Crusader Kings II - Paradox Entertainement (02/12)

I really looking forward to this new mod coming out so im going to post the dev diarys here to see if it interests people, i have no affliation with the mod simply trying to spread word of it. I'll post them each day if people are fine due to image rule count. This is an after the end old world mod.

Well, we are finally here with our first official Dev Diary. And as the title suggests, we will look at the Iberian Peninsula, the kingdoms and lord that rule it, and the peculiar state of christianity.

Brief note before we start, the coat of arms of the various country aren't ready yet, so consider them a beta of what it's going to look like. Similarly, we yet have to make an icon for the new religions.

Without further wait, let us see what the map of Spain will look like




Spain in 2555



The Catholic Kingdom of Portugal

Portugal is the only Kingdom in spain that still holds on the Catholic church. Ruled by the Avril dinasty since the 2200s, can a Catholic Kingdom survive, surrounded on all sides by a different church, and tormented by the pirate lords?




King Vinicius Avril, King of Portugal. With his first wife recently deceased, he is now depressed. Can he survive for the sake of his kingdom, or will his sons have to take up the crown?

Castille, the broken kingdom

At one point, Castille was close to restore ancient Spain, ruling over Galicia and the Asturias and all it's de jure land. Then, under a tyrant king, it lost more and more land, ending with Galicia y Asturias and Extremadura seceding. After a century of losing land to Andalusia and Catalonia, can the Palmarian King retake the lands he once ruled?




56 years old and yet without child, King Alfonso, of an ancient family that claims descent from the Bourbon of pre-Event fame, has however an heir in his distant cousin, his vassal the Duke of Leon

The King of Galicia y Asturias and the Duke of Extremadura

Those two rulers, tied by the marriage of the King's sister to the Duke, have a rather short history compared to the rest of the Iberian Kingdoms. Once ruled by Castille, they together claimed independence little over a century ago. While Galicia y Asturias claimed a crown on it's own, Extremadura remained under the more humble title of Duchy. Can those two young Palmarian countries survive, or will they be swallowed back by Castille?




Duke Hernan III Cortes of Extremadura. Currently without heirs, he is however protected by the powerful ties to the Palmarian Church. His marriage with Urraca will bring more land to his domain, and an ally. But will this all be enough to resist against Castille?




King Ramiro of Galicia y Asturias claims to descend from the Jimena that once ruled over most of Spain. While his claim is feeble, he has an heir in his son. However, part of his lands is owned by his sister Urraca, who is currently married to the Duke of Extremadura.

The Kingdom of Andalusia, home of the Palmarian Church

It is in the Kingdom of Andalusia that after the Event the Palmarian Church first rose to prominence. When before the Event the Palmarian Church was but a minor split group, during and after the Event it rose to more and more prominence, becoming the only recognized church in Spain (but never breaking into Portugal). The Andalusian Kings have always been loyal to the church... even if the same can't be said of all their vassals.




King Ordono de Vivar, whose Family claims descent from the legendary hero of Spain, El Cid. The King of Andalusia is cynical of the value of the Church. He may even have set his eye on Seville, the home of the faith. Will his intentions become reality? (side note, the screenshot shows him to have a family, but that is because I accidentally left "creat family" on. Sorry for the blunder)

And let us look at the Palmarian Church itself. Currently one of the most powerful Christian faiths, it's endemic of the Iberian Peninsula, only expending in recent years in Aquitaine under the Basque Kings. The current Pope is Pablo Cortes, uncle of the Duke of Extremadura




Controlling or partially controlling four of their five holy sites (note, Carmona and Lepe will actually be El Palmar and Palos) the Palmarian Church is in a strong position to expand and convert. But will they?

The Kingdom of Catalonia, ruling over both Catalan and Aragonese

The Kingdom of Catalonia is the most multicultural of the powers in Spain. Where other kingdoms rule over one or two cultures, it's the Catalan that control four: the Castilian of Murcia, once a Castilian port and still ruled by a Castilian duke, the Occitans of Rosello, and more importantly the Aragonese the Pyrenees and Zaragoza. With so many different cultures, can the Catalan hold together the Kingdom?




King Pere II Posas rules from Barcelona, controlling the second biggest kingdom in Spain. But will the Kingdom hold, or crumble?

The Basque Kingdom, a growing nation

Only calling itself Basque Kingdom, the country in the north has been for a long time the smallest, weakest of the nations of Spain. However, in recent years, the Basque Kings have set their eyes of French, a broken, war thorn region where many powers grow and die. Will they achieve great conquests, or will they crumble and fall?




King Antso VII Aguirre still holds on the military prowes of his ancestors. Will Basque Kingdom expend under him, or fall and perish?
 
Playing a game of After the End as the Mastersons of Dodge City. We have expanded into the Rocky Mountains and founded the Mile High Kingdom, centered around Denver.
 
Playing a game of After the End as the Mastersons of Dodge City. We have expanded into the Rocky Mountains and founded the Mile High Kingdom, centered around Denver.
I'm really excited for AtEFF 0.6. The rework of the California Emperor system is going to make an already unique region even better.

