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Crimson Lionheart

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La Serenissima - The City of Fortune

YOuQ9i7AwBugba0lgw0uoHK_pjEtlE1NQs2nxnM727sNdNDIjTl3gbYBZkFdJeoiIxhQLR-o7QV6_uMAEdj_vnKvmRcDfMe__mNuOX4C7bSOo4e82rq4eSfjA4VqcaeBtkVZyea0

With the encouragement for the positive feedback received from my previous AAR, I have decided to start a whole new project earlier than expected. I’m looking to create something rather unorthodox than many AARs within the EU4 category, playing as a republic with ambitious aims. A Republican island surrounded by an ocean of monarchies.

The Republic of Venice, having built an economic and trading power from a city floating on water, had grown into a thriving nation existing in a precarious position. Even with the prosperity that it had built, the Republic was threatened from all sides by the great powers and monarchies that dominated the European continent. But even as the Serene Republic looks towards the future, a looming specter coming from the East might threaten everything.

This was the story of a city of fortune that would come to change the world.

Aims of this game
  • Maintain a united and powerful Republic of Venice
  • Unification of the Italian Peninsula under the Most Serene Republic
  • Achieve Thalassocracy in the Mediterranean
  • To become a Great Power within Europe
  • Ensure the survival of the Republic
  • Expand outside of Europe and create a formidable economic empire
Rules/House Rules:

1: No reloading saves
2: To ensure a ‘natural’ environment, I will be playing tall
3: I’am the Doge around here!

  • Institutions Only Spawn in Europe
  • No Merchant Republic Province Limit
  • Randomized, Balanced Elections
  • Cleaner Peace Terms Mod
  • [1.28] Expanded Estuaries & Trade Centres
  • Flat Political Map [1.28]
  • Missions Expanded (With the blessing of their creators!)
  • Stellaris UI Font
  • WappenWiki Flags for EUIV (+Banner Edits)
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Will follow
 

volksmarschall

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Go Venice! :cool:
 
Prologue: State of the Republic (1444)

Crimson Lionheart

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Prologue: State of the Republic (1444)

The Most Serene Republic of Venice, having existed for many centuries as a dominant power on the Italian Peninsula. Having become fabulously wealthy as an economic and trading power, its guilds had come to produce items of luxury such as superior silks, glass and jewelry. Alongside sitting in a strategically important geographic area, the city of Venice itself was perhaps one of the wealthiest cities in the world alongside being one of the most populated. And in the centuries following the sharp decline of Greek dominance in the East, Venetian dominance on trade and the seas in the region was becoming undisputed.

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Its delicate position was also one of its greatest weaknesses, as it was surrounded by many foreign powers far stronger than itself. While the prosperity of Northern Italy had allowed the Serene Republic to thrive economically, Venice would continue to be bullied into submission on land. The republic was vastly superior than their enemies on the sea, and it was where the true strength of the Venice was kept.

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The Serene Republic was a unique political entity among the nations of Europe. It was a Republic that was ruled by its citizens, where power is not inherited but is instead in the hands of an elected head of state. The Doge of Venice in an autocratic fashion, but his powers would be shared with the Maggior Consiglio (Great Council) composed of 480 members from patrician families. Existing as a mixed government, the Republic combined elements of monarchy in the doge, aristocracy in the senate, and a democracy in the council. The Doge could do nothing without the Council, but the Council could do nothing without the Doge.

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Portrait of Francesco Foscari, one of Venice’s longest reigning Doge’s

The current Doge of the Republic is Francesco Foscari, who through his reign, was one of the longest of all Doges in Venetian history. His advanced age, however, would result in the Council organizing preparations in the event that the Doge would die while in office. While Foscari had led Venice to victory in a long and protracted series of wars against Milan, some noble families were becoming interested about Foscari’s successor and how it could advance their interests.

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The economy of the Republic would, while showing promising signs of development and growth, was hampered by the expensive maintenance of its land army. While the strength of its power and prosperity came from the ocean, finances were largely focused on ensuring that the Republic could defend itself at a moments notice in an increasingly fragile world.

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Trade, the lifeblood of the Serene Republic, was continuing to thrive and ensure that the long-lasting prosperity of Venice could continue into the next generation. Venetian trade stretched as far as Alexandria, and its dominance over the Adriatic Sea was absolute. As long as Venice continued to rule the seas, trade will continue as normal.

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Being a maritime republic with a long history of being the dominant trade power in the Mediterranean, the ambitions and potential of Venice were always something that many Doges of the past had tried to unlock. While having plenty of positions to expand in many directions, the republic would be preoccupied for the time being in creating a vision of its future.

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Factions would exist within the Maggior Consiglio, all of whom represent different aspects of Venetian society. The Aristocracy, representing the aristocratic Patrician families that dominate the political life of the capital, held the most sway in the Consiglio. The Traders and Guilds, while being politically important, did not hold the sway that the Aristocracy held.

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The status quo had come to exist within the Republic for quite some time. While its Greek territories had remained quiet, there were many who absolutely despised the Latin presence in the Aegean and sought to break free.

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While Venice was a Catholic nation, it ruled over the Hellenic territories which remained under the Greek Orthodox Church. While sects considered one another as heretical, the scars of the Great Schism did not bother the Serene Republic as much as the more spiritually minded realms of Europe did.

