octoberman

Banned
In Ancient times Rome rapidly unified Italy after developing the legions. It gave Rome access to a manpower pool unrivaled by any contemporary state and paved the way to the eventual Roman conquest of the entire Mediterranean world. Yet after Rome declined Italy became divided by various polities. It only unified in the Late modern period by sardinia.

But What if Italy was reunified Late middle ages by a Republic with Pike Square like Rome did with legions ?

How would this effect Europe ?

Would Italy reconquer the Mediterranean ?
 
I doubt that there was any medieval polity which could had been able to conquer whole Italy. Foreign powers would had intervened for that. Speciality France didn't want some strong power on its next door. And basically almost every European great power had their intrests over Italy. And about republics there hardly is any republic which would be strong enough to conquer Italy anyway. Venice and Genova had good navies but not so great land armies. Florence and Pisa just were really weak and Florence was ratherly merchant nation anyway. It later conquered whole Tuscany region but evne that hardly is able to conquer whole Italy.
 
In Ancient times Rome rapidly unified Italy after developing the legions. It gave Rome access to a manpower pool unrivaled by any contemporary state and paved the way to the eventual Roman conquest of the entire Mediterranean world. Yet after Rome declined Italy became divided by various polities. It only unified in the Late modern period by sardinia.

But What if Italy was reunified Late middle ages by a Republic with Pike Square like Rome did with legions ?

How would this effect Europe ?

Would Italy reconquer the Mediterranean ?


honestly, from the way the question is posed, it is difficult to understand what result you realistically expect to obtain, for a series of reasons, the first is that after the disintegration of the administration and then of the central authority of the first Carolingians in Italy, the peninsula north of Rome ( but also in particular cases in the south of the Urbe ) was extremely fractured into various smaller entities ( in turn governed by a local assembly usually headed by the city bishop and followed by the nobles and finally the first traders/artisans ), these political formations were extremely unstable and very quarrelsome with each other, but all fairly agreed that they still wanted to be part of the ideological umbrella of the Roman Empire ( even if they badly tolerated the Emperor's pressure to enforce his authority in the region, but the same thing is equivalent also due to papal attempts ) with the passing of the centuries we witness an important first phase of territorial consolidation which sees Italy being roughly divided into 4 types of state formation: the kingdom of Sicily ( highly centralized and comprising almost 2/3 of the peninsula ), the pontifical state ( which is the continuous large-scale evolution of the episcopal power within the municipal assembly ), followed by its exact opposite, namely the municipal cities, which can be of a mercantilist or maritime type ( as Genoa, Amalfi, Pisa and Venice ) mainly economic and Thalasocratic powers is that they use the army on the ground as a mere additional defensive stratagem, preferring to focus on their geographical position which allows them to resist long sieges, to conclude we have those municipalities where the factions in struggle they compete for power ( they are usually part of the HRE, it is from these conflicts that the Guelph and Ghibelline parties were born ), the main one among these is Milan ( it must be remembered that the Lombard league was originally created to counter Milan's expansionist aims ), other important locations that fall into this category are Florence, Bologna ( which became papal territory only in the 13th century ), Verona, Pavia, Crema, Siena, Arezzo etc, it is this extreme competition between all of them that led to the formation of the concept of balance of power, i.e. that when an Italian city / potentate / kingdom became too powerful, a coalition was usually formed to defeat it: as in the case of Milan ( victim of this policy in 3 cases, first during the municipal era, then under the government of the Visconti / Sforza ) the Verona of the Scaligeri, Venice with the war of Cambrai, the Hoffenstauffen Emperors ( in particular the Puer Apulliae, Frederick II, who was one of the closest to creating a possible proto national unification ) without wanting to delve into the problem of what to do with the papal state ?, given that it was an important piece of the Italian social, political and cultural fabric, is that any attempt at unification would sooner or later have come to terms with Rome, it is history that demonstrated several times that it was ALMOST never good for those who challenged the Pope ( Frederick II always teaches ), certainly there were moments in which a state could become an aspiring hegemon but usually if the local alliances were not enough to make it desist, the Italians usually resorted to asking for foreign intervention ( which then promptly proved to be a bad idea for the whole peninsula.... Coff .... France.... Italian wars .... Coff )
 
