Thursday, May 27, 2010

Organization of the Principality (2)

Except for the Judiciary pillar of the Principality --whose maximum institution was the Tribunal de Contrafaccions (roughly, Litigations Court), which was charged of ellucidating possible violations of the Constitutions--, my global Institutional Organization flowchart is already complete. It reflects the balance of powers in the Principality around 1701-1713, and I'll be inspiring on it for designing my What-if-Nation structure and organization.

Please click on the image to see it larger.

Organization of the Principality (1)

This hand-made flowchart is intended to roughly represent, in a graphical way, the historical structure of power in the Principality of Catalonia since early Middle Age until the 1717 Decree of Nueva Planta, that abolished the Catalan government institutions, so formalizing its annexion to the Kingdom of Castile -under the name of Kingdom of Spain. Although with some slight differences, all the rest of States of the Crown of Aragon had a similar structure; in them, a main role was given to the State Constitutions (Fueros in Aragon, Furs in Valencia), which were a compendium of regulations concerning the relationship between Crown and Country -much in the same way as the English Charta Magna. This was a feature characteristic to the Crown of Aragon, so that each new State added to the Catalan-Aragonese Commonwealth was given a similar status -This happened in earlier times with Sardinia, Sicily and Naples.

After the dynastic union between Castile and Aragon, a Viceroy was present at each State of the Crown of Aragon since 1476. At the time of our what-if musing, Queen Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick had been taking office as Viceroy of Catalonia between 1711 and 1713, during her husband's absence in Vienna. After she left Barcelona, Lord Starhemberg took briefly the charge until the Imperial withdrawal was completed.

The Kingdom of Majorca had a somewhat odd status: while the Spanish Crown considered it as a separate territory and had a specific Viceroy assigned for the Islands, however the Kingdom had no Parliament of its own; instead, representatives of the Islands were sent to the Catalan Parliament in full membership. therefore, under the Parliament's point of view, the Balearic Islands were a part of the Principality -in spite of its theoretical status as a Kingdom.

BTW, the Coats of Arms assigned in this flowchart to the King and the Viceroy are purely fictional; both are intended to represent the Arms of Charles Habsburg and Elizabeth Christine Brunswick respectively as King and Queen of our what-if re-born Crown of Aragon. The rest of devices are historically correct.

This flowchart has to be completed with a particular institution called "Conferència dels Comuns", or Commons Conference, which was born about 1702 as a coordinating agency among different institutions and had a key role in the first years opposition to Philip V -before formally entering war in 1705.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The road to Cardona

Outskirsts of Balaguer, 11th July 1713

They had left Balaguer a few hours before, with the first lights of dawn. Riding his agile "pinto" horse, the Lusitania Dragoons senior trooper Hernando De Soto nervously scanned -once again, how many times since the first one?- the rugged cliffs outlining on the horizon, a few miles to his left. Their steep slopes were brighting intensely under the morning sun, and this seemed a especially bad omen to him. De Soto was leading a small squadron in advanced reconaissance of the main road running alongside the course of Segre river, preceding by half a league the main corps of their army.

Realizing about De Soto's unrest, another soldier encompassed their horses and asked to him:

-What's the matter, Hernando? Did you see anything?

-No, Diego, I didn't. However...

Then De Soto shut up again, and watched once more the distant, hostile crests. The sight of that steep range made him feel really upset, as in his worst nightmares. He wasn't able to dispel the feeling they were being watched. Silently watched by dozens of teller and relentless eyes.

-Which ones are those mountains, Hernando? Are these the Pyrenees? -asked that Diego.

-No, I believe that the Pyrenees are much higher than these, their peaks reach the sky and are most of time covered in snow. What you see there is another range that extends parallel to the Pyrenees, some 3 leagues from these, just like the buttress of a large wall. The naturals call it Montsec.

-Is that "Monte Seco"? ...What a wild land! -exclaimed the youngest soldier, amazed at the sight.

-Wild and deadly -De Soto replied shortly. Unlike most of the troopers in his squadron, he had already been there three years ago. He had to fight there, and survived to the battle just beacause someone there in Heaven had decided to spare his life a bit longer. It all happened during the unfortunate siege of Balaguer, by then still in Austro-Catalan hands. The siege could never be completed, because of that damned mountain range, and the deadly, silent enemy hidden amongst its slopes... The siege wasn't completed, for no one would dare to fix a siege line with these bloody mountains to the rear, and the Two Crowns entire Army wasted purposeless its time, until taken and overrun by a large Austro-Catalan force at Almenar battlefield...

-This Montsec is infested with Miquelets, Diego.

-"Migueletes"? -repeated the young soldier, his eyes open wide in terror.

-True. Hundreds of them. And I bet they've already noticed us, and are watching us right now. So! "Ojo avizor", open wide your eyes young man, or you won't be able to see even the knife cutting your throat! Go rear, and spread the word! Go!

