To be a Fox and a Lion - A Different Nordic Renaissance

Introduction



Introduction



"A prince being thus obliged to know well how to act as a beast must imitate the fox and the lion, for the lion cannot protect himself from snares, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognise snares, and a lion to frighten wolves."

Niccolò Machiavelli, the Prince 1513​

"Luther’s face mirrors his books. His eyes are piercing and almost ominously lustrous, as one often finds it to be the case with people who are driven by a single cause. The king of Denmark has those very same eyes."

Johannes Dantiscus, Prince-Bishop of Warmia, speaking of Christian II​



Christian II of Denmark is one of the most disputed kings in the entire historiography of Scandinavia. His relatively short reign of less than a decade saw the definite dissolution of the Kalmar Union, the dawn of the Reformation and the advent of more than a hundred years of noble domination over the Dano-Norwegian state. He was the last Danish king to be deposed by force and a man despised by his successors in Copenhagen and Stockholm as a bloody-minded tyrant.

Much of the consternation pertaining to his reign can be traced to the king’s copious and ambitious plans to drastically reform Scandinavian society along Netherlandish lines, driven by a desire to strengthen the Crown at the expense of the church and nobility. He flaunted his accession charter[1], appointed burghers to high office and ruthlessly executed those who stood in his way. Thus, in his one-handed governance, he almost exactly mirrored Machiavelli’s ideal renaissance prince.


In this timeline I will explore what could have happened, if Christian II had been exposed to a slightly different set of circumstances in the years immediately before his reign. This should affect how the Reformation, the fate of the Kalmar Union and the establishment of a new mercantile class might play out. The exact point of divergence will be made clear in the following prologue.




[1]The Scandinavian word håndfæstning/håndfestning (fixating the hand) has no definite English translation, I’m using John P. Maarbjerg’s rendering. In effect it was a proto-constitutional document, aimed at limiting the royal power of the executive.
 
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Interesting. I will be following this. If you can revive the walking corpse that is the Kalmar Union since the Engelbrekt rebellion 1434 in a realistic way, I will be very impressed.
 
Prologue: The Chancellor of the Viceroy
Prologue
The Chancellor of the Viceroy
Bergen, Norway
Autumn 1507



Erik Valkendorf thought himself to be a learned man. He had after all studied at the university of Greifswald like a great many other men of substance. Indeed, the current archbishop of Lund, Birger Gunnersen, had attended lectures at the very same pulpit, Erik reflected complacently. Although in no way close to the authority of the second most powerful man in the realm, Erik still considered himself to be important. He was, after all, the chancellor of the royal heir, the prince-elect Christian. He might not be counted amongst the greatest of men in the three kingdoms, but his master was the viceroy of Norway - and he was his right hand man.


At the moment though, he was getting thoroughly soaked by a strong current of rain. It seemed as if it was always raining in Bergen. He raised his hood and stepped out from under the leaky panoply of the stall, where he had listened inattentively to a merchant’s complaints. He had to continue. Gingerly, he crossed the muddy street, his squire, Axel, taking the lead whilst his scribe, Mikkel, fell in behind him. The busy throng parted to let him pass, as the young noble quibbed for them to let the king’s man through. He liked that a lot.


As they made their way past cloth and fur stalls and shops, Erik could hear the various traders peddle their goods. German, Scots and Dutch voices mingled with the vernacular Norwegian of the townspeople. Trade was the lifeblood of Bergen. 30 years ago the city had practically burned to the ground, but commerce had raised it once more from the ashes. Down the road he could vaguely eye the harbour and the Kontor of the Hanseatic merchants. He passed a group of nobles from the hinterland, come to town to trade with the foreigners. They bowed their heads politely at him, water trickling down their drenched beards. He liked that too.


The Hansa, however, he did not particularly like. Complaints had been coming in to the viceregal court at Askershus for years about the bullying behaviour of the German merchants’ league and the harassment petered out by them on competing traders. If commerce was the blood of the city, the Kontor was the giant tick leeching off it. Some even said that the league’s representatives were the real power in Bergen - and with Bergen being the largest and most prosperous city of Norway, the real power in the country as well. That, he knew, his master strongly disliked. It was also the reason Erik had left Oslo and the comforts of his chancery. The prince had swung the rod of chastisement over the backs of the intransigent local nobility and disposed of the traitor Alvsson[1]. In effect, his master’s rule was all but absolute, save for the German ticks prancing about the docks.

