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

given Christian II's industrious nature and great connections with the Netherlands, I could see some kind of agricultural revolution kick off at one point or another.
I remember a post by @Jürgen where he stated the importance of the Rotherham plough. I would argue that such a plough can be invented in Sweden first, rather than Denmark.
Swedish agriculture had a unique characteristic: The ploughing and soil preparation had to be done in a short time period. In order to address this issue the answer was a relative high number of draught horses per hectare, especially when compared to England or France. The large number of draught animals demanded large pastures, three or even four times bigger than the cultivated land (not including fallow). So, if anybody had the incentive to develop a Rotherham plough it was the Swedes. They had both an excellent incentive and the iron deposits. A better plough that needs fewer draught animals leads to either use a part of the pasture for cattle or having a larger cultivated area. In any case you either have more cheese and meat or grain. Greater food security is the bottomline.


In the previous link I posted on clover, it stated that in a few decades after its introduction, the grain production in Denmark doubled. Moreover, the number of cattle soared. Between clover, advanced ploughs and later on potato, you have a population explosion in Scandinavia.

Christian II was determined to crush the Hansa and create a united Nordic trade company that could do business with the New Monarchies without the German intermediaries.
Is it correct to assume that Holstein is firmly under Christian's rule? If so, Christian has in his hands the arteries that give life to Lubeck: the Stecknitz Canal. Lubeck got his wealth as a trade station with its canal connection to the Elbe. Incidentally it passes through Holstein. A second canal to Hamburg was also being built around that time. If one takes or establishes a toll on the canals to the Elbe, Lubeck becomes a hostage.

I think also that the greatest leverage Lubeck held over the Scandinavian economies was the control of the Lüneburg salt trade that arrived to Lubeck through the aforementioned canal. Salt was a strategic commodity as the local diets were based upon salted fish and meat, especially in witnertime. Granted from the 16th century onwards, french salt started to be imported in increasing quantities. Regardless, Lüneburg salt was perhaps the most precious commodity in the neighborhood.



If it is alright with you all, I would like to comment also on the proto-colony established in Newfoundland/Terra Nova/ Vinland.

If I understand correctly it was established close to OTL St Johns. What a stroke of luck! This area is one of the few in the island where there is semi-decent soil for agriculture. https://www.geostrategis.com/c_cli-stjohns.htm
Moreover, the first foundry in North America was established there, as there are various iron deposits in the area, mostly bog iron. So, decent land, excellent ports, millions of cod, bog iron, lumber and a very low number of Natives. This colony is born to prosper. One should not underestimate the economic importance of cod: By the end of the 16th century more than 60% of the fish consumed in Europe was cod. A short and great reading is "Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World", by Kurlansky. By 1770 the british fisheries of New England and Newfoundland exported a surplus of 600k sterling worth of cod, when all the furs of the Hudson's bay Company were worth 9k. The New England merchants built their capital on cod.
Source:https://books.google.nl/books/about/British_Atlantic_American_Frontier.html?id=oMvXsDXvI_YC&redir_esc=y

There is a very valid argument that goes like that: "Alright you discovered the Grand Banks. Your fishing fleet visits for some months and then goes home. You need a 20/20 hindsight to establish colonies there, as they don't produce profit". A very valid argument, especially for the traditional colonizers of North America, be they English, French or Dutch. In real life, people didn't leave their comfortable lands to a new and wild land just to settle there, if there was no possibility of gold or plunder. But what about Iceland? A nation that had very little and unproductive farming land, endured climate much tougher than Newfoundland and St Lawrence, faced terrible and regular famines and was mostly cut off until the 20th century. This new land is an answer to prayers. Moreover, Iceland lacked timber and iron and paid a premium in stockfish to English traders to be provided with such vital materials. As I mentioned above, this new station in Vinland has both bog iron and timber. At that time Iceland had a population of about 30,000 ( at least I think so, perhaps a bit more). I find it very plausible to see a tickle of Icelanders migrating to the New World each year after establishing the colony. In a year of famine, I think hundreds would migrate. I think a similar pattern may be plausible for Faroe and Shetland islanders as well, in much smaller scale. So, I believe that just the Scandinavian arctic and subarctic Atlantic islands will provide a fair number of colonists, even just to avoid famine back home. In 1666, after 62 years, New France had 3,215 settlers who claimed everything north of Kennebec River in Maine. I bet Icelandic North America, with not a single settler from Norway/Denmark/Sweden, can have the same number of settlers in far less than 62 years. After all, the OTL New france population doubled every 20 years.

After the first wave of settlers succeeds, it is easy to see Norwegians and Swedes to be attracted. During the 16th century, agricultural land saw a substantial expansion in Sweden. However, land had to be cleared by dense forests in a laborious effort that took years. A new swedish farm wouldn't be able to pay any taxes for 10 to 12 years. While most of the new farmers would prefer to stay in lands close to home, I think that a minority would prefer to migrate to the New World since the effort to build a new life is pretty much the same, with more natural resources available. If the Crown sponsors a few settlers like that, I believe that there would be enough volunteers.

Last but not least, don't forget the Frisians. Centuries upon centuries Frisians had to deal with periodic overpopulation, encroachment of the North Sea and poor sandy soils. Nova Scotia happens to have saline bogs and sandy soils. Frisians would be the ideal settlers for Nova Scotia, far better acclimatized to it than the OTL French and British.

Overall, I think it is quite possible to have a Scandinavian North America of 16-20k people by 1600, before any other power gets interested in the boreal forests of the New World.
 
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For Argicultural revolution, it'll probably happen somewhat faster (possibly a half-generation earlier?), and the heavily farmed areas, might well be pushed all the way up to the Swedish lakes... which ultimately would mean a fair bit of land in southern sweden which would suddenly be able to host a larger population since it'll nearly be all farmlands instead of being forested with dots of rural farming communities.

