H. Aurelio Decus, 4th Duke of Marra

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Admiral of the Fleet His Imperial Grace
the Duke of Marra
GSC GSLO CCA GUF GUPM CC MI
Prince Aurelio, 4th Duke of Marra
The Duke of Marra, by da Monteclorini
In Office
8 June 7424 - 11 October 7435
Monarch Victoria I
Preceded By XX
Succeeded By XX
In office
19 April 7384 - 12 January 7444
Monarch Marius II / Victoria I
Preceded By Marius Decus, 3rd Duke of Marra
Succeeded By Aurelio Decus, 5th Duke of Marra
Military Service
Allegiance Anisoran Empire
Service/Branch  Anisoran Imperial Navy
 Anisoran Army
Years of Service 7385 - 7444
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Marshal of the Empire
Battles/wars Auresio-Anisoran War

War of the Becuvitatian Succession

Personal Details
Born 12 August 7371
Colombera Palace, Pena, Anisoran Empire
Died 12 January 7444 (aged 72)
Palazzo Paroggia, Casella, Anisoran Empire
Spouse L. Luisa da Matrignano
Issue M. Aurelio, 5th Duke of Marra
T. Michele Decus, Viscount of Ginestreto
Full Name Hosto Aurelio Decus
House House of Decus
Father Marius I
Mother Erelia of Amberia and Eilän
Religion Peratolian Orkanan

Admiral of the Fleet Prince Aurelio, 4th Duke of Marra OF GSC GSLO CCA GUF GUPM CC MI (Anisoran: Hosto Aurelio Deco; 12 August 7371 - 12 January 7444) was an Anisoran political and military leader of the 75th century, who served as Prime Minister of the Anisoran Empire between 7424 and 7435, as well as First Lord High Admiral of the Anisoran Imperial Navy. The third son of Marius I, first Emperor of the Anisorans, and his third wife Erelia of Amberia and Eilän, Prince Aurelio was a senior member of the Anisoran imperial family and House of Decus, becoming Duke of Marra in 7384 after the death of his father, at the age of 13.

Prince Aurelio was groomed from a young age to be a naval commander and sailor, joining the Anisoran Imperial Navy at the age of 14. He loved the naval life and progressed as much through merit as his imperial privilege. He served under Vice-Admiral Marino at the Battle of Pamdo Bay during the Auresio-Anisoran War and was mentioned in dispatches for his actions aboard IAN Gran Principo. He eventually rose to the rank of Rear-Admiral before taking the position of First Lord High Admiral, the head of the Marina Imperiale, a position he retained for over twenty years.

In 7424 Prince Aurelio was appointed Prime Minister by his newly crowned niece, Empress Victoria I, daughter of the Prince's elder brother Marius II. He took office at a time of increased tension between the Anisoran Empire and Amberia, and within months of his appointment, the War of the Becuvitatian Succession had broken out, and would rage for the next five years. His appointment proved initially controversial due to his Amberian mother, Empress-consort Erelia of Amberia and Eilän, who also exercised considerable influence over Empress Victoria. Despite fears of Amberian sympathies, Prince Aurelio has been remembered as a capable war-time prime minister, helping realise the long-term foreign policy goal of securing the Duke of Torzarolo-Arese on the throne of Becuvitatia. He was also the primary Anisoran architect behind the Treaty of Gaaze, which brought the war to an end in 7431. His handling of post-war agitation such as the Fontanigorna Massacre and the implementation of the repressive 'Exemplar Donato Laws' has been criticised and arguably defined his post-war premiership.

A notoriously modest individual despite his accomplishments, much unlike his father, he was fond of saying "I am a mere sailor" when asked for his opinion.

Contents

Early Life

Aurelio was born Hosto Aurelio Deco in Colombera Palace, Pena, Grand Principality of Casella on 12 August 7371, the sixth child of Marius I, Emperor of the Anisorans, and the second child of his third wife Erelia of Amberia and Eilän. Through his mother Aurelio was a grandson of Aje-Kateriin I, a nephew of Adelædis IX and cousin of Adelædis X of Amberia.

