Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The Life and times of Aphra Lügenmärchen, Part Two

Today, I return again to the pages of The Life and times of Aphra Lügenmärchen by Constanza, Herzogin von Obernthal und Drötten.

In the first extract from this work, we read about the early life of Aphra Lügenmärchen, up to the point where she found herself homeless and separated from her beloved mistress Anne-Sophie, the dowager Markgräfin von Reißverschluss. 

This latest excerpt finds our heroine making her way to the city of Klow, the capital of Syldavia. 

...................................................

"The road south from Shmok took me through a comfortable landscape of farms, fields and bubbling streams. Unfortunately, it also took me away from my home and from my dear, dear mistress, who I feared I would never see again. On the positive side, I had a good, strong horse, alas not my lovely Lipizzaner mare, but a fine bay gelding named Rudolf who I had ridden many times in the past, a bulky valise of good quality ladies' clothes and my Hussar uniform, a brace of pistols, a sabre and a bulging purse of gold and silver khôrs, the currency of Syldavia. I also had letters of introduction to the director of the Royal Bank of Klow, where a small fortune awaited me. The weather was warm and happily I was unencumbered by skirt, petticoats or stays, as I had chosen to dress in breeches, riding boots, loose shirt and richly-embroidered waistcoat in the style of a Zympathian Pandour. My long, curly auburn hair was tied back with a silken ribbon and on my head I wore a traditional fur-trimmed kalpak.

It often pleased me to dress in male attire. It allowed me to ride astride my horse and gave me the freedom to stride boldly around. It certainly made fencing a lot easier and, thanks to my late father and to the steward of my former home of Schloss Reißverschluss, I was a tolerably good swordswoman.

As the day wore on, I began to think about where I might sleep for the coming night. Towns were rare in the Zympathian Oberland, but there were numerous farms and hamlets. The idea of sharing the communal, flea-infested straw palliase of a family of Zympathian peasants did not fill me with joy but neither did I wish to sleep outdoors where there might be wolves or footpads on the prowl. My best hope would be to find a church with a friendly priest or maybe the house of some minor local notable. Food was not so much of an issue. I had apples, bread, excellent ham, cheese and a skin of szprädj wine, which, with care should last me until I reached the city of Tesznik, some two days ride ahead. I hoped that my near fluency in the Syldavian language, acquired from the Castle servants, would stand me in good stead over the coming days and weeks, because I doubted that any of the peasants I might encounter would speak much, if any German.

I knew something of the country through which I would be travelling, having availed myself of the late Markgraf's extensive library while living at the Castle. In my saddlebag was a rough map of Syldavia, which I had copied from an original in the 1632 "Historia provinciae Syldavia incognita", by Adolphus von Baedecker. This was unfortunately the most recent map in the library, but I hoped that none of the villages, rivers, towns and cities had moved in the subsequent 12 decades.

 Furthermore, I was aware that before reaching the capital, Klow, I would first have to pass through the cities of Tesznik, Zlip, Goraselo and Orchovo, where I would cross over the River Bejsu on the great Kravitzer Bridge, named after the great medieval defender of Syldavia against the Ottomans, Lenart Kravitch. From there, the old Roman road led through the town of Rotor straight to Klow. 

As I rode on, I saw a slow-moving wagon convoy in the distance ahead on the road, throwing up clouds of white dust into the windless air. As I approached closer, I could see that these were laden with agricultural produce and followed by a small herd of honey-coloured cattle, no doubt destined for the market in Tesznik.The drovers and wagoneers were dressed in the baggy trousers, sheepskin jerkins and conical wool hats of the aboriginal inhabitants of Zympathia, who claimed descent from the ancient tribes of the region, subjugated by Roman legions under Gaius Hilarius Pollo in 87 BC, and who spoke an almost incomprehensible dialect related to antique Illyrian. They called themselves Ghogs and were widely considered to be hospitable if slow-witted and simple folk. I hoped that they were dim-witted enough to be unable to tell the difference between a moustacheless young Syldavian soldier and a young Thuringian lady's companion.

I resolved that boldness would serve me well and urged Rudolf into a trot. Before long I reached the slow-moving wagons. Slowing down, I addressed, in my most flowery Syldavian the shaggy individual leading the oxen team of the nearest cart. He looked at me with dull incomprehension and pointed to the front of the procession. I rode on, aware that the peasants behind me were showing more interest in me once I passed them than when they were ahead of me. 

When I arrived at the head of this noisome convoy, I discovered that it was led by a dreadful-looking brigand riding the kind of shaggy pony last seen carrying the Grand Turk's Akinjis and Bashi-Bazouks into battle. His skin was burnt to a nut-brown shade and the lower part of his face was obscured by a huge and drooping moustachio. In his waist sash he sported a broad and business-like yataghan of an antique style and a brace of long pistols protruded from holsters on his saddle. Upon his head he wore a tall conical hat of dusty red wool and as he rode, he smoked a long-stemmed carved wooden pipe.

