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alscon

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And so the leaning tower of Pisa was built! I expect the legends concerning it to go like this:
'And as the Serene Doge, renowned for his...size... climbed the tower at the inauguration with his entourage, it is said that he leaned forward too much, the whole tower trembling and folding a bit under his weight.'
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Ah, the Tower of Pisa has arrived. Nice to see it pop up; hopefully the debt will be worth it. Love the friendship with the Sheikh too.
 

Crimson Drakon

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And so the leaning tower of Pisa was built! I expect the legends concerning it to go like this:
'And as the Serene Doge, renowned for his...size... climbed the tower at the inauguration with his entourage, it is said that he leaned forward too much, the whole tower trembling and folding a bit under his weight.'
An interesting interpretation, which will surely make it into Pisan history ;)

Ah, the Tower of Pisa has arrived. Nice to see it pop up; hopefully the debt will be worth it. Love the friendship with the Sheikh too.
Thanks, hope you enjoy!! I am trying to roleplay and add some depth to the game events, hopefully I am not carried away too much.. :oops:
 

Crimson Drakon

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Arc I
Chapter 4
Part 3: The Pisan Election Campaign / Pietro gives his first campaign speech


Seven years had passed since the Tower of Pisa was inaugurated and dedicated to its people. No one could doubt that it was an incredible edifice: but over the years, the Tower was leaning further and further giving many stories on the gossiping lips of the Pisani. Some said Serene Doge Gentile d’Appiano the Fat used to stroll when in a drunken stupor inside and wherever he went, the Tower budged to the left and right. Others blamed the Visconti money deficit, forcing the construction costs to be halved and the work suffered because of it. Finally there were those who blamed Sebastiano di Torino as a crooked artisan, a man who was more concerned to pocket the money of the project than to see it well done. Whatever it was, its purpose was served and everyone talked of the Visconti and their Tower and to those who were foreign to the Serene Republic, the talk was of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, marking the city effectively on the Italian map.


Between those seven years, many events took place, which became a part of the campaign speech of Pietro Visconti, the Doge Guidice of Sardinia and High Admiral of Pisa. The moment of the elections was crucial: would he win the majority of the Pisan Senators, Pietro Visconti would become the new Serene Doge of Pisa, the first of his family to hold this prestigious title.


Only fragments of the speech were saved. It did make though a lasting impression on the people and Pietro was hailed as one of the most influential statesmen of the time.


“Senatori Pisani! Popolo di Pisa! (Senators of Pisa! People of Pisa!)


I stand before you solemnly and with great sorrow as our Republic is weighed on the scales of elections once again. In these seven years when we met again to celebrate this great Tower, Serene Doge was my grandfather Gentile d’Appiano, God rest his soul. He was followed by the senior Giacopo Alliata, a man 72 years of his age- may we reach the same years as he, to be succeeded by my uncle Giovanni di Appiano.




….. my uncle’s progressive sickness has led the Consuls of Pisa to initiate the cursus honorum of Pisa to commence and for me to stand before you…

…can we forget the Black Day when our Holy Father, the True Pope of Rome called off the Crusade for Jerusalem as the Egyptian Caliph mocked us and enslaved the few Crusaders who reached the Holy City? Should the Holy Father ask Pisan aid, we shall give so that we can receive the Kingdom of Heaven and reward thricefold….



…….. at the edges of our Commune di Pisa , the Basileus of the Greeks fights valiantly the Muslim hordes. He has fought off the Turk, but now is onset by the Egyptian. Our Christian duty is to aid, should the Holy Father wishes us to do so.



…. let us not look far away from our Italian peninsula. The uncouth Normans in collaboration with the treacherous Veneti declared war to capture Palermo from our majestic Republic. They even had the gall to set foot in Pisani lands, in Arborea. Us Visconti threw them to the sea and they swam all the way back to Venice!





