Please continue to use the Discussion Thread for comments. Also I will continue to post the minor updates there to vet them before they get posted in year-by-year format here.
The first post covers the period from 1075 AD to 1094 AD:
The POD – Godfrey the Hunchback is not so distraught over his father’s death in 1069 and he and Matilda successfully have several children. In 1068 Boniface is born, Beatrix in 1071, Godfrey in 1072, and Laura in 1074.
1075 AD -
Godfrey although adoring of his children, if not his wife’s overbearing demeanor, decides he can no longer wait to reclaim his title to the Duchy of Lower Lorraine. He sets forth from Canossa to just that.
(June) The First Battle of Langensalza: Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV and several rebellious Saxon noblemen clashed on the River Unstrut near Langensalza. The battle was a complete success for Henry.
Pope Gregory VII declared in the Dictatus Papae thus begins Henry IV’s struggle with Church over who may invest ecclesiastical positions, particularly bishops, commonly called the Investiture Conflict.
Henry IV responds by sending a letter to the Pope that effectively removes him as Pope and calls for new Papal elections.
1076 AD –
Late February Pope Gregory VII, in response to the letter Henry IV sent him, excommunicates Henry. Effectively doing what Henry did to him, deposing him from his positions as King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor.
Using this as an excuse many nobles and aristocrats begin to ferment rebellion against Henry’s rule.
1077 AD –
In an attempt to stem the rebellion Henry journeyed during the winter to Italy to make amends with the Pope and remove his excommunication.
Outside the castle of Canossa Henry paid homage to Pope Gregory and in return for his penance had the excommunication removed.
Plotters back in Germany were not dismayed by the lifting of Henry’s excommunication and declared Rudolf von Rheinfeld, Duke of Swabia, King of Germany.
Events do not go well for Rudolf as Mainz, where he was crowned, rebelled forcing him to flee Saxony for Swabia.
1078 AD –
(August) Henry and Rudolf square off at the battle of Mellrichstadt which proves indecisive.
1080 AD –
(January) Rudolf wins the battle of Flarcheim but fails to defeat Henry IV’s forces completely.
(March) Rudolf successfully convinces the Pope to recognize him and again excommunicate Henry.
(April) Godfrey the Hunchback dies suppressing a minor rebellion of anti-royalists within his duchy. Henry IV installs Frederick of Büren, the first Hohenstaufen, as Duke of Lower Lorraine.
(October) Henry IV and Rudolf von Rheinfeld meet once again near the Elster River. However this time Rudolf does not meet with success as he is mortally wounded and died soon after the battle from his wounds thus leaving the now fractured anti-royalists with no leadership. Henry awarded the Duchy of Swabia to his son Conrad.
Near Modena, Matilda confronted several allies of Henry IV. The battle known as Volta Mantovana comes off as a draw when her son Boniface, age 12, with only his few loyal retainers rallies a section of the field that was wavering allowing for an orderly withdraw from the field of battle. Many a man was shamed that a boy would go where they would not. [It is rumored that even though she rejoiced at the outcome young Boniface was unable to sit comfortably for a while thereafter.]
1081 AD –
Henry IV gathers his forces and makes his way to Italy to confront the Pope Gregory VII.
Matilda of Canossa as usual flocks to the papal banner. Since she controls the western passes of the Apennines Henry is forced to march to Rome through Ravenna.
Matilda having difficulty with several cities within her domain, her capital of Lucca included, is forced to make some concessions to the cities to maintain their loyalty. Immediate concerns are addressed but she vows on a Holy Bible that when the conflict with Henry IV is ended she will readdress the issue. However this distraction costs her valuable time that Henry IV uses to good cause.
(June) A council at Brixen pronounced Gregory VII deposed and Henry nominated the archbishop of Ravenna, Guibert to replace him.
(July) With a decisive victory proving elusive Henry as much as he would like to completely depose Matilda only stripped her of her Imperial titles. Still she has significant holdings of her own and continued to be a source of trouble.
Henry IV marched on Rome but does not succeed in entering the city. Pope Gregory retires to Sant’Angelo, a fortified position on the other bank of the Tiber. Pope Gregory VII refused to entreat any of Henry’s overtures even when he offered Guibert as a prisoner if he only crowned him emperor. Gregory prepared for a long siege.
Several more indecisive battles are fought between Henry’s allies and Matilda.
1082 AD –
With Pope Gregory VII besieged in Rome within the Citadel of Sant’Angelo Matilda become the focal point for all communication between Gregory and his allies throughout Northern Europe.
(Early) Robert Curthose, the eldest son of William the Conqueror, arrived in Canossa after accepting peace with his father over a year and half before.
(Late) Matilda accepted Robert’s offer of proposal, against the wishes of her advisors, however she actually is fond of him and her children are charmed with him, especially Boniface who looks up to this experienced Norman warrior.
1083 AD –
(June) Robert Guiscard is recalled from his war against Byzantium to aid Gregory VII against Henry IV.
(November) Matilda gave birth to a girl, Constance, but it was a difficult birth which left Matilda sterile.
1084 AD –
(March) Henry succeeded in gaining the majority of Rome and bottled Gregory VII in the Citadel Sant’Angelo. With the capture of the Papal Seal Guibert is enthroned as Pope (called the anti-pope by Matilda and those forces loyal to Gregory VII) Clement III. Clement III quickly crowned Henry emperor.
Word reached Henry that Robert Guiscard was arriving with 36,000 troops to come to the aid of Gregory. He fled north with Clement III.
Henry as he withdrew attempted to ravage Matilda’s lands but the efforts of Robert Curthose effectively blunted those efforts.
Henry was tempted to stay in Italy himself but decided to leave for Germany when rumors of rebellion came to him. He quickly left his allies in charge to deal with ‘that blonde woman’ as Henry had begun to call her.
Norman troops sacked sections of Rome and their actions caused the citizens of Rome to become incensed forcing Pope Gregory VII to flee to Monte Cassino and then by sea to Salerno under the protection of his Norman allies. All the while Henry’s forces again recaptured Rome.
(July) Matilda’s forces with the aid of Robert Curthose successfully crushed Henry’s allies at Sorbara, near Modena.
1085 AD –
(May) Pope Gregory VII died in Salerno.
1086 AD –
Dauferius is made the successor of Pope Gregory VII and is elected as Pope Victor III.
Pope Victor III returned to Rome but only for a short time as a he held a synod in Benevento.
(August) The synod that denounces Clement III and excommunicated him also called for a kind of Crusade against the Saracens in Africa.
Guiscard’s son, Bohemond, had lost all the gains his father had made in Greece and as he returned to Southern Italy in defeat he is killed when his ship is caught in a storm and sinks.
Robert Guiscard vowed to return to Greece and finish what he started but is ‘obligated’ by Pope Victor III to lead this Crusade to Africa.
Boniface is engaged to Adelaide daughter of the Count Guilhem Betrand I of Provence and is married in October.
1087 AD –
(February) Robert Guiscard began preparations to invade Tunis at the behest of the Pope.
(September) Unfortunately Pope Victor III’s time is short on the throne of Saint Peter for he died shortly after having fallen ill at the Synod.
Robert heard of the death of Pope Victor III moments after the bulk of his troops and fleet had already set sail for Africa.
1088 AD –
(March) The cardinal and bishop of Ostia, Odo, is elected Pope Urban II.
Robert Guiscard began the siege of Tunis
(April) Adelaide gave birth to Matilda’s first grandchild, Gregory.
(May) Robert Guiscard successfully completed the siege of Tunis and sent his captains to west of Tunis bringing much of Africa including the city of Bona under his control as he marched south to Tripoli stopping in June to siege the city of Kairwan.
(October) Forces under the command of Boniface defeated a group of Henry’s allies near Ravenna but are forced to retreat as reinforcements arrive from the city.
(November) Roger Borsa, son of Robert Guiscard, invested the city of Tripoli by landing troops to the east of the city as his father marched in from the west.
1089 AD –
Henry IV married Eupraxia of Kiev, the daughter of Vsevolod I, Prince of Kiev and assumes the name of Adelaide upon her coronation.
Frederick Staufen Duke of Lower Lorraine married Agnes, daughter of Henry IV.
(April) Beatrix is married to Floris II of Friesland and Count of Holland, also known as Floris the Fat. This union tied together a powerful pro-papal faction in Northern Germany together with Matilda's faction in Italy. Ironically enough it was Floris' father, Dirk V, which was behind the death of her father Godfrey the Hunchback. Dirk V had succeeded in 1080 where his stepfather, Robert of Flanders, had failed in 1076 to kill Godfrey.
1090 AD –
Pope Urban II continued holding Synods which denounced Clement III, and renewed declarations against simony, lay investiture, and clerical marriages.
(June) Godfrey, second son of Matilda and Godfrey the Hunchback, married Adelisa daughter of Roger I, ruler of Norman Sicily. (She was to wed Henry Count of Monte San Angelo but he was killed suppressing local Islamic forces in the newly acquired Duchy of Tripoli while he served under Roger Borsa.)
Matilda began to secretly correspond with Conrad, son of Henry IV.
1091 AD –
(Spring) Fearing the power that Matilda was drawing to her and thus the Pope Henry IV again marched into Italy.
(September) On the road from Ravenna, stronghold of Clement III, Henry’s forces are ambushed by a force led by Boniface and are routed. However due to the timely arrival of some late arriving cavalry (led by Frederick von Staufen Duke of Lower Lorraine) Boniface’s boldness in attacking Henry does not lead to a complete victory and saw Henry’s forces retire from the field in good order.
Matilda received word from Sicily of the birth of her second grandchild, Giovanna. (Godfrey and Adelisa stayed in the court of Sicily when it was revealed she was pregnant so soon after the wedding.)
(November) Boniface and Adelaide celebrated the birth of twins. The boy named Atto and the girl Matilda.
1092 AD –
(Early) Under the influence of Matilda of Tuscany Conrad joined the Papal faction thus turning against his father Henry IV.
Henry IV having returned to Germany to gather more troops after the failure of the previous years railed at his son’s betrayal.
(March) Beatrix and Floris II have a son named Dirk VI.
(April) Pope Urban II arranged for Conrad to marry Felicia, daughter of Roger I of Sicily.
(May) With support from Pope Urban II, Matilda of Tuscany, and his new father-in-law Conrad is crowned King of Italy in the city of Milan. (To say Henry is displeased does not quite accurately describe it.)
1093 AD –
(Early) Conrad, as a symbol of piety and humility, is appointed to be Pope Urban II’s Strator.
(May) Moving quickly to suppress his son’s rebellion Henry IV amassed a large army near Ravenna.
(June) Pope Urban II promised Conrad the Imperial crown.
Pope Urban II raised the city of Pisa to the rank of archbishopric. He also awarded them supremacy over Corsica and Sardinia. (Pisa technically part of Tuscany but in effect virtually independent for some fifteen years.)
(July) Near the city of Bologna the forces of Henry and Conrad clashed. At a critical junction in the battle Conrad got cut off from the rest of his forces and is surrounded by elements of Henry’s army. As his defenders slowly fall to protect their young king, Boniface, commanding a section of the royal cavalry, saw the events unfolding from his position made a quick decision. Charging in with barely more than a handful of men he managed to break through and allow Conrad to escape from his precarious position. (Some Historians/military analysts will later argue this point that it was more along the lines of hundred men for the forces surrounding Conrad were quite numerous.)
Even with this dramatic rescue Conrad and Boniface were forced to withdraw as Henry’s more numerous force outflanked them. Still this earned much gratitude from Conrad and Boniface was rewarded well, not just with titles but Conrad’s friendship also. Boniface also came out of the battle with the moniker “the Reckless”.
(August) Felicia gave birth to Conrad II.
Henry’s and Conrad’s forces clashed in a series of indecisive battles that slowly pushed Conrad towards Milan.
(September) Henry’s forces succeeded in forcing Conrad to retreat into Milan which is promptly placed under siege.
Boniface who had been in Tuscany receiving additional forces from his mother and stepfather quickly received word of Conrad’s dire predicament and raced North with as many men as he can gather.
(October) Arriving upon the siege of Milan Boniface is dismayed at the news that Henry’s huge siege engines were already in position pounding at the walls. As much as Boniface would like to do something rash and bold a disaster here would cripple the anti-royalist faction's power in Italy, but an idea comes to him when his scouts return word of the disposition of Henry’s camp.
As the day dawned the bulk of Boniface’s troops moved to a position that threatened Henry’s supply line back to Ravenna and Germany. As Henry moved men to displace Boniface’s troops Conrad’s forces sallied from Milan in attempt at a pincer movement to destroy Henry’s forces. Henry had been expecting precisely this and had laid a cunning trap to deceive his son. For during the night his scouts had informed him of Boniface’s arrival and he plotted a deception to lure his son out.
As the day progressed Conrad’s forces were being pressed sorely as they were pushed back into Milan and Boniface’s troops the same further to the east. Henry was on the verge of victory when a cavalry force of some five hundred appeared to his north. At first he assumed it was elements from the army under Frederick Hohenstaufen returning from battle in the east. The troops that had arrived appeared exhausted and bore the flag of a loyal vassal. However as the exhausted troops came closer they began to array in battle formation and the flag was thrown down to be replaced with Boniface’s own. (Boniface had during the night left his brother Godfrey in command with orders to take a position that threatened Henry’s supply lines while he took the bulk of the cavalry and swept far to the North to avoid Henry’s scouts and under the banner of vassal loyal to Henry, the standard captured in earlier campaigns, drew close enough to Henry’s lines to spring his surprise.)
As Boniface’s cavalry smashed into Henry’s lines confusion reigned. However his numbers were too small and as soon as Henry’s forces began to react the tide soon turned. Just as it seemed the raiders would be overwhelmed they broke off and sped away to the South towards Tuscany. The raid paid a heavy toll (It is believe that half of Boniface’s raiders were killed) but succeeded in their mission. For it had hit the command area of Henry’s forces and killed several of the nobles commanding sections of the army in the siege of Milan but the greatest prize was that of Henry IV himself.
During the raid it was Boniface’s hope to catch Henry in a pincer and have his cavalry raid to aid Conrad, but things did not go quite as planned (He had to range farther North than he planned to circle the battlefield unseen and Conrad’s forces were not quite as successful in sallying as he hoped.). As the raid made its strike several of his men had knocked Henry IV unconscious when he was knocked of his horse. Seeing that Conrad’s forces were fairing badly Boniface knew that his attempt had failed but with Henry IV, at least temporarily his prisoner, a new opportunity had come. He had his men toss the unconscious Henry on a horse and retreated as best he could to the South eventually meeting his brother and the troops under his command (Godfrey held as long as he could but Frederick forced him to retire from the field at about the same time Boniface’s raid was occurring.).
Seeing that his goal was reached Frederick quickly turned his army around (leaving a guard to watch the prisoner’s and wounded and to keep on eye on the Tuscan troops) and made haste towards Milan (several miles away). Having reached Milan he saw the effects of the raid and quickly made his way to the Henry’s tent but to his surprise he only finds several nobles bickering amongst themselves.
Frederick received blank stares when he asks where Henry is.
He didn’t have long to wait as an emissary from Boniface which declared that he did in fact have Henry IV as his prisoner. Quickly Frederick silenced the uproar Frederick took a letter presented him by the emissary who left saying he would return tomorrow to hear their reply.
The letter stated that Henry would remain safe and sound under Boniface’s protection however if his forces should continue to siege Milan he could not guarantee Henry’s safety. Boniface offered to meet a delegation from Henry’s forces to negotiate in a small church located between there two forces.
The nobles argued the rest of day and well into the night. The majority argued to take Milan (it surely cannot withstand another attack) and seize Conrad and exchange the two. Others argued to march south and get Henry back while leaving Conrad bottled up, it is only Frederick and his loyal retainers that argued to negotiate for Henry (he is his father-in-law after all). But to no avail most of the men held no allegiance to Frederick (and the mercenaries that have been employed wanted the loot they would get from sacking Milan) and saw the attack on Milan as their only option. With Conrad in their hand they believed they could safely negotiate from at worst an equal position (Frederick argued that Conrad might very well die in the assault but logic failed to sway many.).
At dawn the next day the emissary returns and receives, to Frederick’s dismay, the nobles’ refused to negotiate. The emissary accepted their answer and left as the army besieging Milan prepared for an assault.
Boniface’s scouts quickly reported to him of Henry’s forces preparations for an assault on the city. Not unexpected but he had hoped they would negotiate. Boniface gathered his troops leaving only the most severely wounded in the care of monks of the abbey he camped near. Summoning to him twenty of his most loyal retainers he placed Henry under their guard and set them to take Henry to his mother in Canossa.
The siege proceeded in a haphazard manner as several of the nobles failed to coordinate between them as they don’t agree on who is in charge (Frederick refused to participate in the assault and chose to move his forces in position to challenge Boniface if he moved north to intercede.) and did not make any progress until later in the day.
It is almost midday before Boniface could bring his forces north when he faced off with Frederick von Staufen. With the bulk of Henry’s forces tied up on the assault of Milan only Frederik’s forces (and those of his retainers and a few nobles he was able to convince to join him) were free to counter this movement by Boniface. Both sides had bloodied themselves the previous day’s fighting but with it only being Frederik’s forces Boniface had the majority of arms if a bit low on cavalry.
The previous day’s failure to relieve the city heavy on his mind Boniface moved to engage Frederik’s forces lest he be outflanked or cutoff from retreat. Frederick being the competent commander that he is delayed Boniface for several hours but the weight of numbers forced him to withdraw back towards Ravenna. Leaving some men under his brother Godfrey to watch Frederik’s men, the prisoners, and wounded Boniface took the bulk of his forces towards Milan. By the time he reached the city had several breaches in the walls.
Wasting no time, though he is outnumbered, Boniface achieved a local area of numerical superiority for a period of time which allowed access to one of Milan’s city gates. Getting Conrad to abandon the city proved his most difficult challenge. He prevailed and withdrew with his men (Conrad and what defenders that could make it out also.) to the south meeting up with Godfrey at the abbey. Conrad is said to have vowed to rebuild Milan as he looked back upon the sacked city with a large column of smoke leaping up to the sky.
With the capture of Milan but no Conrad the supporters of Henry IV were in a dilemma as to what to do. Frederick von Staufen persuaded them this time to wait and see what kind of agreements could be made.
(Late October) Henry IV is held in Canossa castle in relative comfort but under heavy guard while Conrad, Matilda, and the rest argued and prepared for what their next actions are to be.
(November) Having come to agreement they presented Henry IV with their list of demands that would secure his freedom. For a week he balked at their demands but Henry finally gave in.
He agreed to the following:
(Late November) Henry’s army dispersed back into Germany (or at least as far as they could before the snows closed the passes) once it is verified that he is unharmed and on his way to Rome.
In Ravenna, Clement III denounced the peace treaty which he claimed Henry was coerced by knife point making it invalid. (Quietly he welcomed several nobles from Henry’s dispersing army which swelled his own ranks as he promised to reverse this once Henry is free. The snows which blocked the passes gave him more time to gather disaffected nobles than he would otherwise have had.)
Henry IV began his slow procession towards Rome (This trip to Rome which lasted over a month is memorialized in a painting located in the Vatican during the 15th Century.)
(December) Henry arrived in Rome only to find out that Pope Urban II had left upon an urgent task and has commanded that Henry wait until he returned. Henry, not amused, is left cooling his heals as a guest of the Pope until his return several months later.
Again use Discussion Thread for comments.
1095 AD –
(January) Conrad returned to Milan and began some initial planning to rebuild the city. (He’s stuck in Italy too at the moment with the passes closed.)
(February) Laura, daughter of Matilda of Canossa and Godfrey the Hunchback, married Henry IX second son of the Duke of Bavaria, Welf I. Henry IX, called the Black, administrated the Welf-Este family holdings south of the Alps, including the newly invested Margrave of Verona (called at times the Brennermark), thus solidifying Matilda of Canossa’s hold on the entrance into Italy from Germany.
(Early March) Pope Urban II arrived at the Council of Piacenza (located in Northern Italy) where many Italian, Burgundian, and French bishops met. Thousands of Church officials and laymen attended the Council forcing the Council to be held outside the city. Several important visitors attended seeking an audience with the Pope including several ambassadors from the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus.
The ambassadors were charged with seeking Western aid in reclaiming land lost to the Seljuk Turks who had conquered virtually all of Byzantine Anatolia. This threat to the Empire and Jerusalem was taken quite seriously, even more so than Alexius and his ambassadors had expected. Pope Urban II called for an even greater council to be held in November at Clermont, in France, to address this issue.
(Early April) Pope Urban II returned to Rome to meet with Henry IV, in tow was Henry’s wife Adelaide (Praxedis) who had complained to the Pope of Henry’s affairs at the Council in Piacenza. The meeting between Henry IV and Urban II was not as tumultuous as many had predicted or expected it to be. Henry left the meeting a much chastised man. For his affront to God and the Church he was commanded to build a great Cathedral in the city of Worms and denounced his puppet Pope Clement III. For his affront against his fellow man he was to uphold his agreements that he made in November of 1094 with Matilda of Canossa and her allies. (It is said in some historical documents that Urban II had a third affront that Henry had to do penance for, one to his wife. What this exactly was remains unknown but it is known with some assurance that for the rest of his life Henry IV quite dutiful in his husbandly duties to his wife.)
Henry along with his wife began their journey to Germany.
Conrad also returned to Germany to tour the land as the anointed King of Germany and began solving the complex political issues that had arisen with the fallout from Henry’s defeat and capture in Italy.
(Late April) Clement III solidified his hold on the territories under his control (Ferrara in the North down to Ancona in the South,). Additional forces that had broken off from the Army returning to Germany swelled his ranks. Clement also denounced the statements made by Henry IV in support of Urban II as nothing but lies from the false Pope Urban II (from his point of view).
(Summer) Boniface clashed with elements of Clement III’s forces near the city of Urbino, in the March of Ancona. The city is held firmly by Clement’s forces, however, the population chafed at the additional taxes and duties emplaced upon them by Clement to support his expanded military forces. The fighting lasted most of the summer but was mostly inconclusive as his forces are too depleted from the fighting less than a year before. Clement’s forces maintained a mostly defensive posture with only a short abortive attempt to move on Bologna.
(September) Matilda, with the conflict with Henry IV abated, attempted to honor her vow of years before to conclude an agreement with the great cities inhabiting her demesnes. She sent out invitations to many cities, even some currently occupied by Clement III (The story of one Theodore of Lucca delivering this missive to prominent citizens of Ravenna, the stronghold of Clement III, and returning with an envoy is told in the popular tale The Cloak, the Flute, and the Candle.). It took months of negotiation to get several of these cities just to agree to come, Pisa being the foremost in their distrust. (They were not happy with Matilda forcing Henry to rescind some of his promises to their cities in exchange for his freedom.)
(October) The town of Urbino revolted against Clement’s forces. The short lived rebellion is ruthlessly crushed by Clement’s forces. Boniface caught off guard by this vowed to not let another opportunity such as this be wasted.
(Mid-November) The Council of Clermont began. It addressed many issues which confronted the Church, but it was at the end of November that the climax of the council occurred. Hoping to heal the Great Schism of 40 years past Pope Urban II gave a passionate sermon to the nobles and clergy of France to set aside the violence to fellow Christians and turn their swords upon God’s service. He called upon them to wrest control of the holy city of Jerusalem from the Muslims (later letters to other sections of Europe would mention helping Alexius I but emphasis on this had fallen). He spoke of rewards on both Heaven and Earth where sins would be forgiven for any who might die in the quest. With cries of Deus Vult and/or Dieu le veut (Latin and French for ‘God wills it’) the crowd was moved to passionate enthusiasm.
For the next several months Urban II traveled France spreading the word. He also encouraged his bishops and legates to spread the word in their own diocese elsewhere in France, Italy, and Germany. Pope Urban II planned for the middle of August to be when the armies set out.
Again use the Discussion Thread for any comments
1096 AD –
(February) A deft game of politics between father and son (Henry IV and Conrad) began as both gathered support within the Kingdom of Germany by emplacing men and vassals in important offices and positions.
(March) Conrad and Felicia celebrated the birth of their daughter Liutgard. Much to the grief of her parents she died within five days.
Boniface and Godfrey clashed with elements of Clement’s forces near Ancona.
(April) The spread of the word among the faithful to reclaim Jerusalem (and help Alexius I of course) had garnered a response far beyond the expectations of Urban II. A mass migration that over the course of time would number over a hundred thousand (mostly made up of unskilled fighters, peasants, women, children, poor knights, and a smattering of smaller nobles and their retainers). A monk by the name of Peter ‘the Hermit’ of Amiens became the leader of a large number of these people and led them to Constantinople, where they arrived after much trouble in August, in what became known as the Peasant’s or People’s Crusade.
