Prosciutto – Hamming it up with the di Parmas, Part 35
In Part 34 we saw Oberto gain and lose the Duchy of Genoa under the stewardship of a power hungry Emperor. Oberto turned his back on the Empire and looked west to further the di Parma cause, at the head of an 8000 strong army he invaded the Muslim controlled lands of Aragon. In this part – expansion, new enemies, old enemies, more enemies and the loss of two sons.
The Muslims attack just as Oberto and the Holy Army join forces – its a massacre, over 4000 Muslims are killed and the siege of Barcelona begins.
The Muslim army tries again and is decimated for the loss of just 337 di Parma Christian invaders
Proud of his flock the Pope sends 200 gold to help the cause
Soon after it’s all over, with no army to speak of Emir Ma’n concedes the whole Duchy and flees to Valencia. Oberto cannot usurp the title yet as the paperwork is still in the post and the poor victim hasn’t actually finished fighting another war he’s losing and cannot concede yet
Back at home there’s this guy. A distant nephew of Matilda sitting on her main title in Tuscany. He’s the Duke by marriage, so it’s his wife that has the title. He has 3 things we desire, an unhappy wife, the Duchy of Tuscany and Bob’s moustache. We create a plot for his untimely downfall, we will whisk his widow away to a di Parma castle, charm her pants off, gain the title, and his moustache will live on forever, eventually making its way to Newcastle to sit upon the finest top lip ever to grace Grogheads.
Six months later there’s a convenient gap in the Reconquista for the Emir to surrender to someone else and end his war. Dazed and confused, blood soaked and tired he stands in Madrid frowning at the approaching horseman. The rider wearily dismounts and makes his way to the Emir, stands short of the Muslim warrior and says ‘Telegram for Emir M’an, is that you?’ The Emir nods and opens the envelope, reads, sighs and drops the note. He turns and walks away, the rider picks up the note and reads the message, frowns, checks the back for anything else and reads the front again – ‘All your bases are belong to us, signed Oberto, Duke of Barcelona’
At this point the Di Parmas were plagued with ‘software malfunction’ and the programme that initiates the little medieval artist to come out and draw all the paintings depicting important happenings in the world stopped working. I’ll summarise the next 16 years (!!) here and the next update will be back up to speed.
Shortly after taking Barcelona, Oberto returned home to finish off a few matters there. The Duke of Tuscany accidentally got shot 7 seven times whilst hunting boar and his distraught wife was married to son and heir Benvenuto II, adding Duke of Tuscany to a long line of titles.
To form Italy the di Parmas need to own 51% of 34 of its core territories, they own 3. The nearest province to our lands is Spoleto, we gain a claim on the land, fight for it and take it.
Castillian and Aragonese Christian rebels rise up in Muslim Spain and take back land that belongs to them. The fledgling Kingdoms run right along the border with the Duchy of Barcelona and both Kings and armies are busy fighting Muslims further south. Oberto gets a claim on Alberaccin, the new Aragonese capital, and one of four territories needed to claim the Duchy of Aragon. Whilst King Fernando I is busy in Grenada the di Palmas expand once again into Spain. Paperwork is been forged as we speak to show Oberto’s long lost claim on Zaragoza and Alto Aragon.
With everything looking prosperous and rosey it’s time to get rid of the pesky extra son. Oberto refuses to let his inheritance be split and still unable to enact Primogeniture needs to deal with son number 2 before he dies. Short of a plot to assassinate his own kin the other option is to commit the boy to Holy Orders, this can only be done if the son is in prison, with a quick glance left and a quick one right, we open the dungeon door and kick him in while no one’s looking. The vassals, and I mean ALL the vassals are unamused – Oberto takes a -40 hit on popularity leading to some rebellious murmerings at home and abroard. Still, the unwanted son is now off to join the Knights of St. John in Malta and Oberto’s legacy is secured with the one son, Benvenuto II.
While this is going on the 2 daughters are whining about getting married. I find the eldest daughter a fine young prince in Norway, 3rd in line to the throne and manage to secure a matrilineal marriage whereby the sons become di Parmas not Norways. But then an evil thought takes hold – if we can get rid of all the heirs between the King and the new Son in Law, and the offspring becoming di Parmas we can lever ourself into the Norwegian throne. We send off for a chemistry set and some pointy daggers
The second daughter gets the same treatment but in the Scottish line of nobility – wait, if…………… we order another chemistry set
One and only son Benvenuto II, heir to the Kingdom of Sicily, Duchy of Sicily, Barcelona, Massina, Salerno, blah blah blah, drops dead of stress…….arse
Daughter No. 2, she of the Scottish marriage becomes the heir to the Kingdom, and her only son is a bastard born of a fling with a stableman, the horror!!! Oberto I will be spinning in his grave, and at that point we stopped.