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

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    ***EDIT: Events of August 26 on in Part 6 have been removed. I posted it while forgetting to insert some other events. They will likely turn up again in part 7. My apologies

    As to pick your brains a bit: In the original TL, the years 1503-1506 have no mention, with the TL resuming in 1507. While I have now mostly filled this gap in the new parts, I'm curious if there's anything the readers would like to see happen within these years?

    Also, what is the reaction to the strengthened France in part 6? My intention was to hamper immediate Spanish hegemony over southern Italy, leaving a more "open" situation for France and Venice in the peninsula. This is not to say Spain may necessarily lose the conflict.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  2. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Part 7, Three Popes and a Stalemate

    Late July: Machiavelli, now responsible for the Florentine Militia, sets the foundations for a politically invested citizen-militia. He cites the decision on distrust of mercenaries, which are the main military option for the Italian city-states.

    France’s currently successful showing against Spain in Naples proves that this is a seemingly effective action. Doge Loredan and the Council of Ten look at adopting a similar citizen-based militia for Venice.

    August 18: Pope Alexander dies. In the aftermath of the First Italian War, the pope had moved to consolidate Papal control over central Italy by seizing Romagna, leaving intense animosity in the region. The death of the pope deals a serious blow to the power of Cesare Borgia, whose conquests in central Italy were possible thanks to deep Papal support.

    August 26: Venetian forces lay siege to Otranto.

    September 12: Otranto falls to the Venetians.

    September 22: Pope Pius III is elected head of the Catholic Church in Rome. The election strips Cesare Borgia of his titles and relegates him to commanding a company of men-at-arms.

    Sensing Cesare's weakness, the dispossessed lords of Romagna offer to submit to the Republic of Venice in exchange for aid in regaining their dominions. They appeal to the Council of Ten to accept the proposition.

    October 1: The Venetian senate accepts the offer set forth by the lords of Romagna. The body also votes to organize a citizen-based militia similar to that of Florence. This will be in an effort to ultimately establish a national army modeled after that of France.

    October 18: Pope Pius dies after just 26 days on the throne.

    November 1: Pope Julius II is elected as the new head of the Catholic Church.

    Mid-November: Venice takes possession of Rimini and Feanza, as well of a number of other cities in Romagna near the Adriatic.

    December 26: Humiliated after the defeat at Cerignola due to waiting, the Spanish commander orders his force to move forward and attack the French at Garigliano (i). Gonzalo de Cordoba instructs his men to set up the bridge they had constructed prior at the town of Mandragone. The bridge, made of boats and barrels, proves successful at allowing Spanish troops to cross the Garigliano river, however the numerically superior French repel the Spanish onslaught. The bridge is then destroyed. The French tend to their wounded and masses of sick troops from infection thanks to the marshy terrain. Word is sent to the French stronghold of Gaeta for reinforcements.

    December 27: Spanish reinforcements arrive from Naples led by Bartalomeo d’Alviano and Orsisni. The force tries several times to cross the river using a makeshift bridge, but their efforts are in vain.

    February, 1504: An ambassador of the Doge of Venice arrives in Cairo to discuss matters with the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. The ambassador proposes a plan for an artificial canal connecting the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. The Mamluks question the vast expense of the project, but the Venetian insists that the returns will pay off exponentially. Venice is Egypt’s largest European trading partner, and a strategic friend to have, in the face of the threatening Ottoman presence in the East. Navigable waterways had been engineered between the Mediterranean and Red Sea before, but these had fallen into disrepair around 1000 AD. The plan proposed, designed by Leonardo da Vinci, makes use of existing natural waterways, and puts forth the most effective way of building the canal. (ii)

    March: Moving to re-establish Papal control over Romagna, Pope Julius demands that Venice returns all the cities she has seized in the region. The Republic, although willing to acknowledge Papal sovereignty over them and pay Julius an annual tribute, refuses to surrender the cities themselves.

    While the Pope is left furious by Venice’s decision, he does not possess sufficient forces to fight the republic, and decides instead to turn his attention towards the reconquest of Bologna and Perugia.

    April 3: French reinforcements from the mainland arrive to Gaeta to supplant the sickly force currently stationed there.

    April: 24: French and Spanish armies meet again just 6 km south of Gaeta. In the battle that ensues, both sides incur heavy losses due to intense usage of artillery, but the Spanish manage to take the upper hand, sending the French back to Gaeta.

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    (i) OTL the commander was unsure whether to attack or retreat. While deciding, he received reinforcements from Naples. This led to Spanish victory.

    (ii) The foundations for this development are the same as in OTL, with the exception that ITOL it was deemed as too great of an expense. Around this time IOTL, da Vinci designed an ambitious plan to reroute the flow of the Arno river around Pisa for Florence. It would also make the Arno River navigable for oceangoing vessels from the inland city of Florence.

