An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Basileus444, Apr 30, 2015.

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  1. Curtain Jerker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2018
    Thanks for answering. I literally started writing my new timeline last night since the lady was out so I had a few free hours. I found that this bolded part is pretty true - it is better to focus on one/a few characters at a time rather than bounce around from person to person in an attempt to keep things strictly chronological. So I totally understand where you are coming from here.
     
  2. sebastiao Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    quick question,how is the invention of the airplane coming along?,will the romans be the first civilazation to conquer the skys? ,that would be really good PR right about now.
     
  3. Evilprodigy Evil Overlord of NWCG Donor

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    Why are so many posts between updates about the far far future of Roman Industrialization and other things? We're in the 1630s guys. Pretty much nothing here is going to be relevant two hundred years from now. Situations can change within hours, let alone the at minimum two centuries before anything industrial happens.
     
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  4. Grammar Kaiser You spelled this wrong!

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2017
    It's nice to see that the world still develops a negative view on genocide as IOTL. I once read a Napoleonic TL that eventually devolved into France and Britain genociding each other every two decades. No one other than Mexico and America objected to this. Poor China got nuked 20-30 times just for trying not to subjugated to the great powers. Colonial rebellions were regularly nuked from orbit. Most grimdark non-nazi Germany TL I ever read.

    So I'm glad hear genocide will be called a war crime in the future of this TL.
     
  5. dakkafex Will Archive for Food

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Location:
    Zamyatin Station
    Jesus. Which TL was that?
     
  6. Βοανηργές Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2017
    "Great ambition is the passion of a great character"
    - Napoleon
    We already know Kalomeros has the workings of a Great Historical Figure as attested by his various feats. As to what those ambitions hold is still left up to our imaginations. Maybe the world's largest park of Goliath Tenerife Lizards?
     
  7. Tirion Gardener

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Location:
    Hungary
    The Napoléad. It's in finished timelines.
     
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  8. Basileus444 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    @Tirion: It’s currently in progress so can’t say yet, but that is the Egyptian goal.

    @betrayor: Forgot about him, but you’re right, that’s not the best precedent. But then I bet Diocletian regretting retiring after seeing how his retirement turned out.

    @Imperial Inkstand-filler: I feel dirty saying it, but oftentimes it does seem genocide can work for the perpetrator. The US, Canada, and Australia all still have the lands they took from the native peoples, while all the various African colonies of European empires were eventually lost. (There’s more to it, of course. The US, Canada, and Australia didn’t wipe out all the natives who were thinner on the ground anyway, but they did flood the areas with their own people unlike the various African colonies and turn the natives into a tiny minority in their own land.) The Japanese certainly aren’t giving Hokkaido back to the Ainu either, for another example.

    But you are absolutely right that the Romans have horribly mismanaged Egypt, causing significant bloodshed and destruction and this is a definite massive black mark against them. If a better paradigm had been set up between the Romans and Muslim Syria and Egypt from the start, things would’ve worked out a lot better for a lot of people.

    @Curtain Jerker: Focusing is very important to keep things coherent. Imagine how this war would’ve looked if I’d done everything chronologically rather than regionally. It’d be an ugly confusing mess.

    Good luck on your TL. :)

    @sebastiao: That was far far in the future. Hot air balloons are closer in tech, although still a lot of work involving that too. Chinese lanterns are already a thing, and IOTL there were some Portuguese experiments, inspired by the Chinese examples, with unmanned ones in the early 1700s.

    @Evilprodigy: The topic does seem to come up repeatedly, even back when this was still in the 1400s. People are interested in that sort of thing. It’s a pet peeve of mine that in history sections of book stores so much is devoted to the last 200 (and especially 100) years of history, with the remaining 4800+ years so often ignored. Yes, I know, we have lots more sources for recent events, but still… Notice how the post-1900 forum is bigger, by a respectable margin, than the pre-1900 forum, despite having so much less history with which to work.

    @Grammar Kaiser: That sounds quite dark. Genocide will get a bad name ITTL, although I haven’t figured out the details. Same with the idea of war crimes.

