Messidorian revolutions

The Messidorian revolutions were a set of conflicts between 1799 and 1830 that established the constituent nations of the Messidor Union. They encompass the Aɣmatian revolution (1799) and the Merovian revolution (1824-1830). Both conflicts aimed at overthrowing authoritarian regimes and established precursor or foundational anarcho-socialist states. The ideology for both conflicts also stemmed from a subversive cultural and ideological exchange. Key figures among these movements were Ziri Akli (1762-1833) and Jean Estienne (1781-1848). The anarchist movements drew upon republican ideals from Merovia and anarcho-syndicalist organization from Aɣmatia.

Externally, the Messidorian revolutions created great upheaval. The Kingdom of Merovia was split into two halves: the monarchical Kingdom of Merovia in the west and the democratic Republic of Merovia in the east. The revolutions also had implications for other nascent and militant socialist movements around the globe. Tensions with monarchical neighbours were only tempered by the poor foreign relations of the Izîlids in Aɣmatia and the de Grissons dynasty in Merovia.

Both conflicts were fought initially with irregular warfare which advanced into large-scale conventional warfare. While Aɣmatia gained independence almost a quarter of a century prior to the outbreak of the Merovian revolution, material assistance from across the Periclean was limited. Socialist writers including Arthurista's Werner, Jhengtsang's Tsenpo, and Tsurushima's Kitakami Yukichi drew on the theory and lessons of the revolutions.

Historical context

Engraving of two apprentice artisans working at looms

The latter half of the 18th century saw the onset of the first wave of industrialization in Belisaria and western Scipia. This wave of change disrupted traditional economic roles and imperiled the status of many artisans. Clan crafters and guilders in Aɣmatia and Merovia, respectively, began to see their work devalued and wealth inequality was growing. The populations of these countries were also becoming displaced as people were corraled into growing cities and factory towns. Both the clan caste and peasant relationships between the commoners and the ruling classes in both countries also invested a majority of control with the rulers. Seeking enrichment and a modernist project of economic development, rulers in both countries emphasized the utility of mechanization and the production of products over the agrarian industry. Rural settlements began to suffer, as did the food supply.

While more relevant to Aɣmatia than Merovia, industrialization occurred unequally. Mining, manufacturing, and skilled fabrication were the first industries where hand labour was largely supplanted by initially crude mechanization. In both Aɣmatia than Merovia, the extension of mechanization to food production lagged. The massive migrations toward cities further divested agrarian communities from their means of production and actively diminished the food supply while populations continued to grow.

Regime changes contributed further to instability and challenges to the legitimacy of the ruling classes along traditional ideological lines. In the decade prior to the revolution in Aɣmatia, the Imxzninassan overthrew Malik Arkun ibn Hassan al-Izîli. The commander of the Imxzninassan, Syphax, had no claim to a divine purpose or enlightened guidance and ruled by force. In Merovia, the collapse of the Holy Audonian Empire and the elevation of the Kingdom of Merovia alienated a large portion of the Fabrian Catholic population. In both countries, traditional roles were upheaved, leaving many people uncertain and unconvinced of the legitimacy of their rulers.

Beyond the traditional norms, however, the philosophical movement toward the recognition of a concept of human rights was also developing. Intellectuals across the world had already begun to engage with the concept of universal equality and humanity. Many of these intellectuals turned these theories into outrage and decried the injustice of the ruling classes that were held above the common people. Both Aɣmatia and Merovia were prime examples of how the ruling classes treated the commoners as disposable. Both countries also had strong humanistic intellectual movements which were able to mobilize the lower classes.

Ideological underpinnings

The social and economic theories that influenced both the revolutionary uprisings, and the organization of the societies that followed them, developed over the decades prior to the Messidorian revolutions. As an end result, the Messidor Union draws on features from several different intellectual and ideological elements but ultimately married them all together. The two primary elements are syndicalism and republicanism. A third element, Alençonism would also be important for the post-revolutionary political organization but was not as influential in revolutionary discourse in either Aɣmatia or Merovia prior to the revolutions.

Isin'nada

Portrait of Tmassa Ziri Akli

What is commonly referred to in international political theory as Messidorian syndicalism began as a Kel Adrar artisans' ideology known as isin'nada or "clan consciousness". Traditional Kel Adrar society divided families by their trades into clan castes. These castes formed extensive kinship groups for their members and were also said to be traditionally egalitarian. Mobility between clans was possible albeit rare. After the Izîlids came to power in Aɣmatia in 1513 CE, the clans were subordinated to local lords under a modified iqta system. Clans became more restrictive and mobility was effectively eliminated. Clans were largely alienated from other clans and from Azdarin freepersons in Aɣmatia.

