Narrative Appendices: Yes or No

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The main problem with Burgundy is that based on apanage law, the entire Duchy of Burgundy and the Picard Somme cities revert to the crown the moment the Burgundian line runs out of male heirs.
The moment the Duchy of Burgundy is lost, the Burgundian state becomes almost entirely a Netherlands-based power.
but Charles the Bold may not be dead due to the pod being 1446, and even if he dies at 1477 like otl he could've had a male heir unlike otl. It really depends on the author whether Burgundy follows otl or not.
 
but Charles the Bold may not be dead due to the pod being 1446, and even if he dies at 1477 like otl he could've had a male heir unlike otl. It really depends on the author whether Burgundy follows otl or not.
Die or not, the Spider had a tendency to fund coalitions against Burgundy to wear it down with constant fighting.
 
Die or not, the Spider had a tendency to fund coalitions against Burgundy to wear it down with constant fighting.
I think we need to just ask Eparkhos what he wants to do with Burgundy, but looking at the map, it seems burgundy got chopped up just like otl. The Netherlands can independently assert itself if the Hapsburgs die off tho.
 
God is definitely on the Popes side for this one. I don’t think I’ve ever read about such a badass pope and being super competent on the field
 
Part XXXIV: The Three Leagues (1494-1517)

During the closing years of the 15th Century, France had risen to become the hegemon of Europe. French territory and French allies spread from the Scottish Highlands and the Arm of Holland, across the plains of the Po and the hills of Naples all the way to the distant Principality of Epiros on the far coast of the Adriatic in the east and the Lusitanian colonies in the New World in the west. No other state could even dream of rivaling the great French empire, not even the reviving Holy Roman Empire or the Central European power, Hungary. However, the power wielded by the kings of France put them in the cross-hairs of practically every other European state, and Paris’ many enemies would put aside their differences to advance their common interests of toppling her….

After the end of the Italian Wars in the 1490s, Charles VIII had sought to shore up French control over Italy by giving the other Italian states a vested interest in preserving his and his successors’ regional domination. As such, in 1499 he had created the League of Verona, a group which encompassed France, the newly-revived Kingdom of Lombardy, Savona, Florence, the Papal States and Naples. This league was a tenuous affair, held together only by French power, which was able to overpower the long-standing Italian rivalries. From its outset it was doomed to failure, as most if not all of its member states had a burning hatred for one of their companions. The Lombards were a tenuous mess of crownlands, free cities, and vassal territories, which was also only held together by French might, and most if not all of its neighbors were sizing it up even as they swore their undying loyalty to France. Savona was probably the least inflammatory of the Veronan states, having good relations with France and Lombardy but being utterly hated by the Florentines. Urbino was also a strong French ally, but hated the Florentines with a burning passion and had a series of long-standing border disputes with the Papal States, the kind of border disputes that cannot be resolved without pissing everyone off. The Pope himself, Alexander VI, was fairly pro-French, but had reluctantly agreed to join the League after his initial policy of “alliance at arm’s length” had been foiled with the rise of Lombardy. The Papal States were dealing with the above-mentioned disputes with Urbino, as well as bearing a burning hatred for Florence. And, finally, there was Naples, which just sort of….was. The Neapolitan nobility was happy to remain the subjects of a distant and inattentive king, who let them essentially run things for themselves. As such, their participation in the League was more to keep the French happy and uninterested in southern Italy than out of any shared geopolitical interests with Paris.

Of course, there was one problem child; Florence. Once the bleeding edge of global financial innovations and a center of de’Medici power, the city had been transformed into a theocratic dictatorship. As the 15th Century drew to a close, the apocalyptic piagoni movement had taken over the city, led by the charismatic priest Giacomo Savonarola[1]. Savonarola and his followers believed that the Time of Tribulations was at hand and that every Christian man and woman would be needed to fight Antichrist and his coming demonic hordes. As such, they purged Florence of any sign of decadence or wealth, expelling the bankers and the artists and other such degenerates and making the transition to a medieval total war society. Savonarola had declared Pope Alexander VI a tool of Antichrist--to be fair, he was almost comically corrupt and decadent, famously spending hours watching horses mate from the Apostolic Palace--and excommunicated him, for which he was excommunicated in turn. However, before the inevitable Crusader army could be assembled, the Italian Wars had kicked off and Florence, as a steadfast ally of Paris, had entered under French protection. Thus, Savonarola was free to lobby declarations of heresy at most of his neighbors, and Italy at large, and most of the western Mediterranean, too. By the 1510s, the Florentines had completely alienated all of its neighbors, and was swiftly falling out of alignment with France as well, whom Savonarola had come to regard as hopelessly decadent, and needing to be purged before the Tribulations began. Of course, he didn’t say this outloud, but as tensions across Europe rose, Savonarola began to consider turning against the French, for the sake of all that was righteous and holy. They may be outnumbered, of course, but had not the LORD given Gideon and his three hundred victory against thousands of pagans?

