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

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Milites, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 6: For the Good of Yourself and Your Children

    Milites Not a sahib

    May 16, 2011
    In the shade of the Buland Darwaza
    Chapter 6
    For the Good of Yourself and Your Children

    Vi ere tilsinds, at ville have det til en endelig Ende med denne lange og svare Feide, som os og de Svenske mellem er, og agte derfor med Guds Hjælp udi vor egen Person at drage ind i Sverrig med al den Magt, vi kunne afstæd komme. Al vor og Rigets høieste Velfærd hænger paa dette Tog.”

    We are of a mind to seek a final solution to this prolonged and severe feud, which is being waged between us and the Swedes, therefore it is our intention, with the help of God, in our own person to enter into Sweden with all the might we can muster. The entire welfare of ourselves and the realm depend on this campaign.

    - Letter from Christian II to Eske Bille, 13th of June 1518

    Even though the murder of Gustav Trolle was not widely mourned in Sweden, the archbishop’s death put the Sture government in a thoroughly difficult position. Albeit the Lord Steward had not directly ordered the slaying of Trolle, there was widespread suspicion that the Younger Sture had had a Henry II moment during the last stages of the siege of Almarestäket. Any implication in the murder of an archbishop would be disastrous for the Lord Steward, as it would leave him open to persecution from the church and lend credit to the cause of his opponents. Consequently, the Sture Party desperately sought to distance itself from the murder. A few peasants were arrested at the scene of the murder and sent to Stockholm in chains, but this desperate act did little to remove the taint of suspicion. However, the stalking-horse behind which the Stures sought to hide themselves was too thinly built and did not result in averting scandal. If anything it weakened the party’s otherwise considerable support amongst the commoners in Dalarna and Uppland.

    Furthermore, the provisional archbishop of Uppsala, Hemming Gadh, was a well known Sture partisan and as such, his assurances that the Lord Steward had no hand in his predecessor’s murder were hardly convincing. The remaining Swedish bishops had fled Stockholm after the Riksdag of 1517 and sought sanctuary within their own castlets and to drag them from their manor houses would only enforce Lord Sten’s growing reputation as an enemy of the church. The other Scandinavian archbishops of Trondheim and Lund were either Christian II’s men like Erik Valkendorf or staunch proponents of the church’s sovereignty like Birger Gunnersen. Either way, to Sten Sture, it must have been as if it would only be a matter of time before his excommunication became fact.

    In order to counter these grave threats, the Lord Steward needed ecclesiastical support from a comparative if not higher standing. Luckily for the Younger Sture, the perfect candidate had arrived in Stockholm from Copenhagen in early 1518. Giovannangelo Arcimboldi[2], legate and special envoy of Pope Leo X, had travelled North to peddle indulgences.​


    Wood-cutting illustration by Hans Holbein ca. 1524 showing Pope Clemens VII as a trader in indulgences. The sale of indulgences had by the turn of the 15th century become a thriving business and a major source of income for the Catholic Church.

    Arcimboldi, originally a minor Milanese clergyman, was a thoroughbred sycophant well versed in the cloak and dagger schemes of the late renaissance papal court, but he had found little support for his business at the court of Christian II. The king’s convictions mirrored those of the humanist thinker Erasmus and as such, the legate’s endeavours had been largely fruitless, some of his pamphlets even being confiscated and burned in the courtyard of Copenhagen castle[3].

    In Sweden, however, Arcimboldi found the Lord Steward far more receptive and was even given passports for his servants so they could travel to Finland and expand the trade. Thus it came to pass that the papal legate soon devoted himself wholly to the Sture cause. This, the Younger Sture accomplished by dangling the vacant archiepiscopal see of Uppsala in front of the fiercely ambitious Italian. At first glance, it appeared to be a sound tactical move, but to put the mitre of Sweden’s most hallowed ecclesiastical office on the brow of a foreigner was a deeply controversial act, which infuriated the higher nobility. Worst of all, Sir Hemming Gadh, the bypassed archbishop of Uppsala, left Stockholm in anger, vowing to defend his country in the field.

    Arcimboldi’s own entourage was deeply troubled by his negotiations with the Lord Steward and his principal secretary, a Westphalian clergyman named Didrik Slagheck[4], subsequently fled Stockholm with a considerable amount of his master’s revenue and records. In Copenhagen, Slagheck was received warmly and commended for his actions by the king’s chancellor, Ove Bille, who tasked him to return to Rome as an envoy of Christian II in order to counter the machinations of his previous superior.

    If the response to Trolle’s murder had resulted in little more than a cautious growl amongst Sweden’s bishops, the reply from Denmark and Norway had the force of a tornado. The venerable archbishop of Lund, Birger Gunnersen, rose to the occasion with gusto, all hatred of Christian II’s transgressions against the Norwegian church forgotten. Gravely as the imprisonment of the bishop of Hamar might have been, the slaying of a prince of the church was a capital sin with a capital s, and as the primate of Sweden it was Gunnersen’s duty to ensure that the murderers were punished. Consequently, when Christian II’s emissaries arrived at the Cathedral Chapter of Lund, they found the usually pugnacious archbishop remarkably pliable. Birger Gunnersen had already composed a letter of excommunication addressed to the people of Sweden, wherein he declared that:​

    Vi Byrge med Gyds Naade, Erchebisp udi Lund, Sueriges Første och Paffvens Legat. Hilse edir alle verdige Faedre, Biscoper [...] Strenge oc aedle Riddere oc gode Maend, Sverigis Rigis Raad, menige Prelater oc Clericie… oc menige Almue [...] vi kundgiøre obenbare Steen Svantessøn Ridder med sine Tilhengere oc medfølgere udi den hellige Kirckis [...] oc Paffvens Band oc andre Piner oc Kirckens Strengheder for den obenbare Bands gierning hand haffver med Vaaben oc Verie feydet,forfuld oc miurdet [..] verdige Fader Her Gustaff Erchebisp udi Vpsalle, paa hans oc Domkirckens Slaat Steckit...”

    We, Birger, by the grace of God archbishop of Lund, papal as well as first legate of Sweden, greets all you noble fathers, bishops, strict and noble knights and noblemen, the council of the Swedish realm, prelates and clergy... and the common people [...] We publicly proclaim that the knight Steen Svantesson[5] alongside his partisans and supporters are put under the Pope’s and the Holy Church’s ban[6] and other strict penalties on account of the obvious crime of having by force of arms and panoply feuded, persecuted and murdered[7] [...] the just father, sir Gustav, archbishop of Uppsala at his and his archbishopric’s castle of Almarestäket...


