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tnick0225

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Milan - An Adventure in Italian Politics







Well, I wasn't planning on starting an EUIV AAR this soon, since I'm having a hard time keeping my Welf epic going on a regular basis. And well not to mention the fact that this AAR is going to be based off of my very very first playthrough of EUIV that I just started today! So it may be a short and sweet AAR if I mess everything up to horribly, which could happen as ten years in Austria and Savoy are eyeing me a lot.

But with luck and not too many horrid mistakes, I will get the game off the ground and see where it takes me. It isn't my intention to paint the map or really anything, my one and only goal is to keep Milan's starting borders intact and unadulterated, if I see a chance to expand I will. Will also try to build the Duchy of Milan up into more of a regional economic power to better rival Venice, but since I'm not all that sure how that aspect of the game works well that may be harder to do than painting the map.

Also it should be noted that I will be starting on March 27, 1450, almost a good 6 years after the start date. Why such an odd and precise date in history? Because it is when a Mercenary Captain who wed a Duke's daughter, was handed the title of Duke, Duke Francesco Sforza of Milan.

And so this story will start two days prior, on the 25 of March, the day of the Annunciation, the day that the gates of Milan were swung open to allow the young Sforza to stride forth and take stock of the city that had tried to betray him.




****Now as far as how I will write this story, I will be mostly using Narrative style as it is currently on the latest Chapters of my other active and at times dormant AAR The Return of the Welfs which means there will probably be quite a bit of storytelling, and making my own little stories out of different events and decisions I make. Which will leave out a lot of the gameplay aspect of the AAR. SO, I should let it be known that if you are curious about certain decisions I make in game, or need any clarification on what my strategy was or what I was thinking feel free to ask.

With all that said this introduction has come to a close, and I hope to have the stage setting chapter up on here sometime in a few days. Along with my usual Table of Contents and Ruler Lists. *****

Hope you all enjoy!
 

tnick0225

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Table of Contents​



Milan

Francesco Sforza
Chapter I - Annuntiatio nativitatis Christi
Chapter II - The First 100 Days
Chapter III - Equilibrio di Potere (Balance of Power)
Chapter IV – La Fioritura del Rinascimento: The Blooming Renaissance
Chapter V - Alliance with the Habsburgs
Chapter VI - Sforza's First Test as Duke
Chapter VII - War with the Papacy
Chapter VIII - Rebuilding for War
Chapter IX - The First Milanese-Venetian War: Part 1 - Occupation of Brescia
Chapter IX - The First Milanese-Venetian War: Part 2 - Peace
Chapter X - Florence Invades Siena
Chapter XI - Austria's Problems Grow
Chapter XII - Renaissance Prince
Chapter XIII - The Purge of 1470
Chapter XIV - Francesco's Final Years


Galeazzo Maria Sforza
Chapter XV - Galeazzo Maria Sforza
Chapter XVI - Shifting Alliances
Chapter XVII - Defending Ferrara for No Reason
Chapter XVIII - Saluzzo's Victory and Shame
Chapter XIX - Galeazzo's 7[SUP]th[/SUP] Anniversary
Chapter XX - The Second Milanese-Venetian War
Chapter XXI - Saluzzo's Defeat
Chapter XXII - A Sforza Takes a Crown
Chapter XXIII - Recovery
Chapter XXIV - The Urbino-Neapolitan War
Chapter XXV - The Milanese-Tuscan Punitive War
Chapter XXVI - Leonardo da Vinci


Giovanni Maria II Sforza
Chapter XXVII - Giovanni Maria Sforza
Chapter XXVIII - Helping Out Allies
Chapter XXIX - Saluzzo's End
Chapter XXX - The Habsburgs Insult the Sforzas
Chapter XXXI - The Reformation Begins in Ragusa
Chapter XXXII - Pisa Swears Fealty
Chapter XXXIII - The Sweating Sickness
Chapter XXXIV - The End of the Third Milanese-Venetian War
Chapter XXXV - The Emperor Converts
Chapter XXXVI - Protestantism Goes on the Offensive
Chapter XXXVII - Protestantism Spreads to Verona
Chapter XXXVIII - The Second Urbino-Neapolitan War
Chapter XXXIX - Taking Mantua
Chapter XL - Rebellion
Chapter XLI - Karel's War
Chapter XLII - A Sforza Reunion
Chapter XLIII - The Order of Reformed and Enlightened Religion
Chapter XLIV - Humbling the Montefeltros
Chapter XLV - Lowered Power of the Barons
Chapter XLVI - Assassinations