….we witnessed ourselves once more actors in a play we have seen: the 3
rd war of Genoa for Ogliastra of the Caetani, the heretic Fraticelli Caetani may I add. Again the Visconti rallied to the Pisan Republic…but enough was enough… we had to settle the vendetta when they had the audacity to murder my grandmother Fausta Caetani, their own blood, in broad daylight! Blood was washed with blood and we stormed Ogliastra for the Visconti. The heretics were purged and the town was restored to the Catholic fold. Would the Genoese dare to mess with the Visconti for Ogliastra again? I think not…



… for the safety of the Republic lies in your hands, what have the other houses to show than their private interests in gold and trade? The Visconti have been the sword and shield of Pisa, its defenders in times of need and contributors in times of peace… with the Visconti and me as Serene Doge, Pisa shall reach heights higher than the Tower behind me!!”


“Crooked heights?” whispered a man to another. He received a trampling on his foot, obviously a Visconti supporter heard him.


Hours later after the speech, the Consuls announced that Giovanni di Appiano was with God, succumbing to his illness of his mind. The ballots were counted and anxiety hit a peak on the Patrician Houses of Pisa


A young boy cried out with glee


“Visconti!!Visconti!! Pietro Visconti, il Doge Serenissimo!!”


 
Last edited:

TheAnguishedOne

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At last, you directly control the Republic! Pietro is fairly young too, so he should be able to take advantage of this for a long time, barring some unfortunate accident. Perhaps Pietro's heir will have enough time to become prestigious and keep the Serene Doge title in the family.
 

Henry v. Keiper

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It'll be interesting to see what you do with the republic now.
 

alscon

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Time to deal with the traitors and infidels!
 

Nikolai

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Here's to hoping that Pisa will reunite Italy and then Rome.:)
 

Crimson Drakon

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At last, you directly control the Republic! Pietro is fairly young too, so he should be able to take advantage of this for a long time, barring some unfortunate accident. Perhaps Pietro's heir will have enough time to become prestigious and keep the Serene Doge title in the family.
Fortunately the toil for Sardinia and Amalfi paid off and Pietro was elected. The Visconti will be put to the test!

It'll be interesting to see what you do with the republic now.
Hopefully the mandate of Pietro will be an interesting one or a precursor for more interesting decisions down the road :)

Time to deal with the traitors and infidels!
And so we shall :D

Here's to hoping that Pisa will reunite Italy and then Rome.:)
Good to see you Nikolai once again! Yes, perhaps the Italian Ambitions will extend so high, for the moment I will be glad if Pisa takes a significant part of Sicily!
 

Crimson Drakon

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Arc I
Chapter 4
Part 4: The Mandate of Pietro II Visconti as Serene Doge of Pisa (1112-1118)



The cheering of the people was still ringing in Pietro’s ears. His name was being chanted as if it was a magical incantation, a prayer to the Heavens answered at last.
Two successive Serene Doges, despite the last being his uncle, were mainly choices of the Senators of Pisa based on age rather than merit. Their strange habits and stubbornness were shameful in comparison to the magnanimous reign of Gentile d’Appiano the fat hedonist.



Pietro though had it all: he was a middle aged man with many exemplary virtues to show. Only his heart though knew that it was all a well-played facade, a theatrical performance for the desperate ears and eyes of the People and Senate of Pisa for change. The former High Admiral of Pisa sailed through the waves of the people into the Palazzo Comune , his now personal seat of power as the new Serene Doge of Pisa

“At last Serene Doge!!” he cheered. He gave a passionate kiss on Adriana’s lips and embraced her warmly. All his efforts brought the Familia to the highest step of honor and through it more capabilities opened for pursuing the vow of il Libro- the journey to the end of the world. Already, Adriana achieved with much peril a successful mission: sneaking and snooping in Cairo revealed to her precious information.



According to reports, to the south of the Fatimid Caliph resided Prester John, the Christian Patriarch King who fought his own war of survival against the heathen Muslims. A pious man, he would aid his Christian brothers to achieve the dream of liberating Jerusalem, should they as well ally with him to defend his own kingdom.


The day though that the Catholics would reunite with their brethren in faith to the south would wait for another time: Pietro had to secure the Visconti presence to the Republic or else he too would be a Doge amongst many who would be elected to the office and fall to obscurity. It was time for him to choose the shadows and disarm the threats of the Visconti, while securing new and strong alliances.