    Drawing of Birger Gunnersen’s sarcophagus in Lund Cathedral showing a sculpture of the archbishop by the Westphalian artist Adam van Düren. On his left, the archbishop’s crosier is depicted whilst on his right his primate’s cross is seen. It was in his capacity as primate of Scandinavia that Gunnersen effectuated the excommunication of the Sture Party.

    To Christian II, Gunnersen’s bull of excommunication was a heaven-sent propaganda coup. The royal printing works immediately began mass producing copies of the archbishop’s letter, which in turn were distributed to the fief-holders in the Scanian provinces for further publication across the Dano-Swedish border. Likewise, Swedish pilgrims returning from the shrine of St. Olaf in Trondheim were equipped with prints of the bull, thereby spreading the news throughout the northernmost part of Sweden.

    However, the Oldenburg claim to the Swedish throne could not only rest on the cause of avenging the Sture Party’s crimes against the Church. Christian II might have used the bull of excommunication as an excuse to invade Sweden in the guise of the temporal authority’s avenging arm, but if he hoped to secure his succession to the throne, he needed to soothe the populace. Under the auspices of chancellor Bille and the burgher mayors of Helsingborg and Copenhagen, a manifesto was drafted which would outline the king’s plans for maintaining his hold over the eastern part of the Kalmar Union. The royal proclamation was a curious mix of threats and promises, but the overall theme was the constitutional mandate Christian II had to the Swedish throne as a result of the 1512 Peace of Malmø.​

    Vi Christen med Gudz Naade, Danmarckis, Norgis, Vendis oc Gottis Konning, Vdvald Konning til Sverig […] giører alle vitterligt, at som menoge Sveriges Rigis Indbyggare endrecteligen kaaret oc keyst os for en veldig Herre oc Konning at vaere offver Sverigis Rige [...] Derimod haffver her Steen Svantessen [...] veldeligen holdit os faare Sverigis Rige, mod Gudz skiel oc Raetferdighet, oc dertil haffver belagt, bestoldit og miurdet paa den hellige Kirckis Slaat Steckit en vied Crismed Sverigis Riges Erchebisp[8].

    For saadan Wchristelige Misgierninger, som hand mod Gud, den hellige Kircke oc os giort oc bedreffvit haffver oc end ydermere acter at giøre, acter vi med Gudz hiep oc med Sverigis Vold oc Mact at komme til Sverigis Rige [...] oc derpaa haffver vi nu udsend til Sverigis Rige oc Findland imod vore Fiender oc Vvenner it merckeligt Tall Krigsfolck, Indlendisk oc Vdlendiske, tilbørligen at straffe dem, som udi Riiget opsaette sig mot os.”

    Thi bede vi oc strengelig biude alle som bygge oc bo udi Sverige, Findland… oc fuldkommelig raade, at i nu strax giffver eder til os som til eders rette kaarne Herre oc Konning. Vi ville holde eder alle ved S. Erick Konnings Low oc Ret oc gode gamle Sedvaner...[*]... ath wij skulle holle oc styrcke christendomen vdi en cristelig tro, som erlige oc christelige förster vdi fordwms tid giort hatfue, oc icke andet tilstede, en som den menige christelige kirke oc Rommere stoel i fordwm tid holdet oc beslwttet halfue.”

    “... Jtem skulle wij holle menige ridderskabet ved alle deris friheder oc preuilegier oc ved gudz oc Suerigis lag oc gode gamble seduaner, nydendis deris gotz arifue oc eyedem (sic) som redeligt оc börligt er....”

    “... Jtem skulle wij holle alle Suerigis rigis köpsteder oc köbstedzuiend, tesligest menige bönder oc almue, ved deris friheieder oc preuilegier oc ved gudz oc Suerigis lag oc ret oc gode gamble cristelige seduaner…[**]”

    Thi lader det ingenlunde, saa framt i ville vide eders oc eders Børns Beste oc Bistand.[*]”

    "We Christian, by the grace of God, king of Denmark, Norway, the Wends and the Goths, elected king of Sweden [...] hereby proclaim, that the common people of Sweden in unison has chosen and elected us as a mighty lord and king over the Swedish realm [...] against this Sir Steen Svantesen [...] has violently kept us from the realm of Sweden against God’s decision and justice and in addition to this has besieged, robbed and murdered on the Holy Church’s castle of Almarestäket the consecrated and anointed archbishop of Sweden[8].

    On account of these unchristian misdeeds which he has committed against God, the Holy Church and ourselves and those he yet plans to commit, we are of a mind to, with the help of God and Sweden’s power and might, to enter the realm of Sweden [...] and therefore we have now dispatched to the Swedish realm and Finland, against our foes and enemies, a great amount of soldiers, native as well as foreign, to punish those in the realm who would defy us.

    Thus we ask and strictly command all the inhabitants of Sweden and Finland… to immediately accept us as your rightly chosen Lord and King. We shall govern you all by the law of St. Erik and the customs of old...[*]... we promise to protect and strengthen Christendom and the Christian faith as honest and religious princes have done in the past, and not to diverge from the decisions of the common Christian Church and the Roman See.


    Likewise, we shall preserve the freedoms and privileges of the common knighthood by the law of God and St. Erik as well as the customary practices, they shall enjoy their inheritance, lands and property as is just and proper.


    Likewise we shall preserve the rights of Sweden’s market towns and its citizens, just as we shall preserve the liberties and privileges of the common peasantry as they are kept by God’s and Sweden’s law and justice and the good old Christian customary practices[**].


    This we bid you do for the good of yourself and your children[*]."

    Christian II’s banner of conquest thus carried two pennants: The temporal authority’s duty to protect
    the Church and his lawful selection as chosen heir to the Swedish throne.

    To enforce his claim to the throne the king issued a call to arms throughout his domains. Peasants were either levied or forced to pay a fee to avoid the summons in all the provinces of the Danish realm, just like the noble cavalry was rallied from Jutland to Scania. To augment his forces, a concerted effort was made to recruit mercenary troops from the continent, especially northern Germany. Furthermore, a treaty of friendship was signed with the new king of France, Francis I, which allowed for a contingent of French soldiers, veterans from the Battle of Marignano, to join the king’s host. However, attempts to to recruit highland troops for the campaign stranded on the continued disturbances between Albany and the dowager queen Mary[9].

    The arrival of the French auxiliaries in the early summer of 1518 would be of tremendous importance for the conduct of the campaign. Ordnance foundries in Copenhagen and Helsingborg had been hard at work producing heavy artillery pieces, with nicknames such as the Nightingale, the Songstress or the Knife. The foundries were highly commended in the reports of the French ambassador, the Baron de Coulonces. From these efforts a mobile artillery regiment soon arose, staffed by Danish soldiers, but under the command of the renowned French gunners[10].