Sforza Maria Sforza
Chapter XLVII - Duke Sforza Maria Sforza
Chapter XLVIII - Spain
Chapter XLIX – The Beginning of the Habsburg-Sforza Wars
Chapter L - War in France, Peace in Italy
Chapter LI - Death Ends a Stalemate
Chapter LII - Henri's Defeat
Chapter LIII - Milanese Conquest of Siena
Chapter LIV - The Integration of Pisa
Chapter LV - Giovanna's Proposition
Chapter LVI - The Neapolitan Victory
Chapter LVII - A Family Secret Comes to Light
 
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tnick0225

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Heads of State​





Milan

Duke Francesco Sforza (March 27, 1450 - February 14, 1475)
Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza (February 14, 1475 - March 24, 1499)
Duke Giovanni Maria II Sforza (March 24, 1499 - September 25, 1523)
Duke Sforza Maria Sforza (September 26, 1523 - ...................)







France

King Nicolas Henri Sforza (1489 - 1502)
King Louis XII Sforza (1502 - 1531)
King Henri II Sforza (1531 - .........)

 
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tnick0225

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I like the title description, so count me in, even though we all know Sforza was a power-hungry demagogue. :)
 

tnick0225

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@Tanzhang: Glad to see you're interested! Sforza was a power hungry demagogue, and there will be some fairly entertaining wars that he involves himself in.

@Densley: Cosimo de'Medici shows up in the AAR briefly...poor Medici's in my game though...

@Belgiumruler: Hope you enjoy!
 

tnick0225

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Chapter I - Annuntiatio nativitatis Christi

Chapter I - March 25, 1450
Annuntiatio nativitatis Christi



The gates had been swung open, and a trumpet from a rampart weakly tooted what should have been a more upbeat sounding tune, for the long siege by the Peninsula’s most notorious condottiere had finally come to an end. The conclusion should have never been in doubt, for the mercenary Captain, and periodically, when it suited one of the political forces of the Ambrosian Republic, the Capitano Generale of Milan.

It had been a dangerous game that the feuding Guelphs and Ghibellines had played after the death of Fillipo Maria Visconti. They had needed the martial prowess of the Condotiere, they needed a Captain to keep the Venetians at bay. There had been no other choice among all the mercenary captains that even came close to matching up to the bloody, menacing genius of one Francesco Sforza.


Portrait of Francesco Sforza later in life

The procession had begun, with Francesco riding clad in white robes that the Visconti Dukes had worn on their grandiose investitures. Beside him rode his wife, the woman he had married in hopes of securing the great Duchy of Milan, and with them in tow was his six year old son Galeazzo Maria Sforza, and his brother and part-time rival Alessandro Sforza.

Originally the councilors of the now defunct Golden Ambrosian Republic had offered him an even more majestic coronation, of which Sforza declined, claiming that those entrapments were merely for the superstitions of Kings, and he was no king. Instead, he rather prided himself with his ascension based upon popular election of the Milanese citizenry.

As the procession made its way through the avenues of Milan the crowds cheered, some in exultation and hunger knowing that their suffering had ended, and fearing not the eventual reprisals that may come from their previous attempts to thwart the son-in-law of the last Visconti Duke.

Eventually the procession arrived at the Piazza del Duomo in which a large stage had been erected and the leading citizens of Milan marched up preceded by the Sforza family. As the family took their place, a former advisor of the deceased Visconti Duke stood up and began to speak.


Modern day Piazza del Duomo

“Citizens of Lombardy’s crown jewel, the years that passed after our dearest Lord Visconti died without male issue have been trying times indeed,” Guarnerio Castiglione said, “Trying times though they were, they showed the world the resolve of our fare state. We allowed learned men to try and steer our ship, we attempted to allow the popularity of Republican ideals to lead our city’s spirit onward and through the tempest that threatened us upon the horizon. But we have come to discover that there is no true way that a nation such as ours can be governed by the multitude of bickering voices that wish to call themselves deputies of the people, Senators. We need a Prince! And through all the tribulations Lord Sforza has faced, through his merits and bravery upon the battlefields against Venice it is now known that Francesco is such a Prince!”

