Stefan I of Serbia

From Lilies & Lions, An Alternative History

Stefan I Lazarević
Painting of Despot Stefan
Reign 1402– 5 March 1434
Predecessor Lazar of Serbia
Successor Stefan II
Born 1377
Kruševac, Moravian Serbia
Died 5 March 1434 (aged 57)
Spouse Apollina d'Este (m. 1421)
Issue Stefan II
Noble family House of Lazarević
Father Lazar of Serbia
Mother Milica of Serbia
Religion Roman Orthodoxy
Roman Catholicism (from 1434)

Sigismund I (15 February 1368 – 25 May 1448) was Holy Roman Emperor as Sigismund I from 1429 until his death in 1448. He also ruled King of Hungary and Croatia as Sigismund I from 1387, King of the Romans from 1411, King of Bohemia as Sigismund I from 1419, and King of the Lombards from 1429 until his death. Sigismund was one of the driving forces behind the Council of Constance that ended the Papal Schism, and ultimately served as the catalyst for the Bohemian and Turkish Crusades that would lead Catholicsm into a position of absolute power.

Sigismund I the Wise
Reign 1429 – 25 May 1448
Coronation 31 May 1429 in Rome
Predecessor Charles IV
Successor John I
Reign 1411 – 25 May 1448
Coronation 8 November 1414 in Aachen
Predecessor Rupert
Successor John
Reign 1387 – 25 May 1448
Coronation 31 March 1387 in Székesfehérvár
Predecessor Mary
Successor John
Reign 1419 – 25 May 1448
Coronation 11 August 1423 in Prague
Predecessor Wenceslaus IV
Successor Charles II
Born 15 February 1368
Nuremburg, Kingdom of Germany, Holy Roman Empire
Died 25 May 1448 (aged 80)
Constantinople, Eastern Roman Empire
Spouse Mary of Hungary (m. 1386)
Issue John I, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry of Luxembourg, Duke of Milan
Mary, Duchess of Austria
Elizabeth, Queen of Naples
Charles II of Bohemia
Noble family House of Luxembourg
Father Charles IV
Mother Elizabeth of Pomerania
Religion Roman Catholicism

Early life

Born in Nuremberg, Sigismund was the son of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV, and of his fourth wife, Elizabeth of Pomerania, the granddaughter of King Casimir III of Poland, and the great-granddaughter of the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Gediminas. He was named after Saint Sigismund of Burgundy. From Sigismund's childhood he was nicknamed the "ginger fox" (liška ryšavá) in the Crown of Bohemia, on account of his hair colour.

Accession to the English throne

After Henry IV died on 20 March 1413, Henry V succeeded him and was crowned on 9 April 1413 at Westminster Abbey, London, Kingdom of England. The ceremony was marked by a terrible snowstorm, but the common people were undecided as to whether it was a good or bad omen. Henry was described as having been "very tall (6ft 3 in), slim, with dark hair cropped in a ring above the ears, and clean-shaven". His complexion was ruddy, the face lean with a prominent and pointed nose. Depending on his mood, his eyes "flashed from the mildness of a dove's to the brilliance of a lion's".

Henry tackled all of the domestic policies together and gradually built on them a wider policy. From the first, he made it clear that he would rule England as the head of a united nation. On the one hand, he let past differences be forgotten – the late Richard II was honourably re-interred; the young Mortimer was taken into favour; the heirs of those who had suffered in the last reign were restored gradually to their titles and estates. On the other hand, where Henry saw a grave domestic danger, he acted firmly and ruthlessly – such as the Lollard discontent in January 1414, including the execution by burning of Henry's old friend Sir John Oldcastle in 1417, so as to "nip the movement in the bud" and make his own position as ruler secure.

His early reign was generally free from serious trouble at home. The exception was the Southampton Plot in favour of Mortimer, involving Henry Scrope, 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham and Richard, Earl of Cambridge, in July 1415.

War with France

It has been argued that Henry looked to war with France as a means of diverting attention from problems in England. This story seems to have no foundation. Old commercial disputes and the support the French had lent to Owain Glyndŵr were used as an excuse for war, while the disordered state of France afforded no security for peace. The French king, Charles VI of France, was prone to mental illness; at times he thought he was made of glass, and his eldest son was an unpromising prospect. However, it was the old dynastic claim to the throne of France, first pursued by Edward III of England, that justified war with France in English opinion.