Larger Population, and more population that can be 're-guided' into archiving more fancy vanity projects (Colonisation? relocate royal Capital to ~Gothenburg as a compromise?, more muscle to intercede in Northernmost HRE when Religious disturbances start firing up?), some of which actually being a concrete success?
I think there's little doubt we will a expansion of agriculture especially in Sweden, but outside, Scania, Gotland and Aaland, the best agricultural lands are a corridor from Stockholm to Gothenburg between the major lakes.

But as for capital only Copenhagen makes sense, even in OTL where Denmark have been reduced to a minor state, Stockholm while official biiger is still in reality smaller. Copenhagen lie so that it can control the access to the Baltic, Gothenburg will likely in this timeline turn into a relative small city (Aarhus-sized), its importance build on it being Sweden access to the west, which is unimportant here.

Also, a small correction in relation to the above: Schleswig and Holstein are still united as a separate entity from the Danish realm. It's just the split inheritance system which, Christian II has disestablished. To merge both duchies with Denmark proper would be out-of character with the political realities of the time and the interests of the monarchy (it's good to have a powerbase outside of the influence and control of the council of the realm).
I suspect that Christian II or his succssor will enforce one common law building on Jutish Law on all his domains and remove internal tariff. The major different I think we will see is that Ribe and Schleswig (town) increase significant in importance, and Flensburg lessen, I don't know what will happen in Holstein, Schleswig could end up dominating eastern Holstein.

It's funny that you mention Livonia, as I've been toying around with various options for where the two spare sons Philip and Maximillian might end up, now that the split inheritance system of the Duchies have been done away with.... more to come on that score, I hope.
Honestly he could go many ways. He could simply give them a small fief in one of the kingdoms, while making them local administators of different regions. He no longer need to split the duchies up, so making one of them Count of Sorø and give him some land in that region, would be enough and then use him as stadtholder of Finland as example. The only reason to give them land abroad is foreign politics, if as example he need someone friendly as duke of Estonia and he can't annex it himself, of if the Queen of Scotland lacks a husband as examples.
 
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I remember a post by @Jürgen where he stated the importance of the Rotherham plough. I would argue that such a plough can be invented in Sweden first, rather than Denmark.
Swedish agriculture had a unique characteristic: The ploughing and soil preparation had to be done in a short time period. In order to address this issue the answer was a relative high number of draught horses per hectare, especially when compared to England or France. The large number of draught animals demanded large pastures, three or even four times bigger than the cultivated land (not including fallow). So, if anybody had the incentive to develop a Rotherham plough it was the Swedes. They had both an excellent incentive and the iron deposits. A better plough that needs fewer draught animals leads to either use a part of the pasture for cattle or having a larger cultivated area. In any case you either have more cheese and meat or grain. Greater food security is the bottomline.


In the previous link I posted on clover, it stated that in a few decades after its introduction, the grain production in Denmark doubled. Moreover, the number of cattle soared. Between clover, advanced ploughs and later on potato, you have a population explosion in Scandinavia.
The main problem with the Rotherdam plough is that I don't think (but aren't sure) the metallurgy is advanced enough to produce them at this point, it depend on a single pierce of cast iron. The Dutch did develop a prototype in the 1670ties, but it was only really with the industrialization it production of it began.

Red clover on the other hand would be the real revolutionary crop. The large estates which dominated Denmark at the time would be perfect to spread it, Christian could adopt it on the crown estates and from there it could spread to private land. It replace peas or fallow in a crop rotation system.

The main benefits of the crop are:

1: Increased nitrogen fixation, increasing the productivity of the soil, enable greater use of wheat.
2: High protein fodder to cattle, increasing the number of animals per acre, their growth rate and milk production.
3: Increased honey production with more flowering plants

Indirect benefit are:

1: Greater fruit and berry production as results of greater population of pollinating insects.
2: Red clover can be used as starvation food, it's edible especally if boiled.

In OTL it took 40 years to spread from Holstein to all of Denmark, I imagine it will take longer in the three kingdoms, but still it will likely have spread to it maximum reach by 1600-1620. This century was also when food prices rose until 1630ties. So it spread will fall together with rising food prices. The result of that will be very rich land owners, including the monarchy. We could see the king having the money to invest (both in war, colonial and mercantile)
 
I am glad to see this timeline back after the well-deserved break - I hope you're enjoying life in Tehran. I eagerly await the next chapter but please don't keep me waiting as long hahahaha.

I have to concur with @Jürgen that the capital will likely remain in Copenhagen especially in the near future where the majority of Christian II's power is based around the Kingdom of Denmark. By the time the union is fully secured inertia will likely keep the Royal Capital here but an interesting potential/future capital based purely on propaganda would be Kalmar, the historic birthplace of the Union. It is located in Southeast Sweden but relatively near the provinces of Scania, Halland and Blekinge, which are considered part of Denmark proper during this time period.

I am curious how Christian II will react to the Reformation considering that Denmark has a much stronger position in Northern Germany with the Ducal territories more firmly under Royal authority. Depending on how Christian II will handle the Religious leaders that supported his uncle Fredrick will have huge butterflies - If he shows clemency the clergy will remain rich and powerful thus a desirable target during the Reformation. I have previously reiterated my hope that Denmark remains Catholic since that would produce some really interesting butterflies especially in the Baltic espeically when Prussia goes Protestant.
 
I am glad to see this timeline back after the well-deserved break - I hope you're enjoying life in Tehran. I eagerly await the next chapter but please don't keep me waiting as long hahahaha.

