Tuesday, August 17, 2004

HYW(Duncan2): A Glimpse on Medieval Politicking

An episode touching on greed, overlapping fealty, and the meaning of one's principle.

I. Holy Roman Empire Ludwig IV von Bayern's announcement outlawing Jean III de Lothier, Duke of Brabant.

Nobles of Holy Roman Empire:

During the recent battle for control of the Aquitaine, Jean de Lothier III was found aiding the enemies of the Empire. His actions have endangered the lives of his countrymen and have extended the war with England, costing lives in general. We find that the evidence presented to us is sound and more than credible.

For these crimes, we declare him an Outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire. As such, he is to be captured, held without ransom, and brought to Aachen and justice.

By my Hand
Emperor Ludwig

II. Alain de St-Vollier, Boutellier of France and Count of Valence, immediately took a Brabant fief.

Your Emminence,

Hearing your call, we have parlayed in Brabant to effect your will, and that of all the Empire against the outlaw de Lothier.

I shall guard Bergen according to your wish, and protect it from any incursion by their former lord.

Your Servant of the Empire and Arles,

III. Prince of Piedmont takes issue with Count of Valence's action.


The lands of Lothier have been allocated to Imperial nobles.

You were informed at the time of your last transgression that any further attacks without prior authorization on lands not within your sphere of influence would be dealt with harshly. Obviously you feel that the subterfuge of your unsolicited so-called "assistance" would stay that retribution...you are incorrect.

If neither your liege Philippe nor His Grace Ludwig will take definitive action to curb your piracy, it is left to those who have in the past been victimized by you to assure that it does not happen again.

Savoy will observe to see if you are seriously brought to justice or left to seize any pretense to usurp the rights of others with naught but a tap upon the wrist. If decisive action is not taken, Savoy will act to rid the area of one who shows no respect for the rights of others.

Prince Piedmont
Marquess Savoy
Duc Normandie

IV. Count of Valence's response.

Oh Mighty Caesar,

Please refer to the missive sent via the public heralds to Their Graces of Bretagne for some clarification in this matter, if clarification is what it is that you wish. Also, refer to His Imperial Highness' missive regarding the outlawing of de Lothier. In it, he calls upon all Imperial Nobles. Similarly, good Duc, should His Majesty of France call upon all nobles of France, I am sure you would be the first to answer this call to Normandy's service.

Should it not be clarification that you wish, but simply an outlet for your, belligerence, then if you greatly desire it from me, I shall be happy to comply.

One last thing, I do note how your Signature is laid out in your missive, and remind you that though you did come by lands in the Empire, the Duchy of Normandy is your very highest title, and therefore, should come first in your signature, if not, sadly, in your allgiance.


V. Prince of Piedmont's warning, along with explanation of his "responsibility" towards his "people."


Firstly you have a long history of trespassing upon the rights of others and any with but eyes to read have seen it many times in the past, most firmly in my memory are your brigandry in both Bretagne and my own lands in Auvergne. At the time of your offense in Auvergne (after earlier offense in Bretagne), I was assured by your sole sworn liege Philippe that you had claimed that you had not been aware that permission and prior arrangement were required for the taking of lands outside those of which you hold overlord title. I was also assured that, should you repeat your offense you would suffer serious consequences. As I have knowledge of Philippe as an honest and honorable ally, I was at that time persuaded to forego retribution. That you would believe that this was true of lands within the realm of your sworn liege and yet would not apply to you in lands in the realm of those to whom you have neither sworn feal nor given homage as an independent ruler in the confederation is laughable at best.

Do not present yourself as an Imperial noble, as a confederated member of the Empire, I am well aware of who has and has not sworn feal or homage and who has contributed to that confederation....you are most certainly not among that group. Had you been even peripherally involved, you would have been aware that the subject lands had been allocated in conference with His Imperial Grace Ludwig, as they would have been by your sole sworn liege Philippe had they been French lands. By your own words and actions, you have made your claim to imperial nobility an insult to all true Imperial Nobles.

Since you have obviously have trouble keeping up with world affairs, I will take this opportunity to explain the matter of my titles to you...if you find it too subtle, perhaps your scribe can assist in comprehension. As Prince Piedmont, I am an independent ruler within the confederation of the Holy Roman Empire. Savoy, while technically inferior, is my family's longest held title and for some years past it has been absorbed into the independent Prinicpality of Piedmont as an equal and combined title with the Principality itself. Normandie is a duchy subject to the kingdom of Philippe and therefore junior to the combined Piedmont/Savoy. That said, I will sign my name as I wish and you need to pay attention to the territorial rights of your neighbors in order to prove yourself at least civilized before attempting to correct your betters.

It appears that You have disregarded prior warning regarding the correction of your ways. You have shown in the past a propensity for usurping my property rights as well as those of others and your current laughable excuses are ample proof that you have reverted to the same types of acts.

I have great respect and true affection for your liege, however, should he prove unable or unwilling to provide the retribution that I was assured of on your prior violations, my responsibility to my people requires that I take action to either demonstrate to you the consequences of any future brigandry or remove you as the spoiled grapes are removed from the press to save the wine.

Piedmont/Savoy and France have enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship and Savoy trusts that the unfortunate need to protect our interests from one of little consequence and who bears an unfortunate resemblance to a cannon that has not been properly staked before it is fired will not adversely affect that relationship.