     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  3. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Well, if Venice TTL manages to keep the main cities of Puglia, will be a reasonable step as well. Especially Bari, with the church of St. Nicholas which is a relevant pilgrimace center...However, that will lead to a perpetual casus belli with the Spanish.

    Also, a victory in Romagna will be important to break the Papal State... If Venice allies with Urbino and Bologna, the Papacy could be easily contained in Latium and Umbria...
     
  4. Captain Jack Hobbes Was Right

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    I like the proto-Suez canal! Da Vinci is probably the man to make it work and a functional canal will certainly improve Venice's situation with regards to declining trade. Although it probably won't be enough to prevent Portuguese dominance of the Indian Ocean and Indian trade Venice will have the advantage in the Red Sea thanks to her expertise with galley warfare and friendly relations with the Mamluks. Over time increased contact will give Venice experience with building sailing ships to trade in the Indian Ocean and expose her to Portuguese shipbuilding techniques.

    Even if Spain wins in Naples it will take longer and be more expensive than OTL. Might France be better able than OTL to consolidate her position in Lombardy? The power of the Popes will be much reduced without Romagna. With a weaker independent power base the Popes could become more dependent on foreign powers earlier than OTL. That is bound to have major repercussions on the Reformation/Counter-Reformation and the wars of religion.
     
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  5. Athelstane Anglo-Saxon Troublemaker

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    The Republic, although willing to acknowledge Papal sovereignty over them and pay Julius an annual tribute, refuses to surrender the cities themselves.

    Which, of course, should surprise no one.
     
  6. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    As my Mac has been down for nearly 2 weeks now (I was almost under the impression Macs never broke....) I've been checking up on the board periodically on my phone without posting. I finally got it back yesterday. Another installment will go up shortly!

    I originally intended Bari as the target, but figured that ports further south would be more important to Venice with the loss of Modon.

    I'm intrigued by your second point, I hadn't thought of that. A far weaker Papal State is definitely something I'd look into pursuing. I'm curious what ramifications it would have on Venice (Maybe no Cambrai?) and the rest of Europe.

    The new canal is going to be a pivitol part of this TL, just as it was in the original. It is the medium by which everything changes for quite a few nations ITTL.

    I think that by the same token of increased difficulty for Spain to subdue Naples as you stated, France will experience a similar hardship in controlling Lombardy thanks to a harder fought Second Italian War. Yes, if ultimately the Papal States is reduced the butterflies would be intense.
     
  7. Richter von Manthofen Gnome Fighter Ace

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    IIRC the town of Triest was a Habsburg posession - Although it started to thrive much later, I think this TL it could be an early starting point for Austrian colonial adventures if the Suez-canal is built early.

    OTOH a better performing Venice could easily keep the Habsburgs away from the Adriatic coast.

    in a few years time in OTL there was the battle of Mohacs which sealed the fate of Mediveal Hungary - I am just wondering if the Turks are more occupied with Venice TTL and Hungary survives then the Habsburgs won't "inherit" Hungary, so they probably will looking elsewhere to "expand" - Poland? Prussia? ITALY? - or westward and we get an enlarged France bordering the "german" Habsburg Empire? - Just wondering what this improved Serenissima might have. - I don't expect that you give away your plans - I want to discover them step by step ;)
     
  8. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Just a few things: Sorry to be a n00b, it's been a while. Can I get a clarification on what IIRC and OTOH mean? :eek:

    While what you proposed about Austria sounds incredibly cool, I was thinking we may see some other plans for Trieste. However, the new canal will have huge repercussions on the East, and I wouldn't count Austria out even if Trieste doesn't go their way.

    Yes, instead of Ferdinand I, it can easily sway to the Venetians. This will be interesting if it happens.

    Ah, these are the comments I love! I've been stuck in the late 1520s for a while figuring out how the Ottomans in Europe will play out, especially after Mohacs. It's tricky because of events that will transpire over the next 20 years ITTL. We will have to return to this one!

    Awesome input, thanks.
     
  9. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Part 8, An End to War, Ptolemy Lives Again

    May: Gonzalo de Cordoba, Great Captain of the Spanish force in Italy, has exhausted a great deal of manpower fighting the French on the peninsula. He is under intense pressure from the crown to end the war. Still camped outside of Gaeta, and eager to attack again from the recent win over his rival, de Cordoba instructs his men to build a similar bridge made of boats and barrels that successfully allowed the Spanish to cross the Garigliano river in December of last year. After the completion of the bridge, he commands some units to “retreat” towards the Volturno River as a distraction tactic.