I have to concur with @Jürgen that the capital will likely remain in Copenhagen especially in the near future where the majority of Christian II's power is based around the Kingdom of Denmark. By the time the union is fully secured inertia will likely keep the Royal Capital here but an interesting potential/future capital based purely on propaganda would be Kalmar, the historic birthplace of the Union. It is located in Southeast Sweden but relatively near the provinces of Scania, Halland and Blekinge, which are considered part of Denmark proper during this time period.
I suspect the pure geographic importance of Copenhagen and political inertia will simply keep the capital from moving, especially because of all alternatives being worse. The only exception I could see would be if the crown founded a Nordic Versailles, which I suspect would be Elsinore.
I am curious how Christian II will react to the Reformation considering that Denmark has a much stronger position in Northern Germany with the Ducal territories more firmly under Royal authority. Depending on how Christian II will handle the Religious leaders that supported his uncle Fredrick will have huge butterflies - If he shows clemency the clergy will remain rich and powerful thus a desirable target during the Reformation. I have previously reiterated my hope that Denmark remains Catholic since that would produce some really interesting butterflies especially in the Baltic espeically when Prussia goes Protestant.
The main benefits of staying Catholic are the potential alliances with other major power and the good relationship with the Habsburgs.

the main benefits of going Lutheran are pretty much everything else, it will force North Germany into Nordic orbit, it strengthen the crown, it will create a unified Nordic identity.
 
The main problem with the Rotherdam plough is that I don't think (but aren't sure) the metallurgy is advanced enough to produce them at this point, it depend on a single pierce of cast iron. The Dutch did develop a prototype in the 1670ties, but it was only really with the industrialization it production of it began.
I didn't know about it! Thanks!

In OTL it took 40 years to spread from Holstein to all of Denmark, I imagine it will take longer in the three kingdoms, but still it will likely have spread to it maximum reach by 1600-1620. This century was also when food prices rose until 1630ties. So it spread will fall together with rising food prices. The result of that will be very rich land owners, including the monarchy. We could see the king having the money to invest (both in war, colonial and mercantile)
A land of milk and honey indeed!

I am under the impression that during the 1590s Norway and Sweden faced a series of crop failures and subsequent famines. Do you think it is possible for clover to ameliorate somewhat the situation? I don't know about the exact nature of the famines.

Also, with a humbled Hansa and Three Crowns united, it seems possible to see an earlier increase of the Sound Tolls (in OTL they increased in 1567).

I am looking forward to see how the Nordic Trade Company will develop. If I understand the author's intent, it seems that it is set up not to antagonize the dutch but to replace Hansa. Certainly, a united Scandinavia that has a firm control of Holstein can achieve it. In the late 16th century, Hansa had 1000 merchantmen that constituted the 2nd biggest merchant fleet in Europe behind the Dutch. Source: https://pure.knaw.nl/ws/files/463798/BALTIC_CONNECTIONS_article.pdf

If Scandinavians snatch this market, then both the Crown and the burghers will accumulate huge capital. If you combine it with the agricultural development and an increase in resources from an absence of Dano-Swedish wars, then Copenhagen will go toe to toe with Amsterdam and its king will be second only to the Habsburg monarch.



Edit: I forgot to mention that Charles V intervened in 1544 so that the Dutch would be exempt from the Sound Tolls. Apparently the County of Holland was totally depended upon prussian and livonian grain.
This intervention led to the dutch dominance of the Baltic trade for two centuries. Source:https://pure.knaw.nl/ws/files/463798/BALTIC_CONNECTIONS_article.pdf
 
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Chapter 21: Supremacy
Chapter 21
Supremacy


By their subjugation, he remains the glorious victor and is raised by his renowned triumph to the shining stars of the heavens. Rightly he has frightened some enemies, the breakers of oaths and treaties, into keeping with the holy union by meeting out on them harsh punishments.


- Matthias Gabler, 1523[1]


Dabo tibi regem in furore meo
I will give you a king in my rage



- Giles of Rome, Hosea 13:11​






As Spring gave way to an early Summer, Christian II led his triumphant army North along the Oxen Road[2], arriving at the vibrant market town of Viborg in early June 1523. As the king’s outriders reached the city, they found that whole new neighbourhoods of canvas and velvet tents had sprung up outside the city gates: Representatives from the isles, the Sound Provinces and Eastern Jutland all having converged on the city to attend the first Estates General[3] in a generation.

The former capital of the Lords Declarent had been conquered by Clement Andersen’s peasant and burgher army shortly before the royal invasion of the duchies. The town which Poul Helgesen had once described as a place where “... evil had grown to such a degree that this city [...] became the most nefarious den of all kinds of ungodliness and profanation.”[4] was therefore still under martial law by the time of the king’s arrival.

When the lords of Jutland raised the banner of rebellion, it was not for nothing that Viborg had been their staging point. The city’s ancient pedigree as the site of the regional assembly (and traditional place of royal acclamation) had granted Frederick I much needed legitimacy when he received the rebel crown from the Jutlandic council.

Just like his pretender uncle, Christian II knew full well the symbolic value of the city. It is well documented that the royal government deliberately chose the nesting ground for the rebellion as a way to signal the totality of the crown’s victory: The cathedral square where the king’s laws had been burned to signal the rising would now be re-appropriated to stage the final stroke against the conservative opposition.

It has often been noted that the timing of the convention could not have been better for the king’s programme as out of all the estates of quality, only the crown had emerged strengthened from the carnage of the Ducal Feud. The high nobility, temporal as well as ecclesiastical, had, conversely, been decimated by the civil war. The most prominent estate, the Lords Spiritual, had been almost halved numerically through the flight of Jørgen Friis, Iver Munk and Niels Stygge Rosenkrantz. Furthermore, the remaining prelates were either long-time Oldenburg loyalists (like chancellor Ove Bille) or low-born acolytes (such as archbishop Christiern Pedersen) who had been directly appointed by Christian II. Compared to the coronation negotiations of 1513 where Birger Gunnersen had presented an insurmountable challenge to the king’s agenda, the ecclesiastical estate of 1523 appeared to be more of a rubber stamp for the crown than an independent institution.