The first target of Pietro was Cresenzio Caetani, the Doge Elect of the Republic of Pisa and self-proclaimed prophet of the Second Coming of the Lord. Through Fraticelli teachings, he had assembled a small gathering around his person and preached penance, humility and other noteworthy virtues, however he also called for open defiance against the Holy Father of Rome, the beast prophesized in the Apocalypse. Surely such voices were to be hushed down and not topple the support of the Papal State to Pisa against the precarious liberty it had gained from the Holy Roman Empire.





11 April 1113


Osteria di Vino(Wine Tavern), Pisa


“Is it done?” the hooded man asked the burly figure, who drank like there was no tomorrow on the tavern table


“Oh, is it done? The old man put up a fight and hissed to me that Jesus will burn me in Hell but before He does I said to him, he will see Him soon enough..” he said. A roaring laughter echoed in the bustling tavern, with some of the patrons looking towards their direction.


The hooded man nodded and handed him a bag, then left discretely as he entered. Outside, he took off his hood and the man was no other than Pietro the Serene Doge. He made a motion to his guards to “deliver the Persian carpets at the docks as soon as possible”.

Hence it comes that all armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed, mumbled Pietro





The second problem was Igino Alliata, the son of the third Serene Doge Giacomo Alliata. He was an upstanding diplomat and was in the good graces of the Pisan Senate and to keep him close, Pietro named him Chancellor of the Republic, raising his popularity. Pietro could not let the Alliata though get ahead in the race for the succession so despite his skills, Igino had to be neutralized.

His cynical nature would be his downfall. Apparently, Igino was crypto- Fraticelli and was the incognito successor of Cresenzio Caetani, keeping a low profile as not to suffer the same fate. Soon enough, the Visconti infiltrated the Fraticelli enclave in Pisa and all was revealed, Pietro immediately declared him a heretic




Igino was imprisoned and put under inquisition by the State Inquisitor Sinibaldo Visconti, Marshal of the Republic of Pisa (and brother of Serene Doge Pietro). From the day of his arrest, Igino did not see the sunlight and was thoroughly interrogated by the authorities of Pisa and especially the State Inquisitor himself.



In the end Igino Alliata’s pride broke and he confessed in written word. He was the Fraticelli Heresiarch and the successor of Cresenzio, the Prophet. Promptly he was put on trial, with the Papal Legate as a member of the Court and he was sentenced to public execution. The Alliata would not threaten the Republic with heresy





With the elimination of their political rivals, the Visconti had their success guaranteed and the new Serene Doge would be Baldassare Visconti, High Judge of the Republic of Pisa and the firstborn son of Gerardo Visconti, famous for his stigmata. However, the untimely death of two of the most prestigious capofamiglias shook the Republican sentiment.



Pietro did what politicians knew best to divert public opinion: the declaration of war to the Fatimid Caliph. According to his reports, the Caliph’s armies were devastated on their ongoing Jihad for Anatolia against the Greek Basileus. Thus it was that Serene Doge Pietro stormed the Egyptians for the city of Mersa Matruh, near Alexandria. The success of the war would determine further operations in the Egyptian area.




As the Caliph was preoccupied with the Jihad, the Pisan forces quickly managed to besiege the entirety of the Al Alamayn region and secured the wargoal. They proceeded to the siege of Alexandria and establish Pisan presence furthermore. However, the Egyptian forces shifted their concern on the defense of their homeland and ousted the Pisan besiegers; as the reinforcements from Pisa arrived too late to essentially reinforce them




After recovering however from their loss and pillaging the land for valuables, the Pisan army pushed back the Egyptians, who were besieging Al Alamayn. However the Pisan treasury soon became depleted trying to make up for the losses of the army and the expensive upkeep of the Pisan warfleet.




Realizing the dangerous position he was in , the Shia Caliph called off immediately the Jihad for Anatolia and focused exclusively on the Pisan invaders. After a series of war taxes and contributions, in addition to a mandatory loan from the Jews, the Pisan treasury recovered, however so did the forces of the Caliph. In the end, Pietro had to call off the war with a white peace, despite his initial victories.