On that matter how would you rank AtEFF versus CK2 ASOIAF? I know the latter seems more popular, all in all, but I disagree. CK2 ASOIAF is a very good ASOIAF mod, it reproduces very well the universe of ASOIAF and the War of Five Kings etcetera, but I'd contend that it's not a great CK2 mod. The map feels small compared to vanilla and even more so compared to AtEFF and more importantly there just isn't a great variety of playstyles available. Playing in the Vale doesn't really feel different from playing in Dorne or in any other kingdom of the 7 kingdoms. The same is true with the free cities. The earlier start dates introduced by the official submods do help with that issue but they are also bugged and feel unfinished.
In the end when I play CK2 ASOIAF I mostly go take a dragon and lay waste with it, which is admittedly very fun. But it does contrasts with AtEFF where depending on where you start your playthrough will be very different, if you are Emperor in Sacramento, a Gaian duke in the Northwest (RIP), a vassal in the Carribean Empire, etc. I find myself replaying AtEFF a lot more than ASOIAF.
 
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I get you, I feel ASOIAF doesn't work as well for unlimited campaigns, I feel like you should play for a goal and then stop as otherwise it can feel flat.

I'd argue it's also because while GRRM is a good writer in general that the world doesn't have enough changing history everywhere to provide inspiration depending on where you are playing. There's a lot of single dynasties and cultures and religions for years so the game (mod) doesn't really allow you to do "fun" things like culture or religiously convert as it makes them way harder than in vanilla but I'd argue make it too hard even if you think it's too easy in Vanilla.
 
Both mods are great in their own ways, but it's true that I have been enjoying playing After the End more than A Song of Ice and Fire.

I think this has to do with the fact that ASOIAF is a recreation of the book's universe. As such, you want more to play certain characters or to see said characters evolving in alternate scenarios, which basically limits you to playing in Westeros and not care much for the rest of the World. And aside from the political context and the Northern Invasions (White Walkers or Wildlings, even Aztecs if you have it on), it's mostly about internal Westerosi politics. Which can make for interesting gameplay if you want to see your dynasty on the Iron Throne but ultimately limits the fun you can have.

After the End on the other hand is a purely original creation and it's probably one of the most creative mods on the board. There are a lot of interesting possibilities to play and because the world is so unique, every playthrough feels different.
 
ASIOF is a fun mod to play, especially after watching/reading GoT. Long-term though, it still leaves a lot to be desired.

After the End is one of, if not my all-time favorite CKII mod. So much to do, and a whole new world to discover without the mod forcing things to happen (as in ASOIAF).
 
I need help i got after the end but i never bothered to play i see no campaign i would like can someone change my view what cool things can you do in the mod.
 
Since CKIII is releasing this year, I figured I could go for some achievements. Haesteinn of Nantes really is a great character to pull these off!

I'm going for the legacy of the Indo Norse Achievement this time, which I wil get as soon as I switch capitals. I also converted to Nestorianism to get the St.Thomas's Dream Achievement.

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Since CKIII is releasing this year, I figured I could go for some achievements. Haesteinn of Nantes really is a great character to pull these off!

I'm going for the legacy of the Indo Norse Achievement this time, which I wil get as soon as I switch capitals. I also converted to Nestorianism to get the St.Thomas's Dream Achievement.
How did you convert to Nestorianism?
 
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THE COUNTS AND DUKES OF TUSCULUM
DEFENDERS OF THE HOLY ROMAN CHURCH

867-957

Mole Sua Stat




His Beatitude
SAINT THEOPHYLACTUS THE APOSTLE
846 - 907


Comes Tusculanensis
Senator, Glorissimus Dux, Dominus Urbis
Sacri Palatii Vestararius et Consul Romanorum
Cancelarii Sancta Romanae Ecclesiae

A man larger than life, ahead of his time. Theophylact, Count and Duke of Tusculum, was the first of his glorious line. From an early age one of the most prominent nobles of Rome, Theophylactus distinguished himself for his unrelenting piety and service to the Holy Roman Church, whether as diplomat, general or administrator. In the dark times of the late ninth century, it was Theophylactus who rose to defend the Church against those corrupt philistines who would do her harm to unify Christendom and purify the Curia. At his ever faithful side stood his holy wife Teodora Bonifazi, a brilliant daughter of the Duke of Florence, and the first woman to be created senatrix in her own right. Together, they imposed their will from the Alban hills over the city of Rome and the fields of Latium, saving the Mother Church from itself by their combined aptitude and sanctity. The Pope's champion and Captain-General, Theophylactus extended the Supreme Pontiff's reach as far south as the fair city of Naples, ridding the land of impious tyrants in the name of the Church. He raised cities and castles, took uncountable artists under his patronage and explored the architectural mysteries of the ancients. He commissioned and consecrated churches in all the land in the honor of God and the House of Tusculum, whose devoted service and pious success was an honor to God by itself.