I addressed him cheerfully. “Good day to you, fine sir” I said. “Are you bound for the markets of Tesznik?”

He looked at me, removed the pipe from his mouth and spat into the dust.

What does it look like?” he asked, in a heavily-accented rural dialect that didn't hide his sarcastic tone. “Do you think that we are just taking these cabbages and cattle for a nice country stroll?”

Not knowing how to reply, I smiled, pretending that I had enjoyed his joke. He removed the pipe from his mouth again.

“So, what do you want?” he asked.

“I am riding south with a message for my kinsman, the Ritter von Sportz. His regiment is ordered to muster down in Klow and I am bidden by my father to seek a commission in his service.” I tried to look as martial as I could, painfully aware that at any moment I might find myself exposed as a fraud and a female.

He looked me up and down, leering.

You look a bit undersized for the army, as far as I can see, but I am sure that the Ritter, whoever he might be, can find a use for a peachy young fellow, but if he cannot, come back this way. I can always find a position for a likely lad like yourself.” 

With this last comment, he winked broadly at me and made an obscene gesture involving his nether regions and his hand.

I reddened and felt sweat trickling down my spine. Time for a swift exit, my girl, I thought.

“Well, sir” I said, “I must bid you farewell, for my uncle is expecting me and I cannot spend all day dallying along the road.” 

I turned Rudolf around and kicked him into action. As I cantered off down the road, I could hear his ribald laughter behind me. So much for the simple hospitality of the Ghoggish folk."

- - - - - - - -

Aphra records that that night she slept uneasily in an abandoned barn, fearful that bandits might come across her and steal her horse and possessions but her fears prove to be groundless.

Her journey continues without further cause for concern and within a couple of days she arrives in Tesznik, which she describes as "a mean kind of place, with narrow streets lined with houses whose overhanging upper storeys  shut out the sunlight and keep in the noisome air". Nevertheless, Aphra finds an inn for the evening, of which she writes as being "tolerably well-appointed and of average cleanliness" but notes that "the people of this town lack social graces and are surly and quarrelsome". The following morning, she sets out on the road again, heading south to Zlip, which she hopes will "offer me up opportunities to find travelling companions who have no designs upon my chastity, health or possessions".


Monday, 30 May 2016

Syldavian reinforcements

Here are the first of my Syldavian cavlry for my Sharp Practice imagi-nations project. Once again, these are all Essex 15mm figures.

First, we have a group of eight troopers from the De Bourbon dragoon regiment, accompanied by two officers, one with a guidon showing the Bourbon flag of France. These troops wear a French-style uniform and are named in honour of the French wife of King Ottokar IX, Queen Octavie de Bourbon.






Secondly, I've painted up a wagon which can serve for all manner of things, as a support option for my troops (either as an ammunition wagon or a water carrier) or as part of a scenario. The wagon is Essex and the barrels are from Peter Pig. I mounted the barrels on a piece of card that fits inside the wagon, so they can easily be removed if they aren't required.







Tuesday, 24 May 2016

More Syldavian troops

I've been working over the weekend on artillery and light troops for my Syldavian Sharp Practice army.

These are, once again, 15mm figures from the Essex Miniatures SYW Austrian range.

First here is a cannon, with limber, 5-man crew and an officer (on a larger 2cm base) from the Königliche Artillerie (Royal Artillery).



The cannon has been kept unbased so that it can be attached to the limber.

Now for the light infantry. First, here are some Pandurs, with Schützen (skirmishers) from the Douma Regiment;


There are two NCOs plus an officer, mounted on larger bases for easy identification.

Finally, here are some troops from the Strelec Jäger Regiment of light infantry, again with an officer, two NCOs and Schützen.

 
In this picture, I have also included a mounted Oberst (colonel) who can act as the overall force commander.

Note that I have given the ordinary Jägers yellow cockades in their caps, with red ones for the Schützen.

Now, on with the cavalry!

Monday, 23 May 2016

The War of Sinjenk's Nose



Syldavia and Borduria are divided along part of their border by Lake Polishov (Poliszchov in the Bordurian dialect), which is a large body of water, fed by the River Snezna on the Syldavian side and two rivers, the Mekava Potak and the Prog on the Bordurian side. The lake is of a considerable size, some 55 kilometres in length and 18 kilometres wide at its widest point. On the eastern side it is surrounded by the foothills of the Dinari Alps, with mountains coming right down to the shores of the lake in the south where the steep gorges of the Mekava Potak valley form much of the border between the two countries. In the north, the River Mensodjrinje and then the River Djrinje also form part of the border until the Djrinje turns north and splits the plains of northern Borduria into two.

There are two large inhabited islands in the lake. The largest is Suxhuk, which belongs to Syldavia and the slightly smaller island of Zodastrum, the home of a large Orthodox monastery some six kilometres to the east belongs to Borduria. There are also several smaller islands which have no permanent settlements.

