battle he and his guard was lost in a pocket, slain to the last man. The reign of the tragic figure of Øysteinn I was at hand.


The state of Norgesveldet at the death of Sveinn I the Fat.

Aftermath
Sveinn I is remembered as a solid king who greatly reorganized the realm to the benefit of his successors. His erratic behaviour makes modern historians suspect he had mental issues to deal with, issues that would seemingly be inherited in a different way by his son and successor. His accomplishments were definite however, and he is generally seen as a good king.
 

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Øystein I
(1146-1154)



The reign of Øystein I was a short one. The king was a tragic figure who continued on his father’s consolidation efforts and accomplished the unification of Scandinavia in all but name, but was cut short by his own inner demons.

Family
Øystein I was married to Aino, a woman history know little of, and had three children, one of which would succeed him:
Sveinn
Gudrrun
Sturla

His reign
Øystein I inherited his father’s war against the rebels who demanded reduced crown authority. He started his reign by assembling his host, but had to crush a peasant revolt in the heart of Norway before he finally succeeded in getting the nobles to bend the knee and recant their demands.

The same year, in 1148, he went to war against Sweden, demanding Öland, their last holding. The war was won within months, and the kingdom of Sweden was officially abolished. A few weeks later, however, Øystein assembled his Swedish nobles and officially reformed the kingdom, this time under agnatic primogeniture inheritance, like his other kingdoms.

It was at this time that the king’s inner demons, perhaps a result of weak psyche inherited from his father, came to light. Øystein became severly depressed, feeling he could never manage to fill the shoes of his great predecessors. He also felt deeply sinful, and it was reported he followed the time period’s flagellants in whipping his sins away, until his back was bare and blood flowed from his wounds. The king asked his holiness the Pope for absolution for his sins, which was granted, but he still felt unworthy and sinful. As a result, in 1050 he donated 300 gold bullions to the Knights Templars, to further the work of God they were doing.

The same year he created the kingdom of Suomi. The Norwegian kingdom now encompassed all of Scandinavia except a couple provinces, and the king was monarch of four kingdoms. Around in Europe, people were speaking impressed about the might of Norgesveldet and some even suggested the pope should crown the king as emperor of the North. Before this could be done, however, the king was found dead in his quarters, much pointing to a suicide. The king departed the world in 1154, succeeded by his oldest son and heir, Sveinn II.


Norgesveldet at the end of Øystein’s short reign.

Aftermath
Øystein I is regarded as a tragic figure by modern historians. Accomplishing a lot in his short reign, and showing much promise during his time in power, he is ultimately remembered for his mental instability and squandering of said promise.
 

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Sveinn II of Norway
(1154-1172)
Sveinn I of Scandinavia
(1160-1172)



Sveinn II’s reign saw the proclamation of the Scandinavian Empire, and a switch in focus for the realm.

Family
Sveinn was married to the German princess Hildeburg, the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor. Together they had two children, one of which would inherit the Empire:
Hafrid
Gudrfridr

His reign
Where his predecessors had built an Empire in Scandinavia, in the process losing most of their overseas possessions on the British Isles, Sveinn turned his focus back towards these lost lands. His first action as king was to send his chancellor to Britain to underscore his rightful claim to the lands in the west. His second action was to begin a massive upgrade of his royal retinue, more than tripling the size of his standing army. At the end of the buildup, it was a huge army in itself, constituting about a third of the total Norwegian forces available. This was not cheap, but his father had left a big treasury, and by banishing imprisoned rebel leaders and ransoming captured nobles, his treasury swelled.

In 1156, Sveinn declared war on the duchy of Gwrturio for the province of Catnys in Northern Scotland. During this was, the negative legacy of his father and grandfather haunted the king, as he fell down in a deep depression, afraid of not living up to his forefather’s greatness. When the war was won a year later however, he got out of the negative loop and regained confidence in his own abilities.

Not long after, he declared holy war on the last Suomonesko ruler in Scandinavia, finally uniting the peninsula under the total control of Norgesveldet. The war was won within months. Having united all of Scandinavia and beyond, on 27th July 1160 the Scandinavian Empire was proclaimed, the pope arriving in the capital and personally crowning the king as Emperor of Scandinavia. Sveinn’s prestige soared as a result and dignitaries from all over Europe arrived to witness the occation.

Sveinn’s time in the sun however was cut short by a massive peasant revolt and his contraction of the Great Pox, today known as syphilis. The rebellion was short-lived, as the rebel leader luckily was captured in the first battle. But the Pox was to plague the Emperor for the rest of his life.

In 1163, documents was found that proved that Sveinn had a right to rule the county of Northumberland, and was was quickly declared to press this claim. The local ruler was chanceless in the war against the might of Scandinavia, and surrendered when his castle was captured a year later. Sveinn celebrated this by building a new and mighty castle in his Swedish province of Uppland, and visiting his wife. This last encounter resulted in a healthy boy and heir nine months later.

In 1167, Kettilmund, a distant kinsman, assembled a host, claiming the kingdom of Svithjod for himself. Against the might of Scandinavia, he was chanceless however, and was forced to bend the knee merely a year later. Immidiately after, Sveinn declared war to claim the county of Jorvik, which he had discovered he had a claim to through family ties dating a long time back. The war ended with total victory two years later. This would prove to be his last hurrah, as the Great Pox finally claimed his life in 1172. The Empire of Scandinavia’s future now rested on a five year old babe.


The Scandinavian Empire at the start of five year old Gudrfridr I’s reign.

Aftermath
Sveinn II of Norway and first Emperor of the Scandinavian Empire is remembered with pride by modern Norwegians. His reign marked a turning point in the history of Norgesveldet, seeing the focus moved from the East towards the divided island of Britain in the West. He is in the however in the end overshadowed by his son Gudrfridr I in many regards.
 

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Gudrfridr I the Young
(1172-1213)



The reign of Gudrfridr I started out bad, with land lost, money thin and shaky stability. However, his adult reign ended up being a time of great success and expansion for the Scandinavian realm and won him great fame.