    Preparations were further aided by the fact that Emperor Maximilian had finally issued a strict order to the Hansa, prohibiting them from aiding the king’s enemies in his just cause of chastising the Sture heretics. Christian II’s uncle, Frederick the duke of Holstein, also consented to aid his nephew by dispatching a cavalry contingent under the command of his trusted adviser Johan Rantzau.​


    The Siege of the City of Alesia
    Melchior Feselen, 1533. Feselen’s depiction of Caesar’s victory over the Gauls makes up for its lack of historical realism in its excellent detail of early 16th century warfare. In front, Roman troops cast as Imperial Landsknechts battle the Gaulish forces in the guise of French and Ottoman soldiers. In the background, the city of Alesia is under siege by Imperial artillery with various types of pieces being shown. Christian II’s army would make great use of its own nascent artillery regiments, aided and commanded by French specialists.

    By the autumn of 1518, Christian II had amassed a magnificent force of close to 20.000 men, almost evenly split between foreign and native troops. A proposed naval attack on Stockholm was discarded as the death of Gustav Trolle meant that the expediency of a sea-borne rescue had disappeared[11]. Instead, it was agreed that a pincer attack would be attempted at the two strongest positions in southern Sweden - the fortresses of Kalmar and Älvsborg[12]. The navy, under Søren Norby, would meanwhile strike out from its base on Gotland and harrow the coasts of Småland and Öster Götland in order to draw off Swedish troops from the advance of the two Danish field armies.

    In the east, Henrik Krummedige, a seasoned military commander with more than 20 years of experience in the field[13], would lead the lion’s share of the army from its staging point at Varberg, where he served as fief-holder, against the border castle of Öresten while Johan Rantzau was to advance north through Halland and strike against the remains of Ävlsborg with his Holsteinian cavalry[14]. Karl Knutsson, recently appointed as fief-holder at Bohus castle, would then cross the Göta älv and join his Norwegian levies to the German horse. From there the two commanders were to seize the town of Nya Lödöse before marching east towards the northern tip of the Viskan river. To the east, a force of some 5000 levies and mercenaries was to advance on Kalmar under the command of Otte Krumpen[15]. After taking the fortress, they were to advance west and supervene with Krummedige’s army. Once joined, the combined host would initiate a direct assault on Jönköping, the chief financial and administrative junction of Sweden south of Lake Vättern.

    On the second of november, Krumpen led his army from its encampments at Lykø castle and advanced on Kalmar. Søren Norby struck down south from Visby and made landfall on Öland, where his marines and mercenaries took the strongly fortified, but weakly manned castle of Borgholm in a surprise attack before exposing the hinterland to all the horrors of early modern warfare. From his battlements, the castellan at Kalmar, Johan Monsson of the House of Natt och Dag, could observe the ominous glow of the burning Öland countryside. No doubt remembering the ill fate of the garrison at Stegeholm, he desperately requested reinforcements from Lord Sten, who in turn made vague promises of a swift relief. However, the Danish army met little resistance on its march through south-eastern Småland and as such was able to invest the castle before the end of the month. The peasants in the hundreds surrounding the town and castle greeted the advancing army courteously, and upon hearing the king’s proclamation, a great many of the local aldermen willingly swore to accept Christian II as their king[16]. With the hinterland occupied by enemy forces and with Norby’s fleet anchored in Kalmar Sound, Monsson had little to no choice but to surrender.

    The news of the loss of Kalmar and Borgholm reached the Lord Steward at his mustering fields outside Eksjö in central Småland and immediately spread panic throughout the Swedish camp. It seemed as if all of the Kalmar hundreds might go over to Christian II if nothing was done to stop Krumpen’s advance. However, scouts were also reporting troop movements in Väster Götland and the sacking of several border castles. Taking one of his characteristic bold chances, the young Lord Sten rallied his 10.000 man strong army of Dalarna, Öster Götland and Småland levies and made a dash across the frozen Emån river. Making good use of the frost-hardened dirt roads the Sture army descended on Krumpen’s vanguard at the crossing of the Alsterån stream in the early hours of the 9th of December.

    Sten Sture the Younger led a charge of his heavy cavalry over the frozen waters, cutting a swathe through the first ranks of Danish levies. However, he was forced back by a counterattack headed by a contingent of pike-wielding German Landsknechts. Seeing the strength deployed against him, Otte Krumpen decided to withdraw from the field and retreat towards Kalmar. Unfortunately, the inexperienced Jutish and Scanian peasants at his flanks broke into a confused rout, mirroring the events at Vädla the year before. The Sture forces were, however, prevented from completely overrunning the Danish army by the Lord Steward’s timid decision to preserve his host. Suffering only minor losses, he had managed to stop any further incursion into Småland and forced Krumpen to withdraw to Kalmar, essentially securing his right flank for his riposte against the main Danish force marching into Väster Götland.


    The winter campaign of 1518/1519[17]. Full resolution here.

    Wheeling his army around, the Younger Sture set off to counter the second and larger Danish host to the west. With the advantage of campaigning on friendly ground, the Sture troops did not have to safeguard their lines of supply and as such made way at an impressive speed.

    Johan Rantzau’s cavalry corps had easily scattered a disorganised militia outside Älvsborg and linked up with Knutsson’s Norwegian infantry, subsequently fortifying the ruined castle. Their combined force of some 2000 men then went on to tax the town of Nya Lödöse. To the south, Henrik Krummedige’s main force crashed across the border from Varberg, sweeping the hastily assembled Västergöta levies off their path. Much like their compatriots in the Kalmar hundreds, the peasants of Väster Götland had been so disheartened by generations of continuous warfare that they offered little resistance to the invading Danes, but few outright heeded Christian II’s proclamation and acknowledged his claim. By the time of the Battle at Alsterån, Krummedige had reached the decrepit castle of Öresten, which fell after a short and uneventful siege. The castellan, Ture Jönsson, seeing the majority of his domains under the occupation of the king’s troops willingly bent the knee, being the first major Väster Göta nobleman to do so.

    As the Danish army fanned out with the Viskan and Ätran rivers on either flank, the road towards Jönköping narrowed at the southern tip of Lake Åsunden. In order to circumvent the lake any attacker would have to either take the castlet of Torpa to the north, or the fortress of Opensten to the east, but temperatures had fallen to such a degree that the waters of Åsunden had completely frozen, essentially giving the Danish commander the option of entirely bypassing the two strongholds. Nevertheless, Henrik Krummedige was loath to leave such a threat to his supply lines in his rear and as such camped his host between the two castles, hoping to take one after the other.

