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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    Definitely, the republic will need a real show of force against such a threat.

    Unfortunately the tensions run further than just the 3 powers you mentioned. Having such a successful run against the HRE in such a short time, while claiming many important Italian cities in the North and South makes Venice a target for nearly every major power.
     
  2. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Interesting series of updates, but I want to know the status of the Bishopric of Trent after the conflict: it is or not under jurisdiction of Venice after the Imperial defeat? Its fate its unclear, besides we could assume instead to attack from the Adige valley it passed through the Dolomites, so bypassing Trent...
     
  3. Richter von Manthofen Gnome Fighter Ace

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    Port Said and Ismailia were both named after the Khedives who were involved in the building of OTL Sues-canal - Ismail Pasha and Muhammad Said. So TTL those towns (if they exist) will have different names - probably names of persons involved in building the canal.
     
  4. Irene Professional Cactus

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    My two cents on this: Venice lost out on two avenues in trade: competition and government interference.

    Due to the lack of an agricultural hinterland, Venice has traditionally gained most of its revenues from tariffs: which by the 17th century was standing around 50% of all trade. The money went to various government expenses, the worst of which were the quality committees: which oversaw and over-regulated industry under the emphasis of "prevailing through higher quality". (which in practice meant ignoring the competition's products meant for both the mass and luxury markets and focus on just the luxury market) High taxes, an overbearing government combined with a high wages from high standard of living made Venice noncompetitive compared to imitators such as French silk or German porcelain of whom were subsidized by their respective governments.

    Also it was shown that the route around Africa was a minor role in the decline of Venice, according to Professor Javier Cuenca of Waterloo university the Portugese merchants did not compete with the core manufactures in Venice (silk, glass, furniture, and sugar refining) and that profits quickly reached saturation due to the relative compact and high value nature of spice.

    Now that being said a suez Canal for Venice would have quite an effect, not in the direct trade income but in terms of what triangular trades Venice can get from this. (specifically industrial goods such as sugar, cotton, and so on...)

    Also Franciscus I'm just curious, how is the internal dynamics of Venice? I was always under the impression that the actual citizens within Venice enjoyed special status over the territories.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  5. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    I was also curious about the B. of Trent but it seems I was writing too Veneto-centric, forgetting to mention the small states around the conflict. Partly because I'm not really sure how things would play out for them, I'm still confused about how the Empire really worked.

    The B. of Trent is now nearly 85% surrounded by Venetian territory, the only exit to anything non-Venetian is located in its far northwest. The nearest major Imperial city being Innsbruck to the north. I don't believe this would make it fall under Venetian jurisdiction (if you can tell me otherwise however, please do), especially since no Venetian troops invaded it. But surely I assume this would put Trent in a sphere of Venice's control. If not immediately then surely as time goes on.

    Again, I'm not sure exactly its relation with the Empire so I hope my answer is sufficient/makes sense. Help here appreciated.

    Ah I understand. ITTL I don't see those 2 cities being around, seeing as the Ptolmeic Channel follows quite a different route, but I have given thought to renaming the cities of Hermopolis, Kibrit, and maybe Serapeum as they contribute to or having a major role in the construction of the canal.

    Good point about the agricultural lands. Even ITTL Venice is feeling that pinch, which played a major factor in its taking of the land from Otranto to Brindisi, located in Italy's breadbasket of Apulia.

    Yes, Venice's economy was highly focused on the collection of tariffs. While I'm still looking for a way to maybe diversify the economy, the major detriment I have seen is, as you have stated, the completely overbearing government and needless agencies being a huge financial drain, and tendency to cater solely towards the luxury aspect of the manufacturing spectrum. These are complicated issues for the republic to get around. Also as you've stated the nation is highly urbanized, with a high cost of living.

    My stance is if the tariff revenue structure, at least in the next century, is quite fixed without much ability to reform itself, the needless costs incurred by these agencies will have to be eliminated. This will be a huge part going forward about a decade ITTL as Venice has to deal with presently unforeseeable issues. In regards to the luxury manufacturing situation, you'll have to keep reading to see what plays out!

    One must remember that many of the struggles Venice faces that have been brought up are current issues and ones that continued in OTL. The new canal will be the point where TTL's history changes drastically from OTL, and Venice (as well as several other Eropean powers) will eliminate some issues while taking on others. I can't comment on the triangular trade atm so as not to reveal too much.