(May) Conrad arrived in Saxony while touring Germany as he gathered support to oppose his father.
An uprising in the city of Rimini (held by Clement III) is an opportunity that Boniface could not pass up and took good advantage of. Leaving his brother Godfrey to siege Urbino (weakened from the uprising from the year before) Boniface marched his forces to Bimini in record time and negotiated with the citizens of the city who, although they didn’t control the entire city, held the fortress and several key gates.
Clement III was caught off-guard by this action and quickly found his territories cut in two. In the North he still held Ferrara, Ravenna (his seat), and Faenza. In the South he held Urbino (under siege), Sinigaglia, and Ancona.
(June) Small groups of knights and peasants began to persecute Jews throughout Europe as they begin the march to Jerusalem. Those actions were condemned by the Church as well as Henry IV and Conrad. One of the few things they both agreed upon at the time; taking money from them to finance the Crusade was one thing, killing them wholesale was another. The culmination of the situation came to a head when Conrad on his progression from Saxony to the Lorraine/Lotharingian Duchies encountered Emicho, Count of Flonheim, as he marched north towards Cologne killing and pillaging Jewish communities to finance his army on the Crusades.
Emicho’s forces numbered around ten thousand, some of them women and children, while Conrad was only able to muster a few thousand men. Local nobles, supplying the bulk of those forces, who are either loyal to Conrad or Henry but as both are against these attacks on the Jews it allowed Conrad to gather more support than he otherwise might have. Realizing he is badly outnumbered and in a poor tactical position Conrad made a quick and fateful decision. He galloped with only his personal standard bearer within earshot of the assembled host and made an impassioned plea to remind them of what their holy mission was. It wasn’t until the end of his impromptu speech that he famously asked, “Will you follow me unto the walls of Sacred Jerusalem? Will you follow me unto the gates of Heaven?” With a thunderous roar Conrad had won over the host.
The only conflict that occurred that day was when a group that had followed Emicho claimed he had eaten a duck for his dinner that possessed the Holy Spirit and killed him as he slept.* Needless to say the culprits were caught and hung.
Conrad now apparently leading a section of the Crusade (there was no set leadership for the Crusade but Conrad was now the only crowned king [Italy and Germany] to participate, thus making him the senior in rank) persuaded the Jews of the Rhineland to help finance a portion of the Crusade. (After saving many Jews from death, force conversion, etc. they were more than willing.)
Over the next several months Conrad gathered many groups (not all of them some would go into Hungary immediately like Peter the Hermit’s group and cause trouble there and throughout the Balkans) of Saxons, Lorrainers, Swabians, Bohemians, Italians, etc. under his banner and joined the other princes of Europe (Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy (Husband of Matilda of Canossa), Raymond IV of Toulouse, Count Robert II of Flanders, Eustace and Baldwin of Boulogne, Godfrey of Bouillon, Count Stephen of Blois, Hugh of Vermandois brother to King Philip I of France, and Tancred, grandson of Robert Guiscard) as they began their journey to Constantinople first stop on their trek to Jerusalem.
(July) Henry IV stopped a smaller but similar group of rampaging knights in Bohemia from doing similar assaults on Jews in and around Prague.
Matilda of Canossa finally got agreements from the cities of Northern Italy to meet in September at a neutral location within the city of Rome.
Clement III tried to relieve the siege at Urbino but his forces from Ancona become bogged down with supply issues and forced to withdraw before any fighting takes place.
Laura, daughter of Matilda, gave birth to Henry, son of Henry ‘the Black’ Welf-Este.
(August) Under their spiritual leader Adhemar of Le Puy, the papal legate, the Crusade known as the Princes’ Crusade (Unlike the one under Peter the Hermit which will be known as the Peasant’s or People’s Crusade.) began to leave for Constantinople and would not arrived there until December.
Peter the Hermit’s band of followers arrived in Constantinople under Byzantine escort after fighting several battles in Hungary and in Byzantium. Alexius I confused and unsure was to what to do with this ‘army’ quickly ferried them across the Bosporus where several smaller bands began to pillage villages there. This was against the advice of Alexius who urged Peter to wait until the rest of the Crusaders arrived.
(Early September) Matilda and the envoys began meeting to discuss an agreement between them and her house. A papal envoy was mediating the assembly.
(Late September) A force of several thousand of Peter’s forces (they had broken off from the main force intent upon looting the countryside) made up of French, Italian, and Germans seized the town of Xerigordon to use as a base to raid the country side. Peter urged them to wait but he had lost much of his authority of his army to a Frenchmen, Walter Sans-Avoir, who it should be noted did not approve of this either. After nine days this force is annihilated when thirst drove them to make an attempt to break through the Turkish forces, those not killed were sold off into slavery.
(October) With Peter in Constantinople arranging for supplies Walter led an army of over twenty thousand towards Nicaea leaving only those not able to fight behind in camp. In a narrow wooded valley near the town of Dracon the Turks ambushed the Crusader’s army. Only four thousand escaped to an old abandoned castle, which the Turks promptly placed under siege. Eventually the Byzantines sailed over and raised the siege freeing the men trapped inside. Those men again came under Peter’s leadership and waited for the rest of the Crusaders to arrive before returning to Asia.
(November) Urbino fell to Godfrey’s forces when a mercenary company in charge of the gates switched sides. The rest of the garrison surrendered after only putting up a token resistance.
(December) The rest of the Crusaders arrived outside the walls of Constantinople by various paths. Most arrived with little or no supplies (Only those forces under Conrad and Robert Curthose, courtesy of his wife Matilda, had adequate supplies). Those forces that had expected Alexius to provision them were asked to swear an oath of allegiance to return any land taken from the Turks and return it to the Byzantines. All but Conrad and Robert were forced to take the oath, while many pleaded with Conrad to aid them with supplies he had a hard enough time just supplying his own forces let alone the tens of thousands of others.
*You just can’t make this stuff up. Apparently there was a group of Emicho’s followers that worshipped a duck that they believed was to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Guess he should have paid more attention to where his cook got his dinner. Sadly in OTL Emicho did not meet such a fate…the fate of the duck is unknown in the annals of history though.
Again use the Discussion Thread for any comments.
1097 AD –
(Early January) After months of negotiation Matilda reached a tentative deal with the great cities of Northern Italy. This charter will become known as the Ovatio Pactio (The lesser bargain or lesser contract) but is generally known as the City Charter. The Charter agreed to the following.
All cities that agreed to this charter:
•Are exempted from their feudal obligations toward the feudatories on their territory
•Allowed to establish trade fairs
•Create a government to run their respective cities as the citizens of said cities see fit (Two slight amendments were added to this, the local bishop or their representative was to be represented in government if the bishop chose to do so, and an observer appointed by the King of Italy is allowed to be present at all official government meetings.) [This was important to get Pisa on board as it was a promise that Henry IV gave them in 1077 but was forced to withdraw to secure his freedom.]
•Allowed to administer high justice (An amendment was added that allowed an accused person(s) to appeal to the King of Italy or the Count Palatine of Italy if the King is away for clemency in the Court of Justice, in Pavia, if the accused is a citizen from a city different from the one administrating high justice, and that city has signed the Charter.)
In exchange for these rights the cities had to yield the following:
•A set payment of gold/silver paid twice per year, in January and October (This set payment is different for each city and for some is just a lump sum for others it is a percentage.)
•Agreed to bring all issues between cities and their feudatories to the Court of Justice in Pavia.
In addition to the Charter several other agreements were handled. Matilda agreed to levy a uniform duty for those traveling across Canossa lands and provide safe passage for those travelers. Also the Court of Justice in Pavia was to be solely funded by House Canossa (much of it would actually be funded by Boniface from his Duchy of Lombardy since it was being built in his capital).
(Late February) Minor nobles throughout Northern Italy angered by Matilda’s agreement with the cities began to plot against her.
(Early March) In an effort to not appear weak after his recent defeats Clement III launched an attack towards the city of Bologna from his stronghold in Ravenna. Clement’s forces successfully made it to the city and began a siege.
(Late March) Sensing an opportunity while the bulk of Clement’s forces were invested in the siege of Bologna Boniface decided to make a daring gamble. He gathered his army in Rimini and marched north. That same day Boniface hired several Venetian ships that had docked in Rimini, loaded them with some of his men, and under the command of one of his trusted lieutenants set sail upon a critical mission. They, under the cloak of night, gained access to Ravenna’s harbor and opened the nearest gate allowing Boniface’s troops in (Historical documents say that they used tiny brass mirrors to signal to the ships during the day when they were ready for them to proceed into the harbor.). The city’s defenders outnumbered and surprised were quickly subdued (many surrendered) only Clement’s personal guard refused to give up and continued to fight. They were quickly defeated and Clement was captured.
With Clement secured, the city surrendered and his forces elsewhere melted away. Sinigaglia, Ancona, and Faenza within days of having heard Clement had been captured quickly disposed of the few diehards remaining and welcomed Boniface’s troops. Only Ferrara remained as a group of mercenaries, at the demise of Clement, had declared that their captain was now lord of the city. Godfrey, who had joined his brother in Ravenna, took a force north to rid Ferrara of these pests, but by the time he had arrived the citizens had risen up and at great cost cleansed their city of this false lord and his gang. (No direct documentation exists that corroborates a text written fifty years later that the people of Ferrara had risen up after it was rumored that these mercenaries had raped several nuns in a small church within the city. The actual reason is lost to history but the text previously mentioned is doubtful in that it is written after the Church reforms that heavily slant Clement III as being more an anti-Christ than an anti-pope. It also failed to take in account the time difference between when Clement III was captured and when the supposed actions of the mercenaries took place.)
(Early April) Guibert (Clement III) was taken to Rome to meet with Urban II.
(Late April) A broad but scattered rebellion of minor nobles began within the Canossa domains. Their main grievance is the effect the Charter had on them or the agreement to create a uniform duty which would be going solely to Canossas [and not them].
(May) [Asia Minor] The Crusader army in Constantinople was shipped across the strait near Nicaea, current capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum. A Byzantine army under General Taticius also went with the Crusaders to be guides through Asia Minor (In addition other Byzantine armies were setting out to reclaim other territories in Asia Minor from the Seljuks.)
Within a week the Crusaders had placed the city under siege. Several days later the Turkish garrison of Nicaea sallied but was forced to withdraw with moderate losses. Weeks into the siege Seljuk forces attempted to supply the city via the Ascanian Lake but failed as a group of Saxon knights deployed there by Conrad foiled their attempt. The Turks were able to get some supplies when they evaded the Crusader patrols, but even this sporadic lifeline ended when Alexius I supplied the Crusaders with boats (brought overland).
Kilij Arslan, leader of the Sultanate of Rum, returned from the war against the Danishmends in the east to combat the forces that had besieged his capital. Arslan fought a pitched battle with the Crusaders but was forced to withdraw after he took heavy casualties. (The Crusaders also took a relatively high number of casualties.)
[Italy] Guibert, formerly Clement III, publicly confessed his sins of revolting against the Church and the holy Pope, Urban II. He was then quietly and under heavy guard sent to the abbey of Monte Cassino. While there he was forced to tonsure and took a vow of silence. (There is some evidence that he was also immured within his cell in the abbey but it is unknown whether this was at Urban II’s orders or those of the abbot of Monte Cassino.)
With the last city, Ancona, having signed the Charter Matilda promptly declares to a surprised audience that she will not return until the holy city of Jerusalem is retaken from the infidels. No one was more surprised than her two sons, Boniface and Godfrey, who promptly were informed, that they were to “deal with these unruly jumped-up farmers who claim to be nobility” (the minor nobles currently at odds with her over the City Charter). Matilda proceeded to gather a fleet of Pisan and Genoese vessels, outfitted them with supplies and troops, and set sail to join the Crusading army on their way to Jerusalem. (It actually took Matilda until July to gather the needed men, supplies, and ships before she left Italy. Pope Urban II is said to have loaned a genuine Saint’s relic to guide her safely unto the holy city.) As soon as she took her vow she wore nothing but simple clothes and the donned the red cross over her armor, the symbol of the Crusader.
(Mid-June) [Asia Minor] When it became apparent to the Turkish garrison that Kilij Arslan would not or could not return the Turkish garrison offered to surrender to Alexius I (a Byzantine delegation under the command of Manuel Boutoumites had quietly sailed over and negotiated their surrender). At first the Crusaders were angry when they woke up to find the city flying the Byzantine standard (no chance for loot) but Conrad, with a nodding Adhemar standing beside him, reminded them that it was the walls of Jerusalem not Nicaea that was what mattered. It also helped that Alexius I sent gifts but it left a bad taste in the mouths of some of the Crusaders. Conrad negotiated with Boutoumites, the new Duke of Nicaea, with an agreeable level access to the city for the Crusaders. He also offered to pay for any damage done to the city from any unruly Crusaders. (No historical documentation shows any major damage to the city from Crusader visitors beyond a few complaints of broken noses.)
[Italy] Boniface and Godfrey negotiated with the more powerful nobles to take a portion of the payment from the cities in an effort cutoff the rebellion from spreading any further. It took months to come to an agreement with just a few of them and continued with other nobles for several more months. However the flame of rebellion among the minor nobility still remained and grew stronger as a leader among them emerged.
The Canossas were old enemies of the Aleramici family (descended from the first count Aleramo who in 967 was made marquis of Montferrat, of Corsica and Massa). At the end of the 11th century, the Aleramici family had split into a number of dynasties, the most important of which were the marquesses of Montferrat (whose possessions included also most of the western Ligurian coast, from Savona to Ventimiglia) and the marquesses of Massa and Corsica (who dominated the eastern Ligurian coast, and the Apennine valleys at the border between Liguria and Tuscany; they still had extensive possessions in both Corsica and Sardinia, but the title of Marquis of Corsica was an empty one). The Marquis of Massa (Albert IV Rufus) had been a staunch ally of Henry IV, during his Italian wars, and strongly resented the progressive encroachment of the comuni (in particular Genoa and Pisa) on his possessions.
The same thing happened to the Western branch of the Aleramici family: the growing richness of Asti and Turin were strongly resented by the Marquis of Montferrat, Wilhelm II. As usual, the main root of what the historians will call the Revolt of the Barons had very practical if somehow base origins: the Bishop of Luni was quite strong-headed, and refused to submit to Albert Rufus, he demanded that the Bishop yield over his claims on some fortresses and strong points which controlled the broad Lunigiana valley (which connects the Thyrrenian coast to the Po plains). The bishop of Luni enjoyed the support of Pisa, and in the aftermath of the defeat of Henry and his capture, soon made all his claims good. The Aleramics now started to worry and tried to mend the fences with the Canossas. However, when Matilda negotiated the Lesser Contract/City Charter with the free comuni they decided that the situation was beyond any possible mending: the upstart merchants had to be stopped, and the pretenses of the Canossas curbed. Negotiations started in earnest with the other major Italian families, but without great success: the Arduinic ruler was Adelaide of Savoy (Countess of Aosta and Marquise of Ivrea), who, although quite old was still sharp, and interested in maximizing the revenues from the flow of merchandise to and from Bourgogne and Flanders; the Welf-Estes were satisfied by their gains in Verona and the Brennermark, and were not eager to start another war (it is said, however, that Henry IV was informed, and gave an informal blessing to the enterprise). Still, a much more positive answer was gained from the minor nobles, who resented both the growing Canossa power and the stricter rules of conduct they were compelled to follow.
Albert Rufus in a attempt to take advantage of the chaos after the capture of Clement, and the need of the Canossa to garrison the newly taken cities put siege to the walled town of Luni. To the northwest the son and heir of the Marquis of Montferrat, Ranieri, marshaled a strong army in front of the walls of Asti where he demanded that the commune accept again its feudal obligations to the Marquesses.
At the same time, a spatter of revolts plagued the Canossas lands. Small barons closed up in their castles plagued the commerce routes, and refused anything to do with "this unacceptable and sacrilegious defacement of the established social order".
(Late June) [Asia Minor] As soon as enough supplies were gathered the Crusaders and a small Byzantine army under Taticius left Nicaea heading towards the city of Dorylaeum, which was under Seljuk control. Kilij Arslan planned a trap near the city but was unable to bring to battle when the small contingent of Norman knights from North Africa discovered the plot using tactics they had learned while fighting the Islamic nomads at home in North Africa. Kilij Arslan withdrew with only a minor skirmish. The city of Dorylaeum surrendered to the Byzantine general Taticius.
As Arslan withdrew he destroyed crops and watering holes along the Crusaders intended route. Hundreds of men and horses died of thirst in the long hot Anatolian Summer.
[Italy] With resources stretched thin (As Matilda gathered forces and supplies for her contribution to the Crusade, ships sending supplies and money to Robert Curthose’s forces in Anatolia, and the need to garrison the newly taken cities.) Boniface and Godfrey found themselves not able to deal with all these petty ‘nobles’ quickly. The other great houses while bought off and content with the deals they had made, and generally sympathetic of course to House Canossa’s plight, were not about to get involved. The only exception was that of the Count of Maurienne, Hubert II, at the urging of his grandmother Adelaide of Susa, who was willing to see the Aleramici south of the Alps punished (and a chance to expand their lands to both sides of the Alps). The Count began marshalling his forces to relieve the city of Asti.
A band of Pataria, staunch supporter of merchants and city freedoms (also against corrupt and simoniac priests) captured a minor noble near the city of Pistoja who tried to rebel against the Canossa’s. He and several of his retainers were sent in chains to Boniface who was in Florence at the time gathering support (the city had offered some of its levies to help suppress the rebellion).
(July) [Asia Minor] Kilij Arslan again attacked the Crusader army, this time near the city of Philomelium but was forced to withdraw towards Iconium as several bands of knights began to turn his flank and threatened his camp.
(Late July) [Asia Minor] Both Iconium and Philomelium surrendered to the Byzantine general Taticius. Elements of the Crusader army began to grumble again at the Byzantines seeming to get all the rewards of the journey and they once again got nothing. Taticius sent food from the city but this seemed to only inflame the Crusaders. (A famous line from the book Anatolian Sun, second in a series of books about the Crusade to liberate Jerusalem, “What are we beggars to be tossed a stale bit of crust [bread] or dogs to fight over a cracked bone?” details the feelings adequately of some of the Crusaders.) Conrad was able to smooth the ruffled feathers of the leaders, but admitted in his letters to his wife that it was his belief that he was on borrowed time before something triggered a conflict between the Byzantines and the Crusaders.
(August) [Asia Minor] Near the town of Heraclea (under Seljuk control) the Crusader army came to a rest to gather supplies from the countryside before they continued on. Their plans were interrupted when Kilij Arslan tired of these foreign invaders once again attacked them. The battle lasted all day and well into the night. As the battle drew to a close a daring cavalry raid by a group of Italian knights made their way into Arslan’s camp. As Kilij attempted to remove these interlopers who started to pillage his camp he was wounded. His son Kilij Arslan II took command and withdrew with what forces he could (the casualty estimates are in the thousands for the Seljuks and the Crusaders too took high casualties among the lesser armored foot troops.). (Military historians have studied this battle and determined that Kilij was on the verge of victory but the raid on his camp panicked some of his non-veteran troops. The armored Crusaders were difficult for the Seljuks to take down but the foot troops were more vulnerable to the hail of arrows unleashed by the Turkish horse archers of the Seljuk army which ripped wholes within the Crusader lines.)
When dawn broke the Crusaders were surprised to find that during the raid they had captured Arslan’s treasury which quieted the more hot tempered Crusaders angry at the Byzantines for denying them loot as it made them quite wealthy (for a while). With the defeat of Arslan I the Crusaders were no longer bothered by Kilij Arlsan, except with the odd raid or stolen horse; as they continued on to pass through the Cilician Gates.
(Kilij Arslan I would die of his wounds several days after the battle which made his son Kilij Arslan II the new Sultan of Rum. As he withdrew north from Heraclea he received news that Byzantine forces were capturing territory throughout his realm, but with the mauling his father’s forces took outside Heraclea he did not have the strength to oppose them. However he did have the strength to continue his father’s gains against the Danishmends and other smaller tribes to the north of Mosul. He would go on to ally with the Emirate of Mosul where he received much needed funds. Over the rest of his life he will vanquish many of these smaller tribes and establish his Sultanate of Erzerum (Erzerum once called Theodosiopolis. His forces would occasionally raid into Byzantine central Anatolia but as succeeding emperors continued to gain a firmer hold on the reclaimed territory and built fortifications it became difficult. Also many a minor tribe unhappy with the Arslan dynasty would seek protection of the Byzantine emperors and be granted territory within central Anatolia. This area would supply the empire with the bulk of their horse archers used in many campaigns throughout the rest of its history.)
[Italy] Matilda finally had gathered enough men and supplies and set sail to join the Crusade.
(August) [Italy] The city of Luni (Luna) continued to hold out as its port brought in supplies from Genoese ships frustrating Albert Rufus in his attempt to bring the city to heel. Ranieri Alerami had better luck with his attack on Asti, but had yet failed to take the city (twice his forces have gained a section of wall but were forced off it as reinforcements arrived).
[Asia Minor] After passing through the Cilician Gates, Baldwin of Boulogne set off on his own towards the Armenian lands around the Euphrates River. (He will go on to be adopted as heir by King Thoros, a Greek Orthodox ruler. Thoros was soon assassinated and Baldwin became the new ruler of the newly created County of Edessa, which included the cities of Edessa and Melitene. It will eventually dominate several other Armenian states but be at odd with the Byzantines for total control.)
(October) [Syria] The siege of Antioch began. The Crusaders had barely enough men to complete the encirclement of the city but were encouraged by Taticius to gather supplies for a lengthy siege, however not many wanted to listen to him as food was plentiful and the need was not seen.
[Italy] The Hubert II’s troops finally arrived in Asti and relieved the city. Ranieri Alerami withdrew without battle but continued to gather forces and plotted to attempt again in the spring.
Godfrey finally eliminated the last of the rebellious minor nobles in his Duchy of Spoleto and moved to aid his brother in the more troublesome Tuscany.
(November) [Syria] Genoese and Pisan ships arrived at the port of St. Symeon with food and supplies. Enough supplies were accumulated to stave off the famine that was beginning to set in, but only barely. The Crusaders finally saw the need to forage and send forth a party south to forage for supplies.
(Early December) [Cyprus] After several months of negotiating with the local Byzantine authorities to use Limasol and Famagusta as logistic bases to ship supplies and men to the Crusaders Matilda finally got an agreement when a fleet sent from Constantinople arrived led by Edgar Atheling, who was in exile there, agreed to allow this as long as she swore that she would make no claim to Cyprus. The fleet contained a large Byzantine army with needed supplies to build large siege engines.
Feeling that the Crusaders had things well enough in hand at Antioch (with the new logistic bases in Cyprus getting them the needed supplies ensuring it) Matilda, upon advice from her Genoese and Pisan fleet commanders, embarked upon a bold strategy (taking a chapter out of her sons’ book on strategy). The fleet sailed on the morning tide for Tripolis.
[Syria] Taticius quietly left the Crusader army in Antioch when he heard reports from Byzantine spies among the Crusaders that his life might be in jeopardy (several nobles and minor knights began plotting that it was time to rid themselves of their Byzantine yoke). It is later revealed he had left to greet Edgar Atheling on Cyprus (In the memoirs of Anna Comnena, who actually spoke to Taticius, that he had left to give the plotters some time to cool off and gather the reinforcements brought by Edgar.), but the damage had already been done. Cries of abandonment and cowardice by the Byzantines were only outdone by the calls for the Crusaders to end their oaths to Alexius (Conrad and Robert Curthose being the only senior nobles who didn’t have to swear the oath were not among these.). It started as a vocal few but as dreams of wealth from conquered Antioch began to percolate among the minor knights and soldiers many ended their oath including the powerful nobles.
[Italy] Erlenbaldo (Erlembald) Cotta, still limp after the riot in Milan over two decades ago, was granted permission by Urban II to create a religious order (made up of loyal Patarenes) to “combat the evils of simony and corruption in the Holy Mother Church”. Matilda before she had left for the Crusade had awarded some land in Romagna, taken from Clement III when Ravenna fell, to Erlenbaldo as a place to start his order. (Papal bureaucracy takes awhile for paperwork to get all the seals, approvals, and whatnots.)
Boniface and Godfrey made headway into defeating many minor nobles in Tuscany (and confiscating their property and titles when done dealing with them), but it seemed to them that as soon as one was dealt with two more cropped up to cause problems. Elsewhere Hubert II’s forces clashed with elements of Ranieri’s forces which forced Hubert II to withdraw back to his new base in Asti (which had welcomed him as a hero when he relieved the siege of the city the month before).