On the Syldavian side where the Snezna flows into the lake is the walled medieval city of Kragoniedin, home to a large community of fishermen who claim descent from ancient tribes who fished the waters of the lake before the Romans arrived. Kragoniedin Castle, built on a small island joined to the shore by a causeway dominates the mouth of the river and is home to a flotilla of Syldavian galleys and small sailing ships called xebecs. These ships form part of the Royal Syldavian Navy and their crews are mainly recruited in the cities of Nokosz, Dbrnouk and Turshi along Syldavia's sea coast. Apart from protecting the Syldavian border from Bordurian aggression, the flotilla is also charged with protecting traders from lake pirates and river bandits.

Kragoniedin is the hub of trading routes which stretch along the lake from Vykaselo in the south to Pelmitz in the north. In times of peace, trade extends across the lake to the Bordurian fortress town of Grahovo and even up the River Prog to the city of Peshod. Traders also travel north along the River Mensodjrinje, which flows northwards from Lake Poliszchov to join the Djrinje, to the town of Turksi Bazar on the Syldavian side and to Raicod on the Bordurian bank.

Rotebert Sinjenk was a resident of Kragoniedin and a well-known member of the merchant community. He was often accused of flouting the regulations and indulging in smuggling but nothing was ever proven. He had several trading partners over on the Bordurian side of the lake and even traded with the small community of German merchants who lived in the capital city, Szohôd.

Sinjenk was trading across the lake during a period of rising tension between the two countries. Borduria had reinforced the garrison of Grahovo with a regiment of infantry and several cannon and Bordurian ships were patrolling the eastern half of the lake, stopping Syldavian vessels at every opportunity. Sinjenk's xebec, the Svete Marije was stopped by a Bordurian customs galley and boarded. The captain of the Bordurian ship, Ion Vatatzes accused Sinjenk of smuggling and demanded that his men should search the Svete Marije. Sinjenk refused and a scuffle broke out. Swords were drawn and in the fighting Captain Vatatzes cut the tip off of Sinjenk's nose, reportedly saying "Go, and tell your King that I will do the same, if he dares to sail his ship in this Bordurian lake."

Sinjenk returned, noseless, to Kragoniedin where the military governor, Colonel Egon Vinohrady ordered three sloops onto the lake to find the Bordurian customs galley and sink it. He despatched a courier to Klow to inform his superiors of the outrage, also sending Rotebert Sinjenk to the capital in a carriage to present his story to the King. When Graf Heinrich von Edelzwicker, the Royal Chamberlain and co-leader of the Syldavian war party heard the story he was so incensed that he interrupted the King at dinner and retold the story in very unflattering language.

Within the week, the Syldavians had despatched a regiment of dragoons, three regiments of infantry and one of light troops to Lake Polishov, with further troops to follow in due course.

The successful sinking of the Bordurian galley by the Syldavian lake flotilla led to a mobilisation of troops when the news reached Peshod, the provincial capital and by the end of the month the two countries were, once again at war.

What would, in time become celebrated as The War of Sinjenk's Nose would last for several years, with four major battles, three sieges and many smaller engagements along the border between the two countries, including a naval battle between the Bordurian and Syldavian lake fleets, which both sides claimed as a victory and a Bordurian expedition to capture the island of Suxhuk and occupy its main town, Yogut.

The war would eventually end when the Austrian Empress, Maria Theresa and Russian Empress Elizabeth I jointly intervened to broker a peace treaty. Rotebert Sinjenk, the casus belli became a celebrated member of Klow society, distinguished by the golden nose which he wore to conceal his facial disfigurement. Colonel Vinohrady, whose actions against the Bordurian customs galley effectively started the war, distinguished himself in his vigorous defence of Kragoniedin, which was besieged by Bordurian forces for several weeks, and later led the forces who liberated Suxhuk from its occupiers.

It was during the war that the famous Wilhelm Tischdecke, later Marshal of Syldavia first saw action in the Pivoklet regiment of Pandurs.


Saturday, 21 May 2016

My Syldavian core infantry are now finished

Painting 40 15mm musketeers took longer than I thought it would, because I spent a fair bit of my time gardening over the last week, but finally they are finished.

And here they are, representing the musketeers of the Istow regiment;


These are all Essex figures, Austrian SYW ones. I used two drummers to fill up the spaces left by two figures that I painted separately as NCOs. I think that they look rather good and they add a bit of colour and contrast. I decided that drummers should wear uniforms in the Syldavian royal livery of yellow coats with the regimental facing colour of red and that their drums should be yellow and black.

They are based on 1.5cm MDF bases and grouped on movement trays, all from Warbases.

Together with the grenadiers, officers, NCOs and colour party I've already done, this is the core of my Syldavian army for my Sharp Practice imagi-nations project.

Now I have to get started on some light troops, cavalry and artillery. Then, after that, on to the Bordurians.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Peter Pig resin buildings and 4Ground fences

All wargames need scenery and terrain, and most tables look better with buildings too. I've made buildings in the past and they are OK, but when I was putting together my ACW armies for Sharp Practice I was very taken by the Peter Pig resin buildings, so I splashed out and bought some.

They are very nice models, I think, nicely detailed and they paint up really well.