Things were not much better within the ranks of the temporal nobility. The very raison d’etre of the “armoured estate” was to defend the realm; the knighthood quite simply derived its status and privileges from such military service. Indeed, the lower gentry had stressed this point during the accession negotiations in 1513 by noting that: “...Denmark is a free and elective realm and whatever attack or feud that should be wrought on Denmark’s realm, we are the ones who are to repel it.”[5]

The fact that several members of the nobility had actively instigated such a feud naturally put a huge dent in the aristocracy’s credibility. Furthermore, the war had created deep cleavages within the military caste. The hitherto unseen bloodletting and battlefield executions had fatally weakened the cohesion of the Lords Temporal. Besides, many of those ancient families, who in times past would have been instrumental in checking the power of the crown, were now firmly in the king’s pocket. The Gøye, Bille and Gyldenstjerne clans had become Christian II’s willing enforcers whilst, conversely, the surviving members of the rebel families of Krabbe and Rosenkrantz were left at the king’s mercurial mercy. Others, such as Henrik Krummedige, who might otherwise have favoured the cause of councilarism, were off fighting the rebels in Västergötland.

To cope with the Frederickian crisis, the king had raised members of the lower gentry - Søren Norby being the most prominent - to serve him both in government and in the field. As bad as that might have been in the eyes of the high nobility, the fact that commoners, those born unfree[6], had become part and parcel to the crown’s affairs was positively mortifying. Hans Mikkelsen, Clement Andersen and Tile Giseler had all proven indispensable in managing and directing the royal cause during the feud. The demands of the war effort had caused the loyalist gentry to tolerate their presence, but to their great horror, Christian II had not thrown his burgher aides aside the moment his enemies had been subdued.

Quite the contrary, the Estates General would prove just how much stock the king had come to place in his common advisors and captains.




The Knight Saint George. Mural painting in the parish church of Aale, Skanderborg fief, by an unknown artist ca. 1500-1525. Saint George was a popular saint in late medieval Scandinavia, being, for example, especially favoured by Christian II’s Lord Admiral Søren Norby. In this mural painting from Eastern Jutland, the saint is depicted as a fully armed and armoured member of the noble estate. Military service was the rite de passage which legitimised the privileges of Denmark’s aristocracy. Perhaps, the mural was commissioned by a member of the local gentry as a way to impress the martial dominance of the nobility on the local peasants in the turbulent times of the 1520s.



Financially speaking, the realm was on the verge of bankruptcy. A decade’s worth of intermittent warfare in Sweden had been followed by only the shortest respite before the Ducal Feud put new strains on the royal exchequer. Loans from the merchant classes in the Sound Provinces and the assistance of Christian’s North German allies had kept the realm from imploding fiscally, but it was widely accepted that sweeping reforms were needed.

Following the same procedure as at the Odense Diet, the king pronounced the fiefs and debts of the rebels to be forfeit. Instead the West Jutland fiefs were reclaimed by the crown’s privy purse. In turn they were to be enfeoffed as account fiefs to loyalist nobles. Likewise, those noblemen who had not done their utmost to defend the rights of the king were expected to willingly renounce any claims which they might have held against Christian II.

The return of a large amount of pledge and service fiefs to royal control, however, did not solve the urgent need for ready coin. Although Lübeck was on the defensive, hemmed in by advancing Mecklenburgian troops and a strangling naval blockade, the city had not yet been brought to heel. The potential need for a fresh offensive could not be discounted and the Västgöta lords were still causing trouble for Henrik Krummedige’s viceregal government in Stockholm.

The imposition of extraordinary taxes was a dangerous move in early modern Europe, but none of the estates saw any other way out of the economic predicament. However, the remnants of the council-constitutionalist wing within the council of the realm immediately refused to participate in the “national levy” - referring to their rights of tax exemption, as stipulated in the king’s accession charter. Instead, the councilors proposed a new extraordinary tax solely for the peasants and burghers, which they, in a bizarre miscalculation, termed the ‘Royal Tax’[7].

It has often been noted in the litterature that the high nobility’s position during the Viborg Diet seemed to be completely out of touch with the apparent political realities of the day. When Jens Andersen Beldenak delivered the proposal, Clement Andersen immediately asked why the commoners should pay for the destruction caused by the feud, when the war had been won “... not because of, but in the face of the gentry’s arms.”[8] Andersen’s claim might have been hyperbolic, but the notion that the burghers and peasants, who had been amongst the crown’s most ardent defenders, should bear the sole burden of taxation was absolutely unthinkable.

Matters were only exasperated when, on the third day of the diet, the king began to appoint new castellans at the vacant fiefs in Jutland. Christian II’s desire to see Clement Andersen invested with the rich and powerful fief of Aalborghus caused a storm of protests amongst the moderate and conservative nobles of Northern Jutland. Andersen was an unfree commoner, and although he had proven a diligent servant in the field, the notion of a simple burgher lording over them made the traditionalist Jutlandic gentry shake with indignation. Fuming with rage, the king supposedly slammed his fist on the council table and furiously declared that if “... my most beloved council of gentlemen had obstructed me so in the recent feud and war as they have done in the matter of peace, then surely I should not be sitting here, but the crown of Denmark’s realm instead be worn by knaves and rogues.” Thanks to the intervention of Mogens Gøye, tempers were cooled and negotiations postponed to the following day.