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The military would come to be made up of both the land and naval forces of the Republic, something which drained the economy in order to finance their maintenance. While certainly not the most powerful military in Europe, the Venetian military was a regional power in its own right, especially on the sea.

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Finally, the Republic both ruled over two separate Hellenic vassals in the Aegean. While both Orthodox realms, the aristocracy and ruling class of the subjects had adopted Catholicism, all of whom for several different reasons. While serving as outposts to project Venetian influence in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, time will tell on how the nature of the Greek subjects act as servants of the republic.
 

stnylan

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A very good scene-setting post. It is an interesting start in EU4 - Venice is arguaby at just about its apogee.
 
Chapter 1: The Venetian Arsenal (1444-1448)

Crimson Lionheart

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Chapter 1: The Venetian Arsenal (1444-1448)

With the climatic outcome of the Varna Crusade, the Serene Republic had found itself in a stressful position to take advantage on their rule past the Adriatic. The newfound dominance of the Turks had come to bring profound consequences on the fate of the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean. With their Christian neighbors left greatly weakened, the Doge would begin to feel threatened the nature of what might happen next. Should the Ottoman Turks take Constantinople for themselves, or capitalize on the weakness of the slavic kingdoms, it would become likely that Venetian possessions in the Aegean would be their next target. Francesco Foscari swore that this shall not happen, and the opening moves were played to secure the position of the Republic.

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In the coming weeks following the disastrous result at Varna, the Papacy and the Republic would both agree upon an alliance. Both being Christian powers, the diplomatic working of the alliance was focused around protecting Catholicism from the dangerous climate occurring among the East. Having established good relations between the Holy See and the Republic, both states would benefit from the alliance. Catholic interests were protected in the Aegean and among the Eastern seas, and an attack on both nations would be considered as an attack against Catholicism.

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The alliance would come to be the last significant act organised among Foscari, as only two weeks after the signing of the alliance, Foscari would pass away from natural causes. His unfortunate death would cause an election to be held, and after several rounds of secret allotment, three candidates had been presented that represented the powerful factions within Venice.

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Portrait of Urbano Polari, the unorthodox but brilliant new Doge of Venice,

After the elections would be held, the aristocracy would secure their positions within the election as one of their own would be elected as the Doge of Venice. Urbano Polari would be elected as the head of state, being remarkably young at only the age of fifty two. Having lived long enough to realise the geopolitical effects that nations could bring among their neighbors, Urbano was an administrative genius with a passion of the military. His expansionist policies had become popular among the Maggior Consiglio, and through his rule as Doge, would characterize a rejuvenated period of the Republic's long history, and the start of a new era in Italian history.

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As his first official actions as Doge, Polari would look towards expanding upon a Trade League that was to be led by Venice. While looking to organise the League with good intentions, each member of the league would agree to transfer their trade towards Venice, which strengthened their own economies and trading at the expense of having to serve under Venice. Its league doubled as a protective alliance and economic beneficial league. The Knights Hospitaller, located on Rhodes, would agree with the Venetian offer in finding benefit under the protection of an economic league.

This would also carry political weight, as due to the nature of the League, an attack against a member of the League would be considered a declaration of war upon all its members. Polari deliberately targeted weaker nations within the Ottoman sphere and offered their states membership, expanding Venetian reach into the area.

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Due to the very nature of life in Venice, the Navy had become an inseparable part of its military forces and was exceptionally important in the protection of the Republic. Naval capabilities exceeded the need to prioritise on the land forces, but expanding upon the military would be seen as a wise yet expensive decision to safeguard the interests of the realm. Polari would begin on a campaign to expand upon the military and focused deliberately on expanding the Venetian Arsenal and the Republican naval capabilities to its absolute limit.

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The Republic would maintain its own army, as control of the seas was not always the ultimate deterrence on those seeking to expand their interests at the expense of Venice. Looking at their Italian neighbours and the Turkish threat in the East, Polari sought to expand on expanding the land forces and sustaining a standing army financed through the wealth of Venice. It was, perhaps, what stood between independence or destruction in these savage times.

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A formal military alliance would be signed among Polari and Grandmaster Jean de Lastic of the Knights Hospitaller. Both men would agree upon the alliance in the Palazzo Ducale and relations began to blossom between the two states, with Venice being widely considered to be the protector of the sacred military order.

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Left without a King since the incident at Varna, the successor of Wladyslaw III had emerged in the regions that had existed since the disastrous crusade. Rather than looking towards appointing a Jagiellon monarch from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, local nobility in Poland would come to appoint a local noble instead, infuriating the Lithuanians to no end.

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After refusing to surrender Maine, France and England would both engage in war in what many considered to be the final stages of their wars against once another, having almost lasted for nearly a century. While having the naval advantage, French armies immediately seized Normandy and the northern coastline from the English, leaving Aquitaine left to suffer under the remaining advances of their armies. While it seemed that France would win the war outright, the powerful English navy had guaranteed that a direct naval invasion of the Isles were virtually impossible. While English armies did not dare cross the Channel into France, they instead turned their aggression towards obliterating Scotland and her armed forces in their entirety.

