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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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TheAnguishedOne

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Sure, marrying your niece is a scandal to the Pope... but who cares when she's a genius? :p

Poor Delinda. I had hope for her, and all she's accomplished is being seduced and failing to secure an alliance.
 

Crimson Drakon

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Sure, marrying your niece is a scandal to the Pope... but who cares when she's a genius? :p

Poor Delinda. I had hope for her, and all she's accomplished is being seduced and failing to secure an alliance.

Well.. I wanted to roll the dice once more for the genius trait..since it is ironman, they are not loaded :D

Also their relationship is not per se uncle and niece, but rather first cousins- once removed or second uncle...anyways... they were kinsmen in game terms :)

As of Delinda, it is all that billygoat's fault, I am certain he put his hand on Francesca too and other noble patrician women (as a master seducer, who could resist him?) But maybe the future will show prominence for little Ubaldo? :)
 

Crimson Drakon

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Arc I
Chapter 5
Part 2:
Pisa expands to Benevento/ Gargamel’s Expedition to Pisa/ The Fight for Alexandria/ Clash with Byzantium/ The Capture of Palermo and Capua


“Stay out of this, please Francesca. You are too young to have an opinion on how the Republic is to be run and who should have which titles. These authorities belong to the Serene Doge, which is me the last time I checked…” said Baldassarre. His expression turned into a sneer while Francesca became red with anger

“Do you find it logical to shower with offices and titles the man who attempted to murder you, along with your deceased brother Rainero, to be a sound choice? Why do you fight his battles? Even his choices reflect poorly on his character…he married this African woman from the edge of the world, for what reason?”

Baldassarre sighed

“He was striving for il Libro… he crossed the Pillars of Hercules in an attempt to reach the end of the world, in India, by crossing around Africa… then he was beset by Moorish pirates and ended in the mythical land of Mali where…look, I am not going to tell you again the story of your uncle Giordano, please , spare me the effort..”




(Image of an Saracen king of West Africa, believed to be Mansa Musa, Emperor of Mali. From the Catalan Atlas of 1375)

“He probably became mad there or that African witch drove him crazy, whatever you prefer” said Francesca. Her mumbling made Baldassarre laugh, she was a child at heart still

“I too loathe Giordano, I may have forgiven him but not forgotten. In his delusion of grandeur, he declared himself Doge of Amalfi to rival me and meticulously worked to find claims to expand his demesne. In the end though, he benefits the Republic and thus works for the common good of Pisa.” replied Baldassarre. He continued “ And as you know our Republic favors the prestigious and the senior. If the Visconti are to become Doge Elects once more, I may as well prepare a candidate having all the qualities to be elected..”

Francesca replied


“What about merit? Are you not concerned what that man will do if he leads the Republic?”

“I won’t be around when that happens… but I would have served the Familia as I would have owed to do”

-----------

It was yet another heated debate between Francesca and Baldassarre which would end up being solved privately in their “battlefield”.




During their lifespan, in his ambition to sire a son, Baldassare and Francesca would procure five offsprings, four daughters and one son who was named Gerardo after his father. The youngest child, Paola, was stricken by the sins of their fathers for she was an inbred youngling and from her early ages of life showed that she would face severe difficulties.




It was about those sins that, unknown how, a Papal Legate Command was granted for a foolhardy adventurer named Gargamel de Blois to conquer Pisa and reinstitute moral order in its decadence. Needles to say, the adventurer broke his face from trying to compete with the flourishing Republic of Western Italy. The man was captured and send back to his homeland, his zealotry ridiculing himself.





Such short span in time but successful was the conquest of Benevento on behalf of Doge Giordano Visconti some years back. The battle of Siponto on 24 March 1123 judged the conclusion of the war and Pisa expanded to Benevento, having access to the Adriatic in addition (and contesting indirectly Venetian monopoly).





Encouraged by his victory in Benevento, Baldassarre, after coaxing Serene Doge Gelasio of Venice with the result to seal an alliance, decided to pursue his Oriental Ambitions and acquire in his grasp the Alexandrine sources in order to reach the End of the World. Having Yehoshua’s documents, the war for Alexandria would begin, with the lessons acquired from Pietro’s endeavor learned, he hoped.





A large army of mercenaries was contracted, namely the Company of St. George and the Company of Stars, along with the levy forces of the Republic of Pisa. The Venetians too assembled a token force and the blockade of Alexandria was imminent. The bulk of the Pisan forces washed ashore in the port and after recuperating from the sea journey, they began immediately to besiege the area. However the Fatimids would not leave them breathing space and without delay a grand battle took place in Abukir, with the Pisani scoring a sound victory.





