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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

adalephat

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Basic Info:

Country: Florence
Game Version: DW with Death & Taxes 9.5
Settings: all normal, except lucky nations, that`s set to random
Starting year: 1356
Goals:
-form Italy
-conquer & convert Judea, then release the Kingdom of Jerusalem
-optional: dismantle the HRE

The AAR is going to be narrative, I`ll post the first part soon.
 

adalephat

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Part I Introduction

The year 1356 saw the Repubblica Fiorentina in a most dangerous situation. The attempts of the Visconti dukes of Milan to enlarge their realm brought the Repubblica`s western neighbours Siena and Pisa under Milanese rule. The way-to-powerful Papal States held Romagna, while the Duchy of Urbino was a vassal of the Holy Father, bordering Firenze from the south. To the north were two similary small holdings, the duchies of Ferrara and Modena, all of them threatened by both North and South. While Florence was of the similar size as the mentioned Ferrara and Modena (familiarize yourself with these names, dear Reader - you will hear them a lot), she had a distinct economic advantage over the, being a major exporter of textil. The only protection what these states could muster was that of Bohemia - realm of the Heilige Romisher Kaiser then.

The city (unlike to her northern neighbours) had the luck to be a republic. The Gonfaloniere was to govern the city with the signoria, a council of the most powerful nobles. Both the Gonfaloniere and the Signoria were elected for 8 years. During this period two major factions of the nobility existed: one mainly composed of bankers and merchants, advocating a peaceful, defensive approach to other states, with extremely good papal relations and the other an alliance of landed aristocrats and manufacturers, firm supporters of an expansionist foreign policy. The former was led by the banker families Piombante and delgi Albizzi, joined by the wealthy merchants Vasari, while the later was led by the del Moro`s, a family of vast estates, claiming to be descendants of Marcus Aurelius himself.

The Milanese conquest of Pisa dealt a huge blow to the Florentine economy, closing the major trade route from and to Firenze. The Visconti in agreement with the Papal States have agreed to raise a heavy toll on the exported Florentine wares passing through their territories. This resulted in lower wages for the ciompi, radical wool carders, destabilising the rule of the nobility. A new trade route through Modena was established, but the costs of transporting the wares on sea were not much less than the tolls.
The refusal of Edward III of England to pay his debts towards the Florentine bankers was a catastrophe of the same magnitude to the bankers, as wwas the conquest of Pisa to the merchants and manufacturers.


That`s how the Repubblica Fiorentia was in 1356 - surrounded by hostile powers, her economy failing, torn by inner conflicts.
 
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Will be following this story, good luck!
 

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1. Conventini and the "Sacrilegious war" 1356-1361


The dangerous circumstances in 1356 led to the election of Iacopo Conventini as gonfaloniere. He was considered to be a rather moderate Papist (that is, member of the merchant fraction). As the Signoria was dominated by the Papists, the initial steps of the new government were to secure trade rights in both Genoa and Venice. This move did not relieve the nobility from the pressure mounted by the poorer strata of the city, so two new regiments were added to the Armata di Firenze.
The year 1357 was crucial in the future development of the Repubblica. A major war waged in North Italy resulted in the papal annexation of Modena, cutting the last untolled export route.
By 1359 it was clear, that the merchants of Firenze could not compete in any European centre of trade with even a slight chance of success. The Imperial faction (the landowners and the manufacturers) demanded immediate steps to lower the tolls. Yet another northern war decimated the Papal States` power, so much so, that the Holy Father was forced to acknowledge the independence of the Duke of Urbino, cutting the papal estates in two. When Austria has invaded Milan, the staunch ally of the Pope the Imperial faction knew - the time had come. Marco del Moro publicly petitioned the Signoria to "liberate the City of Modena and reconquer the land of Romagna, long time a Florentine province". The Imperial faction have bribed the ciompi, who staged a mass rally to show their support to the cause. The Papist faction in turn bribed the priests to preach that "attacking His Holiness, the Pope, Heir of St. Peter is heresy, diabolical and against God". This did not conviince the wool-workers, who firmly believed, that the tolls were the cause their povetry.
Thus in the late November of 1359 Iacobo Conventini was forced to declare war on the Papal States, later to be called as the "Sacrilegious war". The Florentine army was quick to invade Romagna, where in the short but bloody Battle of Bologna the Papal Forces (a horde of Swiss mercenaries) were utterly destroyed. In less, than 6 months both Modena and Bologna were under Florentine control.
In the meanwhile the Peace Treaty of Milan (in 1360) forced Milan to release Siena, Pisa and Parma as independent republics, opening a new era in Italian medieval history, known as "the Austrian Intervention".
As the Pope was still reluctant to cede both Modena and Romagna, the Florentine forces invested Rome herself, ending the "Sacrilegious war" in 1361. The remaining two years of Conventini`s rule are of no importance.