(Late December) [Syria] Duqaq of Damascus launched an assault on the Crusader forces at Antioch. At the same time the defenders of Antioch sallied in attempt to relieve the city of its encirclement. However during the assault an earthquake rocked the city which damaged sections of the city’s defenses. Taking this as God’s will the Crusaders rallied and broke through a damaged gate beating back the forces that had sallied from within. Elsewhere Duqaq’s forces failed to make any headway against the Crusaders and were forced to withdraw from battle.
With Duqaq’s forces defeated more Crusader forces poured into Antioch and slaughtered the defenders, the city proceeded to be sacked. Several of the Crusader leaders, including Conrad, prevented an outright slaughter of the citizens of Antioch (of all faiths) but sporadic killings did happen (against people of all faiths). The Turkic leader, Yaghi-Siyan, was found hiding in a cellar hoping to flee the city, but was turned in by the residents who hoped to avoid having their possessions plundered. He was promptly executed and his head placed on a catapult and shot into the Citadel, where his son, Shams ad-Daulah, still held out.
On the eve of a new year an aurora borealis was sighted in the night sky above Antioch. Adhemar declared this noctuabundus arcus (a night rainbow), was a sign from God that he was pleased. Many were terrified for they had never seen an aurora borealis before but Adhemar’s declaration calmed them and inspired them even further.
[Tripolis] Matilda’s fleet blockaded the great port of Tripolis and her troops began a siege of the great city.
[Italy] Boniface and Godfrey finally crushed the last remnants of rebellion in Tuscany but the wintry conditions had stopped any further actions. The two brothers used the time to reinforce their positions but make no further gains.
Please use the Discussion Thread for any comments.
1098 AD –
(January) [Syria] Taticius and Edgar Atheling arrived with the Byzantine forces from Cyprus to find the city sacked and only the Citadel holding out. He also brought word that Alexius was marching to Antioch from Constantinople with an army to aid them in taking the city (which apparently would not be needed). The Crusaders were at a loss at what to do for the Byzantine fleet was large enough to cut off supplies being shipped in by the Genoese and Pisans, but their army was too small to take the city, at least until Alexius arrived later in the year. Besides they had already foresworn their oaths. As the two glared at each other a solution was derived by Raymond of Toulouse. The Crusaders would keep the wealth that they had looted from the city and leave the Byzantines in charge of the city and thus taking over siege of the Citadel. Taticius agreed to this and allowed the Crusaders three days to leave.
Sadly for the Crusaders the next few weeks were filled with unseasonably bad rain and cold weather, and Taticius refused them to enter the city for shelter forcing them to huddle in the cold and wet. Disease began to strike among the Crusaders, mainly those who had little or no shelter (tents, etc.), killing hundreds and leaving many too ill to continue the march. Those that survive would catch up later but the Crusaders numbers were further weakened.
(February) [Syria] With word of the fall of Antioch, Kerbogha lord of Mosul called off an attempt to retake the city, leaving Duqaq and local Turkish forces to annoy the Crusaders. He instead concentrated on helping his new Seljuk ally, Kilij Arslan II, to the north. He did contemplate retaking Edessa from Baldwin of Boulogne who had taken it the month before but decided to hold off for the time being.
[Levant] Crusader forces began the siege of Arqa, a strategic castle north of Tripolis.
[Tripolis] The ruler of Tripolis refused to negotiate with Matilda, a woman.
(March) [Italy] Venetian ships, hired by Ranieri formed the core of a fleet he intended to use to negate Canossa sea power, (gained from Pisa and Genoa). [With Pisan and Genoese fleets stretched thin with commitments to the Crusade, bringing in supplies to Luni, generally supporting Boniface and Godfrey, and not to mention normal trade Ranieri hoped to gain a slight naval advantage] began to discreetly arrive off the Ligurian coast.
[Edessa] Baldwin of Boulogne is installed as Count of Edessa when his adoptive father Thoros is assassinated.
(April) [Tripolis] Having left a small garrison at the now occupied fortress at Arqa the Crusader forces arrived to join up with Matilda at Tripolis. Tired of having been put off by the ruler Matilda had several days prior to their arrival assaulted the walls of Tripolis but her numbers were not enough to carry the day. With the arrival of the rest of the Crusader army the ruler of the city agreed to negotiate as he was now hopelessly outnumbered.
In exchange for his life, his family’s lives, and the well being of his city (i.e. not too be sacked) he agreed to surrender the city. This being the first great city that had fallen and not destined to be handed over the Byzantines (whether by agreement or by circumstance) there was some heated discussion as to what was to be done with it. The arguments lasted long into the night and over the next week a deal was reached. It was decided that city and the surrounding territory would be awarded to Godfrey Duke of Spoleto, Matilda’s second son, as the County of Tripolis.
While she even received support from Tancred, as he was related to Godfrey by marriage (Adelisa, Godfrey’s wife, was his cousin), who initially wanted the city for himself and Raymond of Toulouse, as he was his brother-in-law (married Adelisa’s older sister Matilda), she was forced to concede that no further conquests would go to her or her family (Many were growing suspicious of growing Canossa power, even Conrad was growing a bit wary.). The money, horses, and supplies the former ruler offered up were handed out to the rest (which for some were desperately needed, the money from Kilij Arslan’s captured treasury, and the loot from Antioch were already spent).
With the port of Tripoli now under the command of the Crusaders supplies could be rerouted from the port towns around Antioch and alleviated the need to escort large supply convoys down the coast. After several days of rest the Crusader forces marched south and continued their journey towards Jerusalem.
Matilda before having left Tripolis gave the city a strong garrison and installed Bonizo of Sutri (later to be installed as the Bishop of Tripoli) as caretaker until Godfrey could come and administer his new county. She also had Bonizo begin the task of inventorying the library that was inherited from the former ruler and hired scribes to begin making copies of unknown works. These were later sent back to her estates in Mantua to form the core of a new library she planned to build. (It may technically be her son’s but he will not refuse his mother over the care of some musty old tomes, besides the library there will retain most of the originals and copies of those sent back.) Matilda proceeded by ship, a week after the rest of the Crusaders left, to siege the vital port city of Jaffa to the south to better supply the Crusaders when they begin the siege of Jerusalem. Her husband, Robert Curthose, joined her with a significant number of his forces (replacing those she lost and left behind to garrison the Tripolis).
Days before the Crusaders departed Tripolis Fatimid envoys arrived at the Crusader camp. The envoy expected that the Crusaders were simply mercenary representatives of the Byzantines, however when the Peter the Hermit, who spoke fluent Arabic and acted as the interpreter, introduced the envoy to Conrad as the King of Italy and Germany the envoy was shocked to find that this was not the case at all. (The envoy was an unknown cousin of Mansur al-Amir Bi-Ahkamillah, Caliph of the Fatimids.)
The envoy hoped to establish a peace with the Christians, who were the enemy of their own enemies, the Seljuks. However they were only prepared to let the crusaders keep Syria if they agreed not to attack Fatimid Palestine, a state of affairs perfectly acceptable between Egypt and Byzantine before the Turkish invasions. Since they were not Byzantine mercenaries or willing to take any deal that did not include Jerusalem the Fatimid envoy failed to make a deal. Still the Fatimid envoys were treated hospitably and were given many gifts before they departed back to Egypt.
[Anatolia] Alexius I defeated a Seljuk army in central Anatolia further pushing the Seljuks to the East. He was on his way to aid the Crusaders at Antioch but when word of the fall of the city and the gathering of an army of Seljuks, that were going to try one last attempt to reverse the defeats of the year before, reached him he marched east and defeated them. He would later show up in Antioch, reinforcing the city, and made further agreements on the border with the Crusaders. In addition he offered up the supplies to make the huge siege engines intended for the walls of Antioch, but not used, as an olive branch of a sort. They will eventually find their way by ship to be used at Jerusalem.
[Italy] Ranieri’s ships clashed with the Genoese vessels supplying Luni. He planned on meeting up with Albert Rufus’ forces and hoped to bring that conflict to an end before the Canossa’s could come to the city’s (and the bishop’s) aid. (The few letters that remain of his indicated that he wanted to end this farce of a siege and bring Rufus’ forces and his together with the hope that he could defeat Hubert II’s forces out of Asti and claim that city as his own again.)
Boniface moved north to deal with a rebellion among the minor nobles near his ducal capital of Pavia. Godfrey marched northwest towards the Ligurian coast but got bogged down before the city of Luni when his baggage train was attacked by a group of minor nobles allied to Ranieri.
Laura, daughter of Matilda, gave birth to Sophia daughter of Henry ‘the Black’ Welf-Este.
(Early May) [Italy] The city of Luni’s gates opened when a guard was bribed by Ranieri to open them. The city fell to Rufus’ and Ranieri’s forces quickly and the bishop was taken hostage when he refused to refute the City Charter. Ranieri took the rest of his men and ships and left (Albert Rufus lent him some of his men so Ranieri could make another push towards Asti). Within several days the city of Luni was again under siege this time by Godfrey as he attempted to liberate it.
[Levant] After bypassing Beirut and Tyre the Crusaders came upon and an already occupied Jaffa which had been under siege by Robert’s and Matilda’s forces for a week before the city surrendered. The Crusaders took a moment to rest and gather supplies when word reached them by fleeing Christians, who had been expelled from Jerusalem by the city’s governor, that the town was well guarded and prepared for a siege.
The Crusader army arrived on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Many cried upon seeing the city they had journeyed so long to reach.
(Late May) [Levant] Crusaders began their siege of Jerusalem. The defenders of the city initially mocked the Crusaders but as the day dragged on and more men arrived the mocking ceased. The Crusaders faced a serious problem though, while supplies were plentiful for the moment, water was scarce. The leaders of the Crusade met in council for two days and decided to assault the city rather than a prolonged siege as water was becoming a serious issue and summer was arriving with its dreaded heat. They had to wait though for several siege towers to be completed before any action could be taken.
[Norman Sicily] Roger I of Sicily began construction of a large fleet, under his ‘emirs’ to help maintain control of the North African coastline. (Emirs later to became corrupted in to be admirals.)
[Italy] Hubert’s forces based out of Asti were ambushed by Ranieri as they came south. Hubert rallied his men and escaped the trap but was forced to flee west towards the town of Alba. It is on that day that he began to earn his moniker ‘The Red-Handed’ for when he staunched a wound on his side his white gloves become stained with his blood. He swore on that day he would not take them off until Ranieri was done with. (It is unknown exactly how long he did wear his bloody gloves but it is known that at some time he switched to a pair of dyed (red) leather gloves which he wore for the rest of his life and supposedly were buried with.)
Boniface dealt with a small army of minor nobles near the city of Legnano in the Duchy of Lombardy. It is remarked that this battle was fought by Boniface using mostly levies from loyal cities (Milan, Mantua, and Pavia being the main contributors) as the bulk of his usual forces were too stretched thin garrisoning cities, towns, and castles throughout Northern Italy.
An attack on the city of Luni by Godfrey met with little success as Ranieri’s ships kept Genoese ships from forming a blockade allowing reinforcements and supplies into the city.
(Early June) [Levant] With the siege engines completed (the timely arrival of additional materials sent from Antioch by Alexius I helped immensely) the Crusaders threw themselves at the walls of Jerusalem. The first wave took a section of the wall near the Golden Gate, but failed to hold it long enough for reinforcements to secure it. The second attempt the next day saw even more intense fighting but this time the Crusaders managed to gain the walls. As word reached the defenders many began to surrender to the Crusader forces. With the Crusaders having gained the city a few areas began to see a slaughter of its inhabitants however Conrad was able to bring order to the areas his men were in (which stretched to the area from St. Stephen’s Gate (or what will become known as) to the Temple of Solomon where many Muslims had fled) mitigating the slaughter (others such as Adhemar and Tancred also attempted and for the most part succeeded in reigning in the excesses of some of the Crusaders). The only part of the city not occupied was the Tower of David where the Fatimid governor fled to as the city fell. He surrendered the day after when he negotiated the tower’s surrender in exchange for safe passage for him and those who remained in the tower.
The price paid to gain the Holy City was a high one out of the ten thousand knights and twenty-five thousand foot soldiers (some believe it was actually as high as thirty thousand) only four thousand knights and fifteen thousand foot soldiers survived the quest for Jerusalem. The highest casualties during the siege of Jerusalem came when one of the siege towers got caught in a ditch and was toppled by a boulder launched from the city’s walls which killed over two hundred. It was soon discovered after the city fell that collapsed siege tower had contained the body of Matilda of Canossa.
It is said that when her body was finally removed from the remains of the tower that she had no mark upon her and that she appeared only to be asleep. The great lady was afforded a magnificent funeral procession through the city (supposedly along the same path Christ took as he carried the cross) where Adhemar, now the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, gave a sermon in her honor (he referred to her as Christ’s warrior maiden), and was buried in a tomb on Mount Zion. While many mourned her, especially her husband Robert Curthose who from that day wore only black in mourning, it was among the common soldiers and camp followers that saw the greatest mourning as they remembered the quiet noble lady, who while only with them for a short while, came among them and distributed food and other supplies.
[Italy] Boniface crushed yet another minor noble uprising in Lombardy but has yet failed to bring the rebellion to an end.
Genoese ships reinforced with ships from Marseilles, hired by Hubert, succeeded in blockading the port of Luni. Godfrey contemplated another assault but in letters to his brother, Boniface, decided to continue the siege as the summer heat was now upon them.
(Late June) [Levant] For the Crusaders their work was not quite done yet as word of a Fatimid army from Egypt had marched and was on their way. Also word from the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I who offered congratulations and a warning that Duqaq of Damascus with a horde of other Seljuk allies (he was finally able to convince Kerbogha lord of Mosul to lend some support in destroying these invaders) had marched south with a sizeable army to eradicate the Crusaders.
[Italy] The population of Luni rose up in revolt against Rufus’ iron gripped hold on the city. Godfrey used the opportunity to launch an assault and free the city. Rufus attempted to flee on the one ship left in the harbor but it was intercepted by a ship from Marseille. Rufus’ ship’s captain quickly surrendered the ship and Rufus over to them.
(Early July) [Levant] The Crusaders faced a difficult choice of how to defend their newly won territories. After three days of plotting they concluded that they could not let these two armies join together or they would be overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers (They seemed to ignore the fact that the Fatimids and the Seljuks were enemies and not very friendly to each other.). It was decided that Adhemar, Raymond of Toulouse, and Godfrey of Bouillon (now known as Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri, Defender of the Holy Sepulchre) would remain behind and defend Jerusalem while Robert Curthose took reinforcements to the critical supply port of Jaffa. The others under Conrad, with the exception of Hugh of Vermandois who was struck ill with a fever, would march north and meet Duqaq and the other Seljuks and hoped to be back before the Fatimids arrived.
[Italy] Boniface moved south from Lombardy to join his brother near Luni to confer on what their next actions should be. It is at this time when a Pisan ship newly returned from the Levant brought word of the fall of Tripolis to the Crusaders. A letter from their mother, Matilda, was delivered indicating Godfrey had been named as Count of Tripolis (It is said the two brothers got incredibly drunk in celebration of this news and were out for two days recovering from their consumption.). The letter also detailed plans for a grand library to be built in Mantua using the library she appropriated from the former ruler of Tripolis as the core. (The letter in its entirety can be seen once a year when it is put on display in the Matilda wing of the Canossa library in Mantua on the anniversary of her death. It is considered to be one of the library’s most treasured pieces as it is one of the few documents that remain in her own handwriting after the 1502 fire consumed much of her personal writings that were stored in the library [copies existed of some but many of the originals were lost].)
Hubert’s forces clashed with Ranieri’s several miles from Asti which forced Ranieri to withdraw and regroup. Once that was done he continued on towards Asti where he placed the city under siege for a second time.
(Late July) [Levant] The Crusaders, near the town of Gadara (several miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee) clashed with Duqaq’s army. The battle was a short but brutal affair that cost the Crusaders several hundred dead. However it was discovered from a captured Turkish chieftain that this army was only a diversion to draw the Crusaders away from Duqaq’s real army currently camped to the east at the town of Bostra where he planned to take the weakly defended Jerusalem thus cutting the Crusaders off.
The Crusaders marched along the Yarmuk River towards Bostra hoping to catch Duqaq before he completed his plan. The Crusader army came upon the Seljuk encampment on the outskirts of Bostra and found it to be deserted. They feared the worst and began to make preparations to get back to Jerusalem when Duqaq’s army struck. The battle raged for the whole day, many collapsed just from heat exhaustion, but do to the factionalism within the Seljuk forces (several tribes didn’t want to see Duqaq grow too powerful and deserted his lines during the battle) and a lucky arrow that felled Duqaq as it hit him in the eye which let the Crusaders win the day.
(Two things of note came out of the Battle of Bostra. First Duqaq’s successor, his son Tutush II, was only a child and his atabeg, Toghtegin who seized power when Duqaq fell, signed over section of territory held by the Emir of Damascus which basically doubled the current size of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. [Note that Toghtegin’s rule did not last very long for Tutush’s uncle Radwan, Seljuk lord of Syria captured Damascus about a year after he assumed power.] Second a young knight by the name of Lethold saved the life of Conrad during the confusion of the battlefield. Lethold was the third son of Flemish noble who journeyed on the Crusade as a matter of faith. When the city fell he planned on taking holy vows but again picked up his sword to fight when word of the approaching armies threatened the holy city. Lethold would join Conrad as one of his personal guards as reward for his bravery. Lethold will go on to become the leader of the Imperial Guard which a splinter group will go further go on to take holy orders and be known as the Order of the Holy Trinity, or commonly called the Holy Guard.)
[Italy] The Second Battle of Asti saw the end of the “Barons’ Revolt”. Boniface and Godfrey raced from Luni when word reached them of Hubert’s and Asti’s situation. The battle saw Ranieri’s forces crushed and many a minor noble either killed or captured. However Ranieri was able to escape to the coast and fled aboard one of his hired ships. He made his way east to the Byzantine Empire. (The play The Flight of the Yellow Baron summed it quite well when the fictional aide de camp of Boniface, Wilhem Tarquin, after the battle has taken place, says, “It will be a day long remembered in the Empire. For it has seen the end of Ranieri and the end of the rebellion.”)
(August) [Levant] By the time the Crusaders returned to Jerusalem the Fatimid army had already passed the town of Ascalon and turned towards Jerusalem to camp near Bethlehem. The Battle of Bethlehem saw the Fatimids army routed but the exhausted Crusaders did not follow. The eventual peace treaty between the Fatimid Caliphate and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem would turn over territory to the Patriarchate in a rough line from a little south of the town of Gaza to the Red Sea port town of Aila.
[North Africa] Sicilian naval vessels raided the Muslim town of Cyrenaica but failed to conquer it.
[Italy] Boniface and Godfrey (Hubert too in the areas he now controls) began to try and settle all the associated problems with the breaking of the back of the minor nobles (The next few years would see the occasional flare up of minor nobles causing problems but no longer on the scale of the “Barons’ Revolt”.)
(September) [Levant] With the holy city now free and safe, for the foreseeable future, many felt their Crusading duty fulfilled and prepared to leave to return to their homes back in Europe. Only a few hundred knights and a few thousand foot soldiers choose to remain behind making the new Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem their home. (Of those remaining behind a few brought their families with them on the march but many were unmarried sons with little prospect of inheritance back at home. They also included those who had sold all their property to be able to afford to make the Crusade and those whose wealthy patrons had died during the Crusade and now sought employment by the new Latin Patriarchate or the Crusader counties.)
Conrad was the first to leave as he had heard strange rumors of events taking place in Italy, but more disturbing were the events taking place in Germany. The others slowly trickled out over the next few months as ships became available. (Alexius I agreed to allow small groups passage through the Byzantine Empire but they had to agree to be escorted and pay for all their food and supplies as they went through. Needless to say this did not endear him to the Crusaders who took this option and soured what little good will remained.)
[Italy] Boniface, Godfrey, and Hubert II came to a conclusion with the outcome of the “Barons’ Revolt”. Many a minor noble had their titles and lands stripped of them and were exiled (a few were allowed to take holy orders and even fewer allowed to once again swear allegiance but were sent to serve in Godfrey’s County of Tripolis), those, such as Albert Rufus, who took up arms and fought pitched battles (and survived) were hung outside the Court of Justice in Pavia. Many of those titles that were stripped were either abolished or made into non-hereditary titles and passed out to loyal followers of the three (location determining who got to hand out what).
The Aleramic family, the chief architects of the revolt, were completely dispossessed (those few not killed in battle or hung later join Ranieri in Byzantium as exiles). The Marches of Montferrat are given to Hubert of Maurienne-Savoy, which allowed him to gain a territorial link between the northern possessions of the family (Aosta, Savoy, Susa) and the county of Ventimiglia thus making his family the major landholders in North-Western Italy and Savoy. The marquisate of Massa in eastern Liguria was given to the bishops of Luni, to recognize the great support that he gave during the revolt.
Genoa was allowed to expand its control in eastern Liguria by securing a number of castles and strong points. However its expansion to the west was stopped, since Savona (until then the seat of another branch of the Aleramic family) was constituted as a free Commune, and immediately signed the Lesser Pact (City Charter). The city of Asti had its liberties confirmed, and the city received a substantial slice of the Aleramic possessions (Hubert is said to have been quite angry at this development.) Milan (Boniface to be exact) also benefited from the victory and gained the county of Seprio (achieving full control over the important road to the Sempione pass).
Boniface decided to build a city, later called Matildia in honor and memory to his mother (Urban II as one of his last acts as Pope personally blessed the site of city while returning from a conclave in Northern Italy) to control the Tanaro river crossings and the important road from Genoa to Milan. The cities of Milan, Genoa, and Asti agreed to pay for the costs and send settlers (it is said that all the three cities sent whores, pickpockets and small criminals: still the city prospered, and became rich and powerful). It will be known as a "king's city" or “royal city”: enjoying all the usual freedoms, except the right to choose the city consuls. The King of Italy (or the Count Palatinus of Italy) will instead appoint a Podesta.
An unexpected development of the revolt was when the city of Marseilles declared that its allegiance to the counts of Provence had ended and asked to be allowed to sign the Lesser Pact. Not amused Betrand II, Count of Provence, began preparations to lay siege to the city. Notwithstanding his ties with the counts of Provence, Boniface agreed but was able to negotiate with his father-in-law that the money the city provide would flow to him, Bertrand II. (Marseille is the first city outside of Italy to sign the City Charter/Lesser Pact and it will not be the last. However it should be noted that in the negotiations Marseilles had to sign a slightly different version of the Charter [Preserved in the Marseille City Museum] that reference that the cash paid out goes to the King of Arles (Burgundy) not Italy. It should be further noted that while Henry IV is still King of Arles (Burgundy) at the time the Charter words it in such a way that the Counts of Provence act as the gatherer of these funds who then forwards it on to the king. This doesn’t necessarily always happen as was designed as the money typically ends up in the counts’ pockets not the kings’.)
A fast ship delivered news of the fall of Jerusalem. In a letter from Cardinal Ranierius, who will go on to succeed Pope Urban II later in life as Pope Paschal II, wrote, “It seemed as if all the bells of Christendom rung in glorious unison [harmony] as word arrived that the holy city, Jerusalem, was free.”
Impromptu celebrations broke out throughout Europe when the news reached their towns, cities, castles, etc. Pope Urban II held a great mass giving thanks to God for the deliverance of Jerusalem and honored those who skill and bravery who went on the Crusade.
The news in Pavia was subdued though as a letter arrived accompanying the news of the liberation of Jerusalem of the death of Matilda Canossa outside the walls of Jerusalem. The Canossa family mourned their loss and Boniface in honor of the Crusaders victory financed the creation of a cathedral to be placed in the center of the newly created city, Matildia (now given that name). The cathedral in addition to several stone statues of saints also has the "life of Matilda" carved in bas-relief on the wall of the cathedral in Matildia.
(October) [Levant] The last of the Crusaders intending to leave began to board their ships for home. This group included Robert Curthose who was still healing from an injury suffered during the battle with the Fatimids (a small Fatimid army had tried to assault Jaffa when main army made for Jerusalem). He intended to make for Italy and spend some time with his stepsons before taking his daughter and heir, Constance, home to Normandy.
[Italy] Having settled affairs in the Duchy of Spoleto Godfrey boarded a ship to the Levant to take stock of his new County of Tripolis.
[North Africa] A Sicilian fleet raided villages and towns along the North African coast from Cape Bona to the city of Buiaia.
The Banu Hilal flee their remaining holds in Africa [Tunisia] towards their sister tribe of the Banu Sulaym, rulers of Cyrenaica, after Roger of Sicily began his war to cleanse the interior from the constant raids.
(November) [Crete] Robert Curthose shipwrecked on Crete where he will be held, albeit in relative comfort, for ransom by the local Byzantine officials.