The desert however would prove to be a formidable enemy by itself, as the logistics for maintaining the battle efficiency of the mercenaries and the levy troops became forbidding each day it passed. To recover from attrition, the siege of Alexandria was broken and the troops fell back in Al Alamayn and the Pisan supply harbor. Unfortunately, the Fatimids recovered from their defeat and with mass force they assaulted the Pisani and their allies, crushing their resistance.





Bad fortune, one after the other, became commonplace. Several galleys, with the prospect of reaching default, mutinied and enlisted themselves as pirates. Worse still, the alliance with the Venetians dragged Pisa into a war with the Greek Basileus himself over some petty issue. It could not have been more woeful than this. To ensure a money supply, Baldassarre resorted to relic trade and harassment of the local sheikhs so he would not raid their trade routes. Doge Giorgano set his “coin hounds” on the loose and the Pisani were bled dry from the war taxes and special donations for the Alexandrine cause. The Comune Pisani was boiling, ready to explode any moment





Baldassarre knew he had faced defeat when, as the last remnants of the Al Alamayn harbor sailed back to Pisa, he was reported that a massive army of twenty six thousand Fatimids and Mamelukes burned down the trade post and enslaved any who were not quick enough to flee. He would enter negotiations with the Caliph and the global language- money decided the settlement of peace: Serene Doge Baldassarre paid outrageous amounts of gold coins as war damages to the Fatimid Caliph, bankrupting Pisa. It was fortunate that the Al Alamayn harbor, under special clause, would perpetually remain a Pisan territory (for the Caliph was aware the smuggling that took place of Western goods through that area and did not wish to cut off his access with the Occident)




For several months, the Republic faced dire times, as the lack of funding increased illegal activities which were left unchecked. Serene Doge Baldassarre pledged to reimburse the public treasury, although he was forced to do so, from his family funds and almost in a year Pisa returned to a positive account, which would help her stand on its feet once more. Indeed, the accumulation of a modest sum of money allowed Pisa to strike once more into an act of opportunity when, yet again, the Sicilians were fighting amongst themselves and this time the prize would be the county of Palermo.





The people however were becoming tired of war and longed for a change in the leadership of the Republic. Baldassarre, while the war for Palermo was ongoing, would spend vast amounts of money to support Giordano as the Doge Elect, through promises of tax returns and eventual peace. Although disillusioned, the tribunes would renew their vote of confidence towards Giordano, the Gold Hound, as his political enemies would call him.





To divert public opinion from the increasing pressure, a major discovery took place in Cagliari. Apparently a witch was responsible for the poor harvest of the island and through the Prince of Lies, she cursed the Pisani into ill fortune. There was no other way to treat this malady: she was burned to the stake and the people unleashed their resentment upon the foul witch. Several months later, the good news of the victory for Palermo raised the spirits of the Comune, as the Republican family enlarged.



Likewise, as Pisa enlarged further, the city of Capua was ripe for the taking, having become isolated from the Kingdom of Sicily and having as allies merely the Greek Count of Neapolis. The ever expansive Doge Giordano had found claims for the city, which were promptly pressed. Not much could be written about this war, with a major battle in Sorrento determining the fate of the Capuan and Neapolitan forces. By February 2
nd of 1136, Capua was forced to capitulate to Pisa, marking the end of Lombard rulers on this hallowed by ancient Roman history city.



But even these tales of victories and the woes at Alexandria would seem small in comparison to what the Christian World would once more pledge their life and soul for its success….


 
Last edited:

TheAnguishedOne

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The war for Alexandria went poorly, but this was still an overall successful period for Pisa. Still though, this is an interesting possibility. The Republic of Jerusalem!
 

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The war for Alexandria went poorly, but this was still an overall successful period for Pisa. Still though, this is an interesting possibility. The Republic of Jerusalem!

The coffers are yet to be so rich as to consider the extravagant cost of an oversea venture... but as you mentioned, Pisa has expanded into Southern Italy and begins to overshadow potential rivals like Genoa and Venice. As of the Republic of Jerusalem, it is a worthy goal if Pisa can assemble a force equal or greater from the Fatimids and wrestle it from their hands
 

alscon

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The Gold Hound seems to be a very pleasant character to have around. Of course I hope that Baldassare may reign long and well, but Giordano would make for great story-telling :D.
 

Crimson Drakon

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Arc I
Chapter 5

Part 3: The Second Crusade for Jerusalem/ The Wedding of Eleonora Visconti and Anthimos Doukas, Heir Apparent of Byzantium/ Ubaldo Panico becomes Bishop/ The Alliance between Byzantium and Pisa

In the Year of our Lord 1135, in the churches of the Christian Kingdoms of the Latin rite, much praise and prayer was given for the good fortune of the Second Crusade for Jerusalem, with those who joined given absolution for their sins, however sinister they may have been. Not all were rich to afford the indulgences and so, the poor and perhaps those who wished to make their name known signed up for the salvation of the Holy Land from the Shia Fatimid Caliph, who time and again humiliated Christendom.