    Torpa, little more than a fortified manor house, fell after a short bombardment, but as the Danes were about to turn on Opensten, the Swedish army, somewhat fatigued but emboldened by their victory on Alsterån, arrived in force.

    Lord Sten’s valiant dash across Småland had already been widely praised in songs and it was widely expected in the Swedish peasant host that the Lord Steward would vanquish his enemies “... from sea to sea.” Having swung around Jönköping to rendezvous with the reformed Väster Göta levies, the Younger Sture commanded a force some 12.000 strong with a considerable cavalry corps, but no artillery[18]. Against him stood Krummedige’s army of an almost equal size, between 10 and 12.000 strong. However, a majority of the Danish army consisted of battle-hardened veterans from the Italian Wars, including the aforementioned French gunnery experts, which more than made up for any numerical disadvantage.


    Wood-cutting illustration from
    Der Weisskönig, ca. 1515 by Hans Burgmair, depicting a Landsknecht battle on a frozen lake. The hard winter of 1518/19 made it possible for both sides to make rapid advances through the otherwise difficult terrain of southern Sweden.

    On the crisp winter morning of the 5h of January 1519, the two armies arrayed before each other, the Swedes with their back to the frozen lake, the Danes to the immediate south. Command of the Sture centre was held by the Lord Steward, whilst the right and left flanks were held respectively by Sir Hemming Gadh and Sir Erik Abrahamsson Leijonhufvud[19]. Young Gustav Eriksson Vasa carried the colours of the Lord Steward’s office at the centre around which several other prominent Sture partisans flocked.

    Opposing them was Henrik Krummedige, who led the Danish van and centre comprised of a strong corps of Landsknecht infantry, where the rigsbanner, the Dannebrog, was carried by Sir Mogens Gyldenstjerne[20]. Sir Henrik Gøye, the brother of Christian II’s most powerful noble ally, held the left whilst the right was under the of command of Joakim Trolle. The king himself, having made good on his promise to personally participate in the invasion, commanded the reserves and the artillery.

    The battle began shortly after sunbreak with a shattering bombardment from the Danish batteries. As the guns fell silent, the Swedish peasantry recoiled from the shock, but the Lord Steward made a passionate ride along the lines, his brilliant Italianate armour shining in the sun, and managed to steady the line[21]. However, Krummedige now gave his infantry the order to advance and with a deafening rolling of the drums, the Landsknechts marched towards the enemy, a second barrage from the artillery covering their attack. As the front row of the German mercenaries discharged their muskets at the Swedes, the Landsknecht pikemen charged with the fearsome roar “... Away peasant! Away! The Lance comes, the Lance comes!” The two centres then became entangled in a gruesome melee, wherein the Swedish front line began to break. As Trolle and Gøye charged with their noble retainers, the Sture levies on either flank likewise began to give way, slowly driving the battle onto the frozen Lake Åsunden.

    In the horrifying brawl, Lord Sten was in the thick of fighting, striking down levies and Landsknechts alike from his pale grey destrier. The crossbow bolts were flying low and men were dying left and right, creating a dark stain of blood, guts and excrements on the otherwise virgin winter landscape. For a while the battle fluctuated between the two sides, but it became clear to to the Lord Steward that his men were about to be forced off the field. In a desperate attempt to sow confusion amongst the enemy ranks, Sten Sture set his sight upon the Danish main battle standard. However, Sir Gyldenstjerne was saved in the last minute by the timely arrival of Sir Henrik Gøye’s young squire, Peder Skram[22], who shoved his glaive into the abdomen of Lord Sten’s mount. The Younger Sture was thrown from his horse, but otherwise unharmed as his sworn men rushed to his side, covering him with their shields. However, news of his fall quickly spread throughout the army, which finally tipped the scales in favour of the king’s men. First, Hemming Gadh’s Dalarna troops on the Swedish right routed, leaving the aged commander to be captured by the onrushing Danes. Then, the centre fled with the Lord Steward at its head. Leijonhufvud’s men had managed to keep the Danish noble retainers and men-at-arms opposing them at bay, but his corps was dangerously close to being encircled as the centre and right broke. He managed, however, to withdraw with a good portion of his men in some semblance of order, owing in no small part to the fact that the king, seeing the day being his, ordered Joakim Trolle to refrain from pursuing the retreating Swedes[23].

    The Battle of Åsunden, had finally come to a close after only a few short hours worth of brutal fighting. It is difficult to ascertain a convincing casualty figure, but the fighting strength of the Sture host was halved, indicating a loss of between 5-6000 men, the vast majority of which being peasants deserting the defeated army. Conversely, Danish losses are easier to calculate: 800 Landsknechts and a compatible number of levies fell. It was, however, a great victory, but not a decisive one. It was a start, but the Lord Steward remained alive and the power of the Swedish realm north of the great lakes had yet to be extinguished.

    [1] This happened in OTL as well. The pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Olav was one of the most popular in Scandinavia during the late middle ages.

    [2] This is also OTL and a rather bizarre event, IMHO.

    [3] Also OTL.

    [4] Slagheck played a prominent role in OTL where he rose to high office after his betrayal of Arcimboldi. This was a result of his close alliance with Sigbrit Willoms, who in TTL doesn’t appear at Christian II’s court. In our time, Slagheck played a prominent role in orchestrating the Stockholm Bloodbath and was a part of the troika governing Sweden after Christian II left the country after his 1520 conquest. By his misrule he was partly to blame for the success of Gustav Vasa’s uprising.

    [5]Sten Sture the Younger

    [6]To put under the ban, as in anathematize/excommunicate

    [7]This is the OTL bull of excommunication. The only addition I’ve made is the “...miurdet/murdered” part.

    [8]This is a combination of two different letters penned by Christian II at various times of his life. The first part, which I marked as [*] is from his OTL declaration to the Swedish people before his first invasion, dated 2nd of July 1517. The only alteration I’ve added is the “...miurdet/murdered” part. The second part, marked as [**], is from a proclamation to the Swedish noble and ecclesiastical opposition which the king authored in exile in Antwerp on the 21st of September 1530. By mixing the two sources I hope to convey the changes in Christian II in this timeline. He’s still a machiavellian prince, but he’s not so ruthless and rash as in our time.

    [9]Like in OTL.

    [10]As in OTL.

    [11]In OTL, Christian II attempted a second naval-borne assault on Stockholm by which he aimed to rescue Trolle. Although the battle was far less one sided than the Battle of Vädla, it was a very costly affair, which only served to further depress the state finances and upset both nobility and peasantry as taxes soared to cover the deficit.

    [12]This was a standard Danish strategy, attempted during the Northern Seven Years War and the Kalmar War.