    Night of June 1-2: The Spanish bring the bridging materials to a place near the castle of Suio, in a position invisible to the French, some six kilometers north to the latter's camp. D'Alviano, commander of the Spanish vanguard, orders the construction to begin at dawn. By 10 AM some 4,000 Spaniards cross the Garigliano. In the ensuing battle, French losses amounted to nearly 8,000, with 8,000 missing or captured, the Spanish losing just over 5,000 men.

    While costly, the Spanish victory is decisive, and the French offensive capability is destroyed.

    June 6: French troops of King Louis XII surrender Gaeta to the Spanish under Gonzalo de Cordoba.

    September 31: France and Spain agree to a ceasefire.

    With the war now over with France, the Spanish crown turns its attention towards Venice’s holdings in Puglia. Spain is low on military and financial resources thanks to its expensive war with France. De Cordoba is well aware that Venetian forces are intensely entrenched in Otranto and Brindisi, as well as having updated the fortifications of those cities. Fearing a similar situation as that encountered against the French stationed in Gaeta, he knows capturing the cities will be challenging.

    November 26: Isabella I of Castille, Queen of Castile and Aragon, dies. The Crown of Castille passes to her daughter Joanna. Disruption in the court due to the death of the queen delays action against Venice.

    December: After nearly a full year of deliberation, planning, and discussion, Venice and the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt agree to push forward with a jointly built canal, connecting the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. Though the canal will be expensive, both sides are in agreement that it will increase the speed and ease of trade, and lead to greatly increased profits.

    The canal will be built by both skilled laborers and slaves alike, the latter making up the vast majority of the labor effort. Mostly from the Balkans, North Africa, or the Crimean Khanate, the slaves will be purchased by Venice and Egypt and will work tirelessly to complete this outstanding feat of human ingenuity. While no set completion date is established, Mamluk engineers estimate that it can be open for trade in just 5 years. Da Vinci scoffs at their assessment, approximating that it will take double that, conditions allowing.

    The revenue sharing structure will depend on the expenses each country contributes to the overall completion of the canal, however; as a deal sweetener, the Venetians promise that whatever the result, an extra 5% ownership will go to the Sultanate for the use of their land. This was a major driver in Mamluk acceptance of the project.

    It will be called the Ptolmeic channel, after the great Ptolmeic Dynasty of Egypt.

    February, 1505: Venice continues its push to rid itself from dependence on mercenaries. The Secretary of War alerts Loredan that the province of Veneto can now be completely defended by a standing army of loyal Venetian citizens. He estimates that at the current rate, the entire Stato de Terraferma will be independent of the need for mercenaries in 3-4 years. To assure the development, Venetian spies in Florence continue to observe and report on the development of Machiavelli’s army.

    Stationed with the Venetian fleet at Brindisi, Capitano Generale da Mar, Marco Maranazzo, waits ready in case of a Spanish attack. With the news of the growing standing army and the agreement to the Ptolmeic Channel, he is fearful that any future funds his navy may need will not be available.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
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  10. Richter von Manthofen Gnome Fighter Ace

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    IIRC if I recall correctly

    OTOH on the other hand
     
  11. Richter von Manthofen Gnome Fighter Ace

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    HMMM - mamluks - I am wondering if they survive this TL. OTL they lost two naval battles to the Portuguese (Diu and in the Med). With venetian help they might hod the Portuguese at bay...

    OTL town of Ismailia wll be known as Qansuhria? after al-Ašraf Qānṣūh al-Ġūrī!
     
  12. Athelstane Anglo-Saxon Troublemaker

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    While no set completion date is established, Mamluk engineers estimate that it can be open for trade in just 5 years. Da Vinci scoffs at their assessment, approximating that it will take double that, conditions allowing.


    And even Leonardo is likely being optimistic.
     
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  13. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Pardon?

    I won't give away what happens but if anything it would seem that by dumping funds into the canal the Mamluks would be short on cash when defending against the Ottomans. Depending when the canal is finally completed, as profits from the canal would do the opposite.

    I'm not sure about the naming of Ismailia or why it would be different TTL. What a reason be for a name change?

    Yes, even 10 years would be a successful build time. But for Venice having all that capital tied up without returns, we can expect that its completion will be of the utmost importance.
     
  14. Komnenos002 asdf

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    IIRC = if I recall correctly.

    OTOH = on the other hand.
     
  15. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Ah, it didn't click the first time, my bad. Thanks both of you
     
  16. Captain Jack Hobbes Was Right

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    The Mamluks had Venetian help OTL for the battle of Diu. They still lost. In the Indian Ocean the Portuguese have the advantage due to their ships.

    Remind me, does the canal cut across the desert like the modern Suez canal or is it more like the old Canal of the Pharaohs?
     
  17. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    As events play out, we may see a different Diu, if at all.

    Ah, yes I should have specified, the canal will be based on the previous canals of the Pharoahs, meandering as they connect to other natural bodies of water and such. I will try and provide more clarification in the next post. Thanks for pointing it out.
     