The Maritime Republic of Pisa was no different, even more so it was influenced with such proximity to the Papal State. The Duomo echoed the fiery speeches of the Church, how Pisa should join the endeavor and redeem itself for the many sins the city had accumulated. One could only imagine the implied tone of the clergy, which pointed indirectly to the unsanctioned, by Papal authorities, wedding of Serene Doge Baldassarre and his second-nice Francesca. The defective birth of Paola showed God’s irritation towards this union. And there was only one way for redemption and return to the path of the Lord: the assistance of Pisa to the Second Crusade

“This priest is becoming annoying ……who is he?” inquired Baldassarre. He shifted from his seat as the ceremony continued

“My lord, tis the Bishop Alighiero of Ardara, invited here by the Cardinal of Pisa for support towards the Crusade. It seems the alms are not enough to fund the troops needed for this holy cause…” replied Giordano, the steward of the Republic and Doge by his own right in Amalfi

“I will note that name…” he said and paused for a minute. After the Bishop resumed preaching, Baldassarre continued whispering during the ceremony to his brother

“…if we join the Crusade, will he silence himself? I cannot for the love of God continue this constant accusation for wedding Francesca, they probably envy me because I could do so in the end…”

Giordano shrugged

“I doubt it… Bishop Alighiero will always find something to complain about the Visconti, ever since you turned to the Kaiser for help and his Pope. But there are ways…”

“..go on…”

“…well..I was thinking..”

A loud cough interrupted their speech. For a moment, they paused, then began again when the time was right

“…why don’t we,cousin, join the Crusade…become war heroes and… find a man more grateful for the position of Bishop. Even promote him for Cardinal and why not the Pope, with our money. We will always then have a reliable negotiator when it comes to church matters…and as you have seen, our faith moves mountains..” suggested Giordano

Baldassarre let a smug smile come out

“For your sake Giordano I hope your plan works..if you are caught I will gladly send you to jail and strip you of all your titles I have fought for you, I still haven’t forgotten about your pathetic attempt to kill me…”

Giordano gave an icy stare at Baldassarre. However he nodded gravely, thinking on the back of his head to prove his brother that this time, Giordano would not fumble once more.

And with such motives, Pisa joined the Second Crusade for Jerusalem, not for the love of God and Church but for more mundane reasons. The Republic had the money and the ships to dispatch a capable force, though by no means fit to fight the Shia Caliphate on its own. Nevertheless Pope Leo X did not turn away any help offered as, yet again, the primary Kingdoms of Latin Christendom shrugged the cries of the Italian Pope.


The Pisani forces assembled and to their aid, the Catalan Company was hired to fill the gaps of the levy. As provisions and logistics were prepared, the time came for Eleonora, the first daughter of Serene Doge Baldassarre, to become a legal adult, the promise of betrothal to Anthimos Doukas, heir apparent of the Greek Basileia awaiting to be honored.

Baldassarre thought what a more splendid way to show Pisan strength than by sailing with the Crusader Army to the Imperial Capital of Constantinople itself, accompanying his daughter to her new husband. So it was that the army of the Pisans did not sail immediately for Jerusalem but made a stop to Constantinople, acting as a honor guard to this prestigious event.




When the Crusaders arrived at 1st of June 1136 at Constantinople the Greeks were alarmed that they were under invasion and the bells rang without stop to warn the citizens and prepare the defenders. Fortunately, the misunderstanding was solved and when the beautiful Eleonora descended from the Republican Flagship Galley, they were smitten by her beauty and grace. Anthimos too seemed pleased and the wedding festival was most glorious. Baldassarre above all was shining with pride and glee, that the Visconti would manage to unite themselves with imperial blood. The merriment though would not hold for long, as the more temperate soldiers and officers beckoned for Jerusalem where according to their words “The Saracens slew and roasted each Crusader that set his foot on Holy Land and it was divine duty to restore justice where it lacked”.



By July 1136 the Pisans were in sight of the shores of Beirut and the trails of smoke betrayed conflict. With haste, and over eagerness to engage the Saracens, an amphibious assault was commanded as to join forces with the Crusaders who besieged the city of Beirut itself. It was in vain: the Fatimids crushed the ill prepared Pisans and their Crusader allies, marking it a black day for the Crusade itself.




Retreat was sounded and the 5 thousand men that survived, on Pisan account, began to siege Ascalon. Meanwhile, Baldassarre stressed to the Pope Leo X the Apostle the need for a young man by the name of Ubaldo Panico to be nominated for the Bishopric of Ardara, as he proved himself most pious in his religious duties towards the Crusading army of Pisa. The Pope had no reason to disagree, seeing that Baldasssarre had finally walked the path of the Lord and returned to the true shepherd of Rome.