The commonly acknowledged progenitor of isin'nada is Tmassa Ziri Akli. Akli was a Kel Adrar farmer who organized work stoppages in protest of corvées extracted by the local iqta'at. Akli corresponded with other rebellious clan leaders in tifinaɣ which few Gharib administrators could read. Akli compiled much of this correspondence and his own writings into a book titled Atm'isin'nada or "The Way of Clan Consciousness" in 1790 when he was twenty-eight years old. The central tenets of Akli's theories were that:

  1. all people are equal until they can demonstrate that they are worthy of sainthood,
  2. labourers and artisans are oppressed by their rulers and masters,
  3. collective action by the labourers and artisans is necessary to ameliorate their condition, and
  4. the rulers and masters are parasites on the products of the clans' labour and must ultimately be overthrown.

Hand-copied volumes of Atm'isin'nada were widely distributed among the clans and ultimately provoked widespread work disruptions. To those who were unfamiliar with the radical language of the revolution, the overthrow of the Imxzninassan seemed more like the restoration of an ancient tribal society rather than the emergence of a new social order. Ziri Akli's writings remained obscure in the rest of the world by virtue of their limited and discreet distribution and the obscure language and script they were written in. At some point after 1800, an Audonic translation of Atm'isin'nada of uncertain origin appeared in East Merovia. There, dissidents and intellectuals seized upon the materials and drew upon them to incite collective action in the guilds and peasant farms against the monarchy.

Republicanism

The notion that each citizen in a society deserves a voice in its governance extends back to ancient Lihnidosi city-states and the senate of the ancient Latin Kingdom. These societies had extremely restrictive definitions of citizenship which enfranchised only the wealthiest and most powerful individuals in those societies. What distinguished Merovian revolutionary republicanism from previous forms in Belisaria was its appeal to universal rights and fundamental equality for all people.

Universalism had gained some traction in limited forms the centuries leading up to the revolution. Enlightened despots in Belisaria began to concede basic natural rights to their citizens, distinct from divine rights conferred by religious text. A radical rejection of both the innate superiority of the monarch and the rejection of autocracy or dictatorship as a legitimate form of government was a major development - especially at as large a scale as the Merovian anarchist movement.

The leading anarchist provocateurs and agitators leading up to the Merovian revolution were Jean Estienne and Marie-Claire d'Avon. Jean Estienne began his career as a royal printer but left his work to begin secretly printing seditious materials. He eventually became a fugitive who roamed between dissident and anarchist circles, distributing literature and passing word between groups. He began an epistolary relationship with Ziri Akli after encountering his writings circa. 1805 and learning some rudimentary tamaziɣt. Estienne was a key figure in organizing the Vallènes Festival and in launching the revolution-proper. Avon was an artisan brewer who had frequently agitated for women to be admitted to guilds. Her activism granted her access to dissident circles where she fiercely advocated for the equal rights of women and the value of women's labour. Avon was another organizer at Vallènes though she was one of the hundred and fifty killed when Royalist troops arrived to break up the event.

Aɣmatian revolution

Aɣmatian revolution
Part of the Messidorian revolutions
Η επίθεση του Ιμπραήμ Πασά κατά του Μεσσολογγίου. Λάδι. Giuseppe Mazzola..jpg
Hundreds are killed by the Imxzninassan at Avana
Date11 February – 22 December 1799 (1799-02-11 – 1799-12-22)
Location
Aɣmatia
Result
  • Kel Adrar victory
  • Overthrow of the Imxzninassan
  • Formation of the Confederation of Aɣmatia
Belligerents
Imxzninassan Inadan n Kel Adrar
Nada Bnu
Nada Xitr
Nada Ɣuz
Nada Znz
Commanders and leaders
Syphax 
Fer Ali 
Arkun ibn Hassan al-Izîli Executed
Ziri Akli
Vermina Ɣas
Sofon Ilx n Janub
Tanakwa Asmun
Strength
25,000 professional soldiers
30,000 militia fighters
100,000 clan warriors
300,000 rioters
Casualties and losses
5,000 wounded or killed in battle
6,000 to disease and famine
8,000 wounded or killed in battle
over 50,000 civilians to disease and famine

Amxzninassa system

The Imxzninassan (singular: Amxzninassa) were founded by the Izîlid dynasty shortly after they took power in the early 16th century. They were a professional fighting force of Gharib freemen though they later recruited from other groups. The Imxzninassan were stationed above the clan castes in the Mamlakat al-Akhmat, only beneath the iqta'at and the malik. They were founded as a professional force to expand the Izîlids' influence in the region, but also acted as a repressive force and kept order within Aɣmatia. Over time, the Imxzninassan flourished as a social order unto itself and were frequently hired privately by the iqta'at to act as enforcers, tax collectors, and eventually subordinate administrators.