Family
Gudrfridr I was married to the Irish princess Selbalith, an alliance that proved to be of great importance in his reign. Together, they had five children, the oldest which would inherit the throne:
Klas
Ingibjørg
Nils
Sigrid
Elisabet

He also sired one bastard:
Arni

His reign
The first three years of his regency, the regency council of Scandinavia wisely let the realm stabilize and have peace. However, in 1175, the regent got greedy and declared holy war on the small heathen realm of Obotritia in Northern Germany. The armies they mustered proved to be bigger than anticipiated, and well led, and the heathen army was beated at a great cost of men.

In the middle of this war, the duke of Brunswick, Holstein, Köln, Saxony and Brandenburg, easily the most powerful force in the HRE except the Emperor himself, declared war for the control of the county of Slesvig in southern Denmark. Suddenly sandwitched between an army four times their size, and a heathen army of equal size, most of the Scandinavian host fell in the bloody battles that ensued on the coast of Germany. Hastily, peace was signed with both parties, a white peace with the heathens, whose land was already partially occupied, and a peace signing over Slesvig to the Germans.

The realm’s army decimated, the throne was in danger and the regent quickly sent most of the realm’s treasury to the nobles, securing their loyalty to the crown. He also forced through a lowering of the crown authority to appease the restless nobles. Shortly after it was discovered that he had also been embezzling money for himself, but the young Emperor was powerless to do anything. A big peasant revolt happened in these troubled times, but luckily the realm’s armies had replenished enough to quell it within a year.

In 1183, the regency was over, and the young Emperor did not waste time, declaring his intent to continue his father’s incursion into the British Isles. A war was declared on Northumberland for the county of Dunholm, and at the same time Jorvik got a war declaration for the county of Lincoln. Within two years, both wars were won decisively. The next year, the kingdom of Alba was attacked, the prize being the county of Ros. Two years later, all of Alba was under the Emperor’s control, and peace was made, enlarging the realm yet again.

Not a year later, the chancellor reported he had dug up evidence that the petty kingdom of Mercia was rightfully Scandinavian, and the Emperor immediately sent his armies toward the small kingdom. However, this war would last longer than the others, as the Irish prince Amlaíb assembled a host and attacked the Empire at this point for the control of all the Scandinavian kingdoms, which he had a claim to through his mother. The invasion was repelled a year later, but this meant focus had to be removed from Mercia, which ravaged the English country side while this invasion was repelled. Afterwards however, they didn’t stand a chance, and in 1192, Mercia was incorporated into the Scandinavian Empire.

After this war, Gudrfridr let the realm rest, building a new city, named Gudrfridholm, in the province of Jorvik. In 1197 however, he again went to war, this time for the province of Djuraby on the Scottish-Irish-Scandinavian border, owned by the small county of Djuraby. The war was quickly won, and Gudrfridr sent his armies onwards towards Cumberland and Worchester, for the control of the two independent counties. These wars were quickly won.

His armies seeming invincible, the Emperor then sent his armies towards the petty kingdom of Hwicce, which his chancellor had recently discovered the Scandinavians had a rightful claim to. The war was won three years later. At this point, the Emperor was visited in court by a distant relative. This relative told the Emperor he had a claim on the kingdom of Lithuania, and promised to swear fealthy if the Scandinavian armies would press his claim. The Emperor was all too happy for this opportunity, and less than two year later the kinsman was the new king of Lithuania. However, when civil war inside the new won kingdom ensued, the Emperor flatly told the relative that he had got what he was promised and now he had to prove his worth, or lose the kingdom to the pretender. All the Emperor cared for was that whoever was king, swore fealthy to him. A few months later, a new king was installed, and the kinsman was a lowly count.

While this civil war raged inside his realm in the east, the Emperor turned his focus back to Britain. The Welsh king of Brythonaiaid was forced to cede the duchy of Powys, but he hid behind impressive walls and it took half a decade to force him to surrender. In the meantime, no less than two major peasant revolts forced the Emperor to divert forces to the mainland.

In the middle of the war with the Welsh, luck struck, as the jarl of Hwicce inherited the jarldom of Kent, peacefully incorporating it into Scandinavia. This was not only a welcome thing however, as the jarl now controlled a lot of wealthy land, making him the most powerful vassal in the Empire spare the king of Lithuania.

As soon as the war with the Welsh was over, the Emperor, hungry for glory as always, declared war on the kingdom of Alba for the control of the province of Innse Gall. The war was quckly won. The last three years of his reign was peaceful however, now focusing on rebuilding lost strength. Of note in the greater sphere of politics in Christian Europe, in 1213 the kingdom of Jerusalem, which had been won by the Knights Hospitallers and then lost again decades before, was regained in a new Crusade. The Knight Hospitallers were again given the kingdom to rule in the name of Christ. Weeks after these news arrived, the king fell gravely ill, and after a few months of agony, died of the complications. Sources do not tell which disease the Emperor died of, but his son and heir quickly assumed power. A reign of excellence was over, and the heir was eager to prove his worth.


The realm at the time of Emperor Gudrfridr I’s death.

Aftermath
The reign of Gudrfridr I was celebrated by his contemporaries, as well as modern Scandinavians. He is regarded as one of the most important men of his time, and one of the greatest rulers of Norgesveldet. His heir had a lot to live up to, and as history showed, this he was not able to do.
 

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Klas I
(1213-1217)



The reign of Klas I was short and troubled. Outside civil war and rebellions, nothing of worth happened.

Family
Klas I was married to the Byzantine duchess Riciberga of Achaia, something that would eventually result in Scandinavia getting a nominal vassal in the Mediterranean. Together, they had four children, two of which would eventually become Emperor:
Asa
Gudrrun
Niklas
Sigurdrr

His reign
Klas I’s reign started with a demand by his Finnish, English, southern Swedish and Icelandic vassals for independence. Not willing to give them this, and thereby losing half his Empire, the Emperor met the rebels in the field. In the middle of the rebellion, a peasant revolt also happened. The Emperor’s forces and the rebels’ were close to equal, and the pushback was slow, so the civil war dragged out and eventually wouldn’t end before he was cold in the earth for two whole years.

During this time, the first rumors of what would later haunt the Middle East and Europe, began circulating. The Khan of Khans was rumoured to assemble a huge host, bent on subjugating the world. For the time being, this was of no concern for Klas however. He met the rebels yet again in 1216, and the battle went his way for a long time. Then he found himself cornered, and a rebel jarl cut deeply into his left leg. The Emperor was rushed off the battle field, almost bleeding to death, but he recovered enough to linger on for another year before succumbing to his wounds some months later. Before he died, he ordered a white peace with the peasant rebels and got his loyal vassals to swear they would secure his nine year old son’s throne after he was gone.