As with every overseas attempt of Pisa, expenses began to pile up and the flow of Crusaders was beginning to trickle. The sense of failure began to linger on the armies and with the excuse of low morale and the need to recuperate, Serene Doge Baldassarre lifted the siege of Ascalon and the Pisans returned home, having accomplished only the name (and the defeat) of Crusading. The Holy Father however had no reason to chastise the Serene Doge, for even he began to feel the economic pressure of maintaining a fightworthy force abroad.


With Baldassarre back to Pisa, the need for the second plan arose, that is the complete silence of Bishop Alighiero. It was hard for him: he had never resorted to cloak and dagger intricacies before, not to mention a man of the Church. Yet it was necessary, as Giordano assured him, after all, it would be for the good of the Familia. He owed it to Ubaldo’s deprived fortune, having grown away from his mother, Delinda Panico-Visconti. Nevertheless Baldassarre felt stressed and guilty, truth be told. In the end, the deed was done, through the “contacts” of Giordano. Brigands ambushed the Bishop’s carriage and made the necessary actions, with Ubaldo becoming the new Bishop of Ardara.




It was ironic in a sense that these same brigands would be accounted for when Baron Ugo Visconti of Sassari entouraged in Amalfi and demanded compensation from Doge Giordano for his losses. Since Baldassarre was now also an accomplice, he deemed to repay Baron Ugo from his coffers, making both claimants happy. Not all his decision however where based on the principles of justice but rather on utilitarian concerns: it was noted that in order to drive the Palermo Thieves’ Guild from business, he paid them as well, to relocate preferably to the Kingdom of Sicily, thus harming his reputation of a man of the law.



On 13 March 1139, news arrived from Constantinople. Basileus Anthimos Doukas became elected as the ruler of the Greek Basileia, with his daughter Eleonora becoming effectively the Basilissa of the Empire. While it was sad for Basileus Symeon to have passed away, the man with whom he brokered the betrothal, the fact that Eleonora Visconti ruled side by side a Greek Basileus, and he was alive to see it, brought him much joy. He did not delay any longer: he proposed an alliance between the Republic of Pisa and the Greek Basileia, prospecting when the disastrous Crusade to have finished, to declare war on the infidel Shia Caliph and capture Alexandria as he had hoped. His son in law agreed with no hesitation, as Eleonora had already consummated the marriage and a newborn son heralded the continuing glory of the Doukas rule.




The Grim Reaper though had another opinion on the plans of the mortal Serene Doge Baldassarre: in 30 December 1139, he grasped the quill from Baldassarre’s hand, with his ambitious plots coming to end. The new Serene Doge of the Republic would become Giordano Visconti, already the rumors growing that it was gold that silenced the logical voices to break the chain of Visconti Doges lest the Republic becomes an Elective Despotism. The “Gold Hound” lived up to his reputation.

 
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Crimson Drakon

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The Gold Hound seems to be a very pleasant character to have around. Of course I hope that Baldassare may reign long and well, but Giordano would make for great story-telling :D.

Yes Giordano does have the character traits for a most interesting time period though I do not think I would have liked to live there when he was about... I cannot count the times he helped out with his extra tithes and judging from his character, he probably would have cornered the poor of Pisa :)
 

TheAnguishedOne

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An alliance with the Byzantine Empire is certainly excellent news. The Crusade may fail, but success for Pisa is on the horizon. The Gold Hound sounds like the perfect ruler for such a time as well.
 

Crimson Drakon

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An alliance with the Byzantine Empire is certainly excellent news. The Crusade may fail, but success for Pisa is on the horizon. The Gold Hound sounds like the perfect ruler for such a time as well.

A shame though that with the death of Baldassarre, the dynastic link needed to continue the alliance is broken, so we begin from scratch again. Anyhow, the presence of a Visconti on the imperial chronologies was a goal on its own, which was achieved.
 

Crimson Drakon

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Arc I
Chapter 6: Giordano Visconti- Seventh Serene Doge of Pisa

Part 1: Fickle Love/ Giordano Manages the Business of the Republic/ The Failure of the 2nd Crusade for Jerusalem/ The Trade Expedition to Murcia/ The Conquest of Napoli and the 2nd War for Mersa Matruh

“Yes!....It is done… finally!!” Giordano roared. His eyes shone with an evil gleam as Siya removed the last pin from a doll which eerily resembled a man with curly hair and a mustache.