    Leo Kalomeros: I have a plan for an invasion of Egypt!
    Demetrios III: We’re already overlords of that.
    LK: Well then, I have a plan for an invasion of Russia!
    D3: Uh, they’re our allies.
    LK: Rats, how about an invasion of Italy?
    D3: You were part of that!
    LK: Alright, how about a plan to invade England?
    D3: That’s a little more reasonable, but why not France?
    LK: That just seems wrong for some reason. How about Spain?
    D3: No. You’re fired.
     
  9. Threadmarks: 1634: Brave Men, Loyal Men

    Basileus444 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    “When Wei and Wu together strove
    For the mastery,
    In the Red Cliffs fight the tall ships
    Vanished from the sea,
    For there the fierce flames, leaping high.
    Burned them utterly.
    So Zhou Yu for his liege lord
    Got the victory.”
    -Romance of the Three Kingdoms
    1634 continued: It is a stalemate in the lands of Italy. Nikephoros Mytaras, commander of the Army of Sicily, lays siege to Pisa. By itself, the once mighty city is no longer a significant prize, but its huge garrison is too large a threat to be ignored if he wishes to advance from Livorno to threaten the real jewel, Firenze.

    If it were just the matter of the large Pisan garrison, the delay would be irritating but not potentially harmful. But there is also Niccolo Farnese, the Duke of Parma, who is shaping to become even more difficult than he was last year. (Mytaras was reportedly amused and a little flattered when he heard of the Three Johns Meeting, given the concerns of a Roman takeover of northern Italy, considering he is still stuck in Tuscany for the foreseeable future.)

    Parma has a slight numerical advantage (41,000 vs 46,000-these numbers are for field armies, not garrisons, which widens the Lombard lead) come May, but that is par for the course, and unsurprising considering that there are close to 3 Lombards for every 1 Sicilian. But the Lombard troops that come rolling out the gates of Firenze that May are more in line to those of Theodoros Doukas’s, who brought close to 2/3rds of Italy under his sway in the early 1600s, than the mediocre ranks that have comprised the bulk of Lombard forces in the war so far.

    Parma could’ve had an even larger army, but he choose to focus on quality (and lessening supply problems while he was at it). While there is some emphasis on drill, the main increase in capability is due to a much better supported supply train and regular pay. Their pay is still in arrears, but the amount is steadily decreasing, which makes the troops happy and helps the Duke enforce proper discipline.

    To do so though, the Duke is having to alienate prominent grandees in the region, forcing them to provide ‘subscriptions’ of material and money. They provide what is demanded, given the squadrons of musketeers accompanying said demands, but they are not happy and they complain loudly to the Lombard court.

    The Kingdom of Lombardy is large and powerful on a map, but its current iteration is both new and patchwork, the product of a mix of conquest and compromise scattered across decades and even centuries once one gets north of the Po valley. Regional lords and powerful communes, in order to conciliate them to Milanese/Lombard rule, have varying degrees of autonomy and special rights and privileges in their particular regions.

    A good comparison is that of the Kingdom of France in the High Middle Ages, with a central monarchy presiding over many powerful nobles of varying standing, the individual personality of the King counting for much in terms of how much direct control over the entire realm could be levied. Cesare’s father Theodoros was a strong king, able to keep the grandees in line, disciplined, and supporting his goals. But with Cesare’s far less firm hand on the helm, things are fracturing.

    The most significant grandees are, in no particular order, the Commune of Genoa, the Commune of Bologna, the Duke of Urbino (currently in Milan after the Sicilian conquest last year), the Duke of Ferrara, the Duke of Verona, the Duke of Mantua, and the Duke of Parma. There are smaller players in the Communes of Padua, Pavia, and Brescia, plus the Count of Savoy (who only controls Turin and its environs, not to be confused with the Duke of Savoy, an Arletian vassal who controls the actual region of Savoy), not significant on their own but they can add weight to the more powerful grandees.

    One advantage the Lombard grandees have is a finely honed sense of their self-interest vis-à-vis the Milanese Dukes/Lombard kings. While they have their differences, they make sure to back each other against the Duke/King if he pushes against one of them too hard. They don’t want to set any precedents that can be used against them down the line.