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In expanding its navy, expansion of its formidable navy and its capabilities were greatly boosted. Venice was now able to project its power across the Mediterranean even further. Many sailors sought to offer their services to the Republic, improving the experience of its admirals. The Doge would come to reap the benefits of the expansion of the navy, and expanded the successful Venetial Arsenal into other major regions such as Verona and Treviso, aiding the construction of its fleet along the Adriatic.

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In the coming year, a much more formidable Republican army would be organised and expanded upon as thousands of men joined the armed forces, willing to fight for the serene republic and her interests.

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Despite building up upon its alliance network, it was simply not enough to safeguard the Venetian position on the diplomatic stage. Feeling that the Holy Roman Empire would reject any measures of a potential friendship between the two states, or feeling that it's Habsburg Emperor would come to reject or feel uneasy with an alliance, the Doge would come to look towards France instead. Polari would extend his friendship towards the King of France in exchange for aiding French merchants within the Republic's borders. Charles VII of France was all too happy to agree to the alliance, especially to further the interests of safeguarding his Kingdom.

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Shortly after the alliance was accepted, Charles VII and the French court would come to send representatives to Venice upon aiding their new ally against the English invaders. Having been invaded by England and fighting on the defensive, Polani agreed to aid his newfound friends in France in retaking their homeland, looking towards the new investments that the military had undertaken and was curious on how they would perform.

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Already winning the war by the time that Venetian forces arrived in France, the English were forced off from continental europe and thrown back across the isles. Although seeing little to no military action itself, the Venetian Navy aided their French ally in protecting the Mediterranean from any possible English fleet that sought to invade the underbelly of France, as well as using their powerful navy to sail into foreign waters and demonstrate the Venetian navy.

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Almost a year after Venice had joined the war, the English would come to surrender completely to the Kingdom of France and her allies. By the time that peace was settled, Charles VII made his intentions clear. England was to be thrown back into the sea, forcing them back into the British Isles. In addition, England was to abandon all claims to the French throne as to abandon a future pretext for war between the two kingdoms. This would come with the exception to the English holding onto their valuable port of Calais, something that Charles VII didn’t wish to seize due to fears of overextending his reunited kingdom.

France had won the Hundred Years War and had earned its last laugh, while in England was left humiliated and exhausted from the bloody conflict. Scotland would be left crippled, having been torn apart under the weight of the English invasion. While England was left to retreat back to their own borders, the worst was yet to come for the kingdom.

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Across the Aegean, the teenage yet incredibly ambitious Sultan of the Turks had made his move to storm the Queen of Cities. Mehmet II, only seventeen years old, would come to throw absolutely everything that he had towards Constantinople and its decaying masters. The last bastion of the ancient Romans were about to be taken, and its millennia old light was about to be extinguished.

Polari would watch the series of events unfold with a degree of warning, knowing that this was going to be the siege that will finally break Constantinople and their Greek masters. While once considering an invasion to seize Constantinople and secure its immense wealth straits under Venetian rule, it would be a suicidal move as it would provoke the Turks. Polari decided against it, fearing the consequences that would follow the invasion that could result in the end of the Latin presence in the Aegean.

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Despite the last stand of the Romans occurring within the East, this would motivate Polari to continue expanding the Venetian Arsenal towards its coastal settlements and build up further on the navy. Polari would not look towards the Turks as a future enemy, but had a respect for their Sultan and had come to view the Ottomans in the East as a rival. While relations would remain tense, the greatest advantage that the Republic would have on its side would not be its expanded and rejuvenated military, but perhaps a much more powerful ally. Time.
 

LastPioneer

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Hello @Crimson Lionheart !
I am Big Boss, the creator of the Venetian Mission tree and Developer for Missions Expanded.
I am looking forward to seeing Venice achieve new heights, keep us posted!

My discord, if you (or anyone else) have any feedback/questions for my trees (or the mod in general) : Big Boss#8763
 

Crimson Lionheart

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Hello @Crimson Lionheart !
I am Big Boss, the creator of the Venetian Mission tree and Developer for Missions Expanded.
I am looking forward to seeing Venice achieve new heights, keep us posted!

My discord, if you (or anyone else) have any feedback/questions for my trees (or the mod in general) : Big Boss#8763

Thank you! Will definitely keep you guys posted! The work that has been incorporated into them mod is nothing short of extraordinary, and it's probably my favorite non-overhaul mod in the game. I look forward to bring Venice to new heights :D
 
Chapter 2: The Fear of God (1448-1452)

Crimson Lionheart

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Chapter 2: The Fear of God (1448-1452)

Building upon its strengths as a means to counteract whatever weaknesses existed, Venice and her territories would come to be protected by a significantly stronger armada that patrolled her seas. Her land forces would come to keep the peace in the capital and the other provinces, and good government policies would come to see the popularity of the Doge climb on all matters. Polari’s opening moves as a Doge had earned him the respect of all the factions within the Maggior Consiglio, but not their complete trust. Relations with the Holy See were improving, and Polari had styled himself as a protect of Latin and Catholic interests in the Eastern Seas. The Serene Republic would, arguably, be entering a new period of rejuvenated strength.

