Great Confessional War

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Great Confessional War
Schlacht am Weißen Berg C-K 063.jpg
Contemporary depiction of the Battle of Drumfree (1565), where Imperial forces under Leo de Weluta won a decisive victory
Date May 2nd, 1555 - August 10th, 1575
Location Levantia
Result Holy League victory; Catholicism entrenched in the Holy Levantine Empire, previous tolerance edicts revoked, Protestant landholders banished
Belligerents
Protestant Union Holy League in defense of the Holy Levantine Empire
Commanders and leaders
King Riordan V
King Donnchad III †
Emperor Leo III
King Rethys I

The Great Confessional War was a sectarian conflict in the Holy Levantine Empire occurring within the greater context of the Anarchy, though immediately caused by the imperial victory against the Kingdom of Angla in the Nordmontaine War. Protestant forces under King Riordan V and King Donnchad III sought to force the empire to permit individual Levantine states to formally adopt restorationism or reformism, and to discriminate against the Levantine Catholic Church. Imperial forces led by Emperor Leo III and King Rethys I in turn sought to end the Protestant Reform and to ban restorationism and reformism. The imperial forces ultimately achieved victory, but only after a lengthy conflict marked by brutal fighting.

Protestant forces scored a series of victories in the first years of the war, particularly once the more competent King Donnchad III took the helm of the Protestant Union. But the Holy League regained the advantage in 1565 at the Battle of Drumfree, and following the coronation of Leo III that year, the Holy League rarely found itself on the defense. Imperial forces ultimately achieved a final victory in 1575, and thereafter stripped all Protestant landholders of title, while also undertaking a new inquisition against reformism and restorationism. Leo III rewarded the states of the Holy League, such as Burgundie, with then-vacated former Protestant lands and electorates, and firmly entrenched Catholicism as the official state faith of the empire and predominant social force in Levantia. Protestant leaders only escaped persecution in the newly established Kingdom of Faramount, which was granted independence after betraying the Protestant cause. The empire's intolerant policies prompted a mass exodus of Protestants abroad, a lasting legacy of the conflict.

Campaigns

Northern Cathar Purge

Main article: Northern Cathar Purge

-Sack of Kurikila, proposed location and name [1]

Storming Kurikila.jpg

-Territory north of Erasia/Kistan retracted by royal decree from protestant Urcean King Riordan a decade or so prior to Confessional Wars

-Cathar Heresy permitted to spread in area

-Wedding/festival/religious feast in a city north of then border between Ultmar and Kistan/Erasia

-Slakonian palace coup news and uneasy alliance with the Protestants reached Kistani army campaigning in Cathar-held territory, propose Slakonians to defect

-Slakonian troops betray defenders, disrupt defenses and capture cannons and open gates at request of Kistani general

-Kistani vanguard enters into city and captures it

-several weeks of looting

-foreign mercs (Zjlypak) all get paid in one big mess of violence and theft

-200k+ Cathars massacred systematically by mass execution and pillaging, Catholics filtered out and spared when possible

-Kistani 'liberate' local area along with other gains as compensation for backing Holy League after war ends

-Seen as victory in Kistan, still sore over losing land wars previously to combined HLE might which lost a lot of Kuhlfrosian territory and all or Burgundie

Urcean War of Religion

Main article: Urcean War of Religion

Protestant and Catholic forces had been locked in conflict in Urcea and Rexheim for five years before becoming a mere front in the Great Confessional War. Urcean King Riordan V had prompted the Urcean War of Religion by abrogating the policy of tolerance that he had pledged to uphold, instead discriminating heavily against Catholics. Catholic Urceans responded by banding together in rebellion, prompting Riordan to align himself with fellow Protestant leaders including the King of Rexheim. Catholic and Protestant forces fought heavily throughout Urcea between 1550 and 1555 with the Catholics ultimately gaining the advantage in the Battle of Clada in 1554. Nonetheless, Riordan planned to march on Corcra, and to force the empire to accept Protestantism as a legitimate form of Christianity. Riordan saw little success in this effort in the first two years of the Great Confessional War, however, thanks in no small part to Catholic forces having the advantage after Clada.

King Donnchad III reversed the Protestants' fortune in 1557 when he assumed the throne upon Riordan's death, launching a highly successful campaign against the Catholic forces. Donnchad managed to break a Catholic siege of Urceaopolis in the summer of 1559 before raiding Castle Welute, where he captured Prince Aedanicus, the Catholic heir and son of King Leo I. Donnchad imprisoned Aedanicus in Urceopolis until 1560, when the Protestant King had the Catholic Prince drawn, quartered, and beheaded. Donnchad mounted the head in a public square, and sent pieces of Aedanicus to various Catholic leaders. Donnchad then launched a campaign through Urcea and Rexheim, scoring a series of victories in 1561 and 1562, leading to the siege of Cana in 1562. Donnchad's efforts were bolstered when Matthaeus the Turncoat betrayed the Catholic cause, launching an equally successful campaign in 1561 and 1562 to conquer Catholic-loyal Eastern Rexheim.

Recognizing the need for new leadership amidst the Protestant advances, the Pope in 1563 proclaimed Leo de Welute as the rightful Urcean King. Leo had launched a successful surprise attack Julianum in 1560 using volunteers from Ultmar and the Ionian Highlands, successfully capturing the Protestant-held city in Northern Urcea. Leo organized these volunteers, and the remnant Catholic forces in the region, into a new army, which he marched South, scoring a series of victories against Protestant garrisons and smaller forces. Donnchad had to abandon the siege of Cana in order to move North to confront Leo's forces, leading to a series of skirmishes between Donnchad and Leo in 1564. Donnchad ultimately avoided a full-scale engagement, however, because he had been assured that Protestant forces from the electorates of Lucarnia and Hollona would reinforce him. Donnchad thus repeatedly ceded territory and strategic advantage, often sacrificing units to cover his retreat, in a doomed bid to buy time for support.

Leo took advantage of Donnchad's hesitance by flanking the Protestant leader in 1565, leading to the landmark Battle of Drumfree. Leo's forces ultimately achieved victory in that bloody engagement, killing Donnchad, and definitively routing his forces. Donnchad's troops fled South, still hoping to find the reinforcements that were supposed to have been in route from Lucarnia and Hollana. But in reality, the two electorates had dispatched their forces East months earlier in a bid to stem the advances of Matthaeus the Betrayer, who in early 1565 again switched sides in the conflict, rejoining the Catholic cause. Ironically, amidst Leo's advance, Lucarna and Hollana withdrew those troops from Rexheim, allowing Matthaeus to continue his advance largely unopposed. Matthaeus' successful campaign laid the groundwork for the establishment of Faramount, the only Protestant state to survive the Great Confessional War.

The Catholic League annihilated the remnants of Donnchad's armies the day after the Battle of Drumfree, clearing the way for the seizure of Urceopolis. The Protestant defenders of the city quickly fled, but Leo did not enter until the Pope had arrived several weeks later. The Pope and Leo entered the city on May 14th, 1565, at which point the Pope crowned Leo as king, ending the Urcean War of Religion, and with it, the Southern campaign of the Great Confessional War.