At its inception, the Imxzninassan numbered 11,000 divided among 11 regiments or "ilfn". By the 1790s, Imxzninassan had expanded to 25 ilfn with several auxiliary forces. Commanders of the units were originally appointed by the malik, but by the mid-17th century, the commanders were appointing their own successors. After Malik Arkun ibh Hassan al-Izîli was deposed in 1792, Commander Syphax ruled the Imxninassan and the Mamlakat from the capital of Avana.

Kel Adrar clan organization

The Kel Adrar clans, or inada, recognized kinship ties according to trade or profession regardless of physical location. Each local clan group recognized a lesser elder, or amɣar'amzzan. If a clan member was alone among their profession in a small community, they would still be considered a lesser elder regardless of their actual experience or ability in their profession. Among the imɣaran'amzzan, a single amɣar, or clan elder, would be selected to represent the clan in inter-clan councils. Traditionally, in times of war, the Kel Adrar imɣaran would appoint a amɣar'hlu, or great elder, to be a singular leader, counseled by the imɣaran.

Ziri Akli, Vermina Ɣas, and Tanakwa Asmun at a convention of the imɣaran in early 1799

The elder roles could be conferred on any member, regardless of sex or gender. They were often conferred to the oldest and therefore most experienced members of a clan, but exceptions could be made for especially talented or knowledgable clan members. The process for appointing an elder was rarely directly democratic. It did rely upon the ascertainment of a general consensus within the clan.

In the latter era of the Izîlid/Imxzninassan rule, clans were rarely afforded the opportunity to appoint clan elders. The officially appointed lesser elders were kept on tight leashes by local administrators.

Material conditions and unrest

Periods of drought and famine were common in pre-industrial societies where the food supply was unstable. In the mid-1790s, Aɣmatia experienced a severe period of drought. The instability of the food supply was compounded by decades of divestment from agricultural production. The edges of the Ninva began to expand northward as desertification of fertile lands in the southeast set in. The lower classes, the inadan, were suffering greatly but the ruling classes were not insulated from economic hardship either. The Imxzninassan began exacting more demands on the inadan which heightened tensions even more. The iqta'at administrators began to lose influence and the leash they held on local clan leaders loosened even while the economic repression was maintained.

Many clans appointed secret representatives who traveled and coordinated between clan groups and between clans. The Kel Adrar clans took advantage of restored mobility to coordinate more resistance to the Imxzninassan regime. Resistance most frequently took the form of work action. Many artisans and labourers walked away from their workplaces, others marched in protest, and others committed acts of arson and sabotage. Many marches were put down by the Imxzninassan and the iqta began to hold progressively lesser amounts of power.

March to Avana and massacre

An amxzninassa soldier in the late-18th century

In early 1799, the imɣaran convened in secret in the town of Ay'ha Aman. The leaders concluded that they had enough popular support to attempt to overthrow the Imxzninassan and Commander Syphax. The leaders resolved to assemble their most capable warriors and march on the capital of Avana.

At the end of January, the march began at Gawawa, following the rough path of the Great Saint Kahina on the road to Aɣmat. The crowd of warriors grew as they travelled and were accompanied by a massive number of civilians. Ziri Akli claimed that the number of the army neared half a million and the reports of the iqta'at on the numbers of workers who disappeared generally corroborate a number near 250,000 including both civilians and warriors. On February 10, 1799, the marching army arrived at the outskirts of Avana and camped outside. The leaders planned to mark to the citadel the next day and force Syphax to abdicate to the Kel Adrar chiefs in the face of such overwhelming numbers.

On the night of February 10, 1799, a regiment of the Imxzninassan marched into the encampment and began to burn tents and kill the marchers as they slept. Several hundred were massacred by the soldiers before the clan warriors could mount a defense. The fighting continued on through the night until the Imxzninassan withdrew to the citadel at dawn. Reports of the dead numbered between 400 and 500, mostly civilians.

Military action

Retaliation for the Avana Massacre was swift. The imɣaran selected Ziri Akli as their supreme commander or amɣar'hlu. Akli rallied the surviving warriors and immediately mounted a siege on the citadel. Many of the citizens of Avana, including Gharibs and Kel Adrar, joined the marchers and warriors. News of the massacre spread across the country quickly as well, prompting thousands more to march on the capital and join the siege.