    But Parma is an exception to that rule, as he is a parvenu to this system. The Farnese family only came into prominence after one of her sons became the Pope in the late 1500s, successfully leveraging that position into concessions for the family in Italy. The chief prize had been the city and title of Parma, granted to Niccolo’s father Alessandro. Alessandro Farnese had made a name for himself serving in the Scholai guard tagma during the 1590s, earning significant plaudits in fighting the Great Uprising and in the early stages of the Eternal War. That said, there was still a sizeable element of ‘conciliating the Pope’ in his elevation just prior to the start of King Theodoros’ bid to conquer north and central Italy. (Which hadn’t even worked as the Farnese Pope died to be replaced by a quite anti-Farnese Pontiff, who didn’t need the extra encouragement to hate the Lombard King.)

    The grandee most opposed to the Duke of Parma is the Duke of Verona, Mastino IV della Scala, the latest in a line of rulers who’ve ruled over Verona since the 1250s. To him, practically everyone save for the d’Estes are parvenus, but Parma is the worst. Also opposed to Parma is Mastino’s brother-in-law the Duke of Mantua, Ludovico II Sforza, who has more personal reasons for disliking the Parmesan Duke.

    The foundation that supports the House of Sforza as one of the great families of Italy is built from Roman skulls. It was Sforza captains who led many of the Milanese forces against the Romans during the Time of Troubles, their success catapulting them to such heights that Ludovico I was regent for young King Andrea Visconti in the 1540s. Since then they have been stoutly anti-Roman.

    Ludovico II had been the loudest pro-war voice in the Lombard court, hoping to emulate his illustrious ancestors of a century before. Farnese’s counterarguments had been most unwelcome. Then he’d been the supreme commander of the Lombard armies during the mortifying 1632 campaign, his plans for a reprise of the Time of Troubles falling flat, his humiliation compounded by Farnese being proved correct and then taking his post as commander. He would dearly love for the Parmesan Duke to somehow end up missing certain vital organs.

    So both Ludovico and Mastino are quick to take up the cause of those notables complaining about Farnese’s ‘forced subscriptions’. King Cesare, for his part, is resistant. He’s noticed the far more effective performance of the Lombard army since Farnese took command and he rather likes the idea of the notables of the realm being forced to contribute more towards the war effort. After all, the war had been their idea, not his.

    Parma is aware of Verona’s and Mantua’s activities; they’ve been sniping at him ever since he took command, but there is little he can do about that at the moment.

    His goal is still to delay the Roman/Sicilian advance as much as possible, to make the war too expensive to seem worth continuing in Constantinople/Messina. He is not impressed by the apparent Accord solicitude for Lombardy; he views it as an opening maneuver for the Accord powers to get a cut of the Lombard pie courtesy of the Romans. But if he can keep the foe at bay long enough, barred from northern Italy and the powerhouse of Lombardy, particularly with the Allies currently breaking into Macedonia, it may be enough.

    Mytaras starts laying siege with a powerful artillery train, including a Hospitaler battery loaned to the general by the Order (although Sicily had to provide the crews). But Pisa, like Firenze, is bisected by the Arno River, forcing Mytaras to divide his forces. It is not as bad as Firenze would be given Pisa’s smaller size, but it doesn’t help the Sicilian war effort.

    Parma shows up with his army a few days later, breathing down Mytaras’ neck. He doesn’t want to force a battle, at least right away, but wants to steadily scrape down the Sicilian sword between the anvil of Pisa and the hammer of the Lombard army. He launches repeated raids at the Sicilian camp, snapping at foragers and outposts, attempting to coordinate with the Pisan garrison via messages conveyed via divers in the Arno. Success there is mixed.

    Because of the constant pressure from Parma, Mytaras is having difficulty putting pressure on Pisa. The Duke and Pisa’s large garrison and supply stores help to make up for Pisa’s second-class fortifications.