Aurelio was the emperor's first son to be a prince of the Anisoran Empire from birth (his elder sister Princess Larissa being the first child born to such a style) and was known as His Imperial Highness the Prince Aurelio from birth. At the time of his birth, Prince Aurelio was third-in-line to the thrones of Anisora, Casella, Pastana and Marona after his two elder half-brothers Marius, Grand Prince of Pastana and Prince Julius. In 7379, at the age of eight, Prince Aurelio became second-in-line after the death of Prince Julius.

At the age of one, Anisora invaded the Kingdom of Lusavan, beginning the Anisoro-Lusavanic War (7372-7375). Prince Aurelio accompanied his mother to Fabrigna along with the rest of the imperial family to be nearer the front. However, as the war dragged on, Aurelio's mother decided to visit her niece Adelædis X, the young Sea Queen of Amberia, in 7372. Aurelio and his elder sister Princess Larissa joined her and they travelled to Aschgæt, where they were to stay for the next three years. Most historians agree that Empress Erelia's true purpose in visiting her homeland was to try and exert influence over the Regency Council of her niece. It was only after this failed that she returned to Anisora in 7375, which coincided with the celebrations of her husband's victory in the Anisoro-Lusavanic War.

During these first formative years in Amberia, Prince Aurelio developed a thick aristocratic Amberian accent and spoke very little Anisoran, despite his Anisoran nurse's best efforts. He became a play mate of the young Sea Queen, only two years older than himself, and during their stay Erelia pushed for the betrothal of Prince Aurelio and her niece Adelædis, which received a luke-warm reception from the Regency Council. Prince Aurelio returned to Anisora with his mother when their presence was required in the victory celebrations in 7375.

After his return to Anisora, Prince Aurelio began to be home schooled, contrary to Anisoran convention, but was eventually sent in 7381 to the Exemplar Felixian College for Boys in Alzeno, the school his father had attended. He didn't much enjoy his time at the school, preferring to spend time outdoors playing cricket and learning to sail. He became enamoured with the sea and expressed his desire to join the Marina Imperiale, although his father, an army man through and through, continued to push for Aurelio to pursue an army career.

In November 7383, Emperor Marius developed liver cancer and was forced to retreat to the island of Fazagoria for his health. As his condition deteriorated, Prince Aurelio journeyed frequently to visit his dying father and was at his side when he eventually died on 19 April 7384. His relationship with his father had been complex and dominated by his mother's influence over him. The emperor's general favour for his children by his second wife Sophia of Carini, particularly his heir the Grand Prince of Pastana, meant Aurelio had never been particularly close to his father. Despite this, Aurelio had been devoted to him, and his memory after his death.

Despite the sometimes distant relationship between them, Marius had decided to divorce his ancestral title of the Duke of Marra from the Anisoran crown, the only title with which he did so. In his will he desired the title of Duke of Marra be passed to Prince Aurelio, whose male descendants would thereafter hold it. Consequently, after his father's death, Prince Aurelio, at the age of 13, became the 4th Duke of Marra, which would be his primary title for the rest of his life, and by which he was generally known.

Marina Imperiale

Early naval career

After the death of his father, Marius I, in 7384, Prince Aurelio was free to pursue a career in the Marina Imperiale rather than the army, as a result of the blessing of his older brother Marius II. Aurelio joined the Marina Imperiale on 18 September 7385 at the age of fourteen. He was entered as a naval cadet aboard the IAN Arrento where he learnt the basic tenets of seamanship before serving on his elder brother, emperor Marius II's yacht IAY Colombera at the emperor's request. Unlike their father, Marius I, Marius II took a keen interest in the sea and naval matters, commissioning a total of four imperial yachts during his reign, each larger and more lavish than the last.