Piedmont, Savoy and Normandie

VI. Count of Valence's response, again.


I had not seen where you were Overlord in Auvergne my lord, forgive me if I had mistaken your provenance. Your simplification of matters and your disdain of others who follow the command of the Emporer and the Roi de France seem to evoke a rather strong strain of megalomania and hubris on your part. A trait you share, no doubt, with your namesake.

I am a sworn lord of Arles, your grace, and if you search the records of the Kingdom of Arles, and its lists of oaths, I am sure you will find my own in such a place. That His Imperial Majesty's court did not share what seems to have been a prearragned allocation of lands in Brabant with all of His subjects, is a disappointment, but I do know how sometimes these things work, and can understand the need for secrecy in state matters. I assure you, I am subject to His command within the Empire, as are we all.

If I remember events correctly, your grace, you yourself were made Normandy before you did inherit the title of Peidmont and Savoy -- where you were merely steward before--, from your now departed relatives by marriage. I can see your interpretation of title, however, seems to differ a bit from that we follow here in the Court of Nobles. The Empire, indeed, is a different place than is France, and I suspect that the Rei of Italy has his own relationship with yourself, as does the Roi of France. You are no doubt a very favored lord by both Their Royal Majesties, and I must say that we are all at least to a degree, a bit subject to that sin of envy that exists in the hearts of all men. I assure you I continue to pray over this, and trust in the Lord our God to relieve me of such sin, as His son has promised.

If you will show me what property rights you have in Bergen, your grace, I should hope we may all be clear on this matter. Perhaps we may be made privy to all your rights, your grace, so that we can avoid this conflict in future.... or is it simply that all disputes in title and land anywhere on the continent are subject to your own particular brand of settlement?

Also again, your grace, I should not hinder your efforts to seek whatever retribution you feel is necessary for your people, who seem to range everywhere.

I trust your relationship with Le Roi shall endure, as well, and I shall not presume to call you out with names, who are clearly my better in all things.


VII. At this point Philippe I Duke of Burgundy, whose fief within his overlordship has just been snatched by Guy Baveaux, Duke of Hainaunt, weighs in with the following letter to Prince of Piedmont.

Lord Duc de Normandy, Principe de Piedmont et Duc de Savoy,

Whils't we are a friend of the Boutellier, we are quite in agreement with your discussion of primacy of the local overlord to determine his feudal rights within his own region. Given our agreement upon this matter, perhaps you can persuade your countryman, or failing this, your lieges, that the Lord Baveaux's tresspass into Burgundy is therefor due similar treatment to that witnessed by Frenchmen in Normandy.

*~*~* Philippe I, Duc

VIII. Prince of Piedmont then responds with the clarity that of a typical modern politician.

M'lord Burgandy,

I shall act in this matter with all the firmness and resolve shown by France and Burgandy with regard to the Boutellier and his actions.


IX. Feeling a bit disgusted with such a lame response, I send him the following letter. The meaning of one's firmness and resolve as shown by others.

My Lord Prince of Savoy,

Such gallant statement, however meritorious it may seem through its verisimilar quality, is nonetheless deficient in meaning given the Duke of Burgundy's terse pronouncement on where he stands.

One would think that after such a passionate homily towards Lord Boutellier you would have no trouble whatsoever asserting your principle.

Lord Chief Justice
Hereford and Essex

X. Duke of Burgundy, noting my point, then sends me this private letter.

Lord de Bohun,

Your comment was both accurate and humorous, and doubtless to be lost on the greater share of your audience therefor.

A pity the English do not fight as well as they write,
Then would things differ as day does to night.

And yet an outcy to the public must be met, so we must reply,
NO matter how much with England we see eye to eye.

*~*~* Philippe I, Duc

XI. Another letter from Duke of Burgundy to me, this time public.

Lord de Bohun,

The Lord Duc de Normandy certainly should not need any assistance in understanding plain language...

...no matter how humorous the aid.

What remains true is that obstreporous behaviour by minor lords of both Kingdom and Empire requires that magnates support one another. He has ours in his action, so long as he underestands this relationship thereby also is relevant to imperial lords who have transgressed into Burgundy. We would also of course then expect him to support our punitive mission into Hainaut...

*~*~* Philippe I, Duc

XII. Prince of Piedmont's response to me. It appears he misses my subtle point...

Hereford & Essex,

Let us hope this is sufficiently succinct for you.

I will afford Burgandy and France EXACTLY the assistance in dealing with an Imperial Lord who apparently trespassed in Burgandy that I was afforded in dealing with the trespasses (note the plural) of the Frenchman St. Vollier in my lands and in the Empire.

I hereby do so:

BAD Lord Baveaux, shame on you.

Piedmont-Savoy & Normandie

XIII. Prince of Piedmont's response to Duke of Burgundy.


I did in fact take punitive action against St. Vollier following his THIRD (that I can remember) transgression against the lands of others and after he had failed to even return the lands as ordered by his liege.

I advise strongly against using this as a pretext to attack an Imperial Lord who may be guilty of ONE such incident and had not been afforded the prior warnings enjoyed by the brigand St Vollier.

Piedmont-Savoy & Normandie


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