Please use the Discussion Thread for any comments.
And a map of the Eastern Mediterranean at the end of the year 1098 AD:
1099 AD –
(January) [North Africa] Norman forces stormed the Banu Sulaym stronghold of Lebda and slaughtered many of its inhabitants (the town had been crowded with members of the Banu Hilal fleeing eastwards).
[Cyprus] Byzantine officials expelled Pisan and Genoese merchants from the island after a series of disputes over trade rights.
[County of Tripolis] Godfrey arrived in Tripolis and began to take stock of the situation.
[Italy] Pope Urban II created the first [holy] knightly order: the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre (Milites Sancti Sepulchri), headed by Godfrey of Bouillon within Jerusalem. This order was given it primary mission to defend the city of Jerusalem. [This order while its number will grow it will never be a large order as it will never really be concerned with anything beyond the city’s defenses and a few fortifications outside of the city of Jerusalem. Its highest echelons will be primarily exclusive to the sons of nobility, with a few notable exceptions over the years, however the foot soldiers of the Order will take in any who can afford to equip themselves to the Order’s standard.] This is only the first of several knightly orders that will arise over the next few decades.
Conrad returned from the Crusades and began to become acquainted with the changes that have occurred in Italy and Germany while he was gone. Conrad having listened to the whispers and rumors of growing Canossa power met with Boniface in Ravenna. Many a displaced minor noble (or their displaced heirs) petitioned Conrad for redress of the actions his Count Palatinus of Italy had taken the previous year. It is only after Boniface showed the increased revenue to the royal coffers that the cities provided, in hard currency, that he relented and agreed to the changes Boniface had made (the Crusade had hurt his finances more than Conrad wished to admit and hard currency is hard to pass up).
Conrad stopped for the winter in Milan to check on the progress of rebuilding the city.
A battered Pisan ship arrived with news that Robert Curthose’s ship went missing after a storm off of Crete. (Robert’s ship was not the only one that shipwrecked or sank off of Crete during the storm, but his was the most prominent one.) Constance, Robert and Matilda’s daughter, confined herself to a chapel to pray for the safe return of her father (The Pisans did not know at the time whether he survived or not as Byzantine officials would not let them leave the harbor in Candia to look for any survivors that might have washed up.).
(February) [Constantinople] Venetian merchants were granted exclusive trade rights by Alexius I within the Black Sea excluding all other Italian merchants from passing through the straits.
Ranieri Alerami arrived in Constantinople from Crete (many of his family and other minor nobles that escaped from Italy after the Baron’s Revolt fled to the great city).
[North Africa] A Norman army is devastated near the Banu town of Sirt. The disaster saw the Banu Sulaym not only defend Sirt but also reclaimed Lebda and even retook land near the outskirts of Tripoli.
Elsewhere Roger of Sicily who sought to break the back of the remaining Muslim nomadic tribes in Norman North Africa began a siege of Constantine in the Atlas Mountains southwest of Bona.
[Italy] Pope Urban II held another Conclave in the city of Mantua. During the conclave Urban II beatified Matilda of Canossa.
Godfrey’s wife, Adelisa, gave birth to Godfrey’s first son, Sigifredo, in Spoleto.
A message arrived in Mantua to the court of Boniface dictating a ransom for the safe return of Robert Curthose. The request of ransom enraged Boniface, who called for a meeting of the sea-faring cities in Pisa, to decide what to do. Urban II, who was in Mantua for the Conclave, declared that those who submit to the requests of evil-doers are sinners, and he further famously stated, “One who imprisons and holds to ransom a warrior of Christ just returning from the war for the liberation of the Holy City of Jerusalem must be stuck down as one would strike down a serpent.”
(Pisa, Genoa and Marseilles were the first cities to answer the call to strike down the “cruel pirates in Crete” but took several months before all can even arrive in Pisa.)
(March) [Germany] Conrad returned to Germany to find a long line of German cities that wished to sign the City Charter/Lesser Pact or something similar within the Kingdom of Germany. After having returned and seen the machinations of his father, Henry IV, had done in his absence Conrad saw this as a possible way to raise enough capital to combat his father’s influence within Germany. He ordered a document drawn up much similar to the Lesser Pact (not word for word the same it is carefully worded to ensure that his placed retainers and the King of Germany get the bulk of the funds these cities would provide).
(Ides of March) In an eerily similar match to the events of over eleven centuries before Conrad is murdered by a group of minor nobles (the mob included a count and an heir to one of the duchies) in what became known as Nacht der Blutmesser (Night of the Blood Knives). The nobles were fearful of losing their control over the respective cities.
[Italy] Venetian delegations arrived in Pisa to discuss the matter of the “cruel pirates in Crete” but were viewed suspiciously as news of their exclusive deal with the Byzantines in the Black Sea began to spread among the other Italian trade cities.
(April) [Syria] Radwan, Seljuk lord of Syria, captured Damascus from his late brother Tutush’s Atabeg, Toghtegin, who was ruling for Tutush’s son Tutush II. This act brought about the union of the Emirate of Aleppo and the Emirate of Damascus into the Emirate of Syria. It should be noted the two non-continuous territories of the Emirate of Damascus (Tyre and Acre) splintered off and refused to recognize Radwan as their lord. The Emirate of Tyre and Acre which were briefly unified soon saw the two divided when the Emir died soon after seeking his independence from Radwan. The Emirate was quickly split amongst his two eldest sons, one in Acre and one in Tyre.
[Italy] The meeting in Pisa began in full swing as all the representatives arrived and began to consider their options as to how to proceed to free Robert Curthose. Two strategies came to the forefront. The first was a naval dominated strategy that was to start with an invasion of Corfu and using that as a base to occupy Morea. Then using Morea as a further base to move into Crete and remove the “cruel pirates” to free Robert. The second was to follow the path Robert Guiscard used almost two decades before. As in the first strategy occupation of Corfu was paramount but a landing at the town of Dyrrachium (Durrës) would be the main staging point to drive hard into the Balkans forcing Alexius I to negotiate or risk losing the Balkans (as he came close to doing fifteen years before). Boniface (and most of the non-seafaring cities) favored the later as it relied far more on land combat than the first, but the seafaring cities clearly favored the first option as it played to their strengths.
It is only the news of the death of Conrad in Germany that forced them to choose the naval option. (It seemed to provide a quicker path to achieve their goals and would use fewer resources than might be needed to deal with the situation in Germany.)
[Germany] Germany began to descend into chaos as many different factions began to scramble for power after the death of Conrad. Henry IV, the cities, the remains of Conrad’s faction, supporters of Henry IV’s only remaining son Henry V, independents, outside powers, bishops, and generally anybody with enough power to cause trouble. Fighting broke out as old feuds came to the fore front. Henry IV seeing an opportunity to break the back of his enemies began to draft a new Charter to take advantage of the wealth the cities offered up. (This Charter is a carefully drafted article that has money flow from Imperial cities to the Emperor and Ducal cities flow to the Dukes, who then pay a sum to the Emperor [or the King if so designated by the Emperor]. Which are considered Imperial cities and which are considered ducal cities drove the Empire to war.)
The life of young Conrad II is saved by the valiant efforts of Lethold (the same knight who saved Conrad’s life in battle during the Crusades). His simple white tunic was said to have been soaked completely in the blood of those looking to kill Conrad II. (A sizeable number of historians believe that those seeking Conrad II were not actually trying to kill him but control him or use as a bargaining chip against his grandfather and uncle. Popular opinion aside it is not believed Lethold single handily saved the day, unlike in the film Red Dawn, but led the remains of Conrad’s personal guard to ‘save’ the life of the child and his mother, not to mention the crowns and other symbols of kingship of Germany and Italy.) Lethold assumed a kind of tacit leadership among the remnants of Conrad’s faction and fortified their position where they waited to see how events began to unveil.
(May) [Venice] The Venetian fleet finished gathering and sailed for Dyrrachium which was intended to be a springboard for the invasion of Corfu. Included in this force were elements from Boniface’s brother-in-law Henry ‘the Black’ of the House of Welf-Este. The Patarene Knights who received the Pope’s blessing to join the endeavor to free Robert Curthose offered up enough manpower to crew forty ships. Urban II while tempted to declare another Crusade feared a possible Byzantine alliance with the Islamic powers that could easily destroy the tenuous hold in the Holy Land that the previous year’s Crusade had accomplished.
[Tuscany] The Thyrrenian navies left for the Southern Italian ports of Bari, Taranto, and Otranto where they planned to pick up the troops going east. The troops consisted of men from Savoy (lead by Hubert the Red-handed’s son, Amadeus, under the tutelage of Odo de Maurienne), and levies of the many cities of Northern Italy and Tuscany. From the Southern Italian port cities they planned to set sail for the Byzantine island of Cephalonia where they were to meet up with the Venetian fleet after they had secured Corfu.
[Germany] Henry IV signed the Imperial Charter (similar to the City Charter/Lesser Pact in Italy) in the city of Aachen. (It is almost universally acclaimed by historians that this action above all others is what began the ‘Consolidation Wars’ within Germany.)
While Henry IV was in Aachen his remaining son, Henry V, won a battle against several nobles gathered in the Black Forest near the castle of Zähringen. When the castle surrendered the only revolt in Swabia come to an end.
[Germany - Bavaria] Lethold, now called der Blutgedeckt, persuaded by Conrad II’s mother, Felicia, to escort her and her son to Sicily where her father, Roger of Sicily, held sway. They made their way through Germany to the Duchy of Bavaria where they hoped to cross the Alps and make their way to Venice where they planned to charter a ship to Sicily. Unfortunately for them a battle between local nobles near the Isarco River forced them to delay their journey. As they waited for the Brenner Pass to calm down Welf I (known sometimes as Welf IV), Duke of Bavaria, who was on his way to aid one of his loyal vassals came upon them and offered them protection. (The fact that Welf I had a large army surrounding their encampment had much to do with their acceptance. That and he was an ally of Conrad who had restored him as Duke of Bavaria when he became King of Germany in return for his support during the conflict with Henry IV.)
(June) [Epirus] The Venetian fleet arrived at Dyrrachium and began to siege the city. The confused Byzantine officials at first thought the Venetians were friendly and did not send a messenger for help until it was too late.
[Germany] The lords of Burgundy rose in revolt against Henry IV they were led by Otto II Count of Hapsburg and William of Bourgogne, Count of Imperial Burgundy. Henry V moved south from Zähringen to seek battle with Otto II’s forces before he could meet up with the other noble’s armies.
Henry IV left Aachen with a hastily gathered army to assist Thierry II Duke of Upper Lorraine and his heir Simon against several episcopates namely the Bishop of Metz, and Adalberon, and the Archbishop of Trier. They were the ally of Stephen Count of Bar who claimed the title of Duke. The bishops and archbishop were additionally against Henry IV for he named Metz and Adalberon ducal cities and Trier an imperial city. (In cities that came under the Imperial Charter and where the official ruler was ecclesiastical Henry left their spiritual powers intact, not wanting to get into conflict with Urban II again [at least not at that moment in time], but far all intensive purposes stripped them of their lay powers.)
[Southern Italy] Castles and fortresses in the area of the Gargano headland, just north of Apulia, who were nominal vassals of Emperor Alexius I swore loyalty in mass to Roger Borsa fearful of the Northern Italian forces marching south seeking retribution against the Byzantines.
(July) [Southern Italy] The Thyrrenian navies arrived in the Southern Italian ports and began loading of troops and supplies that had arrived. They were joined by a fleet from the city-state of Ragusa who sought to break free of Byzantine suzerainty and expand trade to the west.
[Corfu] The Patarene knights, led by the Erlenbald Cotta “the younger” (a nephew of the Order’s leader Erlenbaldo) and Napo Torriani as his second, and the forces of the House of Welf-Este landed in Corfu. The Venetians still being invested at Dyrrachium sent along several mercenary companies they had hired as additional forces. It did not take long for them to defeat the local Byzantine forces and seize the sparsely defended citadel.
[North Africa] Roger of Sicily defeated an attempt by local Muslim tribesmen to retake Constantine which fell a few weeks before. However lack of manpower has made this his final conquest in North Africa for some time to come.
[Tripolis] Godfrey defeated a small Turkish force from the Emirate of Syria that had crossed into his lands.
[Constantinople] Alexius I having had just returned from fighting in Anatolia received word of the attack at Dyrrachium. He gathered his army and prepared to deal with the invaders.
(August) [Cephalonia] The combined Thyrrenian and Ragusan fleets quickly invested and blockaded Cephalonia. The town of Argostoli surrendered when the Byzantine forces on the island were routed after sallying forth trying to disrupt the landings. The nearby Ionian Islands were also invested and taken quickly.
Boniface and the others next planned to take the Byzantine city of Modon and the strategic island of Kythira (Cerigo) off the southern tip of the Peloponnesus. From there they planned that the fleet will be split in two: the Thyrrenian ships will proceed to Crete, as planned under the leadership of Boniface. The Venetian (when they show up) and Ragusan fleets will invest Morea and screen the Aegean against the possibility of a relief fleet from Constantinople. Amadeus of Maurienne (Odo de Maurienne as second) will command the Morean action, while admiral Mocenigo of Venice would command the Aegean fleet.
[Epirus] The siege of Dyrrachium went poorly for the Venetians as their troops and ships were wracked by epidemic typhus. The deaths from the outbreak killed upwards to fifty percent of their forces in a matter of weeks.
[Germany] Magnus Billing, Duke of Saxony, incensed that many of the wealthiest of the Saxon cities were declared imperial cities once again broke with Henry IV and sought to bring him to battle.
Henry IV called upon his most loyal retainer, Frederick Hohenstaufen Duke of Lower Lorraine, to gather an army and deal with Magnus once and for all. Frederick was joined by his son Conrad III. His other son Frederick had taken forces from their family’s castle Staufen and joined Henry V who had crossed into Burgundy to fight Otto Hapsburg and William of Bourgogne.
The forces of the Bishop of Metz, and Adalberon, Archbishop of Trier, and Stephen Count of Bar defeat the forces of Thierry II near the city of Saarbrücken. They proceeded northward to the Moselle River and sought a position to fortify and await Henry IV who had crossed the Moselle near Treves.
Henry IV dispatched emissaries to Welf I soon after word reached him that Conrad II was under his protection.
[Burgundy] Henry V fought an inconclusive battle near the Aare River against Otto II’s forces. Still Otto II was forced to withdraw back towards castle Hapsburg preventing him from consolidating with William of Bourgogne. However William’s forces which were operating out of Frelburg forced Henry V to cease pursuing Otto II and retired to the town of Solothurn lest he be attacked from the rear.
[Rome] Pope Urban II died quietly in his bed. The leading contender for the next Pope is a cardinal by the name of Ranierius of Blera.
(Early September) [Southern Greece] The combine fleet lands Amadeus of Maurienne near the town of Modon. He quickly began a siege of the city and drove off several small local Byzantine forces that were hastily gathered to repulse the invaders.
After a brief encounter with a small Byzantine fleet (no battle was fought as the Byzantine fleet clearly outnumbered fled in the directions of Athens) near the island of Kythira (Cerigo) which fell to Boniface as the Byzantine forces located there were too few to offer up any real resistance. Boniface having cursed the Venetians for being late was forced to dispatch every ship he could spare to assist the Ragusan fleet in screening the Aegean against any Byzantine naval threats. Having left a small garrison on the island he continued on to Crete.
(Mid September) [Aegean Sea] The Byzantine navy which had gathered in Athens sailed south towards Kythira. The Thyrrenian and Ragusan ships encountered them off the island of Poros. The Byzantine navy in rather meager shape faired rather poorly in the battle and suffered many ships sunk. Only their advantage with ‘Greek fire’ which devastated the Ragusan portion of the fleet (it is believed they were the first to close with the Byzantines and suffered the highest portion of the casualties because of it). The scattered remains of the Byzantine fleet limped back to Athens.
(Late September) [Thessalonica] Emperor Alexius I on his way to Dyrrachium received word of the defeat of the Byzantine navy and the siege at Modon (a fast messenger had escaped the city before Amadeus was able to surround it). He dispatched his trusted general Taticius with an army to Dyrrachium while he proceeded south towards Athens and the Peloponnesus.
[Germany-Saxony] Magnus Billing and Frederick Hohenstaufen clashed near the town of Dortmund. The battle was set to be a Saxon victory until the arrival of forces under Conrad III allowed Frederick to withdraw in good order towards the Ruhr River. Magnus began to siege Dortmund as it had sided with Henry IV.
[Germany-Upper Lorraine] Heavy rains had swollen the Moselle and turned the fields into a thick mud by the time Henry IV confronted Stephen of Bar and his allies. The battle was a victory for Henry IV but he was injured during the battle and did not pursue Stephen’s forces as they withdrew back towards Metz.
[Germany-Bavaria] Welf I moved Lethold, Conrad II (and his mother) to the fortress at Ebersberg. Welf II defeated the forces of the Archbishop of Salzburg and laid siege to the city. The Archbishop did not recognize that the city had been named as a ducal city (Henry IV attempting to woo the Welf-Este family into turning over Conrad II [and the symbols of the Kingdom of Italy and Germany] had agreed to many of the cities of Bavaria being turned into ducal cities instead of imperial ones. The emissaries had not yet at this date finished negotiating with Welf but this was one of the conditions Henry had agreed to before they left if Welf demanded it.) After he suffered the defeat in the field the archbishop fled to the fortress within the city and prepared for a long siege.
[Rome] After a unanimous vote Cardinal Ranierius of Blera became Pope Paschal II.
[England] King William II of England died during a hunting accident in the south of England. William II’s youngest brother, Henry Beauclerc, seized power and was crowned King Henry I of England. Conveniently his elder brother Robert Curthose, who should have been king, was absent as he was still imprisoned in Crete. (There are many questions about William II’s death. It is never determined just who shot the accidental arrow that killed him as the hunting party was scattered in a dense brush. It is also uncertain as to whether this was an assassination attempt or just an accident. While there is no evidence for it suspicion falls on his brother Henry as he benefited the most from William II’s death. It is speculated that he knew Robert was more than likely to return to Normandy after the Crusade [news of his wife’s death had by then reached England] and Henry or one of his supporters sought to strike before he returned [Knowledge of his imprisonment in Crete had yet to spread to England but it was not long after Henry assumed the throne that it did.]. Still the evidence is lacking for this hypothesis.)
[Crete] Boniface landed in Crete near the town of Candia. After fighting a pitched battle with the Byzantine forces (apparently local archers inflicted heavy casualties amongst the densely packed levies) he eked out a victory forcing them to withdraw into the city. Placing the city under siege he demanded the freedom of Robert Curthose or he would lay waste to the town.
(October) [Epirus] Taticius’ army arrived near Dyrrachium. Weakened by disease and local forces that had sallied from the city the Venetians had become outnumbered and demoralized. Mocenigo of Venice, the leader of the Venetian fleet, realized that he was in dire straits and withdrew his men to the ships. Not wanting to let this turn into a complete disaster he sailed south where he hoped to make gains elsewhere to offset the disaster at Dyrrachium.
[Germany - Burgundy] William of Bourgogne marched north towards Solothurn hoping to bottle Henry V within the town. After having regrouped Otto II marched from his ancestral castle Hapsburg to the city of Rheinfelden near the Swabian-Burgundian border hoping to cutoff Henry V’s supply lines. The Bishop of Basel, an ally of Otto II, sent troops to assist with the siege.
Henry V had made different plans than his foes. Under the cover of dark his forces left Solothurn and crossed the Aare River (leaving behind a small garrison to reinforce the city and fly his personal banner) and with great stealth made for castle Hapsburg. Loyal Swabian forces from Zurich joined him and began to siege the center of Otto II’s power.
[Germany - Saxony] Having regrouped and drawn additional men and supplies from the archbishopric of Cologne (The Archbishop had been imprisoned earlier when he attempted to rebel against Henry IV’s Imperial Charter [the archbishop was not aware at the time that Frederick Hohenstaufen had been leading an army nearby under orders from Henry IV, in anticipation of the archbishop’s disloyalty, to keep watch on the important city.] again brought battle against Magnus Billing. Magnus forced to abandon the siege of Dortmund clashed with Frederick near the Ruhr. The battle ended in a victory for Frederick but was unable to pursue Magnus as Magnus burned several bridges across the Ruhr as he fled north.
[Germany – Upper Lorraine] Henry IV was wounded severely in battle the month before and rested in Saarbrücken as his vassal Thierry II led the imperial army toward Metz in attempt to deal with Stephen of Bar.
[Germany – Eastern Franconia] The Bishop of Bamburg was forced to flee to Würzburg where he wrote to Rome seeking the new Pope’s assistance against Henry’s new Imperial Charter.
[Peloponnesus] Amadeus of Maurienne ordered a series of assaults on the town of Modon. The first and second attacks failed and left his second in command, Odo de Maurienne, injured. His third assault succeeded and the Byzantine garrison surrendered when one of the gates fell. Feeling that the whole southern Peloponnesus could remain in Italian hands if he could capture Mistra Amadeus marched north. (The priest Anselm documented that Odo tried to persuade him not to but his wounds prevented him from asserting himself let alone joining him. It is also believed that the timely arrival of the Venetian fleet from Dyrrachium gave Amadeus enough resources to attempt the endeavor. It is unknown what Mocenigo thought of the endeavor but in some historical circles it is believed he recommended this plan to Amadeus in the first place. They claim it was part of an elaborate plan to gain control of the town of Modon, or as later events come to pass a way to come out on top [or save face as some believe].)
[Crete] The siege of Candia continued but the defenders began to suffer losses from a lack of supplies.
(Early November) [Peloponnesus] As soon as the news of the disaster at Dyrrachium reached Venice, the senate met to deal with this difficult situation. Mocenigo's command was revoked and a senior Patrician of Venice, Ordelafo Faliero, was unanimously appointed as Gran Capitan di Mare. It is said that even the Mocenigo family cast their votes in favor of this appointment. The swift galley that brought Faliero to Cephalonia, took back Mocenigo in chains (Mocenigo had returned from Modon to Corfu to organize reinforcements). Ordelafo Faliero quickly began work to offset the poor Venetian performance thus far. He began by a raid on the Byzantine port of Coron (to the east of Modon) which quickly fell. A further raid on the port town of Monemvasia (Epidaurus Limera) saw that town occupied also. Ordelafo was celebrated for his decisiveness.
Amadeus began his march north towards Mistra where he defeated a small Byzantine army raised by local nobles to stop him from ravaging their lands. He also laid siege to the town of Kalamata to secure his supply lines and to open the roads to the north and east.
[Peloponnesus - Corinth] Alexius I arrived with his army in the city of Corinth outraged at the poor performance of his navy and the invasion of Greece he vowed to build a strong Byzantine navy (this policy will continue under his successors, particularly John ‘The Shipwright’ Comnenus II) and drive the invaders back into the sea.
Word reached Alexius I of an army moving north from Modon and he marched south, first to Tripolitsa, then along the road to Kalamata confront it.
[Crete] The town of Candia erupted in violence. The pressures of the siege [and blockade] caused fissures in the local divide (local Muslims conflicting with Orthodox Christians) as the Byzantine authorities favored the Orthodox Christians with supplies. Not one to leave an opportunity left untaken Boniface used the distraction to launch an assault on the walls of the town. With the death of the leading Byzantine officials, whether during the Italian assault or in the fighting between the locals is unknown, but the garrison soon surrendered (not until after many of the Muslim residents of the town had already been slaughtered). Robert was discovered in the cells of an official’s palace malnourished but in otherwise good health.
After the storming of Candia, many of the older Canossa soldiers were ready to swear that a knight in the distinctive white-enameled suit of armor always favored by Matilda of Canossa was among the first on the walls, and that this same knight killed the Byzantine commander in single combat. Boniface never affirmed of having seen his mother during the taking of Candia, but his denials were thought not convincing. Robert Curthose admitted having being visited by Matilda "in his dreams", and that her presence helped him to weather the long wait in prison. Whatever the truth, another major foundation to Matilda's legend was laid that day: whenever the story was told afterwards (and it became a staple of the troubadours' epics), it ends with Matilda promising to come back, whenever the enemies gather, and defeat looms: "Never give in to despair, my children". In later years, Matilda was canonized, and her foremost titles were Warrior of Christ, and Mater Italiae (Mother of Italy). Long since, however, it had become traditional to have a portrait of Matilda in the chapel where new knights were spending their night in prayers before being ordered; the Patarene knights were the among the first to adopt this usage.
With Robert freed Boniface sailed from the port of Candia back towards Italy.