“The water was tested. If only we had more gold to be able to preserve the funding of both the mercenaries and the fleet, we would have been victorious…” considered Pietro. Gold, always in abundance and then always elusive, it had become more and more his obsession to hoard as much as possible to repeat the attack against the Caliph. He observed the World Map to assess the situation




His trade network spanned from Aquitaine to Al Alamayn in Egypt: yet his link was disrupted in Reggio by Venetian competitors. He decided his next move. As the Venetians were preoccupied in a war against the Queen of Croatia, they would be vulnerable to a Pisan attack, despite the fact Pisa was equally exhausted from the previous unsuccessful war. However Pietro did not live to see the results of his new war: for he felt a grasp on his chest after becoming anxious of a new potential depletion of the treasury against the Venetians, with no means this time to alleviate the cost.


Baldassare Visconti, the High Judge of Pisa, would become the next Serene Doge in line.

 
Last edited:

TheAnguishedOne

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Pietro's legacy was that he tested the waters in the middle east, showing that success could be found there, and securing Baldassarre's victory in the vote. Hopefully Baldassarre's reign won't be so short.
 

alscon

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Some good old politics :).
 

Saxon125

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Think I might start reading this, one of these days I will do a republic AAR. :)
 

Nikolai

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Good job securing a bite of Africa!
 

Crimson Drakon

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Pietro's legacy was that he tested the waters in the middle east, showing that success could be found there, and securing Baldassarre's victory in the vote. Hopefully Baldassarre's reign won't be so short.
Pietro build the Tower of Pisa after all!! ;) If I had more money, the war would have probably been won, I had around 60% war score and if the Jihad did not end, the city would have been Pisan now. The Fatimids have the Mameluke hidden card at their sleeve too..

Some good old politics :).
Indeed, same old accidents and Persian carpets to be delivered at the docks.. :rolleyes:

Think I might start reading this, one of these days I will do a republic AAR. :)
Thank you Saxon125, I hope this AAR perhaps inspires you to write a republic AAR yourself, the librAAry is sorely lacking

Good job securing a bite of Africa!
Thanks would have to go to the benefactor grandpa Gentile for that, on his 2nd war for Tunis. The Berber Muslims were too broken fighting each other to put a great resistance
 

Crimson Drakon

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Arc I

Chapter 5: Baldassare Visconti, Sixth Serene Doge of Pisa

Prologue: Memories of a High Judge of Pisa



“Who would have thought… cousin Pietro to die the same age as his father and some years younger than my father Gerardo… could our Familia be cursed? Will I be next?”


The former High Judge of Pisa and now the Sixth Serene Doge of the Repubblica Marinara, the Maritime Republic, lay on his bed with his eyes closed and lost in his thought. How many years had he served under Pietro, when he was the Chancellor of the Guidicato Sardegna? Even he had lost count… as the Chancellor of Sardinia and an accomplished negotiator he had met powerful figures of his timeline: the Greek Basileus Michael the so called Terrible and his son Symeon and even the Caliph Abu Mansur , to negotiate the construction of the Visconti Pisan Trade Post in Al Alamayn, near the Coast of Alexandria. He saw mysterious Cairo and the splendor of Imperial Constantinople, boosting his reputation, and his pride, as a man of prestige and wise knowledge.





It did not came to him as a surprise when Pietro, to reward his loyalty, named him High Judge of Pisa. Applying the traditional Roman Law, he gained the respect of the Pisani and, after the untimely death of the elders of the Republic, he was the Doge Elect of Comune Pisani. And now, the day came when he least expected it.





“Amore mio… Baldassarre… your cousin Pietro was not the same man as you…. He collapsed under the pressure to maintain his treasury and not to declare the bankruptcy of the Republic….you however are a rich man yourself and know how to contain yourself…”




Her ebony hair caressed the chest of Baldassarre, her longing kiss made his chain of thoughts break. Patrizia, his passion, his lover, was the shadow supporter of Baldassarre, as the saying went
Behind every great man is a great woman”.

But she was scorned by the Pisan community, a murmured blight on the spotless reputation of the High Judge. While Baldasarre was a sworn bachelor and did not marry out of conviction, Patrizia was married to Rainero Visconti, the Castle taker of Sicily. Their adulterous meetings resulted in a bastard child, the ambitious Delinda Visconti who sought to prove the world wrong by removing the taint of her birth through her aspirations.