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Civil War would erupt in England after the humiliating defeat by France. Focused on the deteriorating mental state of Henry VI of England, and the inability to produce an heir with his wife, rival branches of the royal house erupted into conflict in the absence of a direct heir. With two different claims coming from the rival families, Henry’s weak rule would come to ignite a short but brutal civil war.

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Centuries of naval experience had made the republic into a leading realm on all things maritime, with this experience being highly respected among both friends and rivals of the state, and feared by its enemies. Under the grand expansion of its naval forces, the Serene Doge would come to expand Venetian naval forces to reach new heights. Polari would restore the glory of the admiralties, and rejuvenate the republic and make her strong once more.

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After only fifty three days of siege, Constantinople would finally fall to the Turk. The last Emperor of the Romans, Constantine XI Palaiologos, would lead the defenders of the city against impossible odds and would fight among his men to the very end. Mehmet II would take the city at a heavy cost, as many of its buildings were left in a decaying or destroyed state. Regardless, Mehmet II would take the city and be known among his contemporaries as ‘The Conqueror’ for his role in taking the Queen of Cities. At only seventeen, he had an incredibly bright future ahead of him.

After Turkish forces marched into the city, any remaining Latins of the city were forced out from Constantinople. Genoese and Venetian merchants and their families were marched out of the cities, and the ancient Venetian quarter of the city would be seized outright. Mehmet II would start to prepare plans to restore Constantinople back to its former glory, dreaming of recreating the city as the new center of the Islamic World. Europe would recoil in horror after the conquest of Constantinople, while the faithful of the Islamic world had celebrated in jubilation.

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The Republic had paid attention to the state of their naval forces, and understood the importance of ruling the seas. Just like the Ancient Greeks before them, Venice would ensure that their Galley’s were constructed with the utmost care, using the best quality wood available in the entire Mediterranean.

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As the Italian City states had been patronising artists and scholars to explore the ancient societies of their Roman and Greek forefathers, a cultural movement had been occurring for a considerable amount of time that had profound impact on literature, art, philosophy and music. This ‘rebirth’ of classical ideals was ready to reshape the world in its classical ideals, and Italy itself was in the very heart of this movement.

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Along the Adriatic, Polari would look towards reasserting this newfound Venetian dominance along the Adriatic. Of primary concern was the region of Zeta, which had been taken many years ago from the neighboring Serbians. Surrounded by larger powers and fiercely independent, Serbia and Bosnia had entered into an alliance to oppose their rivals. The Doge would come to motivate the consiglio for a quick war with Serbia, retaking their lost territory and preventing the Serbians with access to the sea.

The conflict was only expected to last less than a year, but would carry an immense weight over the region. Upon the declaration of war, Polari and the Republic had taken their first steps into something larger.

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Moving forces along Dalmatia and methodically seizing entire provinces in rapid fashion, Bosnia would fall quickly under the combined weight of the Republican army. The performance of the army was, to the pleasure of the investors and the Serene Doge, exceeding expectations.. Bosnia would be alarmed at the sudden fall of their domain, with its army retreating into allied territory in Serbia to gather their forces.

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Once the coastline itself was secure, Serbian ships were eradicated by the Venetian navy and and sent to the bottom of the Adriatic. Zeta would be taken by the months end, but among the confusion of Venetian forces, Bosnia and Serbia had gathered enough troops to prepare their own means of counterattack.

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Taking advantage of the moment, the entire Bosnian and Serbian armies would abandon their homeland and marched towards the north with the chance to invade the Republic directly. The Venetian commander, Pasquale Emo, would abandon continued measures to invade both nations and return home to combat the invading Slavs.

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Pasquale would fortunately arrive at Treviso ahead of time, arriving before the Bosnians were set to engage the city. Its commander, Shimun Vukovic, did not anticipate the Venetian army lying in wait for them. Before Vukovic would realise that he was in a trap, his army was surrounded and trapped. The Battle of Treviso would result in a victory for Venice, defeating half of the invading forces.

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Bosnia would surrender shortly after their terrible defeat, and would come to pay a heavy price for their involvement in the war. Bosnia was forced to abandon their alliance with Serbia, and exchange their trade and economies towards the Serene Republic as a means to cripple their kingdom financially.

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In light of the war, the Republic would come to see the one of their own cardinals become a valuable member of the Holy See. Loyal to his homeland of Venice, the Doge believed that having one of their own next to the ear of the Holy Father could influence the matters of the church towards towards Venetian interests.

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Once the Serbian army had arrived in Italy, they would find themselves in a series of relentless skirmishes against the Republic that caused their numbers to dwindle with every passing battle. Constantly harassed and provoked by Pasquale’s men, the increasingly exhausted Serbian army would eventually crack under the pressure and their morale would come to collapse. Todor Putnik and his army would be killed to the very last man, ending the Serbian army where it stood.

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With no possible means to oppose the Venetian army, and with Bosnia being forced out of the war, all offensive efforts were forced to strike at the heart of Serbia itself. Over the next six months, the republican army would march across the Serbian heartland and took multiple cities as means to strangle their state. Orthodox resistance was being crushed under the heavy footsteps of the Venetian Catholics, and the end was near for the Kingdom.