Soon, the prince would arrive himself and take charge of the deteriorating situation and Erik had been sent ahead to ascertain how affairs were in the city. Maybe the gibbets outside the city palisades would even have some new occupants when they left.


He stepped in under a canopy protruding from a half-timbered burgher’s house as the skies opened for an even worse downpour. As he shuddered from the rain, Erik noticed the open windows and stands of the house, displaying flemish cloth, copperware and honey. A warm smokey smell of roasted almonds and pastries alleviated his nose from the city’s stench of fish, saltwater, piss and shit.


Suddenly, a portly crone appeared at the window. She had shrewd look, a big nose and a set of cunning blue eyes framed by a linen wimple. Below her many cheeks a silver crucifix dangled. From the back-end of the shop he could hear the faint sound of a girl coughing. “Would the good sir like a pastry?” The old woman enquired in a chopping accent Erik immediately knew to be Dutch. He eyed her over and accepted the warm sweetthing with a curt nod. “If the good sir sees anything he fancies let me know. It’s just me in the shop all day, what with my poor dove having the coughs.” Erik Valkendorf swallowed the pastry in two bites, complimented the woman for her baking and stepped back out into the rain. Axel and Mikkel followed suit. There were ticks to squash and he did not like the look of her.






The Money Changer and His Wife, by Quentin Matsys, 1514


***​


There you have it, the POD. For those who did not notice, what happened was Erik Valkendorf avoided meeting Sigbrit Villoms and her daughter, Dyveke, thus keeping the pair out of Christian II’s life. I thought long and hard about the POD, but saw this as the most minor, yet most likely and most consequential. A lot of the problems and tribulations of Christian’s reign can be traced to his involvement with the Dutch beauty, which led me to the conclusion that her and, especially, her mother’s exclusion would be the most interesting way to divert events from our own time.

Sigbrit herself was one of the most remarkable women of that period of history. A common Dutch tradeswoman who rose to unprecedented heights within the late medieval Danish government (in effect becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer) on account of her daughter’s relationship with the king. Such was her influence and the hatred which it invoked in the nobility that once the rebellion against the king erupted, the vast majority of the letters of renunciation included some kind of reference to her perceived wrongdoings and corruption. Once the king had been exiled and she herself passed on, one of these noblemen uprooted her gravestone and had it placed at the entrance to his manor house where all his tenants were ordered to spit and “do other much worse things” on it.



[1]Knut Alvsson of the House Tre Rosor (Three Roses) was a Norwegian, pro-Swedish nobleman who led an ill fated rebellion against King Hans of Denmark in 1501. He was killed during peace negotiations with his nemesis, the noble Henrik Krummedige who acted on the authority of the king’s son, the later Christian II.
 
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Interesting, not sure its enough on its own as actions like the Stockholm Massacre seem to be on him alone. However depending on who takes her place ( and her mother's ) it might be able to moderate him.
 
Oooh, this looks very interesting. I have a particular fondness for our resident tyrant king so this will certainly have my interest. Removing Dyveke and her mother from the equation is certainly interesting, I wonder how a better relationship with the nobility of Denmark. AFAIK this is also before he had the Norwegian nobility turned against him and Dyveke played a significant role there as well, so this could lead to better relations with both Denmark and Norway which should make subjugating Sweden significantly more doable. With both pro-unionist Swedes and the Danish aristocracy behind him this might actually be doable.

I do wonder how much you are going to put into Christian's relationship with Dyveke. She and her mother could arguably be explained as the reason for Christian's OTL interest in the Netherlands and the lower classes - and Dyveke's murder definitely affected his actions in Denmark and Sweden for the worse - so if his lack of connections to them reduces/removes his interest in the Netherlands this could lead to a very different King Christian II.
 
First update should be along before too long.

Interesting. I will be following this. If you can revive the walking corpse that is the Kalmar Union since the Engelbrekt rebellion 1434 in a realistic way, I will be very impressed.
The notion of the union being a dead man walking after 1434/1448 has actually been challenged in recent years. All the way until the Vasa rebellion, the union was seen as the given political framework. Ture Jönsson of the House of Three Roses (with whom we'll be further acquainted in the first update) actually wrote the Lord Regent Sten Sture the Younger in 1513, and commented that after the death of king Hans, it was his that "... these three realms be ruled by a man born in this realm and not always by Danish men..." This shows that the union as a continued institution was very much alive within the Swedish political elite at the very end of its lifespan and that it was even considered plausible for the crown to wander between its constituent realms.

