Battle of Five Emperors (Pagan Reborn)
Battle of Five Emperors
Thousand Years War
Battle of Five Emperors, which was one of most decisive and strategic battle in Thousand Years War, was also first of all massive battles. However, Thousand Years War started nearly 150 years before Battle of Five Emperors.
In 935, ambitious, energic and talented younger brother of Bohemian Duke Wenceslau, Boleslaus, decided to dangerous and terrible action. With use of murder and intrigues, Boleslaus murdered his own older brother and took power over Bohemia. Using excessive power and large amount of hired sell swords and mercenaries, Boleslau killed all Bohemian warlords, great noblemans and all Wenceslau loyalists. After that, Boleslaus as ruler started rebuilding and empowering his empire within Holy Roman Empire.
In 937, young, talented, but not over confident ruler of Bohemia accepted to his service Basileos. Most of people do not know origin of Basileos. One source saying he was orthodox monk from Athos who went to spread orthodox faith, second believe he was Byzantine Emperor Romanos emissary and diplomat. No matter what was his origin, all know he was very intelligent, clever, highly-educated, talented, capable to write and speak in 8 languages, he was capable architect, administrator, diplomat. His only weakness was martial capabilities. He was intellectual, but not warrior. But it was his intelligence what Boleslaus needed. Basileos warned Boleslaus about Rome, in that time under tyrannical rule of insane popes, pornocracy and popes mistresses. Boleslaus was frightened about horror stories from Rome, full of terror and madness, murdering, prostitution, killing innocent and poor. Basileos started massive reforms and improvements in Boleslaus realm.
In September 950, after reign of terror of new pope Stephan, last Roman pagans escaped to more tolerant Bohemian lands. One of pagans was Lucia, former and last surviving Vestal priestess from Rome. In that time, Lucia was 17 years old, while Boleslaus son, was 18 years old. Old king Boleslaus fall in love with beautiful and young pagan Roman girl and she accepted Boleslaus proposal to marry his son, but in fact, marriage was fake and Lucia son, Lucius I., was in fact biological son of Boleslau I., whos son never had any offspring and died without biological heir. What was however much more important, was wedding. After another stories about christian terror in Rome and Holy Roman Empire and despite disagreement with Basileos, Boleslaus abandoned Roman Church and proclaimed himself Slavic King and son of supreme Slavic god Perun and Zhiva, goddess of love and fertility.
Roman Church was tolerated, however they soon lost all power, because most of peasants and locals still had faith in Slavic gods.
Direct prelude to Battle of Five Emperors was Siege of Constantinople in 1080 and papal proclamation from 1071. Papal proclamation of Gregory VII was horrific act of absolutism and tyranny over whole Roman Church. Gregory VII proclaimed himself as supreme ruler of all rulers, kings of all kings and claimed that Muslims are Arabic branch of Christiandom. Many Muslim rulers, just like many Roman priests and Orthodox Emperor, were enraged by this, but Roman Pope and Abbasid Caliph, after secret agreement, surpressed all revolts and unrest against this claim.r
Only Orthodox Christians remained in opposition against Papal Proclamation 1071 and demanded Gregory VII to leave his position and called him Antichrist. When Emperor Constantinos of Byzantium formed anti-pope Helisarios against Roman Pope and when he gathered support of many Roman bishops and priests, Gregory VII in 1078 called for First Crusade to destroy "Heretics, traitors, infidels and pagans!" and builded massive army of Roman Church loyal forces and Arabs armies under leadership of al-Muqtadir.
Since January 1080 to September 1080, Crusader Armies besieged Constantinople. Roman Church armies and Holy Roman Empire army conquered Balkan, Bulgaria and besieged Constantinople from north, while Arabs armies besieged Constantinople from south and south-east. United Arabic-HRE fleet cut Constantinople in two halves, while fifteen-years old Empress Irena and her husband was in Emperor Great Palace, and their children in small fort on southern coast. To annihilate Byzantine dynasty, Pope ordered Arabs soldiers to find and murder Irene and Constantinos children. Their newborn twins Julia and Justinian were murdered by unknown butchers and Irene promised to avenge them. Few days before Fall of Constantinople, Constantinos ordered her pregnant wife to escape Constantinople and find asylum in Pagania, because relations between Byzantine Empire and Pagania were correct and friendly. With ten thousands soldiers, remnants of garrison and her own elite guard, Irene escaped Constantinople and for while watched plundering, murdering and destroying of Constantinople. On her way to north, she gathered dozens thousands loyal soldiers and wanted to move to Russia and proclaim herself as Russian Empress, however, she got information about plans to invade Pagania and wanted to help Vratislau. Just few days before battle, she gave birth to healthy baby-girl named Irene. Eunuch and top commander Belisarius was informed about Pagans plan to start preemptive strike against Germania.