Senatrix Theodora of Tusculum (850-916)

By his wife Theodora, Theophylactus was the father of five children who would inherit his legacy of piety, service and the arts:

Ercole de' Tusculana (870-923), Count and Duke of Tusculum, his firstborn son and successor, who wed Angelina Guideschi, a daughter of the Duke of Spoleto, and produced issue by her. He ruled Tusculum from his father's death in 907 to his own in 923.​
Maria de' Tusculana (873-936), who resided at Tusculum for all her life and served as an important adviser to her family. A woman skilled with numbers and the art of governance, she proved invaluable to the Tusculani in the management of their lands, holdings and estates. She became the patroness of several nunneries and churches paid for by the Tusculani treasury, which remained full at all times given the godly wealth of Duke Theophylactus. She married Prince Eosterwine of Wessex at the behest of the Pope to bind the English kingdom closer to the Universal Church than ever. They had offspring:​
Contessina de' Tusculana (888-930), who followed in her mother's footsteps and skills. She married Prince Godcild of Wessex, but ended her tragic days murdered by an unknown assailant. They had two daughters: Maria de' Tusculana (b. 911), who became the Duchess of Aragon and mother to six Tusculani children; and Simonetta de' Tusculani, briefly Queen of Bulgaria by marriage to Grgur of Bulgaria, by whom she had issue.​
Cardinal Teofilatto de' Tusculana (b. 898), named after his grandfather, Prince-Bishop of Tusculum, a remarkable man who was for a time considered Duke Ercole's heir and married Princess Judita of the Holy Roman Empire, joining the clergy after her premature death. They had one daughter, Fiametta, who would later marry Prince Ernest of the Holy Roman Empire. Cardinal de' Tusculana is currently the expected successor to the throne of St. Peter, for the glory of the Church.​
Tiziana de' Tusculana (b. 905), a woman afflicted with madness, shut away in a nunnery at Salerno.​
Teodora de' Tusculana (882-896), who tragically died young of rabies.​
Addolarata de' Tusculana (884-931), Mistress of Naupaktos, who married Photeinos Skleros and had two children: the famed condottiero Basilio de' Tusculana, known as Basilio the Fearless, who was in the employ of his family, but betrayed them and struck out on his own with their men and supplies, father to Alarico de' Tusculana, Count of Naupaktos; and Viola de' Tusculana, Countess of Sobrarbe.​
Cardinal Giovanni de' Tusculana (b. 886), Prince-Bishop of Tusculum, who would serve the Church more than any other man in his family.​
Duke Theophylactus died at age 61 in his sleep. He had served four Popes in his lifetime. He was immediately beatified upon death and canonized by Pope Sixtus II four years later, having his feast day on November 18th. He is celebrated as a godly and holy man, one who even acquired the greatest relic of Christendom - a nail of the True Cross - and became its devoted custodian.



His Magnificence
ERCOLE DE' TUSCULANA
870 - 923


Comes Tusculanensis
Senator, Glorissimus Dux, Dominus Urbis
Sacri Palatii Vestararius et Consul Romanorum
Cancelarii Sancta Romanae Ecclesiae

Firstborn son of St. Theophylactus of Tusculum and a worthy successor to his legacy. Although vastly overshadowed by his father, Duke Ercole was a very successful and accomplished ruler in his own right, as Count and Duke of Tusculum from 907 to 923. A patron of the arts as his father was before him, Duke Ercole gave patronage to several new churches and monasteries during his rule. A gifted steward, he studied with the wise and learned men of his father's lettered court and became an outstanding architect himself. Until the construction of the Duomo di Tusculo centuries later, the Palazzo Ercolino, a magnificent and decorated grand tower, was the highest structure at Tusculum and served as the principal seat and palace of the Tusculani dukes for centuries. He was an affable and god-fearing man, but also a martial one indeed. He defended the city of Rome and the Vatican multiple times from Norse raiders, come to kill and plunder, but who only found death at the hand of the Lion of Tusculum. A champion of the Church as his father before him, Duke Ercole extended the Papacy's reach as far south as Salerno and Lucania by the might of the sword. Following the mysterious death of the child Count of Salerno, for which Ercole in his magnanimity did penance, he raised a magnificent church at Salerno to lay the child to rest (and, some say, his conscience).


The Grand Tower of the Palazzo Ercolino at Tusculum

Duke Ercole had two children by his wife: the eldest, Teodora de' Tusculana, and his heir Ermanno de' Tusculana, who died in childhood. For many years, given Teodora's apparent lack of skill for ruling, Ercole considered his heir to be his nephew Teofilatto. However, he had a change of heart towards the end of his life, coincidentally shortly after the death of the Child of Salerno. Ercole de' Tusculana passed away at age 53 on August 14th, 923, only days after the completion of his palazzo. His daughter's reign would surpass even his wildest expectations.
 
