The Extra Girl: For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Dr. Waterhouse, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Thanks! This is all basically right--you have a multi-polar space race. Some of that is national space programs. Some of that is small nations banded together to act on scale. Some of that is trans-national non-profit. Some of that is trans-national for-profit. And as time goes on, there are also hybrid efforts. Sovereign wealth funds, private companies running concessions from the state, all that sort of thing. But what's determining the various degrees of success of each effort is a variety of factors, including the cost of technology of getting into orbit, including the health and ecological consequences of the modes of propulsion used. This is also referred to at the start of the "podcast" update.
  2. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    I'll own it, I think Sofie was one place I got too fanciful in the old timeline. To some extent the comparisons with MT are going to be inevitable, because we are talking about eighteenth century female princes bucking a millenium of male succession. But I'm going to think of ways to make her more distinctive from MT, and at the same time a bit more realistic. On balance I was actually more happy with how my alt-Elizabeth II turned out.
  3. Threadmarks: The Life of Elector Friedrich IV, Holy Roman Empire, 1547-8

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Moritz and Agnes.jpg

    Moritz und Agnes von Sachsen, by Lucas Cranach the Elder

    from The Heresiarchs, by Sigismunda Killinger & Lise Freitag (1987)

    The defeat at Plauen left Charles V in a dilemma: prudence demanded he retreat for the remainder of the campaign season, to take advantage of his superior resources and return with fresh forces the next year, but he had promised Moritz Duke of Saxony the recovery of his lands before the end of this year. Retreating empty-handed seemed bound to make the emperor’s political situation with the German princes still worse.

    So, Charles pivoted from Plauen and launched a strike north against the town of Neustadt, a stronghold of the Ernestines that seemed less likely to be strongly fortified and which offered excellent opportunities against either Weimar in the west or Altenburg in the east. For once, the Imperial Army had the initiative and arrived at the gates of Neustadt before Philip of Hesse and Johann of Saxony. Worse yet for the Ernestines, Neustadt was mostly unprepared for a long siege.

    By the time Philip and Johann had reorganized their armies and marched north, the Imperials were in possession of the town. At this point, it was the League that faced the dilemma: Johann wanted to withdraw to a secure position east of the White Elster River and try to catch the Imperial Army as it forded, essentially repeating the Kreuzberg campaign. Philip was impatient with this idea, not least because it would expose not just Thuringia to the Imperial Army, but his own lands, while the bulk of Saxony remained protected by their armies.

    It was at this point that the mercenaries procured with the help of the English court in the Swiss Cantons began their campaign. Schaertlin led an army of 13,000 into Sundgau and Franche-Comte before descending the Moselle into Luxembourg. This time, the objective was squarely Charles’s own territories in the west. It was a transparent attempt to draw him away from his primary objectives. At first, Charles was reluctant to oblige. Then on August 8, the Swiss managed to defeat a force fielded by the duke of Lorraine and some of the loyal ecclesiastical princes, opening the possibility they would menace Charles’ home territories in the Netherlands.

    Gradually the possibility dawned on Charles this might be, or might ripen into, an effort to free the Elector Friedrich of Saxony from the Netherlands before he could be taken to Spain. Leaving a garrison in Neustadt, Charles began a frantic march west in the hopes of reaching Aachen. To be safe, he sent word ahead of him that Friedrich was to be removed from the Empire immediately, and that in the event of an actual rescue attempt he was to be executed.

    On September 16 Friedrich was placed on a ship for Spain, where he arrived on October 1. By October 14 he was in Toledo, deep within Castille, with the only threats to his captivity coming from ongoing efforts to kill him as punishment for his persistence in his heresy.

    The day after the Saxon elector was loaded onto the ship in the harbor at Antwerp, a force organized by Governor-General Mary of Hungary and the Burgundian estates engaged the Swiss at Remich. This again resulted in a Habsburg defeat. The Swiss then laid siege to Luxembourg. Charles arrived at the end of September. His presence resulted in the siege being lifted almost immediately. The Swiss dispersed before his arrival, their raiding of the west having earned them far in excess of their original pay.

    For Charles this was not the worst result: the damage to his dominions, apart from Franche-Comte, had been slight, and the elector was still his prisoner. However, the garrison left behind at Neustadt in Thuringia had been easily overthrown by Johann the Younger. Once again, the campaign season was drawing to a close without the Ernestines and their allies having been made to disgorge their conquests.

    It was now, with military operations winding down for the year, that diplomacy and intrigue began to take over, once again. A diet had been called for the following spring, also at Augsburg. The Elector Palatine was circulating a proposal by which the Elector of Saxony would be returned to his country and the imperial courts perpetually barred from hearing cases on religious matters, in return for the Ernestines’ and Hessians’ surrender of the conquered territory, and the resumption of the borders situatio ante bellum.

    This notion satisfied neither party, with an aggravated Charles refusing to concede the existence of a permanent split in Christian belief, not to mention to countenance the resumption of rule by the prince he regarded as a rebel and brigand. For their part, the Saxons were just happy his intransigence would permit them to keep their acquisitions in ducal Saxony, Magdeburg and elsewhere, so the duke regent passed on the proposals without comment.

    That is not to say the League was not diplomatically active. Philip was father-in-law to Moritz of Saxony, by his eldest daughter Agnes. Those bonds had been terribly strained by the two years of war, but there still existed a relationship of wary respect between the two men. But now their relationship proved stronger than what that existed between Moritz and the Emperor Charles: at length Moritz had come to realize that Charles was merely using him to wage war on his own religion, and that even if Charles had intended to make good on his promises, their fulfillment was becoming less and less likely.

    Two years before, Moritz had been a young and popular ruler of prosperous territories, an advocate of the new religion known for founding new schools in the shells of the old monastic institutions. Now he was an itinerant soldier dependent on his imperial employer, hated in his own lands as a betrayer of his faith and a pawn of a foreign tyrant. He knew that in supporting Charles he had made a dire mistake. Now, somehow, he felt he must try to reverse it.