2. The Austrian Intervention 1361-1395

The victory generated enough support for the Imperial faction to gain almost complete control over the Signoria, making Marco del Moro the new gonfaloniere. His reign was characterized by clever diplomatic moves which eventually resulted in the reconquest of Pisa. In 1366 the Crown of Aragon and Castille, long in a union were officially became one, thus leading to the independence of Trinarcia. Del Moro managed to form an alliance with the Sicilian Kingdom to break free from the diplomatic isolation resulted after attacking the Pope.
During this period the political map of Italy looked like this: the Milanese and the Savoyard were the allies of the French, controlling the Northwest. Parma, Siena and Pisa were allies of the Austrian, dragged from war to war by them. The southern alliance of Naples, the Papal States and Urbino was counter-balanced by an alliance between Florence and Trinarcia, occasionally including Sardinia. The proud Genoa suffered a terrible losses in the Crimea, so much so, that they were even converted to the Orthodox heresy by Byzantium. Venice kept herself away from Italy by annexing Aquilea and allying the Kingdom of Hungary, an increasingly important factor in the region.
When a Burgundian victory over Austria (1369 )saw the alliance between the Hapsburg and Pisa dismissed, the Imperial faction saw the opportunity to conquer the city of Pisa, one of the best ports in the region.
Marco del Moro (named later as a military genius) have positioned the Armata di Firenze outside Pisan territory before declaring war. As a contemporary merchant wrote "all Italy rebelled against the Florentine. From Lombardia to Calabria rulers of all position have rallied under the banner of the Duke Of Urbino to protect the independence of Pisa". Fortunatey the Neapolitan army was occupied by Trinarcia, leaving only a the Milanese, the Urbinese, the Mantuan and the Papal troops to fight. As the Milanese and the Mantuan laid siege to Modena, while Urbino was attacking Bologna, the gonfaloniere quickly occupied Pisa, annexing them in the Treaty of Pisa (1270). Then the Florentine forces immediately attacked the Urbinese, who were forced to retreat to Ancona. The decisive batte of the war occured under Urbino, where the outnumbered Florentine army brutaly defeated the Urbinese and the Papal forces. A peace was signed, in which the Repubblica nominally conceded defeat - however Pisa was under Florentine rule at last!
The newly conquered territories of Modena and Romagna raised an important question. The nobility of the region (Emilian, by origin) was utterly hostile to Florentine rule, organising revolt after revolt. In order to solve this, the Signoria have expelled every single nobleman of Emilian origin, replacing them with Tuscan settlers.
The economic conditions of the state considerably improved, leading to the election of a moderate Papist, Luigi Piombante. His rule (1372-1386. was elected twice, but died during his second term) was a rule of peace. He spent all of his efforts in integrating the newly conquered territories. The nominal participation in various Trinarcian wars should not deceive the historian - not a single Florentine soldier died iin them. During his second term the Austrian oppression of Siena and Parma became increasingly difficult to endure. The Republic of Siena was forced -horribile dictu- to give up her independence, while Parma was forced to pledge loyalty to the Austrian crown.
All this changed, when Austria (Heilige Romischer Kaiser then) was attacked by France, Milan and Hungary. The newly elected Eustachio degli Albizzi, a formidable diplomat, was easily persuaded by the Imperial faction to claim Siena. Along with Urbino, the Papal States, Naples and Trinarcia he forged the Leauge of Rome (1392) to expell the Austrians form Italy. Siena was quickly invested and conquered. Then the Florentine army under the command of Alberto del Moro was sent to aid the French at Milan, where the entire Austrian army was wiped out. Parma was sieged too, but the Austrian did not concede the loss of these territories, so the Florentine eventually laid siege to Lienz, resulting in the Treaty of Venice (1395, ceding both provinces to Florence.