I honestly don't know how much I agree with this analysis though, but no matter which way the Kalmar Union wanders, I can promise you that plausibility shall be my battle cry ;)

Interesting, not sure its enough on its own as actions like the Stockholm Massacre seem to be on him alone. However depending on who takes her place ( and her mother's ) it might be able to moderate him.
The responsibility for the massacre is still widely disputed, although of course final accountability lies with the king. Let's see if we even get Christian to Stockholm!

Oooh, this looks very interesting. I have a particular fondness for our resident tyrant king so this will certainly have my interest. Removing Dyveke and her mother from the equation is certainly interesting, I wonder how a better relationship with the nobility of Denmark. AFAIK this is also before he had the Norwegian nobility turned against him and Dyveke played a significant role there as well, so this could lead to better relations with both Denmark and Norway which should make subjugating Sweden significantly more doable. With both pro-unionist Swedes and the Danish aristocracy behind him this might actually be doable.

I do wonder how much you are going to put into Christian's relationship with Dyveke. She and her mother could arguably be explained as the reason for Christian's OTL interest in the Netherlands and the lower classes - and Dyveke's murder definitely affected his actions in Denmark and Sweden for the worse - so if his lack of connections to them reduces/removes his interest in the Netherlands this could lead to a very different King Christian II.
The nascent alliance between the crown and the burghers can be traced back to Hans, maybe even further. In this regard, Christian II's government was largely following a trajectory already laid out by his predecessor. Thus, I think Christian II would still favour the merchant classes, but without the influence of Sigbrit a lot of the most radical societal changes would be butterflied away. This also applies to the Netherlandish influence. First of all, the input came just as much from his OTL marriage and frequent trips to the Low Countries, but even before he met Dyveke he was prepared to grant extensive privileges to the Dutch traders as a way to combat Hanseatic influence.

Looking forward to your valuable input!

I will be watching this TL because it sounds interesting! Well done so far!
That's the most important part! Thank you for following :D
 
Chapter 1: With Only Beetles at His Side
Chapter 1
With Only Beetles at His Side




In February 1513, king Hans of Denmark fell off his horse and plunged into the swollen and marshy waters of the Skjern River in Western Jutland. Grievously injured, the king was taken to the city of Aalborg, whereto he had already summoned a number of Jutish councilors of the realm. After a few days, Hans, the second of the Oldenburg dynasty, king of Denmark, Norway and Sweden committed his soul to God, and died.


The king’s reign had been a troubled one and the results of it a mixed bag. He had fought the Swedes and won, successfully restoring the Kalmar Union. He had fought the peasant republic of Dithmarschen in the Battle of Hemmingstedt, and suffered a crushing defeat. The loss of prestige was so grievous that the anti-union party in Sweden once more took up the cause of separation, and allied with the king’s old foes in the Haseatic town of Lübeck, waged war against the king. However, the newly established royal navy proved to be too great a foe for the allies in the war at sea, and at the subsequent Peace of Malmø in 1512, the union was once more upheld, the Swedish council of the realm being obliged to recognize the king’s son and heir, Christian, as the next king of Sweden.




The Adoration of the Magi
by
the Master of Frankfurt, a Flemish painter active in Antwerp ca. 1520. Altarpiece from the House of the Holy Ghost, Nykøbing-Falster, Denmark. On the left panel, Balthazar, true to renaissance tradition, is depicted as a young moor observing the holy family, holding his gift of Myrrh. In the central panel, the holy family receives the adoration of Caspar (in the likeness of King Hans I), kneeling in prayer before the Infant Christ, who smilingly reaches out for the old man. On the final panel of the triptych, young Melchior (depicted as Christian II) steps into the barn, tipping his crowned hat in greetings with his right hand grasping the gift of gold, symbolizing Christ’s divine kingship. In the middle the coat of arms of the house of Oldenburg is shown.