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Her Imperial Majesty
TEODORA DE' TUSCULANA
893-957


Holy Roman Empress
Senatrix and Imperatrix
Serenissima Vestaratrix of Rome
Countess of Tusculum
Duchess of the Romans
Duchess of Beneveto

The once unremarkable daughter of Ercole of Tusculum, Duchess Teodora would become by far the greatest and most controversial of the early Tusculani. Inheriting her position at age twenty-nine, her succession and Duke Ercole's final will were respected by the family. The man who could have challenged her, her cousin Teofilatto, was an old childhood friend of her, and was descended from a female line himself, so he posed no obstacle to her succession. A young woman when she came into her position, Teodora was well aware of her limitations. She was no great warrior, nor a gifted administrator or diplomat, as her father and grandfather had been before her. She enjoyed art, but did not understand it. Sheltered since infancy, she was ill-suited to the palace intrigues of the Roman Curia. Still, she had a burning desire to prove herself. Many had doubted her ability to do justice to the legacy of Theophylact and Ercole on account of her sex and skill, but Teodora was determined to prove all of them wrong. Although her family was powerful, they still had many enemies in Rome, and she vowed that she would not allow the Tusculani to decline to their nadir during her lifetime. She lacked the great piety and brilliance of Theophylact and Ercole, so she knew she could not replicate their success on her own. Instead, she moved in the direction of change - and change Italy and the Tusculani she did. She would rule Tusculum from 923 to 957, and she would not leave a single stone upturned in her wake.

She had little skill with numbers, but she was wealthy. She was not pious, but her family had painstakingly worked to control the Curia for two generations. She was not good with words or plots, but she was beautiful. Teodora de' Tusculana was beautiful indeed, and as a woman in a world of men, she knew what she had to do. Historians would later label the following decade as the Pornocracy - the Rule of the Harlot - for Teodora de' Tusculana came to rule Rome and the Christian world not through her virtues, but through her vices. Using her natural charm and beauty, it was said that Teodora seduced half of the College of Cardinals. The other half, with whom she had not slept, she had bought off instead with Tusculani gold. Those were scandalous, though secretive, years. Soon enough, Teodora was not doing what she was doing to prove herself before her family and ancestors, but because she had tasted power and she had liked it.


Castel Sant'Angelo and the Basilica of St. Peter, Rome

In her heyday, the Temptress of Rome took numerous Cardinals as her lovers, extending her reach all over the Roman Curia. By the time of her succession, she had already given birth to two legitimate sons, so bastards were not a concern of hers. Not only was her bedchamber influence restricted to the College, for she also secured the allegiance of the commander of the Papal Guard in the same way, nullifying the only person who could have posed a military threat to her dynasty. Two Popes did she take as lovers. The venerable, noble and martial Sixtus II, who occupied the throne of St. Peter from 909 to 927 despite his advanced age. Upon his death, he was succeeded by Pope Sergius III, formerly Cardinal Géraud de Poitiers-Valentinois, who Teodora had astutely taken as her lover even before his election, when he emerged as one of the preferred papabile in the Curia. She had one illegitimate daughter by Sergius III, born before his pontificate, named Giulia de' Tusculana by her mother and presented to the world as her legitimate child with her husband. The Temptress of Rome was bolder in her affair with Sixtus II, however; a posthumous son was born to their relationship, a bastard named Giuliano, thereafter known as the Vatican Prince. Teodora would take her bastard under her wing; in time, Giuliano was made Prince-Bishop of Lucania and received a Cardinal's red hat in his twentieth year, funded by Tusculani gold and power.

By 933, ten years after Teodora had taken over from her late father, Tusculani power and influence had never been greater in Rome. With half of the College of Cardinals in her pockets (and two Popes under her sheets), Teodora de' Tusculana could count herself as the most powerful woman in Christendom. Wealth continued to flow into the Tusculani treasury as power was secured in Rome, and Tusculum benefited from the prosperity of Teodora's peaceful and stable Pornocracy. By the end of the decade, the Counts of Tusculum had become the wealthiest family in the Mediterranean world. The culmination of Teodora's lifelong efforts would come in the Papal conclave of 933, following the death of her lover Pope Sergius III.

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum;
Habemus Papam:

Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum Ioannes
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Tusculanensis
qui sibi nomen imposuit Ioannes


***



His Holiness
PAPA IOANNES VIII
Born 886 as Giovanni de' Tusculana


Bishop of Rome
Vicar of Christ
Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church

The election of Cardinal Giovanni de' Tusculana, Prince-Bishop of Tusculum and Ceccano and youngest child of St. Theophylact the Apostle, founder of the family, brought the Tusculani to new and unseen heights. His election was the result of the influence wielded by his niece, Duchess Teodora, the Temptress of Rome, in the Curia, born out of her wealth and her beauty in equal measure. Prior to his election, Cardinal de' Tusculana was already a learned and letter man, given the best education afforded by his late father in his court of artists and wise men. As Pope, John VIII embodied the artistic spirit of his father and elder brother better than both of them had in life combined. Throughout his long pontificate, John VIII would be a great patron of the arts, spearheading what scholars would later call the 10th century Tusculani Renaissance, built on the previous work of Dukes Theophylact and Ercole, but carried out and promoted first and foremost by the Tusculani Pope of Rome. The letters were revived, making ample use of Duchess Teodora's connections to the imperial court at Constantinople. Artists and architects were invited into the Vatican and the Lateran. John VIII famously reformed the Papal apartments at the Apostolic Palace, which remain to this day a fabulous example of tenth-century Italian art, with its numerous frescoes, mosaics and, of course, the imposing architecture of the building itself. The Pope would not limit himself to the arts, however; emulating the ancients, he hired architects and builders to repair and reform the ancient Roman roads. The saying that all roads led to Rome was never truer than during John VIII's pontificate. The additional infrastructure would not only improve the prosperity of the city of Rome itself, but also of the surrounding countryside, including Tusculum.


