La Serenissima: Venice, Dawn of a New Power 2.0

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Franciscus Caesar, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto
    La Serenissima: Venice, Dawn of a New Power

    Intro:

    1492: While historically in a continuous state of quarrelling, the fiercely independent city-states of Italy have experienced nearly 40 years of relative tranquility. After the peace of Lodi in 1454, it was the realization that none of the major Italian states was capable of hegemony over any region of the peninsula, let alone the peninsula as a whole. This led to an easing of relations between the states, and a mutual suspicion and fear of France. Thanks to this peace, the economies of the Italian states have recovered soundly from the horrors of the Black Death, and the first embassies amongst the states have been established. Despite the benefits of this league, many believe its downfall has begun with the recent death of Lorenzo de’ Medici. The ruler of the Florentines was surely one of the leagues’ greatest supporters, and prime maintainer. The decay of the Italic League can only mean that the states of Italy will soon be at each other’s throats once again. It is just a matter of which will be the first to act.

    The State of Venice: The Serenissima Repubblica has become incredibly rich as an economic and trading power. The guilds in Venice produce superior silks, brocades, goldsmith jewelry and articles, armor and glass in the form of beads and eyeglasses. The city itself is likely the richest city in the world, and the second most populated after Paris with 180,000 inhabitants. The republic hosts a total population of over 2.1 million. Currently Venice’s concern lies with the delicate situation in Italy, and the increasing Ottoman poaching of its foreign possessions.

     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  2. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto
    4 years after the last (continuous) update of the original, I've decided to re-write the thread to do it the justice I feel it deserves. This one will be different than the original in many ways, but stick to the same premise. To new readers, Welcome. To old readers, Welcome back. I hope you all enjoy.

    For any of you interested in seeing the old thread for any reason, here's a link: https://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=128475
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  3. Olligarchy Grand Prince

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Location:
    Hämeenlinna, Finland
    New reader that will be following this with great interest.
     
  4. Van555 Social Reformist

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Clara Region, Republic of California
    I want a merchant republic uniting italy.
     
  5. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    Location:
    Italy
    Ditto. Plus reconquering Constantinople as well.
     
  6. 9 Fanged Hummingbird Some Random Guy

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Seeing the Serene Republic at least survive longer (and possibly better) than OTL would be enough for me to follow this TL. Probably helps that I just finished Assassin's Creed 2.
     
  7. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto
    Awesome!

    Ambitious goals. We'll see how it plays out.

    Cool, you may see some familiar names very soon
     
  8. Richter von Manthofen Gnome Fighter Ace

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Location:
    Österreich
    new reader - I hope this thred will have many Sailors shouting "San Marco" ;)
     
  9. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto
    Prologue: New Arrivals

    July: As part of the Inquisition, the new state of Spain expels its Jewish and Muslim populations. In response, the Ottoman Empire is declared by Sultan Bayezid II to be a safe haven for the expelled populations, sending his navy to Spain in order to ensure safe passage of these people to Ottoman lands. The Doge of Venice, Agostino Barbarigo, takes note of the Ottoman response. Venice and the Ottoman Empire share an amicable relationship, and Barbarigo knows Bayezid to be an intelligent, shrewd leader, who calculates things carefully. Rumors reach Venice of Bayezid declaring that by letting these people go, the Spanish King Ferdinand “impoverished his own country and enriched mine!” The Doge wishes to maintain strong relations with the Mediterranean superpower, mostly out of fear that its lands in Morea may be at risk in the future. Nonetheless, he tends to share Bayezid’s sentiment, especially towards the Jews. Taking this into consideration, combined with Venice’s position as a more secular nation and a Pope whose sympathies are on Venice’s side, Barbarigo extends an invitation to the exiled Spanish that Venice will give them refuge, as is her Christian duty.

    August: Jewish and Muslim populations make their exodus out of Spain. The majority head to the Ottoman Empire thanks to the ease of getting there on Ottoman ships. However, many of those who desire to stay in Europe head to Venice, their numbers estimated at 16,000.

    This move sends ripples through the Mediterranean. The Catholic monarchs of Spain take Barbarigo’s “Christian duty” sentiment as an arrogant challenge to the validity of the Inquisition. Bayezid feels that the Venetians are poaching from what is his. Pope Alexander, faced with 9,000 impoverished Iberian Jews at his own gates, follows the Venetian lead, accepting them as “permitted to lead their life, free from interference from Christians…”

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2013
  10. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto
    That is the plan!
     
  11. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto
    Part 1, The Italian War: 1494-1498

    1494: The Italian war begins as Charles VIII of France, along with his 25,000-man army, invades Italy. Incited by fear of rape and pillage at the arrival of the French outside their gates, the people of Florence depose their Gran maestro, Piero de’ Medici, in favor of a republican government.