However, Christian’s very ascension to the throne of Denmark was in no way certain. His father had governed the realm in a remarkably headstrong way, disregarding his accession charter and placed commoners and burghers as fief holders at important royal castles, a right to office usually and legally reserved for those belonging to the nobility. Prince Christian, who had accompanied his sire on the journey to Aalborg was at the king’s side when he passed and he swiftly moved to secure the loyalty of the noble magnates gathered in the city. Despite the fact that the royal council on three occasions had sworn to make Christian their king after his father, the assembled lords refused outright to proclaim him ruler before a new accession charter had been formulated and the remainders of the council and estates had been heard[1]. After a heated exchange, the two parties split in anger. In the words of the Swedish nobleman and commander at Älvsborg castle, Ture Jönsson, reporting on the events after the king’s passing, the prince found few friends amongst the upper aristocracy as:


...ere hannem jnge tiilfalne ythen de Byller.

...none have come to his side other than those Beetles.[2]​


These so-called Beetles were the members of the House of Bille, one of the more prominent families within the realm. The ecclesiastically educated Ove Bille had been the late king’s chancellor whilst his brother Eske served as castellan and fief-holder at Copenhagen castle. Both brothers had thus occupied important positions within the administration, but their unwavering support was a rarity. Although certain members of the high nobility were sympathetic to the young prince, such as the immensely rich and powerful Gøye-family, the aristocracy as a whole had its own best interests at heart.


The constitutional precedent was clear. No king could be elected until he had signed an accession charter, formulated in concert with the councilar nobility and church prelates. To accept the prince as king without any royal concessions or confirmation of the aristocracy’s feudal privileges, as Christian had demanded in Aalborg, would be to poison to the very institution of the elective monarchy. Consequently, the lesser nobility and the councils of all three union realms were issued a summons, to appear in Copenhagen in the summer of 1513 to negotiate the terms of a new charter.


Although the commoners and burghers had received the handsome and strapping-looking[3] prince ecstatically[4] upon his return from Norway, the high nobility had good cause to be alarmed at the prospect of Christian assuming the throne. During his tenure as viceroy, Christian had forcefully advanced the cause of the crown, effectively ruling the country in a proto-absolulist manner, at the expense of both the worldly aristocracy as well as the church’s prelates. He had all but obliterated the Norwegian council of the realm as an independent political entity and brought the strong-willed Norwegian church to heel by outright imprisoning a bishop of the church who stood in his way. King Hans too, had flaunted the constitutional restraints placed upon him by his own charter, and now it seemed his as if his son would follow in his footsteps at a marching pace.




The city of Copenhagen had in the course of the 15th century evolved into a respectable royal and national capital thanks to its location in the centre of the Danish realm.


Two groupings within the aristocracy came up with separate ideas of constraining the head-strong would-be monarch. One faction, rallying around the Jutish nobility and knights under the leadership of Predbjørn Podebusk, fief-holder at Riberhus and councilor of the realm, wanted to simply bypass the prince and offer the crown to his uncle, Frederick, the duke of Holstein[5]. However, to the chagrin of the conspirators, the skillful political operator Frederick rejected the proposal of the conspirators, who instead joined forces with the second oppositional grouping: the aristocratic constitutionalists.


Taking the lead in the councilar aristocracy’s opposition was the archbishop of Lund, Birger Gunnersen. Gunnersen had risen to his high office as the leader of the Scandinavian church from a remarkably lowborn background (his father had been a mere provincial bellringer in Halland) with the support of king Hans. However, the archbishop firmly believed in the independence of the church, and Christian’s numerous feuds with the Norwegian church as well as his involvement in disrupting Gunnersen’s ambition to choose his own successor had turned the prelate firmly against the crown and into an alliance with his old foes in the aristocracy[6].


The archbishop helped formulate a damning indictment of his old friend and protector, king Hans’ rule. Of the 51 articles in the late king’s charter, 30 had supposedly been violated, including particularly grave issues such as the execution of members of the high nobility without due process, the appointment of commoners as fief-holders and the waging of war without the consent of the council of the realm. In order to prevent a further deterioration of the nobility’s control with the monarchy, the aristocratic constitutionalists demanded the inclusion of several new articles and the dismissal of all burgher fief-holders.


Fiefs were the building blocks of power politics in late-medieval Scandinavia and the control of these were consequently of immense economic and political importance. Christian was forced to accept the removal of the commoner castellans, marking an important win for the councilar opposition, but the prince conceded graciously and without much fuss, persuaded in part by his own noble supporters and friends[7]. Although he himself had lived at the home of a prominent Copenhagen trader as a child, and consequently held the burghers and commoners in high regard as possible allies of the crown, the prince understood full well the tactical necessity of placating the council of the realm. Although the burgher fief-holders were utterly dependent on the crown for their advancement and thus only owed the king their loyalty, it would be a small loss for the king to replace one supporter with another of a higher social standing.




