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Thread: From Sicily to Italy: A Tale of Re-Unification, Expansion and Empire

  1. #1
    Major oribiasi's Avatar
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    From Sicily to Italy: A Tale of Re-Unification, Expansion and Empire

    From Sicily to Italy: A Tale of Re-Unification, Expansion and Empire



    Part I: Background Story, or, why I am writing this After-Action-Report

    “Italians have a strong sense of family…and a healthy distrust of others.” (1)

    I trace my roots to Sicily and Lucca, or more generally, to Italy itself. On my father’s side, the small city of Termini-Imerese on the north-east Sicilian coast was home to my great-grandparents, at least until 1910 when they left the corrupt, poor but beautiful city nestled within sight of the volcano Etna behind and headed for a new world. They would retain their ethnic history, always maintaining that they were Sicilian, not Italian, but would find happiness here, in the States, eventually settling in a little suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Here is what the city looks like today and let me assure you, it is little changed from the way it has looked for 500 years:



    On my mother’s side, the fair city of Bagni di Lucca (or, the Baths of Lucca) was the source of my other great-grandparents. This little suburb of the main city of Lucca was known for its natural spring water baths that even the Romans, in their time, found wonderful. Having been there personally I can see why; any of the bottled water you can buy there has a taste that cannot be replicated in a lab, and the exhilarating feeling one receives upon jumping into the spring itself is out of this world.

    And here is Bagni di Lucca as it is today:



    While idyllic in some beautiful respects, the Italy of the early 20th century was a disjointed and newly formed nation, having been forged by Victor Emmanuel II with the help of Savoy only about 45 years prior. Forty-five years ago today the United States was just beginning the Vietnam War debacle, to give some perspective.

    When my grandparents left in the very early 1900s they did so for important reasons: the former home of the Caesars was a mere shadow of its former glory. For a period of 1,385 years (in the West) the Italian peninsula had been the sorry recipient of multiple invasions, various ethnic changes (the people of northern Italy, as my grandfather would be fond of saying, “were not so much Italians as they were Europeans”), disjointed and self-serving city-states, a dominant religious power which held the Eternal City itself and strong foreign interests that, when added together, produced a country that was kept in an infant, powerless state for what likely seemed like an eternity.

    Since I was a college student learning of this historical tragedy it has always fascinated me to imagine if this had been different; had Italy remained unified after the Goth invasions of the 5th century, what would the country be like? While it may have long lost its far-flung Roman Imperial holdings outside of the peninsula itself, could a unified Italy exist? Could it survive long against the dominant eastern Arab powers, or the powerful European nations who had a strong sense of national identity, something the Italians lacked in every degree possible? Could a renewed Italy become a dominant European power in the late Middle/Enlightenment time period? Is it possible to have a renewed Italian Empire that can re-build all the lost heritage and power the people of the Eternal City once held over Europe-proper?

    My intention then for this AAR is to produce an alternate history of Italy wherein the nation becomes unified far earlier than what your general history book can tell you, and that it does so via Sicily. I picked this country because of my heritage and because it gives me a greater possibility of success than Lucca does. I also like the dichotomy of this little island, being invaded so many times throughout the centuries, it is at once both very Italian and very worldly. I do plan on allying myself with Lucca quickly, however, as I do not want to murder my ancestors in a siege. If you haven’t already guessed I can be verbose at times and writing is sort of a strong point for me, so expect a good deal of it. If this is not your kind of thing (i.e., if you hate to read) this AAR may not be for you; but, like all good AARs, there will be plenty of images and maps, so don’t fret.

    I cannot begin any earlier than 1399, but as that is only about 900 years after the fall of the last emperor in the west, I am alright with it. I intend to conquer or subdue the city-states of the peninsula, even Rome itself, and remove the foreign presence in our nation. These meddling world-powers typically do not have my nation’s best interests in mind and would rather like to simply make a profit from their neighboring nation at the expense of its citizens. For example, the bridge leading to Venice was demanded by the then Austrian-Hungarian Empire, who also insisted that on the bridge itself the royal beast (some kind of lion) was carved in the rock.

    Finally, I want to briefly outline my general strategy, which can be divided into three parts:

    I. Unite the Italian peninsula into one nation, ruled by a monarch, the capital of that nation being Rome.

    II. Remove all foreign interests/holdings from our sphere of influence and forge alliances with nations that can foster our standing among nations abroad.

    III. Re-build, in some degree, the Roman Empire in the world, not just in land but also by way of culture/religion.

    In the next post I will describe my methodology, my “rules” for the game, as well as give some screenshots of the nation, etc. For those of you (Moderators, I am guessing, and the LibrAARian) who like “just the facts, jack” descriptions of AARs, here you go:

    Title: From Sicily to Italy: A Tale of Re-Unification, Expansion and Empire
    Starting Nation: Sicily
    Start Date: 1399
    Modification(s), if any: Magna Mundi, version 1.5
    Lucky Nations: Random (i.e., not historical)
    Goal(s): Unify the Italian peninsula under one flag, re-build, in some semblance, the Roman Empire

    (1): That is one of my favorite quotes about my dear ancestors, paraphrased only slightly from the book Pontius Pilate: The Biography of an Invented Man. Yes, I may be the only AAR writer with footnotes. It’s the scholar in me.
    Last edited by oribiasi; 20-04-2010 at 20:39.
    AARs: From Sicily to Italy: A Tale of Re-Unification, Expansion and Empire:
    http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...d.php?t=472240 (Cancelled)

    Summa sedes non capit duos.

