Angevin Empire

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by The Space Viking, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. The Space Viking Banned

    Aug 10, 2010
    New York City
    I find the fact that English Kings once held land on continental Europe awesome, but then they lost it. I blame John, successor to Richard, but correct me if that's not the case. The other alternative to John was Richard I's first choice of an heir, Arthur of Brittany.

    I remember that the French nobility of the Empire disapproved of John as their King, and I'm sure they would've preferred Arthur. If he became king, I think it might be able to butterfly away his disappearance, which seems more likely that John had him killed.

    Would it have been possible for Richard to not declare John his heir on his death bed, and the crown would fall to Arthur? Would John have tried to get the throne anyway?

    If he did, as Arthur ended up declaring himself a vassal of Phillip II OTL, would the King of France aid Arthur in his War of Succession?

    I'm just looking for a way that the Angevin Empire would stay intact longer/indefinitely. Purely in the pursuit of curiosity :D

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

    Apr 13, 2007
    Syracuse, Haudenosaunee, Vinland
    Get your hands on a copy of "Lord Darcy" by Randall Garrett. (Several books, sometimes published as an omnibus.) ASB, but great fun.
  3. stevep Member

    Mar 21, 2006

    If you're thinking of a POD that late then the simplest way is to have John die shortly before Richard, which would remove him from the scene. Life was cheap and very unreliable at that period of time so could easily happen. Or if you know why he was nicknamed John Lacklands;) [Henry II allocated his empire to his sons a couple of decades before but John was barely born and young baby's had such a low survival rate that it was decided not to allocate any land to him as he might not live]. Hence if you want an earlier POD just have him die as an infant

    An alternative is that Richard isn't so rash and put's on his armour before the small clash where he was fatally wounded. Or simply the crossbow bolt doesn't kill him. He was only 41 and couple easily have lived another couple of decades.

    The key problem is probably that the empire is so large and unwieldy that it would be difficult to hold together anyway for any length of time. It doesn't help that Henry II was a rather volatile person and at one time had all his son's and his estranged wife Eleanor in rebellion against him. [To which he planned to respond I believe by marrying a young girl he fancied, get her pregnant and rule long enough that her son would inherit the thrones].

    In the longer term you need some solution to the problem of France. It's a minor power compared to the empire in real terms but technically Henry and later Richard have to acknowledge it as their overlord for their vast continental lands. [the same problems the later Plantagents had as well]. When it got a skilled and determined king in Philip II it proved a serious thorn in the Angevin side. Hence it's better if one way or another the relationship between France and the Angevin lands is broken.


  4. 9 Fanged Hummingbird Some Random Guy

    Sep 9, 2007
    New Hampshire
    God that's so weird. Never saw a topic like this but now that I just finished a novel taking place then involving those characters the other night this pops up. Funny, really.
  5. Yorel Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2010
    Arthur becoming King instead of John wouldn't solve the problem... The problem of the Angevin was Philip Augustus himself.

    The French Capetians were the Kings of France and the English Plantagenêt were technically their vassals in France. Problem was that the vassal was stronger than the King himself. Philip Augustus did everything he could to destroy the Plantagenêt Empire, supporting rebels and trying to take those lands by force. That policy had already been started under Philip's father, Louis VII, who supported the rebellion of Henry the Young, Richard, Geoffrey and Eleanor against Henry II in 1173.

    This can be shown if you look closely at Philip II of France's story : he became friends with Henry's son and supported them against their father. When Richard became King, Philip supported John Lackland. And finally, when John Lackland became King, Philip supported Arthur, Geoffrey's son. In one last resort, Philip even tried to have his own son, Louis, to become King of England (Louis's wife, Blanche of Castille, was a niece of John)!

    If Arthur became king instead of John, there is a good chance Philip would support John against Arthur and for one reason : the survival of the Plantagenêt Empire threatened France itself.

    Besides, the probability of Richard choosing Arthur as his heir are low... Richard had no problem with Arthur becoming his heir until the boy dissapointed him while growing up. Besides, Arthur was raised in Philip Augustus' court, Richard's main ennemy (although they were friends at first). John on the other hand, while he did rebel against Richard, was ready to stay loyal if he became Richard's heir (which he did).

    If you want the Plantagenêt Empire to survive, you have to get rid of Philip Augustus. If this happens, there will be huge troubles in France and this might even make France become a part of the Angevin Empire! (Henry the Young had been fianced to one of Louis VII's daughter and had a good claim, since Salic Law had not yet been established).
  6. Space Oddity That One Guy. You Know Who I Mean.