Syphax decided to hold out after sending messages to the other regiments and summoning reinforcements. On March 2, the First Battle of Avana took place between three reinforcing regiments arrived and the Akli's Kel Adrar warriors. The Kel Adrar won a decisive victory and held off the reinforcements and maintained the siege. The remnants of the defeated reinforcing army retreated into the hills. Further reinforcements did were to no avail after 50,000 fresh troops defected to the Kel Adrar rebels.

The Citadel of Avana is breached

After four months, the Imxzninassan's position was dire. The army enclosed in the citadel lived in squalor and disease. The besieging army had the benefit of the city of Avana's amenities to stave off disease. For both sides, food was a serious concern. The Kel Adrar commanders chose to disband much of the militia and dispatch the farmers back to their fields. Syphax attempted to capitalize on this opportunity and commenced the Second Battle of Avana on August 14. The battle ended in a stalemate but a fire started which burned through Avana for six days. The widespread devastation severely hampered the efforts of the besiegers, but the citadel remained encircled.

Elsewhere, numerous skirmishes and raids were undertaken by the remaining Imxzninassan forces against Kel Adrar and Gharib towns over the summer. The raids mobilized many of the unaligned population, mostly Gharib, against the Imxzninassan. Gharib merchants began to make arrangements to import foodstuffs and provide some relief to the sieging army.

Syphax ordered a last-ditch attempt to break out from the citadel in December 1799. The Third Battle of Avana saw the last of Syphax's forces disintegrate and on December 22, 1799, the citadel was breached and a mob of warriors and rioters stormed the keep. Syphax and his officers were torn apart. The revolution was over and the Kel Adrar elders stood alone as the rulers of the land.

Aftermath

After the citadel in Avana was taken, the Kel Adrar leaders sent most of the marchers home to return to their trades. A conference of the imɣaran was convened in New Aɣmat on January 16, 1800. The conference set out to address a number of problems the newly independent country faced:

  • how the country and its governance would be organized,
  • the continued scarcity of food, and
  • the iqta'at and the Imxzninassan remnants.

To respond to the first concern, the conference drafted a charter that drew upon the Atm'tmassa and the ancient clan laws of the Kel Adrar. The imɣaran would lead their clans in the traditional way but would meet in New Amɣat twice a year to discuss matters of national importance and to make new agreements between the clans. In practice, most of the imɣaran resided in New Amɣat and could meet more frequently, but the two annual conferences would be a minimum.

With regards to the ongoing food supply issues, the return of many labourers to their fields combined with the support of the Gharib merchants partially alleviated the immediate crisis. To assure future food security, the imɣaran decided to dispatch emissaries to Scipian and Belisarian nations to negotiate commercial agreements, either with governments or with private merchants, and to investigate the possibility of mechanization to improve endemic food production. Fruitful relationships with Merovian guilders would later sow the seeds for cooperation in the future.

Many of the iqta'at fled Amɣatia after the citadel of Avana fell and many of those who remained were imprisoned for collaborating with the Imxzninassan. Others were able to step away from their previous roles as taskmasters and tax collectors peacefully. The remaining Imxzninassan regiments posed an eminent threat to the new country. Tens of thousands of professional soldiers continued to roam the land and by late February 1800, a large contingent had consolidated a foothold in Kirthan. The imɣaran reassembled an army of clan warriors to counter the threat but had limited success. The Imxzninassan threat was never completely stamped out over the next decade and the instability in northern Kirthan was one of the justifications of the Yisraeli colonization of the region and the formation of the Protectorate of Tarshish.

Merovian revolution

Merovian revolution
Part of the Messidorian revolutions
Gustave Wappers - Épisode des Journées de septembre 1830 sur la place de l'Hôtel de Ville de Bruxelles.jpg
Monarchists lament the capture of Louis XII
Date15 June 1824 – 9 May 1830 (1824-06-15 – 1830-05-09)
Location
Merovia
Result
  • Anarchist victory
  • Division of East and West Merovia
  • Formation of the Messidor Union
Belligerents
Monarchists
Kingdom of Merovia
Kingdom of Sydalon
Kingdom of Garza
Empire of Lihnidos
Kingdom of Vardana
Anarchists
Peasant Legions
United Guilder Army
Supported by:
Confederation of Aɣmatia
Red Banner Tribunal
Commanders and leaders
Louis XII Executed
Henry IV
André de Lys
Jean-Marie Marois 
Count of Canosa
Philip of Garza
David Philes
Jean Estienne
Marie-Claire d'Avon 
Élise Faucon
Le Renard
Victor Molière
Strength
302 nobles
2,486 knights
72,530 professional soldiers
30,000 levied soldiers
100,000 irregulars
184,000 peasants
62,000 guilders
200,000 irregulars
900 mercenaries
Casualties and losses
189 nobles killed in battle or executed
43,000 soldiers wounded or killed in battle
35,000 irregulars wounded or killed in battle
56,900 wounded or killed in battle
over 100,000 civilians to disease and famine

