Guns of Infinity



Ah! But King Edwin did things legally, by renegotiating the Treaty of Fernandescourt instead of simply tearing up his agreements.

More importantly, that isn’t what he’s best known for.

King Augustus the Strong of Poland-Lithuania comes to mind there. He got the epithet purely for his physical strength, and he wasn’t a particularly good king.

I think the prevailing historical narrative is determined less by the character of who won and who lost, and more by the character of who’s writing, their political views, and the commonly accepted zeitgeist of their time. We get almost fawning biographies of people like Lee because for the past 150 years, it has been in fashion to paper over the actual causes of the ACW and focus on the “brother against brother” aspect, rather than the “struggle to free millions of human beings from an inhumanly cruel system of bondage” element, for the sake of creating a political narrative amenable to political elites in the north and the south. Napoleon comes in for praise because despite his faults, his opponents were arguably worse and he did spread the ideals of the revolution through Europe (which is why inveterate reactionaries like Tolstoy also hated him).

We can even see this process in motion with the Crusades which had been formerly characterised positively by a very eurocentric narrative of Whig history (in the sense that the Crusades were both justified, and assisted in the progress of Western Civilisation). Nowadays, how positively you view the Crusades is pretty much inversely proportional to your support for cultural and religious tolerance, and your willingness to reject a purely eurocentric narrative of the period.


@Cataphrak I’m not sure he was even a very well liked king, but it’s hard to tell what that means with something like the Sejm.

It’s amazing how attractive absolute monarchy looks after studying Poland-Lithuania, and I agree with nearly all the arguments that it’s a terrible system.


[quote=“Cataphrak, post:43864, topic:2656, full:true”]
Ah! But King Edwin did things legally, by renegotiating the Treaty of Fernandescourt instead of simply tearing up his agreements.[/quote]

I really would like to know how those negotiations went down. Did he bribe/blackmail Cunarian nobles to support him? Did he issue a veiled threat to Jerome that all the Aetorians in the Cunarian military/government would turn against him? Did Edwin have Havenport’s backing in the negotiation? Did he threaten to tear the agreement up and withdraw all support if he didn’t get his way?

Another unrelated question: is the Jerome in the article ‘Saint Jerome’, or was that another Jerome?


Personally, I regard it as the greatest argument against libertarianism in Western history.

It was more subtle than that. Jerome IV was new to the throne and he didn’t really know how far his powers had extended - or how many of those powers had been slowly co-opted by Prince Edwin. It was simply a matter of the latter saying something to the effect of “You owe me money, most of the regiments in the army are commanded by my officers, I’ve already been directing military operations for a long time. Your father got me to agree to be junior because he was the more experienced leader, but now he’s dead, I’m older and wiser, I should be in charge, right?”

That was King Jerome I, the illustrious ancestor.


@Cataphrak Would you say it’s safe to say it was less united than the Holy Roman Empire, at least in the sense that (being slightly anachronistic) Austria was capable of being a player in the game even if “the Holy Roman Empire” was a mess?


Up until the mid 18th century, yeah. So long as Austria was the Big Man in the Reichstag, it could bully minor princedoms into doing its bidding. Even during the 30 Years’ War, the offending electorates (Bohemia and the Palatinate) still got a thorough thrashing at Austrian hands, despite all that followed.


Speaking of Katarina, I’ve been thinking about the romances, and how dependent on ‘compatibility’ they’re going to be. Right now, with Katarina and Welles, the initial attraction is based on direct action and how you treat them, but as things progress that being the sole metric of it isn’t going to keep making sense. If the MC and his romantic interest are diametrically opposed in their beliefs and personality, it shouldn’t work out, no matter how nice you are to them (though being a jerk should also disqualify you). Would Katarina really be interested in a merciful idealist, for example, or Lewes in a ruthless officer who puts his men last?

Will romantic, uh, requirements be becoming more strict in the next games, then?


@Cataphrak It seems that the Habsburgs never quite managed to get things efficient and concentrated enough (“centralized” might not be appropriate for rulers who were very proud of their hat collection) to keep from falling behind after the Seven Years War.

Makes the fact Austria kept being unwilling to just die already very credible, but that wasn’t enough.


[quote=“ZoilusthePedantic, post:43870, topic:2656, full:true”]
Right now, with Katarina and Welles, the initial attraction is based on direct action and how you treat them[/quote]

Katarina’s earliest relationship boosts come from making intelligent (or what she deems intelligent) choices, and whenever she disagrees with your decision you always require an intelligence check to negate the relationship loss. This seems to reflect her practical/ruthless mindset (one of these choices even requires you to risk your own men to run down some fleeing partisans.)

