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Thread: The Apulian Persons Project

  1. #1
    Ammiratus ammiratorum Hastu Neon's Avatar
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    The Apulian Persons Project

    The Apulian Persons Project
    Alias "Trilogia Apuliae"

    Quick link to Chapter:

    Before 1492
    1. Who's who and other basics before action
    2. The fall of Otranto
    3. The magnates' conspiracy
    4. The war for independence
    5. Duke of Apulia!

    Duke Raimondo's reign (1492-1519)
    6. The Diaspora of Spanish Jews reaches Apulia
    7. A broken needle
    8. Moment of choices
    9. The Spanish disease (how syphilis was called)
    10. Sleepless nights of a tax collector
    Facts & Stats 1500
    11. The future of Apulia
    12. Death in the heat
    13. David vs. Goliath
    14. Expedition in the "country of the eagles"
    15. The battle of Pharsalos

    Duke Gabriele's reign (1519-1530)
    16. The dark decade
    17. The bankruptcy of the Levis
    18: Son against father

    Duke Raimondo II's reign (1530-1582)
    19. The New World
    20. The settlement of Nova Apulia
    21. The Barbary War
    Facts & Stats 1550
    22. The siege of Venice and other key events
    23. Terra Incognita is shrinking!

    Following dukes and kings (from 1582 to 1791)
    Facts & Stats 1600
    Facts & Stats 1650
    24. From a Duchy to a Kingdom. Carlo II's great deeds!
    25. The succession crisis
    Facts & Stats 1700
    26. The King who loved declaring wars
    Facts & Stats 1750
    27. Carlo III and the Nine Years War
    28. At the brink of a post-modern era

    The Republican period (from 1791 to 1820)
    29. The Age of Revolutions
    30. First Revolutionary War (1797-98)
    31. The glory of Napoleon
    32. The Republic consolidates
    Epilogue 1820 - diplomacy / state of the World / economy

    Characters genealogy:



    Prologue


    Welcome guys (Oh! apologies to Alan Parsons Project fans for abusing and distorting their favourite band's name). I'm planning a game with a country that none has probably played with: Apulia, my homeland. It's located in the "heel" of the Italian peninsula and is inhabited nowadays by over 4 million people. Since the release of patch 1.08 Apulia is a playable country, but only in the 1492 scenario (sincerely, I don't know why). How can anyone play it? Loading as Naples and releasing it as vassal. The province (as designed in EU2) comprises a broader land – covering modern Apulia and Calabria regions – and roughly corresponds to the historical boundaries of the Norman (and later Hohenstaufens') Duchy, when its most thriving period took place. The ancient map hereunder shows Apulia alone.

    This thread won't be only an AAR, but rather a trilogy project. First of all, it is to cover three Paradox games (be careful! without conversions from one to the other): as anticipated, it starts in 1492 with EU2 1.08 + EGUFSM, goes on with a Vicky-VIP session (playing the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, because nothing smaller is available) and should end with a CK 1337-1453 prequel about some obscure Count to be defined, who will be the founder of the EU2 dynasty and close the circle. Each part will have its typical style and structure. The first one, for instance, will be a chronicle about families (both renowned and ordinary) and their lives, "built in" the context of the Greater History. The second and third ones, we'll see …

    The term "project" denotes my attempt of bringing to light the history of my land (generally considered less important than, let's say, Naples or Sicily) together with the course of action of my campaigns. Research will be detailed, social and cultural developments (hopefully) well explained, and there will be room for descriptions of common life. I know that this effort will be challenging and long-standing (by the way, I'll be very busy at work for months), anyway you will patiently give me the time needed. Comments, advices and contributions will always be welcomed.

    I would like to dedicate this project to my grandfather, whose life of integrity and hard work has passed away just few months ago. Enjoy the APP!
    Last edited by Hastu Neon; 01-12-2006 at 13:42.
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  2. #2
    Field Marshal jwolf's Avatar
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    Sounds interesting. Good luck!

    What is the significance of the red letters "p u i e" in the title?

  3. #3
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    Good luck indeed. You have certainly whetted my appetite.
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  4. #4
    Ammiratus ammiratorum Hastu Neon's Avatar
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    [jwolf] Oh, it's just a joke: red letters are those added/changed in "Alan Parsons Project" to get "Apulian Persons Project".

    Hopefully, my next post will contain more interesting features ... I'm still working on the "before action" section. In general, I prefer going forward 10/20 years with the game vs. narration, in order to acquire some visibility on the "future". Events that today seem futile at a first sight (take the departure of three caravels from Palos in 1492, commanded by an obscure Genoese admiral), can prove vital with a 20 years perspective...
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  5. #5
    Amnistiado por viejuno

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    Good to see you around Hastu. I'll keep an eye on this, and if you need "el Gran Capitán" of Apulian inmortal fame, I'll lend him to you.