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Once Smederevo had fallen, the paranoia of the Serbian monarch would force him to watch as his kingdom was crushed under the state. The ruling House of Branković would retreat into their capital. The Serbians would be treated fairly despite living under the occupation of the Venetians.
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Đurađ I Branković of Serbia, the last Orthodox monarch of Serbia.

Despite his best efforts, there would be no miracle to save the King. As the weeks would come to pass, and the siege continued amidst the suffering of his people, Durad I would come to fall into a deep depression and begin to feel a sense of doom surrounding him. Surrounded by powerful neighbours who he felt conspired to kill him and destroy the Serbian nation, along with feeling that his days were numbered and that his life was over after the city had fallen, Durad would vanish in the final days of the siege.

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By the time that the Kingdom would come to sue for peace, Đurađ I had virtually vanished from the city. Many within the Kings court would come to believe that the King had lost all hope and was pushed to suicide and that his body was never found or was buried in secrecy, while a local tradition among the nobility would believe that the King had vanished from the city and instead was given refuge in heaven. Regardless, Đurađ’s disappearance had caused controversy and the Kingdom was at the mercy of Venetian terms for peace.
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A detail of the painting of King Stephen I of Serbia kneeling in front of Christ, painted by Venetian artist Jacopo Bellini in c. 1460

The price would be heavy. Serbia would cede the province of Zeta that had been stolen from the Republic and were forced to pay war reparations in consequence, but with no ruling monarch, the Venetians took advantage of the moment and would come to select their own candidate for the Serbian throne. Stephen Tomašević, the son of the Thomas of Bosnia, would ascend to the Serbian throne. Stephen's Catholicism would make made him unpopular in Orthodox Serbia, but through political maneuvering, was able to hold onto his royal position. The war was both a spiritual victory for the Catholics in Venice, but would become a political triumph for the Urbano Polari, who earned the respect of the Holy See in indirectly converting Serbia to Catholicism and the envy of his enemies and rivals.

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And with a climatic end to events among the Balkans, the civil strife in England would see the end of the armed conflict over the succession to the English throne. Polari did not wish to spend time in the spotlight following the Venetian victory, instead remaining determined and focused to continue his work in ensuring Venetian strength was uncontested in the Italian Peninsula. There was much to be done, and Polari wanted to ensure that his work would continue to live after his death.
 

stnylan

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Timing the war with the Ottomans is going to be a matter of some delicacy.
 
Chapter 3: Varna Avenged (1452-1456)

Crimson Lionheart

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Chapter 3: Varna Avenged (1452-1456)

Bringing the matter of the rival kingdoms to rest, the Republic had removed a thorn from its side with delicacy through the rejuvenated strength that it carried. While the land forces were not the pride of the serene republic, the republican army was well equipped and financed through the mercantile dominance of Venice along the Adriatic Sea alongside the hardworking workshops across the city of Venice itself. With matters of the Arsenal being dealt with, Urbano Polari felt that as Doge, he had accomplished a major feat of his elected reign in ensuring the protection of the state against foreign powers. His timing would, unknowingly, become critical for a series of events that were about to follow.

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Being known for the mastery of the seas, the Republic ensured that their naval dominance in the Mediterranean would not be threatened or surpassed by that of the petty monarchies and other Italian city states around them. Venice sought the best sailors, shipbuilders and admirals for their growing fleets and vessels, building upon the excellence of its naval excellence.

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Building upon the armed forces, the man at arms would become the professional soldier common in the armies of the Western European armies of the era. Knights and noble families would employ a number of men at arms to form their retune, and would be better armed and armored than a typical footsoldier among the feudal states. In the republican army, these men at arms would form the backbone of the Venetian army and were financed among the patrician families of the city among the other nobles of the mainland. While not numerically superior to its other neighbours, the republican army were armed to the teeth and were willing to fight for the republic and their livelihoods.

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The Albanian principalities, with their independence protected by the Serene Republic due to diplomatic and territorial investments in the area, found their existence threatened by the recently proclaimed Ottoman Empire. With the Turks still feeling flushed from their conquest of the queen of cities, the Albanians had spent their time organizing alliances with neighboring nations and preparing for an inevitable invasion.

While being dwarfed by the skilled armies of the Ottomans, Albania was able to fight back against their hated rival through the leadership of Skanderbeg, its brilliant leader who had gained a highly fearsome reputation in combat.

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The only known portrait of Pietro Pordenone, Captain General of the Sea of the Venetian Armada. C.1450’s

Joining the war due to the pledge of the Serene Republic to protect the independence of the Albanian state as a co-belligerent, the Doge would entrust the leadership of the armada in the capable hands of Pietro Pordenone. With the declaration of the war, Pordenone led the armada down the Adriatic and sailed towards the Aegean Sea to reinforce the republic’s subjects in Greece and gaining early dominance of the seas.

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The first battle of the war would become a success, where the Armada would arrive with impeccable timing to save the ships from the Duchy of Naxos from being completely destroyed by the numerically superior Turkish fleet. Ibrahim Cerkes, leader of the Ottoman navy, abandoned the battle upon the sighting of the full Venetian armada.