When the estates met on the 23rd of June, preparations were well under way for the celebration of the Nativity of Saint John, the saint after whom the king’s father had been named. The noble opposition now proposed a compromise, where Clement Andersen would be ennobled on account of his military service. Thereby, he would fulfill the accession charter’s stipulations as to who could be appointed fief-holder. It was an extraordinary concession, as the ennoblement of a commoner was an extremely rare phenomenon, but the king drily replied that if he were to do so, then a great many men would have to be raised to the aristocracy as well. This, however, the council-constitutionalists were not prepared to accept. Pressing his advantage, Christian II now openly brought the matter before the entirety of the Estates General. The mood of the delegates had been soured by the intransigence of the high nobility and a great many now spoke in favour of the king’s prerogative to appoint fief-holders without the consent of the council of the realm. Confirmed in his majority, Christian II simply ignored the objections raised by the opposition and enfeoffed Clement Andersen and other supporters on the authority granted by “... the consent of the estates in Viborg assembled.”





Map of the Danish realm, 1523. The de-facto acceptance of burgher fief-holders proved to be a great blow to the power of the Danish aristocracy. For an explanation of the various forms of enfeoffment in late-medieval/early modern Denmark, please refer to Chapter 1.



The king’s high-handed disregard of the conservative opposition hardened the attitudes of the high nobility considerably. Eiler Bryske, for example, now switched sides and openly lamented the king’s programme of reclamation. Bryske had been driven from his own fief of Lundenæs by Tyge Krabbe and ever since pursued an aggressive policy towards the rebels[9]. However, he also remained a committed champion of the privileges of his estate and one might well speculate whether the June negotiations had not made the 40-something years old knight regret his previous loyalty to the king. Joining Bryske was also Jens Andersen Beldenak, the low-born bishop of Odense. Beldenak’s father had been a cobbler from Northern Jutland and his sudden alliance with the councilar aristocracy bore an uncanny resemblance to that of Birger Gunnersen a decade earlier. However, unlike the late archbishop, Beldenak lacked the gravitas, diplomatic skill and high-office to successfully weld the fragmented opposition groups into a coherent front. Besides, his own desire to safeguard the traditional independence of the church was deeply resented by both a society wholeheartedly set on reform and an archbishop beholden to the crown.

When the matter of the Royal Tax was brought up again in private negotiations between the king and the council at the Viborg episcopal palace, Eiler Bryske and the bishop of Odense consequently joined other disgruntled traditionalists in a forceful declaration that the restored peace and tranquillity of the realm entirely depended on the king’s respect of his accession charter. If he did not, they would neither accept the proposed plan for financial reconstruction nor contribute to the measure of extraordinary taxation. The opposition knew full well that they would have to make certain concessions, but they were not prepared to let the king ride complete roughshod over their ancient privileges. Gravely, Beldenak reminded the king[10] that his power was temporal - in the inherent meaning of the word. He would, in due course, pass from the world, and his authority return to its source - the council of the realm, the eternal representatives of the Danish realm’s sovereignty. If he would not heed their advice, the bishop continued, then his councillors would have to act in the best interest of the “... free and elective realm of Denmark.”

It was a threat as markedly dramatic and pompous as it was hollow. The Ducal Feud had exposed the flaws of the monarchia mixta by proving that any constitutional disagreement could only be settled through violence. Seen in this perspective, the Gottorpian crisis had been little more than a legal debate, albeit one causing a fair bit more bloodshed than a contemporary courtroom scuffle. As such, the moment Christian II sentenced Predbjørn Podebusk to death on the field of Hillerslev, the executioner’s sword had not only smitten off the head of the preeminent Lord Declarent, but also that of the entire constitutional system.

The foolhardy stubbornness of the council-constitutionalists finally convinced the king to break the stalemate by force. As the two sides withdrew for the evening, Christian II confided in Søren Norby that he was determined to “... take hold of the obstinate lords by the scruff of their necks.”[11] We know now that the broad outlines of the royal programme for the Viborg Diet had been planned months in advance by the king and his supporters, but it is indisputable that the most radical points were only finalised the night before the fateful Tuesday meeting of the 26th of June.

When the two sides reconvened in the morning, Bryske, Beldenak and the other members of the opposition must have noted upon arrival, that the gateway to the bishop’s palace was guarded by a substantial amount of liveried men-at-arms. Paying it little mind, they entered the council hall where they found the room cleared, with the king seated on a dias, attended to by his chief generals Anders Bille, Henrik Gøye, Søren Norby and Otte Krumpen. Just below the king, Hans Mikkelsen, Christiern Pedersen and Mogens Gøye sat at attention behind a long wooden table. Along the galleries, other representatives of the Estates stood waiting whilst the walls were lined with royal halberdiers dressed in “... bright breastplates and plumes of scarlet and gold.”




Saint Helena Before the Pope by Bernard van Orley, ca. 1525. In what many art historians have described as van Orley’s pièce de résistance, Queen Elisabeth is depicted as the beatified mother of Constantine the Great, while her husband, Christian II, takes on the role of the supreme emperor. The Danish flag is featured prominently, being held aloft by a young squire immediately behind the king, whilst, in the background the Dannebrog is also flown by a large host of soldiers.



As the traditionalists filed in, Hans Mikkelsen rose to greet them and declared that the king had charged him, in his capacity as Master Secretary, with reading the crown’s final reply to their demands.