    In early June, as Vauban is setting up his first parallels around Thessaloniki, Mytaras breaks camp, leaving a token force to keep the Pisan garrison in check, and marches east toward Firenze south of the Arno River. The Lombard raiders give way, offering little resistance until the main Lombard army appears at the small village of San Miniato Basso. The Lombards have entrenched positions on hills commanding the road, meaning the Sicilians cannot advance further without dislodging them. If Mytaras tries to move around them, there is a risk Parma could blast his way down the road and maul the force besieging Pisa. A brief artillery duel starts, with the Lombard guns winning before Mytaras retires just beyond their range.

    For ten days the two sides spar with each other. Mytaras sends cavalry raiding behind Parma’s lines, hoping to force him off of his chosen field. Parma does the same, hoping to damage Mytaras’ supplies enough that the Sicilians will have to attack Parma on his chosen field if they wish to advance. Parma has the better of the exchange; he has more cavalry overall and he doesn’t have a good chunk of his rear forces tied down to one particular locale.

    On the eleventh day, Mytaras pushes forward some of his guns and starts a second artillery duel. Given the long range, little damage is suffered by either side but it is quickly clear the Lombard batteries again have the advantage and after an hour Mytaras pulls his force back. He then starts breaking camp; he is not attacking an enemy army that outnumbers him by more than ten thousand after the performance of his probes.

    The withdrawal is done in good order, with no serious loss of baggage or artillery. Parma attempts a running battle to take advantage of the retreat, but Lombard horse are roundly punished by the Sicilian rearguard and soon forced to back off. Two days later, the armies are in the same positions they were as if the last fortnight had never happened.

    Mytaras is caught in a conundrum. He doesn’t have the manpower to take on Parma’s army without the troops besieging Pisa, but he also can’t take Pisa without first taking out Parma’s army.

    Parma isn’t excited about the situation though. San Miniato Basso is a victory, which is something the Lombards need, but it isn’t an impressive victory. And he is not enamored of attacking the Sicilian camp directly. It is spread out because of the nature of the siege, but it is very well fortified. He could probably take the camp, but he’d pay a butcher’s bill for it. And he would like to keep this army, made up of men who are loyal to him for ensuring their supply and pay, intact, because Mastino and Ludovico are besmirching his conduct. They point out the failure of the pursuit, the continuing siege of Pisa, and start throwing around claims of cowardice as well for his failure to attack the Sicilian camp.

    The Duke of Parma would very likely understand how the Army of the Danube currently feels. The difference here though is that the forces besmirching him have political teeth, unlike the Constantinople newspapers.

    Mastino and Ludovico are getting more powerful as the summer passes. Originally the Podesta of Treviso, Marco Mocenigo (descended from members of a wealthy Venetian family that escaped prior to the fall of the Serene Republic), had been in charge of guarding against raids from Venetia. That was one of the responsibilities of the post, and one in which he has clearly failed miserably. After Andreas d’Este’s prominent victory against odds, he was removed from his post and replaced by Enrico Mussato, a Padua native who happens to be a client of Mastino. Meanwhile Lord della Scala was given command of the forces guarding against raids north of the Po Delta, giving him good reason to recruits lots of men under his banner.

    Concurrently in command of forces in the Romagna is the Duke of Ferrara, Tiziano Vecelli. His family had been mine owners and notaries in the 1400s, but through military skills shown both before and during the Time of Troubles, gained the possession of Ferrara much as the Sforza gained Mantua. As such he is also strongly anti-Roman and especially not a fan of the d’Estes who ruled Ferrara before his great-grandfather helped expel them from Italy.

    As all this is going on in Tuscany and eastern Italy, Genoa is cracking under the pressure of the blockade. It has been two years since Roman warships started prowling the approaches to Liguria, and it has been devastating for the city whose lifeblood is her trade.

    There have been some holes in the blockade. During the winter it loosens because of fewer ships on duty, but that is because of the worse weather which makes it more dangerous for Genoese trading ships as well. Blockade runners can slip through on dark nights, the successful ones making huge profits with just a single voyage, but there aren’t nearly enough of those to make up for the loss of regular trade. Small coasters can sneak past by sticking to the shallows where Roman brigs can’t sail, but their cargoes are small and range limited.