The realm at the unfortunate early death of Klas I.

Aftermath
The short reign of Klas I saw little change in the realm of Scandinavia. His reign was dominated by civil strife, and only luck saw no territorial losses to outside forces. The Emperor is not really remembered outside historical circles.
 

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Niklas I the Hammer
(1217-1230)



The rather short reign of Niklas I was a time of struggles for the Scandinavian Empire. It started badly, but in the end saw large territorial gains for the Empire.

Family
Niklas I was married to princess Aragonte of the Byzantine Empire, the sister of the reigning Basileus. Together they got one child, who by the nature of her gender was denied inheritance:
Elisabeth

His reign
The beginning of Niklas’ reign was a troubled one. The realm’s finances were in a dire shape, and while his forces were advancing on the rebels, it happened at a slow pace. The same year he took over the Empire, news arrived of the Mongols of the Ilkhanate arriving, quickly gobbling up most of Persia and threatening his allies in the Byzantine Empire. The immediate threats were closer however.

In 1218 the Slavic High Priest declared a Great Holy War for the kingdom of Lithuania. The kings of Europe, and soon also the Holy Roman Emperor, declared their intent to come to the rescue, but as the regent saw Lithuania being swarmed by infidels, he decided to sign a white peace with the noble rebels. The rebels were allowed to return to their lands, and obligated to raise their armies in defence of the eastern parts of the Empire. To placate them, the regent a few months later forced through a lowering of the crown authority of the Empire.

As the Great Holy War was fought, the peasants in Finland decided to raise their flag in rebellion, but when the Great Holy War was finally repelled a year later, they quickly got crushed by the returning armies of the Empire. Not long after the Emperor came of age, and wishing to prove himself, he quickly pressed his claim to the province of Moray in northern Scotland. The kingdom of Scotland was unable to withstand his battle hardened armies, and gave up the province less than a year later.

A couple months later, however, war was renewed. The old king of Scotland died, and a claimant to the throne arrived in the Emperor’s court, offering fealty if the Emperor installed him as king. Quickly landing the man in a county in England, the Emperor declared war on the new Scottish king. For a few months, the campaign was delayed as a huge peasant revolt happened in England, but after the peasants were beaten, the king of Scotland was unable to withstand the Empire. Renamed Skotland in honor of the Empire’s Norse roots, the northern parts of the British Isles were incorporated into the greater Scandinavian Empire.

Not a man to rest on his laurels, Niklas went to war with the Welsh kingdom of Brythoniaid, to press the claim of his vassal Ranald. Again the English peasants rose in rebellion, but the armies of Niklas quickly beat both them and the small army the Welsh could muster. In 1227 the kingdom, now renamed Wales, was claimed for Scandinavia.

His territorial appetite in Britain satisfied for now, the Emperor turned his attention to the heathen lands of the Slavic faith. Declaring a holy war for the jarldom of Livonia, the Empire again went to war. This was a war the young Emperor would not see the end of, however. Catching a cold that quickly got worse, the king lingered in his bed for a week, before succumbing to the sickness. His brother was now the new Emperor.

The realm at the ascension of Sigurdrr I the Bold.

Aftermath
Emperor Niklas I got his nickname the Hammer for his lightning campaigns, greatly enlarging the realm he inherited. His reign was short, much shorter than his successor’s, but his accomplishments means he earned a legacy as one of the great what if Emperors of the Medieval time.
 

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Sigurdrr I the Bold
(1230-1270)



The long reign of Sigurdrr I the Bold was a time of big religious strife in Europe. A crusade and several long and bloody religious wars defined his reign.

Family
Sigurdrr was married thrice. His first wife, queen Onna of Frisia, died in her sickbed after a couple years’ marriage, with no issue left between them. Sigurdrr then married his wife’s younger sister, the new queen of Frisia, Bava. Between them they got several children, one of which would succeed him. After a long and sometimes struggling marriage, as the Emperor repeatedly refused to aid his wife in her defensive wars against the mighty HRE, the queen died of old age and he married the Byzantine princess Ermenisinda. Together they got several children.

Sigurdrr’s children were as follows:
Klas
Karl
Sigrid
Elin
Asa
Nils
Dag
Sverker
Kol

His reign
The first year of Sigurdrr’s reign were dominated by the holy war he inherited from his brother. Right before this war was concluded favourably for the Empire, the Emperor by fluke of luck inherited the far off county of Achaia in Greece, from his late sister Asa. The county would nominally remain part of the Scandinavian Empire, but de facto it would swear fealty to the Byzantines, although this would remain a latent issue between the two Empires.

Shortly after the conclusion of the holy war for Livonia, the Empire would go to war again, this time a holy war for Polotsk. In the other far ends of the steppes, the Golden Horde arrived, soon butting heads with the superpower of Byzantium. The next decades, the steppes would repeatedly switch hands between these two powers, locked as they were in a deadly struggle. The holy war was concluded a short year later. Sensing weakness, the Emperor declared another holy war on the kingdom of Rus for the jarldom of Novgorod.

As this war was raging, a big peasant revolt happened in the newly won territories in the east. It was shortly crushed, but a year later a major rebellion happened in England. The Emperor tried to imprison the powerful duke of Hwicce, who plotted against his liege. The arrest was not successful, and soon England was in flames. In the east, the last war was turning into a disaster as the army of the Empire suffered a major defeat and the core of the Emperor’s retinue was slaughtered. Fleeing, and repeatedly being beaten, the Emperor was forced to sign a humiliating white peace with the kingdom of Rus.

Disaster came not alone. Sensing weakness, some of the vassals of the Empire demanded independence, and upon refusal, civil war ensued. In the midst of this, the High Priest of the Slavic faith declared a Great Holy War for Scandinavian Prussia. On the brink of defeat on all fronts, the royal retinue totally destroyed and his armies in rout, the Emperor regrouped and managed to push back the rebels in England and Skotland. He then used his vast treasury to hire mercenaries in Scandinavia and sent these towards the rebels in Skåne. The HRE and the Teutonic Knights offered to join defence of Prussia, and soon the Slavic lands were swarmed by Crusading knights. When the tsar of Russia foolishly declared war at this point for the same lands in Prussia, he met stiff resistance.