The bloodline of Rainero was even set to doubt, as of who the real father was of his children. Having fought in many battles at the behest of Doge Pietro, he was rendered incapable after falling from his horse in the battle against the NormanoVeneti for Palermo, when he became absentminded from the –rumors then- of his wife’s infidelity. Malicious rumors even went as far as to imply that Patrizia and Baldassarre consummated their relationship in repetition when Rainero lay comatose at the nearby chamber.



“Indeed…it was of the few good lessons papa Gerardo taught me when he caught me at the kitchen with all these sweets…and how to be proud of myself else my labors will be given credit to others not worthy of the reward… I still hate him though for what he did to mama and the stigmata madness… the reason I did not marry was so I would not to be driven mad like him…”



Patrizia kissed him again.


“Times are different though…now…you are the Serene Doge…and…you can do whatever you want! Perhaps even… wed our daughter and…maybe wed ourselves the same day…?” she said. Patrizia paused and looked him deep in his eyes trying to measure his intentions.


Baldassarre looked at Patrizia with surprise, averting immediately afterwards his eyesight. How did the idea of marriage spring in her head?


“…Marry..? Do you not enjoy what we have… have you not seen how the married of our family die so soon in their life? Would you want to become twice widowed..?...and the law..?”


Patrizia stood silent. She then said in a trembling voice


“…Baldassarre..I…cannot go on like this, being in the shadows like a concubine… the shame I had gone through all these years will become double now that you are the Serene Doge… I will wait… but please, be considerate, I beg you...”


Baldassarre rose from the bed. He put on his clothes and kissed Patrizia hastily goodnight, saying he would consider her offer. His mind though raced for the next days to come, already a war with the Venetians over Reggio was in progress. He would also have to visit the widow Adriana Faliero, Pietro’s wife and receive his last will… the widow said that she too wanted to talk to him…
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Delinda sounds interesting. Always fun to have an ambitious illegitimate daughter. I'm hoping she accomplishes something, despite the odds stacked against her.
 

Nikolai

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Marry the right gal, and you have a winner. :p
 

Crimson Drakon

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Arc I
Chapter 5
Part 1: Pietro’s Will/ The Marriage of Baldassarre Visconti/ Delinda’s Amorous Adventure and Chiaffredo’s Adulthood/ Yehoshua the Jew aids Baldassarre’s Oriental Ambitions/ The Royal Betrothal/ The War for Benevento


“Come with haste, for we have matters to discuss” said Adriana Faliero, the widow of the late Pietro Visconti, his cousin and former Serene Doge of the Pisan Republic


Baldassarre had travelled incognito to the Visconti Mansion in Sardinia, where Adriana, her relatives and the orphans had moved after the funeral of Pietro. She felt she had more friends and allies in Sardinia than in the political pit of Pisa, with the majority of the feuding Patrician Houses. All she wanted was peace: a place which Arborea could amply offer her, away from the bustling machinations of the Pisan capital.


Even in her mourning garments, Adriana remained the attractive woman that she always was: her modesty and inherent shyness added to the gravity of her presence. Yet what captured his presence immediately was the vision of a juvenile double of Adriana, playing with her younger siblings


“Could that be…” he asked out loud


“Yes Baldassarre, this is Francesca, the girl which you so highly praised at the courts of the Greek Basileus, and for whom Pietro rejected so many offers of betrothal…if only he lived to see her wed to Greek royalty..what joy it could have been..”





Francesca with the corner of her eye saw Baldassarre and his mother and left the children to play with themselves. Solemnly she curtsied and introduced herself as the daughter of the Fifth Serene Doge of Pisa and a child of the bloodlines of Visconti and Faliero


“You have grown into a full woman Francesca, already your portrait made a huge impressions at the Imperial court of Constantinople and where it not untimely circumstances, you now would have been an Empress on your own right!” Baldassarre exclaimed. Francesca’s face shone with the words of her unknown till now uncle and cast a light on her sorrow mood.


“Widow Adriana, you mentioned to me about a will..and that you wish to speak to me?” said Baldassarre and turned his direction to Adriana. She nodded and guided Baldassarre to the upper rooms to discuss in private a matter of their own.