From 950, when Boleslaus returned to Paganism, to 1081, when happened Battle of Five Emperors, Bohemians self-proclaimed kings, united most of Paganic tribes and states to Triple Alliance - alliance of Bohemia, Baltia and Pannonia. Triple Alliance is known as First Pagan Empire. This era was era of "Phoney War", because there is any mention about any large battle or siege. All clashes were small border skirmishes or few raids of Pagans or Christians against their cities and small fortress.
In 1080, after Fall of Constantinople, spies of king Vratislau, found out that Crusade Armies moving toward Pagania and want to attack from south, through Austria. Vratislau decided to meet his fate on battlefield in preemptive strike, to enforce Crusaders to move, where he want to have them.
Pagan invasion of Germania
In June 1081, Pagania armies breakthrough Christian defense in three areas - in Brandenburg, Bavaria and Sachsen. Sachsen was completely conquered and annexed to Pagania empire. Brandenburg voluntarly defected and sent gifts for king Vratislau, only zealous Bavaria and Central Germania struggled. Miezsko and Vratislau armies besieged and conquered 17 cities and forces and destroyed 42 churches, from all of them sent gold, silver and supplies to Pagania, as gifts from king to his loyal people.
Imperial and Crusade Armies moved toward Bavaria, while from east, moved remnants of Byzantine Army.
First Phase: Regensburg raid.
Battle of Five Emperors started when pagan armies sacked Regensburg and besieged local diocesies. Regensburg was sacked during July 5 - 6, while Imperial Holy Armies regrouped to meet with pagan armies. During Regensburg raid, pagans enslaved 15,000 civilians and sent them to Kingdom. At afternoon July 6, king Vratislau was informed about enemies armies 8 kilometers southern from Regensburg. It was his moment, he lured enemy to better combat zone.
Second Phase: Standing and defending.
In second phase, Vratislau divided his army in two groups. 20,000-strong core under his direct command fortified in hills and secured numerous rivers and small lakes. 30,000-strong cavalry army under prince Mieszek command was assigned to weakening and attacking smaller groups of Imperial and Crusade Army. Mieszek divided his army to 10 groups per 3000 cavalry and with this cavalry, most of them were heavy cavalry, attacked on open plains, while light cavalry attacked through forests and on thin trails and roads, or ambushed Imperial forces in plundered villages. This phase ended July 10, evening, when Mieszek, after three days, ordered his remaining 28,000 cavalry. Ambushes and raids on Imperial and Crusade Army flanks killed 6,000 enemy troops and demoralized remaining forces.
Third Phase: Decisive moments.
During midnight from July 10 - 11, group of cataphracts passed through enemy lines to king Vratislau encampment and informed king about 30,000 byzantine soldiers and cavalry hidden in forest. Strategist Mieszek and commander of cataphracts Ioannes, prepared plan, based on information from spies. Gregory VII in consensus with other top commanders of Crusade Armies, decided to do massive and decisive attack against Vratislau forces on morning July 11.
Ioannes returned to byzantine encampment and informed Empress Irene about agreement and cooperation with king Vratislau. Imperial and Crusader battle plan is unknown. However, Pagan and Byzantine battle plan is very known, until present days: Part I.: Allow crusaders to attack Pagans. Part II-a.: Regroup Irene armies on hills and to forests, equipped with catapults, scorpions and Greek Fire. Part II-b.: Start feign retreat to valley, while Byzantine forces will complete last preparations. Part III.: Allow Crusader forces to attack pinned Pagan forces. Part IV.: Byzantine join battle and attack Crusader flanks. Part V.: In right moment, carry out decisive strike against core of enemy forces.
Sometime during 7 AM, Crusaders started attacks, while Byzantines formed their forces on hills side, near Strungeberg Valley. At half past seven, Pagan king ordered feign retreat to valley and formated defense. At 9 AM, Pagan armies formed to self-defense formation. Mieszek personally led Pagan heavy cavalry and unsuccessfully tried to breakthrough enemy flanks. At half past ten, Byzantines joined battle and started attacks of heavy weapons against back lines of Crusader Army. Catapults, scorpions and grenades with Greek Fire bombarded Lombardy Army reserves and Lombardy king Vittorio was heavily wounded by Greek Fire and with his escort escaped from battlefield, but he was captured by cataphracts and Lombardy 18,000 soldiers were ordered to retreat from battlefield and return to Italy. At noon, back lines of Crusader Army were decimated, while front lines breakthrough Pagan Army front lines.