The Tusculani apartments at the Apostolic Palace

Politically, John VIII had already made a clear statement upon his very election. He became the first Pope in centuries to not adopt a Papal name upon his enthronement, continuing the use of his birth name Giovanni. The message was clear: this Pope was a Tusculani and he knew it. Word of the corruption at the Curia had not remained contained to Rome, however. Shortly after his election, King Aymar of West Francia set up an Anti-Pope of his own, who took the name of Hadrianus II. The Frankish schism could have undone John VIII's pontificate in its infancy, were it not for the reaction of his niece, the Duchess of Tusculum, who rose to defend her uncle's papacy. Inviting the Holy Roman Emperor Reginar II to the Eternal City, the Temptress of Rome tempted Reginar with the vanquishing of West Francia and her own charms. The Concordat of the Lateran became her greatest accomplishment to date. Not only had Emperor Reginar struck a public and genuine friendship with the Tusculani Pope, but he had also struck more than a friendship with the Duchess of Tusculum. She took the Emperor as her lover. The agreement reached at the Lateran Palace also included the betrothal of Lady Giulia of Tusculum, Teodora's secret illegitimate daughter with Pope Sergius III, to Reginar's son and heir Prince Reginar the Younger. Wielding her newfound power, lover and alliance, Teodora de' Tusculana declared war on West Francia. Although it was Emperor Reginar who marched to Francia and defeated the King's armies in battle, it was beyond a doubt a Tusculani victor when the Anti-Pope was put down and John VIII's papacy was secured once and for all. The Duchess of Tusculum was rewarded for her invaluable support with a considerable gift in gold and a Papal claim to the large and powerful Duchy of Beneveto, a long-time rival of Tusculum in Southern Italy, which Teodora would claim in her lifetime.

Pope John VIII outlived his niece. His pontificate lasted for more than twenty-four years, the longest in living memory. During his papacy, beyond the many artistic and political achievements, many accomplishments were had elsewhere. The College of Cardinals came under the complete domination of the Counts of Tusculum. Teofilatto de' Tusculana, Teodora's cousin, was named Bishop of Tusculum in replacement of the Pope and swiftly raised to the rank of Cardinal. The Duchess' consort and husband, Louis Karling, was similarly made a Bishop and created a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, perhaps in repayment for enduring the Pornocracy, or perhaps Teodora had other designs and he had served his purpose. Finally, the Vatican Prince Giuliano de' Tusculana, Teodora's son with Sixtus II, was himself raised to the status of Cardinal in his twentieth year, making three out of nine Cardinals members of the Tusculani dynasty under a Tusculani Pope. Furthermore, John VIII actively involved himself in wars to defend the newly christened Hungarian monarchy against Pagan nomad enemies, safeguarding King Levete the Confessor's right to rule. In addition to Hungary, the crowns of Bulgaria and Pommerania were won for the Catholic faith during his pontificate. Pope John VIII left his mark in history and certainly inaugurated the period thereafter known as the Tusculani papacy, for the glory of the dynasty and the Holy Roman Church.


To be continued
 
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The Reign of

Her Imperial Majesty
TEODORA DE' TUSCULANA

EMPRESS of the ROMANS


The election of Cardinal Giovanni de' Tusculana as His Holiness John VIII, Pope of Rome, had come at the end of a long line of deeds and accomplishments undertaken by his niece the Duchess of Tusculum. For ten years, she had bribed and seduced her way through the Roman Curia and become the most powerful matriarch in Christendom thanks to her efforts and everlasting service to the Holy Mother Church. The rise of Pope John VIII signified the height of the Pornocracy and of Tusculani power in the Christian world until then. With Rome finally secured under the iron grasp of her family, Duchess Teodora, the Temptress of Rome, could set her eyes elsewhere, aiming further and further glories for the House of Tusculum and the Universal Church that she selflessly served.

The alliance she had struck with Reginar II, Holy Roman Emperor, at the Concordat of Rome had allowed the Tusculani papacy to impose itself over the false Anti-Pope Hadrian II. German armies marched into West Francia under the Papal banner of Tusculum to subjugate the False Pontiff and reunify Christendom. At their helm marched the Holy Roman Emperor himself. Reginar II was the eldest son of his father, Reginar I the Missionary, who in 896 had become the first man since Charlemagne to be crowned Emperor of the Romans by the Pope of Rome. Although Reginar I had died early at age forty-one as an excommunicated madman, the first Holy Roman Emperor had gone down in history as a paragon of knighthood and the pinnacle of valor and gallantry. Reginar II was of his father's bloodline and destined to greatness himself. Little did he know that the greatness of his reign would be so intimately tied to the glory of Tusculum.