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Embracing enlightened ideals of the Renaissance, Venice would become the cultural heart of the movements ideals in Northeastern Italy. Artists would come to flock to the wealthy city to seek the patronage of the patrician families, creating and expanding upon the Italian Renaissance and contributing to its growth.


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George Castriot, known as Skanderbeg, would play a pivotal role on the future of the Balkans.​

Skanderberg would come to lead his small army of only four thousand from Albania and into Epirus, having been forced to abandon his homeland to the Turks. Finding that defending the area would have been simply impossible due to the size of the Turkish armies, Skanderberg had decided to outsmart his enemies rather than outfight them. Skanderberg and his armies would remain in Epirus, while Venice prepared to stage the Republican army in Corfu

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Upon the meeting of both the Venetian and Albanian armies, the Albanian army would swell with numbers and grow to reach almost thirty thousand men. Pasquale Emo, the commander of the Republican Army, would serve under the more experienced command of Skanderberg and help counteract the balances of both nations forces. With the attachment of the Venetian army to Skanderberg’s own, an incredibly formidable force would start to lay siege to Venice.

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In order to finance the war and protect the finances of its ally, Venice would grant monetary benefits to Albania and grant a one-time payment of a huge sum of ducats to help the Albanian realm provide for their own forces.

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Being forced into a corner, the Turkish fleet would be surrounded by the Venetian armada off the coast of Athens and inflicted with a devastating blow. Forced to retreat after hours of battling,half of the Turkish fleet was sent to the bottom of the Aegean, thousands of Ottoman sailors perishing alongside their ships. Naval dominance of the Aegean was all but ensured for the remainder of the war.

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Immediately swinging into the familiar territories of Southern Albania, Skanderbeg would come to achieve an important victory against the Ottoman menace near the coastline of Vlore. Known as Avlonya in the Turkish tongue, thousands of Ottoman forces would come to be killed as Skanderbeg used his knowledge of the terrain to his advantage. Importantly, the Turkish commander would be killed after the battle, and the head of the snake would be cut off.

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Moving through into Western Macedonia and holding the defensive position, Skanderbeg would achieve another victory against the Turks. While holding numerical supremacy, very little remained of the Turkish armies that arrived in the area. Davud Tarhuncu would move into the area with thousands of men, and left with only several hundred men who were shaken to the core.

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Macedonia itself would be the target of turning the tide of the war as both Christian and Muslim armies fought tooth and nail for control of the strategically important region. Hadim Sehabeddin, commander of the Turks, would achieve early momentum in the early stages of the battle and gain a valuable position. Skanderbeg however, being a much more gifted strategist, would turn the tide around and force the Turks into the defensive early, catching Sehabeddin. Frustrated, Sehabeddin would retreat with his men out of the area after losing thousands of men, not willing to sacrifice his men into a potential military disaster. Skanderbeg would seize Macedonia by the months end, and with it, half of Ottoman Rumelia would be under siege.

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Thessaloniki would be captured with little resistance, and Skanderbeg would arrive in the region to gain another early victory. Huseyin Kucuk would be watch half of his army would be destroyed, leaving the remainder to flee into Bulgaria. While the Ottomans had proven formidable opponents, Skanderbeg had emerged triumphant in every single battle that he had personally led, causing the manpower of the Muslims to dwindle with every passing day as Christian forces gained the advantage.

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Having challenged and conquered every challenge he had faced, Skanderbeg would concentrate onto Northern Bulgaria while allied Italian and Hellenic armies concentrated on securing the straits and the Greek coastline. Being increasingly unable to fight back against Skanderbeg and suffering terrible losses, the Turks were left with only their main army, kept stranded in the north as Constantinople was threatened directly.

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Silistre would prove disastrous for the Turks, while remaining another important victory to the Christians fighting with their commander. Among his men, Skanderbeg would be seen as a living legend among his men and with every passing victory. Huseyin Kucuk would be forced across the straits into Anatolia, where news of his defeat would spread towards Constantinople as the Ottoman court prepares to make plans to abandon the city and focus on protecting the strait. The military defeats would begin to transition into political defeats, where many of the Turkish nobility doubted the infallibility of the boy sultan who called himself a ‘conqueror’.

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Constantinople would be directly assaulted upon by the Venetians, splitting apart from Skanderbeg temporarily to launch a blockade. Seeing the city as having been unconquerable in part of the Theodosian Walls that the Turks had maintained since their conquest of the city, Pasquale Emo designed his strategy on not focusing on the outright assault of the city but cutting its supply as much as possible and blockading every entrance and exit, suffocating the city. In time, as hunger and disease started to run rampant inside the city, treasonous soldiers among the Turkish defenders simply opened the gates and allowed the Venetians to access the city to provide them aid that was desperately sought after, undermining the defence efforts.

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Regrouping with Skanderbeg and launching an assault into Anatolia itself, the Sultan had come to finally reveal himself and took matters into his own hands, assuming control of the Ottoman army directly and launching a counterattack. While still considered to be a child among men, Mehmet II was an incredibly gifted commander for a boy his age, an expert in military matters and organisation, and was dangerous enough for Skanderbeg to consider him as his equal. Despite a numerical superiority, Mehmet’s remaining men were largely made up of his veterans that had been in reserve, and made up a strong core that the ‘conqueror’ himself led and fought alongside.