    This has been devastating for much of the city. The traders don’t have inventory, the ships stand idle, leaving the sailors and shipyard workers with no work, the craftsmen have no customers, and the inns have no visitors. And while all this is happening, food is getting more expensive. Genoa’s foodstuffs mostly came in by sea; Liguria is far from a breadbasket. Obviously the grain haulers from the Baltic or Scythia aren’t arriving, and food and transport that could move said food from overland are being sucked up by the Lombard armies.

    There is one big hole in the blockade, aside for the smaller ones just mentioned, and the hole is specifically for the Bank of St George. The Bank is heavily invested in the Spanish war with Al-Andalus and the Marinids, both providing loans and helping to facilitate material shipments through Genoa to Spanish ports. Demetrios III, who doesn’t want to alienate King Ferdinand, allows these shipments to go through the blockade (after an inspection by the blockaders). The Bank has also invested in the various Roman loans and purchased war popes (although the Genoese bankers much prefer to call them bonds). So the Bank is, unlike everyone else in Genoa, still able to do some business.

    The Commune of Genoa, as a collective, is one of the grandees of the Lombard Kingdom, but it is not a single individual like the various dukes. The Commune is a tightly-knit oligarchy of rich Genoese families who monopolize the political offices of the city, and also control much of the economic levers as well, including the Bank of St George. So because of their banking connections, the Oligarchs are able to tread water while everyone else is drowning. And those drowning have noticed.

    This is a recipe for a popular explosion and the members of the Genoese commune know it. The current situation cannot be continued. There seems little chance of a peace, especially a peace that comes soon enough. The 1634 harvest will help some once it arrives, but it won’t last the winter.

    One possibility would be to try and cut a separate deal with Rhomania, essentially becoming a second Livorno. Many Genoese are envious of that port and its war-time prosperity, such a contrast to their own straits. But there are Carthaginian fregatai watching the harbor, and the smallest of the Despotates is still ruled by a scion of the House of Alessi, once near-hereditary lords of the proud Republic. To the great families who now lord over Genoa, letting an Alessi back into the city is absolutely not an option.

    So that leaves the final course, breaking the Roman blockade. The bulk of the Lombard battle-line is anchored in the port, currently doing nothing. The odds too are better than they’ve been since the start of the war. Much of the Roman navy is now occupied in ferrying, or guarding the ships ferrying, troops from the east to Hellas or Bulgaria. Malaria, from onshore encampments, have crippled the huge crews of some of the largest Roman warships.

    All that means is that now the odds are really bad, as opposed to suicidal. The admiral of the fleet, a son of Genoa, Cristòffa Cómbo, is well aware of that. His family is part of the ‘lower upper’ class, prominent merchants not quite big enough to break into the Oligarchy, but important enough the Oligarchs have to respect them. It is doubtful that a popular revolt against the Oligarchs will respect the political nuances of his family.

    So he is, if not happy, willing to undertake this mission despite the odds. Perhaps he can break the blockade, relieving the pressure for a popular uprising. Or more cynically, a failed breakout will kill a lot of sailors who very likely would join said uprising, and bring a lot of guns with them. The Oligarchs share such cynicism to an even greater extent, some almost seeming to prefer the effort to fail as it will ‘cleanse the rabble’, while the Admiral for his part would definitely prefer to win.

    But regardless of the outcome, Cristòffa’s family will benefit. Promises and payments and offices are transferred, and the House of Cómbo joins the ranks of the Oligarchs. Meanwhile the Admiral readies the fleet, most of which is crewed by Ligurians. On August 10 the winds bless the enterprise, forcing the blockading squadron off station while giving the fleet a clear shot out of the harbor. It is a magnificent sight as it passes the great lighthouse, twenty three battle-line ships with more than 1300 guns between them, plus nineteen smaller warships with another 500 cannons. It is sent out with the prayers of the faithful of Genoa “in confident hope of a miracle”.

    Cristòffa, for his part, has a plan to maximize chances of said miracle. The Roman fleet in these waters has three primary bases, Livorno which is the main, Elba, and then a squadron stationed down at Civitavecchia. If he can catch them in isolation, perhaps he can defeat them in detail. Fleets can’t easily reinforce each other if the winds don’t cooperate.