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honestly, from the way the question is posed, it is difficult to understand what result you realistically expect to obtain, for a series of reasons, the first is that after the disintegration of the administration and then of the central authority of the first Carolingians in Italy, the peninsula north of Rome ( but also in particular cases in the south of the Urbe ) was extremely fractured into various smaller entities ( in turn governed by a local assembly usually headed by the city bishop and followed by the nobles and finally the first traders/artisans ), these political formations were extremely unstable and very quarrelsome with each other, but all fairly agreed that they still wanted to be part of the ideological umbrella of the Roman Empire ( even if they badly tolerated the Emperor's pressure to enforce his authority in the region, but the same thing is equivalent also due to papal attempts ) with the passing of the centuries we witness an important first phase of territorial consolidation which sees Italy being roughly divided into 4 types of state formation: the kingdom of Sicily ( highly centralized and comprising almost 2/3 of the peninsula ), the pontifical state ( which is the continuous large-scale evolution of the episcopal power within the municipal assembly ), followed by its exact opposite, namely the municipal cities, which can be of a mercantilist or maritime type ( as Genoa, Amalfi, Pisa and Venice ) mainly economic and Thalasocratic powers is that they use the army on the ground as a mere additional defensive stratagem, preferring to focus on their geographical position which allows them to resist long sieges, to conclude we have those municipalities where the factions in struggle they compete for power ( they are usually part of the HRE, it is from these conflicts that the Guelph and Ghibelline parties were born ), the main one among these is Milan ( it must be remembered that the Lombard league was originally created to counter Milan's expansionist aims ), other important locations that fall into this category are Florence, Bologna ( which became papal territory only in the 13th century ), Verona, Pavia, Crema, Siena, Arezzo etc, it is this extreme competition between all of them that led to the formation of the concept of balance of power, i.e. that when an Italian city / potentate / kingdom became too powerful, a coalition was usually formed to defeat it: as in the case of Milan ( victim of this policy in 3 cases, first during the municipal era, then under the government of the Visconti / Sforza ) the Verona of the Scaligeri, Venice with the war of Cambrai, the Hoffenstauffen Emperors ( in particular the Puer Apulliae, Frederick II, who was one of the closest to creating a possible proto national unification ) without wanting to delve into the problem of what to do with the papal state ?, given that it was an important piece of the Italian social, political and cultural fabric, is that any attempt at unification would sooner or later have come to terms with Rome, it is history that demonstrated several times that it was ALMOST never good for those who challenged the Pope ( Frederick II always teaches ), certainly there were moments in which a state could become an aspiring hegemon but usually if the local alliances were not enough to make it desist, the Italians usually resorted to asking for foreign intervention ( which then promptly proved to be a bad idea for the whole peninsula.... Coff .... France.... Italian wars .... Coff )



for the rest, if we are talking specifically about a republic that actually tries to "unify" the region ( it would be more correct to say eliminate one of its dangerous enemies on its western border ) then we have to look at Venice which, after having collaborated in the destruction of the Veronese state of the Della Scala family ( and having incorporated pieces of it ) I took advantage of the chaos resulting from the War of the Milanese Succession 1447 - 1454 to try to gain ground in Lombardy ( as well as definitively weaken the serious threat that Milan represented for its border territories ), but we are already in the full period of the balance of power and the search for foreign assistance, so Venice could very well end up devastated like Otl ( the Cambrai war had a very negative influence on the state reform capabilities of the Serenissima ), but if we assume the very difficult scenario in which Saint Mark actually manages to emerge from the conflict in good health and with a firmer grip on Lombardy ( with a heavily crippled Milan in the hands of a friendly government ), we will find ourselves faced with a state slightly larger than Otl, which in terms of capacity would be on a par with Naples ( and perhaps Rome, but only because the papacy can have resources available from all over Europe )
 
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Could we find a 13th or so century pod where a continuing line of hohenstaufens decide that they want to base themselves more formally in Germany, but in order to maintain control over northern Italy, they invest one of the republics that allied with them with broad swathes of territory, with the logic that a republic is less likely to produce challengers for leadership of Italy, except this backfires when imperial authority weakens.
 
Could we find a 13th or so century pod where a continuing line of hohenstaufens decide that they want to base themselves more formally in Germany, but in order to maintain control over northern Italy, they invest one of the republics that allied with them with broad swathes of territory, with the logic that a republic is less likely to produce challengers for leadership of Italy, except this backfires when imperial authority weakens.

certainly it could be an idea, but there is a big problem as big as a house, the first is that a continuing Hoffenstauffen dynasty means that imperial power is not decaying but rather growing (at least in Italy) especially if it is following the government of Frederick II (therefore the papacy was necessarily rendered temporarily incapacitated) this means that Rome's seizure of Romagna does not happen (and this means that the region remains a bastion of the Swabians, with the risk that in the long run become an effective part of the kingdom... of Sicily), obviously in turn this entails the formation of yet another Lombard league in response to the growth of imperial power in the region, which this time could end with the victory of the latter ( after all, also Otl, Frederick II came very close to winning again against the league, and even Manfredi, although in a significantly weaker position than his father, managed to have considerable influence among the Ghibelline faction, so much so as to force Rome to call Charles of Anjou ) but it would only be a temporary victory ( the papacy will raise its head again sooner or later ), it is more likely that we will see a consolidation of Italy into 3 factions, the Ghibelline faction and its opponents in the guise of a politically reformed and more long-lasting Lombard League and the papacy with the maritime republics as neutral
 
IMHO, there is no republic whatsoever which could have a reasonable (or at least a mildly unreasonable) chance to unify Italy between the fall of the Roman empire and the post-WW2 referendum when Italians voted for a republican form of government.
I would add that many cities tried to set up viable forms of republican government, but all of them failed, including Venice, Florence and Genoa.
 