Nor was Florence alone in starting to turn against French rule in Italy. The Venetians, while driven from most of their landward holdings, had never been reconciled to the idea of French hegemony and had steadfastly refused to join the League of Verona, in spite of constant raiding from the Lombards and a number of trade barriers thrown up by the other league states. The Venetians had begun building up their armed forces as the 1500s began under the leadership of Leonardo Loredan (elected in 1496), fearing attacks from the French and Lombards in Italy, the Hungarians in Dalmatia and the Ottomans in the east. Loredan’s ambitious projects saw the Venetian fleet grow massively, finally achieving the long-held ambition of every doge since Imbros in 1514 and eclipsing the Ottoman fleet in sheer size, with 135 galleys to their 116. The Venetians had managed to recover by monopolizing trade with the Mamluks and, according to the Calvians and Savonese, using the Barbary Corsairs to harass their rivals’ shipping.

Calvi was also opposed to the League, putting it in a truly strange alliance with the Venetians. This was mostly due to their rivalry with the Savonese whom they, recall, viewed as usurpers to the legacy of Old Genoa, as well as the aforementioned trade barriers that the League had proclaimed, which had completely failed in their intention to force the maritime republics into the League. The legacy of Paolo di Campofregoso, who was hailed by the Calvians as “Father of the Republic” and “Savior of the Nation” also lived on strongly, with his nephew Tommasino taking office after his death in 1498. Tommasino continued Paolo’s policy of ‘Splendid Isolation’, which saw the Calvians make use of their position on Corsica to abstain from getting involved in wars on the mainland, allowing the Savonese and the Venetians to bleed themselves while they went about business as usual. As such, they were whole-heartedly opposed to getting involved in any mainland agreement, instead preferring to thumb their nose at Paris and Rome alike. The Calvians had managed to build up a sizable fleet of more than 75 galleys by 1515, which was more than enough to keep the mainlanders from getting any ideas.

The only other state in Italy to oppose the League was Modena, but this was not due to any opposition to French hegemony but rather due to their own long-standing alliance with the French, which they prized jealously[2]. As such, the various dukes of Modena--Alfonso I ruling by the 1510s--had instead kept relations with France separate from the League. Charles was willing to accommodate his old ally, as he recognized that delivering what they believed would be an insult by forcing them into the League could easily drive them towards Venice or Florence. However, after Charles’ death in 1515, his successor, Louis XII, would make this error, which resulted in a severing of relations between the two states and the conduction of alliance between Venice and Modena.

It should be noted that the ascension of Louis XII to the French throne marked a change in how France was regarded by foreign powers. Charles had been a capable general and a diplomat, well respected by both his subjects and foreign rulers, and he had used these traits to advance the cause of France in Italy and the Holy Roman Emperor. Loved and hated in equal measure, none could deny that he was a capable ruler. However, Louis XII was, to all appearances, an incapable ruler, only seventeen years of age with no experience in battle and the diplomatic tendencies of a jack mule. Several of the more loosely-aligned French allies, notably Brunswick in Germany and Florence and Urbino in Italy, began to drift away as this fool of a king abandoned his father’s carefully laid plans.