At half past twelve, first decisive moments happened. Marek Sczinski, polish archer, killed al-Muqtadir. Arrow from Sczinski bow hit al-Muqtadir to eye and instantly killed him. Arabs in Crusade Army started to disintegrate and some groups retreated from battlefield, but they were slaughtered by byzantine archers. At 2 PM, Heinrich IV meet Vratislau on battlefield. Younger, faster, but worse equipped German king and Roman Emperor, against strong, older and heavy equipped Pagan king. Heinrich was armed with classic sword and shield, while Vratislau had two battle axes, gifts from Viking pagans. Fight took nearly half hour. After more then twenty minutes, Heinrich was able to cut Vratislau to knee ligament, while Vratislau with his strong impact of axes broke Heinrich arm with shield and second strike completely tear off Heinrich arm. Vratislau fall on knees, while shocked Heinrich fall on back and tried to escape, but Vratislau throw one of axes against Heinrich. First one missed, but second one crushed Heinrich head. When Imperial soldiers seen their emperor dead, thousands start to flee or surrender to Pagan forces. Mieszek, meanwhile, attacked the weakened left-flank, from which deserted all Arab soldiers and most of Imperial troops. Remaining Imperials troops, some of Lombardy reserves and Papal Army encamped in center of battlefield. King Vratislau were pull back, to his commanding tent, where he died in few minutes. Mieszek as new supreme commander banned under threat of death to inform anyone about king death. It is not known why king died. One possibility is heart attack because of hot weather and his heavy armour. Second one was because he lost too much blood.
Last decisive moment - total attack from all sides against remaining Crusade Army, was led from south by Empress Irene and from east and north by Mieszek, while western side attackers were led by unknown warrior whos body was tear apart during last phase of battle. While Mieszek and other forces fought with Imperial and Papal soldiers, Irene and her personal elite guard break through all defense lines and attacked encampment of pope Gregory VII who, despite his situation and total defeat, still wanted to fight and prepared to fight. Irene, armed with sword and armour, despite her age and body constitution, went to Gregory tent, where she and six cataphracts knights fought against nine Papal soldiers and pope Gregory. Knights were able to kill most of papal troops. Two escaped and Gregory fought personally with Empress who ordered her troops to stand away from combat. When combat became victorious for Irene, Gregory pull out knife from his belt and cut Irene to neck. In last moment of her life, she was able to stad Gregory to crotch and castrate him in one cut.
Irene died few moments later, while Gregory was captured by Byzantine knights. Meanwhile, battle ended. Remnants of Imperial and Crusade Army were destroyed or surrender.
Aftermath of "Battle of Five Emperors" were decisive as battle itself. First, four of five titular or de facto emperors died in battle. Heinrich killed by Vratislau. Vratislau killed by Heinrich or died because of heart attack. Caliph al-Muqtadir killed by arrow. Empress Irene killed by Gregory. Last of proclaimed emperors, Pope Gregory VII was captured and in byzantine "ways" mutilated: Irene castrated him, while byzantine cataphracts cut off his eyes, tongue, ears and hands. It was payment for Constantinople and for Irene, her children and emperor Constantinos. Naked, beaten and mutilated, Gregory VII, now Hildebrand, was released from captivity and went to madness and pain in dangerous world, without his senses.
With the death of the Caliph and mutilation of the ex-pope, the First Holy Alliance collapsed and ended the reign of terror and destruction.
King of Lombardy was ordered to pay 50,000 pounds of gold and 100,000 pounds of silver as ransom. After payment, king was also forced to sign peace treaty according which Lombardy will pay tribute for 30 years and will be barred from any support to Pope and Holy Alliance.
Vratislau body was returned to his young son and co-ruler Bretislau. With body arrived also baby-girl Irene. 14 years later, Irene became Empress of Byzantium and Pagania, as wife of Bretislau and she accepted Hellenic pagan gods, especially Athene, as her gods. Irene and Bretislau rule was 65 years long and for most of time, it was era of peace and prosperity, continued by rules of their grandson and great-great-granddaughter, until "Battle of Cherson" and "Battle of Lepanto" in 1249.
East Germany, Sachsen, half of Bavaria and whole Austria joined Pagania and after 7 years, rebuilt Pagan Army liberated Constantinople, where insurgents proclaimed Irene young, as empress and their ruler. Abbasid Caliphate collapsed in to long civil war, while Cordoba Emirate was impoverished by war expenditures.