I'm not so much looking for answers to a question here as advice and suggestions (hope that's ok).
My situation is this :
I'm currently writting a story set in a late 12th century setting (1170-1180) in the crusader states of Outremer.
My main character is a count (with no overlord above him so more like a King than a vassal lord in a kingdom) and I want one of the main antagonists to be the bishop of his county (whose direct superior is busy with something else at the moment and mostly unavaillable to complain to).
This bishop forms alliances with various minor lords who are also working against my main character (and he uses his status and influence to protect them when they cause trouble : minor scuffles with the count's loyal people, etc). He also uses these alliances to strenghten his own power and impose things on my main character. It's basically secular lord (and his followers) against religious lord (and his followers).
I want the bishop to score a few victories by forcing the count to grant him (or rather his church) priviledges and benefits (land, rights, money, etc) and by asserting his domination over the count (forcing him into a submissive position and humiliating him, causing some of his projects to fail, etc). But I don't want him to ever completely crush the count either, simply be a powerful antagonist who sometimes gets what he wants and sometimes not.
But I need ideas of what exactly he could do ...
I have looked at dozens of historical documents about this time period (and about the Middle Age in general, extending to Europe and from 11th to 13th century) and I've got a few things but I need more ideas.
I already have him :
- protecting trouble makers (but I need pointers on how exactly he would do this ... can he simply use his word against that of the count (fuzzing a bit who exactly is to blame for something) ?)
- using his influence as a religious leader (preaching, etc) and his supporters to force the count to back off on some projects (by fear of "civil war"). I have a couple of projects he causes to fail but I would also welcome ideas for this.
- using his influence and supporters to get the count to grant the church some priviledges/benefits. I was also thinking of "impossible to refuse" demands such as money to enlarge the cathedral or make it more luxurious (on the basis that it's money for the glory of God and that refusing to give it would make him a bad christian (something he has been rumored to be before, because he tends to favor diplomacy with Saracens in an effort to avoid being destroyed by their heavily supperior forces) which would cause trouble) and it's something the count is happy to do (despite rumours he is a devout christian) except that it strenghtens the bishop power.
- get some otherwise loyal characters to hesitate to obey the count on something because the bishop is openly against it (fearing for their soul).
- humiliating the count by having him kneel to receive his blessing at some point (how likely would this be ? what could be the occasion ?).
But I need more things for him to do which is why I turn to you : What exactly could my bishop do to cause trouble ?
On a related note, I was wondering how involved into the count "personnal life" the bishop would be.
More specifically if it was possible, given their enemity, for the count to have a "chaplain" for his personnal use (a priest who follow him around, hear his confession, celebrate mass for him, etc) ?
Or would he be forced (or strongly expected) to confess to the bishop whenever they are in the same place (and how frequently would he have to confess to him ?) and hear regular mass at the cathedral (or only on special days : Christmas, Easter, etc) ?
How much could he avoid it and how much could the bishop force him to do (again in a show of his power over the count) ?
And if a "chaplain" is possible what would such a person be called ? Where would they be "hired" ? Would they be subject to the bishop or could they be somewhat independant (a monk or someone from a religious order maybe ?) ?
There that is all (sorry for the long post).
Thank you greatly to anyone who answer and make suggestions.