While France wielded a great deal of influence in Italy, its influence outside of Italy was significantly less strong. The only major French-allied states outside of Italy were Epirus, Castilla e Portugal and Scotland. Epirus was truthfully more Neapolitan-aligned, but fell under the umbrella of French protection due to the personal union between the two states. France was also allied with Castilla e Portugal against Aragon, their mutual opponent, which put the Iberians in an awkward position given that they also had a long-standing alliance with the English. King Duarte had made an agreement with King Charles in 1503 that a Portuguese army would not be forced to fight an English force, but otherwise he backed the French practically to the hilt. This was because the chief Castillian-and-Portuguese strategic aim was to secure their eastern frontier so they could expand into North Africa without distraction. Because of this, an alliance with the French, who were long-time enemies of the Aragonese, made sense. However, were the Aragonese to cease to become a threat, then it would be in Duarte’s best interest to turn against the French to keep them from getting too powerful. This need, to keep a balance of power in Europe, would grow in import as Louis became increasingly bellicose, threatening his neighbors with war over the pettiest of matters.

The Scots, on the other hand, were bound to the French at the hip, as they were the only sizable counter-weight to the English, who were always nipping at the southern border, with chronic raids and counterraids across the borderlands. The French also gave covert backing to Gerald FitzGerald, the Lord of Ireland, who sought to gain independence from the English. The justification for this was that this revolt would at best secure them another ally in the British Isles and at worst distract the English from events unfolding on the continent. This support was covert, but in 1516 Louis began making threats about supporting an Irish rising, which nearly scuppered Gerald’s plans. However, he was able to persuade Edward that it was in fact several of his subordinates who were plotting against him, and with their execution secured his cause for a few more years.

The threat of an all-powerful France was significant enough of a motivating factor for the League of Munster to form in 1508. The League of Munster was an alliance between a number of minor German states--the Free City of Strassburg, the Duchies of Lorraine and of Wurttemberg, the Bishops of Trier, Metz and Munster, the Counties of Vaudemont and of Palatine Zweibrucken and the Swiss Federation--and several more significant powers--the Holy Roman Emperor, Bogislaw (who had taken the regnal name Fredrick III upon being crowned in Rome in 1504) who ruled the Duchies of Pomerania and Brandenburg, the latter as regent for his underage son, Christopher (b.1498), and the English, under Edward V. There was already an alliance between Pomerania-Brandenburg and England, Edward being married to Anna[3], the daughter of Bogislaw by Anne of Mecklenburg. However, the creation of the League of Munster allowed England, Pomerania-Brandenburg and the other minor states to present a united front against the expansion of French power into the Holy Roman Empire. Due to the efforts of Eric II, the brilliant Prince-Bishop of Munster, Charles was unable to secure any allies within Germany except for the Counts of Brunswick, who swiftly became a pariah, and the Duke of Carinthia[4], who became even more isolated than he had been before. While the League of Munster served to curtail the expansion of French power within the Holy Roman Empire, it had an equally important hidden clause, known only to Edward, Bogislaw, Eric and Philip II of the Rhinemouths. The secret thirteenth member of the League was the King-in-the-Rhinemouths, who desired above all complete independence from the rule of Paris.

The membership of the Rhinemouths in the League of Munster was potentially inflammatory. A coalition against French interests could be tolerated by Paris, but directly fomenting revolt by a French vassal would lead directly to only one thing. The Rhinemouths were an awkward and unwieldy realm, a god-forsaken mess of different territories, crownlands, free cities and bishoprics that would make a unified defense against French invasion nigh-on impossible. However, Philip II--who almost perfectly fits the trope of a young and overeager king, having only taken the throne in 1506 at the age of 21--was confident that he could win his independence with the help of his allies. This was due in part to blind optimism, but there was some realistic grounding for this belief. The Rhinemouths were one of the most heavily urbanized parts of Europe, second only to Northern Italy, and as such was very wealthy, which meant that mercenaries from across the known world would flock to the excellent salaries paid by the Rhinemouthers. They were also at the bleeding edge of gunsmithing. The Rhinemouther armies were in the process of adopting pike-and-shot formations, which also gave them an advantage over foreign armies. However, there were still a number of weaknesses, most notably the rivalries between various parts of the realm and large numbers of burghers, who tended to surrender without sieges due to a desire to preserve their urban property.