Essentially, Mikkelsen summarised, the main issue dividing the two parties was the question of rights and restrictions as stipulated in the accession charter. All other disputes stemmed from this great matter. The opposition simply refused to accept the king’s position, because they based their argument on the legal stipulations of the charter and the restrictions it placed on the royal executive. However, Mikkelsen then stated, the charter was no just legal document and its stipulations therefore void since “... the council of Denmark’s realm cannot document their right to election other than to the time after Queen Margaret’s death: In all chronicles before her, the succession is no different than being hereditary.”[12]

The cause of the political impasse, indeed the very cause of the “poisoned time” had, in the king’s mind, to be found in this deviation from the God-given, natural order of government. Peace and stability did therefore not hinge on a return to the tried and failed system of the monarchia mixta, but rather depended on “... such a state of governance,[13] and God’s word, amongst the people, who teach them how to obey their authorities in honour and devotion, then - without a doubt - will in Denmark be a long lasting peace and harmonious love.”[14]

By all accounts, the entire council hall held its breath as the king’s burgher enforcer directly addressed his sovereign, imploring him to “... on the welfare of Your Grace and Your Grace’s children and that of all Danishmen to receive the realm as a hereditary monarch and as such a prince act with grace and mercy.”[15]

Rising from his seat, Christian II in turn asked his chief commanders if they would be prepared to defend his rights as a hereditary monarch. In response all four knelt, drew their swords and placed them at their sovereign’s feet. At this show of fealty some of those present broke into cheers, but Bryske and Beldenak defiantly began to protest the legality of the proceedings, being joined by a large amount of their followers. Immediately thereafter, the doors to the council hall swung open and a troop of men-at-arms entered, seized the two prominent council-constitutionalists and dragged them from the room.

As the scuffle died down, it was Mogens Gøye’s turn to rise and proclaim to the assembly that “... he who will concur with his royal majesty and the above councillors of war, shall have his safety assured, but he who will not, he shall also be seized.” Supposedly, Henrik Gøye, the Steward of the Realm’s younger brother, then quipped to the king that he thought that the other delegates “... would after all quite willingly kiss the rod.”[16]

Apocryphal or not, the statement made by the younger Gøye proved to be correct. When Christiern Pedersen also rose and promised the undying fidelity of the Danish church, the remaining opposition quite simply folded in on itself. Emerging from the episcopal palace, the king proceeded to Viborg’s Cathedral square, where the remaining delegates of the Estates had been summoned. The archbishop now declared that the council of the realm had offered the king to receive the crown as a hereditary monarch and granted him provision to create “... a lasting and loveable concordant and just governance that might solve this difficult time and advance, defend and exalt the realm of Denmark in perpetuity.”

In the modern literature there has been a tendency to portray the “altercation of state” of 1523 as a prime example of “... a conventional alliance between prince and pleb.” Still, such a reading ignores the fact that the altercation happened with the blessing of the most senior members of both the Lords Temporal and Spiritual. Without the crucial support of Mogens Gøye and the church, the king would simply not have had the political muscle needed to force through his dearest ambition - the destruction of the councilar restraints on the crown and the Oldenburg dynasty.

Besides, to contemporaries, hereditary monarchy did not necessarily mean absolute monarchy. It is quite evident that Mogens Gøye and his confederates fully expected to continue to play an important part in the governance of the realm. In this regard, the Viborg Altercation suddenly appears as a far less radical break with tradition.

Nevertheless, as Christian II accepted the acclamation of a thousand delegates, their right hands raised in homage, there could be little doubt as to who ruled the realm. In the subservient words of Matthias Gabler, the king received his unbound crown as “... a Hyperborean Constantine, shining bright with the image of threefold scepters, shadowing the names and deeds of other princes.[17]








[1]From an OTL 1521 poem in Latin by Gabler titled “Matthias Gabler Greets the Marvelous Christernus, the Danes’ Famous and Invincible King

[2]Known in Danish as Hærvejen and in German as the Ochsenweg, the Oxen Road was the primary overland trade artery of the Jutland peninsula.

[3]The term Estates General is my own rendering of the Danish political institution of stændermøde (literally Meeting of the Estates). Up until this point, the Estates General was very rarely called and only so, when one of the parties to governance (crown or nobility) sought to legitimise certain, and often controversial political propositions. It was also a rather large event. At the OTL meeting in 1536 some 1200 people showed up.

[4]Quote from Poul Helgesen’s 1534 chronicle, originally referring to the spread of Lutheranism from Viborg.

[5]From an OTL statement made by the representatives of the lower gentry during the accession charter negotiations of 1513. The original transcript reads: “... at Danmarckis rigæ ær it frit kaare riigæ, oc hwad anfalldt eller feide som kommer paa Danmarckis riigæ, tha ære wii thee som thet skall affwerie…”

[6]In contemporary sources only nobles were referred to as being free (i.e. free from taxation). Commoners and peasants were all, conversely, considered to have been born unfree - tied to the jurisdiction and protection of their betters.

[7]The same term was applied to the taxes levied by Frederick I in 1524, which immediately resulted in a peasant rising in Scania.

[8]A slightly rewritten quote by Christian II from 1520 where he noted that the campaign against Sten Sture had not been won thanks to the Swedes, but in the face of their opposition.

[9]As mentioned in Chapter 15, he had suggested burning rebel towns to the ground.

[10]Jens Andersen Beldenak was an eminent scholar of the law - especially canonical law. In OTL he had an even more tumultuous relationship with the king and spent several years imprisoned under harsh conditions. Still, he was brought to Sweden after the surrender of Stockholm and was the main legal expert who “proved” that Sweden had always been a hereditary monarchy. He also presided over the ecclesiastical court that convicted the pardoned Sture rebels of heresy, thereby giving the Stockholm Bloodbath a thin veneer of legality.

[11]A slightly rewritten OTL quote from 1536 used to describe the arrest and deposition of the Catholic bishops by Christian III.

[12]From a letter to Christian II from Hans Mikkelsen, dated 10/8 1526. The original reads: “... aldring kand Danmarcks riiges raad lengere proscribere theres vtuellelsse end siden dronning Margretes död; alle krönicker fore henne findes thet icke anderledes end til arff...”