“He is now with the spirits…he wouldn’t even know what hit him” she said. Siya then took the ragged doll and cast it into the fireplace. The figurepiece immediately burst into flames and a crackling noise was heard. It was magic and dark one at it.


He kissed her with passion. Despite his bad luck when he crossed the Pillars of Hercules and when his ship was wrecked off the coast of Mali, he knew inside him when he saw her that she would have been his destiny or at least a part of.


Siya gave Giordano two worthy sons, the most prominent being Cassio, who took from his father’s skill and was considered Midas Touched. Yet for all the time they had been married, she resented his family. For them she was always the “Witch from Mali” and the two children she bore took from her physical appearance and not from Giordano, a sign of her malice.


Giordano tried his best to make her reconsider. She would not. With time, Giordano became less and less infatuated with his exotic “prize” and considered ways to gain from her dissatisfaction with the Familia… day by day he poisoned her ears with the slander, especially of Baldassarre, which made Siya in the end uncover her long forgotten West African traditions and put them to use.


Baldassarre was no more… and now he was the Serene Doge, as planned.


As Giordano kissed Siya, he suddenly pushed her away.


“You have done me a great service Siya… therefore I release you. I loved you as no other woman in my life but now times have changed. I am Serene Doge and you are the Witch from Mali… see for yourself. You hexed my cousin and he is now dead…”


Siya rolled her eyes. Was Giordano mad?


“…Giordano…have you forgotten that you instructed me to….”


He interrupted her


“I did no such thing… and I will write to the Pope to annul our marriage immediately. I do not think he will refuse…and who would he believe, me , the Crusader of Jerusalem or you…?”


Siya hissed


“You are a bastard Visconti like all the rest! I should have known better… I curse you Giordano, I curse you to grow antlers so big that you wont be able to cross the door!!”

She slammed the door behind her, muttering curses and obscenities. He rubbed his beard, pondering whether it was better for him to “silence” her for good…it wasn’t a thing he was unused to….but even for him, it was too much. She was the mother of his children and besides, a magic woman like her and it would be entirely possible she would have instructed the snake to bite himself. No, it was for the best. He had the future ahead of him now and though it was love at first, now it had served its purpose



A love passes with another love or so his grandfather Gentile d’Appiano, the Second Serene Doge of Pisa proclaimed. Obviously a statement entirely true for a hedonist, as was Gentile, however Giordano decided to put this motto to the test and not take it for granted: no sooner than he was divorced, he paid a considerable sum to be wed to a Greek noble lady of the Tarchaneiotes family of Cilicia, bringing prestige upon himself for marrying a woman of noble birth. Her name was Evanthia and she already was a widow, her former husband had died under suspicious circumstances or so the court alleged. Giordano though did not mind, he knew how to deal with suspicious circumstances himself or so he believed. With haste the preparations were made and, living to his reputation as the “Gold Hound”, a Royal Aid Duty was collected to pay for the expenses.



However the words of Siya repeated themselves in recurrent nightmares, making Giordano wake up anxious at night and rest little. His worst fears were realized when Evanthia announced she was pregnant: Giordano panicked and could not believe the child was his but rather Evanthia was unfaithful, if not with another man, then with some other devilish West African entity. He had to be sure: he paid the maids to spy upon Evanthia and report to him anything suspicious.




As Evanthia’s pregnancy progressed, the maid hired by the Serene Doge paid close attention to his wife and reported in detail her movements. She reassured him that his wife was faithful and there was no reason for concern. Giordano felt relieved temporarily. However he tormented himself , Evanthia’s foreign culture adding to his suspicion and could never feel completely safe about his wife’s fidelity.




To disperse his thoughts from his personal life, Serene Doge Giordano focused on the business of Pisa and balancing the relationships between the various guilds and the Patrician Houses. It came to him as a surprise when the Caetani, known for their vendetta with Visconti, asked from the Serene Doge to intervene and redistribute the wealth of the Republic to less fortunate Patrician Houses such as theirs. This move was met with severe protests from the Familia Alliata, which had gained considerable influence from the coastal trade of the Tyrrhenian Sea from Piombino to Amalfi. Furthermore there were concerns from the Pisan clergy on the suitability of Ubaldo Panico to be the Court Chaplain of Pisa when there were other clerics with broader theological knowledge. Giordano, like his brother Pietro the Fifth Serene Doge of Pisa, decided in an arbitrary matter and closed the issue through personal conviction in favor of Ubaldo Panico- the cadet house of Visconti.




The institution of the Church would be shaken once more as the failure of the second Crusade for Jerusalem was formalized. To his grief, Pope Leo X the Apostle passed away and he was succeeded by Pope Caelestinus II Gozzadini, a holy man known for his studies in theology and scholarly disposition and participation in the Crusades, yet flawed with wroth and sloth, especially over weeding out the professed vices of Bishops and clergymen who were loyal to the Papal State.