    My condolences on the passing of your grandfather.
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  6. #6
    Buitenlander Van Engel's Avatar
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    So, lemme get this straight, you're going to play EU2 then Vicky and then CK? Why not go CK-EU2-Vic like normal people?
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  7. #7
    Europa Barbarorum Team Member Alhazen's Avatar
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    Well,obviously I'm interested. Can't wait to see you get started, even though it may be a week or two before I get to read it.
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  8. #8
    Ammiratus ammiratorum Hastu Neon's Avatar
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    Chapter 1: who's who and other basics before action

    Independence, at last! That one could be the intimate perception of the crowd of noblemen, folks and soldiers joyfully blending in the streets of Taranto to salute Duke Raimondo, just arriving from his visit to Naples. Few days ago, his meeting with Ferrante I, King of Naples, sanctioned once for all his title of Duke of Apulia together with his allegiance as vassal of the King. Despite the stringent terms of the truce agreement, which imposed to Duke Raimondo the disbandment of any troops and ships that had served the cause of the rebellion against Naples, the fact itself that Ferrante – a courageous but oppressive sovereign who never behaved in a merciful way with his enemies – had recognised the autonomy of Apulia was a adequate event to celebrate for. That was the reason why Raimondo, a handsome brown-haired man in his thirties, his wife Antonia and their two young sons Laura and Gabriele were sitting before Father Giovanni Battista, Metropolitan Archbishop of the city, in Saint Cataldo's Dome. That 1492 New Year's day a persisting wind blew from the North onto Taranto with its cold Adriatic moisture, causing a lively crowd to push toward the portal of the church to get some comfort. The Dome, not so roomy when compared to its peers – either in Northern Italy or even in the same province, like Saint Nicholas' in Bari – had nonetheless its intimate beauty, perhaps due to the contrast between its Greek-styled circular heart and its linear Romanic facade.



    Only five years before none would have gambled a single ducat on such occurrence. The royalist forces had just crushed – once more – another magnates' conspiracy when Raimondo's cousin Pirro del Balzo was strangled in captivity, the same fate occurred to Raimondo's grandfather Giannantonio almost thirty years before in 1463. After two years of skirmishes, Pirro's murder seemed to put an end to the last showdown of a bicentennial battle among two great lineages, whose blood has washed these lands, mixed with that of common Romans, Lombards, Normans and Greeks: the Houses of Anjou and Aragon.

    How to forge a dynasty (quasi-historical background)


    Raimondo's ancestor, Barral – Lord of Les Baux de Provence – came after Charles of Anjou in the second half of '200s, during the conflicts against the last pathetic remnants of the House of Hohenstaufen. Barral acquired on the battlefields honour and privileges as one of the most influential Charles' lieutenants. When swords set aside, Barral's sons and cousins managed to increase their power arranging remarkable marriages with top families around the peninsula, particularly in the Regnum, as Charles' kingdom was then called. One of them, Bertrando, married with a young woman, Sveva, heir of the eminent Orsini family … that's why now Duke Raimondo brings such a long surname, Orsini Del Balzo (Italianisation for De Baux). After Bertrando came Raimondello and his wife Maria d'Enghien, Prince of Taranto and condottiere the former, fine Countess of Lecce the latter. Their union, a rare example of "marriage of convenience" blessed by true love, sanctioned the establishment of one of the biggest and richest Italian feudal princedoms. At the twilight of the XIV century, their domains covered the red-coloured area in the chart hereunder and granted revenues in excess of those attributed to the King himself.



    From that time on, the authority of the Prince of Taranto was too substantial to be ignored, particularly in the royal court. The traditional allegiance to the Angevins began to vanish with the sneaky manoeuvres, which opposed – during the confused Queen Giovanna I's reign – the French and Hungarian branches of that pervasive dynasty. Raimondello took the parts of Charles of Hungary and his son Ladislas, only to find himself in trouble when his victorious master resolved to subdue by force the major feudal lordships. In 1405 the Prince of Taranto rebelled like other feudal lords, but was the only one capable to endure royal armies besieging his citadel. Unfortunately, Raimondello's death in 1406 forced the widow and her son Giannantonio to find an humiliating agreement with King Ladislas. Maria was forced to marry the Angevin King, but Giannantonio managed to retain a great part of his legitimate lands.