First, here is a log cabin and a small camp of tents with a few barrels and a camp fire for added interest. The figure is there to show the scale.


These can be used as actual items, but can also be used to mark deployment points.

Next we have a large and imposing house with some outbuildings. The large house is a very good-looking piece, I think. There is a nice staircase at the back. I suppose I should have photographed that too.


And finally, here is a smaller farmstead and a wooden church.


I am happy with the way they turned out. They were all undercoated using spray paints, mostly grey but brown for the wooden cabin and then the colour was built up using washes of colour and dry-brushing. The campsite had texture added in the form of fine grade calcium sand, a pet shop item which was intended for use in reptile vivariums and then flocked and given some clumps of static grass.

There are other buildings in the Peter Pig range that are designed for their Wild West figures and which could be used for the ACW I suppose, but I think that these will do for now.

One of the features that seem to be a common sight on ACW battlefields are fences, lots and lots of fences. Snake, or split rail fencing seems to be the standard and 4Ground do some very nice snake fencing in 15mm, made of MDF. So, here it is;


There is about 2 metres of fencing here. It comes in brown and takes a little time to assemble, but it is well worth the effort. With some flock etc on the bases, it looks pretty good, I think.

4Ground also do picket fences. Here are mine.






This fencing comes with gates and I decided to cut one out and reposition it open. Of course, you could also paint this fencing white, but I think that might be a bit too neat and tidy.

You get a fair amount of leftover MDF slats with the snake fencing kits, so I made up a couple of simple scenic items; a signpost and a pile of lumber.


Of course, buildings mean people, and when they are farms, they mean animals too. Here are some Peter Pig farm animals and civilians. These will all be useful for certain Sharp Practice scenarios.


I have some more civilians, from the Wild West range, in different poses still to be painted.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

And for balance, here's some British armour

I've posted some of my WW2 German armour that I use for "I Ain't Been Shot Mum" so, in the interests of balance and fair play and all that sort of thing, here are some British vehicles too.

Here is a complete Squadron of Cromwells and Sherman Fireflies;


These represent A Sdn, 5 RTR, part of 7th Armoured Div. I am still not sure why I painted up a complete squadron, except because I could and it pleased me to do it. The HQ troop has a Cromwell 95mm CS version, as well as an unlikely Firefly.

I doubt that I'll ever see them all on the table at the same time.

n.b I know that Cromwells didn't actually use Culin hedgecutters. I did it for a bit of variation.

Now for some infantry tanks. These are Churchill Mk IV gun tanks (both 6pdr and 75mm variants) and two Churchill Mk III AVREs;


And here some M3/M5 halftracks;



I doubt that they would have had the Brownings in real life. These were usually removed and used for other things.

Finally, a platoon of 6pdr anti-tank guns with Loyd TT carriers;


These are all Plastic Soldier Company 15mm models.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Some WW2 German armour

In the absence of any new pictures of American Civil War or 18th century figures, I thought that I'd post some pictures from my Second World War German collection. For these games I use I Ain't Been Shot Mum from TooFatLardies.

These are all Plastic Soldier Company 15mm vehicles.

First, here are some Marder self-propelled anti-tank guns defending a bridge;


Next, here are some SdKfz 251 halftrack variants;



There are  2 x 251⁄22 75mm anti-tank guns, 2 x 251⁄9 Stummels with the L24 short 75mm gun and 1 x 251⁄16 Flammpanzerwagen.

The 75mm anti-tank ones are conversions using spare guns from the Marder kits.

Finally, here are enough SdKfz 251/1s for two platoons of Panzergrenadiers and two SdKfz/10 command vehicles;



And here are the actual Panzergrenadiers;


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

A timeline of Bordurian history - Part 3: From the Ottoman conquest to the coronation of Constantine II

1374: The last Voivode of Szohôd, Constantine of Peshod, is murdered by Orhan Pasha and Borduria falls under Ottoman control.

1375: Ottoman troops arrest the five leading Bordurian nobles and execute them. The country is incorporated into the Ottoman empire as the Vilayet of Borduri.

1423: The Hospodar of Borduri, Mehmet Pasha, divides the vilayet into three. He appoints local boyars as rulers, under his authority. These boyars are Alexios Strabomytes of Peshod, Michael Katokas of Kardouk and Wladimyr Pavlovic of Bytzy.

1424: An uprising in the west of Borduri is crushed and its leader, Pavel Simeonov flees to the court of Sigismond of Luxembourg, King of Hungary. His ally John Cantacuzene finds sanctuary at the court of Dan II, Voivode of Wallachia.

1444: Bordurian troops fight on both sides in the revolt of Skanderbeg.

1453: Many Bordurian troops participate in the Siege of Constantinople as part of the Ottoman army. The last known descendant of Manuel I Doukas of Szohôd is killed fighting on the Greek side.

1502: Osman Pasha, Hospodar of Borduri orders the construction of new walls around the city of Szohôd and fortifies the town of Taprume on the border with the Syldavia's Zympathian region.