After securing the door, Adriana took a book from the library and cleaned it from its dust. She then handed it to Baldassarre


“You know, of course, of this book? “ she asked. Adriana looked with an inquisitive look at Baldassarre


He nodded in response. It was the family heirloom, passed to the heir of the Familia with the pledge to see its course completed. He remembered when he overheard Gerardo, his father, speak sometimes of its tale, although he did not understand until that moment why it was so kept in secret. With Gerardo’s stigmata, the profile of the Familia Visconti was kept low when it came to the suspicion from the Papal court, cleansing it essentially from the accusations of heresy.


“Pietro had written this will for you. The seal is intact” said Adriana. Baldassarre broke it and read out loud the content of the will


“To my heir of the Familia,


I Pietro Visconti the II, having sound mind dictate the following. You shall receive il libro from my wife and carry on our legacy to the edge of the world. Furthermore, in order to acquire the assets of our Familia and our treasury, you are to provide for my widow and children and see that their fortunes are established. Chiaffredo, my son, is to continue his diplomatic education and Francesca is to wed either Holy Roman or Greek royalty, to ensure the prestige of our house. None other will do. If they do not comply, I authorize you to marry yourself Francesca and secure her interests. She is not destined to languish in a kitchen of some lowborn noble or as an instrument of negotiation with the other Familias: her name will be written in history!


This I bid you to execute my will


Pietro II Visconti


Serene Doge of Pisa


Doge of Sardinia”


Both looked each other stupefied. It was known to all that Pietro was arbitrary and cared little for the rules, seeing opportunities to bend them when appropriate, but this was too much. Should the royalty decline the wedding, which holy man would sanction a wedding between uncle and niece? The canonical law would definitely be contrary and the Pope would have reasons to target the Visconti once again.


“I am afraid…no royalty would agree to the wedding…” mumbled Adriana. Baldassarre asked her curiously why they would not agree when Francesca entered the room, using a key to the room. She was eavesdropping the whole time.


“Because uncle..Baldassarre…I…carry the Lover’s Pox...I am no maiden…”


Baldassarre touched his mouth in surprise. Firstly, his late cousin wished him to marry his niece, should royalty decline Francesca and then to learn the almost 20 year old woman had lost her virginity outside wedlock and be inflicted of Lover’s Pox….


“The things I have to do for the Familia… God, if he exists, must have put a cruel joke on me!” he chuckled manically


-----------------------


To conceal the scandal of Francesca’s lack of chastity, Baldassarre was forced to concede to this even more scandalous wedding, with the marriage rites blessed by a bishop under the auspices of the Holy Roman Emperor, who sought to break the embrace of Pisa with the Papal State thus far. The Pope was infuriated and almost threatened anathema on Baldassarre and the entire Pisan Republic, only being held down by the sanctity Gerardo, Baldassarre’s father, had achieved due to the stigmata. As not to provoke the public sentiment further, no royal aid duty was collected and on 4th of October 1118 Baldassarre and Francesca Visconti were now husband and wife.



Meanwhile the war for the Trade Post of Reggio was being conducted. After several minor skirmishes, the Pisan and Venetian forces engaged in Umbriatico with a decisive Pisan victory. The exhausted Venetian Doge surrendered to the Pisan demands, as to close his front and focus on the defense of Zara which was of the highest importance to Venetian interests. The peace treaty was followed with an interesting proposal: Gelasio Contarini, the Venetian Serene Doge, asked for the betrothal of Delinda with his son Vitale, with a potential prospect of further agreements. Serene Doge Baldassarre had no reason to reject the Venetian proposal, after all Delinda’s questionable status would not prospect a better deal.