    A feeble peace came over the Kingdom until Queen Giovanna II's unruly swings of alliances and beds among pro-Aragonese and pro-Angevin favourites renewed ancient flames between two great pretenders to the throne of an heirless, unprotected Queen, Alfonso V and René d'Anjou. Like his father Giannantonio supported the right party because René's predominance over the Kingdom was destined to fade before the stronger King of Aragon, exactly the same fate of the Hohenstaufens' before his French ancestors. By 1442, the Angevine Kingdom of Naples was history, another fallen leaf from the tree of history…

    Grateful for his help against René, King Alfonso V extended Giannantonio's privileges and allowances. At that point of time a brilliant future seemed to be in store for Giannantonio's little grandson Raimondo. Yet that was another illusion, because the family curse was going to recur. Giannantonio's relationship with the new King Ferrante I remained quite polite until the surfacing of the monarch's oppressive and suspicious attitude. A first attempt of revolt against Ferrante broke out in 1462 in the name of the Louis of Anjou, son of René; despite the Angevins' faults against his family witnessed in his youth, Giannantonio joined the insurgents moving with his army on the capital, but was terribly defeated on the Apennines. Notwithstanding Ferrante's promises of mercy, Giannantonio was strangled in prison by a cruel archpriest presumptively sent by the King. Thus ended year 1463, the annus horribilis for the Princedom of Taranto.

    Raimondo's infancy

    Ferrante I grabbed a great part of Giannantonio's lands, but committed a big mistake leaving his progeny alive. One year after the assassination, Giannantonio's shaky son Bertoldo was only reinstated as Count of Lecce with few other lands in central Apulia. Raimondo, a vivid 8 years old boy at that time, fully perceived the humiliating conditions of his family. Almost all the manors and palaces stretching through the Regnum where he was born and grown had been confiscated. He grew up without brothers and sisters in the dark family residence in Lecce among Bertoldo's practitioners, who gave him a basic set of knowledge. Differently from his father, he was so robust and healthy to bear every physical exercise. One of his few friends was Mino, the son of the Anselmo "lo scudiero" (the squire") with whom he learnt horse-riding and hunting. The strong comradeship between Raimondo and Mino overcame their privileges and duties and probably represented for the future Duke of Apulia the only spot of loyalty during his tough fight for the reinstatement of his family's right.

    Bertoldo died in 1478 leaving his meagre legacy to Raimondo. For seven years Raimondo spent his time rebuilding the great family fortune with olive oil, and wine trading, the main goods produced on his lands. Raimondo's attitude for commerce needs some additional details: feudatories coming from outside were warlords in their essence, with no particular entrepreneurship abilities. Fully dedicated to campaigning or training, they considered degrading any working activity handing over the management of the properties to ravenous stewards, committed to their own benefit more than that of their masters. Still motionless for his relatively young age and deprived of his largest and most fertile lands, Raimondo had to administer in an efficient way his estates in order to work out some profit. Without his grandfather's extensively farmed provinces, he was left with poorly irrigated lands in the Southern part of Apulia: without great quantities of crops, the best way to get income from them was transforming agriculture into industry and selling the products outside with higher margins; Raimondo pushed this project for olive oil and wine. His ideas were successful, because these produces attracted Venetian merchants who found profitable markets for them. Despite a big fiscal burden imposed by King Ferrante, an easy and common practice to compress feudatories' power and smash their ambitions, with those profits Raimondo could begin to rebuild the ancient treasury. With this restored wealth he rebuilt an army of few thousands armoured knights, a respectable force for the times. In April 1480 a magnificent festival held in Lecce sanctioned his wedding with Antonia Colonna, member of one of the most famed Roman families, who gave him a daughter, Laura, two years later and a son, Gabriele, in 1483. But their most peaceful period of life was at its closing stages… End

    [Dear readers, I'm realising there are (and will be) lots of names and surnames in my history. I'm making a genealogy prospectus of people & families involved.]
    Last edited by Hastu Neon; 10-11-2005 at 10:56.
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  9. #9
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    A genealogy / dramatis personae will be very useful, I think. A good beginning though, lots of meaty detail.
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  10. #10
    Ammiratus ammiratorum Hastu Neon's Avatar
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    Prologue updated with a genealogy. The image will be refreshed when new characters are added. I took "inspiration" on this feature from London of Edward Rutherfurd. It narrates the events of a half dozen lineages during 2000 years of history of the city, from Julius Caesar's invasion to Nazi blitz during WW2. A must, IMO.
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  11. #11
    Ammiratus ammiratorum Hastu Neon's Avatar
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    Chapter 2: the fall of Otranto


    The sky was of a gleaming blue, unbearable. Francesco Zurlo, chief of the castle garrison, was on the ramparts when he noticed a dark image on the sea, coming from East. The sunshine wasn't of help but certainly he had never seen such a big fleet. Venetians? Neapolitans? Everyone but not Infidels, he thought with a quick tremble going down to the stomach. In the meantime, few women were leaving the church after the end of the tertia mass. Obviously, men were in the fields working out the foodstuff for their subsistence. Just after the end of the mass, Don Stefano Pendinelli, Archbishop of Otranto, took his tunic off to his young helper Pietro accompanying it with these words of scrupulous affection:

    Archbishop Stefano"Dear Pietro, now you have to choose: you are no more a child. Our castellan Francesco Zurlo promised his brother's attention on your application to the Dominicans' seminary in Lecce. Your father, may he rest in peace, would have been very happy to see you entering that sanctuary of Faith and Culture".