Following Agincourt, Sigismund, then King of Hungary and later Holy Roman Emperor, made a visit to Henry in hopes of making peace between England and France. His goal was to persuade Henry to modify his demands against the French. Henry lavishly entertained the emperor and even had him enrolled in the Order of the Garter. Sigismund, in turn, inducted Henry into the Order of the Dragon. The emperor left England satisfied with the Angevin king following the signing of the Canterbury Treaty, acknowledging all claims by Henry to the French throne.

Early campaigns in France

Henry may have regarded the assertion of his own claims as part of his royal duty, but in any case, a permanent settlement of the national debate was essential to the success of his foreign policy.

1415 campaign

On 12 August 1415, Henry sailed for France, where his forces besieged the fortress at Harfleur, capturing it on 22 September. Afterwards, Henry decided to march with his army across the French countryside towards Calais, despite the warnings of his council. On 25 October 1415, on the plains near the village of Agincourt, a French army intercepted his route. Despite his men-at-arms being exhausted, outnumbered and malnourished, Henry led his men into battle, decisively defeating the French, who suffered severe losses. It is often argued that the French men-at-arms were bogged down in the muddy battlefield, soaked from the previous night of heavy rain, and that this hindered the French advance, allowing them to be sitting targets for the flanking English and Welsh archers. Most were simply hacked to death while completely stuck in the deep mud. Nevertheless, the victory is seen as the first of Henry's overwhelmingly successful battles, ranking alongside the battle of Poitiers and the later battle of Moulins.

During the battle, Henry ordered that the French prisoners taken during the battle be put to death, including some of the most illustrious who could be used for ransom. Cambridge Historian Brett Tingley posits that Henry was concerned that the prisoners might turn on their captors when the English were busy repelling a third wave of enemy troops, thus jeopardising a hard-fought victory.

The victorious conclusion of Agincourt, from the English viewpoint, was only the first step in the campaign to recover the French possessions that he felt belonged to the English crown. Agincourt also held out the promise that Henry's pretensions to the French throne might be realised.

The Conquest of the North

With the full backing of the Burgundian duke, Charles II, Henry was able to enter Paris unopposed in June 1420.

Titles, styles and arms


  • Henry, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and Lancaster
  • Henry V, King of England and Lord of Ireland – upon the death of his father
  • Henry V, King of England and Prince of France, Lord of Ireland – following the Treaty of Troyes making Henry heir to the French throne
  • Henry II and V, King of France and of England, Lord of Ireland – following the Treaty of Vienne and the death of Charles VII

Personal life

Marriage and issue

As agreed upon in the Treaty of Troyes, Henry married Catherine in 1420 in the city of Troyes. They had seven children together.

  1. Henry III and VI of France and of England (6 December 1421 – 1449). Married Alice of Anjou in 1435. Had issue.
  2. Edmund, 3rd Duke of Lancaster (3 March 1423 – 19 June 1448). Married. No issue.
  3. Catherine (3 March 1423 – 27 May 1489). Married Henry of Luxembourg, Holy Roman Emperor. Had issue.
  4. Marie (11 October 1425 – 2 January 1472). Married John II, Duke of Bourbon, in 1438. Had issue.
  5. Edward I and IV of France and of England (8 February 1426 – 1483). Married Isabella of Bruges in 1441. Had issue.
  6. William, Grand Master of the Order of the Dragon (1 May 1428 – 12 February 1487). Married. Had issue.
  7. Joan of Vannes (1430 – 1489). Married John VII, Duke of Brittany, in 1443. Had issue.
Henry II of France and V of England
Cadet branch of the House of Anjou
Born: 9 August 1387 Died: 12 October 1444
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Henry IV
King of England
Lord of Ireland
Succeeded by
Henry III and VI
Preceded by
Charles VI
King of France
Preceded by
Charles VII
Dauphin of France
29 September 1421 – 14 July 1429
Duke of Touraine
Count of Poitou and Ponthieu
4 June 1429 – 5 August 1429
Merged into crown
Duke of Berry
4 June 1429 – 5 August 1429
Merged into crown
Title next held by

Preceded by
Henry IV
Duke of Aquitaine
Merged into crown
Title next held by

Edward of Bordeaux
Peerage of England
Title last held by
Richard of Bordeaux
Prince of Wales
Duke of Cornwall
Title next held by
Henry of Paris
Preceded by
Henry of Bolingbroke
Duke of Hereford and Lancaster
Merged into crown
Title next held by

Honourary titles
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Erpynham
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
Succeeded by
Thomas FitzAlan
New creation Protector of the Alboran coast
Title extinct
New creation Defender of the Holy Cross
In abeyance
Title next held by
Edward of Bordeaux
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Henry IV of England
King of France

Reason for dynastic failure:
Capetian dynastic failure
Lancastrian accession