Danish fiefs and hundreds ca. January 1513.


All land not owned directly by the aristocracy and the church belonged to the Danish feudal system. Although inherently feudal in nature, they were not as a rule passed on within certain families, but enfeoffed as a result of a tangible service rendered by a nobleman. Fiefs consisted of an amalgamation of lesser administrative divisions known as hundreds (corresponding to shires in England) and were enfeoffed on vastly different terms - the only commonality being the fief-holder’s obligation to supply military forces when called upon by the monarch[8]. Generally speaking the various fiefs fell into four broad categories:

  • The account fief: the most profitable arrangement for the crown. The fief-holder served as a royal appointed official who received a previously agreed upon salary in exchange for his service.
  • The rent fief: the second-most profitable enfeoffment for the crown. A certain rent was placed on the fief’s revenue which was paid directly into the royal coffers, whilst the fief-holder retained the remaining surplus in exchange for his services.
  • The pledge fief: usually granted in exchange for a loan provided by the fief-holder. In place of paying an interest rate, the crown pledged the income of the fief to the creditor until the debt had been paid.
  • The service fief: the least profitable enfeoffment for the crown as the only compensation provided the royal treasury was the military service of the fief-holder, who otherwise kept all the revenue gathered in the fief for himself.


However, the most worrisome demand by the councilar opposition was the enlargement of their jus resistendi - their right to resist a prince governing against his promises and the stipulations of his accession charter. A comparative article had been present in king Hans’ charter, but it had been vague and self-contradictory. Under the constitutional guidance of archbishop Gunnersen, the council of the realm now demanded that the king promised:


at holde thenne wor recess, som wii Danmarkis oc Noriges indbyggere swærge skulle, […], swo well som indbyffer skulle wære plictug at holde oss huldskab oc mandskab, oc gøire wii emodt forschreffne wor recess oc wele ingelunde lade oss vnderwise thervti aff riighens radh, […] tha skulle alle riighens indbyggere wedt theris ere troligen tilhielpe thet at affwærge oc inthet ther met forbryde emodt then eedh oc mandskab, som the oss giøre skulle.


... to uphold this charter, which we have sworn the inhabitants of Denmark and Norway [...] likewise the inhabitants shall pledge us their loyalty and fidelity, but should we act against this charter and not allow ourselves to be rightly guided by the council of the realm [...] then all the inhabitants of the realm shall be honour-bound to prevent it[9] and in doing so shall not break the vow of loyalty and fidelity which they have us so sworn.


In effect this right to rebellion legalized armed uprisings by the nobility against the crown, if the monarch violated any of the many articles in his accession charter. However, the article had some serious flaws, as it did not stipulate which institution should be the judge of exactly what constituted a breach of the charter. This had been the case of Alvsson’s rebellion, where the tentative legality of the uprising was crushed by the sheer force of king Hans’ troops. In a political reality without institutional restraints, the only judge was raw unmitigated military power.


Nevertheless, Christian was presented with a fait-accompli. Accept the charter or face the prospect of civil war against the council and a possible pretender. Chaos in Denmark would leave the flood-gates open and likely mean the damnation of the three state union, the golden calf of the House of Oldenburg. Thus, Christian had little to no choice. The council had the constitutional high-ground and if he were to advance the cause of the crown, he would, at any rate, first have to wear it. With his scribes, squires and friends around him, the prince agreed to the radical stipulations[10] of the charter, and affixed his seal to the document above those of 29 Danish and 7 Norwegian councillors. On the 22nd of July 1513, five months and two days after the death of his father, the matter of the succession had finally been settled.


The Swedish delegates, however, had made excuses and pleaded that their orders from Stockholm had not included instructions as to how to act in relation to drawing up an accession charter.


Still, the prince was now the legally elected king of Denmark and Norway, rightfully chosen king of Sweden, king of the Wends and the Goths, Duke of Schleswig, Holstein and Stormarn as well as Count of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst - the issue of the Swedish succession would have to be postponed for the immediate future.


He needed to be crowned.


And he needed a wife.