    Pietro "Uncle, you already know how much love I store in my heart for you. You have been my only relief after my parents died. And I have been considering very carefully my future with the Dominicans…but…I won't apply there. It's probably the best place I could find, I know, now that Naples has closed its gates to our count. Yet, I wish I could become one of his bailiffs someday. Do you remember Messer Carlo's disgraceful olive trees? He is saying Count Raimondo sent him an expert, actually he uses the term "agronomist", that has taught him how to increase the oil yield from those doomed shrubs. I could study …"

    Archbishop Stefano"SHUT UP! You and your vile jobs! Are you joking me? You'll apply to the Dominicans! Anyway, we'll resume later this matter"


    The Archbishop couldn't imagine they wouldn't have had the opportunity to finish their discussions. Despite the castellan's wishes, those vessels off shore were actually Turkish. And that day was 28th July 1480, the day God and men left alone Otranto. Gedik Ahmed Pasha was commanding the countless fleet with thousands and thousands of men on board. The vessels started to bombard the town and few hours later the first Janissaries were landing presumably here:


    (a beach called today Turks' Bay, near Otranto)


    Helped by so many hours of daylight, the cannonade went on and intensified during late afternoon. By then, hundreds of Christians – out of a total populace of nearly 20.000 inhabitants – had been killed. When night finally came over the wretched town and the bombardment was suspended, Francesco Zurlo reorganised Otranto's defence. As many residents as possible were displaced into the citadel, shielded by the remnants of the walls and the small garrison under his command. Taking advantage of the darkness, the chieftain sent out six scouts: two in the direction of Lecce with a urgent message for Count Raimondo, four surveying the surroundings in search of those Turks gone ashore in the afternoon. Both missions were successful. Count Raimondo was soon aware of what was going to happen to one of his richest fiefs, but cunningly disguised to Zurlo's envoys how much reluctant he was to throw himself in a wild rash against the overwhelming army of the Infidels leaving undefended the rest of the region. The scouts sent north and south to survey the coastline (an old scheme, hoping to get back for reporting at least one for each pair) came back at dawn with discomforting news.

    Scout "Ser Francesco, they have camped near the twin lakes. There wasn't much movement among the tents when it was dark. With the first lights three groups of horsemen left the camp. Each one was composed of some fifty units, moving towards North, South and East".

    Francesco Zurlo "Damned Mohammedans, they sent probably some explorers around. But the size of the groups suggests me they are going to sack everything they find on their way: there shouldn't be a reason for sending explorers in dozens… Now, we should prepare to defend the town"


    Zurlo didn't mistake. By midday the horde stormed on Otranto. Great part of the town was already deserted, because the Archbishop and the castellan had agreed to give shelter to the residents in the citadel. Those who weren't able to find a refuge were simply butchered. Still, there were no signs of friendly armies: with Count Raimondo incapable to match the Turks, the last hopes were placed on Duke Alfonso, elder son of King Ferrante and heir to the throne. But he didn't come. Since then on, the fall of Otranto was only a matter of time, not so much time…

    11th August 1480

    With full control on the town and nobody over the horizon, Ahmed Pasha had an easy task with the siege. The citadel, crowded with thousands of displaced persons, had been bombarded at full strength for two weeks. Finally, on 11 August the Ottoman forces launched the assault to the stronghold. The garrison faced heroically the enemies as much as it could. Francesco Zurlo fell at the gates with his men, beastly severed in two parts, while the Turks entered the town from all sides. The onslaught lasted an entire day: when the sun went down, 12.000 Christians had been murdered, 5.000 captured and destined to a life of slavery. As a sign of affront towards Christ, Ahmed Pasha ordered to use the cathedral as a stable for his horses.



    The day after, he asked his soldiers to gather in front of him all the surviving Christians.

    Gedik Ahmed Pasha "I want to give you, hopeless sons of the Roman Pope, an opportunity to save your own life: convert to the one true faith, the one of Muhammad, and you will be allowed to come back home alive. Marvel at the magnanimity of Muhammad's champions and blame to your paltry Christian King, who has not protected you"

    Archbishop Stefano "LEAVE US TO OUR DEATH, HEATEN! We are not scared of your assassins and God is waiting for us in Heaven, a place where you never will be accepted!"