The business policy of Serene Doge Giordano had mixed success: as he was seen as more in favor of Papal policy, having participated in the Papal of Rome sanctioned Crusade for Jerusalem, trade with the Holy Roman Empire was influenced negatively. The contempt of the German mercatorial trade ventures became evident when Count Amadeus of Geneve circumvented the Pisani tradeports and preferred to negotiate with Ancona, which was officially a part of the Holy Roman Empire. However, the Visconti trade post of Al Alamayn in Egypt, being a smuggler harbor than an actual organized hub of trade, became the source of an important cargo of spices which were in high demand in Pisa at the time. Visconti reputation soared and the people forgot for a moment the adverse relationships with the Holy Roman Empire.



It dawned to Cassio, the steward of the Republic and Giordano’s son that as Pietro and Severino in the past, it would be in the interest of the Comune Pisani to seek new trade ports, especially those in the Western Mediterranean which the Genoese were beginning to set their eye upon, after having been beaten into relentless wars by the feudal lords of the Holy Roman Empire and Venice. After much planning and consideration, the trade expedition would focus on the trade port of Murcia, held by Emir Mubashir II the named Cruel Tahrid. There was resentment concerning the rumor of him torturing and impaling Christians, as the war with the nearby Spanish kingdoms was fierce but Giordano decided to risk it. He would gamble on the physical appearance of Cassio, who resembled a Moor, to bring him to the trade table. Needless to say no priest was invited, after recalling the tale of Severino Visconti in Malta.





Giordano had met Saracens during the Second Crusade for Jerusalem and knew that they were avid hagglers. Surprisingly, Mubashir the Second, despite his reputation, was most inviting and welcomed the prospect of Pisan money flowing to Murcia, as he admitted he was struck hard by the Spanish holy wars and he was in fact an Emir only in name, to his shame. Giordano sympathized and the deal was almost struck when Cassio, forgetting his manners, took the bread loaf with his hands and cut it with the left hand and placed it back, when it was customary to use only the right hand for eating as the left was considered “impure”. Mubashir became annoyed, believing the Pisani were above the Christian peasant manners he was used to seeing in his realm. But Giordano intervened, claiming it was an ancient custom found in the Bible to thus treat the bread as to pay respect to the Lord, citing in fact a specific verse of the Good Book (imaginary of course). Mubashir looked perplexed and shrugged in the end, taking care not to eat from that particular breadloaf. After some hours of exchanging pleasantries and stories, the deal was closed and Giordano and Cassio returned home with fine strong Spanish horses and an assortment of exotic Moorish goods.




Those years were connected to Pisani memory as an age of prosperity and progress. While Cassio took the steps of his father and collected tithes for the improvement of the Comune , still the people saw their money invested in new constructions and the carpenters guild flourished, taking commissions to improve the Visconti Palazzo .The fiscal optimism would lead Giordano Visconti on one hand to capture the county of Napoli and oust the Spartenos to their last demesne in Syracuse and on the other in 1145 to attempt to wrestle for a second time the city of Mersa Matruh in Al Alamayn, Egypt from the Fatimid Caliph, who by reports was facing difficulties in his realm after a two front war against Prester John and a title claimant from the Fatimid Dynasty. The armies mobilized with high morale as they would have as their leader the Crusader of Jerusalem, with the prospect to become war heroes in their own name...but only fate would determine if their dreams would be realized or remain a fantasy.


 
Last edited:

Nikolai

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Playing with fire there, are we Serene Doge...? It's a reason the Lord forbids to dabble with witches.;)
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Upsetting a witch... Yeah, that's not the smartest decision. I wonder how short his reign will end up being. Will Pisa elect his son, born from said witch?
 

alscon

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Giordano doesn't disappoint. Even making profit off his new marriage! :p
 

Crimson Drakon

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Upsetting a witch... Yeah, that's not the smartest decision. I wonder how short his reign will end up being. Will Pisa elect his son, born from said witch?

Giordano is an arbitrary, proud and deceptive man... perhaps he would believe that Siya would not have been capable of mortally harming him, as he is the father of her children in the end. He took a gamble, we will see how it will end up for him :) As of the electorate of Pisa, well, we should keep in mind that the Visconti are not the only house which actively pursuits for the succession candidacy ;)

Giordano doesn't disappoint. Even making profit off his new marriage! :p

Indeed, if you consider the royal aid duty was higher than the bride price!! :D
 

Crimson Drakon

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Arc I
Chapter 6
Part 2: The deportation of the Jews after the Pisan bankruptcy/ The Fraticelli Uprising of Italy/ The death of Basileus Anthimos and the wedding of Cassio Visconti to Princess Eudokia Doukas