At Rome, the Duchess and the Pope celebrated their joint victory, but Teodora did not tarry any more than necessary. She understood that, despite her grand victory, her personal position was still not secure. Her predecessors, the Dukes Theophylact and Ercole, had always had to juggle a fragile balance between the influence exercised by the imperial courts in Germany and Constantinople over Southern Italy. The Papal States, and by extension Tusculum, were caught right in the middle of their titanic clash, and balance had to be maintained at all costs. The two Tusculani dukes had always been warier of the German emperors, who had originally been the Kings of Italy prior to their ascension to the purple, than the distant emperors of Constantinople. Thus, both Theophylact and Ercole had at times favored the Eastern court, seeking marriage alliances with the Greek nobility and closer ties to the Emperor himself.

At the Concordat of Rome, however, Duchess Teodora had upset the previous balance; not only for having installed a Tusculani on the throne of St. Peter, but also for her open alliance with Reginar II. She had betrothed her daughter Giulia to his son and had taken the Emperor himself into her bed as her lover. Balance had to be restored in some way, lest she invite the Greeks back to Italy, thus she reached out to Constantinople offering peace and friendship. The Emperor at the time was Leo VII Skleros, who had ushered in a prosperous reign after decades of instability under the Macedonian and Scythian dynasties. Teodora's proposal would have been considered futile by her father and grandfather, but she was not merely the Countess of Tusculum as they had been; she was the Pope's niece and mother-in-law to the future Western emperor. Thus, Teodora offered her eldest daughter Ofelia as a bride to Leo VII's son Niketas Skleros, and her body to the Emperor himself. Although she was unable to seduce Skleros as she had Reginar, the Emperor at Constantinople accepted her marriage proposal, binding the dynasties of Skleros, Tusculum and Reginar together in one big family, with Duchess Teodora at the heart of it.

Still, Teodora de' Tusculana was not satisfied. She had the Pope's ear, the friendship of Constantinople and the bed of the Holy Roman Emperor, but she wanted a crown for herself. A crown with which to crown her own glorious dynasty for Tusculum to join the purple company of Rome, Hanau and Constantinople. It was said that poison is a woman's weapon. When the Holy Roman Empress Hiltegunt fell sick and passed away, nobody suspected foul play. The proposal was made. Two years after the Concordat was signed, Emperor Reginar II and Teodora de' Tusculana were married in a grand ceremony celebrated by Cardinal Karling, Teodora's former husband, and attended by Pope John VIII at Rome. Teodora knelt before Christ as Duchess and rose as Empress of the Romans, the first Tusculani to don the imperial crown. Her days as the Temptress of Rome were gone. From that day on, she would be faithful to her imperial husband.


The state of the world in 937

The marriage of Teodora of Tusculum and Emperor Reginar II sent shockwaves throughout Italy. In effect, Teodora had become ruler over Italy, while her husband resided beyond the Alps. The Tusculani overreached, some whispered. Others agreed, and feared what the union of Tusculum and Hanau would spell for the future of imperial power in the Italian peninsula. Either, standing alone, were fearsome enough for the proud and irredentist Italian nobles. Together, they could spell disaster for their independence. Five years after the marriage, the Italian League declared independence under the leadership of Aghali al-Mawri, Duke of Apulia, aiming to break imperial power in Italy and rid themselves of Tusculani influence. They had seized the opportunity presented by Empress Teodora's diplomatic and trade voyage to Constantinople and beyond to the Dnieper. When she returned to Rome, she was faced with full blown revolt. Her father, the late Duke Ercole, might have joined with the Italian League to break imperial power in Italy, but she was not her father, or, more accurately, her father was not her. He had been a duke. She was the Holy Roman Empress, and this rebellion was aimed against her as much as against the Reginarids. The men of Tusculum were marshaled. They marched to war for the first time since the Conquest of Salerno, twenty years before.

The war lasted for two years. Both sides were evenly matched. The opening moves were made by the Tusculani, who were closer to the front than the imperial court in Germany. An army was raised from Rome and the Tusculan countryside, bolstered by mercenary reinforcements. Empress Teodora was not a military woman; she had the Pope name their estranged cousin the condottiero Basilio de' Tusculana the Captain-General of the Papal army. Basilio had once been a condottiero in the service of Tusculum, but had broken away early in Teodora's rule to pursue his own path, stealing the men and supplies he had been given by Ercole and Teodora. Now, he made peace with his family and, although he did not return to their service, he fought on their behalf as a mercenary.