    His first target, after breaking the immediate blockade, is the stretch of coast between Livorno and Pisa. To secure Mytaras’ supply lines, supplies are shipped up from Livorno and deposited at a fortified depot at the Arno delta, then carried overland to the siege of Pisa. The shorter land haul is more easily guarded against Parma’s raiders.

    The Duke of Parma is skeptical of the feasibility, but willing to support if it can work. Assuming the Lombards can sever the Livorno-Pisa line, Mytaras will be forced to fall back to his base, giving Parma the opportunity to bottle him up in Livorno. He can also provide troops to support an attack on Elba, ferried by the Lombard fleet.

    The first task of the Lombard fleet is easily completed. Warned that the entire fleet is coming out by the Carthaginian fregata Hamilcar, the outgunned blockade squadron falls back per planned doctrine, sending a sloop flying down to Livorno to alert Doux Gabriel Papagos. Immediately the word goes out to gather the fleet.

    The Genoa blockading squadron was itself scattered by the winds that allowed the Lombards to leave port, so by the time they combine the Lombards are close on their heels. There is a constant on-again off-again long-range duel between the two forces, the Lombards unable to close the range any further. The forty-gunner Volos loses her mizzenmast and gives way, striking her colors at noon on August 11.

    Meanwhile the Roman and Sicilian warships from their various stations are combining. Given the concentrated strength of the fleet in Genoa, it was never feasible to constantly keep a fleet on station outside strong enough by itself to take on said Lombard fleet. Aside from the logistics, it would’ve eaten up so much naval strength that the rest of the blockade would’ve leaked like a sieve. The plan had always been to keep an eye on Genoa and combine as soon as practicably possible; the losses taken in the interim simply have to be endured.

    On August 13 the players all hove to near the island of Palmaria, which lies on the western entrance to the Gulf of La Spezia, the blockade squadron there reinforcing the Genoa blockaders. Meanwhile coming up from the south is the main Roman fleet. Combined, the Romans have forty four battle-line ships mounting 2700 guns, supported by thirty two lighter warships with another 800.

    Cristòffa recognizes that the odds are impossible, and he is not so cynical now to order his men into suicide. He at least has gotten them out of Genoa so they can’t cause trouble there. His goal now is the safety of La Spezia. It is up to the Genoa and La Spezia squadrons, commanded by Navarchos [Byzantine Greek term, means Vice Admiral at this point ITTL] Andronikos Panaretos with fourteen battle-line and fourteen light ships, to hold them up long enough for the main fleet to come up and destroy the Lombard force.

    From the towers of La Spezia, the townspeople watch the battle, the roar of hundreds of guns flying on the sea breeze. Panaretos’ line is quickly broken but the Roman warships turn and grapple with their Lombard assailants, snarling them up. They stall the Lombards, but at terrible costs to themselves.

    Panaretos’ flagship, the 60-gun Ikarios, grapples with the Lombard fleet flag, the 74-gunner La Superba. With the muzzles of their broadside guns literally inches from each other, the two flagships slam cannonballs into their foe’s hull, wreaking carnage particularly on the smaller Roman warship. Panaretos is shot just ten minutes into the engagement, the musket ball punching clean through his chest. Unable to stand but unwilling to go down into the hold for medical care while the battle is ongoing, he has himself tied to the mainmast while continuing to direct the engagement as best he can.

    And then the main Roman fleet comes piling into the melee, spearheaded by the 92-gun Theodoros Megas, Papagos’ flag. Her first broadside into the body of the 48-gun Scorpione staves in the Lombard ship’s hull and she immediately strikes. The rest of the Lombard fleet puts up a harder fight, but they can’t withstand such firepower and eventually start surrendering as well. Panaretos, still on deck, lives just long enough to see La Superba strike her colors.

    CamperdownLoutherb.jpg
    The Battle of Palmaria
    [By Philip James de Loutherbourg - Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Kurpfalzbilder.de using CommonsHelper.(Original text : http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?workid=3722&searchid=22589), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6866711]​

    It is a bloody victory for the Romans. One battle-line ship sinks, another two pounded so badly that they are torn up afterwards rather than repaired, plus no less than six light warships (including the Volos, which was taken back to Genoa by her prize crew). Fregatai had gone toe-to-toe with battle-line ships in order to slow them down and paid dearly for it. Overall there are more than two thousand casualties, with all of the ship losses and four-fifths of the casualties endured by Panaretos’ force. The Ikarios takes thirty percent casualties.