  18. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    A question for anyone who may know: Does defending a city under interdict against the Pope place the aiding city under interdict as well? I just don't see the Pope taking nicely to another aiding a city placed on his "bad list". Or maybe I'm just not understanding/overplaying the importance of an interdict?

    Thanks,
    FC
     
  19. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Part 9, Quick Work of the Empire.

    March: Work commences on the Ptolmeic Channel. The canal will be built utilizing the natural waterways of the Sinai between the Mediterranean and Red seas. It will weave its way through the Wadi Tumilat (i), as ships come in from the entry-point at Pelusium, making their way south through the delta until they reach the town of Zagazig. This is the point at which the earthworks for the channel will officially start, cutting a canal through the land reaching the Great Bitter Lake. The ships will then exit the Great Bitter Lake south through yet another long canal carved from the desert floor, following it until they reach the sea-port of Suez, finally making their way into the Red Sea.

    April, 1506: Leonardo da Vinci finishes his portrait of Lisa del Giocondo. Soon after its completion, Gabriele Vendramin pleads with Leonardo to abandon his time spent on such “simple” works in order to focus his efforts on the Gran Cavallo. Leonardo is nearly finished his life-sized clay model of the great sculpture which will serve only as a model, as currently the statue is planned to measure 12 feet in height. However as Vendramin intends for his perfect steed to be far larger than life, even this is just a working number, subject to increases on his command.

    June: Intense Papal influence subdues the city of Perugia, forcing its deposed lord and fierce condottiero, Gian Paolo Baglioni, to flee to Venice (ii). Baglioni believes that he can be an asset in Venice’s new army, and believes Venice is the only place where he will be able to get his eventual revenge against the Pope.

    August, 1507: Work on the Ptolmeic channel is over 2-years in. The man-made portions meant to cut through the dessert are nothing impressive yet, and most of the effort of the past 2 years has been devoted to removing silt, clay, and sand from the parts of the Nile Delta that will have ships passing through them.

    February, 1508: Armed with a large army at the behest of the Pope, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I enters Venetian lands on his way to Rome. He will use his visit with Pope Julius as a pretext in which to attack the republic. Julius ordered the attack to force Venice out of Papal-coveted lands in Romagna. The large Imperial force heads for Vicenza.

    March 1: The Imperial army meets the Venetian army at Vicenza, where it is utterly defeated by the forces of Bartolomeo d’Alviano.

    April 12: A far larger large Imperial reinforcement core from Tyrol attempts a second assault on the Venetians. Outside of Cadore, near the border between Venice and the Empire, the two sides meet. The resulting battle ends in a catastrophic failure for the Imperial troops, their forces decimated by the Venetians (iii).

    Capitalizing on their resounding victories over the mighty Empire, Venice decides to turn the war on the offensive. Bartolomeo d’Alviano heads east towards Trieste, and an army led by Andrea Loredan heads north into Tyrol.

    May: In the east, Bartolomeo d’Alviano manages to seize both Trieste and Fiume from the Empire. In the north, Andrea Loredan has quickly advanced deep into the County of Tyrol, reaching Merano, its official capital, by late May (iv).

    June 6: In an attempt to free Trieste and Fiume from the hands of the Venetians, Maximilian and his forces descend upon Udine, in Venice’s far east. The Imperial forces are humiliated for a third time when the Venetian citizen army decimates them. The Emperor is left with no choice but to draw a truce with Venice.

    Under the terms of peace, the Holy Roman Empire cedes several territories to the republic, including much of the land around Trieste and Fiume, and any lands in Istria that Venice doesn’t already command. As well as agreeing to recognize Venetian gains of Trieste, Fiume, and the County of Tyrol up to the town of Klausen.

    The loss absolutely humiliates both Maximilian and the Pope, but has the completely opposite effect on the Doge’s court. Loredan is delighted over the victories his country has won. He knows that the resounding successes achieved by Venetian forces will give validity to his vast spending on the military in front of the Council of Ten. This, he is well aware, is for the best, as Venice’s string of recent victories and continued unwillingness to submit to the Pope’s orders are fostering bitter feelings among European powers against the republic.

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    (i): Wadi Tumilat: Nile Delta

    (ii): OTL Baglioni moved to Venice in 1511.

    (iii): The Venetians were triumphant in both these battles IOTL, but with the better trained army TTL the losses are that much worse for the HRE.

    (iv): Though it was the traditional capital, much of Merano’s importance, and its court, had been moved to Innsbruck by this time.
     
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  20. Razgriz 2K9 Banned

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    Venetian victories are only starting to draw the ire of not only the Pope and the Emperor, but I can imagine also the King of France as well...It would be imperative for this Mercantile Republic to field a powerful army capable of fending off all three...