[Northern Italy] With exclamations of a miracle Constance, daughter of Robert Curthose, left the chapel where she had remained in prayer [for the safe return of her father] where she claims her mother appeared to her in a “holy light” and said her faith had been rewarded; that her father was free and would soon be home. (Most historians do not know what to make about this supposed visitation from the deceased Matilda of Canossa, it might have been dismissed had it not occurred on the same day as when Robert Curthose had been freed. There have been attempts at a rational explanation, but since witnesses testimonies were not written down until well after the event happened it has become simply a matter of faith.)
[North Africa - Tripoli] Roger of Sicily though outnumbered defeated the Banu Sulaym and Banu Hilal near Tripoli (they presumably hoped to siege the city). He financed the construction of a series of fortresses on the edge of Norman territory (about 25 miles to the east of Tripoli) and returned to Sicily. This defeat quieted the Banu tribes for some time to come.
[Crusader States - Tripolis] Godfrey, Duke of Spoleto and Count of Tripolis, led a small army composed of troops from his own County of Tripolis, the County of Laodicea, and the Country of Beyrout against raiders from the Emirate of Syria. In an attempt to stop the raids he laid siege to the town of Emesa, where the raiders supposedly operated from. The town quickly fell as its leaders were unhappy with Radwan’s rule (read high taxes) of the former Emirate of Damascus and swore allegiance to Godfrey. The raiders unfortunately had escaped to the north to the town of Hamah, but terrain and Radwan’s concentration elsewhere have limited their effectiveness in the near future.
[Germany] Winter came hard and forced the factions to wall up as a powerful winter snow storm blew through.
(Late November) [Crete] Boniface’s chief lieutenants Count Guido della Gherardesca, named Malaparte for his cruelty, from the Tuscan hinterland and Count Goffredo Scotti, of Piacenza, named Vulpino were left in charge of the expedition after he left with Robert. In Candia they plotted their next moves in the Aegean to punish the Greeks for their evil deeds. Dagobert of Pisa, the papal legate for the expedition, meanwhile led a small contingent of soldiers into Crete “bringing the word of God to the Greeks and infidels on the island”.
[Cyclades Islands, Aegean Sea] With the blockade of Crete (Candia) at an end the Ragusan and Thyrrenian navies stormed through the southern Cyclades Islands occupying the islands of Náxos, Páros, Sikinos, Thirassa, Thira, Anafi, Pholegandros, Antiparos, and Iralklia.
[Cephalonia] Boniface and Robert’s ship stopped over for supplies on the island of Cephalonia. While there he coordinated the organization of the nearby islands into the Palatinate of Cephalonia.
[Germany] The heavy snows dumped the week before prevented any further mass fighting but during the next few months alliances and factions shifted.
Henry IV’s injury continued to sap his strength and his son, Henry V, returned from the fighting in Burgundy to be at his father’s side. (The forces there were left in the capable hands on Frederick Hohenstaufen’s son, Frederik II.) It was not soon after that a messenger arrived from Welf I of his agreement to Henry IV’s request to hand over Conrad II and the royal insignia [for the Kingdoms of Germany and Italy]. Welf I in exchange received confirmation that the cities within the Duchy of Bavaria would be Ducal cities, the right to various imperial and royal titles and lands within the Duchy of Bavaria and within the March of Verona (the Brennermark), his son Welf II was guaranteed succession to the Duchy of Bavaria, and his second son Henry was elevated to Marquis of Brennermark (Verona). Although the heavy snow prevented Conrad II’s safe transfer until the spring melt.
[Peloponnesus] Ordelafo using the momentum gained from his two attacks struck again into another coastal town in the Peloponnesus, this time at the town of Githio which quickly surrendered. Several other towns along the southern tip of the peninsula were raided.
Amadeus reached the town of Mistra but became dismayed when it became apparent that the town had been reinforced (the locals deciding it was better to wait behind strong walls than face the fearsome Italians in the field). Amadeus place the town under siege and ordered the construction of several siege engines in an effort to reduce “the walls to dust”.
Alexius’ army, swelled with local reinforcements, reached the town of Megalopolis.
(December) [Peloponnesus] Alexius I arrived at the town of Kalamata and prepared to lay siege however the citizenry of the town rebelled against their occupiers who were too few in number to repress an uprising and defend the walls. From there he split his army, one part (the smallest) remained to garrison Kalamata, the second marched southwest towards Modon, and the other marched east in search of the Italian army that supposedly went in that direction.
The Venetian forces expanded their control down the coastline south from Monemvasia.
The town of Mistra surrendered after a breach in the east wall caused by Amadeus’ siege machines. Amadeus began to consolidate his hold on the surrounding region.
Forces directly under the command of Amadeus of Maurienne defeated the vanguard of the easterly moving army of Alexius I, but were forced to withdraw back into the city of Mistra (which had a hasty fix done to the breached wall).
[Cyclades Islands, Aegean Sea] Serifos, Antilimos, Milos, Pollegos, and Kimolos islands are captured by Venetian naval forces. In addition Schinoussa Amorgos, Keros, Koufonissi, Donoussa islands fall to the Thyrrenian navies.
[Northern Italy] Boniface and Robert ported in the city of Ancona and made there way to Mantua. Robert became furious at the news his brother Henry had stolen the throne from him while he was imprisoned in Crete and vowed to return and claim what is his.
Please use the Discussion Thread for any comments.
And a map of the Eastern Mediterranean at the end of the year 1099 AD:
And a look at the world in the year 1100 AD:
 Made a correction to the map.
1100 AD –
(January) [Peloponnesus] Byzantine forces drove the Italian forces back into the cities of Modon and Coron. However additional Italian reinforcements have forced them to place the two towns under siege instead of bringing a conclusion to the issue with a forced assault.
Amadeus of Maurienne valiantly defended the weakly barricaded breached section of wall in the town of Mistra. Assault after assault weakened the beleaguered garrison. While he wished to continue to fight (according to surviving personal letters) Amadeus was forced to surrender (lack of supplies, men, no reinforcements nearby, and the Byzantines having numerical superiority being his argued reasons for doing so). The terms of surrender were considered quite generous as the Italians were not killed outright but instead taken prisoner (there is no evidence that they were sold into slavery as some believe). Amadeus of Maurienne was held, under heavy guard, in a tent near Alexius I’s personal tent as his ‘guest’.
The Thyrrenian navy landed a small force near the mouth of the Evrótas River.
Ordelafo of Venice expanded control over the Venetian areas of the Southern Peloponnesus and occupied the Saronic islands of Aegina, Hydra, and Dokos. However he was forced to restrict expansion elsewhere as he had to redirect forces and ships to the town of Coron to prevent it from falling into Byzantine hands.
[Crete] Italian forces landed in Western Crete under the command of Guido Malaparte. A small Byzantine army under a local officer defeated Guido which prevented him from linking up with Dagobert’s forces moving west out of Candia.
[Aegean Sea] A small Byzantine fleet based out of Rhodes defeated a squadron of Pisan ships near the island of Karpathos in the eastern Aegean. Further expansion east was prevented as the Thyrrenian navy concentrated on supplying their existing gains and defeating a sudden rise in pirates that plagued their shipping lanes.
[Sicily] The chronicler Alexander of Telese related an incident that took place during the childhood of Simon de Hauteville and his brother, Roger:
As the way of children, they were playing a coin game which was a favorite of theirs, and fell to fighting. When they fought, each with a group of boys whom they had gathered together, the younger, Roger was the conqueror. As a result, he mocked his brother Simon, saying, "It would be far better that I should have the honor of ruling triumphantly after our father's death than you. However, when I shall be able to do this I shall make you a bishop or even Pope in Rome - to which you're far better suited."
(February) [Germany] The heavy snows of winter began to melt but the bitter cold and mud prevented any real movement of troops.
[Germany – Burgundy] Frederick II undaunted throughout the long cold snowy winter continued the siege of Hapsburg castle while Otto II and his ally the bishop of Basel continued in their attempt to take Rheinfelden. While there word reached Otto that his family’s ancestral lands were being assaulted. The snow, mud, and winter weather limited his options (and the fact that neither he nor his allies held any of the crossing of the Aare River until well south of Solothurn). He sent urgent word to William of Bourgogne for assistance who promptly agreed to help. William began preparations to cross the Aare River as soon as the weather permitted (He would later cross the river near to where the future imperial city of Conradstadt [Bern OTL] would be founded.)
[Peloponnesus] Byzantine general Taticius after having reinforced several garrisons along the Adriatic and Ionian coasts arrived in Corinth where he heavily reinforced the city which had become the center for supplies moving south to Alexius I’s army. Once that was completed he gathered a few thousand men and marched south to assist the Emperor. Taticius marched quickly and drove the Italian forces from the Evrótas River valley before turning west to attack the Venetians. Several inconclusive battles were fought until a combined Italian and Venetian force was defeated a few miles from the town of Githio, a large port crucial to reinforcing the Venetian gains in the area. Taticius placed the town under siege but without ships to close the port it was a futile gesture. He later cleared out the Venetian occupiers elsewhere in that part of the Peloponnesus; even retaking the port of Vathia in the southern tip of the peninsula (several other port towns were bypassed or also placed under siege).
Alexius I, with Amadeus of Maurienne in tow, marched south to confront the Italian powers overrunning the southeastern portion of the Peloponnesus. The Byzantine forces clashed with the invaders near the town of Molai (occupied by Venice). The use of Turkish mercenaries led to a Byzantine victory as the Turkish horse archers devastated a portion of the lightly armored Venetian which created a gap in the Venetian line that allowed the Byzantine to carry the day.
Ordelafo brought Norman mercenaries from Southern Italy to Monemvasia and began to reinforce the towns and forts in southeastern Peloponnesus. (Roger Borsa was tempted to get involve himself. However his cousin Richard II of Capua recently died of a sickness and his brother, the heir, Robert I was reluctant to recognize the Apulian suzerainty which his brother had been forced to acknowledge when the two Roger’s aided him in retaking Capua several years before.)
The timely arrival of some Norman mercenaries allowed Ordelafo to mitigate a further defeat at the hands of the Byzantines near the town of Sikia, northwest of Monemvasia.
Alexius I in an attempt to drive the Italian powers apart offered a truce to the Venetians. At the same time Goffredo the Fox arrived in Neapoli, from Crete, with additional forces but was surprised to find that Ordelafo was in negotiations with the Byzantines. (It wasn’t clear to him at the time who arranged the truce talks.) He rushed north trying to prevent a Venetian betrayal (and also somehow free Amadeus of Maurienne who he also had just heard had been captured).
However Goffredo arrived in time and came to the conclusion that the Venetians had not betrayed them. After a lengthy consultation with his Venetian counterpart they decided to listen to the offer Alexius I was yielding up.
(March) [Greece] Goffredo and Ordefafo met Alexius I just north of the town of Sikia in tiny monastery that sat between their respective armies. The two sides met and argued for weeks which eventually produced the Treaty (Peace) of Monemvasia.
The treaty or peace can be best described as one of territory swaps, tribute being paid, and assurances given. The highlights of the treaty are:
• Corfu and several nearby islands were given over to the Patarene Knights (this was therefore to become a Papal fief) who were to establish a naval presence to combat pirates within the Ionian Sea
• The recently created Palatinate of Cephalonia was given over to Boniface of Canossa who would rule it as a vassal of Alexius I (It would therefore remain as Byzantine territory but be run as a Canossa fief within the Empire.). Boniface would later award the territory to a loyal vassal. The northern most island, Lefkas, was turned over to the Venetians as part of their territory
• The Cyclades islands captured would be split in two those controlled by the Venetians would be given over to the Most Serene Republic of Venice as territory (which they named the Duchy of the Archipelagos) and the rest would be formed into the County of Naxos which would be ruled by Guido Malaparte (actually it was awarded to Boniface of Canossa but he quickly appointed Guido as the count there). Just as the Palatinate of Cephalonia the County of Naxos would remain as Byzantine territory
• The territory in Peloponnesus and Crete was returned to the Emperor and in exchange he would pay tribute to Robert Curthose for two years from the revenue from Crete in compensation for his unjust imprisonment
• Italian trade restrictions in Crete and Cyprus were lifted
• Amadeus of Maurienne was freed
• A fifteen year peace was established between the signatories of the treaty
A notable event that occurred as the result of the Peace of Monemvasia were the fleeing of the former Marquis of Montferrat, Ranieri, and many of the exiled minor nobles from Byzantium to the court of the Fatamid Caliphate as Alexius placed the blame on them for the events that had transpired. They would establish themselves in the growing foreign quarter of Alexandria and even came to serve as officials within the court of the Caliph.
In addition Alexius I dispatched one Nicephorus Bryennius to Crete to reorganize the governing structure there to ensure that such events did not take place any further.
[Germany - Bavaria] The snows having melted enough to allow travel saw Conrad II along with Lethold and heavy escorts make their way towards Saarbrücken to the court of Henry IV (and Henry V).
[Germany - Saxony] Magnus Billung with support from the bishop of Paderborn moved on the great fortress at Eresburg where a sizeable imperial garrison was located. After he defeated the forces loyal to Henry IV in the field Magnus placed the fortress under siege. With support from other Saxon nobles he further split his army and turned west, leaving a large force to continue the siege at Eresburg, for the town of Soést which holds a strategic position between the Ruhr and Lippe Rivers.
Frederick I Hohenstaufen after being forced to defeat some minor nobles, who had switched sides over the long winter and threatened his supply lines, marched east from Dortmund to confront Magnus.
The Battle of Soést marked a turning point in the conflict in (southwest) Saxony. Frederick I soundly defeated Magnus forcing Magnus to withdraw. Through the valiant effort of his men Magnus escaped towards his forces at the siege of Eresburg, but the defeat forced him on the defensive in most of Westphalia.
[Germany – Upper Lorraine] Stephen of Bar and his allies crushed a revolt by the inhabitants of Diedenbofen. Forces under Henry V and Thierry II failed to reach the town in time to assist in the revolt and with the bridges to the town over the Moselle River were occupied by Stephen they turned back.
Henry V defeated forces loyal to Stephen and his allies near the city of Treves.
Henry IV was struck down by a fever and remained in Saarbrücken.
[Burgundy] William of Bourgogne and Otto II attempted to break the siege of Hapsburg castle but failed to dislodge Frederick von Staufen II. In their failure to relieve the castle (which fell at the end of the month) they proceeded to Rheinfelden and once again laid siege to the town. This time the much stronger force gained the walls and the town was thoroughly sacked.
[France] Robert Curthose and his daughter Constance arrived in lands ruled directly by Philip I of France. As ruler of the Duchy of Normandy (and supposedly his vassal) and with claims to the throne of England he was treated to a feast where Robert was celebrated for his heroic deeds during the Crusade. It is there that the two hatched a plan to drive Robert’s brother Henry from Normandy (Henry had over the winter began reinforcing Normandy with troops and nobles loyal to him.) and then England. Philip offered men and money (not a whole lot at as Philip was mired in his own troubles with local nobles) to assist Robert however there was one string attached to the deal. He wanted Constance, daughter of Robert and Matilda, to marry his son Louis VI thus binding the two houses together. Low on funds since his wife died (and unaware of the windfall of cash he was to receive in tribute from the Greeks coming out of the Treaty of Monemvasia) and the prospect of enforcing his claims looking low without some assistance.
[North Africa] The leaders of the Banu Sulaym made contact with the remnants of both of their cousin tribes the Banu Jami and Banu Hilal who had fled westward and deeper into the desert to escape the Normans from Sicily and Southern Italy. Together they began to plot revenge against the invaders.
(April) [France] Robert after consultation with his advisors, including Ranulf Flambard Bishop of Durham who had just succeeded in fleeing the Tower of London (he was also the first to be held in the now infamous prison), agreed to Philip’s request. Constance and Louis were to be married within the year and Robert would be supported in his attempt to enforce his claim to the throne of England.
[Patrimony of Saint Peter - Rome] The envoy of the Bishop of Bamberg arrived in Rome and conveyed the bishop’s distress to the Pope. The Pope saw this as a possible resurgence of the conflict over investiture dispatched emissaries to Henry IV demanding an explanation of the events dealing with the bishops within the Kingdom of Germany and Burgundy. (The Pope already having to deal with investiture conflicts with Henry of England did not need a resurgence of conflict with Henry IV.)
[Germany – Saxony] Frederick Hohenstaufen marched forth from Soést and relieved the beleaguered garrison of Eresburg. Magnus Billung withdrew to the safety of the Bishopric of Paderborn, a close ally of Magnus.
The Bishop of Münster fled the city eastward to Bishopric of Minden in fear of the local citizenry who had just signed the Imperial Charter and arriving Imperial forces under Conrad Hohenstaufen.
With the fortress of Eresburg relieved and reinforced Frederick marched north but was defeated near the monastery of Corvey, east of Paderborn, near the Wiser River. Frederick withdrew back to Eresburg for rest and reinforcements.
Conrad crossed the Ems River and laid siege to Osnabrück whose bishop, an ally of Magnus, arrested the city’s delegation upon their return from signing the Imperial Charter.
[Germany – Lorraine] In an attempt to break Stephen of Bar and his allies once and for all Henry V gathered an army near the city of Boullion, in Upper Lorraine, and marched south to the city of Ivoy, Lower Lorraine, which welcomed him by overthrowing the small garrison installed there. (It should be noted that it is believed that the garrison commander, who can be confirmed to be in several battles on Henry’s side, actually switched sides and brought the city to Henry V and not according to the town history by a popular revolt.) While Henry V’s campaign between the Moselle and Meuse Rivers failed to bring about any tactical victories (several inconclusive battles were fought) Henry V was able to claim a strategic victory in that he forced Stephen of Bar to abandon Diedenbofen and its crucial bridges lest he become trapped within the city.
[Germany – Swabia] Conrad II and his entourage arrived in the fortress of Zabern near the border of Lower Lorraine.
Henry IV had planned to meet them there but remained in Saarbrücken as he was wracked by fits of coughing and a high fever.
[Burgundy] With the fortress of Hapsburg finally fallen Frederick II Hohenstaufen decided upon a new course of action. Leaving a strong garrison within the fortress Frederick marched southeast away from William and Otto’s forces in Rheinfelden.
Frederick crossed the Aare River and laid siege to Frelburg in an attempt to cut William’s supply lines.
(May) [Italy] Thousands of German refugees began to flood across the Alps as the fighting in Germany continued. While several German communities and towns would take root in northern Italy most would either migrate on to southern Italy, Sicily, North Africa, and to the Crusader counties (and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem) in the Levant (which helped to solve those county’s manpower problems and offer a needed boost the Christian population there). [It is estimated that upwards of thirty thousand might have fled Germany south towards the safety of Italy and from there elsewhere. Countless others were shifted around Germany as many fled the fighting some returned when the fighting passed and others settled in more peaceful areas of Germany.]
[Germany – Burgundy] William of Bourgogne left Otto II with a large garrison in Rheinfelden and marched south avoiding imperial forces out of Solothurn in an attempt to relieve Frelburg.
[Germany – Upper Lorraine] Henry V left Duke Thierry II in charge of the campaign after the battle near the monastery of Gorse and hastily attended his father in Saarbrücken. It was at his bedside on the 30th of May that Henry V witnessed the passing of his father as disease, stress, and wounds suffered in battle took their final toll.
A local priest at the time wrote:
It was with the ringing of Church bells that Conrad II and his entourage arrived in Saarbrücken, but it was not in joy at the arrival of the Emperor’s grandson rather it was in sorrow for our beloved Henry was dead.
Henry V quickly gathered Conrad II when he arrived and placed him under his protection (the faithful knight Lethold was allowed to remain as the boy’s personal bodyguard) and claimed the royal insignia.
(June) [France] In a grand ceremony in Paris Constance married Louis VI, heir to the throne of France. The act cemented the alliance between Philip and Robert. Within days Robert rode into Normandy and proceeded to remove the vassals loyal to his brother Henry I. With the aid of French knights Robert quickly drove off the few nobles that openly refused to support him.
(When Boniface heard the news at his sister’s marriage he commissioned a painting as a gift. The painting, done by a gifted artist from Florence, was one of their mother, Matilda, and Constance [it was based on previous separate portrait paintings done several years earlier] in the same frame. It has been remarked that the Constance was the very image of her mother.)
[Holy Roman Empire] As word broke out of the death of Emperor Henry IV in Saarbrücken and spread across Germany, Arles/Burgundy, and Italy the empire seemed to go eerily calm (for a few days least wise). The calm soon ended though as chaos again washed over the empire. (Not everyone was aware that Henry V had in his possession his nephew, the insignia and regalia of all the kingdoms, and the symbols of the Emperor.)
Many a noble used this opportunity to switch sides, join in if they had previously been neutral, or just renewed their aggressive stance (some had restrained themselves and made peace as it appeared the imperial armies were being victorious).
[Germany - Saxony] Frederick Hohenstaufen was critically wounded at the siege of Osnabrück but succeeded in occupying the city. The Bishop of Osnabrück was captured and kept locked in the dungeons. With the fall of Osnabrück all of Westphalia was either allied or under the occupation of imperial forces.
With Frederick wounded and recuperating his son, Conrad III, took command of the imperial forces and led an attack east from Osnabrück towards the Bishopric of Minden, along the Weser River, but stopped when word reached him of the death of Henry IV. He withdrew back to Osnabrück to consult with his injured father who counseled to go on the defensive in Westphalia and wait for word from Henry V.
[Germany – Upper Lorraine] Thierry II even though he was aware of the death of Henry IV refused to give up the momentum against Stephen of Bar and moved south where he placed the Bishopric of Todl under siege. The bishop attempted to flee but a separate army under Thierry’s son had marched along the Moselle River south from Metz and blocked the bridges across the Moselle.
Henry V with Conrad II in tow left Saarbrücken for Aachen (in French Aix-la-Chapelle) where he planned to crown himself King of Germany as his father had planned. However he did not plan to crown his young nephew King of Italy as Henry IV wished, but instead he planned to claim that crown for himself and to crown Conrad II King of Arles/Burgundy (thus keeping him far away from any real centers of power) and ensure he had a long regency under Henry V’s care (i.e. keep him out of Arles/Burgundy, even though he is king, for many years). With these titles he felt it should be easy to gather the support to be named emperor. (An unsubstantiated document from an unnamed monk claimed that Henry V said, “I will be emperor if I have to force the Pope to recognize me at knife point.” While the document is certainly from the time period it is believed this document might have been written by the Archbishop of Cologne in an attempt to discredit Henry V. However this claim is as unsubstantiated as the claims in the document itself.)
Along the road to Aachen Lethold uncovered a plot by a few nobles ‘loyal’ to Conrad II who planned to kill Henry V. Lethold knowing that these nobles did not plan to do this for Conrad’s benefit (rightfully so as it turned out) gained an audience with the would-be emperor and turned them in. Under the specter of death (i.e. torture) they confessed to the plot and were executed. In reward for his faithful service to the Salian Dynasty he was granted a title, and more importantly promoted to be head of the Imperial Household Guard. (Commonly just called the Imperial Guard. Henry V not completely trustful of Lethold still maintained his own personal guards who were theoretically under Lethold’s command, but still took their orders from Henry V.)
[Note: The Imperial Guard while in its infancy at this time reflected Lethold’s own life. It drew its members from the lesser sons of nobility but also among the sons of merchants, artisans, and freemen. This was allowed as it was seen that a son of the higher nobility might be more open to compromise for political reasons. Although the Imperial Guard is well known for their Crimson attire it was not until well after Lethold’s death that the Crimson uniform was adopted in respect to their ‘founder’ Lethold, der Blutgedeckt.]
[Burgundy] Frederick II Hohenstaufen clashed with William of Bourgogne as William tried to relieve the siege of Frelburg. Victory was clutched from William’s grasp when seemingly out of nowhere Hubert ‘the Red-handed’ Count of Maurienne marched north from his territories and attacked William’s forces from the rear (while Hubert II was fond of his wife he was not so fond of his father-in-law). The elderly William was slain on the battlefield, but his son Renauld II successfully removed the remains of the Burgundian forces to the northwest. Frederick sent an emissary to Hubert as he moved back to siege Frelburg. Once it was determined that Hubert had no quarrel with Frederick and that they had similar aims (although to be honest Hubert’s had additional aims in Arles/Burgundy than the mere suppression of the rebellion) they combined their forces and laid siege to Frelburg together.
[Italy - Liguria] Genoese traders fed up with continued attacks by the Emirate of the Balearics began to gather a fleet to deal with them (ships from Pisa and Marseille also joined the fleet). After having received approval and assistance from Count Palatinus of Italy, Boniface of Canossa, the Genoese sought Papal blessing. Pope Paschal II officially blessed the fleet during the celebration of the feast of Saint George.
[France - Toulouse] The Patarene knights open their largest chapter house outside of Italy within the city of Carcassonne.
(July) [France – Normandy] With the fall of the port city of Le Havre, the last remaining holdout of the pro-Henry faction in Normandy Robert began to make plans for his invasion of England.