The two armies met at Sultanonu, with Mehmet’s veterans lined up for battle against the numerically superior forces of Skanderbeg. The two men would start upon one another in an open field, and the fate of the east was to be decided in one afternoon.

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As the battle would come to progress, both the Christians and Muslims would fight one another with tooth and nail, tearing apart one another with their ferocity. Mehmet and Skanderbeg would shout orders against the onslaught of their armies, seeing their armies clash as both the names of Christ and Muhammad were uttered upon both nations. Despite facing the disadvantage, Mehmet II’s leadership and strong core had prevented the collapse of the Turkish army and had even turned the tide of the battle several times in the Turks favor.

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Despite these losses, Mehmed II’s forces could not defeat Skanderbeg and would come to suffer losses. Mehmed II would lose the battle by the end of the afternoon, marching his army away into the night to be reorganised at Ankara. The consistent defeats had come to undermine the position of the sultan as a legitimate ruler, and along with exhaustion from the battle itself, Mehmed II would suffer from fatigue.

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It would come to be a complete surprise to the Doge when news would spread that the conqueror of Constantinople, Mehmet II, had died shortly after arriving in Ankara. Skanderbeg and Pasquale Emo would appear flabbergasted upon hearing the news, realizing the importance of his death would have on the Ottoman leadership. Many theories would come to surround the death of the young conqueror, many of which are shrouded in mystery. The Christians would believe that the conqueror would die following injuries from battle or from other health concerns, while some Sunnis believe that Mehmet would be assassinated by a disgruntled Shia soldier. With his death, the new Ottoman sultan would prove to be less than half the man that Mehmet II would ever come to be, and Skanderbeg pressed for peace upon the disaster that had befallen the Turks.

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Skanderbeg would come to settle for peace in Constantinople, with following terms coming to dismantle the state. The Ottoman Empire would only cede a small amount of territories to Venice and Albania itself, but the treaty would come to cause chaos on the Ottomans from a financial and diplomatic position. The Ottomans stripped of their wealth by Albania and its and were struggling financially during the war, and was forced to end their declaration of independence to Ragusa. But devastatingly, the Ottoman military was left in ruin. With a greatly weakened military and the death of their brilliant leader, the neighbors of the Turkish sultanate looked towards their weakened foe, eager to bleed them dry. From what could have been a disaster, Venice would come to play an important part in achieving an important victory and in part, their desires to expand further East were now completely unhindered. Polari had achieved a milestone victory against his bitter rival, and now sought to play the role of a peacemaker rather than a harmful warmonger.
 

KaiserWilhelmI

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A glorious victory, now it remains to be seen how Venice uses these gains.
 

stnylan

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A truly devastating victory for the Ottomans, that should put Venice in an excellent position going forward. This alliance with Albania may well be worth maintaining - for the time being at least.
 
Chapter 4: Blue Skies over the Adriatic (1456-1467)

Crimson Lionheart

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Chapter 4: Blue Skies over the Adriatic (1456-1467)

Achieving a critical victory against the Ottoman Turks, the future of the Turks appeared to look incredibly uncertain following the death of their young conqueror and the annihilation of their armies. Being such a hated enemy among their neighbors, many looked towards the decimation of the Turks with envious blood lust and joyous motivation. While Venetian forces are largely responsible for forcing the Turks out from the region they called Rumelia, the spotlight of glory was shined upon Skanderbeg. Polari was pleased to keep the Serene Republic out of the spotlight, looking to expand on their gains in the Aegean.

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To the pleasant surprise of the Doge and the Maggior Consiglio, Skanderbeg would offer the purchase to sell the Southern Peloponnese to the Republic. This would come with a price, upon which the Albanian spoke of as compensation for maintaining the alliance between the two nations as well as having financial security. Polari would come to immediately accept, eager to unite the Greek regions under Venetian dominance.

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Once the purchase was made, Venetian holdings in Greece would come to be united under Latin rule. Now stretching among the Greek territories and solidifying the Venetian dominance in the region, Polari would come to appeal to many of the nobility in his new territories and spend several years on establishing semi-independent subjects under Venetian guidance.

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With the fall of Constantinople years prior, many Greek and Albanian soldiers joined the cause of the Venetian Republic to fight against the Turk. Called Stratoti, many of these soldiers would come to serve the Republic and gain a feared reputation as powerful light cavalry. Thousands would begin to flock to the Venetian holdings in the Aegean, inspired by Skanderbeg’s victories, seeking to serve under the Venetians and fight for their homelands.

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With this victory, the financial gains that had been plundered following the war against the Ottomans would come to be focused upon advancing the Venetian Armada even further, looking to strengthen the weak link of its fleet in increasing the amount of transports to compensate for the growing land army.

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While the Maggior Consiglio had over a thousand hereditary memberships, it was not the most effective or quickest governing body. Not surprisingly, the Council of Ten had emerged with much greater political flexibility and had been slowly assuming more and more power overtime. By increasing their own power, the Council of Ten would decrease the influence of the Great Council overtime, alarming many families on the Great Council that feel as if the Council of Ten were going too far. Reforms would be proposed to curtail the power of the Ten, limiting their influence to emergencies as originally intended, and would be supported by Polari. The integrity of the Republic was to be preserved at all costs against the oligarchic ten.