    Gedik Ahmed Pasha "Is this your last word, pastor? Would you die for your arrogant God! I second your will: our slayers are going to send all of you to your Heaven!"


    In few minutes the slayers arrived on the hill where Ahmed Pasha and the prisoners were. They took the Archbishop and all those Christians and decapitated them one after the other on a rock. Their bones now rest in the Cathedral of Otranto, they're called the 800s Martyrs.



    Pietro Pendinelli managed to escape such massacre with a friend. Thanks to a horse found in the evening before, they left the town towards the interior of the province, without knowing where they were headed. His apprehension was constantly aimed to his uncle Stefano and yet he was happy for having avoided a terrible death. On their way they crossed few rural communities, warning their inhabitants of the upcoming threat. Then they reached Lecce and finally found someone determined to take the arms against the Turks to defend their homelands.

    The renewal of the Christians


    The rest of the picture is (almost) real story. Left undefended Otranto, the small forces of the Count of Lecce dealt with the subsequent raids of the Infidels for the remainder of the good season, without any help from King Ferrante and his son Alfonso, Duke of Calabria and crown prince. Despite the lack of numbers to try to regain the town, Count Raimondo managed to avoid the loss of other districts. Actually, Ahmed Pasha was also scared of leaving the coastline with a force capable to take over Lecce, at risk of losing its newly conquered port. His incursions sacked other small towns, but saved the big ones and proved to be quite ineffective for either resupplying purposes or Christians' discouragement. Raimondo was particularly busy on this front, moving from one town to the other, everywhere the Turkish menace came into view along the region. Anyway, time passed by in favour of the Christian side, because in October 1480 Ahmed Pasha came back in the Balkans and left in Otranto a garrison of a thousand men.

    During the following winter the Christian front recouped his determination, whereas the Turkish garrison lost his own waiting for reinforcements that never came, because in the meantime Mehmed II had died and a furious civil war between his two sons held back Ahmed Pasha on the other side of the sea. Finally in April 1481 Duke Alfonso arrived in Lecce with his army and took under his command a Count Raimondo and his men, moving on Otranto. Raimondo didn't feel to be so proud of that man, who had guiltily come nine months after the landing only to gain his glory as the "champion that regained Otranto", but in any case accepted his authority. The siege was started on 1st May by land and by sea. Siege machines were put around the town under the supervision of the renowned military engineer Ciro Ciri. The citadel was bombarded – again – for days and days but the small garrison stood firm inside what remained of the walls. The siege lasted until September 1481, when finally the Turkish battalion surrendered to the Neapolitan army and Count Raimondo could regain possession of the ruined town. As expected, the military glory went to Duke Alfonso. But people's gratefulness went to his vassal, who had contained with few means the Infidels until the arrival of the royal army. Thus ended the epopee of Otranto. And started that of Raimondo…
    Last edited by Hastu Neon; 10-11-2005 at 11:00.
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  12. #12
    Amnistiado por viejuno

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    Mamma, li Turchi!

    I knew of this story, but your tale is very good. That link to the picture is hair-raising. Had not Mehmet died, he could perhaps have reached Rome. It is said that was his intention, and that the Pope had plans to evacuate.

    A proper response should be in order.
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  13. #13
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    Indeed. A little retribution seems to be called for.
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  14. #14
    Ammiratus ammiratorum Hastu Neon's Avatar
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    Don't be too impatient, we're still in the prequel
    But I can assure Raimondo won't leave the Turks unpunished before his life's end...
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  15. #15
    Ammiratus ammiratorum Hastu Neon's Avatar
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    Chapter 3: the magnates' conspiracy

    When the imminent threat of Turkish raids left the Apulian districts, ordinary life resumed. Count Raimondo carefully oversaw the reconstruction of the castle of Otranto directed by Ciro Ciri.


    (Here, just a tower of the rebuilt castle)


    During one of his frequent visits to the town, he met Pietro Pendinelli and – impressed by his agronomy and bookkeeping capabilities despite his relatively young age – hired him as farm manager for his own estates. Pietro's career was destined to a quick success: the notable improvements he managed to achieve in the job gave him the biggest Raimondo's esteem and made him the real financial brain of the County. During the long absences of the Count during the approaching war against King Ferrante, Raimondo appointed Pietro as general bailiff, with the tough task of balancing the increasing army upkeep costs with the revenues from farms and trades.

