Industrial Progress: A Story Of Venetian Suffrage (2019-09-11)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Irene, Sep 14, 2017.

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  1. Threadmarks: Summary

    Irene Professional Cactus

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    Summary: The story of Venetian suffrage as the Patricians of Venice blunders unintentionally toward equality and industry. This TL is written so that no background knowledge is required to enjoy the TL. Q&A in the post below. The focus is on social change in the aristocratic police state that is the Republic and its people.

    Background: Coming from the height of the demographic and economic boom that was the 12th & 13th century the early signs of liberalism sprung up within the Italian Peninsula. Cities were founded, the people prospered, the arts flourished, and republican forms of government crept into the city-states of Italy. But there was still a long way to go towards equality for most of the city-states had limited franchises, were plagued by infighting, and upheld a strong sense of nativism that led to more powerful cities oppressing weaker cities.

    As the 14th century came in what historians called the beginnings of the Renaissance; "a flourishing of aristocratic art, literacy, and political thought" equality was gradually being eroded as economic growth slowed down and those in power accumulated wealth at the expense of the people. All along the peninsula lords called signore took power, often at the invitation of infighting factions, the displaced nobles slowly crept back into power, and the bourgeois revolutionaries that displaced the tyrants of generations past quickly became the new aristocracy as they consolidated power and wealth at the expense of the "others" within their city-state.

    There was however one exception, a most unlikely champion of liberalism called Venice.

    A People's History of Venice. 1864, Negro Press. Verona.

    Of all the city-states of Italy, Venice was unique as in its political stability. For unlike the tumultuous city states of the mainland the oligarchs of Venice shared a sense of equality, rule of law, and a willingness to compromise within the ranks of the oligarchs. Unlike their divided mainland cousins the Patricians of Venice (merchant-nobles) were unified as a class and they were able to build an effective meritocratic police state that maintained their power and stifled internal opposition. Yet by the mid 14th century the once adventurous merchant-warriors of centuries past had become complacent and rent-seeking. The spirit of meritocracy was stained as the Patrician ranks was closed to new blood, their merchant drive lost to the easy allure of easy government handouts, and their vigor lost as the Patricians began to shun commerce & war for politics. The Venetians were well on their way to a decadent Byzantine decline if it wasn't for the actions of one man. Like ripples radiating from a rock thrown into a stagnant pond Vettor Pisani showed that a single individual can accomplish great things.

    Untangling Legends From Facts: A Biography of Vettor Pisani. 1920, Faber Press. Venice.

    POD: Pietro Doria, the commander of the Genoese fleet in the most recent Venetian-Geonese War decides to storm the city of Venice in 1378 instead of blockading the city. The Patricians of Venice, complacent after centuries of success are reeling from the shock. IOTL the blockade led to Venetian victory as it gave time for the Venetians to fortify and counter-attack.

    The story begins.

    "May god forgive for the sins we are about to commit."

    Last recorded words of Andrea Contarini, 59th Doge of Venice. 1379
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  2. Threadmarks: Q&A:

    Irene Professional Cactus

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    Q&A

    How different is this from The City Of Water?

    This is another attempt at "The City Of Water: A Venetian TL" this time with more characterization, a more focused scope, and a "hotspot" narrative. This TL will also amend a lot of the factual errors in the first version as well as introducing an actual plot beyond "this will be so fun when I eventually start writing about a Venetian industrial revolution 200 years into the story" of the first. While the start and some general events will be similar to the old TL the execution style will be different.

    What about The Dance of The Lion And the Serpent?

    Dropped.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  3. Irene Professional Cactus

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    Bailo: The appointed diplomatic representative of the Venetian senate and responsible for the administration of merchant quarters (if one was agreed upon with the local authorities).

    Barnabotti: A diminutive nickname given to poor Patricians which tended to live in the Campo San Barnaba, a district that is cheaper and more distant from the city center. These Patricians tended to be left out of most decisions and often sought to sell their votes whenever possible.

    Collegio: Meaning committee in Venetian, the Collegio refers to the dozen or so ministers and Procurators of Saint Mark that are the most powerful people within the Republic. Collegio followed by something else would specify a different organization.

    Doge/Dogeressa: The elected for life head of state for the Venetian Republic. Mostly a figurehead position those elected to the dogate (office) are nonetheless often powerful and influential Patricians.

    Po River: A large and navigable river that flows through the Po Valley, a focal point for trade, war, and politics in Northern Italy and home to the bulk of its population.

    Podestà: Common titles for chief magistrates of Italian city-states, often appointed from other cities due to perceived impartiality.