By this point, things were going in favour of the Emperor. In 1240 the High Priest of the Slavic faith were forced to sue for peace, and the year thereafter the jarl of Hwicce was forced to the table too, and surrendered himself to the loyalist forces. A few months later, the independence revolt was crushed as well, and in 1244 a white peace was signed with the surprisingly resilient tsar of Russia. Eager to show the time of troubles over, the Emperor immediately declared war on the French rebels in Cornwall, for the control of the province of Devon. The rebels turned out to be very resilient, lasting almost four years before surrendering. In the meantime another peasant revolt had to be dealt with in the north of England, something that definitely aided the French rebels in buying some time.

Due to excessive infighting, the throne of the kingdom of Wales had been left vacant for a few years, but in 1249 the Emperor let himself be crowned king of Wales, securing his grip of the western parts of the British Isles save Ireland. The year after the Emperor tried again to subdue the jarldom of Novgorod, declaring a renewed holy war against Rus. This war was halted when the Slavic High Priest declared a Great Holy War for the kingdom of Lithunania in retaliation. A few months later, the Pope declared a Crusade for the kingdom of Poland.

Hoping for help with the Slavic hordes, the Emperor declares his commitment to the Crusade, heading an army himself headed for Poland and Lithuania. His other armies in the meantime mopped up the last pockets of resistance in Novgorod, and the Rus were forced to hand it over. With the whole might of Christendom decending on it, the Slavic faithful admitted defeat in their Great Holy War. A few faithful led a Slavic uprising in northern Lithunania, but was quickly crushed. In 1257, the Crusade was won, and the Knights of Santiago was awarded the kingdom of Poland. Two crusader kingdoms were now led by knightly orders, kingdom of Jerusalem by the Knights Hospitaller and kingdom of Poland by the Knights of Santiago. Catholic prestige were sky high.

In the Isles, a Scottish noble by the name of Neil declared his intent for seizing the throne of Wales for himself, but his endeavour was a doomed one and he was forced to bend the knee merely a year later. The Emperor decided that the entirety of the British Isles belonged to his house, and declared war on Eire for the control of the county of Middlesex. At this point, the Byzantine Empire asked for help against the Golden Horde, where the Byzantines were trying to reclaim their lost provinces on the steppes. The Emperor agreed to help, but did’t send troops, believing the Byzantines to be able to hold their own, as they had twice the number of troops of the Golden Horde. This would turn out to be wrong, as the Horde roamed the steppes with three huge armies, obliterating half of the Byzantine numbers in crushing defeats. The war would end a few years later with the Byzantines handing over a vast sum of gold.

Home in the north, the Emperor declared a holy war for the jarldom of Courland, all while battling the Irish armies in the west. The holy war would end four years later, being set back by two big revolts, one by peasants and one by Slavic faithful. The war ended in a clear defeat of the enemy forces, however. With the holy war won, the Russian descended into civil war, and the Emperor took advantage of this and seized the county of Onega from the Russian rebels. All wars now being won, the Empire yet again went to war, when the attempted revocation of one of the dual jarl of Hwicce and Kent’s counties failed, and civil war ensued on the British Isles. The war was quickly won, and the Emperor landed a claimant to the Irish throne in the revoked county. Promising to press the count’s claim for Eire if he would swear fealty to the Empire, the Irish-Scandinavian war was initiated. This war would not see its end during Sigurdrr’s reign, however, as the old Emperor in the middle of the war fell into a coma, and never woke up. In 1270, Sigurdrr I the Bold died comatose in bed, and his son Klas II the Just was now Emperor.

The realm of Scandinavia upon the death of Sigurdrr I the Bold.

Aftermath
Later historians have dubbed the time of the reign of Sigurdrr I the Bold as The Great Eastern Strife, seeing as his reign saw the biggest religious strife in the East since the conversion of Scandinavia and the start of the long line of holy wars in the area. Crusades and Great Holy Wars killed thousands, not to speak of the lesser holy wars fought. In addition, the arriving of the Golden Horde meant the steppes in South Eastern Europe was the battle ground for the test of strength between the strongest power in the Catholic world, Byzantium, and the emerging great power of the Golden Horde.
 

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Interlude – 1250 Anno Domine
While Norway had risen in the North, Europe and the Middle East had seen vast changes as well. In Western Europe, France had consolidated as a medium sized kingdom ruled by the heirs of Charlemagne. The rise of the Basque kingdoms however, was the most lasting change that had happened in the time from Fairhair to 1250. At one point controlling all of Iberia, Italy down to Byzantine Italy, as well as Aquitaine, the Basque Empire was now divided into Castille, Aragon and Aquitaine. Basque culture had spread far and wide, dominating Aquetaine, Eastern Iberia as well as much of Northern Italy. The kingdom of Frisia at one point was a strong, medium sized power, but had dwindled away under the pressure of the Holy Roman Empire and Eire for several decades by 1250.

In central Europe, the Holy Roman Empire dominated politics, a stable and large realm fielding an army a little more than the Scandinavian Empire, and half of the Byzantine Empire. After a deep thrust into Hungary and the Ukraine in the preceding centuries, this realm had stabilized, only doing the occasional attack on Frisia. The little kingdom of Great Moravia, a reformed Tengri realm, lay threatened in between the HRE and the great Reformed Slavic Empire of Russia.

Russia itself had thrust deep into Central Europe, but was by 1250 under constant pressure from Scandinavia in the North, the HRE in the South and West, and by the borders in the East, a new potential threat in the form of the Golden Horde had emerged. The sibling kingdom of Rus was under similar pressure, although only from Scandinavia.

On the steppes, the Golden Horde had just won a devastating victory over the Byzantine Empire, taking control of all of the Byzantine holdings on the steppes, a vast amount of land. The Byzantines themselves had been sent into a crippling civil war, but with a truce with the Golden Horde, the Mongol horde of the Ilkhanate content with consolidating its conquests in Persia and battling the surprisingly numerous armies of the Lords of the Sky, their borders seemed secure for the time being. After Christianity being de facto split for a long time, the Catholic denomination stood triumphant in 1250, Orthodoxy completely obliterated and the Miaphysite and Monophysite denominations only barely holding on in the south of Muslim Egypt.