[13]I.e. the hereditary monarchy.

[14]From the same letter. The original reads: “… thet soo kommer vti sijn stadt igen, och guds ord kommer eblandt folcket, som lerer thennom, huorledes thee skulle holle theres offuerighed vti ere oc elsskelighed, thaa vden ald twiffwel bliffuer vti Danmarck en languoverende friid och endrechtig kerlighet.”

[15]Ibid. Slightly rewritten and condensed. The original reads: “… paa ethers nades oc börns lange bestand og velffartter, sammeledes alle dansskemends, at ethers nade [...] anammer riiget ighen som en arff konge, och thennom, som sodant ville göre at beuise nade och barmhertighet.”

[16]Both this quote and the one above made by Mogens Gøye are taken from an OTL report written by the admiral Johann von Pein to his master, Albert duke of Prussia, detailing the events surrounding the arrest of the Danish Catholic bishops in 1536.

[17]An amalgamation of various verses from the poem referred to in footnote 1.
 
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Huzzah, an update!
Wonderful writing on the necessity of having the support of the Church, Catholic or Protestant, in Medieval and Early Modern secular politics. Too often is the Church thought of as having been the powerless institution it is today.
 
Glad to see this back! Looks like Christian has finally broken the backs of the conservative nobility. Will Norway cause any trouble or have they already been politically broken to the will of the crown?
 
Wow, that map compared to Chapter 1 shows that Christian II has, if nothing else done a great job of expanding his long-term financial position - the decline in service fiefs and other less-profitable (to the crown) landholdings is a massive boon to the state, I expect. But it's also a great indication of how far the Danish crown (much less the rest of their union) has to go before they reach full absolutism.

Apologies if this is answered somewhere, but what are the odds that an account-fief holder gets to transfer their holding on to their children?
 
To show the divergence from OTL I am quoting "Denmark, 1513-1660: the rise and decline of a renaissance monarchy".

In the period 1559–88, the proportion of account fiefs fell from 76 per cent to 49 per cent, a decrease of around 35 per cent. During the same period, fiefs held on terms that favoured the fiefholder over the king—‘fee fiefs’ (afgiftslen), in which the fiefholder paid a flat fee to the king, and ‘free fiefs’ (fri len), from which the king received nothing—increased dramatically in number: by 200 per cent for the former and 50 per cent for the latter. Perhaps Frederik was purchasing the loyalty of his Council, but in a respectable and traditional manner
Furthermore, hereditary monarchy in OTL was approved only in 1660!

This new monarchy has far more political and economic power than its OTL counterpart and we are currently only in 1523.
 
Huzzah, an update!
Wonderful writing on the necessity of having the support of the Church, Catholic or Protestant, in Medieval and Early Modern secular politics. Too often is the Church thought of as having been the powerless institution it is today.
Glad to hear that you liked it! And indeed, the Church was an important institution at this point in history, even though Danish society was experiencing an upturn in anti-clericalism. It'll be interesting to dive into the Reformation, especially since I haven't made up my mind as to how Christian II would react to the spread of Lutheranism. Poul Helgesen wrote in OTL that the "poison of Lutheranism seeped through Jutland in all places" so it most certainly would have to be addressed.

Glad to see this back! Looks like Christian has finally broken the backs of the conservative nobility. Will Norway cause any trouble or have they already been politically broken to the will of the crown?
Constitutionally speaking, Norway was a hereditary monarchy. It also did not possess a strong nobility and as such was a rather meek dominion. However, it is still very much considered its own kingdom, unlike OTL where it was reduced to an outright dependency/province after the Count's Feud.

Hell yeah!!!! glad to see it up and running.
I'm happy to hear so :)

It’s finally back! And worth the wait! :D
Thank you!

Wow, that map compared to Chapter 1 shows that Christian II has, if nothing else done a great job of expanding his long-term financial position - the decline in service fiefs and other less-profitable (to the crown) landholdings is a massive boon to the state, I expect. But it's also a great indication of how far the Danish crown (much less the rest of their union) has to go before they reach full absolutism.

Apologies if this is answered somewhere, but what are the odds that an account-fief holder gets to transfer their holding on to their children?
With the altercation complete, only Sweden retains a veneer of being a free elective monarchy. Although this is undermined by the acclamation of prince Hans as prince-elect and the surrender of Stockholm as a hereditary royal possession.

As for inheriting fiefs, it was practically unheard of. Enfeoffment was based on service to the crown (or by lending money to the privy purse) and was as such very much tied to the individual. We do find examples of sons/heirs (and even widows) being enfeoffed with their relatives' charges (or at least the income), but as a rule fiefs were not passed down through specific families.

This new monarchy has far more political and economic power than its OTL counterpart and we are currently only in 1523.
Indeed, but bear in mind that the increase of pledge/rent/service fees in the period you mentioned have quite a bit to do with the Nordic Seven Years War where the king needed extreme amounts of funds to finance the war against Sweden.

Still, the crown is in a very good position as you noted. I'm still not sure exactly how the system of governance would be designed (there would still be some kind of royal council), but that would probably be a bit too geeky to describe in detail. :coldsweat:
 
It's Back! :love:

So, Christian has done it. I think it is safe to say that Christian has gotten himself over the hump. Not to say that it will be anything approaching easy from this point, but I think one can say that Christian's job by this point is just to not mess it up. If he can honestly just preserve the gains he's made here with Sweden and Denmark, he'll arguably leave the Oldenburg monarchy in a better position than it likely ever was in history. He basically pushed Denmark a century forward in relation to OTL, and he'll have combined the resources of Sweden and Denmark and have negated the massive amount of resources each country spent fighting the other in OTL.