While aboard the IAY Colombera, on 10 December 7386, Prince Aurelio was promoted to midshipman and continued on the Colombera for another year before asking to be transferred to a commissioned ship, citing worries that he was not gaining real at-sea experience. Consequently, he was then transferred to the frigate IAN Montemara in 7387. The ship sailed to Stoldavia, Amberia, D'Runia, Altaia, Aspasia and Kamura before returning to the Medio via Aspasia and Amberia in mid-7389. The Prince has said that the first tour in the Montemara was one of the most informative and enjoyable experiences of his life. In 7391 Prince Aurelio passed the sub-lieutenant's examination, scoring highly in both gunnery and general seamanship.

In 7392, again at the invitation of his brother the emperor, he was invited to serve aboard the newly commissioned royal yacht IAY Santorenna. He reluctantly accepted, serving aboard for a year. It was only after his brother's death in 7423 that he disclosed how he had felt pressured throughout his early career to serve under his brother despite his desire to gain real experience at sea. The Prince's biographer L. Antonio Portefora claims that "the fear that his royal status and proximity to his brother hampered his naval career plagued the Duke [Aurelio] for his entire life. He feared above all that his colleagues did not respect him, putting his advancement and frequent praise purely down to royal patronage and a desire not to offend the emperor, rather than his own talent and hard work."a

On 8 July 7393 he was promoted to lieutenant and began serving aboard IAN Niccolò il Grande, which toured the northern Anarian seas, visiting Amberia, where his cousin Adelædis X ruled as Queen, who invited him to visit her at the Apostolic Palace in Aschgæt, where he impressed with his impeccable Cheltic and knowledge of Amberian naval history. He stayed for a number of weeks before politely requesting to return to his ship, which had returned to Aschgæt after touring the Errea Sea. The Niccolò then continued its tour before visiting Porto Imperiale in Auresia, one of the last such instances of an Anisoran fighting ship visiting an Auresian port, as tensions begin to rise in the build up of the Auresio-Anisoran War.

Auresio-Anisoran War

The Battle of Pamdo Bay by the Anisoran artist M. Giulio Pandagna, painted 7398.

When war broke out between Anisora and Auresia in early 7395, Prince Aurelio was serving aboard the ironclad IAN Gran Principo, a ship he had served on since returning from his tour aboard IAN Niccolò il Grande in 7394. With the war waging at sea in the initial days and weeks, there was general anxiety amongst Aurelio's commanding officers that he would be prevented from seeing action due to his royal position. Such was the concern that Aurelio wrote to his brother the emperor, and in no uncertain terms, begged him to be allowed to not only serve in Vice-Admiral Sir Victor Marino's fleet, but aboard his current station, the IAN Gran Principo, which as an ironclad, would be by necessity at the thickest of the fighting in an eventual clash between the Anisoran and Auresian fleets. The emperor acquiesced, and Prince Aurelio maintained his position as gunnery lieutenant under Captain Ermino Gesparo-Murconi of the Gran Principo.

For the first months of the war the Gran Principo sailed as part of Vice-Admiral Marino's Medio Fleet, involved in the Admiral's intricate campaign of manoeuvring in the Medio, evading the numerically superior Auresian fleet under Legate Oppediso. The fleets eventually came to blows on 15 May 7395 at the Battle of Pamdo Bay, which would go down in history as one of Anisora's greatest military victories. The Gran Principo, being one of the few ironclads in the fleet, formed part of the spearhead in the battle, involved in heavy and intense fighting at the very centre of the line. Prince Aurelio was initially stationed on the gun deck, commanding the port battery in dealing damage to the Auresian ironclad ANS Aquila. He then joined the boarding party led by the captain and stormed the Auresian flagship ANS Fides, where Legate Oppediso surrendered. Aurelio fought bravely and was mentioned in dispatches for his role in securing the gun-deck, with Captain Gesparo-Murconi commenting, "Lieutenant Decus did sterling work aboard the Fides, and was a credit to the Gran Principo's crew and the Marina Imperiale."b

For the remainder of the war, Prince Aurelio remained on the Gran Principo, but didn't see much action after Pamdo Bay. The Auresian fleet was blockaded in port for the majority of the rest of the war, with Aurelio's ship part of the force blockading the western entrance to the Hattaro Straits.