    So, making use of Agnes and her ladies as intermediaries, Moritz proposed to defect. He would reject the legitimacy of Charles and embrace the Schmalkaldic League in return for the guarantee of his old lands. The Ernestines in this scheme would still keep Magdeburg, the former lands of the duchy of Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel, and other territories they had seized. Moreover, Moritz would bring Albrecht-Alcibiades, still in possession of his margraviate of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, with him. This would carve away the last of Charles’s active support among the German Protestant princes, the likes of Brandenburg and Cleves having been happy to parrot his pronouncements but extremely hesitant tp provide anything like material support for Charles’s objectives.

    Philip, for his part, was wildly enthusiastic over the idea, thinking it would both reconcile his family and most likely give the war a prompt end. He forwarded the letter to the court of Duke Johann, then at Wartburg, and from there it was forwarded through the English ambassador directly to the Emperor Charles V. Already frustrated by the stalemate, and by what he thought to be his poor treatment by the German princes, Charles took the information of Moritz’s treason badly. Summoned to appear before the emperor and explain themselves, Moritz and Albrecht Alcibiades instead fled with their soldiers into Albrecht’s margraviate of Brandenburg-Kulmbach.

    However, the maneuver by whoever it was in the Ernestine Wettin court who forwarded the correspondence to Charles created a crisis on their own side as serious as the one on the emperor’s: the place of the Ernestines’ ambitions toward the Albertine lands in their war aims was now impossible to deny. Without doubt, they understood the religious cause as subsidiary to the territorial one, or at least that was how it looked to Philip of Hesse. And just as Charles could not wage war against the Schmalkaldic League without the presence in his retinue of a prominent Lutheran prince to give his cause legitimacy, Saxony could not wage war against the emperor without the close cooperation of Hesse.

    Philip, who had always maintained closer relations with the emperor than the Ernestine Saxons, now wrote to him warmly endorsing the Elector Palatinate’s proposal of a peace on terms situatio ante bellum, and advocated for the release of the Elector Friedrich. He believed, more and more, that Johann was interested in converting his regency into a permanent usurpation against his elder brother and young nephew, and he hinted to the Emperor that such a release might work in his favor, as Ernestine Saxony might become so embroiled in a contest between the two it would cease to be in a position to defend its conquests.

    However, Charles was not so easily taken by this argument. His response to Philip on the issue of liberating Friedrich was nothing short of condescending. But Philip and the Emperor nonetheless negotiated a truce that would last through the Diet of Augsburg in the coming year and give the parties a chance to reach some form of settlement, given the one issue on which the princes of Germany see,ed to agree on was that continued bloodshed advanced no one’s interests.

    The diplomatic and legal situation, in the broader sense, was by now a parlous mess. Saxony, Hesse, and many of its Schmalkaldic brethren no longer recognized Charles as emperor because he broke the promise in his coronation oath with his use of foreign troops on German soil in controversies against his German subjects. For his part, Charles had placed the Imperial ban on many of these same princes, essentially voiding their role in the government of the Empire. And even if they were forthcoming, no one believed safe conducts for the princes of the Schmalkaldic League would be respected in the heat of the present moment. At the same time, princely rulers of such lands as the Duchy of Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel, the Archbishopric of Magdeburg, and the Bishopric of Fulda, that had been gobbled up inside the new frontiers of Saxony and Hesse were carrying on as if they still ran the territories that now existed only as names.

    So the princes actually running much of the empire could not attend, many of the princes who would attend ran nothing at all any more, and no formula existed diplomatically whereby the states most in need of direct contact could talk to each other. Even inside Saxony, fractures were emerging following what many at court saw as the dishonorable treatment of a loyal ally, Philip of Hesse.

    Only one man possessed the intimate familiarity with all the principles, their characters, and the quarrels between them, the discretion to not engage in idle gameplay or self-interest, and most importantly the trust of all parties. Moreover, his unique position would enable him to avoid the otherwise unavoidable questions of recognition and etiquette. Thus to him was turned over vital matters pertaining to the survival of the Saxon state and the future of the reformed religion. And so, Lucas Cranach the Elder left for Augsburg, supposedly to seek work at the Diet in these lean war years by painting the great and good.
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  4. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008

    So, I think I got a significant detail wrong, requiring me to go back and change several of the entries in the Spanish War. What I am thinking I am going to do is this: if a previously posted update receives a significant revision or addition (I mean, apart from my usual spelling, grammar and style edits, or getting the French succession law wrong like a fricking newbie) I will post a note to that effect, and then the changed or added text will be in italics, so people will know what's different or new. If anyone knows of a better way to handle this, let me know.
  5. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Post #78, which picks up immediately after Kreuzberg, and ends with Friedrich being deposited into the care of Charles V, has been amended to reflect that in fact the Bohemians did not stay out of the war in 1546. They did invade, resulting in the Battle of Adorf and the Battle of the Snows. It is worth checking out.
    Sam R. likes this.
  6. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Posts #84 (minor detail) and #93 (why Bohemia did not participate in the 1547 campaign) have been amended. For the record, the changed details in #93 are actually cognate with OTL, in case that seems too enthusiastic. I had to work not to plagiarize my actual source.
  7. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Waiting for more...
  8. Threadmarks: The Life of Elector Friedrich IV, Holy Roman Empire, 1548

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008

    Mary of Hungary, Governor of the Netherlands, receiving Emperor Charles V at the Castle of Binche.

    from The Heresiarchs, by Sigismunda Killinger & Lise Freitag (1987)

    Lucas Cranach the Elder's first week in Augsburg, well in advance of most of the princes who would be assembling there, was spent polling the participants and their advisors their views of the present conflict. His reports were relayed to the Duke Johann and key members of his court at Coburg, where they were protected not just by the walls of the Coburg Veste but a formidable army and, needless to be said, the whole Saxon corps of longbowmen.

    Cranach even received the courtesy of an audience with the emperor, conducted on the most pleasant terms. Charles inquired after the well-being of Cranach's benefactors, particularly the Electress Elizabeth, whom he regarded as a paragon of piety and tragic dignity. Cranach answered, with his characteristic charm but with the appropriate discretion. Gradually, the questions became more substantial, and Cranach began relaying to Charles the positions of the duke regent on the various questions facing the empire. The audience ended without Charles expressing a direct opinion.