  2. #2
    Fascinating reading about your family history, I look forward to see your AAR. And think I might just have to steal that foot note idea.

  3. #3
    Major oribiasi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfhashat View Post
    Fascinating reading about your family history, I look forward to see your AAR. And think I might just have to steal that foot note idea.
    Thanks, Wolfhashat! I hope that this first AAR goes well.

    The quote is excellent, and is translated as "There cannot be two top powers," or a more colloquial translation would be "There is only room for one at the top." It's from a novel about Scipio Africanus but I can't remember the title. Thanks for reading
    AARs: From Sicily to Italy: A Tale of Re-Unification, Expansion and Empire:
    http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...d.php?t=472240 (Cancelled)

    Summa sedes non capit duos.

  4. #4
    ooh an Italian unification AAR. this looks interesting. my great-grandparents on my father's side came from the small village of Gessopalena in Italy before they moved to the U.S. but i dont know what year. it may have been after WWI but before WWII

  5. #5
    First Lieutenant SouthTexan's Avatar
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    I'll be interested to read this, but I'm not quite sure why a political commentary on America's involvement in Vietnam was necessary.

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  7. #7
    Major oribiasi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Awesome View Post
    ooh an Italian unification AAR. this looks interesting. my great-grandparents on my father's side came from the small village of Gessopalena in Italy before they moved to the U.S. but i dont know what year. it may have been after WWI but before WWII
    I'm glad it piqued your interest! I have never been to Gessopalena but having been to the Abruzzo region I'm sure it is delightful. I hope you're able to make it there, because to walk in the streets of an Italian town where your ancestors are from just feels like coming home. Thanks for reading

    Quote Originally Posted by SouthTexan View Post
    I'll be interested to read this, but I'm not quite sure why a political commentary on America's involvement in Vietnam was necessary.
    To be honest, the only reason for mentioning the Vietnam War was to put the time line of Italian unification into perspective. All too often we look on events in others countries/other nations as being unknowable because of the lack of connection between our lives and our time(s) with theirs. I didn't think that it was really a political commentary but I do apologize if it offended you/anyone else. I hope that this explanation, however, clears the air. I also hope you will continue to read, SouthTexan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy4ever View Post
    If you background post is anything to go by I think I will enjoy this AAR. You write very well.

    Looking forward to the start of the AAR itself.
    Thank you, sir, for your encouragement. I hope the AAR won't disappoint. More to come this week, for sure.
    AARs: From Sicily to Italy: A Tale of Re-Unification, Expansion and Empire:
    http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...d.php?t=472240 (Cancelled)

    Summa sedes non capit duos.

  8. #8
    Hypothetical Hegemon JDMS's Avatar
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    Sounds interesting. I'll follow.
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    First Lieutenant SouthTexan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oribiasi View Post
    To be honest, the only reason for mentioning the Vietnam War was to put the time line of Italian unification into perspective. All too often we look on events in others countries/other nations as being unknowable because of the lack of connection between our lives and our time(s) with theirs. I didn't think that it was really a political commentary but I do apologize if it offended you/anyone else. I hope that this explanation, however, clears the air. I also hope you will continue to read, SouthTexan.
    I understand. I was referring more to classifying it as a "debacle." I understand that's your personal viewpoint, though. I won't turn this into a political debate and will continue to read.

    I see you're using MM, so that should make it more interesting. I'm currently playing the new WWM. The extra provinces are really nice, so you might check into that as well. It makes Italian unification more difficult, but that should make it more satisfying! Anyway, I'll be looking for updates. Thanks.

  10. #10
    Major oribiasi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthTexan View Post
    I understand. I was referring more to classifying it as a "debacle." I understand that's your personal viewpoint, though. I won't turn this into a political debate and will continue to read.

    I see you're using MM, so that should make it more interesting. I'm currently playing the new WWM. The extra provinces are really nice, so you might check into that as well. It makes Italian unification more difficult, but that should make it more satisfying! Anyway, I'll be looking for updates. Thanks.
    I'm happy I have your readership! Can you send me a link to the WWM Mod so I can check it out? Thanks.

    EDIT: I found it, my bad. I like the look and I might try it out, but likely not for this AAR. It would be that much more difficult, and as you will see in the next update, unifying Italy is very difficult as-is.
    Last edited by oribiasi; 21-04-2010 at 16:12. Reason: WWM Mod Edit
    AARs: From Sicily to Italy: A Tale of Re-Unification, Expansion and Empire:
    http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...d.php?t=472240 (Cancelled)

    Summa sedes non capit duos.

  11. #11
    did it die

  12. #12
    Major oribiasi's Avatar
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    Absolutely not! I am still working on it and will certainly have some content up here before long. My apologies; work has a nasty way of removing my spare time from under my feet.

    Rest assured there WILL be more content soon.
    AARs: From Sicily to Italy: A Tale of Re-Unification, Expansion and Empire:
    http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...d.php?t=472240 (Cancelled)

    Summa sedes non capit duos.

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