In the Muslim Middle East, the Muslim powers were divided as they had been for the last few centuries, after the Second Crusade succeeded in taking the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Knights Hospitallers won the kingdom, and then lost it again, the lone province held by the coast of Judea being the only Christian holding there for several decades, before the Third Crusade reclaimed the Kingdom of Jerusalem for the Order.

In Western Africa, the kingdom of Mali laid isolated from the changes in the north, and on the other side of the known world, in India, borders had likewise seen little change for a long time.


The political map of the known world in 1250.


The cultural map of the known world in 1250.


The religious map of the known world in 1250.
 

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Klas II the Just
(1270-1307)



The reign of Klar II was a long one, especially considering he was maimed at the starty of his reign and never totally recovered. He had an impressive physique, living in pain and sickness for 37 years, and still siring four children.

Family
Klas II married strategically, first securing his southern border with a marriage to the German princess Adela of the HRE, and when she died, securing a powerful alliance with the princess Anthe of the Byzantine Empire. Between them, they got four children, one of which would succeed to the head of the Empire:

Gyla
Yrsa
Geirr
Sigrid

His reign
His reign starting in a war for Eire, the Empire almost lost its new Emperor days into his administration. Cornered in battle, the Emperor was maimed, losing an arm and an eye. His wounds would never quite heal, and he was plagued with sickness for the rest of his long reign.

After two years of battle and sieging, the king of Eire gave up, and the kingdom was incorporated into the Empire, making a powerful vassal in the process – a vassal which the Emperor and his successors would have to mind carefully in the future. Alone, the king of Eire fielded a tenth of the total number of men the Empire had to its disposal, way more than any other vassal kingdom or lower.

Not resting on his laurels, the Emperor declared war on the French rebels in Cornwall, for the province of Cornwall; the last non-Scandinavian province in Britain. Within months this war was ended and on March 12th, two years later, the pope himself arrived in the Scandinavian capital to crown Klas dual Emperor of Scandinavia and Britannia.

The next few years was riddled with peasant and religious rebellions, all quickly quelled. An aborted holy war was made on the Russian rebels for the duchy of Lithuania; aborted because the rebels yielded to their king before a peace could be made with Klas. The Emperor however did not despair, moving onto holy war on Russia itself, this time for the duchy of Polotsk. Two years later, with few battles made, the Russians gave in.

In 1286 a French noble declared war for the control of Northern Skotland. He was chanceless, however, and the invasion was repelled before the year was over. During this war Klas, having been maimed for 16 years, and his wife being 40, did the impossible and sired a heathly son. In celebration, a temple and city was built in Hordaland in Western Norway, and a city was built in Uppland in Eastern Sweden.

In 1290 Klas took a page out of his father’s book and landed a claimant to the Frisian kingdom, immiditately pressing the claim on the small kingdom. During the invasion a detour had to be done to England, where two peasant revolts happened, but in 1292 Frisia swore allegiance to the Empire of Scandianvia and Britannia. In celebration, another city was built in Uppland. The Empire then went to war against Russia for the jarldom of Belo Ozero.

Through inheritance, the jarl of Pskov was at this point controlling most of the eastern part of the Empire. This could not stand and the Emperor tries to strip him. Civil war ensues. Three years later, both the civil war and the holy war is brought to an end, with Klas in total victory. The jarldom of Finland is stripped from the defeated jarl. His retinue already in the area, the Emperor declares war on the kingdom of Rus for the jarldom of Yaroslav. The Slavic faithful rebels, but is put down and the holy war is won soon thereafter.

After this, a few years of calm settled in. A vast expansion of the royal retinue ate up most of the treasury, and in Europe the Black Plague decimated city and towns everywhere. The North is mostly spared, however the Emperor’s kinsman the Pope dies a horrible death in Rome. In 1305 and 1306 a peasant and Slavic rebellion arise, both are quelled within a year of their inception. Shortly after the Slavic rebellion is over, the Emperor dies a maimed cripple.


The realm at the ascension of Geirr I the Just.

Aftermath
The reign of Klas II was vastly successful, making the Empire a dual Empire, as well as expanding the realm both internally and externally in a time the Black Plague depleted Europe’s population. Especially impressive is the reign of Klas II when you consider he was a man plagued with pain and suffering that could easily have both cut his life short early, and broken lesser men. Still, the Emperor is set in the shadow by his son and successor, Geirr I the Just.
 

Joachim_F

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Litt usikker på om det sømmer seg å bryte inn i historien med en post her, men jeg vil bare si at dette var herlig lesning. :)
 

fnwilborn

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Det sømmer seg absolutt! Jeg vil gjerne ha feedback, det er halve moroa.:) Takk for gode ord, det er moro når folk liker det man skriver.
 

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Geirr I the Just

(1307-1358)





The reign of Geirr I the Just saw the biggest change in the fate of the Scandinavian Empire in generations. His rule expanded the realm in new direction, adding whole kingdoms and making the Empire an even more dominating, although somewhat spread out, realm. His reign also saw the first encounter with a whole new enemy religion; Islam.


Family

Geirr was married no less than five times. His first marriage was a strategic one, to the princess of Aragon; Munia. His four successive marriages were to above the average quick and genious women; the Emperor was, it is said, deeply smitten by intellect and surrounded himself with the best men and women he could find. His second wife was the daughter of one of his jarls, Cristina. His third and fourth was by local barons, Eldonza and Inga, respectively. His last wife, and the only to survive him, was the daughter of a local baron, Winidilda. Together they had six children, one of which would succeed him:

Maer

Hemming

Tryggve

Klas

Alvör

Hrane


In his last years, the Emperor also fathered one bastard:

Saga


His reign

The first thing Emperor did was to hand out the kingdom of Wales and Finland. This made for stronger vassals who could, and later would, become dangerous foes, but the realm was by now huge and stretched thin, so it had to be streamlined.