[1] As happened OTL.
[2] The English translation of the name of the noble house of Bille. Jönsson derogatorily referring to them as “those Beetles” is a bit of poetic license on the translation on my part.
[3] The king’s good looks were often noted in OTL, even by the likes such as Albrecht Dürer.
[4] As in OTL. According to one historian, “... there hardly was a single soul amongst the commoners in the entire realm who wished for another successor to king Hans.”
[5] The exact nature of this plot is somewhat disputed, but it is certain that a fraction within the aristocracy wished to reject the king’s son and take his uncle for their king.
[6] Gunnersen was a fascinating person. He led a vicious feud with the Scanian nobility which culminated in the killing of the Steward of the Realm, Poul Laxmand (if you played Denmark in EU IV, you might have seen an event relating to this murder).
[7] One of the first divergences, although not a major one. Even in OTL, Christian was remarkably pliable during the 1513 negotiations. ITTL, he has surrounded himself with noble friends and allies such as the Bille and Gøye families. However, commoners will continue to play a prominent part in Christian’s government, as will be expanded upon later.
[8] The so-called rostjeneste (horse-service)
[9] “It” meaning the continued rule of the king.
[10] Besides the inclusion of the “right of resistance” the charter included 68 articles, a considerable enlargement of the 51 articles found in the charter of king Hans.
 
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Oooh, this looks very interesting. I have a particular fondness for our resident tyrant king so this will certainly have my interest. Removing Dyveke and her mother from the equation is certainly interesting, I wonder how a better relationship with the nobility of Denmark. AFAIK this is also before he had the Norwegian nobility turned against him and Dyveke played a significant role there as well, so this could lead to better relations with both Denmark and Norway which should make subjugating Sweden significantly more doable. With both pro-unionist Swedes and the Danish aristocracy behind him this might actually be doable.

I do wonder how much you are going to put into Christian's relationship with Dyveke. She and her mother could arguably be explained as the reason for Christian's OTL interest in the Netherlands and the lower classes - and Dyveke's murder definitely affected his actions in Denmark and Sweden for the worse - so if his lack of connections to them reduces/removes his interest in the Netherlands this could lead to a very different King Christian II.
He still married a princess closely connected to Netherlands.
 
Lovely update, I really enjoyed the deep dive into Christian's ascension and the troubles surrounding it.

I am uncertain if there were any divergences from OTL in this update, largely seems to be a walkthrough of the events leading to Christian's ascension IOTL. Could be I missed something though.

By the way, those are some incredible maps. The map of Danish fiefs was one I hadn't seen the like of before, it is honestly quite amazing in what it shows. I was wondering if you could explain why Lund turns up as a Noble Fief, wouldn't it ordinarily be ecclesiastical lands? It is wierd to see a map of old Copenhagen. I walk by the Church of St. Nicholas every time I go to work, hadn't realized central Copenhagen was the in the eastern part of the city historically.

I do wonder if Christian will be closer to Isabella early on without Dyveke about, though he could well jump into bed with someone else. I hope you let Isabella live longer ITTL, she is in such a fascinating position and seems to have been a really interesting woman.

Wierd painting note:
I have actually seen that first picture IRL. It is in the Danish National Museum at the entrance to their Renaissance/Reformation display IIRC. I actually took a picture of that precise painting because I thought Caspar looked a bit like Trump in that painting.

He still married a princess closely connected to Netherlands.
Good point :)
 
Also I'm looking forward to see which way this timeline will go. A few thoughts.

The Stockholm Bloodbath was a mistake, but everything else Christian II did up to it wasn't. If he let the Swedish nobles live the Danish nobles won't rise up against him.
Christian II need to convert to Lutheranism, he need to the Church properties to bribe the nobility and mix them across country borders. Also getting rid of the clergy as a power factor is a major bonus.
But he need to avoid to convert to early, which could single him out as a target for the Catholic Church. I think best case would be a conversion in the late 1520ties.
 
For the Swedes (or any other Scandinavians) of the board: How would you translate the office of riksföreständere? So far I've been rolling with the generic term Lord Regent, but it doesn't have the correct ring to it, IMHO.

So perhaps Christian will marry someone else than Isabella of Austria in this TL? Ebba Vasa?
Ebba Vasa is an interesting alternative, but as we shall see from the next update (which should be along in the course of this week), Christian had other far more exotic alternatives waiting for him :p

Wonder how long before the butterflies start affecting other countries...
Until now, I think the strokes of the wings might be too vague to cause an outright hurricane on the course of events, however, it'll take off rather soonish.

Lovely update, I really enjoyed the deep dive into Christian's ascension and the troubles surrounding it.