    A few days later Cranach was visited by Charles' court painter, Tiziano Vecelli. Expecting gossip and a conversation about craft, Cranach received an oral peace offer from the emperor himself. Since the Albertine Saxons had proved themselves only marginally more trustworthy than the Ernestines, Charles would not begrudge the Ernestine Saxons his validation of their repudiation of the 1485 Partition of Leipzig. They could have the lands of Saxony united under their rule. Moreover, while Charles still had no intention of allowing Friedrich anywhere near the borders of the Holy Roman Empire, he would not require the surrender of his heir into Spanish hands. Instead, Alexander would succeed and govern under the regency of his uncle or whomever was chosen by the Saxon estates until his majority. In return, Saxony would cede Magdeburg, the Braunschweig lands seized from Charles's ally, and all their conquests outside Albertine Saxony. And they would have their freedom of worship, but only until such time as a General Council of the Church meeting at Trent decided the doctrinal disagreements within Christianity.

    In short, the great number of people who believed Saxony's policies under the Duke Regent was more about its aggrandizement than any matter of faith plainly included Charles V. In fact, the Emperor was now counting on it.

    Dutifully, Cranach passed the proposal on. But in his account to the duke he made clear that to his eye the emperor seemed exhausted and unwell. Imperial elections might be not that far off, and if so the Ernestine Wettins would not want to be denied their role on account of any imperial ban.

    Thus as Cranach relayed the proposal word spread through the delegates at Augsburg that the empire might be close to peace. The mood at Augsburg was almost festive. But the response that came from Duke Johann was of such a character and tone that Cranach feigned illness rather than deliver it in person and so offend the emperor. Essentially, Johann's answer to Charles was that Albertine Saxony was not his to give, nor Magdeburg or Braunschweig his to take away. Moreover, Johann now took a position on the question of a council more radical than any Saxon ruler had before, that he would not subordinate his faith to the judgment of the theologians of a fallen church. The final barb had been his use of the terminology of the Anti-Christ to describe the pope, which Friedrich had always been as careful to avoid in his diplomacy as he had been glad of in his propaganda.

    Thus ended the first effort at a peace for the empire. Johann's fresh indignities having restored his resolve, Charles proceeded to try to force his agenda through the diet. His Protestant allies had convinced Charles that the procedural imperfections of his bans against Friedrich and Johann of Saxony, Philip of Hesse, and others weakened his legal position, and that the first order of business was to re-issue them with the approval of the full diet, as required. This Charles did, but he quickly found himself blocked by the majority. He had in fact been checkmated, having admitted the legal insufficiency of the process against Friedrich in his application to re-issue the ban, and then denied the passage of a valid one. The emperor then found the diet reluctant to vote further funds to his armies, even when nominally for the purpose of waging war against the Turk, they having heard that argument before, and trusting it less now.

    What followed made the debacle of the Augsburg Diet complete. Charles presumed to legislate a set of common practices which would be required of all Christian churches in the empire. Charles had consulted such Protestant theologians as Agricola in these efforts. Philip Melanchthon had been invited to participate, but had been barred from doing so by Duke Johann. The result was a decree from Charles V proclaiming that all Christian churches in the empire recognize and administer the Seven Sacraments, accept the doctrine of justification by Grace, and obey the authority of the pope and his bishops. In return, clerical marriage would be permissible in some churches, the cult of the saints would be reformed, and limits would be placed on episcopal authority. These decrees had been intended as a compromise that would unite the Holy Roman Empire, offer a way back to the church for moderate Protestants, and isolate the intransigent and violent. Instead, it was roundly rejected even by the three ecclesiastical electors (the estates of the Archbishopric of Cologne had restored the traditional faith there in 1547) as a corruption of doctrine, and not accepted by any of the evangelical princes.

    Announced on May 16, it became imperial law six weeks later, but was disregarded everywhere outside those lands held by the Habsburgs themselves. Though Charles had tried to build by diplomacy and consent what he could not by force, he had failed abjectly, and the emperor's authority in Germany was now at low its ebb.
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  9. Threadmarks: Map, Electoral Saxony, 1548

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Saxony 1548(a).png SAxony 1548(b).png

    ****************SAXONY 1548************************
  10. Threadmarks: The Life of Elector Friedrich IV, Holy Roman Empire, 1548

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008

    Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, the Third Duke of Alba, called the Iron Duke, by Antonis Mor

    Before we begin I would once again like to take a moment to talk to you about our upcoming Resignations Privatcast tour, in which we will be visiting the places so pivotal to the events of our story. Our itinerary of course includes glorious national capitals, glittering cultural centers, and metropolises famous for their night life. And in the case of Wittenberg, two out of three of these ain’t bad.

    Which is not to insult the virtues of Wittenberg, which sports the biggest Lutheran seminary in the world, serves as the beating heart of global insurance markets, and is headquarters to a nimble and honest, if somewhat bloated, national bureaucracy. It’s just, that, well, Wittenberg sports the biggest Lutheran seminary in the world, serves as the beating heart of global insurance markets, and is headquarters to a nimble and honest, if somewhat bloated, national bureaucracy. Do you get what I’m saying here?

    So while Wittenberg has palaces, museums and churches without end, not to mention parks like the kaiseringarten so large that urban legend has it Russian soldiers from the last General War are still hiding out in there somewhere behind the duck ponds, and no end to the upscale shopping possibilities, it is also a place where a wild night out means herbal tea with accountants.

    For sin, you have Hamburg. For potables, you have Munich. But Wittenberg has history, which is what we’ll be going there for, anyway.

    So with that out of the way, let’s get back to our story. This…is Resignations, our continuing privatcast look at all the great quitters of history, and the story of how they all came to make the decision to walk away from it all.

    Of course, there are a great many women in history who, faced with the unfairly restricted role allotted their sex in public affairs, nonetheless acted with resourcefulness, intelligence and indomitable will to shape events to their interest.

    The Electress Dorothea was not one of these women. Of course, her mother-in-law was, and her sisters-in-law both were, though one of them would probably have cause to regret it before all was said and done. But Dorothea? Was not.