    Early warnings of the magnates' conspiracy happened in 1485 one of those marriage festivals, which assembled the oldest peers of the Kingdom. Among traditional songs and succulent banquets, wine unlocked the most private thoughts of some of them. Raimondo, attending the feast with his far relative Pirro del Balzo, Prince of Altamura, was not astonished by so many voices against King Ferrante and, even more, his son Alfonso. The centralisation efforts pursued from Naples had been harsh, particularly against the landlords of French and Norman origins. War expenses were funded with cumbersome tolls and that year was particularly stiff because of the effects on crops of an invasion of grasshoppers from Africa. Antonello Sanseverino, Prince of Salerno, descendant of a Norman knight who arrived in Southern Italy at the dawn of the millennium, was extremely excited and spoke out his wrath against the King:

    Sanseverino “Brothers, who knows when or where Ferrante I will stop his campaign against our rights? Someone told me his insolent son Alfonso walks across Naples with a broom saying he will wipe out his Kingdom from the nobles! Bastard Aragonese dog! Their levies have become unbearable. How many towns did they take away from each of us, declaring them royal domains? Giovanni, Duke of Melfi and affable host, do you remember Venosa? And you, Raimondo from Lecce, sitting quietly over there, do you remember Taranto, Brindisi, Bari and their surroundings? Do you recall your childhood, your grandfather Giannantonio strangled in prison?”

    Raimondo had never loved the Prince of Salerno. They had almost the same age, but couldn't have more different characters. Realistic and resolved the former, passionate and lunatic the second. But on that point Raimondo had to agree with his challenger. And now he needed something to say before all the peers.

    Raimondo "You're right, dear Prince of Salerno. But please, calm down your hot spirits. I have never been glad of the Aragonese, I've experienced on my skin both their hesitation in assistance and their greedy in taxation. But they've defeated all the pretenders to the throne and also the conspirers who armed my grandfather. What should we do know, just repeating their mistakes?"

    Sanseverino "Your words suggest a deference you should have lost at Otranto, Raimondo. Consider this: King Ferrante has sent Alfonso with his army around the peninsula to gain more prestige and lands, battling now with the Pope and then with Milan or Venice or Florence. What did he get? Nothing. And how much did he spend? All his revenues, which ultimately come from our lands. His men are tired, their wages are low and don't find solutions other than plundering our lands when they come back to winter… our joint forces could beat them and let us enter in Naples!"


    With his flamed words Antonello Sanseverino managed to convince some peers, including Pirro del Balzo. Raimondo initially disagreed and stayed in Lecce. The rebels captured some provinces on the northernmost Adriatic coast of the Kingdom and in May 1486 their muddled army met the King's mercenaries in Montorio, a small town on the Apennines. Once more the royal army won the battle and the leaders of the uprising were forced to arrange a compromise with Ferrante. They met in August, but the losers ignored the real intentions of their King. His thirst of vengeance exploded in the following months: tired of the nobles' unremitting resistance to his authority, King Ferrante ordered to arrest the leaders and confiscate their lands, just after his vane promises of a general amnesty. Antonello Sanseverino, Pirro del Balzo and others were imprisoned and condemned in summary and deceitful judgment, some of them, including Pirro, finally executed. Antonello Sanseverino lost his lands but had his life spared. Again Ferrante's axes were falling upon the heads of Raimondo's family.

    [OK, from here on quasi-real history leaves room to the fiction. In the next two chapters you will know about Raimondo's fight for independence]
    Last edited by Hastu Neon; 10-11-2005 at 11:02.
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  16. #16
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    You know, you are going to have to do something about that.
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  17. #17
    Ammiratus ammiratorum Hastu Neon's Avatar
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    Chapter 4: the war for independence


    Few years before none could foresee the dramatic sequence of events that led to the involvement of Count Raimondo. The turning point was his convincement to revenge the murder of his far cousin Pirro and at the same time restore the authority over his grandfather's domains. Indeed, wasn't he the only feudatory with relatively intact forces? The only one with possessions quite distant from Naples and a legitimate right over Apulia? Prudence held back his ambition for a while. He could probably rely on the loyalty of the people of his County, and then…? The regiment and his capital could endure a death match against Ferrante, provided that the enemy navy didn't stop the vital supplies from his Venetian friends. But what if Neapolitan vessels had blockaded his ports? Anyway, Ferrante's arrogance removed his anxieties. After the cruel suppression of the barons' conspiracy, the king asked each vassal to pledge allegiance to the Crown, discharge their forces and pay a tribute commensurate to their annual profits. With this diktat, the glass of patience was filled to the brim. When the collectors reached Lecce, Raimondo didn't allow them access to the town, announcing he didn't recognise anymore the patronage of King Ferrante. When the news of Raimondo's disobedience reached Naples, Ferrante resolved to send his son Duke Alfonso against the rebel. Weather, in the shape of a rigid and exceptionally snowy winter, helped the Count of Lecce slowing Alfonso's passage through the Apennines.

