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I see the War of the Cross mentioned off-hand many times throughout the books, and various sections alluding that its history is of great significance to this or that phenomenon or nation. But my knowledge of the war itself is rather vague and based on those little snippets. What is known about it? When and how did it start, how did it go, how did it end? Who joined when on whose side? Is there at least an approximate timeline?

(I'm trying to analyse its impact on both a potential character's life's events and on geopolitics. The snippets give me a vague, at times perhaps even contradictory impressions of the geopolitical considerations, so I'm trying to find what I can to improve my understanding.)

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The War of the Cross is analogous to the Thirty Years War of actual history. As outlined in the core rules, it was a conflict between faithful of the Vaticine Church and the new Objectivist faith, beginning in Eisen, the nation which initially accepted Objectionism. Many other nations joined the war, notably Castille and Montaigne, and it continued to be fought mostly in Eisen for thirty years. It ended badly for everyone, with no declared victory; Eisen was ruined, and Castille’s armies depleted and demoralised, paving the way for the Montaigne invasion.

There’s not a complete timeline of the war in any of the second edition books that I’ve found - as you say, the info is scattered across multiple books - but Cities of Faith and Adventure summarises a few facts and gives some more context on page 9 (emphasis mine):

For three hundred years after its establishment, Vaticine City carefully walked the fine line between being an influential world power and remaining a neutral party that played host to all the nations of Théah but (ostensibly) favored none. This position fractured with the War of the Cross starting in 1618 AV. The struggle to contain Objectionism forced the Church to wade more deeply into diplomatic waters. Instead of simply collecting tithes and gifts from assorted noble patrons, the War forced the cardinals and Hierophant to argue for the supremacy of the Church. Important kings and influential nobles were invited to the City to receive blessings or warnings in exchange for promises of support against the Objectionist threat.

The War of the Cross concluded in a stalemate in 1648 AV, leaving the Nation of Eisen in ruins and the power of the Church seriously challenged.

There’s more on how the war affected the Nations in Nations of Theah Vol. 1 (for Castille and Montaigne) and Vol. 2 (for Eisen).

Note that the second edition changes the timeline of the war; in the first edition it was waged from 1636 to 1666 AV. So this might indicate first edition resources on the war don’t reflect the same history. But in the first edition, the trigger for the war was the rise of a new Vaticine Imperator in Eisen, who overturner his predecessor’s acceptance of Objectionism and ordered all Objectionists in the country to renounce their faith.

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