The crowd roared with approval as the former enemies of Sforza stood in the background.

“Francesco Sforza,” Castiglione said much more quietly playing to the crowd. “Do you accept the city’s decision to invest you the title of Duke?”

Sforza nodded and knelt upon one knee, his white robes glowing in the spring sun. “I accept,” he stated solemnly.

With that the leaders of the city began to present the instruments of the Duchy over into Sforza’s care. And the representatives of Milan’s six gates presented him with the keys to the city. It was a slow moving spectacle in which the new Duke relished, and his boy Galeazzo watched in wonderment, not truly aware that one day he may very well go through the same investiture ceremony.

Once the Milanese nobles finished Sforza stood, “Milan!” he bellowed. “My people.” He stretched out his arms, welcoming the loud cries and shouts of, “Viva il Duka”.

Then, as his first act as Duke he named his son and heir apparent Galeazzo Count of Pavia, and a friend of his Gaspare de Vimercate Count of Valenza. From there he proceeded to dish out lenient sentences to his opponents, merely sending many to their country estates for a few years of house arrest, he even knighted one of his most spiteful enemies of whom had recently been released from prison.

Celebrations would continue late into the night, and little did anyone save for perhaps the Venetians that were in retreat know how drastically Sforza’s accession to the Milanese throne would change the political realities of Italy. For one of the first times ever a Prince was invested without the assent of neither the Emperor nor the Pope, but rather by the people, or as Francesco so often mentioned in his private council meetings, "coll autorita del popolo".

All this would mark the beginning of change in the Peninsula.


 
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DensleyBlair

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We're not waiting to get into controversy, then! Of course, that's something that surrounded Sforza wherever he went, so it's only natural that you should start as you mean to go on. A very good start. I'm looking forward to reading more of your descriptions of Italian renaissance politics and intrigue.
 

tnick0225

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@Densley: And we all know how I enjoy good controversy in my AARs ;) Anyway I'm actually looking forward to writing more of this to be honest, as I know much much more about this time period than I do the times in CKII, especially when it comes to families like the Sforza and Medici, probably due to my fascination of the Borgias.
 

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Chapter II – The First 100 Days

Chapter II – The First 100 Days​



The first days after the Annunciation, March 25, 1450, the day of Francesco Sforza’s elevation to Duke of Milan, had been relatively calm. The people had finally returned to their residences and ever so slowly returned to their normal daily lives, almost as if Sforza’s siege on Milan had never occurred, and that Francesco had been Duke forever.

Francesco had spent those days administering the duchy, resurrecting the Secret Council made up of ten leading nobles of Milan, and the Council of Justice in which four men were invested with the honor (the Council of Justice would eventually see its duties expanded to new heights a few years later). When the new Duke was not sitting in on the Secret Council, giving his guidance, he was out and about in Milan proper, speaking with the citizens and doing his best to live up to the ‘coll autorita del popolo’. He would also spend a good amount of time beside his wife Bianca Maria Visconti, the woman who’s birthright had helped elevate him to such Princely heights, as well as teaching his young boy Galeazzo Maria in the ways of war and leadership.

Sforza’s main concern more so than the people of Milan, was the security of the duchy’s borders. He knew that it would only be a matter of time before the likes of Venice or Savoy, possibly even Hapsburg Austria itself would march across the borders seeking to rid the world of the elevated condotierre.

Thus, Duke Francesco Sforza sat in a hall of what would one day be known as Castello Sforzesco, conducting a meeting of the Secret Council. On this day two diplomats were present, Demetrio Melzi and Luchino Spinola, and the purpose was to decide where to send these two emissaries on behalf of the Duchy of Milan.


Castello Sforzesco in the 16[SUP]th[/SUP] Century

“How soon do you think it will be before Venice declares war upon us once again?” one of the councilors asked.

Sforza sat there very casually, hand holding his chin as he thought, “I dare say they won’t attempt another offensive anytime soon, lords. The Doge’s forces have been broken one too many times by my hand. So they will focus elsewhere, quite possibly on the Eastern shores of the Adriatic. Milan has no trade advantage for them, so attacking us while they’re recovering from years of hostilities with us would not be beneficial at this time I’d imagine.”