    Taking advantage of such delay, Raimondo collected all his men, few thousand soldiers and knights, and moved to Taranto. [Umm, at this point a map like this one could be useful for you, readers, red contours to towns indicate (future) siege theatres and red X indicate (future) main battles]



    The former capital of his grandfather's domains was quite vulnerable because Ferrante had transferred a great part of the regiment to fight against the barons. Raimondo left a part of his army – appointing as lieutenant Malo, one of his most valiant captains – to lay siege to Taranto and moved to Brindisi, being that excellent port on the Adriatic Sea completely undefended and useful to keep alive the Venetian support. After having secured the port, he passed through the thriving towns of Ostuni (wow, a cameo for my hometown!) and Monopoli and reached Bari. At that time, in spring 1487, Alfonso was able to reach the Apulian hills. He dispatched a smaller force towards Bari while the bulk of his army advanced towards the besieged citadel of Taranto. At that point, Raimondo faced a risky dilemma: abandoning Bari or leaving alone Malo with his men in Taranto?

    He chose to move back, but the first encounter in the highlands on the road to Taranto resulted in a sort of draw between the two contenders. Despite the losses, the Count of Lecce managed to stop Alfonso's march against the besieged citadel, whereas Malo had raised a new battalion of footsoldiers armed with few additional siege machines sent from Venice in order to try to break the walls. The stalemate went on for months, with an indecisive Alfonso laying down at Bari and a resolute Raimondo surrounding Taranto with his forces at full strength.

    Unfortunately, the siege machines proved quite useless against the walls of the town and the siege was ineffectively going on when, on a day of September, some scouts reported to Raimondo that the Neapolitans were departing from Bari. The rugged and woody terrain in the midst didn't look favourable to Raimondo and his knights. But he knew from his explorers that Alfonso was getting out with a slow army – mainly composed by infantry – and a rapid repositioning with the cavalry in the plains surrounding Bari could change to fate of the match. The Count of Lecce left again Taranto and swiftly headed north. On 27 September, finally, Neapolitan and Apulian forces met in the vast plains under the severe sight of the old Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II's octagonal castle, known as Castel del Monte.



    The first charge of Raimondo with his knights was dreadful: their rush caused a panic among the enemies, who couldn't expect this experience. Some Neapolitans broke ranks and were speared by the cavalry. Raimondo himself killed a large number of poor infantrymen before retreating in order to the hills. The shock of the charge practically meant the end of the battle. In few minutes a sudden rush of trained cavalry had routed a more than double number of footsoldiers. Alfonso with his small regiment of guards soon left the battlefield for the real disappointment of Raimondo, prepared to show the prince his military superiority. Anyway, the clear victory of Castel del Monte convinced King Ferrante to agree a truce with Raimondo and few days after the royal garrison in Taranto war ordered to surrender to the besiegers and was sent back to Neaples. The pacts signed in October 1487 sanctioned the reinstatement of the Count of Lecce over the towns of Taranto and Brindisi: finally the "heel" of Italy was secured, but for how long? [Just wait for the next update...]
    Last edited by Hastu Neon; 10-11-2005 at 11:03.
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  18. #18
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    Yes, it will take a little longer and a few more wars to ensure security. Interesting what you've done with the questions. Different, and at first I must admit a little off-putting, but by the end of the update I had ended up liking them. And, as you say, I'll just have to wait for the next update
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  19. #19
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    Chapter 5: Duke of Apulia!


    When Raimondo entered the new capital the deep-rooted love for his dynasty erupted in a general joyfulness. Years of reconstruction were facing at that point him and his most loyal men: Pietro Pendinelli rose to the title of bailiff, Malo became castellan of Taranto (a sort of major with civil and military powers) and also Mino Scudiero, Raimondo's friend of youth, found his space as general manager of the recently acquired port of Brindisi. The small fleet of mercantile and fishing ships grew in numbers under his dynamic supervision and Venetian merchants brought new activity to the town (here a view of the characteristic shape of the port, which captured the attention of the Romans that established here their main naval base).



    Unfortunately, Raimondo knew the fight wasn't over. During one of his long walks with his son Gabriele, now a six years old kid …

    Gabriele"Father, won't you leave us again and go with your soldiers, will you? Mummy was always tearing when you were faraway!"