10 September 1147

Most Serene Republic of Pisa, Italy


Admittedly on everyone’s ears, the Maritime Republic of Pisa was once again on the brink of destruction after another catastrophic war against the Fatimid Shia Caliph of Egypt, and if names are to be shared he was Caliph Gabri’el of Egypt. The Pisani spy reports were once more caught off guard as the Caliph aroused the patriotic sentiment of his Emirs and that of the Mameluke slave warriors and ushered them to defend their country once more from the greedy traders of Pisa. It did not help that in the first clashes of the Republic with the Fatimids that the Emir of Alexandria, Habil Ghanemid, a voice of conciliation between the extreme movements which proclaimed death to all infidels, died by Christian hands, the very men he was sympathetic towards to, in addition to the Jews. Verily, the Pisan troops and their mercenaries reached themselves all the way to Cairo and began to siege the capital, with the prospect to paralyze the Caliphate. But for what? The Caliph immediately mobilized his forces, a massive army of twenty three thousand troops, after defeating Yahya Fatimid’s the claimants troops and preached by vow to Allah that he would not rest until the Christian mongrels are thrown to the Coast of Egypt.

Giordano did not wish to risk his life further. He signed a peace treaty which effectively bankrupted Pisa and chaos broke far and wide in its domain, with the deficiencies growing day by day.




Shops and trade stalls were looted, with the local authorities unable to contain the riots. What was once the Gold Hound, the people would derogatively call Giordano the Dog and the milder voices the Unprepared. For a man who was proud of his heritage and his deeds, especially his ability to transform clay into gold, it was a big strike to his ego. Evanthia attempted to stand by his side but Giordano pushed her away, inherently believing she too was plotting for his downfall.

At this time of peril, his son Cassio and his nephew Chiaffredo Visconti, the acclaimed diplomat and speech writer, would invent the solution to the problems of Pisa. They only had to examine the historical past and see the deeds of the Second Serene Doge of Pisa, Gentile d’Appiano, the grandfather of Giordano. When the Jews demanded their money from Gentile, which he had spend on hosting magnificent parties to satiate his hedonist appetite, he deemed the debt forfeit and commanded that all Jews residing then in Pisa to expatriation, benefiting from their mass exodus and the property they left behind.

In a public speech in 10 September 1147, Serene Doge Giordano before a mob ready to tear him limb from limb, with the help of Chiaffredo, not only negated the effects of the bankruptcy but rather prompted the people to the Jews, for they were the collaborators with the Shia Caliph for their plight as to split the gain from Pisan hard-earned wealth. To lower any resistance, he pledged a part of the Jewish wealth to be distributed to the people as alimony for their troubles, thus rendering himself to the people's eyes as charitable as well. In this twist of madness, the Jewish quickly made off with the few valuables they could carry and once more drove to other lands which would be hospitable for their people.





With the deportation of the Jews, the Pisan treasury returned to the black but the damage was done: for a long time lawlessness prevailed and the death of the High Judge Severino Visconti, the Doge Elect of Pisa did not aid towards restoring order in the Republic. Instead, the actions of High Inquisitor Sinibaldo Visconti, the new Doge Elect, ushered an age of judge and jury, which would ultimately lead to a Visconti terrorism on the electorate.





Disillusioned from the defeat of the Papal of Rome Crusade for Jerusalem and Pope Caelestinus II slothfulness, the Fraticelli rose up in arms first in the Papal State itself and then into the Republic of Pisa, at Benevento. The size of the rebellion in the Papal State was beyond measure, with the Papal forces unable to quell it down and ,in turn, it ignited the sparks of strife in nearby provinces. The Fraticelli even went as far as to storm Rome itself, with the Pope barely escaping with his life. Some cardinals could not escape their grasp and were put to death. Inspired by their victory, Ubaldo the Fraticelli heresiarch rose his banner in Benevento, with the prospect of punishing the rampart simony of the Republic. However, the Pisans were prompt to muster an equal force and at Napoli the heretics were defeated. Ubaldo was chained and thrown into prison, never to see the light of the sun again.





During this time, bad news were received from the Basileia of the Greeks. Basileus Anthimos Doukas was killed in battle during another Jihad the Sunni Caliph had proclaimed for Anatolia and Giordano’s niece Eleonora, the daughter of the former Serene Doge Baldassarre Visconti the Wise, became the Empress Dowager of the Empire. Bad rumors involved her in adultery towards the former Basileus, as , by slander, the court doctors claimed she was a carrier of the commonly called Lover’s Pox. The mark was evident at her lips, making guesses uproar from where it came from and how it did so. However since she was the Empress Dowager, she was a person to be revered and the counter rumors of her sadistically enjoying the torture of her less favored ones made the bad tongues hush under the imminent threat of jail and even perhaps castration.