    At the moment citizens of the Venetian Stato da Mar and Domini de Terraferma enjoy similar, if not equal rights and privileges as those inhabiting Venice proper. Areas such as the Ionians currently under Venetian control share a strong sense of Venetian identity. This Venice is more progressive, as is seen with its acceptance of nearly 20,000 Iberian Jews in 1492. Freedom of mobility is quite prominent. There will be more of a mention to the lives of Venetians in the republic shortly.
     
  6. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    As a side-note: I've been doing more research into the specific history of Venice proper and things closer to home, so as to get into more of the micro workings of this TL (like the insights sometimes given into the lives of da Vinci, Vendramin, Maranazzo, etc). This was inspired by the final part of Irene's comment above, to which I feel the answer I provided was inadequate given I haven't researched it enough (more to come on the Jews in Mestre vs. the Geto in Venice).

    A question I have for anyone who is knowledgeable on the subject: I recall reading that the people of renaissance Venice had a sense of nationalism that was far greater than people of the other Italian city-states. Can anyone validate this?

    Lastly, I'm stalling a bit before posting the next part because I'd like to get more pros into it. It's quite similar to part 9 at the moment in that it covers the situation on a very macro level. I don't know how readers and myself feel about 2 of those kind of parts in a row...
     
  7. Captain Jack Hobbes Was Right

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    Personally, I don't have a problem with two macro-updates in a row.
     
  8. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Part 10, Cambrai

    Late June: With the Imperial attempt to subdue Venice turned to shambles, Pope Julius turns to France as his savior from San Marco’s republic. French king Louis XII has remained in control of Milan after the Second Italian War, and is looking for further expansion into Italy.

    Looking for a legitimate cause for war, Julius takes Venice’s recent appointment of her own candidate to the vacant bishopric of Vicenza as a pretext for an attack. Though this was an act in keeping with prevailing custom, Julius considers it a personal provocation, proceeding to call for all Christian nations to join him in an expedition to subdue Venice. In the meantime, he issues an interdict against the republic, excommunicating every one of its citizens.

    August: Vendramine’s Gran Cavallo begins to finally take the proportions he desires. With da Vinci’s life-sized marble sculpture finished earlier in the year, Gabriele quickly hired a team to carve a full scale wooden model which will then be used for casting. The wooden model is nearly complete, with just the finer details still left to refine (i). The final product will measure in at a height of 24-feet, and will be cast in bronze.

    December 10: Representatives of the Papacy, France, the Holy Roman Empire, and Ferdinand of Spain, conclude the League of Cambrai against the Venice. They agree to the full dismemberment of the republic’s territory in Italy, and that it will be partitioned amongst the signatories:

    Maximilian, in addition to regaining Istria, Gorizia, and Southern Tyrol, will receive Verona, Vicenza, Padua, Pordenone, and the Friuli.

    Louis will annex Brescia, Crema, Bergamo, and Cremona to its Milanese possesions.

    Ferdinand will seize the Venetian controlled strip of land from Brindisi to Otranto.

    The remaining Venetian controlled lands in Romagna, including Faenza, Rimini, and Ravenna, will be added to Julius’ Papal States.

    January, 1509: Venice prepares to oppose the newly formed league sent to be her undoing. At the Doge’s Palace, Loredan meets with the Council of Ten, as well as the highest ranking officers of the Venetian Domini di Terraferma and Stato da Mar, Leonardo da Vinci and Marco Maranazzo, respectively. Also in attendance are other high ranking military leaders such as Bartolomeo d’Alviano, his cousin Niccolo di Pitigliano, Andrea Gritti, Andrea Loredan, and the newly appointed condottiero Gian Paolo Baglioni.

    Immediate raising of the Venetian army is ordered. The commanders deem the army to be in full functionality, free of the need of mercenaries. Old habits, however, die hard, and the Council of Ten strongly advise that the republic reinforce its standing army with some mercenary cores to avoid the worst. With the republic’s coffers already emptier than would be expected, Loredan hesitantly agrees to the order on a condition; the mercenary lines are to be kept separate from the national army, to avoid the army deserting with the mercenaries in the heat of battle. Further instructions are given to generals that only unless a situation for victory presents itself, they are to fight defensively, and are not to split forces up. The Orsini cousins Bartolomeo and Niccolo disagree with the order, especially on how to deal with the French. This sparks anger from Loredan, who commands that they follow the plan or be relieved of their service. With the design and councelling of da Vinci, the two find a common ground on how to deal with the invaders (ii).