    Procurator (of San Marco): The most prestigious positions within the Venetian Republic just below that of the dogates. All nine members are responsible for the administration of St. Mark's Basilica, the adjudication of wills, the administration of half of Venice's neighbourhoods called sestieri, and the protection of orphans and the mentally ill.

    Revitalist: Venetian military-religious sect founded to combat deprivations of the soul and body, a rather vague concept that is supposed to mean combating poverty and oppression. The sect emphasizes

    Saint Erasmus: The Patron saint of sailors, the sick, and the former Patron saint of Venice in Byzantine times. He was eventually supplemented by Saint Mark sometime between 900 ACE-1100 ACE.

    Saint Mark (San Marco): The Patron saint of Venice whose remains are resting in Venice at Saint Mark's Basilica. One of the seventy disciples sent by Jesus to spread the word of the lord Mark is also the composer of the Gospel, founder of the church of Alexandria, and the man who brought the water to the last supper. Symbolized by the winged lion for courage and regality the Republic has adopted the symbol on its flag.

    Saint Mark's Basilica: The most holy site in Venice the basilica hosting the Archdiocese of Venice, the remnants of Saint Mark, and the private chapel of the doge. Nicknamed the Chiesa d'Oro (Church of gold) the basilica is a symbol of Venetian wealth as much of its surface is covered with gold.

    Syndicàto di Sant'Mattheo: Syndicate of Saint Mark.

    Sconvòlger: Venetian Marines given a few months training in small unit tactics and maneuver, considerably trained for their time they are a match for their professional opponents and the reaper for poorly trained militias. Their emphasis is on surprise, shock at the point of contact, and momentum.

    Sestieri: Literally meaning one-sixth the word has become the nickname for a neighbourhood in Venetian as there are six subdivisions within Venice.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 2:08 PM
  4. Threadmarks: Table of Contents

    Irene Professional Cactus

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    placeholder
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018
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  5. TimTurner Cartoon Phanatic

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    Watched.
     
  6. Pempelune c'est une chaussette

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    Ooooh... Is that the City of Water coming back? You have my full attention!
     
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  7. Yanez de Gomera notorious procrastinator

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    il bel paese là, dove 'l sì suona
    How could I not follow this?
     
  8. diestormlie <wit>

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    It's backkk!
     
  9. corourke Member Donor

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    looking forward
     
  10. Unknown Member

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    Following and looking forward to it...
     
  11. Rakhasa Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it's back! ~dances a gig~

    A small detail:

    Unless he is a vampire, if Vettor Pisani was throwing rocks into ponds in the 14th century Venice, he certainly was not writing an autobiography in 1920.
     
  12. diestormlie <wit>

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    Damn, you found him out! Expect to suddenly disappear, never to be seem again.
     
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  13. Unknown Member

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    When does it start?
     
  14. Irene Professional Cactus

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    Later this evening, its been a few hectic days.

    I confess, I found him in a block of ice in the Yukon and thawed him with a hairdryer.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
  15. BootOnFace Buoyant Armiger

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    Perhaps it's a commentary on the autobiography?
     
  16. Threadmarks: 1. Gathering Clouds

    Irene Professional Cactus

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    1. Gathering Clouds

    Venice August 18, 1379.
    Overcast Sky, Humidity 100%.

    Deep in the bowels of the Ducal palace, the powerful and influential men of Venice gathers for an emergency meeting. Chosen specifically for its dark and oppressive atmosphere, the powerful men are seated on the raised podiums surrounding the platform. With light beaming down from behind the platform, imposing silhouettes are cast onto the podium.

    Doge Andrea: "Tell us you have good news, Niccolò"

    "The Genoese are as always bitterly divided between the landed lordlings and shipping magnates, This current war of theirs is support only by a fragile coalition built by the magnates. Yet, they had somehow managed to put aside their differences to form a coalition and wage the war against us. They have committed everything against us and cannot afford to lose." Adding to the impact Niccolò breathed out a deliberately long sigh. "Your Serenity… there is no chance for peace."

    Andrea "And… The lagoon?"

    This time, Niccolò sighed genuinely, a hint of melancholy in his voice, "The Genoese have breached the lagoon, they have more trained men than us, and their fleet is superior to our shattered fleet." Feeling increasingly uncomfortable, Niccolò spouted what little reassurance he could, "but, we are building galleys quickly and our sailors have the unique skills required to navigate the lagoon."

    Andrea "Be gone, Niccolò."