I am uncertain if there were any divergences from OTL in this update, largely seems to be a walkthrough of the events leading to Christian's ascension IOTL. Could be I missed something though.

By the way, those are some incredible maps. The map of Danish fiefs was one I hadn't seen the like of before, it is honestly quite amazing in what it shows. I was wondering if you could explain why Lund turns up as a Noble Fief, wouldn't it ordinarily be ecclesiastical lands? It is wierd to see a map of old Copenhagen. I walk by the Church of St. Nicholas every time I go to work, hadn't realized central Copenhagen was the in the eastern part of the city historically.

I do wonder if Christian will be closer to Isabella early on without Dyveke about, though he could well jump into bed with someone else. I hope you let Isabella live longer ITTL, she is in such a fascinating position and seems to have been a really interesting woman.

Wierd painting note:
I have actually seen that first picture IRL. It is in the Danish National Museum at the entrance to their Renaissance/Reformation display IIRC. I actually took a picture of that precise painting because I thought Caspar looked a bit like Trump in that painting.



Good point :)
As I wrote in the timeline, Christian II was remarkably docile during the charter negotiations, so the changes are quite subtle. First and foremost is the emphasis on his association with noble retainers in lieu of the largely mercantile supporters he in OTL already had gathered around him. He is still a friend of the commoners, but he's moving away from obtaining his later reputation as a "burgher king/borgerkonge".

Regarding the maps, first of all thank you for your kind words! The map of the Danish realm only shows the major fiefs (hovedlen) of the time. Some of these were pawned/granted to high officers of the clergy (such as Bornholm). However, the city of Lund was a market town and IIRC, not the possession of the archbishopric per se. You have to imagine that below this overall division there's a further subdivision into smaller fiefs (smålen) including the properties of the monasteries and the worldly nobility.

I actually thought the very same thing about Hans when I saw that painting!! Let's hope Christian doesn't take after any of the Donald's sons shall we :D

Also I'm looking forward to see which way this timeline will go. A few thoughts.

The Stockholm Bloodbath was a mistake, but everything else Christian II did up to it wasn't. If he let the Swedish nobles live the Danish nobles won't rise up against him.
Christian II need to convert to Lutheranism, he need to the Church properties to bribe the nobility and mix them across country borders. Also getting rid of the clergy as a power factor is a major bonus.
But he need to avoid to convert to early, which could single him out as a target for the Catholic Church. I think best case would be a conversion in the late 1520ties.
Glad to have you on board!

Regarding the bloodbath, although the king chopping off the heads of some 70 Swedish noblemen indeed was the straw that broke the camel's back for the Jutish aristocracy, the fall of the king was the result of many variables converging. He'll have to steer the ship of state around some serious rocks if he is to succeed, but you're definitely correct in assuming that handling the anti-union party with a softer touch is one of them!

Loved your Huguenot AAR back at the Paradox forums -- looking forward to more here!
Ah, I see we have a member of the old guard in our midst! Thank you indeed, I'm very flattered someone remembers my first foray into alternate history, even though it's a decade ago :)
 
Riksföreståndare (swedish) would translate to Lord High Chancellor I think. But then again it's a translation of the word Rikskansler and not Riksföreståndare. The closest thing I can manage is Regent Chancellor.
 
A direct translation of Riksföreståndare would be something like Royal Representative, Regent or Viceroy, the latter of the three probably works best in this context. That said, either of BlueFlowwer's suggestions could work as well. I have even seen some translate it as Royal Governor, but there are English language conotations which don't really work in this case.

It is defined in Danish (translating here) as "A person who oversees rule over a country when the monarch is absent." Oxford dictionary defines Regent as "a person appointed to administer a state because the monarch is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated."

A Viceroy is defined as "A regal official who runs a country, colony, city, province or sub-national state, in the name of and as the representative of the monarch of the territory" So in the context of Christian's representative in Sweden i think Viceroy is probably the best direct translation in this case. I would probably also have used Viceroy to describe the Rigsforstander of Estonia/Iceland/Greenland/Norway.

A subtle and interesting difference from the OTL coronation dispute. I guess this would leave him with more support from amongst the nobility, which in this case is likely all for the better.

There is a wierd bit of family lore in my family which states that one of my ancestors was the person charged with planning out the details of the Stockholm Bloodbath. Always a great way to introduce yourself to Swedes :p
 
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