Formation of the Kingdom of Merovia

On January 1, 1816, the Holy Audonian Empire collapsed after the Pope in Fabria refused to crown a new emperor following the death of Emperor Joseph I. Overnight, little changed in theory but in the ensuing months the collapse became more apparent. Duke Louis XI had made his own bid for the throne among the electors and the Fabrian Church but failed to gather traction with both. After the collapse, the Duchy of Merovia abandoned several of the conciliatory Imperial decrees of toleration. Protestants came under renewed attacks from the Fabrian population.

With Protestant Lyncanestria to the north, the ancient rival Latium to the west, and the bitter remnants of the Imperial court in Vannois to the east, Merovia was isolated. Riots and confusion reigned for months and large quantities of people moved through the former territory of the empire to return to their homes. The emperor's personal guard mutinied and fell to infighting. Duke Louis XI looked beyond the Belisarian continent to build relations with the Pope in Fabria and the Kingdom of Sydalon. On November 8, 1816, Louis XI's petition to be elevated to an independent king was granted and the Kingdom of Merovia was born.

Famine and civil unrest

King Louis XI tore down more old imperial decrees after he was elevated and cultivated a new court in Saints-Aix-des-Vaux. Louis XI died expectedly at 51 years old and was succeeded by his son, Louis XII, in 1820. Louis XII was widely considered to have been poorly groomed for his role and he coincidentally came to power at the onset of a period of famine. The new king neglected domestic duties in favour of courting better relations with his neighbours, including with the kingdoms of Lihnidos and Garza.

Marie-Claire d'Avon and Élise Faucon lead a march of women against royal decrees on guild membership

In Merovia, intellectual and material resistance to the monarchy was growing. Anarchist and republican agitation had been brewing under Louis XI, but was quickly coming to a head under Louis XII. In addition, a significant collection of the local Fabrian clergy looked upon the elevation of the kingdom with disfavour. In response to opposition from the commoners and the clergy, King Louis XII enacted draconian censorship laws and censured the obstinate bishops.

Jean Estienne and Marie-Claire d'Avon were at the forefront of anarchist organization since before the collapse of the Holy Audonian Empire. Estienne had been imprisoned both in 1818 and 1821 for fomenting rebellion among landed peasants. Avon had lost a hand in 1820 after being apprehended by an Alpine constable. The network of guilds and peasant communities who were amenable to revolution was growing year by year and by the 1820s the numbers were formidable.

An informal criminal network led by the pseudonymous "Le Renard" managed the distribution of seditious material and messages and ensured they were read out to illiterate peasants. A woman named Élise Faucon also led a grassroots movement of rural women who opposed the mechanization of cottage industries.

Vallènes Festival

In June 1824, the leaders of the anarchist movements of Merovia organized a convention at the township of Vallènes. The local guilders arranged for the convention to coincide with the township's yearly week-long summer solstice festival. News spread quickly through Le Renard's network, other trade guilds, and to different peasant communes. In total, at least 30,000 people converged on the township which had a usual population of less than 1,000.

Jean Estienne, who had been corresponding with Ziri Akli since 1805, invited several guests of honour from the Confederation of Aɣmatia. The guests included Tariqt Akli, Ziri Akli's niece, and Faras Selim, a clan steward and industrial organizer. Combined with the massive migration of tens of thousands of people to a small regional festival, the arrival of two foreigners attracted the attention of the royal constables.

On June 15, 1824, a regiment of the county's guard converged on the festival led by Sir André de Lys with the intent to disperse the attendees. The revolutionaries refused the demands of the authorities and a clash ensued. Many of the attendees brought arms and retaliated against the soldiers. By the end of the day, the attendees were fleeing after between fifty and one hundred lay dead, including Marie-Claire d'Avon.