I would add that many cities tried to set up viable forms of republican government, but all of them failed, including Venice,
Venice seems to be an odd addition to this list of failed republics, it remained a "noble" republic till the conquest by Napoleon, how did it fail? It wasnt the most representative but it still had a republican form of government.
 
Venice seems to be an odd addition to this list of failed republics, it remained a "noble" republic till the conquest by Napoleon, how did it fail? It wasnt the most representative but it still had a republican form of government.
Venice was already a walking corpse at least since the unsatisfactory outcome of the 1st war of Morea (but I'd go back to the war of Candia, or even to the defeat at the battle of Sapienza, which ruined the chances of Antonio Grimani to gain the camaura). Since then, the path of Venice was always downward (with notable exceptions, such as Lepanto or the blockade of the Dardanelles during the war of Candia or the performance of Morosini during the 1st war of Morea; at the same time, by the early 17th century the majority of the Venetian trade was carried by British or Dutch ships, and during the war of Candia Venice was forced to hire Dutch ships to fight the Turks).
Anyway, the OP question was which republic might have managed to unify Italy, and my answer stands: none of them.
 
If you want to know what the problem was with earlier Italian unification or centralization, it was that northern Italy was too urban, relative to the norms of the time, and too wealthy.

Note that legally northern Italy had been one Kingdom of Italy since Charlemagne. Italy is not considered united, since the Kingdom of Italy had no central institutions whatsoever (the other part of the Holy Roman Empire, Germany, did).

However, northern Italy was economically and culturally successful enough, that each northern Italian town could turn itself into a fortress. A conqueror had to stay in northern Italy and reduce it one fortress town at a time. This was really not doable in the medieval and renaissance periods.

And the papacy being deeply involved in Italian power politics made it even more difficult.

Note that there was a similar situation in the Netherlands. Though the Capets and Hapsburgs united the Netherlands at different time, the towns had an enormous degree of autonomy. And when the Hapsburgs tried to institute more centralization, they lost control of the entire area and it was back to besieging one city at a time.
 
I would suggest that a Roman republic is perhaps the most "likely" to become revanchist but it requires one to flex the definition of republic and consider the post-Carolingian political currents running through Italy and beyond. Specifically I think of the Tusculani, where Alberic of Spoleto basically attempted to establish a "Noble Republic" of sorts with himself as Prince; this collapsed after his death, and indeed his deathbed decision to make his son Pope rather than Prince was an acknowledgment of this, and the alternative (which @Carp explored) of a Tusculani Prince becoming King and then Emperor is not quite what we want if a republic is desired, but still I think that if the Papacy could have its secular ambitions subordinated to a Roman state, then certainly there is the opportunity (and ideology) to assert power over the Patrimonium (Spoleto, the Marche, and the Pentapolis), and probably Campania and Tuscany as well, and from there following the old Romans themselves into Lombardy and beyond.

Interestingly in this early era the cities were largely dominated by priests, though their power was quickly usurped by the commmunes, and in fact whenever Papal power faltered (as with Cola di Rienzo, or the short-lived Commune during the Staufer period) a republic emerged in Rome as well. So if the German kings are not the "partner" that a politically assertive Papacy can use to corral Italy, perhaps the Roman nobility takes a more direct hand. I think it unlikely that such a state wouldn't succumb to dictatorship (though Venice/Poland style oligarchy is also feasible) but it could have the trappings of Republics for a time.
 
Venice seems to be an odd addition to this list of failed republics, it remained a "noble" republic till the conquest by Napoleon, how did it fail? It wasnt the most representative but it still had a republican form of government.
The more research I do the more I'm convinced that half the reason Venice survived as long as it as it did was that everyone else in Europe was like "eh, why bother taking them over?" until Napoleon upended everything. It was just easier to just keep the Republic around rather than annex them.

@LordKalvan is right - the Republic was basically dead man walking from at least 1700 onward. There's a reason they pivoted and leaned into being Enlightenment Era Las Vegas for Europe's rich (and horny) young men during the 1700s - they had no capacity to do much else and minimal power projection after the Morean War.
 