Keeping with tradition, the new Emperor waged a holy war on his Slavic neighbours in the East, claiming the jarldom of Rostov. The war was won within a year. After a minor peasant revolt was squashed, the Emperor changed the Empire forever. Scandinavia had always been a North Sea Empire, content to dominate the north of Europe. In the south-west, Europe was dominated by medium sized kingdoms, with only the Basque kingdom of Aragon having a claim on greatness. The kingdom of Aquitaine was in a civil war in 1312, and at this time the king’s cousin came to court, offering his oath of fealthy if the Emperor would support his claim for the kingdom. The Emperor jumped at the opportunity and sent the entirely of his Britannian host to the south. Less than two years later, the king was deposed and replaced with the Emperor’s cousin, and after a short war against the duke of Toulouse, who was captured in the first battle, the kingdom was united under Scandinavia.


Greatly encouraged by this success, the Emperor declared that Scandinavia was destined to rule the Atlantic, and called for his other cousin, who had a claim to the kingdom of Portugal. The vast armies of the North were sent towards Iberia, and while the core lands were battling peasant and Slavic uprisings, the Empire’s Britannian armies crushed the Portuguese. In 1320, the Portuguese king surrendered his crown.


The next few years, the Emperor built up his demesne, securing more power for himself. But in 1325, he had to intervene in his new won lands in the south. A heretical claimant to the throne had managed to usurp the kingdom of Portugal, and this woman now threatened the religious integrity of the Empire. Threatening to come down with his whole host, the Queen agreed to surrender her kingdom, but then went mad and refused to let go of her lone county in Maghreb. A short war followed, and upon its conclusion, the second son of the Emperor, Trygve, was given the kingdom in place of his spineless relative.


The next couple of decades would see several peasant and Slavic revolts, but Geirr did not stop his expansion or changes to the realm. In 1327, he declared war on the Astrurian rebels for the jarldom of Navarra, and not long after the conclusion of the war, in 1332, he created two new kingdoms in the realm; Navarra and Gardariki. He then set his eyes on the Muslim kingdom of Mauritania, declaring the first Scandinavian holy war on Islam, for the jarldom of Tangier. The Muslim hordes were strong, but in 1335 the war was won.


After this war, the next eleven years were used building up the royal retinue, almost emptying the royal coffers in the process. Now stronger than ever, Geirr declared war on the small kingdom of Castille, for the control of the county of Asturias de Santillana. The war was over within months. He then attacked the weakened sultanate in Mauritania, the Bakrid Sultanate, for the jarldom of Marrakech. Two years later, the war was won, and he moved swiftly towards the chiefdom of Canarias, securing the coast of the North-African Atlantic for Scandinavia. Then, he did a surprise move and decided the White Sea should also be Scandinavian. Sending his armies north to Russia, this war would cost more men than his other wars put together, much owing to the harsh winters of the North. The Emperor seems to have become slightly mad though, and ordered his armies onwards. After five long years, the war for the jarldom of Bjarmia was won, although for a great cost. Two years later, the old Emperor died a natural death. He was succeeded by his son Hemming I the Great.



The world at the ascension of Hemming I the Great.

Aftermath

The reign of Geirr I the Just saw monumental change in the course of Scandinavian history. The seeds of the transformation of the North Sea Empire into an Atlantic Empire was not only planted, but also sprung into life, and Geirr left his Empire transformed. He is remembered as one of the most important Emperors Scandinavia ever had.
 

fnwilborn

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Takk for det!:) Nærmer meg slutten på CK2, men mulig jeg prøver å konvertere til EU4.
 

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Hemming I the Great

(1358-1377)





The reign of Hemming I was a matter of slow expansion, plenty of revolts and the start of the great struggle against the forces of Jihad meeting the biggest Empire in Christendom. His titanic struggle, where countless Norsemen perished in the deserts of Morocco, defending the kingdom of Christ against the heathen forces, gave him deep respect of his peers and a place in European history.


Family

Hemming was married only once, to a minor noble woman named Georgia. To all accounts they lived a happy marital life, with her keeping in the background. Together they sired three children, one of which would succeed him, to great detriement to the realm:

Geirr

Totil

Haukr


His reign

Eager to match his sire, the new Emperor immediately upon his ascension declared war both on the Mauritanian sultanate as well as the currently revolting nobles of that realm. A West African uprising immediately happened in the Canaries, but a small army quelled this one within weeks. Within three years, both wars were won, greatly increasing the Norse lands in Africa. Between 1360 and 1361, no less than three additional revolts happened, all of which were quickly struck down.


After a few years of improving of the infrastructure of the realm, Hemming again went to war in 1367, this time in the north. A holy war for Tver was declared, but it would take four years before it was won, due to the untimely Slavic revolt engineered by the enemy during the fighting.


Upon the ending of the war in the north, the Emperor turned south again, declaring war on the sultanate of Mauritania for the jarldom of Tlemcen. The sultanate’s forces were severely depleted and the war was in reality a mere formality. When the war ended, Hemming turned to France, which was in full rebellion. Eying the by de jure rights Scandinavian lands in Thouars, the war ended inconclusively when the rebellion ended and Hemming not wanting a full war with the powerful neighbouring Christian kingdom.


This turned out to be a wise move, as mere weeks later the declaration of Jihad for the kingdom of Mauritania arrived in the Scandinavian court. The Empire was in for the fight of a century. Mauritania soon swarmed by Muslim faithful, fully motivated in their religious desire to regain the African kingdom for Allah. All Scandinavian allies were called, a full mobilization of the Scandinavian forces were done. The Scandinavian armies fought and won, but were slowly decimated in the hot sun of the African desert. For half a decade the battles raged, the Muslims seemingly never waning in their power, and Christendom slowly burning through their manpower. Soon the Norse had to retreat, only to advance a few months later with fresh recruits arriving. The war was slowly won, but at a great cost, and the Muslim faithful showed no wish to sign a peace.


At this point, in late 1377, the old Emperor died of old age, in his son and heir’s residence in southern Spain. The Emperor was dead, his oldest son was Emperor. A kinslaying Emperor, not liked by anyone. He inherited a weakened realm and the biggest war in ages.





Aftermath

The reign of Hemming I the Great was defined by the great Jihad waged in the deserts of Mauritania. His legacy would be his monumental fight to preserve the independence of Christendom in Africa, and the succession of one of the greatest stains to ever grace the Norse throne.
 

fnwilborn

Moderator
Promotør
Medlem
Geirr II the Shadow

(1377-1382)




The reign of the kinslaying Geirr II the Shadow was a short was a short, but eventful reign. During the short five years he was on the throne of Scandinavia, tensions slowly rose, ending in a big showdown that could have ripped the fledging Empire apart.