1537: The last member of the Katokas family of Kardouk, Irene, marries Theodore Cantacuzene. Boyar of Szmak. Theodore becomes Boyar of Kardouk.

1551: A Polish army besieges the northern city of Kotgrad but is beaten back by a relieving army led by Istvan Pavlovic, Boyar of Bytzy.

1597: Constantine Vatatzes becomes the first Phanariot Greek Hospodar of Borduri.

1697: Following the Battle of Zenta in 1697 when the Ottoman garrisons fled, the last Phanariot Hospodar, Demetrios Mavrocordatos is deposed by a group of leading Bordurian nobles.

1697-1705: The leading families vie for power and occasional fighting breaks out. Finally, in 1705, tired of war, the Duma (the assembly of nobles, landowners, guild leaders and town councillors) of Borduri elects one of its leading members, Constantine Cantacuzene, Boyar of Kardouk as the first Voivode of Szohôd since 1374.

1706: Constantine defeats an uprising by southern boyars and assumes the title of “Autokrator of the Bordurian Realms, Kyrios of the House of Cantacuzene, Voivode of Szohôd and Boyar of Kardouk”. He later assumes the further titles of King of Syldavia, Regent of Jerusalem and Protector of the Faithful.

1708: Constantine abolishes the Duma, replacing it with a much more malleable assembly of lords called the Samovar.

1712: Constantine's forces repel an Ottoman invasion of southern Borduria. Constantine's first wife, Irene of Plitzowa dies in childbirth, Their daughter, Eudoxia survives.

1713: Constantine and Tsar Peter of Russia sign the Treaty of Samosza. Russian trade with Borduria commences.

1714: Constantine's second wife, Catherine of Nahnbrotz, gives birth to a son, also named Constantine.

1719: Constantine visits the court of Frederick William I of Prussia. He is so impressed with the Prussian army that he begins a modernisation programme for the Bordurian army.

1722: The Four Weeks' War between Syldavia and Borduria is fought along the valley of the Snezna River in eastern Syldavia. After the inconclusive Battle of Bellicosow, the Bordurians withdraw.

1733: Princess Eudoxia marries Prince Franz Joseph von Elphberg, heir to the throne of Ruritania.

1742: The Crown Prince Constantine marries a minor Hohenzollen margravine, Anne-Sophie von Schtupp.

1747: Constantine dies and is succeeded as Autocrat by his son, Constantine II.

Monday, 16 May 2016

A timeline of Syldavian history - Part 3: From submission to the Ottomans until the accession of Ottokar IX