He led Tusculani troops in a forced march to the city of Bari, taking the seat of the Duke of Apulia, although his conquest was short-lived as he had to retreat at the coming of the vastly superior enemy host. Still, his distraction proved fruitful, as Emperor Reginar was able to cross the Alps unopposed and march into Italy with his full might. Basilio took the mercenary host to Tuscany, where he laid siege to Florence at the Empress' behest. Florence was at the time ruled by the Bonifazi, who were cousins to the Tusculani due to the marriage of Teodora Bonifazi to Saint Theophylact the Apostle, founder of their dynasty. The Bonifazi had long ceased being friends, however, and had tried to claim the County of Aquino, held by the Dukes of Tusculum, multiple times in the past. Teodora would have her revenge, as Basilio sacked Florence and delivered the spoils back to Tusculum. The war was decided at the nearby Emilian town of Dovadola, on the road to Florence, where the imperial army was beset and outnumbered by the rebel force. The day could have been won by either side, until the precise arrival of Basilio de' Tusculana and his nine thousand men, fresh from their victory at Florence. The Tusculani force made the difference and carried the day, smashing into the Italian League's rear and forcing the desperate rebels to fight to the death. With Basilio's reinforcements, 21,000 imperials fought nearly 14,000 rebels at the Battle of Dovadola. The imperials took only 937 casualties, while the rebel host was almost entirely destroyed with 10,500 casualties. The war was won on that day. The Empress of the Romans ruled supreme.


Basilio de' Tusculana, the Hero of Dovadola, grandson of Saint Theophylactus of Tusculum by his daughter Addolorata. His son, Alarico de' Tusculana, inherited the Couny of Naupaktos from his father's father. He married Alexandra of Kiev and became the father of Basilio de' Tusculana, who inherited the Kingdom of Kiev from his mother's line (I had nothing to to with this).

With her position once and for all secure, Empress Teodora spent the rest of her reign overseeing the prosperity of Rome and Tusculum and engaged in foreign adventures, either in the support of her husband or her ally at Constantinople, or pursuing interests of her own. One such time was when she persuaded Leo Skleros, the Greek Emperor, to wage war on the Tsardom of Bulgaria to the north in order to install Prince Grugr on the throne. At the time, the Bulgarian prince was an exile at the Tusculan court. Converted to Catholicism and married to Simonetta de' Tusculana, a cousin of Teodora, the Empress wished to see him seated on the Bulgarian throne, for the glory of the Church and the House of Tusculum. Emperor Leo was successful in his war and Grugr was crowned the King of Bulgaria, with Queen Simonetta ruling by his side.

Empress Teodora still embarked on Italian adventures, vying for the control of the Duchy of Beneveto shortly after the War of the Italian League. She had been granted a Papal claim to Beneveto following the election of John VIII, which she now decided to press. Instead of dismissing Basilio de' Tusculana's mercenaries, she had them march against the Radelchis Duke of Beneveto instead, a long time Tusculani rival in Southern Italy. With Basilio's condottieri and hired African mercenaries bolstering her troops, the Conquest of Beneveto was short. With the fall of the Radelchis, the last of Italy not under the influence of Tusculum (whether as direct lands of the Tusculani, or imperial lands overseen by the Holy Roman Empress) faded away. Teodora de' Tusculana had become the supreme ruler of Italy in twenty years.


Italy in 950 (Tusculani holdings highlighted).

Throughout her lifetime, Teodora de' Tusculana was married twice (in addition to her numerous lovers, including two Popes). Her first marriage was arranged by Duke Ercole to Louis Karling, Prince of France and a grandson of Charles the Bald, as a counter-weight to the Holy Roman Empire. Prince Louis was Teodora's husband throughout the Pornocracy and endured all humiliation for the sake of power, even acknowledging an illegitimate daughter of Pope Sergius III as his own child. With the election of Pope John VIII, Prince Louis was invested as Bishop of Nola and was soon created Cardinal Karling, wielding power in his own right as an influential member of the Roman Curia and father to the future generation of the Dukes of Tusculum. Teodora married secondly Holy Roman Emperor Reginar II in 937, becoming Empress of the Romans by marriage. She had one son by Reginar and eight children in total:

Teofilatto II de' Tusculana (b. 912), named after his great-grandfather the founder of the dynasty, who succeeded his mother as Duke of Tusculum. He married the Greek noblewoman Euphemia Maniakissa, daughter of Thomas Maniakes, Strategos of Thessalonica and Great Vlachia. They had five children: Romano (who is the father of newborn Teodora), Cecilia, Teodoro, Pericle and Itala.​
Aurelio de' Tusculana (b. 916), Count of Salerno. He married Princess Sibilla of the Holy Roman Empire, a daughter of Emperor Reginar II, and had three children: Teodora, Adalgisia and Alberto.​
Ofelia de' Tusculana (b. 921). She married Niketas Skleros, son and expected heir of Emperor Leo VII Skleros of Constantinople, and bore him five children: Zacharias, Rhodokalle, Leo, Theudatos and Prokopia. She is currently estranged from her husband and resides at Tusculum with her birth family.​
Giulia de' Tusculana (b. 924), Duchess of Somogy, secretly the illegitimate daughter of Teodora and Pope Sergius III. She married Prince Reginar the Good, eldest son of the Holy Roman Emperor, and bore him three children: Richart, Richiza and Mia.​
Cardinal Giuliano de' Tusculana (b. 928), Prince-Bishop of Lucania, the illegitimate son of Duchess Teodora and Pope Sixtus II. Known as the Vatican Prince for his parentage. He was invested with the Bishopric of Lucano, a magnificent church commissioned and built on the order of his mother for this express purpose in the County of Marsicoverte, when he came of age. He was created Cardinal by his grand-uncle in his twentieth year, funded by Tusculani gold.​
Alvise de' Tusculana (b. 932), Count of Monte Sant'Angelo. A martial man who put down the rebellion of the Count of Monte Sant'Angelo and was awarded his lands in return by his mother. He married Pilitrud Radelchis, daughter of Adelchis II, Duke of Beneveto, and sister to Cardinal Adelchis of Civitate and Radelchis III, former Duke who was usurped by Teodora de' Tusculana in the conquest of Beneveto.​
Rodolfo de' Tusculana (933-941), illegitimate son of Teodora and Cardinal-Archbishop Radulf of Cologne. Died in infancy.​
Reginardo de' Tusculana (b. 938), Teodora's only child by Emperor Reginar II. He married Linda of Romsdal and has one son, Reginardo.​

