B is for Bouvines: 1214 – A dynasty of Norse-Anglo-Saxons has ruled Albion [Great Britain] for over one hundred and fifty years after some settlers from Kanata ensured the dynasty of Cnut the Great continued. King Arthur II of Albion and his allies in Normandy and Anjou face a claim by Phillipe of France on their French territories. On 27 July 1214, backed by the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto IV. the Albion infantry along with the might of their Mjölnir Militia and the Norman cavalry, prevails at the Battle of Bouvines, leaving the French struggling for allies. Bouvines shifts the balance of power in Europe, but can the nation states avoid war sweeping across the continent or can the extensive Norse trade network from Kanata to Constantinople hold sway?
Mjölnir is the hammer of Thor, worn as an amulet by many Viking warriors, although the bow symbol of the goddess Skaði was favoured by her followers. The Mjölnir Militia arose in Kanata to protect the trading settlements not as Viking marauders. The militia had a strict code of honour and indigenous warriors joined their ranks willingly. A detachment of the Mjölnir Militia was instrumental in ensuring that Cnut the Great’s dynasty continued in 1036, having amalgamated with the legendary Jomsvikings at the request of Magnus I of Norway.
In our timeline: Wikipedia – The Battle of Bouvines, which took place on 27 July 1214, was a medieval battle which ended the 1202–1214 Anglo-French War. It was fundamental in the early development of France in the Middle Ages by confirming the French crown’s sovereignty over the Angevin lands of Brittany and Normandy.
Philip Augustus of France defeated an army consisting of Imperial German, English and Flemish soldiers, led by Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor in the north…and King John of England, Otto’s maternal uncle and ally. Allied with Philip was Frederick II Hohenstaufen, who controlled the southern Holy Roman Empire and afterwards deposed Otto.
Philip returned to Paris triumphant, marching his captive prisoners behind him in a long procession, as his grateful subjects came out to greet the victorious king. In the aftermath of the battle, Otto retreated to his castle of Harzburg and was soon overthrown as Holy Roman Emperor by Frederick II, who had already been recognised as emperor in the south a year and a half prior.
King John obtained a five-year truce, on very lenient terms given the circumstances.
Philip’s decisive victory was crucial in ordering politics in both England and France. In the former, so weakened was the defeated King John of England that he soon needed to submit to his barons’ demands and agree to the Magna Carta, limiting the power of the crown and establishing the basis for common law. In the latter, the battle was instrumental in forming the strong central monarchy that would characterize France until the first French Revolution. It was also the first battle in the Middle Ages in which the full value of infantry was realised.
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