1389: The Battle of Kosovo. The Ottomans expand across the Balkans and force Ottokar IV to become a vassal of the Sultan, Murad I.
1402: Death of Ottokar IV. He is succeeded by his son Amilkar.
1403: Amilkar I marries Anna Maria Lascarina, a distant relative of the Despot of Epirus.
1404: Birth of a son, Damilkar to King Amilkar and Queen Anna.
1409: King Sigismund of Hungary visits Klow and initiates King Amilkar into the Order Of The Dragon.
1410: Amilkar is forced to supply troops for the army of Süleyman Çelebi during the so-called Ottoman Interregnum. Following an embassy from Musa Çelebi, these troops desert Süleyman's army and join that of Musa. Following the defeat of Musa's army at the Battle of Camurlu in 1413, the Syldavian troops return home, much depleted in numbers. Their leader, Count Vladimir of Tesznik dies on the journey home and his remains are interred in the Basilica of St Vladimir in Klow.
1430: The ageing Amilkar expels Hussite supporters from their stronghold in the Zympathian mountains.
1432: Southern Syldavian nobles send troops to join the revolt of Gjergj Arianiti against the Ottomans.
1436: Ali Bey Evrenosoglu, after defeating the Albanian Revolt sends an army to invade Syldavia. Amilkar is forced to abdicate and his son Damilkar is crowned king.
1439: Damilkar I is assassinated by a cabal of nobles. His younger brother Budvar is placed on the throne as King Budvar IV.
1453: Fall of Constantinople. Syldavian troops are present at the Siege as part of the Ottoman army. It is recorded that they quarrel with the Bordurian contingent in the Ottoman army and are disciplined by the Sultan.
1461: Budvar IV dies and is succeeded by his son as Budvar V.
1462: King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary visits Klow on the occasion of the marriage of Budvar V to Anne de Lusignan. Budvar is made a Knight of the Order of the Dragon.
1464: Budvar creates a Syldavian Order of Chivalry, the Order Of The Black Pelican.
1471: The new Pope, Sixtus IV creates the Archbishop of Klow, Istvan Mishderri a cardinal.
1483: Syldavia and Venice renew their Treaty of Perpetual Friendship. The Venetian Fondaco in Dbrnouk is rebuilt and extended in size. The fortress of Dbrnouk is strengthened.
1494: Syldavian stradiots and crossbowmen form part of the Venetian forces when Charles VIII invades the Italian peninsula. They take part in the Battle of Fornovo in 1495.
1501: Budvar V dies. His son is crowned Ottokar V.
1506: Ottokar V is killed during a joust. His son succeeds him as Ottokar VI. Until he comes of age when he is 18, the country is ruled by Queen Sophia and Count Balonyi of Smyntz.
1515: Ottokar VI marries Maddalena Foscari, the daughter of a noble Venetian family.
1516: Ottokar VI comes of age. His coronation is attended by representatives of the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, King François I of France and Ottoman Sultan Selim I. Despite the great show of wealth and power, Ottokar is once again compelled to submit to being a vassal of the Sultan.
1518: Queen Maddalena gives birth to twin daughters, Aurelia and Isabella.
1521: Queen Maddalena gives birth to a son, Ottokar Maximilian.
1536: Aurelia of Almaszout marries Ferdinand of Grimmelshausen, a member of the extended Habsburg family.
1537: Isabella of Almaszout marries Sigismond Sirokay, a Transylvanian nobleman.
1541: Ottokar Maximilian marries Theodora Palaiologína, a Transylvanian member of a family descended from the Greek emperors.
1544: Ottokar VI proclaims the doctrine of Syldavian Reformation, which allows the practice of Lutheran Christianity while asserting the primacy of the Roman Church.
1553: Ottokar VI perishes at sea when his state galley is sunk in a storm. He is succeeded by his son as Ottokar VII.
1560: Ottokar VII is commanded to supply galleys to fight for the Ottoman fleet which defeats a Christian alliance at the Battle of Djerba. The commander of the Syldavian contingent mutinies and his squadron of seven galleys become pirates.
1564-66: Conflict erupts between Catholics and Lutherans and a state of civil unrest exists until the arrest and execution of the leaders of the militant Lutheran faction.
1571: Ottokar VII dies from over-eating and a dissolute life. He is succeeded by his son Budvar VI.
1594: Budvar VI declares an Edict of Tolerance to prevent civil war between Lutherans and Catholics. Civil strife immediately breaks out in a number of cities, including Istow and Douma.
1597: The religious wars end following the Siege of Douma and the defeat of the Catholic Black Pelican League.
1601: Budvar VI is assassinated by a fanatical Catholic monk. He is succeeded by his son, Muskar, who becomes Muskar III.
1612: Muskar III is killed when his horse bolts and he is thrown.
1612: Ottokar VIII is crowned in Klow. At his coronation he marries Anne-Louise von Strelitz, a Ruritanian princess.
1618: The Thirty Years' War breaks out. Many Syldavian volunteers enlist on the Imperialist side.
1639: Ottokar VIII dies. He is succeeded by his son, Budvar.
1642: Budvar VII expels Ottoman merchants and political agents from the kingdom. Usman Pasha, Hospodar of Borduria sends an army to punish the Syldavians. The eastern city of Pelmitz is besieged and the inhabitants slaughtered or led off in chains.
1664: Budvar VII dies. His son is crowned Muskar IV.
1667: Muskar seeks an alliance with the Austrians.
1681: Muskar expels all Ottomans from the kingdom. An Ottoman punitive expedition is defeated by the rag-tag Syldavian army, bolstered by Venetian and Austrian mercenaries.
1683: Muskar IV is killed leading his troops in the Polish army at the Siege of Vienna. He is succeeded by his son as Muskar V. Muskar reigns for 48 years, outliving both his sons.
1684: Muskar marries Charlotte Maria of Strudel, an Austrian noblewoman.
1687: Syldavia throws off the last vestiges of Ottoman suzerainty following the Second Battle of Mohács. The king begins the process of modernising his kingdom. He invites the Austrians to send advisers and experts to build up his army.
1699: The Austrian Graf von Seltzer is appointed Captain-General of Syldavia.
1720: Queen Charlotte dies.
1721: Muskar marries for a second time. His new wife is the much younger Elizabeth Augusta of Strackenz.
1731: Muskar V dies and is succeeded by his grandson as Ottokar IX. A regency led by Queen Dowager Elizabeth Augusta and her lover Count Sszsenyhawkz rules until Ottokar comes of age.
1734: Ottokar marries the French princess Octavie de Bourbon.
1735: Ottokar comes of age. His first act is to banish Count Sszsenyhawkz and Queen Elizabeth Augusta.









Thursday, 12 May 2016

My first Syldavian figures for Sharp Practice

I've finished painting and basing my first figures for my imagi-nations Sharp Practice project.

First up here are eight Syldavian grenadiers from the Istow regiment;



And here are two officers, two NCOs and a colour party;


Both of the above are Essex Miniatures 15mm figures.

Next here is a selection of minor characters and support options, all from Peter Pig's 15mm Pirate range. These are actually a bit smaller than the Essex figures, but I don't think that it will matter too much when they are on the gaming table.

First are some Holy Men, who will act as support options for the armies. On the right, a very martial Catholic priest with a sword for the Syldavians and an Orthodox one, on the left in the hat, for Borduria. The third figure could serve for either side. The hat was made from blu-tack, hardened with super glue and painted;


Next, here are two versions of Aphra Lügenmärchen and her sometime mistress, the Markgräfin Anne-Sophie;





I decided to do two versions of Aphra because I liked both figures and couldn't choose which one was best.