    What Dorothea was, as we discovered two episodes ago, was smart enough to know when the boat was going in the wrong direction, and determined enough to not passively accept it, but to create the biggest possible ruckus until things finally started going her way.

    In the summer of 1548 this was precisely the situation she found herself, once again, just not in a literal boat. It was becoming increasingly obvious to Dorothea that her brother-in-law was not only not making any heroic efforts to retrieve the elector her husband, but instead actively steering Saxony away from a peace with the emperor that would return Friedrich, safe and sound, and force Johann to surrender the regency.

    Dorothea feared it was only a matter of time before power solidified around Johann enough that he usurped the electoral dignity permanently, dispossessing her son of his birthright in favor of his own three burly ducal princes. After all, who had the authority to stop him? The imperial courts whose authority Saxony had been giving the finger to for the past three years? The emperor whose power Johann mocked openly?

    What Dorothea also understood about her situation was how weak it was. That prior, ill-considered effort at a flight from the court at which she was nominally the highest-ranking woman had exacted a heavy price on her influence now. Moreover, she was without natural allies strong enough to help: the dowager electress was now, for multiple reasons, in no situation to help anyone, and Friedrich and Johann’s sister Katarina was off Duchess of Suffolk-ing, and engaged at that moment in her own very serious power struggle on Dubious Succession Island.

    So the best Dorothea could do was go to the longtime chancellor and Ernestine Wettin family consigliere, Gregor Brueck. Brueck’s taste for risk had long since been exceeded by both of Johann the Steadfast’s sons, and more and more, he was retiring from public affairs, partly perhaps to create some plausible deniability in the event of a subsequent trial for rebellion before an imperial court. But Brueck knew better than to interpose himself in a family power struggle, so he counseled Dorothea to withdraw from Johann’s court and begin developing her own relationships with members of the Saxon estates, with an eye first to counter any effort he might make against the succession of her son.

    Taking this advice to heart, Dorothea retired to Elizabeth’s former residence of Lochau, which was beginning to acquire the reputation it would continue to have for the next few hundred years as the rural and unaffected scheme hatchery of interfamilial conspiracies among the Ernestine House of Wettin. With her she took her infant daughter, named Elisabeth. Whether the littlest Wettin was named after Dorothea's ferocious mother-in-law, or her own mother Isabella, is a matter of some contention.

    Now, we return to Charles V where we left him, at Augsburg. And while we don’t know for certain that he was in a major sulk after the events of the Imperial Diet, we can forgive him if he was, considering the absolute disappointment of all his efforts, both military and diplomatic, over the past three years.

    Thus frustrated, Charles decided the only thing to do was to return to the battlefield. To that purpose he ignored the fact that the Imperial Diet had just refused him the funds to wage further war, and decided to field the best army he could from his own and his brother’s lands.

    Unfortunately, by now the stress of these long years riding around Germany chasing Lutherans had well and truly gotten to him, and so in his place Charles gave the command to the Duke of Alba, Fernando Alvarez de Toledo. This was most decidedly not an unproblematic move, politically, the whole of the Ernestine Wettin case against him being that he was not a German Holy Roman Emperor enforcing native laws, but a King of Spain imposing foreign rule. But Charles was now faced with a very limited menu of choices, especially since he was fresh out of friendly German princes willing to take up arms for him.

    By early July, Charles had managed to assemble an army of 26,000 out of his own lands, to which Bavaria and the ecclesiastical princes added some 5,000 more. It was a force both larger and more potent than the Lutherans had thought possible for him after the two previous years. Moreover, Johann had wrongly calculated Charles to be a spent force, and was significantly underprepared to face this threat. Worse still, there had been little contact between the chief allies of the Schmalkaldic League since the embarrassing disclosure of Moritz’s correspondence, and there were now real questions as to how solid the relationship between Saxony and Hesse still was.

    At this point, Charles was approached on another front. His sister, Mary of Hungary had always been more sympathetic to the plight of the German Lutherans than Charles, and was literally as sympathetic as one could be, and still be a member of the House of Habsburg in good standing. Moreover, she had conducted significant personal dealings with the Elector Friedrich, not just in the humiliating marriage negotiations of 1534, but in the time he had been captive in the Netherlands. Her suggestion now was to begin negotiations with the Wettin in the hand, rather than the Wettin in the bush.

    In short, her idea was to use Friedrich to get a favorable settlement. If Friedrich stayed obstinate, keep him where he was. No one in Electoral Saxony was in contact with him so for all and intents and purposes if the gambit failed, then it did not happen. But if he cracked, or was willing to make concessions of the kind his younger brother would not, he could be brought back and restored to power. That way, the Habsburgs could get the peace they wanted, or force their enemies into a figuratively, and maybe literally, fratricidal war.

    That said, Charles dispatched to Spain a revised version of his earlier peace proposal Johann had treated so shabbily. Keep the Albertine lands, give up the ecclesiastical lands and all the territory taken from the other Habsburg allies, accept the Augsburg Interim, the judgment of the Council of Trent after it, and of course, return home to your castles, your family, and your intact electorate. These were of course quite liberal terms for a man who had been kept in “honorable confinement” among jailers who thought him a heretic devil for almost two years, and Charles thought seriously anyone would be a fool to respond to them in any way but “Please” and “Thank you.”

    Unfortunately, as the ship was bearing Charles’s terms to Spain, the Holy Roman Emperor was once again cruelly inconvenienced. For, quite against expectations, the Duke of Alba had absolutely murdered the Saxon army.

    The Duke of Alba had begun his campaign by advancing, as the Habsburg armies had some times before, into southern Thuringia. This time the objective had been the town of Rodach. Saxon and Imperial armies had met nearby, at Straufhain, on July 18.

    This time, there were no obvious fixed positions behind which the Saxons could place their longbowmen to just fire volley upon volley into the human meat of massed Imperials. There were no rivers at which to catch the larger Imperial Army as it crossed. There was no seasonal factor limiting the mobility of the Imperial cavalry or pikes. And, perhaps most notably, there was no Hessian army under Philip coming to haul Saxon asses from out the fire. Instead, it was just those 30,000 Imperial infantry, organized into tercios, against half as many Saxons.