Almost a year later from the wedding of Baldassare and Francesca, the Pisan community became embroiled again with the rumors of Francesca’s pregnancy. Those who had supported the prospect of a white marriage between them were wronged and talks began again in the alleys of Pisa about this scandalous union. Some even hinted that Francesca was cheating Baldassarre for a younger lover, though nothing could be proven. Others implied Baldassarre was cheating on Francesca with Patrizia, when he sailed back to Sardinia when it was needed. Whatever the rumors, Baldassarre enjoyed the company of his wife and the harbor marital commitment provided




Not even a month had passed with the potential pregnancy of Francesca and Pisa became enflamed with the news that Delinda Visconti gave birth to the son of the notorious billygoat Baldassarre, the named Seducer, of Kairwan. As the story went, he climbed the walls of the Visconti Mansion and after telling her stories of a Thousand and One nights he had heard in Barbary Tunis, a region of which he was Lord Mayor, he wooed her and the inevitable happened. Delinda was humiliated and changed her last name to Panico, moving to Palermo with her infant son, keeping sparse contact with her father Baldassarre the Serene Doge. In his turn, he did his best to quiet down the voices and especially reassure Serene Doge Gelasio that it was mere slander.



Fortunately not everything around the Visconti was scandalous. Chiaffredo, the son of the late Pietro Visconti, grew of legal age and showed tremendous skill in diplomacy, as the Visconti were known for, especially of his bravery to pursue oversea missions. He would immediately enlist himself on the Diplomatic Corp of Pisa and promote Visconti and Pisan interests.



In contrast to his father Gerardo, Baldassarre kept a reserved stance towards the Church and its creed. Most obvious action of it was his wedding with Francesca after all, in direct opposition to canonical law. It was not odd therefore for the Jews to feel more comfortable towards the current Serene Doge and therefore tried to elevate themselves beyond their plot in place. Such it was that a Jewish mercenary by the name of Yehoshua made his appearance before Baldassarre and offered his services. Baldassarre’s interest was grasped, as Yehoshua had dealings with the Middle East and could promote towards Visconti aspirations in Egypt. His instinct was not wrong: in cooperation with Leoni Caetani, of the known Caetani family which returned to the Catholic flock with shame, they managed to find the necessary documents for the Visconti to claim Alexandria as their own, with the Caliph becoming furious with their allegations.



Word came from Serene Doge Gelasio of Venice for Baldassarre to keep his promise and send Delinda to Venice for the wedding to be complete, as Vitale had grown of age. Baldassarre was divided between keeping the betrothal, risking humiliation or cancel it and pay for the damages caused to Gelasio Contarini. With Yehoshua’s advice, he made a Solomon Judgement: he brought Delinda back to Pisa from Palermo with her son Ubaldo and after speaking with her, he convinced her to keep Ubaldo in Pisa and raise him like his son. Delinda was most unhappy with this decision but had no other choice: she feared the retribution of the Venetians should they discover not only she was not a virgin but also had a bastard son. In the end, Baldassarre and Delinda agreed, sealing the marriage between the two families of Contarini and Visconti. With the prospect of invading Alexandria with the documents he had in hand, Baldassarre proposed a Pisan-Venetian alliance, now that there were blood ties between them. Gelasio though turned down the offer, implying that Delinda was not as chaste as it appeared after examination, however since the issue was debated by the court medici , he let it slide like a fault of nature.




On 5th May 1121 Pope Innocentius II, the once Cardinal Bertoldo Sassari, closed his eyes forever and was succeeded by Pope Leo X Scannabecchi. He was without doubt a man of God, who participated in the First Crusade for Jerusalem (it was doubtful though if he fought himself as he claimed) and with his election increased the trust to the moral authority of the Catholic Church, which had been wounded by the failures of the previous Popes.





In the spirit of betrothals and marriages which characterized the first years of reign of Serene Doge Baldassarre, was the tremendous success of agreeing upon a betrothal of his firstborn daughter Eleonora to Prince Anthimos Doukas, the heir apparent of the Greek Basileia. Through a series of reforms, the Empire chose its successor amongst elective vote, with the purpleborn having an advantage in their elective order. Baldassarre was most pleased that the Visconti would finally have the opportunity to share blood with the Emperors of the East, raising tremendously their family prestige. Of course, there were those in the family which did not pay heed to birth and, inspired by Baldassarre and his age difference, his brother Severino the thrifty clerk, who once upon a time journeyed to Saracen Malta on a trade journey, married a serving girl which he fancied.



Yet not all years were marriages and joy: an opportunity arose during the civil war in the Kingdom of Sicily for the Serene Doge to press the claim of Doge Giordano Visconti, the Doge of Amalfi upon Benevento. This struggle however would be covered in the next part of the chapter.