Finally, here is some kind of nobleman, who could serve as all sorts of things in different scenarios plus two women, who might be nobles or maybe something a little more shady or disreputable;



Now I have 40 infantry figures on the painting table to add to the Istrow regiment. These will be musketeers in tricorne hats.

A timeline of Bordurian history - Part 2: From the conquest of Syldavia until the Ottoman conquest

1195: Dragomir of Peshod, now Voivode of Szohôd and de facto heir to the Syldavian crown invades Syldavia and deposes Muskar II, who is imprisoned in the fortress of Poliszchov, across the Bordurian border. The two countries are united under Bordurian rule.

1197: Muskar is strangled while incarcerated. Dragomir installs his son, also Dragomir as Ban of Syldva. Queen Agnes and the Royal Family flee and seek asylum in Venice. The pro-Bordurian Foskar of Nokosz seizes control of Klow, while Dragomir fortifies Niedzdrow, which he makes his capital.

1204-1206: While Syldavia remains under Bordurian rule, Borduria itself is riven by a schism between pro-and anti-Greek factions following the Fourth Crusade, which deposes the Greek emperor and installs Baldwin of Flanders as the first Latin emperor. This eventually turns violent and a civil war ensues.

1206: Dragomir, Voivode of Szohôd defeats the pro-Latin rebels and executes their leader, Borisov of Zug in his castle in Niedzdrow, the new capital of the joint kingdom.

1221: Dragomir, Voivode of Szohôd dies from heart failure. His son, Dragomir, Ban of Syldva succeeds him as King Dragomir II.

1229: Dragomir II is killed in battle against the Bulgarians. Byzantine exile, George Maniotes, occupies Szohôd at the head of a Bulgarian army. He is installed as Despot.

1230. Maniotes is assassinated on the orders of Odomir, son of Dragomir II and King of Syldva. Bordurian rule is restored. Odomir, later known as Odomir the Cruel brings the capital back to Szohôd and installs his brother Migod as Ban of Syldva.

1256: Odomir dies, allegedly from natural causes, but murder is suspected. He is succeeded by his son Bogdan, who orders the arrest and execution of three powerful boyars, Boris of Itzy, Stepan of Prodz and Michaelis Doukas of Buzbag. The southern boyars, led by Manuel Doukas, the son of Michaelis revolt against Bogdan. Five years of war ensue.

1261: Manuel Doukas defeats King Bogdan at the Battle of River Prog, with the aid of troops supplied by his relative, the Despot of Epirus, Michael II Komnenos Doukas. Unwilling to take the title of king, Manuel is proclaimed Voivode Manuel I of Szohôd and Protector of Syldva.

1270: Ottokar, Baron Almaszout immediately lays claim to the vacant throne of Syldavia, being the last member of the bloodline of Muskar the Hveg.

1271: With the aid of Venetian and Carinthian mercenaries, Ottokar invades Syldavia amd four years of war ensues.

1272: Manuel, Voivode of Szohôd is killed in battle against Ottokar. The two countries, Syldavia and Borduria are effectively partitioned. Manuel II succeeds his father as Voivode and Dragomir, a grandson of King Odomir becomes Ban of Syldva.

1274: Ottokar defeats Bela II of Klip at the Battle of the Wladir. He gains control of much of Upper Syldavia. Many surviving Syldavian nobles flock to his banner.

1275: Ottokar defeats Foskar III of Klow and Petar of Douma in quick succession. He besieges the city of Niedzdrow, which surrenders after a siege of 60 days. Dragomir III, Ban of Syldva is hanged from the castle walls and his head sent to Voivode Manuel II of Szohôd in a barrel of salt.

1294: Manuel II dies. He is succeeded by his son, Alexios, who rules for a mere 6 months before dying of plague. He is succeeded by his younger brother Demetrios, who is 19.

1297: Demetrios marries Theodora of Nicaea, a relative of the Greek emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos.

1319: Demetrios begins to show signs of mental instability. He believes that his wife and son are plotting to remove him from power and has Theodora locked up in a nunnery. His son, Nikephoros seeks help from the Turks and from some mercenaries from the Catalan Company and deposes Demetrios, blinds him and banishes him to a monastery in the middle of Lake Poliszchov.

1322: Kept in power by the rapacious Catalan mercenaries, Nikephoros swiftly becomes very unpopular. An uprising led by the northern boyars under Istvan Ogorek of Bytzy initially fails to unseat him but he is eventually defeated when the Catalans switch sides after their leader Bernat de Bacalla accepts a huge bribe. Nikephoros is thrown from the battlements of Szohôd castle. Istvan is proclaimed Voivode.

1346-53: The Black Death arrives in Borduria. Many people die, including Voivode Istvan and his family. There is a power vacuum until 1352.