    Johann evaded capture and fled behind the walls of Altenburg, but that was the best that could be said for the Saxon situation. Because the casualties at Straufhain had been truly overwhelming: of those 16,000 soldiers, fully 10,000 lay dead on the field afterward. The Saxons no longer had the ability to field an effective army against the Imperials, and it was only mid-July. Alba may not have had the mobile artillery to reduce the cities of all the territories the Wettins held, but he could burn and terrorize the countryside from one end to the other, and he could reach much of it before the harvest was in. For two years, Saxony had waged war more or less as an adventure, fighting on and frequently winning others’ territory in a largely cost-free exercise. Now it would face the nightmare of despoliation by a foreign army, followed by famine.

    But perhaps even that was not the worst of it. The Wettins’ beloved longbowmen had finally been caught and enveloped at Straufhain by the Spanish cavalry. Their numbers had already been whittled down heretofore by the progress of the war. But at the start of the day at Straufhain there had been almost 300, and at the end, only 16.

    And it needs to be said, these were not easily replaced. One does not just find lying about an adult man with a frame big enough to hold, and arms strong enough to pull, and skill enough to aim and fire, a longbow. The corps Saxony had been employing throughout this war it had been building literally since the surviving guards of the Princess Elizabeth’s progress reached Wittenberg in 1509. Even if they wanted to, it would take the Saxons more than a few decades to replenish their corps of longbowmen into any kind of true military significance.

    Next on Resignations Privatcast: The return of well, not the king, but surely someone not lacking a certain royal self-regard.
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  11. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Man, that last update was alternatively funny and serious, though I wouldn't mind the lack of a nightlife in Wittenberg (I bet they're classical music lovers TTL), since I'm not a nightlife fan.

    Good update, BTW, and waiting to see what comes next; love all the twists and turns in the TL...
    Dr. Waterhouse likes this.
  12. Threadmarks: Supplemental on Royal Life, Russia, Contemporary

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Congratulations on the royal wedding!


    We here at Enthusiast: A Magazine of Royal History would be badly remiss if we did not take note of the royal history taking place even as we write. Thus we would like to extend our warmest wishes to Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Irina Petrovna and her new husband, English actor Eddie Truro. Irina is the third daughter of you-know-who and his second wife, formerly a Maryland attorney. Eddie first gained notoriety in his role as the young Henry VIII in the imagebox program Charles Brandon.

    The wedding, to be solemnified in the Grand Church of the Winter Palace, is to be limited to the bride and groom's families and 900 other invited guests. Dress for Russian gentlemen is to be full regimental, for Russian women to be full court dress, for foreigners to be formal with full awards, and for state bureaucrats as stipulated in Peter the Great's Great Table of Ranks.

    It is believed the marriage will be a further step in the process of modernizing the monarchy for the 21st century.

    Once again, congratulations, Irina and Eddie!

    (Note: original photo taken by one Mark Jones and used under a creative commons license. Photo author is some dude from a parallel world and has no part in any present mischief.)
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  13. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Like what you did there, @Dr. Waterhouse; the world-building here makes this an excellent TL, and a likely Turtledove nominee (if not a winner) in next year's awards...
  14. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    My one regret is I couldn't use that really great equestrian photo of Irina in the Preobrazhensky Regiment uniform. Oh well :)
  15. Threadmarks: The Life of Elector Friedrich IV, Holy Roman Empire, 1548-9

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008

    Allegory of the Reign of Charles V: From left to right, Suleiman the Magnificent, Pope Clement VII, King Francois I of France, Duke Wilhelm of Cleves, Duke (formerly Elector) Johann Friedrich of Saxony, Landgrave Philip of Hesse.

    from Elizabeth of England, Mother of Two Dynasties (1912) by George Jane

    So as the Iron Duke lay waste to the land of Saxony, Dorothea's little court at Lochau, which first was ignored by the great of the country, began receiving steadily more visitors. Whether magnates of the countryside whose houses had been burned, or merchants of the towns who had seen their trade dry up, the complaint common to them all was the recklessness of the duke regent. To her guests Dorothea answered plainly that she knew little of military matters, but that all she wanted in the world was to see her husband returned and safe, and her son secure in the rights which he was presently being robbed of. And that, she added, she was sure know one knew better the matters her guests complained of, than her dear lord, and that no one would act more quickly to secure the benefit of peace.

    It was the sort of performance that sincerity could offer, which guile lacked. In no time at all she began to take on a fresh role as a kind of mother of the country. This accusation, from his well-defended castle of Schloss Hartenfels at Torgau, Johann answered forcefully that he had not done the first thing to prejudice the rights of his nephew, that the whole object of all his acts as regent had been the defense of every inch of that nephew's patrimony, even at great cost and inconvenience to himself, and that if Dorothea of Denmark or any other person could name in one particular any action he had taken to the contrary, he would be glad to quit the regency in her favor.

    Of course that he had far greater concerns at large than Dorothea went without saying. On October 10 an army of the Saxon peasant levy, half-trained farmers mustered into service by common rage at the abuses of the Duke of Alba, were slaughtered at Grimma. Then on All Saints Day, November 1, Weimar fell to Alba, becoming the first town with an electoral residence to be so overcome. It was spared the worst excesses expected of Alba or the Imperial army. This despite the fact that its defenders had made him penetrate its wall. However on November 20 Gotha offered no such resistance, its gates were opened in exchange for the guarantee of the lives of its citizens. Nonetheless, in both towns a great show was made of burning all the German bibles, Lutheran hymnals, and works otherwise heretical to Spanish eyes that could be found.

    Now this violated the spirit of Emperor Charles's Augsburg Interim if not its letter, but of this conflict the celebrated Spanish general was clear, that given the choice of satisfying his emperor or his God he knew his true duty. It was following this same notion that the Army of the Duke of Alba chastised most harshly all Lutheran ministers they found who had married, and present polite discourse, not to mention the discretion we allot the eyes of the fairer sex, prohibits us from describing the treatment given their wives. Of some of the more ghastly tales repeated about the Duke of Alba's army we may have some doubt, the motives for exaggeration being only too plain. But we feel confident the house of at least one Saxon family was spared on account of some member or other producing a rosary, or of its older members demonstrating for the Spaniards they could still say an ave maria.