First Lord High Admiral

Prime Minister of the Anisoran Empire

War of the Becuvitatian Succession

Treaty of Gaaze

Post war

After the signing of the Treaty of Gaaze in 7431, the Duke remained Prime Minister for another four years. His post-war premiership was focused on dealing with domestic unrest, strengthening ties with Helland and setting out his vision for the post-war balance of power in Anaria. The outbreak of the War of the Becuvitatian Succession had confirmed how much northern Anarian diplomacy had changed since the reign of his father Marius I and the early reign of his brother Marius II. Securing friendship with Helland became a priority for empress Victoria and the Duke in order to secure Anisora's position after the Treaty of Gaaze; particularly in light of strengthening ties between Amberia and Auresia.

The Duke faced a number of domestic problems in the years immediately after the war - issues that, according to some social and radical historians, defined his premiership as much as the War. Chronic unemployment (brought about by the returning troops), the substantial national debt, and localised famine (through crop failures in certain regions of the Empire, particularly Pastana and Tova) posed the greatest issues faced in the immediate aftermath of the War. The Duke has been criticised by a number of notable historians for his handling of these crises, and the subsequent agitation and repressive measures introduced.

Due to the substantial debts the government incurred to help finance the War, the Duke's government introduced a post-war tax increase to compensate for borrowing and to pay off the debt. Combined with rising unemployment and crop failures in 7432, the tax rises led to disturbances throughout the next five years, which included instances of violence. The most infamous of these disturbances was the Fontanigorna Massacre of 7432, where a peaceful protest against lack of federal representation and taxes turned into a riot, during which cavalry under the orders of the Prince of Vattaro charged the crowd with sabres drawn and killed 24 people.

Although occurring in the Principality of Vattoro, the massacre, along with many other instances of violence, was often viewed at the time as symptomatic of failures of the imperial government. The Fontanignorna Massacre, along with the outcry of resistance to the execution of Luisa Tantorelli for publishing pamphlets heavily critical of Empress Victoria, led the Duke to implement the repressive 'Exemplar Donato Laws' (named after the feast day of the Peratolian exemplar on which the laws were introduced), which among other things, limited freedom of speech and abolished the right to assemble for peaceful protests. The Exemplar Donato Laws, which remained in place until 7473, have been viewed by some historians as directly contributing to the resentment that caused the organisation of the Decretist movement and the eventual outbreak of violence during the Revolutions of 7473.

Resignation

Marriage and family

Betrothal to Adelædis X

Prince Aurelio had been instrumental in his father's vision of the future of the Decus dynasty from birth, with many marriages considered for him throughout his early life. At the suggestion of Empress Erelia, the Prince was originally proposed as a match for his maternal cousin, Princess Aje-Adelædis Lexandra of Amberia (the future Empress of the Amberians, Adelædis X), to secure the alliance with Amberia. However, in 7379, the emperor's second son Prince Julius died. He was supposed to have married Princess L. Luisa of Matrignano, daughter of the Grand Prince of Matrignano Alfonso III, seen as a vitally important match to secure the loyalty of the powerful Alfonso, whom the emperor had recently demoted from King to Grand Prince. The death of Prince Julius, combined with decreasing support for the match in Amberia due to Erelia's perceived threat to the Regency Council there, meant that the marriage to the House of Matringnano was seen as more pressing and realistic.

The Prince's biographer L. Antonio Portefora has argued, rather controversially, that had Prince Aurelio gone on to marry Queen Adelædis, not only could the War of the Becuvitatian Succession have been avoided (which saw Anisora and Amberia fight over the throne), but the entire Central Anarian Hegemony of Amberia and Auresia might never have been realised. In Portefora's words, "Emperor Marius was correct in seeing Prince Aurelio as the key to the success of the Decus dynasty in world affairs. The Prince, even as a babe, held the balance of kingdoms and the grand strategy of empires in his unknowing power."c A number of historians have, however, refuted this as overly romantic nonsense.