    It is also a near total victory. Out of the twenty three Lombard battle-line ships, only five make it to La Spezia, two of them badly shot up. The lighter ships fare better; out of the nineteen, nine of them make it to harbor, one slipping away to end back up in Genoa. Twelve of the Lombard battle-line ships and eight of the lighter warships are captured in good enough state to be kept as prizes. Lombard casualties (excluding prisoners) are close to fifty seven hundred.

    Admiral Cómbo offers his sword to the Doux, who declines, preferring “to take the hand rather than the sword of a brave man”. [1] The sail to Livorno is a rough one, with one of the Lombard prizes foundering with ninety wounded Lombard crew on deck during a storm during the night. Despite the danger, small boats from surrounding Roman warships rescue seventy of the Lombards, their commanding lieutenant one of the lost as he refused to leave before all of his men had been taken to the boats. [2]

    Despite the valor, it is a devastating blow to the Lombards. For all their cynicism, the Genoese oligarchs hadn’t expected such heavy losses. There are few families in Genoa who are not grieving, and the mourners are asking ugly questions about who is to blame for this.

    It is also a heavy blow to the Duke of Parma. The Commune of Genoa was the grandee most supportive of him, so he has simultaneously lost his best ally and also his chance of breaking this stalemate in Tuscany. Meanwhile Mastino is whispering to people in Milan. Unlike Ferrara or Mantua, he has no personal reason to be anti-Roman, but he does desire power and hates Parma.

    The Duke of Verona has, in Parma’s opinion, too much time on his hands. The same could also be said of the Duke of Ferrara. Naval raids on the coast of Romagna have declined for the same reasons the Lombard fleet faced lesser odds at Palmaria than it would’ve last year. Meanwhile Mastino has recruited all these men under his personal banner but has no Roman raids to combat either. The bulk of the Venetia garrison has marched off into the Alps to raid hairy trans-Alpine barbarians, therefore not Mastino’s problem. So he can use those men for things that actually matter to him.

    On September 10 he makes his move. Having suborned key officials, with the most powerful army in northern Italy at his back, and supported by the Dukes of Mantua and Ferrara, he arrests King Cesare on the grounds of his “incapacity”. The Duke recognizes Cesare’s six-year-old son Andrea as his rightful King, appointing himself the regent “to ensure firm and confident leadership in this time of crisis brought on by bad management”.

    On September 14 the Duke of Parma and his army begin to march north.

    [1] This is from OTL, a near-identical statement said by Admiral Duncan, the victor of the battle of Camperdown, when his defeated opponent, Admiral de Winter, offered his sword.
    [2] More from Camperdown.
     
  10. HanEmpire Delicious

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2011
    Location:
    The Land of Eh
    Perfect time for a civil war. The Romans are only going to eat all of Tuscany, no big deal.
     
  11. ImperatorAlexander Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    This is some ToT level stupidity on the part of the Lombards, guess that’s karma.
    If this war doesn’t end soon, Theodor is going to be smashed and the Romans will have 200,000 spare troops lying around, even a quarter of that being sent West would be enough to flatten the Lombards and gobble Northern Italy, even with the Accord opposing them.
    But I suppose Demetrios can settle for a massive tribute from whoever wins and Tuscany. Then again, he’s all about teaching the Latins a lesson, and the Lombards are a prime target for revenge.
     
  12. Antony444 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Location:
    Montélimar, France
    Well, the Alliance is now on the brink of complete collapse, and unless there's a miracle, this front is going to be a decisive Sicilian victory.
    Genoa has just been finished as a naval power for the next generation.
    Pisa is now going to fall, since Parma is not here to hamper his enemies' efforts.
    And King Cesare, in his bid to continue the war against the odds, has now lost everything.
    His nobles are going to tear each other apart in a bloody civil war. So not only there are going to be unfavourable terms at the peace table, Lombardy is also going to be ravaged by war. Fun times.
     