    Faced with such enormities the formerly ingenious Johann found himself without recourse, and devoid of ideas as to counterattack. Hesse and his other former allies, suspicious now of Saxony's policy, seemed too content to watch the columns of smoke rise over Thuringia from inside their own borders. The state was paralyzed, until at length not a few members of the Saxon estates offered that if such as this performance was all the duke offered, Dorothea of Denmark may not be half bad, at that.

    Thus when on December 12 the heralds arrived at Torgau, it was like the prayers of the whole Saxon nation had been answered. An honorable peace had been reached between emperor and elector, secured by immediate truce. The elector was being returned, presently, and would enjoy in full his rights and dignities over both Ernestine and Albertine Saxony. Alba would be forced to withdraw his army, which even then was close to reducing additional walled cities, and which given another year might have overmastered the whole Electorate from Magdeburg to Dresden, and the cities he had already taken, he would be made to give back.

    However, it was to much consternation that the full terms of the treaty were not made known. Would Saxony's Lutheranism be preserved? Would it be contingent upon the results of a council of the whole church, a national council, or eliminated outright? Had the offenses of Alba the autumn before been just a preface? For a moment Johann's most unreserved defenders made a show in the estates of requiring the full text to be made known, and their consultation properly given, before any term of the treaty was enacted.

    The answer of the Lochau Party to this was outrage, as pure and unrestrained as the joy when Dorothea heard of Friedrich's imminent return. Moreover, not a few of the sager heads in the estates and consistory were heard to ask, what were the alternatives to even a poor treaty at this point, but further abuses by Alba? How long before, inevitably, Saxony would break under the violence of him and his successors? What were, in fact, the limits of one small country of Germany before the ruler of half the Earth?

    Finally, at length, Friedrich returned. Met at Wartburg on February 9, he rode a common donkey, and wore the clothes of a common soldier, borrowed from a man of similar size in Charles's army. Gone almost exactly two years, he returned thinner and much aged. Most of the terms of the treaty were far from unsatisfactory: as previously disclosed, the Ernestines would keep their cousins' lands of ducal Saxony; though they were committed to observance in accordance to however the Council of Trent decided, orthodoxy would be not enforced by the pikes and guns of foreign armies; all licenses previously given by Friedrich to Saxons still loyal to Rome would be restored, and Johann's policy of conversion or expulsion ended. Friedrich had once and for all accepted Charles as emperor and his liege-lord, and dropped any protests about Ferdinand as King of the Romans. Magdeburg and all other lands seized by Saxony would be returned outright, with an extraordinary ransom in addition to that.

    Friedrich had negotiated though that the territorial and monetary terms of the treaty could not be acted upon immediately, because of the necessity that he first recover the reins of the Saxon state. So, of all the terms that he had to relate, the most bitter certainly was that he had to surrender, immediately, Duke Alexander to the care of the Emperor, as a pledge in advance of his compliance to all these promises. Hearing this, Dorothea's joy turned to rage. At this moment, it was actually, to the surprise of all, Johann who broached the possibility of simply taking Friedrich, keeping Alexander, and daring the Duke of Alba or whomever else was sent against them to do their worst.

    But Friedrich, apprised now of the condition of the country, knew this was no option at all. Alexander, with no notice, nor even time to gather his toys, was surrendered, and rode back with the very Spanish soldiers who had accompanied Friedrich. Many things would change from that day, it would by no means represent the last turn of the wheel of fortune for either Friedrich or for Saxony. But one thing would remain constant from then on: Friedrich's marriage to Dorothea had ended. No longer could she be suffered to speak to him, or to remain in his presence longer than required. All her hopes of his return he had betrayed, and her heart no longer knew him as a husband or a father to their son at all.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  16. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Oh, I wonder what's going to happen next; methinks there are some surprises and twists ahead...
  17. Threadmarks: The Life of Elector Friedrich IV, Holy Roman Empire, 1548-9

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Portrait of young nobleman.jpg

    Portrait of a Young Nobleman by Lucas Cranach the Elder, as The Elector Alexander

    So, if you're like me, you enjoy a good night's sleep. After all, who needs to lay awake all night tossing and turning, worrying over whether Philips' Folly about Origin Point might actually be true, or what we'll do with our lives if our Privatcast sponsors abandon us, and we have to go out and find real jobs! That's why Mrs. Resignations and myself only sleep on LuriComfort Mattresses. Fresh from the mattress factory in Morocco--and Morocco is famous for its mattress factories!--LuriComfort offers supreme rest at affordable prices. And best of all, with the easy return policy all you have to do if you are not satisfied is physically haul your LuriComfort Mattress to the nearest convenient collection depot--and there are three in North America alone!--surrender it, fill out a short series of forms, provide a few valid forms of identification, demonstrate you are acting of your own volition, convince the clerk you are not a robot, and you will get your money back, minus certain offsetting service fees.

    LuriComfort--you won't regret it.

    And now, where were we? Oh yes, someone had just realized they had made a terrible mistake and that it was too late to do anything about it now. Because, this…is Resignations, our continuing privatcast look at all the great quitters of history, and the story of how they all came to make the decision to walk away from it all.

    Almost as soon as Charles V had dispatched his generous peace proposal to Friedrich, imprisoned in Toledo, on the assumption that the war in Saxony would be a never-ending, resource-draining quagmire, the Duke of Alba proved to his satisfaction none of this was necessarily the case. So, what to do?

    Charles knew by now what he was getting in the duke of Alba's reports just might be wishful thinking. Whatever might be said about herding cats, it is nothing against herding Lutheran princes of the sixteenth century. So he didn't want to make it that much more difficult for Friedrich to come around. What he really wanted to do was jack up the price for Friedrich doing the precise same thing he had already done several times before, and reneging at the first opportunity.