    February: Marco Maranazzo is appointed Capitano da Mar of Venice. He is a respected captain, considered the best in the republic. His first order of business is petitioning the Consiglio dei Dieci to allow for a full naval enlargement. Capitalizing on their fears of French hegemony in Italy, he warns that a powerful navy is the only way Venice will be able to defend her autonomy in the future. The council agrees, and slates 42 galleys for immediate completion (i). Given the aggressive completion schedule, even for the most powerful and efficient shipbuilding enterprise currently in existence this will prove a hefty task.

    1495: The French quickly advance through the Italian peninsula, reaching Naples in February. The speed and brutality of their advance shocks the Italian states, and threatens their autonomy by the foreign monarch. To stave off French hegemony in Italy, Pope Alexander VI forms the alliance of the League of Venice, composing of his Papal States, the Kingdom of Aragon (the current rulers of Sicily), the Holy Roman Empire, the Duchy of Milan, and the Serene Republic of Venice.

    July 6: the Battle of Fornovo sees the defeat of the French at the hand of the League of Venice, expelling the French from Italy. The rest of the war drags on without any substantive French gains, and remaining French garrisons in Naples being subdued.

    1497: The last of the 42 galleys ordered for construction by Maranazzo is completed. Delays aside, both Maranazzo and the Doge are content with the time it took to build the fleet, thankful that the war with France did not escalate into a threatening naval campaign. Though the Consiglio dei Dieci gave a blank check for further galley construction 3 years ago, they deem that no more galleys are needed, citing that the fleet currently in operation is already far more than the republic will ever need.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (i) The Arsenal often kept up to 100 galleys in different stages of production and maintenance, that way once a galley was launched another could be immediately put into the finishing stages of production
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2013
  12. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    Location:
    Italy
    Well, the Italian victory at Fornovo is a good signal for Venice; but it reinforces Milan as well, let's see how the situation evolves...
     
  13. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto
    Yes, that's what I'm currently figuring out; the situation in Italy. The old TL didn't have a huge Italy component other than Venice, I would like this one to incorporate more action and attitudes in the peninsula
     
  14. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    Location:
    Italy
    In effect, any way Venice will take in this TL will affect Italy more or less indirectly. After all, until Napoleon was still the major independent Italian country...

    Anyway, I guess there will be lots of diplomatic intrigue as well, the Venetian diplomats were everywhere in Europe like a virus :D
     
  15. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto
    Part 2, 1499, the Year of Two Wars

    Second Italian War

    1499: Under King Louis XII, France, along with her hired force of Swiss mercenaries, concludes an alliance with Venice to invade the Duchy of Milan. The invaded Lombardian territories are to be split between the two nations. The Pope joins the alliance in exchange for Louis’ support for Cesare Borgia’s Romagna campaigns.

    Bayezid has long believed that the future of Ottoman naval superiority lies in Morea, currently in the hands of Venice. Relations between the Ottomans and the Venetians have soured over the last few years, and Bayezid now views Venice as an obstacle. Alerted of Venice’s alliance with France for another war in Italy, the Sultan decides this is the time to strike. Venetian merchants present in Istanbul are immediately arrested.

    April: Leonardo da Vinci flees Milan for Venice, where he becomes employed as a military architect and engineer, devising methods to defend the city from naval attack.

    Ottoman-Venetian War: 1499-1501

    August 12: Venetian and Ottoman forces meet off the coast of Zonchio. Leading the Venetian navy, Marco Maranazzo (i) was given no prior orders as to whether an offensive or defensive campaign should be fought. Both sides are nearly equal in size, but Maranazzo fears the skilled Ottomans and decides to play it defensively (ii). The first day of battle ends in a stalemate, both sides suffering moderate damage.

    August 20: Four French galleys arrive to aide the Venetians at Zonchio. As the battle begins, Maranazzo decides to pursue an offensive strategy, and sends a large portion of his force out against the Ottomans (iii). As the battle ends, the damage sustained on both sides is clear. Two of the four French reinforcement galleys are still in flames, while both the Ottoman and Venetian camps have sustained extensive damage.

    August 22: Just two days since the last battle, both sides lay exhausted. The battle is light and ends in a draw.

    August 25: The Venetians take an early offensive and capture some Ottoman galleys. The Venetian captors on the ships begin looting them immediately, and discipline quickly breaks down. Maranazzo’s carrack passes by the chaos, where he orders the men to regain order or face death. The men quickly regroup, but not before the Ottomans can reclaim four of their taken ships. With the battle in its most critical stage, two Venetian carracks, captained by Andrea Loredan, and by Alban d'Armer, board one of the command ships of the Ottoman fleet. The commander of the vessel, Burak Reis, unable to disentangle his ship from the boarders, chooses to set her aflame. The sight of the three great ships burning together deals a severe blow to the Venetian morale, while the capture of 9 Ottoman ships equally affects the Ottomans.