Family

Geirr II was married twice, first to the noble princess Martha of the Byzantine Empire. When she died an early death, he married his mistress, the lowborn Gurli. Between the two wives, Geirr II sired four children, one of which would succeed him:

Birgitta

Halsten

Sofia

Mats


His reign

The reign of Geirr II the Shadow was a troubled one. An evil man by any accounts, he had killed his kin in cold blood to further his goals, and worse, he didn’t show the slightest signs of remorse. A cruel man, his wives and children feared him, and rightly so. In his mind, fear was a great tool. In the end, this belief would almost shatter the realm his predecessors had built over the centuries.


The first year of his reign alone, two major revolts happened. Disgruntled peasants and Slavic faithful rose in revolt, and it would take the better part of a year and lots of manpower to subdue them. What was worse, by marriage and scheming, the king of Gardariki had aquired the kingdom of Lithuania. Now controlling all the Norse lands between the Polish Knightly kingdom of Santiago and the heathen lands in the Russian East, the dual king was a formidable thorn in the side of the new Emperor. He also publicly showed his contempt for his kinslaying liege. The Emperor quickly sent his loyal spymaster to build a plot to kill the king and get his minor son on the throne, planning to divide the kingdom when the dual kingdom was in turmoil. Within a month the king was dead, and his heir was forced to give up the kingdom of Lithuania. The vacant throne was given to the Emperor’s kinsman, jarl Greger of Polotsk. Another loyal vassal was created in the warn torn western Africa, where the kingdom of Mauritanaia was created and granted to a loyal vassal.


A loyal vassal was gained, and this was needed. The next two years, three major revolts rose up and were crushed one by one. The Emperor gained more and more enemies, however, as his cruel ways was becoming more and more apparent. Down in the south, the neverending Jihad for Mauritania finally ended in 1380. Lasting for seven long years, the flower of the Muslim and Christian youth had died in the deserts of Africa. Scandinavian forces had been pressed hard, leaving the Emperor with fewer loyal forces than he appreciated. The neighbouring Christian kingdoms and Knightly Orders also was decimated, but the Muslim faithful had suffered more losses. In the end, the Caliph had to face the hard facts and sign a humiliating peace. Christendom was saved for now.


Days after, the kingdoms of Skotland, Wales, Finland, Navarra, as well as the jarldoms of Champagne, Cornwall, Mercia-Hwicce, Essex, and the counties of Oppland, Yatvayagi and Dorpat, all demanded independence. Citing the cruelties of the Emperor and his kinslaying ways, the vassals thought they would be better off alone. The taxes and increasing centralization also was cited as a reason to break the feudal contract. The Emperor refused flatly, beheading the envoy and sending his rotting head back to the rebels. The rebels had a numerical advantage of 2-1, but were geographically divided and lacked ships to assemble their host. They also showed a considerable lack of ability to cooperate. Concentrating his forces in Iberia, Geirr II for the next two years slowly obliterated his foes’ armies one by one. Soon the playfield was much more level, but at this time, the Emperor, whose heath never had been good, suddenly fell ill and died. His charming and gentle son Halsten quickly assumed the throne and sent envoys to the struggling rebels.




The Empire at the ascension of Halsten I – an Empire wrecked by civil war.


Aftermath

Geirr II the Shadow’s reign was short and troubled, and sent the Empire into its greatest challenge for generations. He is remembered as a cruel man, and many a play has been written about this – in the memory of future generations – monster of a man. His successor had a challenging task ahead, trying to mend the wounds created by his father.
 

fnwilborn

Moderator
Promotør
Medlem
Interlude – 1350 Anno Domine


In the century that had gone since 1250, much had changed in the Middle East and Western Europe. Along the Atlantic coast, Scandinavia dominated, with the Irish kingdom and half of France and Iberia absorbed into the greater Norse realm. The Basque cultural dominance was still strong, although their independence was now gone; absorbed into the rising French Empire. The Basque people was now almost equally divided between the Norse Emperors and French kings.


In Central Europe, the Holy Roman Empire dominated as it did a century ago, a stable yet inward looking Empire with no apparent ambitions outside its own domain. As such, the heathen kingdom of Greater Moravia has kept its independence, a small sea of Tengri faithful surrounded by Christendom. All the more surprising, the Polish Knightly Kingdom of Santiago, ruled by faithful Knights of Christ, has also yet to invade this little kingdom.


On the Russian steppes, Scandinavia has made potent inroads, but at a great cost, and the Norse Emperors has for the last few decades had their main focus in the western European area. The Golden Horde is still huge, but troubled by civil wars. Alone standing against the Norse is Ruthenia, slowly getting pushed back.


In the Middle East, the Eastern Roman Empire is a stable force. After having regained their lost lands in Crimea and surroundings, the Roman Emperors have left the world to itself. However, one dramatic change has happened; the newly crowned Emperor has forsaken Catholicism for a Catholic heresy, and the future for the realm as such is uncertain. Will Christendom again be divided between a Catholic West and a schismatic East, or will the Emperor be deposed? Only time will tell.


In the Muslim Middle East, much has changed religiously, albeit not politically. Scandinavia has got a foothold into Mauritania and the Christian kingdom of Nubia has fallen, but Islam has fallen out of graces for a large swath of the populace. Much of Egypt, the Mediterranean coast and the Levant has converted to Catholicism, and even local sheiks have converted to the Christian faith. The top leadership in the Muslim states are desperately trying to stem the tide, and some provinces have reconverted, but they are struggling to keep up with the large number of conversions.


In India, a new Empire has risen in the form of Rashtrakuta in the southern half, but in the north much is the same. Deep in Africa, Mali remains united and strong, and has so far been at peace with their new, Norse neighbours.




The political map of the known world in 1350.




The cultural map of the known world in 1350.




The religious map of the known world in 1350.
 