In spite of these, Edward and Bogislaw were willing to support Philip. Bogislaw’s support was rooted in the internal politics of the HRE. He had only achieved the throne after winning a bloody war with the Saxons and their allies, and many of the princes of the Empire still chafed under his rule. The presence of the French as a viable alternative to his rule was a serious threat to his legitimacy and the stability of the inner Empire, as many of the princes of the interior would gladly choose a distant monarch ruling from all the way in Paris than one ruling from less than a week’s ride away in Stettin. As such, he had a vested interest in expelling the French and their influence from the Empire as swiftly as possible, before the rot had time to take root. The fact that the Rhinemouths which was, legally speaking, his vassal, paid homage to Paris before it did him was also extremely insulting, enough to get under the normally diplomatic Emperor’s skin. Edward also had his own litany of reasons for supporting Philip II’s efforts for independence. Once again, a fair bit of it is obvious--France was England’s archrival, and it’s always a good time to weaken your archrival--but there is more depth to the topic. The Rhinemouthers had begun to develop a sizable fleet, one that was capable of rivaling the expanded Royal Navy which Edward had been constructing since the late 1490s. Edward didn’t want to risk letting the French get their hands on such a navy, which would allow them to launch an invasion a la 1066, and so felt obligated to try and win over the Rhinemouthers, with the destruction of their fleet preserved as a backup option. The urban core of the Rhinemouths was also a major market for English wool and jachaing, and Edward hated that the French were making money, albeit indirectly, from any English gain. From 1508 on, England, Rhinemouths, Pomerania-Brandenburg and, unknowingly, the Munsterian states, were perpetually on the brink of war with France, armies ready to be mobilized and fleets undertaking patrols and shakedown cruises in preparation for invasion. Charles’ death in 1515 nearly sparked war, but Edward backed out at the last moment, as the Scottish were being unusually aggressive and may invade before the English could meet them. As such, the Munsterian League was waiting for the word 5 ‘go’ throughout 1516 and 1517, like a hammer hovering above a firing pin. However, the spark of the conflict would not come from tensions in the north boiling over, but rather from events in Italy.

On 13 November 1516, Pope Alexander VI keeled over at the ripe old age of 85. The Pope’s faculties had begun to desert him around 1510, and he had been assisted in many of his duties by his son, Gioffre, who had been a mere deacon before being hastily promoted all the way to bishop by his father in 1507[5]. The last six years of Alexander’s pontificate had been derisively nicknamed the ‘Corpse Pontificate’, as he steadfastly refused to abdicate despite his increasingly worsening state. It was an open secret that the cardinals were already beginning to debate who ought to succeed him, even as lay alive, albeit vegetablized, in the Apostolic Palace. The presence of Gioffre as the one who was actually pulling the strings was borderline heresy, and while many of the cardinals were infuriated by this, they declined to have him bumped off, as was the trend in contemporary Italian politics. Instead, they had a general agreement amongst themselves; no matter whom they elected next, it would not be a Borgia or even anyone vaguely-related to the Borgias. Of course, Alexander’s brood weren’t exactly known for respecting Papal institutions, so the cardinals encouraged Gioffre to send Cesare, who was the only member of the family who was a halfway decent general, off to Urbino to campaign against the de’Medicis there. When Alexander finally kicked the bucket while Cesare and his army were away, the cardinals rushed to form a conclave. However, they couldn’t decide who to elect. Guiliano della Rovere, who was considered the favorite, had the misfortune to also die three days into the conclave, leaving the election splintered between various factions. A dozen ballots were voted down in less than a month, as the cardinals grew increasingly panicked as word of Cesare’s intention to install his cousin, Pedro Luis, as Pope. Finally, on 23 December 1516, they elected Antonio Trivulzio as Pope.

Trivulzio was in his early fifties, the scion of a patrician family from Milan. At this point, he was best known for his burning hatred for the French, due in part to his forced exile from Milan at their hand in the 1490s[6]. He had been a member of the Milanese diplomatic corps, actually becoming the ambassador between Milan and Parma in the 1480s. He was the first auditor of the Papal treasury from 1477 to 1482, during which time he earned a reputation for extreme honesty and a hatred for simony. He was the Bishop of Como in northern Italy from 1487, and was promoted to cardinal in 1500 at the behest of Alexander VI. In 1503, he led a Papal fleet against the Barbary Corsairs, capturing the pirate base of Bejaia in a surprise attack, burning the Barbary galleys in the harbor and then freeing several thousand prisoners. He oversaw the installation of a Papal garrison in the port and was its governor from 1504 to 1508, but was forced to abandon the city after a Zayyanid siege. Upon returning to Rome, he was an outspoken opponent of the French and, more quietly, the corruption and decadence of the Borgias. All of this made him an excellent candidate for the pope, and after several weeks he and his partisans won over the rest of the conclave. Upon being elected, he took the Papal name Hyginus II, after an obscure second-century pope[7].