    As the spymaster was dismissed, the silhouetted men broke into a flurry of hushed whispers. Escalating over the course of ten minutes, the heated discussion was finally brought to a halt by Procurator (high clergy) Michele Morosini as he slammed his fist against his podium.

    "Enough!" declared Morosini, "we have no other choice, when the Genoese come; we will burn them all."

    After a brief pause, Andrea concurred, "He's right, it is our only choice."

    Upon witnessing the agreement of the two most powerful men in Venice, the remaining silhouettes reluctantly followed suit much to the horror of one man in the shadows below.

    Still in a state of shock, the man was quickly interrupted as he was summoned with the words "Vittor Psiani."

    Andrea "Vittor, begin preparations for the firebreak plan. I trust that you understand the importance of discretion in this matter."

    Standing at the podium, Vittor felt numb as if ice had pierced his heart. They're going to burn our own to kill the Genoese. My god, he thought to himself in disbelief.

    Andrea "I except a full report on the men and barricades by tomorrow…"


    Andrea went on, unheard by Vittor as panic grew his chest as he processed the idea of leading his men to their deaths.

    Finally, Andrea dismissed him with a wave of his hand, "Now be gone."

    Yet Vittor stood still, his conscious screaming at him to do something—anything to stop this hideous plan. He wanted to plead, he wanted to bargain, he wanted to scream and yet; he could not. For decades of discipline had removed the thought of insubordination from his mind. Caught between his conscious and his duty, Vittor felt as if he was suffocating.

    Morosini "He said be gone."

    Defeated and tortured with impotent outrage, Vittor could only mutter a subservient “yes,” before leaving.

    Adjourning the meeting, Andrea let out a quick prayer, "May god forgive for the sins we are about to commit."
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  17. Threadmarks: 2. An Old Friend

    Irene Professional Cactus

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    2. An Old Friend

    Venice August 18, 1379.

    Overcast Night, Humidity 100%.

    In a dark office, much to his horror, Vittor unsuccessfully attempted to find alternatives to his orders. The thought of leading his men to keep the Genoese in place to be immolated was infuriated him.

    He thinks he can send us to our deaths while he hides behind his mother's skirts, does he? I'll show the bastard.

    Abusing his quills to no end, Vittor had snapped four pens before finally composing himself. He returned to work, drafting orders and reports. He had only just finished putting away his ink bottle when his aide, Venerio, entered his room. On edge from his vengeful intent the startled Vittor would've spilt the entire bottle had it not been for the daft hands of his young aide.

    Instantly sensing the foul mood, Venerio decided to lighten the air, "Careful, sir. If you drop that I'd have to make you clean out the latrines."

    Chuckling despite himself, Vittor replied, "Like I did with you when we first met?"

    Shaking his fist in exaggerated outrage, Venerio put on his most dramatic voice, "By the saints! It took two weeks for the smell to fade and I was going to pay a lovely lady a visit that night!"

    "Ha! She must've smelled you a league away. That's unfortunate, I wish I'd knew that back then."

    "Oh, it was nothing at all, turns out she worked with urine as a tanner and we had a good laugh over it. As a matter of fact we had a great time all the way to the haystack."

    "Ah, and does your wife Bianca know?" Vittor jested.

    "She should, I met her that night," replied Venerio with a boyish smile to even more laughter from the old man.

    Uncorking an ancient vintage, the two took in the solace that only fine wine could offer and chatted the night away. They chatted about nothing in particular—the same old friends doing the same old things, until finally Vittor decided to make a choice, he had just needed a little nudge.

    Vittor "So Venerio, have you given much thought to the future?"

    Venerio "Heh. You mean asides from our impeding deaths?"

    Sensing that the old man was serious now, Venerio repeated the same thing he told his wife, "I'd very much like to stay with the navy."

    Vittor "A good choice, but why? You were the courtier of a Patrician once were you not."

    "I like the people here, I like the respect I get, and," gesturing to the city-lights Venerio continued, "I like the feeling that I'm making a difference. Here I'm someone. Sure, when I was a servant I was well-fed and paid but they never saw me as anything more than furniture with legs. The man couldn't even remember my name when I quit."

    And with that Vittor had made up his mind, if such good men had to be sacrificed then those that choose the path shouldn't get away unpunished.

    Vittor "By the way, Michele Morosini's son's in the northern palace company right?"

    Venerio "Yeeeeah, the old fart's stashed his son away in the safest part of the city."

    Vittor "Good. Give this letter to the man in charge, Captain Panelo. Tell him only to open it if the Genoese attack."