Joachim_F

Spillhistorie
Medlem
Det er veldig fascinerende å lese disse postene, og jeg får veldig lyst til å sette meg inn i spillet selv. Samtidig virker det veldig overveldende...
 

fnwilborn

Moderator
Promotør
Medlem
Nemo problemo! :) Det er en del tekst ja, men så har jeg skrevet på det siden i vinter da.:) Driver også å oversetter til norsk og publiserer på spillhistorie.no, som du kanskje har fått med deg.:)
 

kaieivindm

Moderator
Medlem
Nemo problemo! :) Det er en del tekst ja, men så har jeg skrevet på det siden i vinter da.:) Driver også å oversetter til norsk og publiserer på spillhistorie.no, som du kanskje har fått med deg.:)
En del tekst tror jeg er litt underdrivelse @fnwilborn , ganske populært kalt wall of text :) Men det er kanon lesing. Men tar noe tid for gamle folk :)
 

fnwilborn

Moderator
Promotør
Medlem
Haha, du skulle sett noen av de AARene jeg har lest på Paradox sine forum siden jeg ble medlem i 2001.:) DER har du fantastiske historier som er ekstremt lange.:) Noen varer i årevis, med stadige oppdateringer. Og en av de beste skribentene ble hyret inn til Hollywood!:eek: Og jeg er snart 30, jeg er gammal sjæl.:p
 

Cliffback

Medlem
Haha, du skulle sett noen av de AARene jeg har lest på Paradox sine forum siden jeg ble medlem i 2001.:) DER har du fantastiske historier som er ekstremt lange.:) Noen varer i årevis, med stadige oppdateringer. Og en av de beste skribentene ble hyret inn til Hollywood!:eek: Og jeg er snart 30, jeg er gammal sjæl.:p
Hehe, kan se det for meg :) Men skal få lest det snart! Og veldig kult at du går så "all in" i spillet ;)
 

fnwilborn

Moderator
Promotør
Medlem

Halsten I​

(1382-1396)


The reign of Halsten I proved to be a miraculous return to form for the Scandinavian Empire. At this point the Medieval times were slowly transforming into what we know as the Renaissance, and as such Halsten I is regarded by some as the last Medieval Emperor of Scandinavia, by others as the first Renaissance Emperor.

Family
Halsten I married a daughter of one of his most powerful Scandinavian nobles, to secure his throne internally. Her name was Asa, and together they had one child, who would succeed his father on the throne:
Geirr

His reign
Halsten I inherited a troubled realm. His father was a kinslayer and hated throughout the realm. As a result, a large part of the by now huge Empire had rebelled. The rebels had slowly been beaten back, but a complete victory was still far ahead. During the civil war, several small rebellions by heathens as well as peasants had risen, and would do so for another decade. Halsten simply had to secure his throne as quickly as possible.

He therefore sent an offer his rebelling, and slowly losing, nobles could not resist: A white peace. For their renewed fealty and loyalty, all would be forgotten. The rebels had no quarrel with the ruling house per se, only with its now deceased head. Peace was thus soon agreed upon.

After two years of rebuilding, the Emperor then declared a de jure war on the kingdom of Asturias, claiming the county of Alcantara for his own. The small kingdom was doomed from the start, but then disaster struck: The Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, afraid of the restored might of Scandinavia, decided to intervene before the Norse got too strong. Facing armies bigger than his own, and knowing his realm might not survive the onslaught of the HRE intact, Halsten agreed to meet the Holy Roman Emperor to agree to a peace both could live with.

In the treaty, known to history as the Treaty of Köln, the two Emperors agreed to divide Europe into influence spheres. The Iberian Peninsula was agreed to be in the Scandinavian sphere, but no territorial incursions were to happen for the next decade. The French Empire was agreed to belong to the Holy Roman Empire’s sphere, as well as Italy. The Russian steppes were to be divided between the two Empires at a later date. Northern Africa was to be divided in two spheres, with Africa up to modern day Libya belonging to the Scandinavian sphere. Libya, Egypt and the parts of the Middle East not belonging to the Eastern Roman Empire was to belong to the sphere of the HRE. They already had control over the remnants of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

His European borders now secure, Halsten went to holy war in Africa in 1388, seeking control over the duchy of Kabylia. The war in the scorching sun was hard on the Scandinavian armies, but after four years of fighting, Kabylia was secured. The Muslims now weakened and decended into civil war, was an easy picking for his seasoned warriors, when he then moved into the rebel lands, securing the duchy of Tunis the year after.

Seeking control over the Russian steppes, which the HRE now was moving in to take control over as much as possible of, Halsten I then moved north. As per the Treaty of Köln, the Steppes was fair game, and Halsten declared holy war for the duchy of Vitebsk in 1393. This war was to be his last. In the fighting, Halsten got severely wounded, fighting against a heathen chieftain. After two years of healing, he recovered enough to lead battle again. But now his luck had run out. In 1396, in the biggest battle against the heathen to date, he got cornered by the enemy and slain. The last of the Medieval Emperors was dead. In his place came his son Geirr III, the first Renaissance Emperor of the Scandinavian Empire.


The Scandinavian Empire at the end of the Medieval times, one the eve of the Renaissance.

Aftermath
The reign of Halsten I marked the end of the Medieval times in Europe. Under his tutelage, a division of Europe in nascent spheres of influence between the HRE and Scandinavia was worked out. The Treaty of Köln was his lasting achievement. Under his son and heir Geirr III, the Eastern Roman Empire was later included in this agreement, giving the ERE influence over the southern parts of the Russian steppes, as well as parts of the Middle East.

The Scandinavian Empire had for centuries had a close relation with the ERE, intermarrying and even got a small part of Greece proper under their control. With this came alliances, but also cultural influence. In the later parts of Halsten I’s reign, and blossoming under Geirr III, this lead to the start of the Renaissance in Europe. Art and science prospered, and with the division of Europe into influence zones, the continent got a breather from war which only strengthened the trend. Scholars are divided on who to name the first Renaissance Emperor, Halsten I or his son, but most lean towards the son. In any case, the death of Halstein I marked the end of an era, and the beginning of a new.

Here ends the tale of the kings and Emperors of the Medieval Norgesveldet and Scandinavian Empire.
 

fnwilborn

Moderator
Promotør
Medlem
Og med det er AAR'en over.:) Dere vil se oversettelsen av de siste kapitelene på Spillhistorie i de følgende ukene, men nå er altså historien over på engelsk.:)
 

fnwilborn

Moderator
Promotør
Medlem
Bare en heads up: Siste to kapitlene er ferdig på norsk og kommer snart på Spillhistorie.:) Hadde satt pris på tilbakemeldinger om dere liker det!
 
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