As the Republic recuperated from the shock of its bankruptcy, the people were beginning to respect the rule of the Visconti once again. The Republican Tribunes spoke highly of the work Giordano and Cassio implemented towards its reconstruction (which in irony they caused to begin with) and Baron Sinibaldo’s pursuit of justice, especially towards the Fraticelli heretics, was noted. To enhance his son’s prestige, after negotiations with Eleonora and the young Basileus Konstantios IV, Cassio was to wed a Greek Royal Princess by the name of Eudokia, of some Doukas branch. In fact, she was a porphyrogenete or purpleborn, which soared her personal prestige as a person even further. Of course, a bride price was negotiated and the deal was closed. On 29 November 1149 the wedding of Cassio Visconti and Princess Eudokia Doukas was held in Pisa, at the
Duomo under the auspices of Cardinal Ubaldo Panico.





Serene Doge Giordano was most pleased with the wedding and the festival which followed. However, due to his ambiguous nature, the wedding party of Cassio was thoroughly discussed in the circles of Pisan nobility. ….


29 November 1149


Palazzo Visconti, Pisa



“Wine! More wine for the newly wed!”


Everyone was enjoying themselves, dancing and singing as were the customs of the West. Cassio and Eudokia, the young princess, were spending time together, with Cassio speaking Greek to her, a language he had learned when he was negotiating the construction of a trade post in Kaneia on the island of Crete, as well as through his stepmother Evanthia Tarchaneiotes. Evanthia herself was most glad that she would have another person from the Basileia to speak, as she had become weary of speaking on a different language than her own.

Giordano was drinking from his goblet, eyeing Cassio. How similar he was to his mother…Siya… some months ago he heard news of her. Apparently she had closed herself in a monastery as a nun, to spare her the stigma of being an African witch. There she spend her life in prayer until at August 1149 she passed away, in grief of never being able to see her children again.


…..

“My Serene Doge? Do you want a canzone from us?”

A man in colorful clothing and an extravagant hat with a feather appeared before the face of Giordano in close proximity. He was startled and spilled his goblet





“No, stay away from me , will you?!” Giordano replied. The man took a bow and forgave himself, taking his lute and went to a group of other Patricians to entertain.


“I must do this…now is the time…I will catch the Alliata off guard..”


He asked for more wine and then in a rowdy voice he announced that he wished to speak.


“Today is a fine day my guests, to celebrate the wedding of my son Cassio and Eudokia, a Royal Princess of the Roman Basileus! But I also have greater news…”


The people stood silent


“Today, the new sottocappo of the Familia will be Cassio and the new High Judge of Pisa! So I decree, so it shall be done!” he said, as he drank from his goblet in one gulp





The guests looked each other in the eyes, not knowing whether the Serene Doge was jesting or he was serious. To circumvent the morals of the Republic, that is the Seniority succession, was allowed but not recommended…especially since Cassio was both young and…a Moor?

Sinibaldo rubbed his beard in anger. He then stormed off the wedding with the Familia Alliata sniggering. So much money did the Visconti spend to promote the senile Sinibaldo, only to be thrown away in a whim of a gift from father to son. With the new events, it became obvious to all that the Familia Alliata would become the new Doge- Elects of the Maritime Republic.

Giordano saw Sinibaldo leaving and half dazed from drinking, he went to the kitchen, thinking he would have gone there to drown his sorrow in food. However what his eyes saw reminded him of the days of conspiracy and he immediately narrowed his eyes, trying to recall where he had seen those faces that spoke in hushed voices…


 
Last edited:

TheAnguishedOne

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A new alliance with the Byzantine Empire... excellent. Glad to hear Cassio is the designated heir; hopefully he'll be elected. With his wife having a claim on the empire... Oh, it's nigh impossible, but imagine installing her as empress. Going from Pisa to the Byzantine Empire.
 

Nikolai

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An alliance with the Roman Emperor is not to be scoffed at.:)
 

Crimson Drakon

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A new alliance with the Byzantine Empire... excellent. Glad to hear Cassio is the designated heir; hopefully he'll be elected. With his wife having a claim on the empire... Oh, it's nigh impossible, but imagine installing her as empress. Going from Pisa to the Byzantine Empire.

Anything is possible in CK2 I suppose, maybe even reforming the Roman Republic? ;) Ah, we shall see, for the moment I would be most content if a foothold in Egypt is acquired as to promote the story and go further to the East :)

An alliance with the Roman Emperor is not to be scoffed at.:)

Definitely, though I believe the Roman Emperor scoffs Pisa and wishes exorbitant gifts and flattery to be persuaded to align himself with Italian merchants and townsmen :)