Tales from Hesse

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Tales from Hesse

Post by Olligarchy » 09:24:42 Tuesday, 06 December, 2016


Der Krieg ernährt den Krieg
The War will feed itself
The mostly Protestant Hessian Landgraviates came out if the fires of the Thirty Years War mostly unscathed and their heads held high. Not only had their already quasi-legendary forefathers been among the most powerful Protestant lords and helped Gustavus Adolphus and Cardinal Richelieu lead the Protestant side to victory, they had also managed to consolidate their own holdings to the new 'Absolutist' ideal with little fuss. Life was looking good for the heirs of Philip of Hesse, and their futures seemed assured.

But as so often happened with these things, then everything went to shit. The bickering of siblings grew into rivalries of cousins and eventually the flames of war engulfed the Hessian region, as the four remaining Principalities vied for the right to be nominated the Lord of all Hesse. These 'Hessian Wars' were ruinously expensive, and solved very little in the end, only serving to weaken the Hessians as a whole as their acquired wealth was spent on mercenaries and fortresses.

This was the past of Ernst-Ludwig of Hesse-Darmstadt. Not only had his County been badly ravaged by war, he'd also misspent much of his funds in the construction of his new palace, funding artists, musicians and generally attempting to recreate the glory of the Sun King in his own name... In Germany... with less money. The end result should have been obvious for all to see: the Hessians were deep in debt. This when combined with the historic problems of Hesse as a whole; namely the overpopulation of rather poor farmland; only served to exacerbate the seemingly endless pit the Landsgrave found himself in.

The solution in hindsight seemed rather obvious.

The Hessians were renown soldiers, having come out of the Thirty Years war with the extensive lessons of both Swedish and Imperial arms, and in desperation the Landsgrave decided to take advantage of that. In his
Erhebung des Truppengesetzes (Levying of Troops Act) he re-instituted the age old feudal custom of levying peasants into the Hessian arms, ordering that each Hessian should serve in the Colours for a period of 5 to 10 years. The end result was a highly militarized principality which could upon truly massive numbers of skilled soldiers should it need to, but it rarely did.

Instead the landsgrave had these men sent abroad to fight other Kings and Emperors wars... for a price. A price money which he used to fund the lavish balls and palaces he wished to build to glorify his own name and dynasty.
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