The bloodline of the Dukes of Tusculum after Empress Teodora


Teodora de' Tusculana, Empress of the Romans, towards the end of her life.

Teodora de' Tusculana, the Temptress of Rome, by the Grace of God, Empress of the Romans, Senatrix and Imperatrix, Serenissima Vestaratrix Romanae, Most Glorious Duchess of the Romans, Duchess of Tusculum, of Naples and of Beneveto, Countess of Tusculum, Aquino, Segni, Fondi, Alife, Molise, Aversa and Acerra, passed away peacefully on June 14th, 957, at the ripe age of 64. The legacy of her thirty-four year long reign was greater than any man could have predicted when she had come to power. Teodora consolidated Tusculani supremacy over the Vatican lacking any of the moral scruples of her predecessors. She raised the House of Tusculum to imperial status through her marriages to the Karlings, the Reginarids and the Eastern emperors, rising to become Holy Roman Empress herself and the supreme authority over all of Italy. She built fortresses and expanded cities throughout Southern Italy, strengthening her domains, and nearly doubled the territory of the House of Tusculum with the conquest of Beneveto. She staffed the College of Cardinals with her cousin, illegitimate son and first husband, and placed the first Tusculani on the throne of St. Peter. Her uncle, Pope John VIII, would outlive her. Even had he died, Cardinal Teofilatto de' Tusculana stands ready as Preferatus to don the Papal tiara and continue the splendid rule of the Pornocracy.


Pope John VIII in 957

Her foreign adventures and achievements were more short-lived. Teodora witnessed in her lifetime the downfall of most of her foreign allies. The King of Bulgaria and his Tusculani Queen were overthrown, and the new Bulgarian Tsar professed the Orthodox rather than Catholic faith. At Constantinople, the reign of Leo VII Skleros came to a sudden and swift end as he was deposed by the Greek aristocracy, who installed Leo VIII Doukas in his place. The disgraced Skleroi became unlanded courtiers to the Phokas family in Cappadocia, crushing any hope of their continued relevance in the empire. Even her own husband, Emperor Reginar, grew out of love with Teodora as she aged. Outraged with the legitimization of her bastard Cardinal Giuliano de' Tusculana, Reginar grew cold and distant and showed preference to his second son in matters of inheritance, instead of his first son who was married to Giulia de' Tusculana. Even then, however, Empress Teodora's legacy cannot be understated, having reshaped Italy and the Catholic Church after her very own image. All counts and dukes of the House of Tusculum would reap the benefits in the centuries to come in their eternal climb towards supremacy.


A statue of Empress Teodora preserved at the Apostolic Palace, Rome, sister to another statue in the Duomo of Tusculum
 
To those who were intrigued by the snippets above, I have started a proper Tusculani AAR over at the Paradox forums. If you are interested, please follow the link: https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/dei-gratia-dominus-urbis-a-house-of-tusculum-aar.1316705/

I kindly ask any readers to please not spoil Teodora de' Tusculana's section, which for now remains unknown to the reader-base at the Paradox forums. I've decided to flesh out Theophylact and Ercole before moving on to our favorite Pornocrat.
 
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Emperor Abbondio "The Young" of the Latin or Western Roman Empire. A gifted diplomat, during his short reign so far he has guided the empire towards peace and prosperity

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Minor Viceroy Konstas "The Tyrant". Ruler over large parts of southern Italia, he has been giving in to his madness more and more.

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Viceroy Imnachar, a Frankish adventurer who conquered the Kingdom of the Burgundians on behalf of the Emperor.
 
So, I bit the bullet and installed Steam to day to download CK2. I played for about 2 hours as Bolesław the Bold starting in 1066 and I have to say that despite it being vanilla I enjoyed it quite a bit (in spite of being pushed around by the Holy Roman Emperor).
 
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What do you guys recon are the most interesting starts for this mod? (That you can play without any DLC).
I heard that Americanists and Cetics have a lot of content.

I also played GoT mod yesterday as good ol' Roose Bolton (Robert's Rebellion start date) and it was a lot of fun.
 
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