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  13. RogueTraderEnthusiast Winner: WillamOfOckham "Most AH.com Title" 2018

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2016
    Oh good god, what? That was great! The Italians giving in to infighting? Now? Fantastic. What are we going to see here?

    Is this a prelude to a more.... confederate "Lombard League" style situation rather than the Kingdom? That'd be an interesting situation, especially with the Romans and Accord interested in its state. Heck, it could even see a beaten Lombards joining the Accord. Fun :D
     
  14. Duke of Nova Scotia Didn't go to Alberta to become a Millionaire.

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2014
    Location:
    Alba Nuadh
    The Duke of Parma could become the Doux.
     
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  15. Evilprodigy Evil Overlord of NWCG Donor

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    There is something to also be said for familiarity, since that period is more like the modern world, but also proximity since events there directly affect People's daily lives today more directly or those of older family members.
     
  16. Shard The Dark Master

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2012
    Location:
    Malaysia
    Our proximity and ability to record history post-1900 is much greater than pre-1900. Arguably, since there are more people, there is also 'more' history being produced post 1900.
     
  17. Evilprodigy Evil Overlord of NWCG Donor

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    Yes B444 already covered that.

    Though I suppose more stuff happens more quickly too with the better technology in transportation and communication. While countries of millions of souls were not normally conquored in less than a year pre-1900.
     
  18. JSC Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Location:
    Canada
    I always have the most trouble with parsing the Italian theatre and this update is no exception but here goes my best try:

    1) With the destruction of the Lombard fleet there is now no challenger in the Mediterranean between Constantinople and Spain. Aside from corsairs from Algeria the Central and Eastern Med into the Black Sea is now a Roman lake. Said fleet is now free to burn every single Lombard city, town and village on the coast line.

    2) Shame about that civil war, the Lombards finally had Rome/Sicily stopped and now it will all be for naught. Pisa will fall soon and Florence will likely fall over the winter. Next campaign season Mytaras is going to get some heavy reinforcement and the last chance for Lombardy to negotiate peace has passed. They are now going to be stuck with whatever Rome gives them. Possibly after seeing a city or two razed. (100% its happening and if I keep mentioning it maybe I can sway @Basileus444 even if he hadn't planned it)

    3) I really don't think Rome is going to take Lombard land up to Tuscany. That's a lot of land with a lot of Catholics and more importantly a lot of educated, literate Catholics that are going to resistant to rule by an Orthodox Despot in the same way the Arabs of in the Levant were resistant to rule from Constantinople. Looking at a map of modern Italy I could see Sicily gaining more or less the modern states Molise, Abruzzo, and Lazio. This puts Rome back in Orthodox hands at a time when there will be no power with the will and strength to object; Spain, and Arles follow Avignon, Triunes are Bohamist, HRE, Poland are beaten; gets Naples and Bari off the frontier and makes them "safe" cities, and also doesn't have any large cities (aside from Rome which population exchanges can fix) that can become centers of Catholic culture and learning in opposition to the Orthodox cities of Naples and Bari. More likely is Rome encourages local elites in Tuscany and Umbria to make a go of independence. It still breaks Lombard power and replaces a single large power on the Sicilian border with a multitude of small ones that will bicker amongst themselves.

    4) Big thumbs up to the Venetian garrison raiding into Germany. No more to add
     
  19. Curtain Jerker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2018
    Great imagery and representation of the naval combat. There's a reason TVTropes calls it the era of wooden ships and iron men. You've done a nice job capturing that.

    Curious to see how much mischief the Venetians are causing to the "hairy trans-Alpine barbarians." I can't imagine there's much in the way of organized resistance in those lands - seeing as how just about everyone who can fight for the HRE is either dead, dying, captured, or outside Thessaloniki.
     
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  20. Roland Traveler [O5 Clearance Required]

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    Sep 1, 2014
    Location:
    The corner of Death City and Roma Novo
    Eh? Didn’t the update itself say that this was a war for the nobles rather than because Cesare wanted it? It seems a bit unfair to pin the blame on him.
     
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