[Italy] Boniface oversaw the completion of what would become known as just the Citadel (properly called the Fortress of Saint Michael the Archangel) located a few miles north of Pavia. The citadel was built to be the center of defense in the region.
The fleet destined for the Emirate of the Balearics finished gathering in the port of Marseille and set sail for the Balearic Islands. They spent the remainder of the month defeating the Emir’s navy and raiding the islands while their invasion force was being assembled, an amalgamation of levies from the interested cities, troops loaned from Boniface of Canossa, and mercenaries.
[Germany – Upper Lorraine] In an attempt to relieve the besieged city of Todl (and save his ally) Stephen of Bar launched an assault on the imperial forces led by Thierry II. Stephen successfully drew off a section of Thierry’s lines and routed the imperial army. In attempt to relieve pressure on his father’s forces Thierry’s son, Simon, led an attack on the city from the opposite bank of the Moselle River. The garrison of Todl had sallied from the walls to attack Thierry but had failed to leave a sizeable enough force to defend from an attack from the east. Using a small fleet of rafts Simon’s forces crossed the Moselle and gained control of one of the gates. With the gates opened the rest of Simon’s forces crossed over on the bridge and defeated the remaining garrison. Stephen of Bar returning triumphant from his victory over Thierry II was surprised to find the city of Todl (and its bishop) flying the banners of his enemy. He attempted to lay siege to the town but with control of the bridge and a regrouped imperial army heading his way he was forced to withdraw back across the Meuse where he reinforced his positions in Verdun and the other vital crossings over the River.
[Germany - Saxony] Magnus Billung attempted a siege of the city of Wildeshausen in the north of Westphalia but withdrew when Conrad Hohenstaufen renewed his attack on the Bishopric of Minden (after a messenger from Henry V arrived which told him to press the attack). The two armies clashed several miles to the west of Minden. The battle was a total victory for the imperial forces leaving the way open to Minden. Magnus survived the battle and withdrew to the city of Detmold (which was restive against his rule but was well secured with his loyal troops).
[Germany – Lower Lorraine] Henry V arrived in Aachen. On June 12th in a great ceremony he was crowned King of the Germans.
A week after his coronation the papal envoy from Pope Paschal II arrived to discuss the situation of the bishops within the empire (although he is not concerned with the bishops in Italy). The envoy explained his dismay at the fact that several bishops have been forced to flee their sees, several have been held as prisoners, rumors of several being killed (these would later be proven to be untrue as those believed dead were just in hiding), and the apparent breaking of the agreement his father, Henry IV had made, with Pope Urban II after his defeat in Italy.
Henry V replied that they had in their temporal capacity risen up against their lawful lord over mere worldly possessions such as money. That it was well within his father’s rights as Emperor (and within his brother’s, Conrad, rights as King since he planned on doing a Charter also before he was assassinated) to pass laws that concerned the governance of the realm. Also he had made no move to replace these bishops nor had he planned any harm to come to them. That if they accepted the changes the Imperial Charter had created it would leave them only to be concerned with only the spiritual matters of their flock.
The papal envoy was stunned to hear this for when he left Rome he expected a renewed conflict with Henry IV not having to deal with his son. He well remembered the wars in Italy over who had the right to invest the bishops and even though Henry IV was dead he was aware that his youngest son, Henry V, had always been an ardent supporter of his father’s policies concerning the right of investiture. He was further stunned when Henry V offered to meet the Pope in Rome to further discuss the situation as soon as the situation in Germany and Burgundy allowed him to do so. (Henry V had multiple reasons for needing to go to Italy so it was not as some suggested a desperate move for recognization from the Pope.) The envoy agreed to pass on his words to his Holiness the Pope.
[Burgundy] With the additional forces supplied by Hubert of Maurienne Frederick II Hohenstaufen quickly defeated the garrison of the city of Frelburg. After a careful game of cat-and-mouse Hubert and Frederick successfully trapped Renauld II within the Bishopric of Lausanne. Realizing that he had no hope of relief Renauld accepted the terms of surrendered offered by Frederick and Hubert.
(August) [Germany – Lower Lorraine/Saxony] Henry V left Aachen for Saxony with another army and joined Conrad Hohenstaufen who assumed the leadership after his father, Frederick, finally passed away from the wounds he suffered the month before. His eldest son, Frederick II (traveling north with Renauld II as his prisoner) succeeded him as Duke of Lower Lorraine.
The Archbishop of Bremen, a long time rival of Magnus Billung, allied himself with Henry V and sent a small army to south to help fight.
The combined imperial army of Henry V challenged Magnus Billung to battle several miles north of Paderborn. The battle concluded with Magnus and over half of his supporters dead on the field. Those who survived surrendered to Henry.
[Provence] The gathered Thyrrenian fleet crushed the pirate fleet operating out of Monaco and began the construction of fort at the former pirate base. The pirates had been allied with the Emir of the Balearics and used the Balearic Islands as a staging point to raid in the Western Mediterranean (with a small percentage of the loot going to the Emir in exchange for him turning a blind eye to their activities). The Count of Provence made some noises but a promise for a share in the increase in trade mollified him.
[Southern Italy] The young son of Roger Borsa, William, died from injuries suffered when he fell from a tree while in play. With no other living heirs Roger declared his brother Roger’s second son, Roger II, his heir.
[Balearic Islands] The island of Menorca was occupied with little resistance from the locals as the raids over the past month had devastated the island’s defenses. The largest island, Mallorca, successfully defeated a small force that landed on the island.
The Emir attempted to make peace by offering up a vast fortune but was refused when Dagobert of Pisa, who was leading the small contingent of men loaned from Boniface of Canossa, claimed, “I can make peace with a heretical Greek, if I must, for at least he believes in Christ’s sacrifice, but I shall never make peace with an infidel.” The Genoese commander Otto Carello, the leader of the expedition, concurred with Dagobert although for entirely different reasons (he personally, according to a surviving letter, believed the Emir offered but a token of his wealth).
[England] A month of gathering men, supplies, and enough ships finally saw Robert Curthose land near the town of Portsmouth. However Henry’s supporters among the nobles were further strengthened when news spread of Robert’s alliance with Philip of France. The English nobility saw this as a purely internal matter and only a move by the Philip to subjugate England. (The Norman nobles already supported Henry over Robert as he was seen as the more competent of the two but the act of using French troops in England inflamed them even further. The Anglo-Saxon nobles favored Henry because of his soon to be bride, Edith, the daughter of King Malcolm III of Scotland and the niece of Edgar Atheling thus bringing the new line of kings in with the old.)
The Battle of Portsmouth proved a decisive victory for Henry I of England. Robert’s army was thoroughly defeated with many knights taken prisoner. Sadly for Robert that was not to be the case as he led a daring cavalry charge the spear of common soldier pierced his mail and left a grievous wound. His brother Henry had his broken body taken into his royal tent where Robert lingered for the rest of the day.
As was chronicled by historian William of Malmesbury:
Robert would drift in and out of consciousness; never lucid and refusing drink, even to dull the pain; he would cry out to his beloved wife Matilda and at times seemingly hold a conversation with her. It was with tears in his eyes that his majesty declared his brother dead before the rising of the sun.
[France] On the same night her father died Constance claimed that her mother came to her “in a dream” and told her of her father’s passing. She also claimed that Matilda had said she should not ‘give up what is yours’.
It was only confirmed when a week later a messenger arrived from England with a letter from Henry. In it offered condolences to Constance but told her in no uncertain terms that because of her father’s rebellion against him, the lawful regnant of England, he would be forced to claim Normandy. Constance knowing that this is what her mother had meant in the dream vowed to defend her birthright. Her husband, Louis VI, and her father-in-law, Philip, also vowed to help protect Normandy from Henry.
Constance faced several problems in defending Normandy from Henry I that needed to be solved quickly. The greatest problem was that most of the nobles loyal to Robert were either dead or held capture in England leaving only young heirs (with many not yet in their majority) behind to help raise soldiers. The other was the lack of able-bodied men as her father had taken a good portion of the Duchy’s soldiers to England.
(September) [Germany – Upper Lorraine] Thierry II and his son Simon successfully captured Stephen of Bar near Verdun when several of Stephen’s supporters betrayed him on the promise of expansion of their lands from Thierry II.
[Germany] With the capture of Stephen of Bar and the defeat and death of Magnus Billung the major revolts against Henry V ended and he began to reorder the Kingdom of Germany. (The minor nobility would continue rebelling for years to come which as in Italy during the Baron’s Revolt would see the power of the minor nobility decline and the power of the King/Emperor and greater nobility rise.)
Henry’s first issue concerned the Duchy of Saxony. Magnus Billung had left no direct male heir to claim the Duchy so in reward for his valiant efforts Henry awarded the Duchy to Conrad III Hohenstaufen and to cement Conrad’s rule he married Magnus’ second eldest daughter, Wulfhilde. (The ceremony actually occurred in February of 1101 AD.)
Henry’s second issue was to offset the power of the Dukes who like the Emperor had gained much power with the conclusion of the ‘Consolidation Wars’ (which as stated before would continue for much of Henry’s reign as minor nobility would chafe at the power the greater nobility had). His first step was to secure an heir for himself (while Conrad II was an heir with him being his brother’s son it opened up too much of an opportunity for his enemies to exploit) and to do this he planned to marry the eldest daughter of Welfhard (Welf V), Sophia, Duke of Carinthia and heir to the Duchy of Bavaria. This act also held the benefit of helping to bind the powerful Welf-Este family to him.
Henry then proceeded to deal with the other areas of contention. He stripped Stephen of Bar of his title as Count of Bar and yielded it up to Stephen’s cousin, Simon, who upon the request of Thierry II would also assume the title of Duke of Upper Lorraine so he could retire in his remaining years to a monastery (he died in 1105 AD peacefully as a monk in the monastery at Epinal).
Renauld II of Bourgogne who had arrived as a prisoner of Frederick II Hohenstaufen was removed as Count of (Imperial) Burgundy which was granted to Conrad II and Renauld’s son, Stephen I, was given instead the county of Macon. Otto II of Hapsburg who had surrendered to Frederick II near Reinfelden as Frederick progressed north was allowed to keep his county but had to give his son Albrecht II to Henry V as a prisoner in Henry’s court to ensure Otto’s good behavior.
Henry on behalf of his nephew Conrad II as regent began a major reordering of the Burgundian counties, expanding the imperial county of Burgundy both west and southward. Parts of Burgundy were given over to the Count of Maurienne, Hubert II, and to the Count of Provence, Guilhem Betrand III.
Henry while not quite yet King of Italy (although none doubted his ability to claim the throne) also raised Hubert II’s domains in Savoy to the Marquis of Savoy in reward for his valiant effort in defeating William of Bourgogne.
Henry V began a progress through Germany heading towards Italy.
[Balearic Islands] The Emir suffered a crushing defeat outside his capital of Medina al-Majorca. The Emir having died in battle left the islands bereft of leadership. The remaining garrison within Medina al-Majorca surrendered the city when Dagobert of Pisa rode up to the gates holding the Emir’s head and threatened the same fate for the city if they did not surrender immediately. The city surrendered and while it was looted the citizens of the city were spared as long as they converted.
With the surrender Medina al-Majorca was renamed to San Giorgio di Mayorca and Otto Carello was named its governor. The islands were organized into the Duchy of Mayorca (sometimes called the Duchy of the Balearics or the Duchy of the Western Isles) where its governor would hold the title of Duke for seven years when a replacement would be sent. (The islands officially a Papal fief would be ruled by the 'Duke' who was to be selected for a limited term and at the end of it a new 'Duke' chosen by the Genoese city leadership. Then if approved by the Pope was 'granted' the title. However not all governors/Dukes would be from Genoa but would come from elsewhere depending on the politics of it all.)
[France - Normandy] The English fleet landed near Le Havre and Henry I of England quickly laid siege to the city. Unfortunately for Constance who in the ducal capital of Rouen raising her army had not yet met up with the French army that had marched from Paris under Philip I and her husband Louis VI. By the time the two armies merged near Rouen Le Havre had already fallen to Henry I.
As she prepared to march with her army her husband and father-in-law forbid her to go as a battlefield was “no place for a woman”. She was returned to Rouen for her own ‘safety’.
The following day marked the Battle of Rouen (although the battle really took place several miles up the Seine River toward Le Havre). The battle raged on all day with neither side gaining an advantage until several hours after noon. A section of the Franco-Norman line began to waver and under a determined assault led by Ralph of Tosny proceeded to break and rout. As the line routed a single armored rider came out of the nearby woods. (On a white horse no less! Or so the legend goes.) The figure seized a ducal banner as they passed a fleeing bannerman and charged towards the English. Many of the French and Norman veterans of the Crusade swore that it was Matilda herself that appeared for the figure wore similar white enameled armor. With the white armored figure leading the way the French and Norman line reformed (and with the aid of arriving reinforcements) and drove the English off. In the confusion of the counter-attack the armored figure disappeared.
[It is believed by many that armored figure was Constance. It is thought that she being her mother and father’s daughter (not to mention brothers’ sister) did not want to leave the fate of her lands in the hands of others. Even with Constance’s denials that she was not there but in the cathedral of Rouen in prayer and the bishop as a witness many believe that it could have been none other than her. Although later accounts from the Bishop of Rouen stated that while he did see a figure that resembled the Duchess in the Duchess’ gown that he did not see the face of the one in prayer and was not sure if it was the Constance or someone else.]
While the defeat was not a shattering one for Henry (he could have chosen to press the issue further had he wanted to do so) made him rethink the claiming of Normandy. With rumors of trouble with in England Henry sought peace with Constance which brought about the treaty of Sées. The treaty of Sées marked the end of the hostilities with between Henry I of England and his niece Constance.
The treaty detailed:
• Henry acknowledged Constance as the rightful heir to the Duchy of Normandy
• Constance yielded up any and all claims to the throne of England for her or her progeny unless Henry were to have no children
• A sum of 3000 Marks would be paid to Constance to compensate for the damage done to her Duchy
• Prisoners on both sides would be released
• Those nobles with lands in both England and Normandy had to choose which lands they would keep and swear allegiance to either the Duchess of Normandy or the King of England (i.e. if a noble chose to keep his English lands and loose his lands in Normandy then he would swear loyalty to the King of England). Those nobles would then be compensated from the lands taken from those who chose differently
The Battle of Rouen marked a turning point in English history. While England would still look for opportunities to meddle in France (and clash with them throughout history) they turned their energy away from the continent and sought to dominate the British Isles.
(December) [Germany] Henry V married Sophia Welf-Este in Salzburg.
[Italy] Boniface oversaw the completion of one of the twin fortresses, the Fortress of Saint George, to the northeast of Mantua designed to keep an eye on the Brenner Pass. The other fortress, the Fortress of Saint Christopher, was built west of the city of Novara (near the town of Biandrate) of to keep an eye on the Saint Bernard Pass. The final fortress, the Fortress of the Angels, built to the northeast of Locarno was designed to protect the Splügen Pass would not be finished till spring.
Godfrey returned from Tripolis to Spoleto.
A map of the changes that occured after the Peace of Monemvasia:
1101 AD –
(March) [Germany] Henry V completed his first progress through Germany as its King and made his way through the Brenner Pass to the Brennermark (March of Verona) in Italy.
[Normandy] With the long winter over with Constance began the reconstruction of her duchy from the English invasion the previous year. Two things of note occurred at this time.
The first was the arrival of one Peter Abelard to the court in Normandy. He arrived from the school in Paris, where he failed to establish himself as a rival teacher to his Parisian master. He had planned on to establish his own school but was intrigued when he heard word that the duchess was establishing a smaller learning center in her ducal capital of Rouen [later would be added as a branch of the University of Paris until it was further broken off as its own university] to bring the knowledge gleaned from the Crusade to northern Europe (Constance was funding the translation of texts from the libraries in Mantua and Tripolis into French and Latin to serve as the core for her own library). Peter quickly ingratiated himself with the new duchess and was appointed as the head of this small school.
The second was the establishment of small lay order in an abandoned manor of one of the nobles who fled to England. This small order was made up mostly of widows and older orphaned girls who lost their families in the conflict (orphaned boys were sent to a newly constructed Patarene Order chapter house on the outskirts of Le Havre). While this may not seem to have been out of the ordinary it was the defense training offered to the women [courtesy of an Italian Patarene Knight who is it said to have fallen in love with one of the young women there]. This caused a slight stir among the nobility and clergy particularly those opposed to Philip.
(April) [Italy] Henry V made his way to Pavia where he crowned himself King of Italy and received the greater nobles who swore allegiance. The first of the Great Nobles, Boniface of Canossa, was the first to swear followed by his younger brother Godfrey. Once his allegiance was assured Boniface was confirmed by Henry V to continue to be the Count Palantinus of Italy (much to the relief of many as another war would certainly hurt profits).
Henry V began his progress of Italy which would last until the early Fall.
(May) [Byzantine Empire – Danube border] Alexius I led an army to the northern border to defeat an army of Cumans that had been raiding across the Danube River. The battle saw the Cumans crushed and broken but Alexius I was terribly wounded in the fighting. He would linger on for a day but by noon the next day the Emperor was dead. As he lay dying he summoned Nicephorus Bryennius, husband to his eldest daughter Anna, and begged him to watch over his heir John II, who still a child was not ready to take the throne. Nicephorus agreed to his liege’s dying command and vowed that John would not to any harm.
However the army, urged on by agents of his wife and her mother (Irene), lifted him up upon their shields and declared him emperor. When the army returned to Constantinople the population first in shock at the death of the emperor celebrated their new emperor. Quick to make sure his rule was enforced he made his way to the Great Palace. The palace guard, most likely under bribe from Anna and Irene, did not oppose him as he entered. The days that followed say Alexius buried in what was called a magnificent ceremony full of pomp and splendor. Alexius’ two sons John and Isaakios were quickly bundled off to the monastery of Mangana where they remained under heavy guard.
[Sicily] Roger I was summoned to Rome by Pope Paschal II.
(August) [Italy – March of Ancona] Henry V confirmed and anointed Godfrey’s heir, Sigifredo, as the Marquis of Ancona.
Henry V began his procession towards Rome and the Pope.
[Rome] Roger I of Sicily and a host of nobles throughout Sicily, Southern Italy, and from the territories in North Africa arrived in Rome.
[Normandy - Rouen] A small group of the lay ladies, called by Constance ‘Matilda’s Maidens’ in reference to her mother, were assaulted by group of angry men, encouraged on by hostile priest. Before the town guard could intervene the mob attacked the ladies and in disbelief to the observers proceeded to beat them back. One ‘lady’ in particular, Viveka of Oslo (the daughter of a merchant who was killed in the taking of Le Havre) who while not even seventeen winters was taller than most males and just as broad of shoulder, grabbed the priest and threw him into cart full of manure.
The Bishop of Rouen after a heated discussion with Constance had the instigating priest moved to another parish outside the Duchy of Normandy.
(September) [Italy - Rome] The arrival of Henry V to Rome is met with an eerie silence instead of the fanfare he had been accustomed to in his progress through Italy (whether because it was heartfelt or forced is hard to judge) as the people of Rome were anxious as to whether a peace between Henry and the Pope could be reached or the conflict of years before would again flare up.
After weeks of negotiation Pope Paschal II and Henry V came to an agreement, known as the Pactum Paschalis, which brought an end to the power struggle between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Emperors (granted Henry V had not yet been crowned as such).
The following were the highlights of the pact:
• The King (or the Emperor if the King was not yet of age) was recognized as having the right to invest bishops with secular authority ("by the lance") in the territories they governed, but not with sacred authority (by ring and staff)
• The election of bishops and abbots in Germany were to take place in the emperor's presence. Where he would be as a judge between potentially disputing parties, free of bribes, and thus allowed the emperor to maintain a crucial role in choosing these great territorial magnates of the Empire
• In Burgundy and Italy the Emperor was to forward the symbols of authority within six months
• The Emperor's right to a substantial imbursement on the election of a bishop or abbot was specifically denied*
• The Emperor renounced the right to invest them with ring and crosier (the symbols of their spiritual power) and guaranteed election by the canons of cathedral or abbey and free consecration
*Since the Emperor/King was getting money from the cities of the bishops and archbishops this was not a problem and one Henry had little problem giving up.
This pact with Henry V would serve as a basis for other pacts such as the Concordat of London with Henry I of England (signed in 1104 AD).
Days after the signing of the pact Henry V was crowned Holy Roman Emperor and in the same ceremony Roger I of Sicily was crowned King of Sicily, Apulia, Capua, and Carthage.
(October) [Italy] Emperor Henry V left Rome and headed in a stately progress towards the Kingdom of Arles/Burgundy.
(December) [Normandy] The unexpected growth of the number of women seeking entrance into her lay order forced Constance to fund the construction of second location for her ‘Matilda’s Maidens’ near the port city of Cherbourg.
1102 AD -
(January) [Northern Italy] Henry V’s progress through Italy took him to Tuscany where Boniface’s eldest son, Gregory, was anointed as the Marquis of Tuscany (transferring the title from father to son). Henry V also anointed the second son, Atto, as the Marquis of Montferrat (Boniface paid the Emperor quite a sum in silver bullion for the title.).
Henry V also paid visit to the city of Pisa where he inaugurated the Schola Nautica, the first nautical academy within the empire (and the Mediterranean), to train sea pilots and ship captains. [Several other nautical academies would be established over the next decade in Antwerp, Venice, Amalfi, and Constantinople.]
[Southern Italy] King Roger I on his return from Rome made his progression through his new kingdom only stopping when several lords in Campania refused to recognize his crown. Their defeat brought several nobles who were on the fence to swear fealty to Roger (his brother Roger Borsa was awarded the lands of the defeated nobles for his bravery on the field).
Roger proceeded to enter negotiations with the principality of Salerno, the Duchies of Naples and Gaeta, and the free city of Amalfi to recognize his rule. Amalfi informed him they would only do so if they could get a deal similar to the Lesser Pact/City Charter the cities of northern Italy had received from their king. After much consideration Roger agreed and on the 28th of January signed the Amalfi Compact. (Roger over the next several years would later use this document as a basis for an agreement with several cities within his domains.)
(March) [North Africa] Thyrrenian naval forces operating out of the Balearic Islands raided several Moorish towns in the Emirate of Seville. The operation was done in conjunction with naval forces from Sicily who raided several ports along the coast of North Africa from the Straits to the territory held by the King of Sicily. However they were unable to maintain their foothold and were driven out of the few positions they held.
[Italy] Henry V continued his stately progress to northeastern Italy where before he had passed as only the King of Germany but now as the King of Italy and Emperor. There he confirmed the privileges and rights of the Bishop of Trento, the Welf-Este in their rights as Margraves of the Brennermark, and the Patriarch of Aquileia received the official ducal title of Friuli.
He also had dealings with the Most Serene Republic of Venice. First he settled the border with the Republic and confirmed upon it possession of Istria (Istria was named a duchy from now on). Henry V also awarded the Duchy of Dalmatia (against a substantial cash donative) to Venice. This last is a two-edged gift, since the Hungarians have been encroaching Venetian possessions there for decades. However, the newly-appointed Doge, Ordelaffo Faliero, is quite keen to bolster Venetian dominance in the Adriatic and to recover the cities of Pola and Sebenico which have fallen to Hungary. Henry re-arranged the eastern border of the kingdom of Italy, including in it both Istria and Dalmatia, and granted Venice the right to recruit mercenaries from within the Kingdom of Italy.
From there Henry V would stop at many locations on his way to Savoy and on to the Kingdom of Arles/Burgundy.
(May) [Arles - Burgundy] After having stopped in Savoy on his progress Henry V made his way into the Kingdom of Arles/Burgundy. He slowly made his way through the County of Provence to the city of Arles, near the French border.
[Byzantium] Having solidified his rule Emperor Nicephorus Bryennius organized a campaign in Crimea against raiders that attempted to sack Cherson the month before. Imperial forces began to establish a series of forts to the north of Cherson to protect their new gains in Crimea. It would take months before the region was pacified.
[Venice] Ordelaffo had been very active in the reorganization of the Arsenale (which is now the finest shipyard in all of the Mediterranean), and in the establishment of a Schola Nautica in Venice too. By mid-12th century, only the pilots and captains licensed by the Venetian Schola Nautica will be entitled to command Venetian ships, be they warships or traders. This exercise has been quite expensive. Which luckily for Ordelaffo the Byzantines have been quite generous in paying for the support to their Crimean venture.
The newly confirmed Duchy of Istria was reorganized, under a Provveditore, directly appointed by the Venetian Senate, and was to reside in Pola (when the city was recovered from the Hungarians at any rate). His main task is to make sure that naval timber is continuously sent to the Arsenale.