With Lewes, in order for him to like you, you have to go out of your way to save his men. Even though there is literally nothing in it for you - he has nothing to offer, you’re only putting your own life and men at risk, no one has the authority to order you to help, and you could easily argue you had a more pressing matter should anyone accuse you later on. You aren’t helping him because of his status or because you were ordered to, you’re helping him and his men because they are your fellow soldiers.

With Welles, you have to stand up for her at the debate, identifying yourself as a feminist who wants (or at least appears to want) the same thing as her, in front of a room full of people who disagree with her.

All of these decisions are you agreeing (or at least pretending to agree) with their ideology. Sure, you get opportunities to treat them nice or chat them up late on, but that’s after you’ve already made your own ideology/viewpoint clear.


They weren’t, but they did manage to eventually eject the Triple Implying and become an Empire in their own right for a good century. The HRE itself may have been decentralised, but Austria still managed to get things chugging along better than Poland-Lithuania.


@Cataphrak While making that comparison, do you think Poland-Lithuania would have held together internally if it hadn’t been specifically partitioned?

Austria seems to have ultimately been unable to juggle all that needed juggling, but it gave it a good go.


That would have depended entirely on how well the Constitution of 1791 went over. If the nobility had buckled down and accepted the curtailment of their powers as the price of survival, then maybe they would have managed to keep it together.

Then again, European aristocracy are not known for their political self-preservation instincts.


It honestly feels like at that point keeping it together was not really a desired outcome.

Quite a few people would probably be offended by that - Poles wanted Poland back and all - but it’s a lot easier to hold to the romantic ideal of The Nation than to actually compromise for it.

At least we got a good song out of it.


It probably wasn’t, and the PLC’s problems were structural and institutional, not merely a few bad laws that could be legislated away.

Honestly, it could be said that the Commonwealth was doomed the moment Wladyslaw III died at Varna.


And definitely not just a few bad men.

So early?

That’s rather alarming.


That’s when the trend towards elective monarchy starts, and with both Polish nobility already as powerful as they were and a very weak tradition of centralised, hereditary monarchy, Poland never really had a chance to build the powerful, centralised, and permanent state it would need to survive being wedged between the Ottomans, Swedes, Austrians, Russians and Prussians.


@Cataphrak Makes sense. And being tied to Lithuania seems to have done little or nothing to change that, except possibly for the worse.


Riasanovsky claims that Lithuania was more Russian than Polish at the time Jogaila became Wladyslaw II, which meant it certainly had a tradition of strong, decentralised magnates of its own. However, he also states that over the next two centuries, Lithuania would become increasingly Polonised. It could be argued that had the Polish monarchy centralised early, Lithuania would have been just as easily incorporated into a stronger state.


@Cataphrak Which book or books would you recommend reading there, if you don’t mind me asking?

Eastern Europe’s political history is something I’ve never really entirely understood how it worked out the way it did, but its become increasingly interesting to see what lead to what as regards things away from western Europe.


To be honest, the winners didn’t really saw their actions as the fall of Rome. People didn’t woke up the day after the fall of Rome thinking “damn, Rome fell, now what will be of us”. They were pretty “meh, a guy deposed the previous guy, and instead of calling himself emperor, putted himself under the official rule and protection of the Roman Empire, now seated in Constantinople”. It was a much less traumatic event than people realize. The same way using “invasion” is also a pretty exaggerated vision of what we nowadays think happened.

I am with you on that one. Winners usually write the history of the wars and, in many cases, the history of the defeated peoples. Take men like Viriato, Boudica or Arminius, their portrayal is clearly based on Greco-Roman philosophies, Greco-Roman ideas, Greco-Roman history, etc. They are the brave barbarians, still pure and uncorrupted by wealth, being the total opposite of the Romans that fought them.

And they are also a pretty good example of how winners writing history isn’t the same as winners writing history where they are the heroes, difference that seems to be ignored in this discussion. And besides, we can’t truly apply that concept as literal, much less to the modern period. And, I think, the idea that winners can write history AND present themselves in a relatively unsympathetic light, also helps to explain why the Fall of Rome is seen as profoundly negative (which it was, as a classicist that is obviously my stance and interpretation), to which also helps the fact that the Romans had the last laugh: their customs, language, laws, some organizations, etc. did end up prevailing, in some part, against the “winners”.

We can win and see ourselves as the villains, why should the people writing their history be any different?