NedStark

Kicked
Venice was already a walking corpse at least since the unsatisfactory outcome of the 1st war of Morea (but I'd go back to the war of Candia, or even to the defeat at the battle of Sapienza, which ruined the chances of Antonio Grimani to gain the camaura). Since then, the path of Venice was always downward (with notable exceptions, such as Lepanto or the blockade of the Dardanelles during the war of Candia or the performance of Morosini during the 1st war of Morea; at the same time, by the early 17th century the majority of the Venetian trade was carried by British or Dutch ships, and during the war of Candia Venice was forced to hire Dutch ships to fight the Turks).
Milanese Succession 1447 - 1454 to try to gain ground in Lombardy ( as well as definitively weaken the serious threat that Milan represented for its border territories ), but we are already in the full period of the balance of power and the search for foreign assistance, so Venice could very well end up devastated like Otl ( the Cambrai war had a very negative influence on the state reform capabilities of the Serenissima ), but if we assume the very difficult scenario in which Saint Mark actually manages to emerge from the conflict in good health and with a firmer grip on Lombardy ( with a heavily crippled Milan in the hands of a friendly government ), we will find ourselves faced with a state slightly larger than Otl, which in terms of capacity would be on a par with Naples ( and perhaps Rome
I would say that the best POD is actually the War of Milanese Succession 1447-1454 - the only change we need is to have Sforza defeated and killed in Caravaggio in 1448. In this case Milan would continue to disintegrate and none of the remaining Italian factions had the ability to intervene (while foreign powers were still busy especially France). Plus, this was still before the Fall of Constantinople.

The key difference between 1448 and the League of Cambrai POD is that by the 1500s France and HRE were already active players in Italian Wars.

Of course, Venice rolling sixes in 1447-1448 would simply result in unifying Northern Italy. Unification of Italy is of course not going to happen.
 
I would say that the best POD is actually the War of Milanese Succession 1447-1454 - the only change we need is to have Sforza defeated and killed in Caravaggio in 1448. In this case Milan would continue to disintegrate and none of the remaining Italian factions had the ability to intervene (while foreign powers were still busy especially France). Plus, this was still before the Fall of Constantinople.

The key difference between 1448 and the League of Cambrai POD is that by the 1500s France and HRE were already active players in Italian Wars.

Of course, Venice rolling sixes in 1447-1448 would simply result in unifying Northern Italy. Unification of Italy is of course not going to happen.
Agree with this. Once the devastation of the Italian Wars happens it gets much harder to find a POD to get an Italian state to unify the peninsula. The Wars were long and brutal and the vast majority of Italian countries ended them in a worse place.
 
If you want to know what the problem was with earlier Italian unification or centralization, it was that northern Italy was too urban, relative to the norms of the time, and too wealthy.

Note that legally northern Italy had been one Kingdom of Italy since Charlemagne. Italy is not considered united, since the Kingdom of Italy had no central institutions whatsoever (the other part of the Holy Roman Empire, Germany, did).

However, northern Italy was economically and culturally successful enough, that each northern Italian town could turn itself into a fortress. A conqueror had to stay in northern Italy and reduce it one fortress town at a time. This was really not doable in the medieval and renaissance periods.

And the papacy being deeply involved in Italian power politics made it even more difficult.

Note that there was a similar situation in the Netherlands. Though the Capets and Hapsburgs united the Netherlands at different time, the towns had an enormous degree of autonomy. And when the Hapsburgs tried to institute more centralization, they lost control of the entire area and it was back to besieging one city at a time.

A surviving Lombard League could've done it: by the time it dissolved, due to the defeat of the imperial threat, it had developed traits of a true confederation, for example, it had a senate of its own, whose powers went beyond military authority. If the HRE had stuck around as a concrete threat to the autonomy of the League, it could've centralized even more, becoming a federation with its leading members in Genoa, Milan and Venice: and if Milan's authorities are able to keep Genoa and Venice from jumping at each other's throats, perhaps by clearly delineating their spheres of influence in the Mediterranean... well, "obscenely prosperous" wouldn't be enough, to describe such a Switzerland on the Po Valley.

As for the rest of Italy, I can see more than a few comuni seek the protection of the League against Florence or Rome, but the further you'd get from the Genoa/Milan/Venice line, the looser would its influence get. In the south, there was a very brief republican experiment in Sicily during the Vespers, so if the League is able to solidify until the Sicilians inevitably try to distance themselves from Naples (as @AndreaConti knows well, it doesn't matter what's the ruling dynasty or the time period, Sicily will rebel), they could seek the assistance of the League, becoming tied to it in more or less the same way the Three Leagues were tied to the Old Swiss Confederacy.

Best case scenario, the Lombard League ends up ruling, directly or indirectly, the whole peninsula, minus Latium, Naples and Sardinia.
 
I know this is not a republic, but how about a more prosperous and successful Norman Kingdom of Sicily allying with one of the north Italian states and providing aid and supplies to them during the many wars?
 
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