3. A Most Formidable Book and the consequences - the establishment of the Kingdom of Tuscany 1395-1401

Eustachio degli Albizzi stayed in office as acting gonfaloniere, while the army marched home from Austria. As Florence had virtually no forces except the Armata di Firenze, still in Austria, the risk of revolt grew, when the Sienese Ambrosius Sienesis, a professor of law at the University of Siena wrote a most disturbing book titled "On the Sources of Authority" In this book the scholar derived from the Bible and other authoritative sources, that the rule of the city of Florence over other cities is illegal, against God`s will, and clearly tyranny, as neither the inhabitants of Siena, nor a higher power tasked them to govern these provinces. The Duke of Milan, always inimical to the Repubblica used all his influence to spread these teachings, which where approved by the Pope in 1397. This was a huge blow for the devoutly religious Papist faction, as it was a huge threat against the Repubblica. In the absence of the army (long time an Imperial stronghold) thy resolved to solve the problem by obtaining license from the Pope himself to rule these territories. While initially they wanted to get license for the Repubblica Fiorentina, a certain Paolo Vasari claimed to be the descendant of the Margraves of Tuscany, thus the true ruler of the Repubblica. The Papists unanimously supported his claim, and the Pope in 1399 declared him King of Tuscany, and entrusted the Archbishop of Tuscany to crown him in Florence.
When the Armata di Firenze arrived home, they were bribed to accept the situation. This did not happen with Alberto del Moro, he was killed along with his whole family. His eldest son, Matteo, then ambassador to the Trinarcian King survived an assassination attempt, and fled to Hungary.
By 1401 the economic situation of the Kingdom of Tuscany was grave. The provinces off Pisa and Firenze were to bear the whole burned of maintaining a huge army and administration, while the particularly rebellious Modenese mounted an insurrection almost every year. The death of Paolo I Vasari led to a succession crisis, in which the army`s candidate fought with the Papist one. An ensuing civil war was prevented by Matteo del Moro, who recruited an army from the ciompi and in the Battle of Bridges fought inside the city obliterated the corrupted army.
In a famous scene he offered to restore the Repubblica with all the old institutions, but the poor starta wished him to rule as King of Tuscany (those historians, who considered this a comedy were until nowadays persecuted). In 1401 the Pope Pius II crowned Matteo del Moro King of Tuscany, Duke of Parma.

Thus ends the first part of the history of Florence. We have seen a tiny republic transferred to a medium-sized kingdom, who knows, where does this path lead?
 
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Part III Years of Consolidation: the Rule of Matteo I (1401-1425)

The year 1401 marks a new period in the history of Italy. Most historians agree, that the final replacement of the Repubblica Fiorentina with the newly established Kingdom of Tuscany was the first step towards a united Italy. While radical leftists usually question it, traditional historiography still considers the rule of the del Moro dynasty over various parts of the peninsula crucial (leftist reasoning goes like this: doesn`t really matter, who the ruler was, what matters is the socioeconomic trend projecting toward a united Italy).

Years of Peace

The first ruler of the del Moro`s, Matteo I was crowned King of Tuscany, Grand Duke of Parma on the 1st of July,1401. The situation of Tuscany was pretty grave then. While he rule over a territory ranging from the northern city of Parma to the Urbinese plains, only the two cities Pisa and Firenze were loyal to him. The economic situation was grave, 50 years of almost continuous warfare left its mark on the kingdom. Nor were the diplomatic conditions better -nominally allied with both Naples, the Papal States and Trinarcia, but threatened by all of them, not to mention the dangerously powerful Duchy of Milan, contesting the ownership of Parma.
The first eleven years were spent with consolidating the new holdings. The eleven years were well used - the provinces of Romagna and Modena at last accepted Tuscan rule, so much so, that they even adopted the Tuscan culture. The expansion of loyal territories generated both new income, and fueled a huge economic growth.

The heresy of Parma


After these years of peace and calm, the year 1412 saw Italy in war again. The Imperial faction has never had good papal relations - the fist years of Matteo`s rule were spent in an uneasy truce and nominal alliance with the Holy Father. But the question of Parma made this relation deteriorate even more. In 1409 a priest of Czech origin, one Jan Hus was appointed as archbishop of Parma. It was known, that he had unorthodox theses about certain parts of the dogma - but in 1411 the Concilium of Roma deemed his theses heresy, himself a heretic, and immediately sent a delegate to Matteo demanding the purging of the heresy. It was known, that the inhabitants of Parma were devoted followers of Hus` teachings - the delegate, a Neapolitan cardinal demanded the execution of every single one of them. The King Matteo refused him instantly, placing his subjects` interest before that of the Pope. This resulted in the 1412 dismissal of the League of Rome.
It was rumored, that the King of Naples was preparing a Crusade against Tuscany. Certain bribed officials gave notice about an assembling fleet in Naples and a call to arms was issued to all the nobles of Naples.