Early war

Battle of Bastonne, March 1825

In response to the violence at Vallènes, Estienne and the other anarchist leaders called for an all-out revolution. The guilders formed a unified army under the command of Victor Molière while Le Renard organized peasant legions. The anarchist leaders remained mobile but the revolutionaries seized footholds in the south and east. Mousillon and Saint-Avre were the first two cities to fall under anarchist control in July 1824.

By January 1825, King Louis XII had finally conceded that the uprisings would not be quickly resolved by the county authorities and the Royal Army was called forth. The king's reluctance to act to this point had conferred a major advantage to the anarchists as they had secured access to royal arsenals in Saints-Aix-d'Azure, Castelneuf, and Douaumont. The Royal Army also struggled to move and were frequently harassed by irregular fighters as they mobilized to retake the east. For two days beginning on March 4, 1825, the Royal Army and a detachment of guilders fought the first open battle at Bastonne. The Royal Army thoroughly crushed the anarchists and routed them from the field.

Far from lowering the morale of the anarchists, the defeat at Bastonne caused great outrage and, spurred on by pamphleteers and provacateurs, more uprisings and anarchist armies were raised in the north. The Royal Army remained unmatched in the field for the next six months but suffered attritional losses as the anarchists refused to engage them again. While the bulk of his forces were busy trying to regain the east, seemingly spontaneous uprisings across the country ceded more and more cities, towns, and resources to the anarchists.

Migrations

With the completion of the harvest in the autumn of 1825, the first series of migrations began to take place. Many loyalist or neutral peasants hoarded food and gathered their belongings to set off for the west and escape the violence and the revolutionaries. The counties of Alpes, Caradagne, Sessoigne received massive influxes of population. At the same time, sympathetic and revolution-inclined populations migrated towards the eastern centres to join the war against the monarch.

Traffic along the major thoroughfares further exacerbated the monarchists' mobility issues and desperation at the multitudes of revolutionaries led to drastic measures. Able-bodied travellers who encountered armies on the roads quickly became liable to be pressed into service in levied battalions.

The sudden migrations also lead to famines in the east. The anarchists were negatively affected by the loss of overall supply but the Royal Army was more direly affected by the migration as it depended on pillaging to requisition food. With fewer reserves to plunder and continual harassment of supply lines, the monarchist forces faced starvation in the east and had to retreat to the capital before winter set in. The new year of 1826 was ushered in with effective anarchist control of the east of the entire counties of Couronne and Guibellines.

Lihnidosi intervention

Siege of Ville-de-Couronne, June 1826

In the spring of 1826, hostilities resumed as the anarchists organized an offensive in the south of Artesia. The campaign was spearheaded by a band of 900 mercenaries who were more experienced in conventional warfare than the other anarchist forces. The offensive was successful as the monarchists failed to mobilize effectively before the port cities were taken.

Fearing that momentum was swinging too strongly toward the anarchists, King Louis XII relented to his advisors and requested aid from the Empire of Lihnidos. Fearing that the anarchy in Merovia would spread across the straits to the island empire, the emperor had already levied a fleet and a small army under the command of Lord David Philes. Several Vardanan warships were offered to support the fleet as well. On May 28, 1826, Lord Philes set sail for Merovia with 23 ships and 20,000 regulars.

The Lihnidosi-Vardanan fleet set siege to the port city of Ville-de-Couronne on June 2, 1826. Monarchist troops were landed on nearby shores while warships bombarded the port. The anarchists lost between 20 and 30 combatants and reported the deaths of up to twice as many civilians in the first two days of the siege. After two weeks, the anarchist barricades in the city were felled and the monarchist force captured the county seat. Insurgent strikes and irregular warfare continued to harass the garrison force left by the Lihnidosi, but the army began to march north to the revolutionary stronghold of Castelneuf and the main anarchist offensive in the west was curtailed as the United Guilder Army turned away to reinforce the east.

Even with the total forces of the main offensive reduced, the anarchists captured Artesia City in July 1826 and pushed forward to engage with the Royal Army at Alers. After a series of skirmishes, the two forces met three kilometres outside the town on July 24, 1826. Fighting continued from dawn until dusk and spilled into the streets of Alers through the night. By midday on July 25, the Royal Army was routed, though the Peasant Legions sustained heavy losses.

The United Guilder Army stymied the Lihnidosi advance by August and prevented them from taking Castelneuf. The monarchist allies retreated to Couronne for the winter where attritional losses were heavy due to the continued insurgency. Lord David Philes enacted harsh retribution on the civilian populace, news of which traveled quickly. The intervention become unpopular among the commoners at home and the Lihnidosi and Vardanan royalty were becoming increasingly concerned that their involvement would only exacerbate the situation abroad and at home.