    And so he hit on the idea of once again requiring the young Duke Alexander be surrendered as a hostage for his father's good behavior, in a matter much similar to that of the French princes when Charles had previously released Francis I. Thus, if Friedrich proved recalcitrant on the matter of disgorging the territories apart from the Albertine lands that Saxony had absorbed, or worse still, not accepting the Augsburg Interim that Charles was still trying to impose as a religious settlement on the German nation, he would have recourse.

    Charles knew from experience there was only so far he could go with this--no one would be hurt worse than he would be if he got the reputation of a child-killer. But holding the Duke Alexander would still mean leverage, and leverage was what Charles badly needed. So he sent word of this amendment to his proposal. It might complicate matters, but no way was he going to release Friedrich without the countervailing receipt of Friedrich's heir.

    While Charles was waiting to hear back from Toledo, he was well-pleased to hear of the progress the Duke of Alba was making turning scenic Thuringia into charcoal. With Duke Johann not venturing out of Torgau to meet Alba face-to-face, the peasants of Saxony took matters into their own hands and, certain that God was on their side, ventured to fight the now mostly-Spanish, with a dash-of-Italian, Imperial Army at Grimma, with a somewhat obvious, and unpretty, result.

    At this point the prosperous and usually well-fed cities of Saxony started to fold. Weimar made a brave face of it, and forced the Duke of Alba to actually pierce its walls before a surrender was negotiated November 1. Gotha followed not long after, and without as much resistance, and around now the duke regent's war council started to get panicky that all the towns of Saxony were going to cut deals to spare themselves, until eventually the war was lost.

    Now, the story usually runs that this is the high water mark of Charles's fortunes. But in truth the matter is a bit more complicated. Charles, during the period of his personal management of the army in the (for him) nightmare days of 1546 and 1547, had been careful to keep track of both the military and the political dimensions of the conflict. Beating down one Lutheran prince is easy, if you're not too concerned about motivating all the rest to go at you to the very death. And so Charles had been careful to keep a figleaf over his religious motives, ally with Germans generally and Protestant Germans specifically however much possible, reward those allies lavishly even when their help was meager, and most importantly, offer as few possible of the sort of provocations that would push those allies away.

    And no doubt, when Charles had charged the Duke of Alba with bringing Saxony to heel, he had explained all this in great detail. But plainly, as reports--many exaggerated for obvious purposes--began to leak out of Imperial atrocities against the villages of Saxony, Charles's reputation with the Lutheran princes outside Saxony caught cold. Everyone else--Catholic, Lutheran, Sacramentalist--in the summer of 1548 had wanted to see the obnoxious Saxons, swollen on their gains against their Albertine cousins, Braunschweig and Magdeburg, taken down a peg. But what few wanted was the nasty spectacle of the sort of exemplary justice the Imperial Army was meting out to the wives of Lutheran priests, and to those rural families in places like the Pleissnerland and the Osterland who couldn't recite enough Latin to satisfy the whims of the occupying power.

    For what no one was paying enough attention to in the late autumn of 1548 was that though Saxony had lost its longbowmen, the Duke of Alba's cavalry had not taken out its printing presses, and between the two the latter was infinitely more powerful. And so the same Protestant princes who at first after Augsburg had been glad to sit back and watch Saxony's comeuppance now faced tough questions from their own people--like, if you let Saxony fall now, who are you going to get to help you when the Duke of Alba comes for us?

    These were the preoccupations of the German courts when the answer to Charles from Friedrich arrived in early November. Charles had asked for, and expected, a simple yes or no. He received detailed notes on various points of agreement, reservations where the terms were insufficient or too vague, and some counteroffers. But the overriding thrust of the letter Friedrich had written him was that he must have unrestricted access to outside information, including ambassadors resident in Toledo, including representatives of his family and the Saxon estates, and including theologians and religious leaders of the reformed movement in Germany.

    Frustrated beyond belief--it's impossible to imagine him not thinking "Who does this guy think he is?" and "It would have been so easy just to kill him and be done with it"--Charles decided to ignore Friedrich's actual response and treat it as a yes to the offer as it had originally been made. So he wrote a letter to Friedrich, reiterating--just so the point was not lost--the terms upon which the Elector would be released. Implicit in the letter?: "Oh, you thought this was negotiation? How silly of you." Included were instructions to Friedrich's gaolers to convey him back to the Netherlands, where the necessary deals would be concluded in person.

    Now, it is useful to comment briefly on just what Friedrich had been doing with his time in Toledo. Apparently he had been free to read as much Thomas Aquinas as he wanted, to take his exercise walking in circles in a courtyard, and to set his thoughts down on paper so long as he didn't try to communicate with anyone on the outside.

    Towards that purpose he had started a grandiloquent work--the Instruction, or Unterweisung--for his son. It was an apologetic work that purported to explain to the young Alexander why his father was willing to go to his own death rather than submit his son to the control of a tyrant who would destroy his immortal spirit. For obvious reasons, the work was abandoned before it was finished, and does not survive.

    It was midwinter before a hastily fetched Friedrich was standing before Charles and Mary at Binche. He did actually win some qualifications. Charles had to promise he would never again use non-German armies to secure the obedience of the German princes on religious matters. In truth, virtually every prince of the empire was now impressing upon Charles the necessity of the same promise, and so this seemed a good way to make a concession that would be imminently necessary anyway.

    Also, Friedrich had been pretty lawyerly on the matter of little Alexander's care. He would be held at the court of Mary, not in Spain, and ambassadors from the princes of the empire and those of interested foreign kingdoms--meaning France and England--would have the privilege of communicating with Alexander and ascertaining the suitability of his conditions and education. Charles had rejected a further condition, that a native Saxon servant of the Elector's choice be with Alexander at all times.

    Thus, with all the terms agreed upon, Alba having withdrawn from Saxony for the time being in recognition of the truce, and the duke regent and the electoral court notified of his imminent return though not of its price, Charles and Friedrich started their journey east to Wartburg, where would be made what the Saxons thought would be a one-way drop-off, but which would actually be an exchange.