    February 3: The Battle of Diu is fought in the Arabian Sea, off the important spice-route outpost of Diu, India. The Portuguese Empire takes on a joint fleet of the Sultan of Gujarat, the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, and the Zamorin of Calicut, with the support of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Venice. Egyptian Mamluk soldiers have little expertise in naval warfare, so Ottoman Sultan Bayezid supplies Egypt with Mediterranean-type war galleys manned by Greek sailors and Ottoman volunteers, mainly Turkish mercenaries and freeboaters. Venice was inclined to send ships to aid the cause, but with the threat of Spanish attack on its holdings in southern Italy, the republic could only offer financial support to help pay for the mercenaries.

    The battle results in a decisive Portuguese victory, with the other combatants taking severe losses. The battle deals an awful blow to Venice and Mamluk Egypt, as Portugal is now free of interruption in ruling the coveted spice trade.

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    (i): I promise that the Gran Cavallo, while being a lighter, side piece to the politics of this TL, actually has a few purposes to serve. It is just as important a part to this TL as Venice’s citizen army.

    (ii): IOTL Venice overlooked the fact that the Orsini cousins disagreed on how to best stop the French advance. ITTL, in a more organized room full of military and political minds, this is not the case and it is worked out.



    Then I don't either!
     
  9. Richter von Manthofen Gnome Fighter Ace

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    I would be interested in a map - actual borders and borders as envisioned by the Liga of Cambrai. ;)
     
  10. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Absolutely, a map is in the works. Good idea about one with the Cambrai-envisioned partition ;)
     
  11. Razgriz 2K9 Banned

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    I'm actually kind of amazed no one just decided to end Venice's independence as part of the partition plans...
     
  12. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    As in nobody wanted to take Venice proper? I also found that strange. TTL I based it off nobody would want to go through the long hassle of subduing the lagoon.
     
  13. Richter von Manthofen Gnome Fighter Ace

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    Well its not an educated guess, but I tend to think no one will want that the OTHER side gets Venice - its too big a prize.
     
  14. Irene Professional Cactus

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    Well it's the poisoned crown. No one really managed to maintained power long enough in Northern Italy to consolidate power.

    In addition the lagoon makes all but the most determined attempt to take Venice useless. To succeed one would need naval supremacy against the Republic's navy , keep the naval supremacy against the Republic's shipyards which were the best in the world, convince the very rare traitor from the Republic (as only locals knew the geography of the murky lagoon), and enough engineering ability to fill a land bridge/ divert the lagoon's tributaries all while suffering harassment.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
  15. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    This is true. Why would one want to see the other get the prized jewel

    Well put, that would do it. Venice has lots of deterrents to capture, and as you stated, with all the fluctuations of N. Italy in that time it wouldn't make much sense to sink the resources down in an effort to take it.
     
  16. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Part 11, Goliaths fall, Davids Succeed.

    April: As the news continues to flow in from the battle of Diu, Maranazzo takes note of how utterly ineffective the Mediterranean-style ships were against the Portuguese oceangoing vessels. While he factors in the unskilled sailors manning them, he knows that if Venice is to hope to achieve any kind of profits from the Ptolmeic Channel, its fleet will have to be Ocean-ready, be it for speed, or battle, which will be inevitable. The canal can only be a facilitating medium; it will be the ships that bring the profits.

    Early May: Louis and his main force cross the Adda River. Before his arrival, the smaller battalion of French soldiers already in Italy had been incurring light but constant losses against the Venetians in many small skirmishes outside of Bergamo. Louis is frustrated at this, expecting to link up with a larger force in Italy than what it had been reduced to.

    May 14: Venetian and French forces meet at Agnadello, between Milan and Bergamo under heavy downpour. Both Orsini cousins commanding the Venetian force of 30,000 (i) take the high ground overlooking some vineyards. The French launch their attack, first with cavalry, then with Swiss pikemen. Things quickly go terribly wrong for the French as their units are forced to march up the hillside crossed with irrigation ditches, which soon become filled with mud from the pouring rain. This renders them highly ineffective and they fail miserably at breaching Venetian lines (ii).