Monday, May 17, 2010

At All Costs

Tarragona, 10th July 1713

-...Your permission, Sire?

Engrossed in reading a missive just delivered by a messenger arrived from Barcelona, Count Wallis startled: -Uhhhh... Yes? -and then he recognized the young officer waiting at the door.

-Oh you, Leibnitz! Please forward, and take a seat!

-Wouldn't I disturb thou, Sire?

-No, by no means, in fact... although... Did you notice this, Leibnitz? -responded Count Wallis, at the time he extended to his partner the missive he had been reading. After a quick glance, the young officer raised pensively his gaze: -"War at all Costs..."

-Yes, that is -continued Wallis. -This is a transcript of the resolution published yesterday by the Catalan "Junta de Braços", or Parliament, reassuring their fidelity to His Majesty and committing themselves for the defence of the Principality by their own means... that we are leaving them alone.

Count Wallis could not avoid shrugging shoulders: -The affairs of diplomacy are far beyond our hands, lieutenant. We have been given orders to withdraw from here within the shortest period of time and in good order, and we must comply with such orders, no matter our actual feelings.

-For sure, Sire. However, I was guessing whether... there was any margin of... er... interpretation...

-Our orders are strict enough not to admit any delay or mistaking, Leibnitz
-answered emphatically the high officer, and followed: -Our troops must leave this soil to the Two Crowns, and that is all. And personally I wouldn't like to see how the entire Army of Philip d'Anjou waits on the shore for us to embark!

-Are they already coming, Sire?

-Oh, yes they are! Three different columns have started marching from Tortosa, Lleida and Balaguer, and at least one of these will be knocking at Tarragona gates in a couple of days. Not less than 30 thousand men in total, I would say.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Il più bel nome

Barcelona, 20th March 1713

My Ever Dear eldest brother Hermann:

Wish you and all family are pretty well and in good health, here at Vienna. Long time has passed away since our latest missives, and over time a number of matters have changed. And unfortunately, I must tell you that not all changes have been for good.

As you most surely already know, Her Majesty Empress Elisabeth Christine embarked yesterday from Barcelona, where she has been reigning with incomparable wisdom and prudence all these years since the proclamation of Her August husband Charles, God bless Him, as Holy Roman Emperor. Her assistance to Court in Vienna had been claimed for as necessary, it was said; and so have understood the loyal people of this country –or I should better say that they all have committed themselves to believe so, despite the ominous portents abounding everywhere.

A countless multitude of all kinds and condition crowded yesterday at the port of the Catalan Capital City to farewell Her Majesty, accompanying the Honourable Authorities in their collective tribute to their revered Queen and Lady. It was a most moving event, for the naïve spontaneity of the people shrank the heart of us all. Lord Guido von Starhemberg, who will remain as Royal Lieutenant of the Principality on Their Majesties Behalf, kept a supposedly distracted air all the time while, behind him, Count Wallis showed an air of anger and deep disgust, albeit managed to hide it in a pretty dignity.

At a given moment, an improvised chorus was formed among a small circle of Barcelonese ladies, who started singing the main aria of Il più bel nome opera -that precise piece in which il tenore expounds to be, in the land where Ebro river lies, a Goddess more sublime than all those at the Eliseus Fields, whose name is Elisa. We all remembered this opera to have been composed to celebrate Her Nuptials to Charles and was first played at the Barcelona Exchange Palace, as a wedding gift to the Royal Couple from Their Catalan subjects. When Her Majesty heard the beats of that lyrics, She had to turn Her face towards the ships, to avoid being watched the tears in Her August eyes. She knew, we all knew, they wouldn't meet again their beloved Kings & Caesars -but they didn't. Not yet.

You ever loving brother Friedrich Leibnitz, junior officer and standard bearer in the Kayserliche Wallis Infanterie-Regiment.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Everything ready, it seems

Well, I've just finally completed the Orders of Battle for all the armies involved in the campaign: mainly the Spanish and Catalan ones, but also French and Imperials. I wasn't able to collect Two Crowns' actual generals names enough, so that maybe some will have to be randomly named -unless some charitable soul wills to share his valuable info on this matter...

The Army Lists have been compiled in a booklet-like PDF file, following the format and style of the campaign ruleset itself, and can be downloaded from here. Please check them at will, and don't hesitate to send me any kind of suggestions to improve the whole set!

It's only matter now to take a decision about the starting date -I mean, to take courage to start!! Because Lord, have you seen what a mass of Two Crowns' troops are out there, waiting for the kick-off?? ...But, how hell could they keep such a huge number of enemies at bay for over a year??
Let's see, that means...
Not less than 50 turns in my campaign?
Definitely, this wasn't my brightest initiative. *Sigh*

Monday, May 03, 2010

Current status

After the map, it's now the turn for me to work on the campaign rules, a preview of which can be read in this PDF draft. Not complete yet, though.

Do you believe I am going in the right direction?