The First Neapolitan War


The King acted immediately in mounting a preventative attack on Tuscany`s adversaries. The Papal States remained neutral and were more or less forced to let the Armata di Firenze trough. The Kingdom of Naples managed to get the support of the two islands Sardinia and Corsica, who were easily convinced to join the war, as Tuscany was still lacking a fleet.
The war of 1413-1415 (latter called as the First Neapolitan War) resulted in utter victory. The Tuscan army crushed the Neapolitan at the Battle of Naples, besieging the capital, while Trinarcian forces occupied the southern parts of the kingdom. Sardinia and Corsica did not go unpunished neither, as a Trinarcian fleet landed armies in both isles.
The Peace Treaty of Rome (1415) brokered by the Pope let Naples go without territorial loss. However she was forced to break every alliance she had, and had to pay a sound reparation.
The two isles did not get away so easily. In the separate [b*]Treaty of Pisa[/b*] (1414) they were forced to acknowledge the King of Tuscany as Hereditary Overlord of Sardinia and Corsica.

Five Years of Peace and the Second Neapolitan War

Five years of peace followed the short, but bloody war. These years were not years of complete peace though - it was known, that King Ladislaus of Naples was preparing revenge for the defeat. The Kingdom of Naples virtually unharmed by war was able to field another huge army, while the Neapolitan fleet recovered from the Battle of the Straits of Messina (1413).
In 1419 war broke out again. This time Tuscanian troops occupied the whole country, and Matteo I was crowned King of Naples in 1420. The Pope did not Matteo enjoy his victory though. In 1421 along with Venice, Genoa, Milan and Savoya the Holy Father forced King Matteo to give the capital Naples with the province of Abruzzi back to Ladislaus.
The 1421 Treaty of Venice let Tuscany control the southernmost part of the peninsula, adding the provinces Foggia, Calabria and Apulia to the realm. From Matteo I, the Kings of Tuscany did not cease to call themselves Kings of Naples as welll, being sure, that one day they will retain control over the whole kingdom.

The Last Years

Matteo`s last four years were spent in peace and relative prosperity. The King, rather old and tired spent his life in Firenze, while his heir Cosimo ruled over the Neapolitan holdings (starting a tradition by this). A major diplomatic feat was achieved by him, before his death: the Serenissima Republica Venice offered an alliance of mutual aid and defense, acknowledging Tuscany`s growing power.

On the 25th of March 1425 Matteo I, King of Tuscany and Naples, Grand Duke of Parma, Hereditary Overlord of Corsica and Sardinia was found dead in his bed. All the realm mourned his passing; every inhabitant of Firenze was present on his funeral. The grief was the greats in Parma which became a haven of tolerance under his rule.
He made a powerful prosperous kingdom from the ruins of the Repubblica, he added both vassals, titles and territories to his crown, no wonder he is still remembered as a great king.
 
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A map would really help me visualize what is going on, also keep up the good work! Onwards to Milan!
 

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Maps I

Florence after the Sacrilegious War:



After the reconquest of Pisa:



Tuscany in the eraly years of Matteo I`s rule:



Tuscany before the Mantuan War (coming today, hopefully)





Note that by 1440 Austria owns only one province (Ostmark). At one point she was forced to release Tirol and Steiermark, and then Hungary annexed her. About then the game became buggy and Austria-Hungary (no joke) came to existence owning only Lienz. Then I decided to remove him fro the sake of historical plausibility and gave Lienz to Tirol
 

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Part IV Years of Glory and Pain - Cosimo I 1425-1444