Hyginus immediately sprung into action, assembling a motley host of mercenaries and levies from the region around Rome before winter ended. He also sends a number of embassies to his neighbors, most notably Urbino and Florence, asking for help repulsing the Borgias, who are the sworn enemies of both. The Florentines reject him, but the Urbinites agree to help as soon as they can. His total host numbers only 4,000, but when Cesare descends from the Apennines the following spring, he is shocked to find such a host assembled so quickly. Cesare is concerned that Hyginus has the backing of foreign powers, and so dispatches an embassy to contact Louis and ask for his backing to install Pedro Luis as Pope. He has good relations with the French, and so expects that Louis will agree swiftly. Hyginus catches wind of this and reacts swiftly. He sent embassies to Florence, Urbino, Modena, Venice, Calvi, all the Italian states that would oppose a Borgia Papacy. The former four all send delegations to Rome that spring, and after a great deal of negotiations (especially with the Florentines), Hyginus declares the creation of the Marian League on 3 April[7]. The express intention of the Marian League is to protect the right of the Papacy to select pontiffs, but the subtext is clearly anti-French. The Marian states mobilize for war. On 17 April, a French envoy arrives in Rome, demanding the election of Pedro Luis and the dissolution of the Marian League. The alternative, he states, is war. Hyginus refuses, and the War of the Three Leagues begins….

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[1] Good fortune means that Savonarola is able to depose the de’Medici before he can be excommunicated, allowing him to transform Florence into the above mentioned theocracy.
[2] Historically, this was the Duchy of Ferrara and Modena, but Ferrara was annexed by the Venetians, which was then annexed in turn by the French, who firmly but politely refused to return it. Instead, they gave Parma over to the Modenese, thus the duchy’s official name of ‘Modena, Emilia and Parma’.
[3] This is an allohistorical Anna who was born ten years before the historical Anna.
[4] This is the Habsburg rump state
[5] At this time, one did not have to be a priest to become a bishop, and so Gioffre had his marriage annulled, was invested as bishop, then undertook holy orders.
[6] This is alternate history, caused by the difference in the Italian Wars. He will also be much longer-lived in this timeline.
[7] ‘Hyginus’ means ‘The Clean One’, and so was chosen both as a denouncement of the degeneracy and simony of the Borgia Era.
As a french, i liked your update ! As always, we'll have to face the germans and la Perfide Albion ! Sure as always, LA FRANCE VAINCRA !
 
Must admit, kinda of sad to see Cesare Borgia thrown into a papal jail. I’ve always had a very morbid interested in Cesare Borgia’s ambitions and life

Anyways, still a very good timeline so far
 
The main problem with Burgundy is that based on apanage law, the entire Duchy of Burgundy and the Picard Somme cities revert to the crown the moment the Burgundian line runs out of male heirs.
The moment the Duchy of Burgundy is lost, the Burgundian state becomes almost entirely a Netherlands-based power.
Realpolitik has a non-negligible ability to override sheer legality when push comes to shove. If for some reason forces dictate it, I could see the HRE supporting the continued Burgundian control over its royal French territories should the state apparatus continue to exist further into the modern era.

Given what happened OTL, though, I'm not sure that said outcome is necessarily likely, but I would not call it a foregone conclusion. Very little is in alternate history, really.
 
I'm getting some Charles le Temeraire vibes from Louis, and maybe Karl XII as well, that was your inspiration for his character?
 
Always surprised at how bloody and violent the French are. Their damn anthem is them calling on the people to kill their kings and drench the streets with blood
Cry but the Déclaration des droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen wasn't written in UK. Our anthem is one the best, because you feel it, you just don't say it like a prior, it's like the russian one !
 
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