    With that the two old friends bid their farewells unaware of the shadows observing them. Little did they know that Vittor's single act of malice would bring the centuries old Patriciate to its knees.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  18. BootOnFace Buoyant Armiger

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    Here we goooooo
     
  19. Threadmarks: 3. The Battle of Venice

    Irene Professional Cactus

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    3. The Battle of Venice
    August 23, 1379: Humidity 52%

    At the crack of dawn, the Genoese fleet of fourteen thousand men at arms sailed for Venice to fight against the city's 4,000 men. [1]

    Despite outnumbering the Venetians, the heavier Genoese ships were at a significant disadvantage in the shallow and unfamiliar waters of the lagoon. Aware of this hurdle, the Genoese commander, Pietro Doria, decided on a direct assault where the water was deepest—at southern most point of Venice in the neighbourhood of Saint Elena. Yet, much to Pietro's chagrin, his fleet was divided with the 25 feuding families of the Genoese senate and captains electing to go directly for the riches of the palace in the district of San Marco.[2]

    To no surprise, the district of San Marco, the heart of Venice, was heavily fortified. The Genoese found dozens of wooden cannons waiting for them. Though wood cannons were slow, unwieldy, and fragile, it did not matter as at close range they tore through flesh and wood alike.[3]

    Venetian historians will quickly point out the treason of captain Panelo di Mestre who abandoned his post with his men guarding the northern palace in the heat of battle. This permitted the Genoese to desecrate the Palace and scores of Patricians. Yet, because Panelo died in the fires, his motives remain a matter of speculation for historians up to this day with charges ranging from cowardice to Genoese bribery to demonic possession.

    Regardless of the farce at San Marco, the defining moment in the neighbourhood of Saint Elena. Filled with pitch and wood for the firebreak plan; fire was risky from the start dependent as it was on the whims of the wind. Approximately an hour before the planned time, well before the Venetians were in a position to withdraw, fires spread north of the gathered Venetian forces fanned on by strong winds. Caught between the encroaching fire and the Genoese forces, the Venetian forces chose the improbable over the impossible by attempting to charge through the Genoese. Given the blind courage of cornered beasts, The Venetians surged through the Genoese men at arms like a flood, by passing those it cannot sweep aside and pressing on inexorably. Caught against the suffocating smoke and sudden ferocity of their opponents, the Genoese ranks feel into disorder as captains were blinded and choked by the fumes. Yet, for every Genoese that died to the fumes or fell to the sword two Venetians were lost; some died a quick death burning or pierced and bludgeoned by iron and other took hours to die to the fire and fumes.

    With a portion of the Genoese fleet shattered by the wooden cannons at San Marco and the rest moored by Saint Elena, it was child's play for the rebuilt Venetian fleet to sail out from San Marco and burn the Genoese fleet. From surviving Genoese accounts, it appeared that the Genoese did not even consider the possibility that the Venetian Arsenalè was able to rebuild a fleet in just two weeks and was thus caught unaware. Now encircled by fires on land and Venetian galleys in the wate,r the battle turned into a chaotic exodus for the safety of the water. The surviving Venetians who pushed through were pulled from the water and the Genoese that tried to swim were given free spearfishing lessons.

    By the time the fires had burned themselves out days later, almost a fifth of Venice was destroyed along with a portion of the Arsenalè. The Genoese commander Pietro Doria died choking on blood and tar in his lungs. Doge Andrea died fighting off assailants with a pan, and the surviving Patricians are convening to elect a new doge. Wild rumors about the fire had already fermented in the sickly miasma that hung over the city.

    Across the lagoon, the remaining Genoese at Choiggia were electing a temporary leader while awaiting someone new to arrive from Genoa but, having lost significant amounts of men and ships, the prospects of victory are no longer certain.

    In the ashes of the Battle of Venice the seeds of revolution was sown.
    A People's History Of Venice. 1890, Faber Press Canton. Canton.







    [1] Extrapolated from OTL's numbers of 8,000 Genoese plus another 6,000 from Hungary and the Carrara family of Padua, Genoese allies on the mainland.
    [2] The Genoese government was IOTL privately funded by wealthy individuals and the ships that made up its navy voluntarily assembled from private crafts it was an excellent system that saw individuals voluntarily contribute taxes but suffered in unity and long-term direction. In this case since the financial gain & loss prevention of the individual ship captains and investors was paramount some of the captains took the selfish and logical route of enriching themselves at the fleet's expense.
    [3] IOTL a makeshift weapon quickly constructed and having none of the accuracy or durability of its metallic counterparts. Anything more than a few shots was just as much of a danger to its crew as it was to the target.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  20. le man Well-Known Member

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