Marriage to Luisa of Matrignano

In April 7387 while serving aboard the royal yacht IAY Colombera, Prince Aurelio 'met' his future wife Princess Luisa of Matrignano. The match was to be a cornerstone of Marius I's intricate web of marriages and alliances, securing the Decus family's dominating position in Anisoran politics. Despite the emperor's death in 7384, Aurelio's brother Marius II was committed to his father's plan and viewed a union between his house and the powerful Matrignano family as of the upmost importance.

It was an elaborately staged meeting, orchestrated by Aurelio's elder brother Marius II. On 26 April, the Colombera visited Lorvina, the Grand Prince's estate on the island of Tino, where Grand Prince Alfonso and his family were holidaying. Although they had met before at a number of balls and royal events, Aurelio and Luisa were introduced, both fully aware of the expectation placed on them by emperor Marius and Grand Prince Alfonso.1 The Prince, 16, and the Princess, 15, were encouraged to spend time together and Prince Aurelio took her out on the water in his brother's racing boat. Prince Aurelio wrote to his mother the Dowager-Empress Erelia shortly afterwards expressing his deep affection for Princess Luisa and his desire to marry her.d Antonio Portefora suggested that this was more out of duty to his brother and his late father's wishes than to a real desire to marry a girl he barely knew.

Nevertheless, the two began formally courting, although Aurelio's departure for his round the world tour aboard IAN Montemara reduced this to correspondence. On 12 September 7389, having returned to Anisora, Aurelio proposed to Luisa aboard the royal yacht Colombera, and she accepted. Marius II was delighted at the news and set about organising a large wedding, much to the horror of Aurelio, which took place in Ex. Arnald Hall in Pena in January 7391, shortly after passing his sub-lieutenant's examinations in the navy.

Their marriage was considered a success, although the lack of a child in the couple's first 8 years of marriage caused concern, which was partly explained by Aurelio's lengthy tours abroad. Despite the worries of their respective parents, they eventually had two children, both boys: M. Aurelio, 5th Duke of Marra (b. 7399) and T. Michele, Viscount of Ginestreto (b. 7403). Aurelio's dedication to the navy did, however, strain their relationship considerably at times. As Portefora quotes, "Princess Luisa often used to quip that she was part of an archaic line marriage, with Aurelio's other wives being invariably the ship he was serving in and the Marina Imperiale itself."e

Later years and death

Legacy

Titles, styles, honours, and arms

Titles and styles

  • 12 August 7371 - 18 April 7384: His Imperial Highness the Prince Aurelio
  • 19 April 7384 - 12 January 7444: His Imperial Grace the Duke of Marra

National honours

Coat of arms of Aurelio, 4th Duke of Marra (7384 - 7444).

Military appointments

  • 30 September 7431: Honorary General, Royal Army of Pensano
  • 10 March 7432: Admiral of the Fleet, Anisoran Imperial Navy
  • 3 May 7442: Marshal of the Empire, Anisoran Imperial Army

Foreign honours

  • Becuvitatia: Knight Grand Star of the Order of Gheorghe I

Honorary foreign military appointments

  • 15 October 7431: Admiral of the Fleet, Becuvitatian Navy2

Arms

Since assuming the ducal title of his father in 7384 at the young age of 13, Prince Aurelio has borne the traditional arms of the Dukes of Marra and the House of Decus, namely: teal, a griffin rampant gules; on a chief sable, three escallops of the first. These traditional arms are also the arms of the House of Decus proper. As a result, Prince Aurelio shared them with first his brother, Marius II, and then his niece Victoria I in their capacity as head of the House of Decus being Emperor, despite the ducal title proper being remainder to Prince Aurelio's male heirs, as set out in the will of Marius I.3