    Jul 19, 2010
    Bingo. As much scorn gets heaped on John's head, he essentially found himself trying to maintain an ultimately impossible position that was already crumbling when Richard died. What's more, John didn't have the same outlook as his father and brother--where they saw themselves as French Lords who happened to be Kings of England--thus giving them a leg up on the King of France--he seems to have seen himself as the King of England, who just happened to have a lot of land in France. As a result while he was very much willing to fight for his lands, he wasn't willing to commit the same resources they were.
  7. The Space Viking Banned

    Aug 10, 2010
    New York City
    I don't know if having Richard live longer would solve the problem. He didn't have any heirs of his own, and I don't think he would be able to have a child with his wife at such an old age (maybe he gets lucky:D). Even with him living longer, that might have the Angevin Empire hold together a little longer, but that still doesn't change who's next to the throne.

    The Empire needs a King who has that mindset that Space Oddity stated: they saw themselves as French Lords who happened to be Kings of England.

    Phillip II dying seems to be the best scenario, and how good of a claim does Henry the Younger have to the French throne if Phillip dies? And who would be his rivals for the throne?
  8. Yorel Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2010
    Richard was 42 when he died and his wife 36. The chances of him having a son are low, but not impossible : Louis VII of France was 45 when his third wife gave birth to Philip II Augustus.
    However, kings rarely reached 60, dying genereally around 50. Richard's son would be at best 18 when his father passes away. At worst, he would be 8.
    Yet, Richard's survival wouldn't ensure the survival of the Plantagenêt Empire. As long as Philip Augustus and the Capetians remain in power in France, they would try to get rid of the Plantagenêt Empire.

    First : Philip as to never be born or to die young. This was the only way for the Plantagenêt to get the crown.

    Without Philip being born, Louis VII only had 4 daughters. However, it can be argued that, with Salic Law not being applied at the time, Louis VII's daughters could inherit the throne. In that case, the four main pretenders would be :

    1.Henry I, count of Champagne - He is the husband of Marie, first daughter of Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

    2.Theobald V, count of Blois - He is the husband of Alix, second daughter of Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

    3.Henry the Young King - Since he was married to Margaret, first daughter of Louis VII and Constance of Castille, this makes him in a pretty strong position. Besides, the two first claimants are the husbands of his half sisters (Henry was the eldest son of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II) : this could play well.

    4.Richard Lionheart - Richard is another possibility for the Plantagenêt to get the French crown. In 1169, Henry II and Louis VII had arranged a marriage for him and Alys, Louis VII's second daughter with Constance of Castille. He broke his engagement only during Philip Augustus' reign.

    A fifth possibility would be the husband of Agnès, Louis VII's last daughter who was born in 1171. However, she had been fianced to the Byzantine Emperor, so I don't think that could work.

    After them comes the brothers of Louis VII and their bloodlines. If applying Salic Law, they come BEFORE the four above but since Salic Law was not active yet and given the French King's power at the time, I'd say they tend to have a weaker claim than the others.

    Robert, Count of Dreux - The eldest younger brother of Louis VII still alive and to have descendants. He would be around 57. He would be the one to have the strongest claim with Salic Law and has a numerous family.

    Peter of Courtenay - The youngest brother of Louis VII. He and his bloodline would come after Robert of Dreux.

    Thus, you have the main candidates for the French throne if Philip Augustus dies before he can become king and father any child.
    Henry the Young claim is quite strong, even though he would only be the third in line as he is married to Louis VII's third daughter. Yet, the Plantagenêts were by far the strongest lords in France : with an army, it wouldn't be too hard for them to claim the crown.
  9. yourworstnightmare Trubbelmakare

    Jul 4, 2007
    Tusen Sjöars Land
    It wasn't English kings holding lands in France, it was French nobles holding the English throne.
  10. The Space Viking Banned

    Aug 10, 2010
    New York City
    That pretty much answered any question I wanted to ask. Thanks for insight everyone :D

    Ah, my mistake.
  11. Grey Wolf Writer, Poet, Publisher, Cat-sitter

    Jan 1, 2004
    Deepest Wales
    The best person to have live longer would be Geoffrey, Arthur's father. That would mean that Richard leaves the kingdom in his hands when he goes on Crusade, and that when he dies Geoffrey is there to succeed.

    Of course, butterflies from the first would mean that the second happened in completely different circumstances

    Best Regards
    Grey Wolf
  12. Jape Corporate Jape

    Feb 26, 2008
    Company Bar
    I started a TL along these lines last year (search 'Angevin Empire' if your interested) - I agreed with Philip Augustus being the problem, I had him die at birth and Henry the Younger surviving long enough to become King of France and later inherit England from his father - I kicked John off to Piedmonte (his intended kingdom before he went to Ireland) and Richard accepting the throne of Jerusalem in a more successful Third Crusade

    Even getting rid of these troublemakers I think in the long run your best bet is a large Angevin France and England breaking away at some point - this clears up the destuction and chaos of the HYWs but ultimately the feudal period in England and France is all about different gangs of French nobles with some pandering to mythology to create an English nationalism (Edward III being the prime case)

    Ultimately even if the Angevin Kings can centralise France, It wont take much for nobles in England to look for a London based alternative if their Paris overlord taxes them too much, doesn't pay attention to their land or even just shows some weakness