[Land of the Almoravids] The ruler of the Almoravids, Yusuf ibn Tashfin, vowed vengeance against the Christians for their raid several months before. In response he called upon his son, Ali ibn Yusuf, and heir to marshal their armies.
In the town of Oran one Abd al-Mu'min preached against the Christians for their cowardly attacks. His piercing glare made all the more intense with a large red scar where his left eye had been (taken by a Christian sword in the raid on Oran) called upon the faithful to seek vengeance. As he began traveling from town to town in North Africa his words swayed many to flock to his banner. When word reached the court of Tashfin of this Abd al-Mu'min and his followers he invited him to his court.
On May 21st in the city of Arles Conrad II, nephew of Henry V, was crowned King of Arles/Burgundy. His uncle quickly accepted his role as regent for his young nephew and accepted the allegiance of the nobles on his behalf.
(July) [Levant] The Emir of Acre and his heir were killed in a palace coup and were replaced by his strongman Husam al Din.
[Arles/Burgundy] Henry V arrived in the northern part of the Kingdom of Arles and celebrated the news that his wife, Sophia, was pregnant.
Henry V, during his progress in the kingdom of Arles, stopped in Lyon (where the Primate of France resides). Upon the advice of a group of merchants who had become attached to the court during the Italian leg of the progress, Henry granted the city of Lyon the privilege of holding a yearly trade fair, which quickly became a great success (the goods that were to be sold at the fair were exempt from taxation, except for a cut in favor of the archbishop of Lyon and of the emperor).
(August) [Egypt - Alexandria] The Most Serene Republic of Venice loaned the ruler of the Fatimid Caliphate a substantial sum of money (the first of several loans made by the Venetians to the Fatimids).
[Germany] Henry V returned to Germany and began his progression through as not just the King of Germany but as Emperor.
(November) Renewed raids from the Emirate of Syria prompt Pope Paschal II to create a new Holy Knightly Order, the Knights Hospitaller. They were charged with the care and defense of pilgrims to the Holy Land.
1103 AD -
(February) [Lands of the Almoravids] Abd al-Mu'min arrived at the court of Tashfin and was greeted by the ancient Tashfin (age roughly estimated to be around 97). When asked what he and his followers planned to do Abd al-Mu'min replied “to remove the disbelievers from our land”. Pleased by his response Tashfin offered his support. Abd al-Mu'min planned to move against the Normans in North Africa to free his home (Abd al-Mu'min was from the city of Kairwan where as a youngster he was a pupil at the university there before the city fell to the Normans).
(March) [Crimea] Byzantine forces completed the pacification of the locals and annexed the remainder of Crimea into the Empire.
[Iberian Peninsula] Almoravid forces led by Ali ibn Yusuf launched an attack on the Kingdom of Leon and Castile. The city of Porto was placed under siege.
[Germany] In an effort to mimic the order and prosperity of Italy Henry V began the funding of new roads and bridges within the Kingdom of Germany. He also began to initiate a reform of tariffs and trade taxes which caused some conflict with the nobility.
Henry V’s wife, Sophia, gave birth to a daughter named Liutgard.
[Normandy] Louis VI after deflecting his wife’s request to build a third chapter house on his lands to east of Paris for some time finally gave in when she informed him that she was pregnant.
[Wales] Henry I of England subjugated and made vassals of several Welsh tribes in the center of Wales.
(April) [Southern Italy] That last of the independent nobles in southern Italy bent knee to Roger I.
(May) [North Africa] The army of Abd al-Mu'min crossed into the territory of the Kingdom of Sicily and laid siege to the city of Constantine (which was on the far edge of Norman controlled territory).
[Maurienne-Savoy] Hubert II Marquis of Savoy died peacefully in his sleep. His son Amadeus succeeded him.
(June) [Constantinople] Emperor Nicephorus Bryennius made the finally payment in gold and silver to the Venetians for their naval support in pacifying Crimea. Nicephorus decided it was too dangerous to completely rely on the Venetians to be their navy as they had sided against them not so long ago (that and it was hideously expensive). He began to divert imperial funds to the imperial navy to rebuild it from the disastrous conflict of several years before. Included were enough funds to build a naval academy in one of the abandoned palaces in Constantinople to train ship captains and naval leaders. (A second smaller academy was later established on the island of Rhodes to train ship pilots for both civilian and for the imperial navy.)
[Kingdom of Castile and Leon] The elderly Alfonso VI ‘the Brave’ King of Castile and Leon, who like to stylized himself as “the emperor of all Spain” gathered his forces and marched to confront the Almoravid army that had laid siege to Porto. He also dispatched messengers to the other Christian Kingdoms in Iberia (Navarre and Aragón) and France for aid.
A second Almoravid army commanded by Muhammad ibn Abi Ranq from Cordova attacked the important Castilian-Leónese city of Coimbra. The attacked failed with many Muslim casualties. Ranq reinforced with troops from Murcia decided upon a siege instead of another assault. However with the city situated along the Mondego River made the siege difficult for the invaders.
[Sicily] Roger I on word of a Muslim host attacking far Constantine gathered an army in Sicily and set sail for Carthage. A smaller force would go to Bona to reinforce the garrison there.
[Norway - Oslo] Viveka of Oslo, one of the lay ladies of Matilda’s Maiden’s, returned to Oslo in the company of her elderly grandfather who had journeyed to Normandy in search of her. Constance seeing a good opportunity for her lay order to spread (especially out of France) funded Viveka with a small amount of money and some volunteers (in actuality several members who had fled to the order from abusive male family members) to build a small chapter in Oslo.
The news of the death of the King of Norway, Magnus Barefoot, from campaigning in the Orkneys and the Kingdom of Man along with the (supposed) death of his eldest son Sigurd (some believe he was captured and taken as a slave in Ireland) in the same campaign shook the kingdom. The remaining sons Eystein and Olaf were to both be crowned king but two factions at court began backing one over the other. The faction supporting Olaf (who was only four years old) drove Eystein and his followers from Oslo. Eystein and his follower’s at one point in attempt to avoid an enemy patrol hid within Viveka’s chapter house.
According to Eystein’s own words of the events:
“It was a silent and dark night with the moon and stars hidden by thick clouds. The men who had decided to back my brother’s claim for the throne were close on our heels. With only faithful Erik and Harald at my side, as the rest were either slain or separated, we hid from them first in a stable, then to a patch of trees, and then by the cemetery near the church. It is in hindsight that providence was on my side for a sudden break in the clouds allowed the moon to illuminate that lonely little building perched near the edge of the woodlot.
Eystein convinced Viveka and the others to flee with him towards his allies in Bergen where they could find shelter from his brother’s ‘supporters’. It was from that day that the order known as Matilda’s Maidens throughout Europe would be known in Scandinavia as the Valkyries of Christ (or Christ’s Valkyries).
(July) [Venice] Venice began their drive to remove the Hungarians from Istria. They city of Zara was laid under siege but fell soon after to Venetian forces.
[North Africa] The Norman town of Constantine after several assaults fell to Abd al-Mu'min. To the cheers of the Muslim inhabitants Abd al-Mu’min slaughtered every Christian in the town (Jews and those willing to convert were left alive). After leaving a sizeable garrison of troops from the Hammadite Kingdom (Who had provided provisions and men when he crossed over from Almoravid territory into their realm.) began a march towards the heart of Norman held North Africa.
(July) [North Africa - Carthage] Roger I arrived in Carthage where he heard news of the fall of Constantine. Unsure of where his enemy was planning to go next Roger decided to reinforce the critical garrisons and wait in Carthage for his enemy to show himself.
He also reorganized the North African lands feudal lands into three Duchies. The first was the Duchy of Carthage which he awarded to his heir Simon, the second was the Duchy of Kairwan who he awarded to the bishop there (it would later be raised to an archbishopric), and the third was the Duchy of Tripoli while not a new title was reconfirmed to his brother Roger Borsa.
[Iberia] Ali ibn Yusuf siege of Porto continued it is only when Almoravid ships finally are in place to blockade the port that the siege starts to have any affect.
With the sieges of Porto and Coimbra in full swing Alfonso VI finished gathering his army. Against the advice of some of his advisors, namely Garcia Ordoñez and Alvar Fañez, he concentrated his army and proceeded to attack the forces under Muhammad ibn Abi Ranq that had laid Coimbra under siege. Both sides suffered heavy casualties and while the Castilian-Leónese were able to break the siege they were unable (or perhaps unwilling at this point) to chase the withdrawing Almoravid army.
[Levant] A large raiding party out of the Emirate of Syria ransacked several towns within the County of Beyrout and the County of Tripolis.
(August) [North Africa] Out of the desert Abd al-Mu'min’s army appeared deep within the Duchy of Kairwan. As they progressed through the countryside they burned villages that didn’t convert and drove many a Christian to the fortified city (Kairwan). Abd al-Mu'min proclaimed that the tide had turned against the infidels and that it was the duty of all believers to rise up and destroy the invaders. His army soon invested the countryside near Kairwan and laid siege to the city.
With his enemy showing his hand Roger I marched south from Carthage towards Kairwan once news reached him that the city was under siege.
The battle between the Norman army and Abd al-Mu'min’s army near Kairwan lasted almost all day in the powerful heat of the North Africa sun. Many a man collapsed under the heat and exhaustion. The battle was a bloody affair with the fanatics on both sides giving into their bloodlust and taking few prisoners (although al-Mu’min did allow any Muslim fighting for the King of Sicily to live if they turned on their former master).
The battle came to a conclusion when near dusk the left flank of Abd al-Mu'min’s army collapsed under the charge of Roger’s reserve of heavy cavalry. The Muslim army still fought on but it was not until ironically enough a unit of Sicilian Muslims fighting for Roger I came upon Abd al-Mu'min and his personal bodyguards and killed the Muslim leader. With Abd al-Mu'min’s death the remaining Muslim’s fled back towards Constantine. Many a noble in Roger’s army wanted to chase them but the Norman army was to exhausted and depleted to follow. Roger planned to follow and retake Constantine but Banu Sulaym raiders were pressing the fortresses to the east of Tripoli and had to abandon his plans to retake that far outpost.
[Iberia] The siege of Porto continued as the garrison and city slowly starved to death. Alfonso VI attempted to relieve the city but his first attacks were repelled by the much larger Almoravid army. He was also forced to withdraw back to Coimbra when the army under Muhammad ibn Abi Ranq was reinforced and once again threatened that city.
The Kingdoms of Navarre and Aragón with some early assistance from France (the call for aid into France had not penetrated far as of yet) attacked into the eastern territories of the Almoravids near Saragossa. They defeated a local garrison near the town of Alcorax and assaulted the town which fell during the second wave of assaults.
(September) [Iberia] Hundreds of French knights from Aquitaine and Toulouse (along with their retainers) crossed over into Aragón reinforcing their gains. Forces loyal to the Ramona Countess of Barcelona (wife to King Peter II of Aragón) attacked several villages and fortifications within the Emirate of Taragossa.
King Peter II of Aragón repelled an attempt by Abdallah ibn Fatima, Emir of Valencia, to retake the town of Alcorax. However, in turn Abdallah ibn Fatima prevented any and all attempts by Peter II to move any further into the Ebro River Valley.
Abu Tahir Tamim ibn Yusuf, governor of Almoravid Granada, attacked the only Castilian-Leónese territory south of the Tagus River (South of Toledo) and laid siege to several castles there.
Alfonso VI of Castile and León enlisted the aid of several Italian ships to break the blockade of Porto long enough to get reinforcements and supplies in (many women, children, and those deemed a drain on resources were taken out of the besieged city in the ships and temporarily relocated to Santiago de Compostela).
[Italy] Godfrey, Duke of Spoleto, began recruiting men and gathered supplies for reinforcement of his County of Tripolis in the Levant when news of the continued heavy raiding of the Crusader Counties arrived.
(October) [Iberia] Additional French knights continued to come across the border into Aragón and several companies even have made it as far as León. Alfonso VI ecstatic at the reinforcements launched several attacks on the Almoravid supply train to their siege at Porto. He is forced to cease the attacks and move troops to Toledo and across the Tagus River to defend his holding there.
Peter II of Aragón having left a strong garrison in Alcorax moved west and joined his Aragónese forces with that of his forces from Navarre. He crossed the Ebro River and marched along it towards Saragossa. The first battle of Saragossa was a bloody affair that saw the Almoravids victorious. Only the valiant efforts of his brother Alfonso ‘the Battler’ prevented the day from becoming a total rout.
The forces of Barcelona defeated an Almoravid army outside Taragossa and laid siege to the town. An attempt by the Almoravids to later lift the siege was repulsed when Alfonso ‘the Battler’ fresh from the first battle of Saragossa arrived with reinforcements and drove them off to the other bank of the Ebro River.
(November) The city of Porto is subjected to three days of continued assaults that finally overwhelm the defenders. Enraged by the death in the battle of popular imam al-Yazuli, the Almoravids took no prisoners, and the heads of some 1,200 Christians were piled high outside the gates of the city.
Incensed at the fall of Porto Alfonso VI and his army crossed the Mondego River near Coimbra and engaged the army of Muhammad ibn Abi Ranq that was camped nearby. The battle was a complete rout for the Almoravids forcing Muhammad ibn Abi Ranq to withdraw back to the Tagus River valley.
After the news of the defeat of Muhammad ibn Abi Ranq’s army Ali ibn Yusuf left a garrison in Porto and marched south to secure his supply lines. Alfonso VI not desiring to fight the much larger army of Ali ibn Yusuf carefully withdrew back to Coimbra.
(December) With winter setting in the fighting died down to a few raids and the ongoing sieges.
1104 AD –
(February) [Iberia] Alfonso ‘the Battler’ of Aragón led an attack on the besieged city of Tarragona. The assault was less than successful and led to many a Christian soldier dying below the port city’s walls. With the failure to quickly take the walls Alfonso continued the siege.
[Italy] With winter receding early Godfrey set sail for Tripolis with his small army to reinforce his holdings there.
[Dalmatia] A Venetian war fleet raided the Hungarian held Croatian town of Spalato on the Dalmatian coast, but failed to completely overrun the garrison.
(March) [Iberia] With winter’s effects having gone the struggle around Coimbra continued as several battles between Alfonso VI and Ali ibn Yusuf occurred. None were conclusive beyond Alfonso keeping the Almoravids from Coimbra.
Peter II again clashed with Abdallah ibn Fatima near the Ebro River to the north of Saragossa. This time the Christian armies were victorious and drove the Almoravids back across the river. However Peter lost his chance to pursue Fatima’s army when part of his army broke off to loot part of the captured Almoravid baggage train. When he finally reorganized his forces the crossings across the Ebro River had already been reinforced and refortified. Enraged he unleashed his forces on the few Almoravid forts and towns still remaining on the north side of the river.
Abu Tahir Tamim ibn Yusuf continued in advancing further into the Castilian-Leónese territory south of the Tagus River (South of Toledo) after successfully overwhelming several fortifications there. The culmination of the Almoravid advance was the Battle of Ucles, near a small monastery. The local Castilian-Leónese forces under Alvar Fañez, who had been sent east by Alfonso VI to take command, engaged the Almoravid army moving north. The battle was a tactical victory for Almoravids but a strategic victory for the Castilian-Leónese. Even though the Castilian-Leónese forces were forced to withdraw from the battle they mauled the Almoravids enough to prevent any further movement towards the Tagus River valley for the rest of the year.
(April) [Iberia] The arrival of a hundred French knights gave Alfonso VI enough forces for him to attempt to retake the Almoravid held city of Porto (or so he hoped). He dispatched a small army from Santiago de Compostela that reached the city of Porto but it was driven back by Muhammad ibn Abi Ranq (who had been removed as leader of Cordovan host and made garrison commander of Porto).
Alfonso ‘the Battler’ used a small fleet of ships from Barcelona and with a few ships donated from the Genoan governor of the Western Isles, Otto Carello, to storm its way into Taragossa’s port while simultaneously he launched an attack on its walls. The city of Taragossa fell on April 16th when the last of the garrison surrendered the city’s fortress in exchange for safe passage.
(May) [Dalmatia] Venetian forces landed near the town of Sebenico (Šibenik) and laid siege to it.
[Iberia] Several attempts are made by Peter II and his brother Alfonso ‘the Battler’ to cross the Ebro but were thwarted each time by Abdallah ibn Fatima.
Alfonso VI of Castile-León launched another attempt to retake Porto and while he drove Muhammad ibn Abi Ranq’s army from the field he was forced to withdraw back to Coimbra to defend that city from further Almoravid aggression.
(June) [County of Tripolis] Godfrey arrived in Tripolis with his reinforcements included were a group of Knights Hospitalers that planned to establish a chapter house in Tripolis (at this time there were only two other chapter houses outside of Europe, one in Jerusalem and another smaller one Jaffa).
After reinforcing various castles, forts, and towns Godfrey decided that he would attempt to end these raids once and for all.
[Norway] Eystein having spent the winter and spring gathering his forces near Bergen launched several attacks at those using his brother to usurp the throne. Not all were successful but the appearance of the ‘Valkyries’ drove fear into many.
The old beliefs still cling to my people like the ice and snow upon the shadowed ground in spring. Those beliefs have saved my quest for what is mine and averted a near disaster in the battle for Hamar. From that day the usurpers’ forces seem to fear Viveka and her maidens. They fear them in a way that one would fear the old gods’ vengeance…
[Iberia] Alfonso VI is defeated in battle near the southern bank of the Mondego River. The ground wet and muddy from a week of solid rain limited the mobility of his knights. Ali ibn Yusuf using it to his advantage attacked a section of the Castilian-Leónese line and broke it before the Castilian-Leónese and French knights could get there. During the battle King Alfonso VI was wounded by a Moorish arrow that struck him in the shoulder. The Almoravid army once again laid siege to the city of Coimbra this time with a wounded Alfonso VI and much of his army within.
Peter II and his brother Alfonso after a nighttime crossing established a foothold across the Ebro River. Having caught Abdallah ibn Fatima and his forces slightly off guard the Aragónese army expanded their hold on the south bank of the Ebro River and occupied a few minor fortresses.
[Rome] Pope Paschal II encouraged Christians to aid their fellows in Iberia, but falls short of having declared another crusade. Problems with Henry I of England over investiture and the growing conflict between Venice and Hungary consumed most of his attention.
(July) [Iberia] Peter II and his brother Alfonso ‘the Battler’ engaged in battle with the forces of Abdallah ibn Fatima near the road north to Saragossa. The battle was a short one but saw Peter II and his brother forced to withdraw when elements of Abdallah ibn Fatima’s army began to outflank them. Abdallah ibn Fatima’s forces followed the withdrawing Christian forces but further skirmishes favored the Christians.
Repeated Almoravid assaults on the city of Coimbra fail but do succeed in weakening the garrison. A hastily gathered relief army in Castile-León made up of native soldiers, mercenaries, and a contingent of knights from the Duchy of Aquitaine led by William IX ‘the Troubadour’, the Duke of Aquitaine formed near Zamora.
One of the courtiers in Alfonso VI’s court had this to say about Duke William IX of Aquitaine when he arrived from Aquitaine to aid Alfonso VI (who was trapped in Coimbra):
"The Duke of Aquitaine was one of the courtliest men in the world and one of the greatest deceivers of women. He was a fine knight at arms, liberal in his womanizing, and a fine composer and singer of songs."
[Dalmatia] Hungary defeated a small Venetian army near Zara as it attempted to expand its control on the nearby territory. Hungary reinforced the few Adriatic ports that remained in their possession but failed to break the siege of Sebenico.
[Levant] Godfrey Duke of Spoleto organized raids into border towns of the Emirate of Syria in retaliation to continued raids within the County of Tripolis.
The Emir of Tyre enacted a special tax upon Christians and Jews within his tiny emirate to raise troops to fight Husam al Din Emir of Acre. The Emir of Tyre had made claims against Husam al Din’s rule when Husam al Din killed the Emir of Acre (brother to the Emir of Tyre) in a palace coup.
[England] Henry I of England found himself in a much similar position to that of the deceased Emperor Henry IV over the investiture of bishops. However with Pope Paschal II having made peace with Henry V of Germany he was not about to let Henry I of England get away with any further antics. Several heated exchanges occurred between Rome and Henry I took place upon the matter.
[Germany] Henry V’s daughter, Liutgard, died of a childhood illness. Heartbroken the emperor and his wife withdrew from court and spent time in prayer.
(September) [Iberia] Peter II of Aragón defeated Abdallah ibn Fatima’s forces and opened the way to Saragossa.
Italian naval vessels raided several villages along the Almoravid Iberian coast but due to a lack of coordination withdrew after several clashes with Almoravid naval vessels.
(October) [Iberia] The relief army led by Henry Count of Portugal and Duke William IX arrived near Coimbra. Despite the bungling efforts of William IX (although he would later write a poem about the battle) the Castilian-Leónese defeated the army of Ali ibn Yusuf outside the walls of Coimbra. Ali ibn Yusuf and his forces reformed across the Mondego River and fortified their position.
In the fighting Alfonso VI finally succumbed to his wounds. His only son Sancho was declared king and his wife Isabel would reign as regent until he achieved majority. Some within the nobility grumble over her Moorish descent (she being the daughter of the Governor of Cordova and a convert to Christianity) but accept it as it was the king’s dying wish.
Peter II of Aragón laid siege to Saragossa and his brother Alfonso ‘the Battler’ deflected attempts by Abdallah ibn Fatima to relieve the besieged city.
[Dalmatia] The Hungarian coastal town of Sebenico fell to Venetian forces despite repeated attempts to relieve the city.
Papal envoys continued their efforts to bring peace between the Venetians and the Hungarians without much success.
(November) [Iberia] The Castilian-Leónese decided upon a new strategy and diverted some forces to the fighting in the Emirate of Saragossa.
The Queen and Regent of the Castile-León, Isabel, sent peace offerings to the Almoravids in hopes of ending the war.
(December) [Germany] The imperial court celebrated the news that Sophia, wife of Henry V, is once again pregnant.
1105 AD –
(January) [Germany] Liubice, a Slavic town along the Trave River in the Alta Mark (Formerly known as the March of Billungs in the Duchy of Slavinia but was changed to the Alta March), destroyed during the ‘Consolation Wars’ (the town had sided with Henry IV and had been destroyed by Magnus Billung) was rebuilt a few miles south near a newly constructed imperial fort. The town to reflect the more Germanic heritage (refugees from other war torn parts of Germany were resettled here) the town was renamed to Lübeck, and several merchants from Flanders and Italy seeking a steady profit from the Baltic herring trade established themselves there.
On the advice of his several merchant advisors Henry V declared the new town and imperial ‘city’ much to the consternation of the Count of Schauenburg and Holstein who had ruled the town of Liubice, but with a promise of a cut of the money from the ‘city’ both the Count and the Duke of Saxony were mollified.
[Iberia] Yusuf ibn Tashfin the self proclaimed Amir al Muslimin (Prince of the Muslims) died in his sleep. His son Ali ibn Yusuf returned from the fighting in the north for the winter assumed his position as the new leader of the Almoravids.
The city of Saragossa surrendered to Peter II of Aragón after a winter fire burned down the granaries within the city.
[North Africa] Thyrrenian naval forces landed and took over the small fortress in the port town of Algiers. From there they occupied the rest of the town (which would eventually see it renamed to the ancient Roman name of Icosium). Repeated Almoravid attacks failed to recapture the town but the Italians control no more than a bowshot from the town’s walls.
(February) [Dominion of the Almoravids] Emissaries from the court of Castile-León arrived in the Almoravid court to discuss peace options.
[Iberia] The warm and dry winter came to an early end. Which led to an early start to the campaign season in Iberia as the Christian powers continued their advance into the Emirate of Saragossa. The Aragónese finished the occupation of the Ebro River valley (the last bits of the Emirate of Tarragona were also occupied) and the Castilian-Leónese moved eastwards towards Calatayud.
[Dalmatia] Papal envoys succeeded in bringing peace between Venice and the Kingdom of Hungary. Venice gained sovereignty over the two port towns of Zara and Sebenico and small bits of land surrounding them. In exchange Hungary was given several thousand Marks in silver bullion in compensation and was allowed to access the two port towns for trade.
(March) [Italy] Work began on what would become known as the ‘Grand Canal’ to link the city of Parma to the Po River.
[Iberia] Castilian-Leónese forces are defeated near Calatayud and withdraw back towards several occupied fortresses to the west.
Aragónese forces under Peter II advanced further into the Emirate of Saragossa. Almoravid forces under Abdallah ibn Fatima after having defeated the Castilian-Leónese near Calatayud marched to once again confront the Aragónese.