Sydalene intervention

At the end of the summer of 1826, Louis XII gathered his forces back in Saints-Aix-des-Vaux and began to fortify his position over the winter. He also instituted a levy in the west, drawing on able-bodied loyalist peasants to reinforce his diminished forces. The king also sent a request for aid to Sydalon and Pope Alexander II in Fabria. The pope declined to call for a holy alliance against the anarchists but supported the appeal for aid from Sydalon. The crusader state responded by dispatching Count Michael II of Canosa with a fleet of transports that delivered 6,000 regulars and a company of 1,000 knights to reinforce the monarchists in Sessoigne.

Second Battle of Alers, April 14, 1827

Sporadic fighting continued through the colder months and independent uprisings in the counties of Alpes and Caradagne imperiled the monarchist strongholds in the west. The Sydalene army joined with loyalist Merovian peasant levies in 1827 and pushed directly against the Peasant Legions near Alers. With the losses from the previous summer's battles, the anarchists were even in numbers with the combined Sydalene and Merovian monarchist army. The anarchists retreated from their advance positions to the reinforced town. The Second Battle of Alers saw the inverse result with retreating anarchists despite heavy monarchist losses.

Following their swift victory, Count Michael followed through south to Artesia City. After sending a message to his Lihnidosi counterpart, the Sydalene commander pushed towards the town of Marois where he met with Lord Philes who had done the same with the Lihnidosi force, and Baron Jean-Marie, a local lord who was leading a detachment of 15,000 soldiers of the Merovian Royal Army. Before the nobles could put their plans into action, however, the combined forces of the United Guilder Army and the replenished Peasant Legions laid siege to the combined monarchist force laid siege on April 22, 1827. The combined Sydalene and Lihnidosi forces managed to break through the besiegers, but Baron Jean-Marie was cut down by anarchist gunners along with most of his staff. The interventionist commanders managed to rally some of the retreating Merovians but a bulk of the army was lost. Lord Philes and Count Michael were forced to abandon their plans and retreat to Couronne where they planned on holding position until further reinforcements could be requested.

After reaching Couronne, news reached the Lihnidosi-Vardanan contingent that the personal union had dissolved. The sanction for the intervention had also been withdrawn. Of the approximately 14,000 surviving members of the originally 20,000 strong army, more than 10,000 returned home, leaving Lord Philes with less than a quarter of his original force. The anarchists laid siege to Ville-de-Couronne on September 3, 1827, and the remnants of both the Lihnidosi-Vardanan and the Sydalene interventions were forced to abandon the monarchist cause.

Garzan intervention

Garzan and Merovian forces in the west

King Louis XII had dispatched an envoy to the neighbouring Kingdom of Garza to request a third intervention as early as December 1826. Queen Joanna III was in poor health and her consort was disinterested in fighting another kingdom's battles. Prince Philip, whose sister Isabella was married to King Louis's cousin Duke Henry, advocated for the intervention in effect, especially after King Louis promised a tract of land along the Garzan border in exchange for support. After the passing of Queen Joanna and the ascension of King Philip I on November 10, 1828, the Garzans dispatched their army to take control over the west.

In the preceding year, the Kingdom of Merovia had continued to lose ground, especially in the north and the east. Roughly two-thirds of the country was under anarchist control. Most of the Royal Army was holding out around the capital which was under martial law to try to curtail insurgent activity. Count André de Lys and the king's son Henry had taken an army of 10,000 soldiers, mostly peasant levies, to join with the Garzan intervention and retake the west.

In February 1829, several detachments of the Peasant Legions breached the monarchist defenses on the outskirts of Saints-Aix-des-Vaux. On March 11, the anarchists decisively defeated the Royal Army at the First Battle of Vaux. The encirclement of the capital was completed on March 19, 1829. Meanwhile, a fleet of warships captured by the anarchists transported 6,000 veterans from the United Guilder Army to Port-du-Sol. The anarchists captured the city in April and took on reinforcements over land.

During the spring and summer of 1829, the Garzan forces restored monarchist control to citizens in the counties of Alpes and Caradagne. Word of the siege at Vaux spread quickly to the remaining monarchist forces in the west and the Garzan-Merovian army under King Philip and Count André diverted to relieve the capital but were intercepted by the guilders at the Second Battle of Ventôse. The monarchists forced the guilders to retreat but their movement was stalled after the anarchists fortified major crossings along the River Sil.