    [13]In OTL, during Christian II’s 1520 invasion of Sweden, Henrik Krummedige had fallen into the king’s disgrace on account of not sufficiently protecting the Halland peasants from Swedish raids. As such he was passed over for command. This was as much an example of Christian’s distaste for the higher nobility as an indication on his subjects’ behalf. ITTL, he’s far more agreeable to the members of the higher aristocracy and considering that it was Krummedige who executed Knut Alvsson (see the prologue) on Christian II’s orders, it would be very surprising if he were not one of the king’s most trusted military commanders.

    [14]Ävlsborg had been ruined during the war between king Hans and Svante Nilsson and not fully repaired by the events currently unfolding.

    [15]Otte Krumpen was the one who led the 1520 campaign in lieu of Krummedige’s absence where he completely shattered the Sture forces at Bogesund. ITTL, he’s delegated to a supportive role.

    [16]First part is true, second part is ATL based on Christian II’s more conciliatory proclamation and the murder of Trolle. In OTL, Monsson (not sure if it’s the correct Swedish rendering, the Sture Chronicle puts his name as Ioghen Monsson) was genuinely afraid the peasants would go over to Christian II.

    [17]I’m very proud of this map. It’s not entirely correct as there were bound to be some changes in the structure of the Danish fiefs between 1513 (which I’ve used here) and 1518, but researching plausible alternate fief distributions seemed such a massive task that I just went ahead with the information I’ve already done. Similarly, the Norwegian hundreds and fiefs are based on the situation in 1570 as that was the closest source I could find. Furthermore, I couldn’t find any source for the Swedish hundreds which is why they’re not shown.

    [18]I’ve found no sources which indicate that the Swedish armies at either the battles of Bogesund or Uppsala included field artillery.

    [19]In OTL, Leijonhufvud held an independent command, but given the changes ITTL, the Younger Sture prefers to keep him close.

    [20]As he did in OTL throughout Christian II’s campaigns in Sweden. Rigsbanner (Reichsbanner in German) roughly translates as Banner of the Realm, i.e. the main battle standard.

    [21]In OTL’s Battle of Bogesund, the Lord Steward was struck by a cannonball early in the battle, which caused the Swedish army to rout. I think it’d be too much of a wank to have this happen all over again. Especially since it was a chance stray that crushed the Younger Sture’s leg.

    [22]Whom he also saved in OTL’s Battle of Uppsala.

    [23]Christian II was no rookie battlefield commander, but he made some dubious choices in OTL. At the Battle of Brännkyrka he could’ve carried the day, but his timid decision to not pursue the withdrawing Swedes turned the tide.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
    Sol Zagato, Imp, Tyg and 19 others like this.
  2. CaedmonCousland Writes Overly Long Comments When Bored

    Apr 26, 2017
    Magnificent. As always, you have knowledge and sources I'm totally jealous of. I certainly couldn't manage such a detailed TL.

    One minor correction.
    I think you meant he withdrew towards Kalmar.

    Otherwise. Very much liked that Sten Sture wasn't killed by a cannonball. Not only because you are right in that it was a fluke stroke of luck IOTL, but also if Sten stays active, keeps fighting, and is undoubtedly beaten and eventually surrenders, it might be viewed a more legitimate victory for Christian.

    If that battle isn't a decisive one, I'm not so sure what you would view as one. I understand the war won't end soon, but that's like saying Crecy wasn't a decisive English victory because they didn't conquer France in the aftermath. Kings often made peace or armies melted away if they lost half their strength inside a single battle. Morale is going to be shattered, especially as without that army in the field the rest of southern Gotaland is probably going to fall soon, except maybe Ostergotland. That could encourage more of the soldiers from these areas to follow in the wake of the Kalmar and Vastergotland peasants.

    You probably know better though, and the war is certainly already going better. If Gotaland falls and if Maximilian's declaration gets the Hansa to cut off salt trade with Sweden, even Svealand is going to be wavering under Sten soon.

    Also looking forward to how the reformation plays out in the future. Between Christian's better relations with the Hasburgs and his very much waging a support under a religious mandate could actually cause Christian to ere on the side of Catholicism even if he seemed to personally favor Lutheranism. Maybe he'll try to steer the middle road emphasized by Erasmus, since you specifically mentioned him this chapter as influencing Christian's thoughts and views.
  3. Milites Not a sahib

    May 16, 2011
    In the shade of the Buland Darwaza
    Thanks, I was a bit worried I made this chapter too detailed. I hope I haven't scared any other readers away :D

    Regarding the decisiveness of the battle, I meant it in relation to OTL, where two more pitched battles were fought just before and just after the death of Sten Sture the Younger.
  4. Zulfurium Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Keep the detail, I haven't been able to find half the things you have so far and I am learning a ton.
    TimTurner, Milites and Bastiram like this.
  5. Milites Not a sahib

    May 16, 2011
    In the shade of the Buland Darwaza
    If there’s any other Scandinavian readers following this, what are your thoughts about the plausibility so far (goes for everyone else, now that I think about it? I’m really keen on this not turning into too much of a wank.

    I’m very happy to hear that! However, the next updates might not so long as the previous as it takes a ton of time to get all those details and sources matched together.
    BlueFlowwer likes this.
  6. Bastiram Red and White

    Jul 15, 2011
    Silkeborg, Cimbrian Peninsular
    I really enjoyed it so far, don't think there any wank going on from a Danish pov. However that comes from the person that argued for some of the changes so take it with some salt ;)

    Can't speak from a Swedish pov, but the surviving Sture will certainly be interesting !

    Also I'm really envious of your map making skills these are superp.

    Looking forward for more.
  7. Jürgen Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2016
    I read it everytime you update, and I think it's pretty plausible thus far. But I don't really have anything to come with right now, which is why I only read the timeline and don't comment.
  8. The State of Sealand da best oil platform ever

    Sep 6, 2017
    51.5°N, 1.5°E
    why is the thread completely dead and when is the next chapter to be expected?
  9. BlueFlowwer Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2017
    This thread is not dead and the author updates when he choses to.
  10. TimTurner Cartoon Phanatic

    Apr 11, 2015
    DFW area, Texas (no, Tibecuador)
  11. Milites Not a sahib

    May 16, 2011
    In the shade of the Buland Darwaza
    Thanks for the kind words! Glad to hear you think the plausibility level is kept believable. The maps are also one of my favourite things about creating this timeline, so I’m happy other people appreciate them too.

    I’m happy to have you along for the ride!