[England] Henry I commissioned the archbishop of York to collect and present all the relevant traditions of anointed kingship. The result of this collection was the Anonymous of York treatises that promoted a substitution of outmoded religious ideology for the secure foundation of administrative and legal bureaucracy within the realm. Henry I would use this document as a reason to staff his chancery with secular scholars instead of monastic scholars which greatly strengthened the secular power of the king.
(April) [Levant] Godfrey continued his raids and counter-raids but lack of manpower prevented him from venturing too far within the Emirate of Syria. The other Crusader counties contributed men or conducted their own raids but faced the same problem as Godfrey.
The army of the Emirate of Tyre crossed over into the Patriarchate of Jerusalem on its way to the Emirate of Acre. Along the way several Christian villages and pilgrims were attacked.
[Italy - Rome] In response to requests for aid from Godfrey and the other rulers of the Crusader counties Pope Paschal II ordained a new holy order the Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici) who were given as their directive to defend Christian holdings in the Holy Land (with implied assistance given to the Crusader counties). Unlike their brother orders the Knights Templar (as they would become known as) were given a rather broad mandate in how to protect those territories. They were given by the Patriarch of Jerusalem a spot on the Temple Mount above where it was believed the Temple of Solomon was located for their first chapter house and their headquarters (which would later be moved as the order grew).
[Iberia] Aragónese forces under Alfonso ‘the Battler’ defeated a small Almoravid army under Abdallah ibn Fatima in the central part of the Emirate of Saragossa. Smelling blood Alfonso pressed on and crossed over into the Emirate of Valencia on the heels of Abdallah ibn Fatima. Then the Almoravid trap was sprung. Only seventeen knights, included among them a wounded Alfonso, and several hundred soldiers escaped the battlefield that day.
[England] Sponsored by Anselm Archbishop of Canterbury Henry I of England signed the Concordat of London in an effort to reduce the strain between the throne of England and Rome. In England, as in Germany, Henry gave up his right to invest his bishops and abbots and reserved the custom of requiring them to come and do homage for the landed properties tied to the episcopate, directly from his hand, after the bishop had sworn homage and feudal vassalage in the ceremony called commendatio, the commendation ceremony, like any secular vassal. The system of vassalage was not divided among great local lords in England as it was in France, for by right of the Conquest the king was in control.
[Germany] A colleganza of Italian and Flemish traders proposed to Emperor Henry V to finance a Crusade against the Baltic pagans, as well as to build a cathedral in Lübeck (Dom zu Lübeck) and the city walls. In exchange for a charter that recognized the exclusive right of trade in the Baltic to the Baltic Trading Company (BTC). The Teutonic Knights also petitioned the emperor for the Crusade to evangelize the eastern pagans. Henry V agreed and sought Papal approval for the Crusade against the Wends and other Baltic pagans. (The King of Poland Bolesław III Wrymouth, a cousin of Henry V, signed onto support this Crusade also when he heard of it.)
(May) [Iberia] The emissaries from Castile-León succeeded in gaining a peace from the Almoravid leader Ali ibn Yusuf. The Almoravids took only the land they occupied near the Tagus River, south of Toledo, leaving the Kingdom of Castile-León with only a narrow strip of land on the south bank of the river. As the Emirate of Saragossa is only a vassal state of the Almoravids no deals were concluded concerning the fighting taking place there.
Many nobles including Henry Count of Portugal grumbled loudly that the regent had signed away hard fought Christian land (with an implication that she may have not been true to her conversion to Christianity).
Peter II of Aragón cautiously continued his advance into the Emirate of Saragossa fighting only small local armies with no presence of Almoravid forces at any of those battles.
[Sicily] Roger I died peacefully in his sleep and was buried in St. Trinità of Mileto. His wife Adelaide del Vasto reigned as regent for his eldest son Simon.
(June) [Iberia] Peter II of Aragón is injured in a skirmish with Muslim forces in the Emirate of Saragossa. He returned to Saragossa to recuperate and left the campaign in his brother’s, Alfonso’s, hands.
Alfonso ‘the Battler’ proceeded to bring the Emirate of Saragossa to its knees as the remaining fortifications and towns fell or surrendered to his forces. Only Calatayud held out, if under siege.
[Italy] Combined with the difficulties in keeping the Portus Pisanus open (silt from the mouth of the Arno River was creating quite the number of difficulties) and the success of the reforms carried out by Doge Ordelaffo in the Venetian arsenal Boniface decided to found another city: Liburna, in the Liburnian Gulf, on the Tuscany coast, just south of Pisa.
The selected place is just a fishing hamlet, but there is a watch tower, known as Matilda's tower, which was built in 1089 AD. The new city will also house the Thyrrenian arsenal, and will be the main naval base for the Kingdom of Italy (or more precisely the main naval base for the Holy Roman Empire in the Mediterranean).
This development was clearly satisfactory for the Pisans but a bit less for Genoa and Marseille. However the three cities cooperated in the new venture, and brought back classic columns and marble friezes from North Africa and Anatolia (sometimes legitimately) to decorate the churches of the new city. The place of pride was given to the Pisans, who, during one of the usual raid against the Anatolian coast, brought back from Myra the preserved body of St. Nicholas. It was placed in an ornate tomb in the main church of the new city, which is dedicated to his name.
[Corfu] The Patarene knights spun off a new order: the Knights of St. Stephen (Milites Sancti Stephani), who will be devoted to the protection of the ships bringing pilgrims to and from the Holy Land, and to the suppression of piracy along the main trade routes to the Levant. The new knightly order’s head chapter is located in Corfu. Two other locations are to be installed in the Archipelago and in the new city of Liburna.
[Sicily] A request to King Roger I of Sicily to install a chapter in Malta (which was conquered in 1090) went unanswered because of his death the month before. Adelaide del Vasto, the regent of the Kingdom of Sicily for her son Simon, eventually refused the request at the suggestion of several of the Sicilian admirals who had their own plans for a naval base on the island. This denial has worsened the relations between the Norman kingdom and Italy. (The real reason for the refusal is that Adelaide and her advisors see the Patarenes as a Trojan horse of the Canossas and are not so eager to give them a base so close to Sicily.)
(August) [Rome] Representatives from the court of Emperor Henry V arrived in Rome to seek Papal approval for a Crusade against the Wends and other Baltic tribes. The promise of converting heathens to the faith convinced Pope Paschal II to agree to the Emperor’s request (and the prospect of wealth and lands for the Church).
[Levant] In response to the attack of several villages and the special tax on Christians the Knights of St. John the Hospitaler and elements of the army of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem began a campaign against the Emirate of Tyre (whose army was off attacking the Emirate of Acre).
[Iberia] The fall of Calatayud marked the end of the Emirate of Saragossa. Alfonso, thinking the Almoravids were on the run, marched south into the Emirate of Valencia. Unfortunately for Alfonso ‘the Battler’ this was not the case as he soon found himself surrounded and his army cut to pieces around him. Fifty knights managed to escape the trap, but Alfonso was not among them as he was killed in the attempt to break out of the encirclement.
[Many military scholars wonder how the skilled Aragónese general Alfonso ‘the Battler’ fell for the Almoravid trap a second time. Consensus at this time believes that Alfonso and several of the nobles in charge were hindered by a disease that had struck the Aragónese army after the fall of Calatayud. It is believed to have been either a Cholera outbreak but no hard evidence has been gathered to support this theory.]
The Almoravids released several prisoners that were captured in the battle with peace offerings for Peter II of Aragón from Almoravid leader Ali ibn Yusuf. Ali ibn Yusuf offered (commanded would be more of the tone used within the letter offering peace) the Aragónese most of the Emirate of Saragossa and all of the Emirate of Tarragona, with the exception of a small bit of territory in the south of the Emirate of Saragossa, and if they did not attempt to march south into the Emirate of Valencia the Almoravids would not march north and claim it all.
While Peter II wished to continue to fight his kingdoms were too exhausted to continue, even with the independent help of some of the French nobility, and needed to consolidate his gains. With reluctance he agreed and annexed the Emirate of Saragossa, except those areas occupied by the Kingdom of Castile-León and the Almoravids. The Emirate of Tarragona was split between Aragón and the County of Barcelona, Peter’s wife’s domain.
[There are many scholars and historians believed that Ali ibn Yusuf offered peace only because of the civil war that had started within the Hammadite Kingdom when the old King died leaving no direct heirs. Since he pushed his own claim, through his wife, to the throne of that North African kingdom not long after the peace with the Aragónese it is a valid theory.]
(September) [Germany] Henry V and his wife Sophia celebrated the birth of their second daughter, Adelaide. In personal letters Henry V is noted to have been highly disappointed as he had fervently prayed for a son. Henry V is wracked by both guilt and sadness when Adelaide died of a fever before the month ended.
[Levant] The Knights of St. John began the siege of Tyre. When the Emir of Acre sent them the head of the Emirate of Tyre, removed from his body when he was captured during an attack on Acre, in offerings of friendship it boosted the morale of the Christian army and brought despair to the defenders of Tyre.
(October) [Emirate of Tyre - Tyre] The city of Tyre having been built on a couple of islets just off the coast and connected to the mainland by a single causeway made the siege of the city difficult. The Knights of St. John called upon their brother order, the new Knights of St. Stephen, to attempt to blockade the city with their ships.
[Egypt - Fatimid Caliphate] The Venetians once again made a substantial loan to the Fatimid Caliph. The loan is used by the new Caliph to bribe the nobility to ensure his continued rule.
(November) [Germany] Nobles throughout Germany and Poland swore support for the Crusade against the Baltic pagans as word spread north from Rome of the Papal call. The Kingdom of Denmark also agreed to participate in the Crusade as did the Kingdom of Sweden. It was decided by Henry V that 1st of May would mark the start of the Crusade.
1106 AD –
(January) [Emirate of Syria] Fakhr al-Mulk Radwan ruler of the Emirate of Syria was assassinated in his stronghold of Aleppo by the Hashshashin (Assassins). It is believed that the al-da'wa al-jadīda (the new doctrine) thought Radwan was going to expel them from Syria in fear of their growing power.
Unfortunately for them their plot only exacerbated the situation. In reprisal Lulu, the regent for Radwan’s young son Alp Arslan al-Akhras, began a cruel policy of persecution against the Hashshashin which killed many and caused many more to flee, ironically enough, to the Crusader states. Many Muslims were happy to see them go as they were extremely suspicious of them because their views made many Muslims believe they were only nominally Islamic.
[Tyre] With the addition of naval support from the Thyrrenian cities the blockade of Tyre was completed (the ships of the Knights of St. Stephen proved too few to maintain a complete blockade in addition to their other commitments and thus the Knights of St. John petitioned the Thyrrenians for additional aid [in exchange for certain benefits of course]).
[Byzantium] The nineteen year old John II Comnenus escaped from his seclusion in the monastery of Mangana during the night and fled aboard a ship with his younger brother Isaakios. When the body of young Isaakios was found several days later floating among some wreckage, not far from the coast where the monastery lie, it was assumed that John also died. Many at the time believed that the escape attempt was actually an assassination by John’s sister Anna to remove any rivals to her young son’s ascent to the throne. However John II was not fated for a cold watery grave.
An excerpt from the Life of John II Comnenus (page 35):
The night of John’s escape from the monastery at Mangana to his rescuer’s ship, who are believed [from salvaged documents] to have been working on behalf of the exiled minor Italian nobles in Alexandria, a storm arose and caused the ship to sink.
John II did not meet the same fate his younger brother Isaakios who died when the ship sank. Instead John was taken aboard an Egyptian vessel who was pirating in the nearby waters. There was much debate aboard the pirate vessel about what to do with their captive. Some wished to sell him as a slave in the markets of Alexandria and a few wanted to slit his throat and throw him overboard. Fortunately for John the captain of the vessel was a Venetian by the name of Petro Dorma and he spared John’s life. In exchange John agreed to serve Dorma for five years.
[In a written letter to a friend years later John II responded to the friend’s inquiry as to why he did not reveal himself and spare himself years of common labor. John replied that he knew these men would have spared him for the ransom he might have been worth, but he was not sure who would pay it except for his sister, Anna, and his brother-in-law, the emperor. Which would have surely meant further exile but an exile with his eyes blinded; if not a quick death soon after his ‘safe’ return.]
An excerpt from the Life of John II Comnenus (page 42):
After a year of piracy and trade aboard Dorma’s ship in the eastern Mediterranean John II followed Dorma to the Red Sea where the Fatimid Caliph had recently opened a port to the Venetian merchants in exchange for a forgiveness of a portion the debt he owed to the Serene Republic. Dorma seeking to enter the rich trade to the East sought to bypass the already established Byzantine, Muslim, and the Thyrrenian merchants in the Levant left the Mediterranean for the Red Sea. Once there he bought a sturdy ship and left for fabled India with John II in tow.
[Evidence shows that with the expansion of the Thyrrenian, Byzantine, and other navies, including the Knights of St. Stephen, piracy in the eastern Mediterranean was drastically reduced and probably had much to do with Dorma’s interest in plying the waters of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.]
(February) [Levant] Soldiers from the Emirate of Syria seeking fleeing Hashshashin (Assassins) invaded and burned several border towns within the Crusader counties and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Internal struggles within the Emirate of Syria soon ended any further raids in search of the Hashshashin and brought an eerie calm to the border.
Godfrey left for Italy seeking additional men and colonists to bolster Tripolis.
[Germany] The Papal legate, Hartwig of Freising, arrived in Germany from Rome. Hartwig had been appointed by Pope Paschal II to be the Bishop of Livonia and to be the spiritual advisor to the Crusaders in the Baltic. Hartwig a son of a minor branch of the Welf-Este family was chosen for his connections to the staunchly loyal Welf-Este family and his oration abilities.
[England] Henry I’s campaign into Wales continued with the completion of several castles and fortifications in southeast Deheubarth, the southern most Welsh kingdom. The northern Welsh kingdom, Gwynedd, had successfully thwarted the English advance into their lands but the English have been more concerned with the center and southern portions of Wales.
(March) [North Africa] The Almoravids completed their integration of the former Hammadite Kingdom into their realm. In response the Kingdom of Sicily expanded existing fortifications and built several new ones along its former frontier with the Hammadite Kingdom.
[Germany] A great council, called the Council of Frankfurt, had been called for the leaders of the Crusade to plan the Crusade. Emperor Henry V led the council from the Franconian city of Frankfurt. Those that attended the council included King Bolesław III Wrymouth of the Kingdom of Poland, Hartwig the Papal legate, and several prominent nobles from both kingdoms (noble representatives sent from the Kingdoms of Denmark and Sweden arrived late due to a late snow storm). The Council lasted for three weeks and ended on March 22nd.
[The Council of Frankfurt was less about actual planning the Crusade as that had been decided many months before the Council. What the Council was more interested in was the dividing up the soon to be conquered lands and hoped to mitigate any future conflicts over what belonged to whom.]
(April) [Germany/Poland] The final preparations for the Baltic Crusade are completed as hundreds of knights and their retainers, estimated between thousand and two thousand men-at-arms, gathered on the borders of Germany and Poland. A fleet of thirty ships and two thousand men of the Teutonic Order gathered in ports within Germany for their strike against the Baltic pagans.
[It should be noted that only about two-hundred or so of the five hundred Teutonic Knights are permanent members. The rest are married men who have joined the order for a five year stint for various reasons, such as, religious zeal or part of a holy penance. The bulk of the force though is made up of the Order’s regular soldiers.]
(May) [Germany] With prayer and song the Crusade along the Baltic coast began. The land invasion in Germany started with attacking Wendish and Sorbian towns near the border but already within the claimed territory of the empire [on a map it would be considered well within the ‘Duchy of Slavinia’ but in practice much of that Duchy was ruled by pagan princes and chieftains]. With a convert or die attitude many a pagan Wend or Sorb converted and soon found themselves under the rule of German noble or bishop.
[Baltic Coast – Island of Rügen] The fleet of Teutonic knights (along with several ships from Denmark) landed on the island of Rügen, long a place where Baltic pirates would seek refuge or operate from, and slaughtered the defenders of the Slavic island kingdom of Ranow. The Crusaders destroyed the temple fortress of Arkona, dedicated to the deity Świętowit, which was the religious and political centre of Ranow.
On the site of now destroyed Arkona a simple wooden church was constructed and the bulk of the Crusaders left the island leaving behind only a small garrison and a few ships. Those leaving were headed to the island of Ösel (Saaremaa) to defeat the notorious (Estonian) pirates there, sometimes called the Eastern Vikings, who ravaged the trade routes in the Baltic and sacked many a coastal village.
[Poland] The Polish Crusaders marched north along the Vistula River sacking or converting what native Slavic towns and villages they found. When they reached the mouth of mouth of the Motława River, connected to the Leniwka, a branch in the delta of the Vistula the Polish King, Bolesław III Wrymouth, founded the town of Gdańsk (Danzig). The town was a German/Flanderese/Italian venture that had promised Bolesław III money and goods to finance the Crusade in exchange for the rights to build a town within the lands claimed by the crown of Poland.
[Byzantium] A large uprising of Bulgars was crushed by Emperor Nicephorus Bryennius in two battles. The first and larger battle took place near the city of Adrianople and the final battle which saw the leadership of the rebellion killed happened near the Danube River.
(June) [Chola Empire – Southern India] On the front edge of a monsoon Dorma and John II (now a navigator on Dorma’s ship) arrived in the port city of Nagapattinam (within the Chola Empire) after many months of piracy within the Indian Ocean and the seas around Arabia.
An excerpt from the Life of John II Comnenus (page 47):
Having grown up grown up in the rather placid Mediterranean amid the splendor of the Byzantine court John II was amazed at what he saw when he arrived in the Chola Empire. Years later he would write to a friend of his experiences there:
“…As the son of an emperor I was used to the riches and splendor that such a position provided. Even in my exile at the monastery I was accustomed to luxury and the comforts that come with wealth. My brief time as a sailor and pirate did not remove my memory of it even if it distanced me from it. However the wealth obtained from but a few of the ships Dorma and his crew, me included of course, outshone anything I saw recalled. Gems, precious metals, silks, spices, rare items from farther east were all to be had. The smallest merchant ship carried more wealth than most nobles see after years of taxes.”
“…After years of sailing I had seen many a storm. Truth be told I saw a few much closer than I would have liked; such as the one that landed me in Dorma’s service. However the storms of the placid Mediterranean pale in comparison to the monsoons of the Indian Ocean. Truly it must have been as if the breath of God were blowing upon the ocean. I can only be thankful that we had reached the heathen’s port before the full blow of the storm had arrived.”
“These heathens [Chola] have an old and prosperous empire that according to locals holds sway up much of the eastern coastland, they have vast overseas colonies, and vassal kingdoms…”
“…if one were to look closer though they would see an empire on decline, much as we were [Byzantium] before the Turks were driven back. An empire beset by rebellions, foreigners seeking to claim their lands, weak leadership, and religious squabbles.”
[Germany] The German portion of the Crusade continued their subjugation of Wends and Sorbs within the claimed ‘Duchy of Slavinia’. By the end of the month only the Count of Holstein had crossed over into Pommerania having crossed through the Alta Mark to the west bank of the Oder River.
[South Baltic Coast] The Polish contingent of the Crusade had turned east into the lands of the Old Prussians, but the rough terrain of steep forested hills, swamps, lakes, and streams limited the mobility of the Polish Crusaders.
[Off the island of Ösel (Saaremaa)] The Teutonic fleet numbering twenty-five ships (the remainder having been left behind on Rügen) fought a desperate battle with twenty native Estonian pirate vessels. The superior naval skills of the people of Ösel nearly defeated the Teutonic knights, but the arrival of a separate Norwegian/Danish fleet turned the tide. It wasn’t until the fleet made landfall that it was revealed to the Teutonic knights that a contingent of the Norwegian fleet was made up of female warriors. (The first encounter between the Teutonic knights and the Valkyries of Christ [Matilda’s Maidens] is the central theme of the book and the film of the same name: By the Cross and the Sword.)
(July) [Baltic Sea – Ösel Island] The battle for Ösel Island was bloody and saw the Crusader leader the Papal legate Hartwig of Freising injured. The Crusaders were outnumbered and lacked enough horses to have an effective cavalry. The Valkyries having fought along side the Teutonic knights earned a grudging respect. However the strength of the Teutonic knights and the courage of the Valkyries were not enough to defeat the natives. On the evening of July 19th the Crusaders left Ösel Island to nearby Dagö (Hiiumaa) which had been taken by the Danish fleet as a base after the defeat of the native fleet. [This island along with the Åland Islands would also be used by the Swedish as a stopping off point for their part of the Crusade in Finland.]
[Pommerania] Emperor Henry V along with his small army of Crusader’s camped along Oder River. It was here that he turned command of the Crusade over to the Teutonic Order’s Grand Master Albert of Constance. Albert a dour Swabian vowed to his emperor and to God to bring the glory of God pagans. With his Crusading bona fides established Henry V returned to Germany proper.
[Many have questioned Henry V’s claims of being a Crusader, even a few in his own time (albeit quietly and from very far away of course), seeing as how he only took part of the Baltic Crusade for only a few months. The reasoning goes that there is much more duty (and honor) fighting to regain the holy city of Jerusalem than there was fighting fur clad heathens in backwoods of the fringe of civilization; besides Henry had a good reason to be returning Germany.]
(August) [Germany] Henry V returned to court just in time to witness the birth of healthy baby boy, named Henry (VI). In celebration he pardoned several criminals of lesser crimes, ordered a feast, and gave alms to the poor (bread and small silver coins).
[Pommerania] Grand Master Albert crossed the Oder River and crushed a gathering of Wendish tribes in the battle of the Wooden Glen. To the north the Count of Holstein, Heinrich, also crossed and defeated a tribe of Abotrites.
[Estonia] King Eric I "the Evergood" of Denmark having been the first king to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem after the fall of the city in 1103 AD) joined the Crusader army on the island of Dagö with reinforcements. The second battle for Ösel went much better for the Crusader armies with the natives routed and the by the end of the month the western half of the island was under the Crusader’s control.
(September) [Pommerania] Crusader forces, under Heinrich Count of Holstein, landed on both Usedom and St. Adalbert Island (Wolin Island) and defeated the scattered Polabian Wendish tribes that lived among the forests and glacial hills. [St. Adalbert Island was named for St. Adalbert of Prague who in the later 10th century was known for his work among the eastern Slavs. St. Adalbert was killed in Prussia near the town of Elbing for threatening to cut down the sacred oak groves.]
Grand Master Albert continued his campaign against the Pomeranians, Abotrites, and the Polabian Wends located in the lands along the Warta and Noteć Rivers.
[Prussia] The Polish Crusaders having secured the Vistula River and the lands surrounding it began a move east further into forested hills of Prussia. The poor terrain made it difficult for the Crusaders and several smaller bands were wiped out by the native Prussian tribes.
[Estonia] King Eric I of Denmark left Ösel Island for Estonia in an attempt to establish a fort there before the onset of winter. The fort of Kronborg survived two attempts by local Eths (Estonians) to eradicate the Danish Crusaders and their fort before the fall of winter.
Several hundred Danish colonists arrived on Dagö Island and established the town of Helsingør. Included among the Danish colonists were several German merchants from Visby on Gotland Island (a free and independent island nation in the Baltic). [Erik also established a small portage on the island of St. Mary (Naissaar Island).]
The German Crusaders on Ösel Island began a series of attacks to bring the remaining pagan Eths (Estonians) on the island to heel before winter set in. By the first snow falls the last remaining Eths were defeated and the survivors fled to nearby Moon (Mohn) Island. [Note: By survivors it is meant those willing to continue the fight against the Christian Crusaders.]
The efforts of the Valkyries did not go unnoticed by the Papal legate. He wrote to Rome of their deeds with great praise (although it should be known that several others, such as Otto of Köln, wrote several condemning letters to the Pope concerning the Maidens) and recommended some kind of official support. The news of these letters helped the budding troubadours start a new sub-genre in the chansons of the adventures of the Valkyries (Matilda’s Maidens). The most famous and well known was (and is) the Chanson de Isabelle, telling the adventures of a young woman from Normandy, Isabelle, on her way to the Baltic crusade and her deeds there.
German, Flanderese, and several Italian merchants assisted the Papal legate, Hartwig of Freising, in building a small stone church in the town of Arensburg (Kuressaare). The town had attracted almost a hundred German colonists (mainly tradesmen deemed important to supplying the thousand or so Crusader’s on the island).
(November) [Pommerania] A series of snow and ice storms stopped the conflict in Pommerania (and for the Poles in Prussia too) until spring.
(December) [Emirate of Tyre - Tyre] The knights of St. John the Hospitaler in coordinatinon with the blockading fleet (the knights of St. Stephen and the Thyrrenian naval ships) launched a heavy assault on the city of Tyre. They were repulsed with heavy casualties but succeeded in destroying the few ships at anchorage that at times would make blockade runs to Egypt.