    Charles had still kept much information about the situation of the war and of everything that had happened in the intervening two years from Friedrich on his travels, up to the very moment they arrived in his lands. So on Friedrich's homecoming, one can imagine he had some difficult questions for Johann--"How's Mutti?"; "Where are my longbowmen?"; and "Why is everything on fire?"

    But these paled in comparison with the difficulty on his side, which involved literally taking his five year old son from out of his mother's hand, and giving him to Spanish soldiers to take away for an unspecified period of time, then and there. Those prior betrayals of Charles exacted a heavy price now, because as there was no trust between them, there was no room for either softening the blow or executing a quick escape.

    We'll not dilate too much on the family drama this provoked. Except to say that however much Dorothea hated Friedrich for this gambit, she was going to hate him more shortly, because Friedrich had no intention of keeping his deal with Charles. Like Francis before him, he meant to abrogate almost everything he had agreed to at the first opportunity.

    He knew Charles would not actually kill Alexander. But what he also knew was the manner in which the French princes had been treated following their father's similar renunciation of the bargain by which he had won his freedom. They had been kept alive, but just. Their treatment had been, to all accounts, atrocious. And Friedrich, as he handed Alexander over, knowing this, and knowing his own intention even then, knew all that was in store for his only son.
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  18. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Oh, this is bad. Charles V died in 1558 IOTL; wonder if he lives longer or shorter ITTL...

    OTOH, this action takes Friedrich over the Moral Event Horizon, methinks (look it up on Breaking the treaty knowing what's in store for his son? He'll be lucky if Dorothea doesn't try to poison him or suffocate him in his sleep...

    Good update, @Dr. Waterhouse...
  19. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    I did look it up! And with it, the possibly also apropos tropes of "Designated Hero" and "Evil Hero." The explanatory diagram is worth reproducing. :)


    But I keep racking my brain for a sixteenth century ruler of consequence who actually lives comfortably above the red line. In particular, I'm now afflicted with a daydream of explaining the Moral Event Horizon to a roly-poly, Brian Blessed-esque Henry VIII: "How curious! Why, explain it to me at length as you accompany me. I am off to collect a new wife, the present one has proved herself...inconvenient. There she is now, no don't speak to her, it only encourages them."
    Torbald likes this.
  20. Threadmarks: The Life of Elector Friedrich IV, Holy Roman Empire, 1549

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Sigismunda Killinger, Lecture Record, October 22, 1998 Charpentier-Synthtranslate Edition.

    Now, questions?

    STUDENT: Dr. Killinger, what I have trouble understanding is how Emperor Charles V didn't know, as many times as the Elector had deceived or betrayed him previously, it would happen again?

    DR. KILLINGER: Well, there is a temptation when we are thinking about the Spanish War to treat Charles V as somewhat naive. In fact, what I would impress upon you, particularly with respect to the release of the Elector Friedrich, is that the Emperor is a sophisticated party. And I use that as a term of art, referring to it in the sense in which the phrase is used in the commercial law.

    It is not so much a matter of how smart a given person is, though I have no doubt the Emperor was a very intelligent man.

    Let's say you are a corporation, say for instance a hospital, or a candy manufacturer. And you need a new building. You contract with a construction firm to build it. Of course you intend for the firm to do as it agreed. But if you are as I said a sophisticated party, you will not simply rely on the construction firm to do as it said it would, and make no plans for what to do if it doesn't. You may insert appropriate penalties into the contracts. You may buy insurance. You may plan potential suits in the appropriate law courts.

    The sophisticated party games out, if you will, how to protect its interests in all conceivable circumstances. And for many sophisticated parties--Krista! Are you watching that pseudobushido trash again on your slate? Shut it right now and take your notes by hand, or else I will fail you. I don't care what people in this story you're descended from, that von in your name does not do the work it used to!--Excuse me

    As I was saying, the sophisticated party to a contract games out the various consequences of a breach. In some cases, a sophisticated party of some virtuosity may create a situation where it can actually profit more by having its rights under the contract violated than if they are fulfilled.

    I would submit to you that is the situation of the Emperor here. He knew the likelihood of the elector Friedrich reneging. And he arranged matters to profit by that likelihood.

    For what does Charles get if Friedrich reneges? Custody of the heir of Saxony until he ceases to renege, and complies. And if Friedrich never complies? Then Charles raises his heir all the way to Alexander's majority.

    So consider it. Friedrich had sunk his life's work into building a nascent Protestant super-state in north-central Germany, dominating the whole Elbe river valley where you once had a profusion of states--Ernestine and Albertine Saxony, Magdeburg, Halberstadt, Erfurt, Merseberg--a fortress, a mighty fortress if you will.

    Krista--don't you roll your eyes at me! It is a perfectly legitimate turn of phrase.

    But, as I was saying, Friedrich's life's work, this bulwark against papist and Habsburg power, could then at the end of Friedrich's life belong to the heir that Friedrich had just deposited with the Emperor, whose spiritual, moral and intellectual education Charles V now controlled.

    Understandably, given the bad blood between Ernestine Wettin and Habsburg by this point, the worries of the Wittenberg court were all about poor little Alexander's survival and good treatment. But these were, however much the spectacle of the isolated little boy might tug at the heartstrings, perhaps not the greatest threat arising from the situation.

    And this is the case, not just because, remember, through the Electress Dorothea little Alexander is the grandson of Charles's sister. In the sixteenth century princes had killed more proximate kin than that all the time. It is because, unlike the example of the French princes that consumed everyone's common imagination at the time, issues of confession were at work.

    So Charles was going to see to it that little Alexander was well cared-for, well-exercised, well-groomed, and most importantly of all given the best Roman Catholic education possible, which is no small feat given the Emperor's unequaled resources. And just as importantly, he was going to make sure the young duke knew he had been removed from out of his home and family, and kept away from them, entirely by his father's choice.

    Whatever Friedrich won by force or guile over the course of his life, Charles now felt he had a way to take back, in a way. So, like they say in those awful movies, who was playing who?--That's it! Krista, out!


    Below, the Dauphin Francis, surrendered by his father Francis I into the care of Charles V, by Corneille de Lyon

    Last edited: May 21, 2018