    Sorry about the dry spell update wise. I just got back from a trip to Italy and France, so I haven’t had much time to devote to updating the timeline. Sadly, I’m leaving for another weeklong sojourn in the Netherlands tomorrow, so I won’t be able to continue writing until I return. However, I have started work on the next chapter :)

    Correction: when he has the time after he’s done holidaying :D

    Glad to have you aboard!
  12. TimTurner Cartoon Phanatic

    Apr 11, 2015
    DFW area, Texas (no, Tibecuador)
    Tak skal du have!
    Milites likes this.
  13. The State of Sealand da best oil platform ever

    Sep 6, 2017
    51.5°N, 1.5°E
    glad to read!
    Milites likes this.
  14. thekingsguard Founder of Korsgaardianism

    Mar 28, 2010
    Virginia - near the USA-CSSA Border
    I am always one for Denmark timelines. Cant wait for more.
  15. Threadmarks: Chapter 7: The Falcon Spreads His Wings

    Milites Not a sahib

    May 16, 2011
    In the shade of the Buland Darwaza
    Chapter 7
    The Falcon Spreads His Wings

    Hafver du frihet fått i hand,
    Lyck väl till och bind om band,
    Att ej hon dig förlåter;
    Hon liknar falken, stolt och snar;
    Om en gång bort han flugit har,
    Du får honom icke åter

    Have you freedom once received,
    Hold unto him tight,
    So he shall not leave you;
    He is like the falcon, proud and fast;
    Has he once but flown,
    You shall not have him back


    - Thomas Simonsson bishop of Strängnäs, ca. 1439

    Who are these madmen, who fraternize one day and kill each other the next?

    - Steffen Webersted, 1519[1]​

    The victory at Åsunden left the Väster Götland plains open for the royal army’s renewed onslaught. After a short break and drunken celebration on the frozen banks of the lake, the troops struck their tents and marched in pursuit of the retreating Swedes. By late January, the army had occupied the cities of Bogesund and Falköping as well as the great ecclesiastical see of Skara without causing too much destruction to the subdued countryside[2]. This effectively derived the Lord Steward completely of any access to to the west. The “Lightning Bolt of the Realm” as Johan Rantzau had become known, subsequently led his cavalry from their staging point at the tip of the Viskan and cut a swathe through western Småland before taking Jönköping after a quick skirmish. Wherever the king’s men went, they nailed copies of his manifesto and the bull of excommunication to every church and town hall door, but the further inland they advanced the more hostile their reception became.

    At a drumhead war council outside Skara, Krummedige and his lieutenants persuaded the king to abandon the Kalmar advance and instead commit his full attention to strike north through the great forests of Tiveden. The castle of Axevalla had once been one of the mightiest in the north, but after the Väster Göta peasants took it by storm in 1469, the fortress had gradually sunk into a decrepit state. As such, it posed no obstacle for the advance of the royal army.

    The Lord Steward had fallen back and rallied what few survivors he could from the carnage on Åsunden and withdrawn beyond Tiveden, hoping the local militias would delay his advancing enemies long enough for reinforcements to arrive. The heavily forested area had previously served the Swedes well in defending their country from foreign invaders as it provided excellent ambush country where the stout locals excelled in pinning down entire regiments between cut down trees.

    However, Karl Knutsson and several other of the king’s noble commanders were well versed in campaigning in the thick Scandinavian forests, and as such the army was alert to the dangers of ambush as it advanced north[3]. Furthermore, Ture Jönsson and an array of minor Väst Göta knights had bent the knee and acclaimed Christian’s claim to the Swedish throne, providing the royal host with excellent opportunity to recruit local guides.

    While the Lord Regent set up his headquarters at Örebro in preparation for the Danish onslaught, the inhabitants of Tiveden had been hard at work preparing ambush sites where trees could quickly be felled to hem in the enemy. With the French infantry in the van, under the command of a certain Jacques Valles[4], the royal army crashed into the forest, facing fierce resistance. In a series of extremely bloody skirmishes, the defenders were gradually pushed back, before the king’s dismounted noble retainers and crack German Landsknechts circumvented the Swedish position, taking them in the rear. By the 22nd of January, the royal army had forced the Tiveden and descended upon the expansive plains of central Sweden.

    It was an impressive feat: Christian I, the first of the Oldenburg kings, had lost an entire army in his attempt at braving the forest between the Great Lakes. As a contemporary ballad put it:

    De Svenske de fiyede, hvor de kunde, for Kongen af Dannemarks Vold,
    havde vi Tiveden paa vor Ryg, han var os fuldgod en Skjold

    The Swedes fled wherever they could in the face of the king of Denmark’s might
    We had Tiveden upon our backs, it shielded us full well and right

    In Örebro, the Lord Regent was deeply shaken by the swiftness of the Danish advance. His only consolation was the fact that the commoners and peasants of Närke and the other central provinces hadn’t witnessed a foreign invasion for several generations, which made them far less apathetic than their compatriots in Väster Götland. The king’s enraged mercenary vanguard spilled into the countryside, harrowing it mercilessly as revenge for the heavy casualties they had sustained during the campaign through Tiveden. Before the royal captains could bring them to heel, several hundreds had been virtually razed to the ground, ensuring that peasant resistance to Krummedige’s army would remain extremely potent. It was widely reported in the contemporary chronicles that treason had been involved in the Swedish defeat at Tiveden. How else, the Sture propagandists asked, could the graveyard of Christian I’s ambitions have been so easily passed by his grandson?

    Ture Jönsson’s defection[5] might not have come as a great surprise to neither the Lord Steward at Örebro nor to his administration in Stockholm headed by his wife, Kristina Gyllenstierna, but the news that Sir Hemmingh Gadh had thrown his lot in with the king shocked Christian II’s foes deeply[6]. Having been captured after the Battle on Åsunden, Gadh had been presented to the king, who greeted him warmly, which puzzled the royal mercenary captains greatly. His defection was spectacular, as Sir Gadh represented one of the most hardline anti-union wings in the Swedish aristocracy. Consequently, the reasons for the old prelate’s change of heart have been discerned over and over by scholars of the period, but the most widely accepted notion is that a combination of Christian II’s military might, the king’s personal charm and the offer of the vacant Uppsala archiepiscopal see all played a role.


    The campaign of january/february 1519. Tiveden is located on the small strip of land at the north point between the lakes Vänern and Vättern.
    Full resolution here.​

    In the south, a force of Småland levies and noble retainers marched towards Kalmar from Kronoberg, forcing Krumpen to ensconce himself inside the city’s fortress. However, the Swedish host lacked the siege equipment to successfully invest the castle, which under any circumstances could easily rely on the Danish navy for reinforcements and supplies. Furthermore, the naval superiority of the royal fleet ensured that the island of Öland fully came under union control. With the island completely subjugated, Søren Norby struck out once more from his base of operations on Visby, raiding the Åland coasts. A second expedition at the end of january 1519 saw the town of Söderkoping occupied by a small Danish force, threatening the episcopal city of Linköping, where the cunning bishop, Hans Brask, had taken refuge after the Riksdag debacle two years earlier.