Crusade against Genoa

The death of Matteo I found his heir Cosimo del Moro prepared to take over the kingdom. He inherited a prosperous, well-governed realm. His father`s work has borne fruits: Tuscany was at last in peace, more than 25 years passed, since war ravaged it. This was to change: Cosimo was a warlike man, raised among soldiers. His rule saw two major wars, first of them is the Cleansing of Genoa.
The alliance with Venice brought a most important change in the economy of Tuscany. The textile manufacturers gained access to Venice`s enormous trading network. A set of trade agreements were negotiated, which resulted in a mutually advantageous Venetian monopoly over the export of textile and wine. The abolition of all customs imposed on Tuscan goods by Venice had profound consequences in redirecting Tuscany`s trade from Genoa to the Venetian centres of trade Venice and Triest.
The Republic of Genoa couldn`t let this happen. The Tuscan trade composed more, than half of all the trade conducted in Genoa. While still dominant in the Black Sea, the now not-that-important merchant republic was basically embargoed by all Catholic nations for following the Orthodox heresy.
In 1426 government officials arrested a group of agents, who admitted that they were sponsored by the consuls of Genoa to support widespread revolt in the Neapolitan aand Parman parts of the realm. They were immediately executed - but other provocateurs followed them, infiltrating almost every province of the kingdom.
The King Cosimo decided to punish the heretics and in 1427. While nominally it was a war over the Genoese provocation, all the Christendom knew, that the Pope himself blessed the Tuscan troops and urged them to clean the heresy. War was declared, and the Armata di Firenze inflicted a crushing defeat on the Geonese army. However the war has just began - for the Kings of Lithuania, Muscovy and Ryazan decided to help their fellow Orthodox state and major trading partner by destroying a joint Trinarcian-Venetian-Sardinian expedition besieging the Genoese forts of Kaffa and Azow. Lithuania, whose leading role among the Orthodox was unquestioned managed to bring the Kingdom of Sweden to the war. Surprisingly the Swede not only honored the call, but launched an expedition against Calabria. The newly established Armata di Napoli was quick to destroy the descendants of the Normans, who then offered a white peace.
Genoa il Superbe has fallen in 1428. A huge part of the population was massacred - the others were converted to the one true faith. The proud repubic was forced to renounce all claims on Corsica, Sardinia and Nice, furthermore a large sum of reparation was extorted. The eastern Orthodox kings ceased the hostility soon - Genoa was punished and Catholic again.

The Mantuan War

The City of Mantua has long been an obstacle on the major trade route leading on land to north. Her ceaseless hostility to the Kingdom of Tuscany and her alliance with the Dukes of Milan was a source of constant threat to Tuscany. After the humiliation of Genoa Cosimo decided to take this important city. He knew that this was an effort unparalleled in the history of Italy - attacking Mantua would call both Milan and the Bavarian Kaiser to war. He knew that he could cope with Milan - however inviting the Kaiser and his many allies to fair Italy and then defeating them was another matter.
Realizing the extent of his new undertaking Cosimo passed a set of administrative and military reforms resulting in the formal establishment of an Armata di Napoli. By 1441 he collected all forces Tuscany could muster - both financial and military.
The Armata di Napoli was shipped to Parma, where it was united with the Armata di Firenze - the king himself took command over the host. On the 21st of July 1441 Cosimo I, King of Tuscany and Naples declared war on the Duchy of Milan and her allies. Both Venice and Trinarcia expressed their distaste for such a war - thus only the Isles of Corsica and Sardinia were called to aid their overlord. Milan was immediately and openly aided by Mantua, Bavaria, and a host of small German principalities.
The declaration of war caught the Milanese unprepared - they were immediately attacked and beaten in the First Battle f Milan The retreating army was pursued to Mantua, where they were defeated again. On the 3rd of August 1441 the Milanese army led by the Duke Visconti unconditionally surrendered.
Mantua was quickly invested, when word came, that an enormous Bavarian army invaded Parma. The Bavarian army outnumbered the Tuscan by almost a half - but the Italian virtue and the superior drill won the day - the Bavarian was repelled for good. Mantua has fallen on the new year`s first week - the province was imediatley added to the realm of Tuscany. Another year of warfare followed, which resulted in the annihilation of several German armies and the subsequent occupation of all the Duchy of Milan.
The Peace Treaty of Cremona concluded another victorious war. The Dukes of Milan publicly accepted the Kings of Tuscany as "First among the Princes of Italy" and ceded Cremona.
Cosimo couldn`t enjoy his victory long. In 1444 he was poisoned by a Geonese agent. His son Fernando (later proclaimed as a saint, now patron saint of Italy ) followed him.
 

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Shit happened, my savegame got corrupted (amateour mistake I know) Do apologise to anyone who read this thread. Eventually I went so far as to recreate Jerusalem, and own everything to form Italy, and was just waiting for cores. Im sorry guys, if I have time I might try something else.