Honestly, I'd say Christian being satisfied with these gains and laying back to put the kingdom on better financial footing through several decades of peace would be smart. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that's Christian's style. I suspect he'll at least poke his nose into the religious stuff (the Diet of Speyer is coming up), press a few more claims in North America, and probably start to see if he can spread his influence in Livonia.

As for that map...You know you're reading a good story when you see a fief map like that, quickly go back to the first, and lay back with a feeling of genuine pride and accomplishment with Christian. Good job.
 
Doesn't really need to say this, going to say it anyway, this is a great timeline in all aspects, it's a enjoyment to read, incrtedible well researched and very exciting.

Glad to hear that you liked it! And indeed, the Church was an important institution at this point in history, even though Danish society was experiencing an upturn in anti-clericalism. It'll be interesting to dive into the Reformation, especially since I haven't made up my mind as to how Christian II would react to the spread of Lutheranism. Poul Helgesen wrote in OTL that the "poison of Lutheranism seeped through Jutland in all places" so it most certainly would have to be addressed.
I would say that Christian II doesn't need to be a early adopter, if he decides to tolerate the early Protestant, while not official adopting the faith, he can wait until the 1540ties to take a decision, he could also stay official Catholic his entire life and let his heir decides. But if persecute the Lutherans it will likely result in a less elegant solution. In fact the nobles could use that as a tool to weaken royal power, with the nobility claiming the right to choose confession on their own estates. In the long run that will likely result in a mess where the Scandinavian nobles (while the German ones end up Lutherans) end up as reformed and their peasants end up reformed too and the burghers and landowning peasant going Protestant too, with only the royal peasantry and the Norwegians staying Catholic. That would lead to some ugly conflicts down the road, where bughers and nobles end up allied to each other. He also risk that the nobles will use this as a tool to make the fiefs heritable.

Still, the crown is in a very good position as you noted. I'm still not sure exactly how the system of governance would be designed (there would still be some kind of royal council), but that would probably be a bit too geeky to describe in detail. :coldsweat:
We're on AH.com nothing is too nerdy.
 
Honestly, I'd say Christian being satisfied with these gains and laying back to put the kingdom on better financial footing through several decades of peace would be smart. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that's Christian's style. I suspect he'll at least poke his nose into the religious stuff (the Diet of Speyer is coming up), press a few more claims in North America, and probably start to see if he can spread his influence in Livonia.
I would argue against involvement in Livonia, at least for now (1520s). It seems to me that Livonia was relatively stable under the rule of von Plettenberg, so I don't think there is an opening for intervention. Of course, soft power and influence is a different thing altogether.

This timeline is really stimulating to consider butterflies and effects. I am trying to think how a danish Calmar Union king would view his strategic position. If there is no hostile Sweden to worry about, I think there are two important policy aspects: a) The establishment of a "dominium maris baltici" by total control of the trade via the danish straits and b) increasing his influence in the HRE as a Reichsfurst. I view these two foreign policy aspects closely linked by the need to destroy Hansa and control trade. I would argue that the common denominator is not Lubeck but Hamburg. Lubeck has been humbled and in any case its wealth comes from trade, either through the danish straits or with Hamburg via a canal. The danish straits seem to be firmly under royal authority, with an expanding fleet and talented Norby in command. That leaves Hamburg as the most important Hansa city. Hamburg controlled the Norwegian timber and fish trades and had an unofficial monopoly on Icelandic commerce. Moreover, it controlled the north german commerce (Luneburg-Hannover, Brandenburg, even Saxony), while its canal connection to Lubeck was the only alternative route of the baltic trade.

I have been the "Denmark, 1513-1660: The Rise and Decline of a Renaissance Monarchy", a most interesting book. There I read something I didn't knew: the effort various danish kings spent on directly controlling Hamburg. According to the book, Frederick II "near the end of his days planned to lay claim to Hamburg as a personal possession, by force if need be. Only his death prevented the plan from going forward". Christian IV sought to levy tolls on the Elbe trade by building Glückstadt.

The construction of Glückstadt gradually reduced maritime traffic between Hamburg and the North Sea to a trickle, and Hamburg surrendered its sovereignty to him in
June 1621. Christian, however, stopped short of war with the Hanseatic towns, individually or collectively; he was satisfied with harassing them, and in this he seems to have taken great pleasure. The Hanse could do little more than whine in protest.
...
In 1643 he put Hamburg under a naval blockade, ultimately compelling the town—once again—to submit to Danish suzerainty.
Another interesting fact that I read in the book, was the danish policy towards the bishoprics of Bremen and Verden. Their strategic position between the Weser and the Elbe made the bishoprics a prime prize for younger sons. Christian III sought to secure Bremen for his younger brother Frederick, but his death prevented it. Christian IV "through bribery, threats of force, and skilful negotiation, he secured for Frederik the coadjutorships of Bremen (1621) and Verden (1623), as well as the post of bishop-administrator of Halberstadt (1624)."

So, between Hamburg and the Sound, Denmark could completely control all trade of both the Baltic and north Germany. Its influence over the HRE princes including two Electors (Brandenbrug and Saxony) would soar. If Bremen and the Weser estuary are also controlled by the Oldenburgs, said influence sphere would include even Hesse.

Here is a map of the HRE before the 1648 changes. I think it is (somewhat) close to the 1520s empire.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/Map_of_the_Holy_Roman_Empire_(1618)_-_DE.svg
 
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I would also imangie they might try to further control over Sweden and Norway aka integration
Probably depends on when collecting crowns go out of fashion, rather wanting a single big one (say about the same the Castillian/Aragaonese PU turned into a Spanish crown).

But i could see it happening as part of a gambit as to promote Scandinavia as the 'Emperor of Protestantism' or some sort if Butterflies doesn't remove the War of Religion in Northern HRE
 
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