    The remainder of the French army attempt to surround the Orsinis on three sides, but Pitigliano stops this by fanning his cavalry out. Over the next four hours the two sides proceed to destroy each other’s forces, the situation on the hillside becoming ever more perilous for the French as wave after wave of soldiers gets caught up in the messy mud, leading to confusion and breaking of formations.

    The battle is hard fought by both sides, but ultimately the victory is Venice’s. The French force takes incredible losses, and turns back to Milan (iii).

    June: Imperial forces capture the important Venetian city of Padua after a bloody defense is out up by the militia in the city.

    July 17: Venetian forces commanded by Andrea Gritti march from Treviso and conquer back Padua from the few remaining landsknechts.

    Hearing of the reclaiming of the city, Maximilian raises an army composed mainly of mercenaries and decides to invade Veneto in an attempt to reclaim it himself.

    Early August: Maximilian sets out from Trento with some 35,000 men and heads south into Venetian territory, where he meets a Papal contingent (iv).

    September 15: The poorly organized forces of Maximilian and the Pope reach Padua and lay siege to the city. Imperial artillery bombards the city and its walls.

    September 28: After nearly exhausting all their artillery capability in the 14-day siege, Imperial and Papal forces finally breach the walls. Unfortunately for them, the attacking mercenaries were quickly driven back by the well trained and determined Venetian army inside. The defeat is a major loss of face for Maximilian.

    September 30: Unable to pay his mercenaries, Maximilian lifts the siege of Padua. He leaves a tiny detachment of his army in Italy under the Duke of Anhalt and withdraws to northern Tyrol to meet the main part of his army.

    December 22: High water levels spell disaster for Venice against the Ferrarese at Polesella. The Duchy’s famed artillery leads to many Venetian ships in the area being captured and sunk. Venetian troops trying to flee the area are killed without mercy.

    The outstanding victory claimed for Ferrara adds insult to injury to Maximilian and Louis. The small Dutchy of Ferrara was able to sustain light losses and inflict terrible damage to an opponent that has recently made it somewhat of a habit to do the same to the armies of the great European powers. The willingness of France and the Holy Roman Empire to continue fighting is weak. Both countries have had their resources exhausted by recent wars in Italy (France against Spain and the Empire against Venice) and are beginning to reevaluate their positions in the peninsula.

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    (i): IOTL only Bartolomeo d’Alviano was present at the battle commanding 8,000 men, while his cousin was several miles further south with the rest of the army as they couldn’t agree on how to go about fighting the French.

    (ii): This is just as in OTL.

    (iii): IOTL the battle was fought with a mercenary army that deserted both cousins after the battle. This greatly weakened the force, allowing Louis to move into the rest of Lombardy. TTL the national army holds strong and succeeds. Not encountering a losing situation, the mercenary force does not flee.

    (iv): IOTL Maximilian’s poorly organized mercenary army met with contingents of both Papal and French troops. TTL the French are reeling from Agnadello and are regrouping in Milan.


    On a side note, the reference markers at the end of each post contain lots of clarifications to whether or not something just actually happened OTL or not (see ii above). This is just so readers who aren't as well versed in this area of history know when something happened as per our history or if it is an 'alternate history', so as not to think that I've included something too ASB such as crappy terrain leading to a defeat or what have you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  17. Unknown Member

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    How far are you planning on taking this?
     
  18. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    In terms of time, I haven't really thought of that. Right now I have a well developed plot line into the early 1520s, and from then on I have a loose batch of ideas that I am currently writing and refining. Unless this turns somehow into an earlier unification of Italy (in which case I would either stop or continue as another thread?) I'm not quite sure how far I plan on taking this.

    I can't really reveal "how far" I want it to go in terms of where I want Venice to be without revealing too much.
     
  19. Irene Professional Cactus

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    Well I hope that even if unification occurs, that the Venetians insists on Venice being the capital (big surprise) and that they would keep the heritage of the Republic. Just personal preference that the playhouse of Europe stays that way. Also it may avoid the problem with annexing the Papal States if that even occurs at all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  20. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    The Venice/Rome issue that will be inevitable if Venice tries to unify the peninsula is a tricky one. Though, I don't think think that the future Italian Risorgimento beliefs will be as strong, if at all in Venice after it becomes a bigger player in Europe. Personally I feel Venice would take more of the role of Austria in the peninsula, so a unification of Italy TTL could possibly be Venice controlling the north under its rule, then uniting with Naples. But an Italy without Rome at its head will be ripe with Risorgimento anger (depending on when it happens).