    Though the Ottomans claim victory and the Venetian outpost of Lepanto, the battles fought at Zonchio prove to be massively costly in terms of loss of men and ships for both sides. The Ottomans were not expecting such stiff opposition from the Venetians.

    September: In Venice, the common perception is that the Turks will eventually attack the lagoon. Recent resident Leonardo da Vinci shares that belief. He considers proposing to the Doge a submarine and wetsuit of his invention, in exchange for half the ransom of the captured Turkish prisoners. He vividly described his dreams of glory in his notebooks

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (i) OTL the Venetians were led by Antonio Grimani, who was not cut out for battle and was only appointed the leader thanks to a large donation of 16,000 ducats to the stete.

    (ii) OTL Grimani was also not given any orders on whether a defensive or offensive stance was to be taken and was indecisive. Combined with the lack of respect he carried with the men, under his leadership the battle was a disaster.

    (iii) OTL Grimani sent 2 of 170 galleys out against the Ottomans.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2013
  16. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto
    Part 3, The Renaissance Man

    December: A Venetian force headed by Antonio Grimani attacks Lepanto in hopes of regaining the lost possession. It is successful at reclaiming the outpost, thanks to the presence of fresh Venetians sent from the lagoon against the depleted Ottomans.

    January 2, 1500: Gabriele Vendramin, leader of the influential Vendramin merchant house has da Vinci over to his palazzo for the evening. Gabriele is a patron of the arts and is interested in da Vinci’s “Gran Cavallo”, a plan for a massive marble statue of a purebred horse. As the wine begins to flow, da Vinci becomes sentimental and angry at the fact that the invading French troops used the life-size clay model for the "Gran Cavallo" for target practice last year. As he laments about war, he discusses the submarine plans he intended for the Doge. He continues that he will burn the plans because he cannot justify the dark implications of his invention or those who would want to get to it.

    January 3: Gabriele Vendramin barely slept. He wants to increase his influence in Venice and sees getting Leonardo’s radical invention to the Doge a sure way to do so. However, he is passionate about having da Vinci finish the Gran Cavallo for him and does not want to offend the artist. He meets with the Doge later in the week to discuss the matter. At first, Barbarigo is interested with the idea, but soon doubts that such a thing will work, saying that Venice’s navy doesn’t need such “fanciful trinkets.” Gabriele returns home offended.

    March: Kemal Reis sets sail from Cefalonia and re-takes Lepanto from the Venetians. Though he is successful, the battle is another costly undertaking.

    March 8: A fire erupts in the home where Leonardo da Vinci is staying in Venice. Leonardo and friend Luca Pacioli were not home when the fire started and were unharmed. Among the rooms destroyed were Leonardo’s study area and part of the bedroom. Leonardo is panicked, fearing that this was an assassination attempt on his life by the French. He will stay with the Vendramin family for the remainder of his stay in Venice, where it is announced that he will begin working on the Gran Cavallo once again, commissioned by Gabriele Vendramin.

    April: Kemal Reis brings in an army of 15,000 Ottoman craftsmen from the surrounding areas to repair his battered ships.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2013
  17. Braganza Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Location:
    Brazil
    Renascentist submarine? If it comes to be made [and work] it would be a great asset to the Serenisima. Do you have other plans for da Vinci's inventions?
     
  18. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    Location:
    Italy
    Vendramin is surely a badass. I'm 100% sure he was behind the fire to bring Leonardo in his hands. Surely, the introduction of submarines 400 years before OTL will push definitely towards a drastic acceleration in the side of the technology... torpedo and ironclads already in 17th century to reply to the submarine threat?
     
  19. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto
    da Vinci is a man with visions of grandeur. He will surely stick around to ride Venice's upswing, as long as it is in his favour to do so. I'm glad with his addition to the new TL, I feel it's a very unique angle.

    I've been inclined to write him in as an early mafioso, I feel his darker aims can act as a nice counterbalance to Maranazzo and Loredan.

    I have a few different directions that the submarine twist may go. But remember, IOTL the Turtle (first military submarine) was finished in 1775. Still a ways out, though, with the earlier introduction ITTL that number can be played with.
     
  20. Captain Jack Hobbes Was Right

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    Location:
    Hogwarts
    I wouldn't be so sure about technology being drastically effected. In the Renaissance submarines (really just very low profile submersibles) aren't going to be useful for anything other than defending a port city from a naval attack. To be truly effective, submarines require some form of propulsion other than muscle power. I think the 1500's is too early for a practical and useful submarine.