Issue

NameBirthDeathSpouseChildren
Prince M. Aurelio Decus, 5th Duke of Marra4 April 739920 September 7478??L. Aurelia Montecore-Decus, Countess of Abruzza
T. Alessandro Decus, 6th Duke of Marra
G. Giuliano Decus
Prince T. Michele Decus, Viscount of Ginestreto9 May 740311 December 7468NoneNone

Ancestry

 
 
 
 
8. Alessandro, 1st Duke of Marra
 
 
4. Raphael, 2nd Duke of Marra
 
 
 
 
 
 
9. Adriana Montefilora, Duchess of Marra
 
 
2. Marius I of Anisora
 
 
 
 
 
 
10. Adriano VII, Duke of Panzolla
 
 
5. Viola Decus-Pellania, Duchess of Marra
 
 
 
 
 
 
11. Giulia d'Orsina, Duchess of Panzolla
 
1. Prince Aurelio, 4th Duke of Marra
 
 
 
 
 
12.
 
 
6. Leander Vilha, Baron of Llodrihs
 
 
 
 
 
 
13.
 
 
3. Erelia of Amberia and Eilän
 
 
 
 
 
 
14. Totila, Count of Anstegen
 
 
7. Aje-Kateriin of Amberia
 
 
 
 
 
 
15. Xhenia Nadal, Countess of Anstegen
 


See also

Anisora  Anisora portal
Nobility  Nobility portal

Notes

1 Although Grand Prince Alfonso had agreed to the marriage in 7377, he showed little enthusiasm for the match, being as he was distrustful of Marius I for the deposition of his uncle Alfonso II in 7364 and his own demotion from King to Grand Prince. He did not, however, have a choice in the matter and had a vested interest in seeing the marriage succeed. He eventually came to accept the marriage on its own merits and appreciate Prince Aurelio's dissimilarity to his father's coercive nature.

2 The irony of Prince Aurelio's appointment as honorary Admiral of the Fleet in the Becuvitatian Navy was not lost on both the Becuvitatians and the Anisorans. Considering the Becuvitatian Navy was a shell of its former self by 7431, primarily as a result of decades of undermining by the Anisoran Imperial Navy, a policy drawn up by Prince Aurelio's father Marius I, his appointment was controversial and caused the newly crowned Michael I a great deal of awkwardness during his first year as Domnitor, despite his obvious gratitude for the Duke's efforts in securing his throne. The Becuvitatian Admiral Ștefan Ionescu, who had fought for Prince Teodor against Michael, famously remarked in 7431 that Prince Aurelio's appointment "was the final insult".

3 Unlike the imperial crown, and the Grand Princely titles attached to it, the Duke of Marra cannot be held by a woman, but only males of the line of Prince Aurelio, 4th Duke. Should the line fail, the title would technically become dormant. This, however, has never happened.

References

a Portefora, L.A. (7450) Princeps Aurelius, Quartus Dux Marrae, Pena. 74. (Hallish: Prince Aurelio, Fourth Duke of Marra)

b From an interview in the Imperialia Tempora newspaper, 8 September 7395.

c Portefora, L.A. (7450) Princeps Aurelius, Quartus Dux Marrae, Pena. 52.

d Correspondence of Her August Imperial Majesty Empress-Consort Erelia, 30 April 7387, Imperial Archives.

e Portefora, L.A. (7450) Princeps Aurelius, Quartus Dux Marrae, Pena. 149-150.

Offices and distinctions
Prince Aurelio, Duke of Marra
House of Decus
Born: 12 August 7371     Died: 12 January 7444
Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of the Anisoran Empire Succeeded by
7424 - 7435
Military offices
Preceded by First Lord High Admiral of the Marina Imperiale Succeeded by
The Count of Borgaretto 7421 - 7444 Prince Giuliano, Duke of Padrino
Peerage of Casella
Preceded by Duke of Marra Succeeded by
T. Marius Decus 7384 - 7444 M. Aurelio Decus
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