Here I am in the middle of the middle ages… The medieval period and a time when life is short and often without meaning. In 1066, I became Count of Carcassonne on the death of my father. I ruled for 46 years before succumbing to mental illness at the age of 62. I’m going to tell a part of my story and I’m afraid it isn’t always a bed of roses – Though, for the time, my reign was both prosperous and peaceful for my subjects. Then I’m going to tell a bit about my elder Son’s reign, which has been more problematical.
The lands I initially ruled were the counties of Carcassonne and Beziers…
…and I did that as vassal to my lord, the Duke of Toulouse, and ultimately, on behalf of the King of France. When I took the throne of Carcassonne, I was unwed. But you can see from the image above that I found a Scots Wife who became Countess Stella. Initially ‘just doing her duty’, she ultimately became my soulmate and mother to 6 children. She also demonstrated her intelligence (one of the main attractions from my point of view) by assisting with running the realm, especially in the financial and diplomatic areas😎
When starting out I think I had a long-term project to reunite the Duchy of the Languedoc. Not easy for many reasons…
…For starters, the county of Albi was in the hands of my cousin – family and also a friend. No point in starting a war there, especially as I was 2nd in line to inherit the title. Montpellier and Uzes to the east were in alliances that made them out of the question. Only Foix in the west was vulnerable but I needed a little help from my Bishop – a Casus Belli (A valid reason to declare war – fabricated in this case). I was lucky, the Count of Foix was not making himself popular with a lot of people and his ties with Navarre on the other side of the Pyrenees meant that my declaration of war saw some support from my neighbours (and relatives) in Comminges. That was the only war instigated by me during my reign. We won and captured both the Count and his Son. The titles came to me and after a short period in prison, I released them both to wander where they so willed.
After that, all was quiet – I had to get the Foix peasants under control to ensure my taxes were duly collected. There were some some years of peace, then I was called upon to send troops to help in my Liege’s war to take Rossello in the north of the Catalan country. Not long after, my Liege, the Duke of Toulouse, died and left a mess – two Daughters squabbling over who should rule. We got embroiled in that but only as victims – Carcassonne was besieged and much damage done before the sisters sorted out their differences.
Then, in 1112, I finally succumbed to mental health issues and died – My eldest Son took over as Count…
…And that’s probably a good point to look at our family tree…
…You can see my eldest Son highlighted, second-left among his siblings. It’s a tragic picture. A few years into his reign and only 2 of my children still live. I need to tell their stories.
Heloise, my first born, should have been married into nobility to help in forging alliances. Instead, she had a dalliance with my most senior knight and bodyguard – becoming pregnant. In a strict Catholic world I had to make some difficult decisions to keep the church and subjects onside. I could have imprisoned her and her lover, and even had them executed – it would have been seen as not an act of tyranny but one of just cause. I couldn’t ignore their misdeed because my Bishop did not approve and that impacts our incomes from the church. Instead, I found a compromise. I compelled them to wed and I then employed Heloise as my Seneschal – A Girl Friday, empowered to ensure my court runs smoothly and a job she fulfilled very well. Her husband continued in his role as bodyguard (he owed me)! After my death, my eldest Son got dragged into a futile war because of an alliance he’d made and her husband was killed. She drank herself to death soon after.
My second daughter – Mabila, third from the left. She could have also been a means to forge alliances. But it became apparent quite early that she was not really interested and ultimately, she confided that she really was not into men. Another issue for me as a good Catholic – I felt that the best thing was to allow her to make her own way and not to force her into a marriage that was against her will and would probably have been unproductive. It remained our secret. She must have felt that she was not a good Christian because she became a flagellant to the point that she died from self inflicted wounds.
Next in line was my second Son, Enric. He died aged 11 from wounds. No one knows how he got them – Evil eye was suggested.
Next is my third Son. When I died, the rules of succession kicked in. My eldest Son got the bulk of my titles – Carcassonne and Foix – but my youngest got the county of Beziers. So he appears here as Count Pierre-Raimon II. His is possibly the most tragic story of all. I arranged a marriage for him with a beautiful Danish maiden and they had a Son. Some time after my death things took a tragic turn… My eldest Son can tell what happened – “The Countess committed an act of adultery and my brother imprisoned her. Unable to forgive, he had her executed. Then, while I was away fighting in an uprising against the Holy Roman Empire, he took his own life out of remorse.”
My youngest Daughter, Eufrosina, lives on and is a very capable warrior – something her husband may be glad about because I think he’s a bit of a wimp🙄
Tragedy seems to be the norm in Crusader Kings III, but lets see how my County progresses as I play on as my Son, Count Raimon-Rogier II – the first target is to find a way of reuniting Beziers with Carcassonne. I can’t do it by armed means because our Liege will not allow it 😉 More medieval politics soon 😅👍
You have a good grasp of this complex history, Martin. I really enjoyed looking at the family trees and realizing how little I know! You tell the story with so much creativity. Nicely done!
I think a word of caution is needed Debra – this is a computer game history. While the first ruler that I played as was indeed one of the Occitan rulers of the Comtat de Carcassona back in 1066, everything else is a fiction built up by the game using a complicated set of algorithms that take my decisions and apply a mix of likely reactions combined with a lot of randomness. It does that for the whole world in the background while you’re sitting there considering your next blunder. The developer’s call their background decision making tool the Clausewitz Engine 😅