1352: Bogdan Mleko, a distant relative of Istvan becomes Boyar of Bytzy. He attempts to become Voivode but is defeated by Theodore of Peshod in battle and they agree to partition Borduria.

1368: With Ottoman support, Theodore of Peshod defeats Bogdan Mleko. He is proclaimed Voivode but is soon assassinated by his Ottoman allies. A puppet ruler, his son Constantine is installed, but the real ruler is the Ottoman Hospodar, Orhan Pasha.

1374: Constantine is murdered by Orhan Pasha and Borduria falls under Ottoman control. This lasts until 1697.

1453: Many Bordurian troops participate in the Siege of Constantinople as part of the Ottoman army. Alexios Doukas, the last known descendant of Manuel I Doukas of Szohôd is killed fighting on the Greek side.


A timeline of Bordurian history - Part 1: From earliest times to the conquest of Syldavia

Prior to 2000 BCE: the region is populated by a Neolithic culture which creates geometric megalithic alignments and which inters its dead in conical stone tombs. This is known as the Beehive Tomb Culture.

2000-1000 BCE: Metal-working arrives with what is thought to be an early Indo-European culture. Pit graves and deeper shaft tombs have been found in the region of Peshod, Lake Poliszchov (Bordurian spelling) and along the valley of the River Prog.

After 800 BCE: Proto-Scythian tribes arrive, bringing advanced metal-working and iron tools.

6th century BCE: A text attributed to Heraclitus of Ephesus lists the Borynidae and Sossanidae as being tribes who ally themselves with the Thracians to oppose the Persian invasion of Thrace.

480 BCE: The Borynidae and Sossonidae are recorded as supplying troops to Xerxes' invasion of Greece.

337 BCE: Alexander the Great defeats the Borynidae in a campaign to subdue the north.

82 BCE: The region becomes part of the Roman world when the Borynid chieftain Mognus submits to the Roman general Gnaeus Silenius Hippo.

80 BCE: The Borynidae rise up against the Romans and sack the Roman town of Colonia Borinium.

64 BCE: The Borynidae and Sossonidae are conquered by the Dacians.

101-2 CE: The lands of the Borynidae are incorporated into the Roman empire following the campaigns of Trajan. The Sossonids remain under independent Dacian rule in what gradually becomes known as Soxonia.

c. 270: Roman Borinia, after decades of barbarian incursions is evacuated. The region returns to the control of the Dacians.

271-290: Sarmatians and Bastarnae settle in Borinia. A warlord known as Peucus becomes “king” of Borinia.

306: Vandals and Goths invade Borinia, driving many of the inhabitants south and westwards.

336: Constantine the Great defeats an army of Goths, Gepids, Sossonids and Borinids. The region remains under Gothic control until around 430 when the region is devastated by the armies of Attila the Hun.

430-451: Borinia is part of the empire of Attila the Hun.

451-567: Borinia is ruled by Gothic and Gepid warlords. Slavic tribes arrive in the region.

567: The Avars invade and incorporate the whole region into the Avar Khaganate.

670: The Khazars invade Borinia and Soxonia, which is now becomes known as Borydia and a Khazar warlord, Abrukh builds a citadel on the site of what will become the city of Soxod, later called Szohôd.

722: The Khazars are defeated by the Bulgars. A Bulkar warlord, Onoga is proclaimed Khan of Borydia.

736: Borydia is invaded by a Byzantine army and is forced to become a vassal.

756: The Byzantines (Eastern Romans) are defeated by a Borydian army at the Battle of Pallimia. Constantinople recognises the Khanate as being an independent kingdom.

810: Borydia is incorporated into the Bulgur Empire.

880: Pechenegs invade Borydia and raze the city of Soxod to the ground.

951: A manuscript in Constantinople records that “the heathen Borydioi and Soxonioi are brought into the Peace of God with the conversion of the people by St Demetrios of Nikopopolis.”.


997: Khan Boris III marries Anna Genios, a Byzantine princess.

1012: A large contingent of Borydian troops is sent to Constantinople to aid the emperor in his wars. They are recorded in the annals as Kataphractoi Borinioi and Skutatoi Borinioi.

1071: Boryd mercenary troops form part of the Byzantine army that is defeated at Manzikert by the Seljuk Turks. They perform relatively well under their leader, Mikel, who is recorded in a manuscript attributed to Michael Psellos as Michael Bordorios.

1090-1140: Greek influence continues to grow in what is now increasingly known as Bordoria or Borduria. Tsar Osen III is granted the imperial title of Sebastocrator by the Emperor John II Komnenos.

1140: The Borynid kingdom is destroyed by steppe invaders. The country is riven by intercommunal warfare. The Slavic prince Boris becomes Voivode of Peshod and restores order.

1183: Dragomir, son of and successor to Boris marries Alicia, the eldest daughter of King Muskar II of Syldavia.

1195: Dragomir of Peshod, now Voivode of Szohôd and de facto heir to the Syldavian crown invades Syldavia and deposes Muskar II, who is imprisoned in the fortress of Poliszchov, across the Bordurian border. The two countries are united under Bordurian rule.