    News of the swift Danish advance on the western side of the Vättern combined with the landings of enemy troops on the Öster Götland shore served to further incite an all-consuming fear of treason within the Sture government. Temporal members of the council of the realm who had not unequivocally declared for the Lord Steward were sought out at their castlets, arrested and brought to Stockholm in chains. Two such councilors, Steen Kristiernsson Oxenstierna and Knut Nilsson Sparre, were captured, but the latter made a daring escape[7] during his transportation to the capital, taking refuge with Brask in Linköping where other malcontents with the Lord Steward’s regime, such as councilor Peder Turesson Bielke, also had convened. Kristiernsson was not so lucky. Having been paroled after his capture at Nyköping three years earlier, he was immediately arrayed before a Sture jury which swiftly sentenced him to death. Before Lord Sten could intercede, Oxenstierna had been decapitated on the Great Square of Stockholm to the great pleasure of the city’s inhabitants. For a time, it appeared as if the former archbishop of Uppsala, Jakob Ulvsson and Gustav Trolle’s father, Erik, would be sent to the headsman as well, but cooler minds prevailed in Stockholm, sparing the two most senior leaders of the Peace Party for the time being.

    As january came to a close, it became clearer and clearer that the Sture war effort was descending into utter confusion with Örebro focused on halting the advance of Christian II’s army whilst the capital had become engulfed in a hysteric hunt for any remaining pro-Union members of the aristocracy. Lord Sten had managed to raise another sizeable host composed of Åsunden survivors under Leijonhufvud and fresh levies from Närke and Uppland and, deciding to not let the destruction of the Närke countryside continue, advanced south from Örebro, keeping lake Hjälmaren on his left with an army some 9000 strong. Krummedige for his part was eager to finish off the intransigent Swedes and marched his battle-hardened force across the frozen lake Tisaren.

    To the Lord Steward, it was a now or never moment. If the Danes and their mercenaries were not halted, the heart of the realm, the cities around lake Mälaren and the Stockholm archipelago, would be thrown to the wolves. Consequently, on the third of February 1519, the two armies met on a featureless winter plain immediately to the south of Örebro. The Lord Steward compensated for the state of his troops’ precarious morale and lack of experience by erecting a series of battlefield defences far more elaborate than the makeshift palisades which he had employed at Åsunden. Great fires had softened the frost hardened earth and allowed trenches and stockades to be erected, granting, in effect, the Sture host an impressive defensive advantage. Henrik Krummedige, however, was confident that his veterans and professional soldiers would sweep aside the enemy’s “... pathetic wooden wall.” and crush Sten Sture once and for all.


    Nicolaas Hogenberg, ca. 1530. As the early months of 1519 passed, Christian II’s powerful mercenary force was poised to break the resistance of the Sture party once and for all.​

    As had been the case at Åsunden, the battle began with a concerted barrage from the Danish batteries. The Swedes ducking for cover in their trenches, fragments of wood and shrapnel splintering around them. However, unlike at Åsunden, the bombardment did not shatter the cohesion of the Swedish host, entrenched as it was behind its strong fortifications. Undeterred, Krummedige gave the order for his trusted mercenaries to advance. With pipes and drums blaring, banners streaming, the German companies marched towards the foe, their battle cries echoing over the snow-covered field.

    In the moment the Landsknecht regiments were about to engage, a second intense barrage from the Danish artillery made a final attempt to drive the defenders from their position, but to no avail. Scaling the Swedish stockades proved dangerous work for the royal forces and a furious melee soon erupted along the entire front line; the commoner and peasant soldiers of the Sture host once again proving what a formidable fighting force they could muster. Seeing the impeding stalemate, the king ordered Krummedige to commit his reserves to another assault on the Swedish centre, whilst Karl Knutsson’s Norwegian levies mounted a spirited attack on the enemy right flank. As Sir Henrik Gøye led the second wave of French infantry companies and Danish men-at-arms into the breach, it seemed, for a moment, as if the Sture troops would break. Once again, however, Sten Sture charged into the brawl, his retinue of young knights and sworn shields bolstering the morale of the fatigued attackers. Further bad news arrived when Erik Leijonhufvud successfully repelled an attempt by the Danish cavalry under Joakim Trolle to break through the Swedish left, sending them routing back towards the artillery. Time and time again the defenders threw back the furious onslaught in the centre until Sir Mogens Gyldenstjerne managed to hoist the royal standard over one of the stockades. All the Lord Steward’s attention was thus drawn to this manifest example of the foreign invasion.

    As Sten Sture committed his men to a final push against the attackers, the fighting reached a murderous crescendo with a multitude of noblemen and knights perishing on both sides. When Sir Gyldenstjerne was forced off the stockade the royal army was on its last legs, its resolve balancing on a knife’s edge. In that moment, Henrik Gøye and his squire, Skram, broke through the Lord Steward’s perimeter with a motley force of French and German mercenaries, in a charge which the Sture chronicle summarized as the moment when,: “... Fortune thus abandoned me[8]” In the brutal hand to hand combat, the Lord Steward’s personal standard bearer, the young Gustav Eriksson Vasa, was mortally wounded[9] and as the Sture banner fell on the gory ground a tremor of panic and confusion erupted in the exhausted Swedish ranks as rumours spread that it was Lord Sten himself who had perished.

    Although the Lord Steward managed to steady his men in the centre, the right wing of his force routed thoroughly and conclusively, with Knutsson’s Norwegian troops in sharp pursuit. Fearing that he might be overrun by the enemy advancing on his exposed flank, Sten Sture resolved to withdraw a short distance towards Örebro in order to regroup, but this was disastrously misinterpreted by Leijonhufvud on the left as a sign of the complete disintegration of the Swedish main force. With the right wing and centre routing, Leijonhufvud decided to leave the field with his remaining troops, retreating towards the Öster Götland border. Lord Sten’s situation deteriorated even further when the short respite in the melee gave the royal artillery ample opportunity to loosen its guns once more, tearing deep and bloody furrows in the ranks of the surviving defenders. With the prospect of being utterly overrun by the reformed Danish cavalry, the Lord Steward grudgingly decided to retreat towards the castle of Göksholm, leaving the field to the deeply fatigued union army.