Siege of Vaux

The capital city and the royal palace were only lightly fortified before the outbreak of the war. The palace was no longer a medieval castle but was an elaborate complex of opulent buildings and gardens. Once the war began to turn for the worse, one of King Louis XII's primary concerns was the defense of the capital. The king had buildings around the palace complex seized and fortified. By 1828, the decision was made to construct stone a wall around the palace, barricading off several streets. Two whole regiments of the Royal Army were held in reserve to protect the king and the castle. The Gaudine River; which ran through the city, alongside the palace, and into Lake Martel; was also a planned avenue for escape if the city came under siege.

Monarchist cavalry clashes with anarchist legionnaires over the Gaudine River

On March 29, 1829, the lake district of the city was seized by the Peasant Legions, cutting off the king's last avenue of escape. The anarchists began to sweep through the city, torching city guard posts and skirmishing with the Royal Army. On April 13, the Royal Army was pushed back to the palace complex. Not all of the stone walls had been completed and several streets had to be barricaded with debris. Mortar from the Royal Army's artillery impeded the anarchist advance and return fire from the anarchists wreaked havoc on the palace. Buildings were flattened in a radius around the palace complex. Well-drilled monarchist infantry held the barricades and staved off the occasional advance, but the anarchist leaders determined that a siege would be the safest option. Much of the country's north and east had come under a new way of life under the anarchist rule and supply lines from the free anarchist lands and the city would assure that the sieging army remained fed and equipped as they starved out the monarchists.

Levy monarchist infantry try to hold a barricade against the anarchists in Vaux

The spring and early summer remained at a standstill. The king had converted the floral palace gardens into vegetable gardens to help sustain them over the siege as they waited for the King Philip of Garza and Duke Henry to reinforce them. Meanwhile, in the west, Philip and Henry were at a standstill. Their army was still unable to cross the River Sil.

In late August, the anarchists began to slowly test the monarchists in Vaux again. Artillery bombardments tore up the gardens and blasted holes into the buildings. The monarchists attempted to return fire but were soon low on munitions. As autumn arrived, the anarchists made more probing strikes against the weary and hungry monarchists.

On November 4, 1829, the Second Battle of Vaux was launched as the Peasant Legions breached the fortifications and assaulted the palace. The two regiments of the Royal Army were swiftly overcome and almost all who were not killed were swiftly captured. To the surprise of the anarchist leaders, King Louis XII escaped the palace in the chaos and had fled the city. After capturing the city of Vaux, the anarchists tried to cut off any route to the west and prevent the king's escape.

East and West

King Henri IV de Grissons-Corbay

King Louis XII evaded capture for two months but was finally apprehended by the anarchists on either January 4 or January 5, 1830, at the port city of Saint-Lazare. The king was returned to the capital and held in jail. News of the king's capture reached King Philip of Garza and Duke Henry within weeks. Henry attempted to negotiate for the king's release but to no avail. The king was put on trial by the anarchists, and on February 2, the king was sentenced to death for treason against the Merovian people. The execution took place on February 11, 1830.

In the west, Duke Henry assumed the metaphorical throne upon the death of his cousin and was formally crowned King Henry IV of Merovia on February 15, 1830. King Philip continued to plan to retake the east, but the new King Henry was more pessimistic. He secretly began to negotiate a ceasefire with the anarchists in March. On May 1, Henry signed an armistice with East Merovia and dismissed King Philip and the Garzan intervention from his lands.

The two kings parted on poor terms after King Henry attempted to renege on his late cousin's promise of land, citing the failure of the Garzans to defeat the anarchists and the land he had already lost. King Philip occupied the land he was promised on his way home and the territory was de facto annexed by the Kingdom of Garza.

Aftermath

Following the armistice on May 1, 1830, King Henry IV established his own court at the old imperial resort town of Valentinople. The surviving nobles joined the new king at court, including numerous eastern lords who were dispossessed of their lands by the armistice. In the east, the anarchist councils established a central government in the old capital of Vaux. On May 9, the Republic of Merovia was proclaimed, commonly referred to as East Merovia to distinguish it from the Kingdom of Merovia, or West Merovia. The first democratic elections were held six months later.

Tensions between the east and the west remained high despite the armistice. Reconstruction in the east proceeded swiftly as the scarred landscapes and economies rapidly industrialized as they were reincorporated, especially after the Republic of Merovia united with the Confederation of Aɣmatia to form the Messidor Union on June 20, 1831. In the comparatively untouched west, the new court remained in a precarious position. Popular agitation in the west and enlightened reforms in other Belisarian nations led to liberal reforms to appease the masses in 1856, and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in 1866.

Legacy

See also