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On January 11th 1460, Skanderbeg would breathe his last. Despite leading the Christians to victory over the emerging threat of the Ottoman Turks, Skanderbeg would come to fall ill with Malaria. Skanderbeg would call the Albanian noblemen to his deathbed to discuss the future of the nation, asking them to look inward and repair the nation from its wartorn state.

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The death of Skanderbeg – 16th century German engraving

Succession would come to pass to Gjon II Kastrioti, the son of Skanderbeg. While coming to inherit the realm from his father, Gjon II was far less interested in maintaining the relationship between his emerging kingdom and the Venetians and desired total unification of the Albanian kingdoms. However, the Venetians and the Latin kingdoms were please with Gjon’s commitment to Catholicism and looked to convert the remainder of the Albanian realm to the faith, much like the example set in Serbia.

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Across the territories of the Republic, many were supporting the construction of the Armada and the expansion of the Arsenal, making contributions to the defense of the nation. Shipwrights were working harder and people began to even volunteer to become sailors. People looked towards the powerful navy of the republic with a great sense of pride, improving construction and the popular opinion of Polari’s reign as Doge.

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Within a span of four years since the devastating defeat to Skanderbeg and his Christian realms, the Ottoman Empire would find itself under attack from every direction. Unrest would come to quickly climb among the diverse ethnic populations within the Empire, with rumors of the Bulgarian aristocracy coming to plan a revolt against the Empire. With whatever remaining armed forces coming to fight back against the invading nations, the Turks found themselves invaded from all directions, and with little economic support to finance the war effort. Venetian merchants returning from the Aegean speak of the poor state of the Ottoman state, and spoke that the collapse of the nation might soon come to follow.

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At the same time of the chaos erupting along the Ottoman Empire, Urbano Polari would come to spend the following years establishing semi-independent subjects in Greece. Coming to empower the aristocracy of catholics in the region, or descendents of nobility remaining in the region since the fourth crusade. These subjects, known simply as the Greek League among their own territories, would come to be Polari’s magnum opus within foreign policy. Combining Latin interests and Hellenic home-rule, these new states would emerge as beacon of stability in the chaotic region.

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The Greek League, the Catholic-led Hellenic Subjects of the Serene Republic of Venice. Made up of Morea, Athens, Corfu and Naxos

The four subjects, born from the ashes of the Ottoman conquests and Venetian holdings in Greece, would emerge as proverbial phoenix's who would were reborn from the flames and collectively be united under the Republic. A collection of monarchies and republics, the subjects were ruled among Catholic Greeks and pro-unionists of the Council of Florence, working to strengthen ties with the Papacy in the region and demographically popularise the Latin church as a means to mend the schism between the Western and Eastern churches.

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With newfound dominance and a swing in its step, the Republic would come to enter conflict with the Republic of Ragusa and its trade league. With tensions between the two mercantile states rising, the battle for the dominance of the Adriatic would begin. Should Ragusa be removed from the picture, the Adriatic would become a Venetian bay, which would come to fuel the desires for seizing the state. War would soon be declared shortly after, where an aging Polari would oversee the last decisions of his expanding republic.

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Treviso, where the republican army and the forces of Mantua would fight, would come to see a Venetian victory. This would largely be responsible due to the numerical superiority of the Venetian army and its leadership by Bruno Emo, the son of the Venetian commander, Pasquale Emo.

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Dubrovnik would be taken after several months by a contingent of the Republican Army dedicated to the siege of the city, while its main forces focused on defeating the armies of the neighbouring Italian city states and other opposing armies. While the siege would come to lay siege on the city and the surrounding city, Venetian commanders ensured that the strict aristocratic nature of Ragusa would continue.

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After almost two years, Mantua and Lucca would both surrender to the Republican Army. Treaties between the Serene Republic and their defeated enemies would not be harsh, instead focusing on isolating the states diplomatically and demanding war reparations for a period of ten years.

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With the Italian states defeated and the rest of their league located on the other side of Europe, the distance between Ragusa and her allies had ensured its untimely demise. With Dubrovnik left damaged and its aristocracy and leadership surrendering, Venice would achieve a strong victory over their foe. A century of independence from the Republic was put to an end, and the Republic of Ragusa would be annexed directly into the Serene Republic.

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With its annexation, the trade league that Ragusa had once led was disbanded and buried into the annals of history. Once one of the rivals to oppose Venice, Ragusa served to be incorporated as an important coastal city along the Adriatic. Naval dominance in the region was now uncontested, and Venice would now rule the waves.
 

Legionary Guard

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I tried to tell him to at least play an Anatolian minor - better the turban than the mitre, after all, but he refused. He is worse than the lowest pond scum of the earth: he is a Venice-lover. He is officially exiled (in the Athenian sense) from the community of Byzantophiles. :p

Also, it's spelled "Skanderbeg," not "Skanderberg." :mad:
 

Crimson Lionheart

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I tried to tell him to at least play an Anatolian minor - better the turban than the mitre, after all, but he refused. He is worse than the lowest pond scum of the earth: he is a Venice-lover. He is officially exiled (in the Athenian sense) from the community of Byzantophiles. :p