    The battle outside Örebro was a colossal blow to the Lord Steward’s cause. For the third time, the anti-Union forces had suffered a crushing defeat in the field, which meant that for the first time in generations, an enemy army was poised to invade the very centre of the Swedish realm. As is often the case when tallying the casualties of early modern/late medieval battles, it is difficult to completely ascertain how great the carnage had truly been. Modern estimates put the number of dead at a total of some 5000, the vast majority of Thise losses being suffered by the Swedish. In the words of a contemporary ballad from Jutland it was widely reported that:

    I Sueriige stod aldriig sliigt ett slaug,
    ther nogen mand kand tencke:
    thii er ther saa mongent faaderløss barn,
    så mongen fattig encke

    In Sweden such a battle had never before been fought
    So far as any man can tell:
    For there are now so many a fatherless child
    So many poor a widow

    Nevertheless, Lord Sten showed dogged grit and determination in his continued refusal to seek any form of compromise; his feud with king Christian had reached such hateful depths that peace, he declared, would only be , “... found at Stockholm or in the grave.” Instead he withdrew towards the capital, sending messengers ahead to warn of an impending siege as well as ordering his wife to send blockade runners into the Baltic carrying diplomats, whose task it would be to rally the cities of Danzig and Lübeck to the anti-Danish cause.

    Furthermore, the Lord Steward tried in vain to get curriers through the Union lines to reach Leijonhufvud’s division in Öster Götland, carrying orders for him to bring as many men as possible across the Mälaren before the king’s men could invest the city. Unfortunately, none of the Sture messengers made it past the royal sentries and when Sir Erik did receive an envoy, he brought news from Linköping and not the capital; a development which would have major consequences for the Sture war effort.

    To Christian II, however, the battle had been a crowning moment of the campaign: definite proof that God himself sanctioned his crusade against the Sture heretical rebels. No fewer than 40 men were consequently knighted by the king himself on the bloodied winter field, foremost amongst them, Sir Henrik Gøye’s squire- the 16 year old Peder Skram.

    The first gate of Stockholm has been breached...” the king was rumoured to have proclaimed to his men after the ceremony, continuing; “... and soon we shall knock down its last[10].”


    [1]The quote is actually from one of the German mercenary captains during the French Wars of Religion, specifically from a short period of truce before the Battle of Dreux on the 19th of December 1562. Webersted was an actual Landsknecht commander who served in Christian II’s OTL Swedish campaign.

    [2]In OTL, the dire financial situation of Christian II meant that his mercenary troops wantonly harrowed the Swedish countryside in lieu of not being paid, in direct contradiction of his articles of war. Here, the king’s coffers are in a much better shape, given Isabella’s dowry and the avoidance of a second disastrous campaign.

    [3]First part is OTL.

    [4]This was also the case in the OTL Tiveden campaign, where the aforementioned Frenchman won much praise for his role in the battle.

    [5]In our time, he kowtowed to the Stures, then joined Christian II only to abandon the king once the Vasa uprising gained traction. Then he rebelled against Gustav Vasa to end his life in exile in Denmark.

    [6]A curious event of OTL, where Hemmingh Gadh switched sides after he was kidnapped during Christian II’s second Swedish campaign.

    [7]Both were members of the Peace Party, the latter dying in the service of Christian II against Gustav Vasa in OTL.

    [8]The quote is taken from the actual Sture Chronicle and describes the moment in OTL’s Battle of Bogesund where the Lord Steward is hit by a ricocheting cannon ball.

    [9]I spent quite some time brooding over what to do with Gustav Vasa. In the end, I decided to kill him off to throw events even further off the rails. Given his extensive battlefield presence in OTL, I do not think his death is too much of a stress, but let me know you thoughts.

    [10]This is actually a slightly altered quote attributed to the king by a Lübeck envoy after Christian II’s OTL conquest of Stockholm. In our timeline, it was, however, the first gate of Lübeck which had been broken - no doubt a way to agitate for Lübeck’s entry into an anti-Danish coalition. I doubt the validity of the quote, but it’s nicely melodramatic, IMHO.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  16. Zulfurium Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Fantastic update as always. I think that was probably one of the best ways of getting rid of Vasa early enough for him to not interfere later on, though you had me worried for a bit that the whole thing would turn against Christian. I can't wait to see how you tie things up here and what you have planned for Christian next. The early 1500s was an exciting time and there should be plenty of drama moving forward. Particularly look forward to seeing what you plan to do with Isabella, she really seems a fascinating figure who could have been immensely influential under better circumstances than IOTL.
    Milites and Julius Vogel like this.

    Jan 24, 2010
    The DMV
    And so the house of Vasa is cut off before its time. It certainly seems like the Danish victory is inevitable at this point what with another brutal loss for the Stures and the coalition of anti-Sture notables gathered in Linkoping...
    Milites likes this.
  18. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

    Jan 4, 2004
    This is fantastic. I'm very curious where this ends up, given that the reconquest of Sweden was successful in OTL...
    Milites and Julius Vogel like this.
  19. Milites Not a sahib

    May 16, 2011
    In the shade of the Buland Darwaza
    Thank you for the high praise! And I'm happy you were on the edge of your seat - so was I! Soon enough the Swedish campaign will end one way or another and we'll get back to look at developments in the rest of the Kalmar Union. I've completely neglected to mention the birth of Christian II's fist son and the work Isabella and Mogens Gøye have been up to making the king's war effort run smoothly.

    I'm glad you noticed the budding reemergence of the unionist/peace party. The nobility following Brask is a conservative lot, though, which might make the help they could potentially offer the reform-driven union king something of a somewhat poisoned chalice.

    Thank you. In OTL Christian II won the war, but lost the peace, so to speak on account of a great many variables, which have not come to be ITTL. Whether or not this has any effect on the longevity of the Nordic triple monarchy is yet to be seen.
    Zulfurium likes this.
  20. Bastiram Red and White

    Jul 15, 2011
    Silkeborg, Cimbrian Peninsular
    I've been wanting to comment since the last update. Which was excellent. Because I know (at least in my experience) that comments are helpful. So I apologize for not having much to say besides a few things.

    Really looking forward to next update, I expect it's gonna have a lot of meat on the bones, with the whole thing culminating in Stockholm. The question of course is how.. bloody it is gonna get.

    For some of the more obvious changes. Vasa is death, I think he went in a nice way. He will likely remain a footnote in history. But it was a necessary thing to happen and I think it fits well.
    The other one, which I find more interesting, besides what the huge butterflies the death of Vasa represents is of course the survival of Sten Sture, I think that's gonna have some interesting, even if lesser butterflies than the deaths of our dear Vasa.

    tl:dr looking forward to next update when I believe all the delicious butterflies arrives !