    Raimondo "My child, our King is a greedy man who wants back all these lands we have taken from him. We hope another war won't come, but our will is not God's will. Anyway, don't worry: if it comes in a decade, you'll be mature enough to be by my side"

    Gabriele "Yes father, I want to fight with you and your men"


    War came again, but too early for Gabriele, just after three years of an anxious truce. In the spring 1491 an edict issued by Naples asked for a general recruitment of cavalrymen among Ferrante's vassals. The request, quite legitimate for those times of constant wars among Italian states, aimed to weaken all those internal enemies that could interfere with the succession. The King had finally realized the perilous situation of his throne. Aged and sick, he knew his son Alfonso had to fight for the Crown. Charles VIII of France was claiming at full strength his rights over the "Regnum" after having incorporated the domains of Anjou and aiming to use Southern Italy as a base against the Ottomans. The condottiere Ludovico the Moor, unsanctioned Duke of Milan, and the Pope were secretly supporting French claims, thus Ferrante and Alfonso had to prepare for defence asking new forces. Raimondo understood the difficult situation of the royal dynasty and refused to send them any help, confident of favouring in this way their end. He put aside his traditional prudence and decided to move first, with the aim of going down the coast of Calabria towards the town of Reggio, at the far end of the peninsula. With the Ionian gulf secured under his rule, Raimondo could become the arbiter of his destiny and rise from Count to the status of Duke of Apulia, the title held by the first Norman rulers at the dawn of the millennium. Raimondo gathered few thousand men and left a small garrison in defence of Taranto, moving along the shores of Lucania [see again the chart in previous chapter]. At Metaponto the Apulian army met and won a small contingent of Neapolitans sent to block the way to Raimondo's advance, opening its own way to Calabria. At that point Raimondo split the army in two branches: Malo went on along the Ionian coast taking the old Greek town of Sibari, heading to Reggio, Raimondo with the main force moved to besiege Cosenza, but knowing of the imminent arrival of the bulk of Neapolitan army. Actually, Alfonso and Raimondo met for their final rendezvous at the end of summer under the feet of the Pollino peak, which signs the border between Lucania and Calabria.


    The place where the last decisive battle was fought


    Differently from Castel del Monte, Raimondo hadn't any particular advantage, whereas Alfonso got for sure a better upside position. The task wasn't simple: cavalry couldn't be useful because of the rugged and woody terrain. Raimondo sent his light-infantry rightwing up in the mountain under Neapolitan fire, repositioning the cavalry in the middle as if they should advance to fight. This manoeuvre convinced Alfonso to order the charge against the upcoming cavalry and a confused storm of Neapolitan forces rushed down when Raimondo commanded the leftwing to replace the cavalry and stand against the enemy. The melee was going really badly for the Apulians when the previously detached rightwing fell on the enemy in the rear, while the cavalry regained ground on the left. The soldiers in the middle took confidence and managed to control the assault before the concentric attack of Raimondo stroke the encircled enemy forces. At that point, rumours of Alfonso's take off caused the breakdown and surrendering of the Neapolitans. The battle was won: Alfonso came back to Naples with the remnants of his battered army whereas the gates of Calabria were unlocked for Raimondo. Cosenza, the most important town in the interior part of the region, fell after few months of siege, while Malo's troops pushed down to Reggio without particular resistance. Federigo, younger son of King Ferrante and brave commander of the royal navy, tried to land in Calabria with a small force to stop Malo, but didn't get any result. Cosenza and Reggio fell almost simultaneously in November, when finally Ferrante – after having lost a good half of his kingdom to Raimondo – resolved to call him in Naples to arrange a final peace.

    The Count of Lecce made his solemn appearance at the gates of the capital on 15 December 1491, escorted by hundreds of footsoldiers and knights who were ordered to camp outside Naples. Consultations went on for more than a week. On Christmas day King Ferrante appointed Raimondo Duke of Apulia and Count of Calabria, affirming his titles of Prince of Taranto and Count of Lecce. The main terms of the agreement imposed Raimondo to disband all of his forces and pay an annual tribute to Naples corresponding to a half of his income tax revenues. Fearing of an involvement in the dynastic dispute with Charles VIII of France, Raimondo managed to avoid a clause of direct assistance in case of war, even if he couldn't go for other allies among foreign powers. Essentially, the Dukedom of Apulia was almost an independent land with a feeble constraint on foreign policy. Thus we are on 1st January 1492, when we can start our project.



    And the following is a quick outlook of the situation in the Duchy just before action, a country modelled on Raimondo’s most important principles: aristocracy, mercantilism and, above all, the absolute power of the State over ruled residents, towns and corporations. Catholicism is the only supported confession (even if small Orthodox communities of Greek origins are magnanimously tolerated), whereas armed forces, trade practices and infrastructure still experience problems and opportunities of a small-sized late medieval nation.

    Last edited by Hastu Neon; 30-12-2005 at 12:22.
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  20. #20
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    Well let's hope that there are not too many greedy eyes about wanting to snap you up for lunch.

    All in all a very good introduction into how this Apulia came to be. The local detail is very good.
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