“That’s considering the Doge thinks logically of such matters,” another man chimed in.

“Savoy sits poised to strike to our West as well via Piedmont, Austria lies to our North, and the good Lord knows that Kaiser Frederich III is not going to be a close supporter of your claim to the duchy, your grace,” Castiglione warned.


Sforza smiled at the mention of his German liege; the Kaiser’s were but a small shadow of what they had been hundreds of years ago, their power but a faint fart on a windy day. “If Austria decides to punish me, for assuming a title invested upon me by the will of Milan’s citizenry and lords then so be it. The world no longer cares for Imperial investiture. The world merely cares about what the majority of men decide,” Sforza said brushing the topic of Austria aside.

“Savoy, they are a threat and rival, yes,” Sforza continued. “But they have France to concern them with, as well as Burgundy. To curb them we should speak with the Doge of Genoa. Meanwhile, we must open a conversation with my good and dear friend Cosimo de’Medici in Florence, he will prove a useful ally in the future.”

“What of the other Principalities, your grace? Urbino, Mantua, Ferrara, to name but a few. None of us are protected; none of us are safe from the outside.”

“To protect our Italy gentleman, we must balance the power of the Italian Princes; we cannot accomplish such a thing without the support and friendship of Florence. But, to ensure our safety we will send Demetrio Melzi to Urbino to organize a Royal Marriage, and Luchino Spinola to the court of Duke Ludovico III il Turco Gonzaga in Mantua to improve his feelings towards me. This way we can begin to lay the framework for this equilibrio di potere.”

With that the Council meeting would adjourn, and the two diplomats would set about their missions. Of which within a week favorable replies would be received and marital arrangements made. A final Royal Marriage would also be negotiated with the Duke of Ferrara, tying the Sforza name to three Italian Principalities in hopes of improving relations well enough to protect to form trust and cooperation to better secure the Peninsula from any outside forces.


As the marriages were celebrated and the citizens of Milan once more grew boisterous and merry, it seemed that Sforza’s policies were sound, creating a level of stability that Milan had not known since the days of the late Visconti Dukes.





As a note, when I wrote this I had completely spaced out the fact that I had also sent for a Royal Marriage with Austria in hopes of placating the Hapsburg Kaiser just a little, and adding a little more security south of the Alps. Sorry for overlooking his minor (very major) detail. Didn't remember that until i began editing and uploading the Screenshots. And really couldn't find a place to edit that Austrian marriage into the narrative, so I will mention that in the next update just so it falls in the story line as it has implications further down the road.
 
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Rensslaer

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Ahh, Milan done as a narrative! This bears watching. Good start!

I guess this means we're in a race -- to see whether you can finish your EU 4 game/AAR before I finish my EU 3 one! :rofl:

Rensslaer
 

tnick0225

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@Rensslaer: Glad to have one of the legends of AARland on board! Hope it continues to be a good and entertaining read, and that you continue to enjoy it! Actually just went to go check out your Sforza! AAR this morning after I saw your post, its a great read, I'm going to have to do my best to make my way through those 200 some odd pages you have in that epic. Can't believe you've been working on it since 07, which is insane since that was the year I was deployed to go play soldier in Iraq for 15 months.

As far as it being a race, I'd imagine you very well may complete yours, if this Milan AAR goes at the rate of my Welf AAR over on the CKII side of AARland then this will probably take a few years to complete, unless of course I'm devoured by one of the major powers. Which is something that could very well happen since this is my first ever game of EUIV. So we shall see how the play-through goes.

Like I said, I hope the story continues to be an enjoyable/entertaining read.
 

LordTempest

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Why are you allying with Ferrara? Sforza should be seeking to crush his Italian rivals under heel, not to make friends with them!
 

Merrick Chance'

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I'm guessing that the marriage with Austria is major because of some Hapsburgian shenanigans?

I'm also happy to see a narrative AAR in the EU4 forum! (and I also hope that I can finish my EU3 aar before you finish your EU4 one)
 

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I'm also happy to see a narrative AAR in the EU4 forum! (and I also hope that I can finish my EU3 aar before you finish your EU4 one)
There are plenty of narratives in the EUIV forum though. Not when compared with gameplay AARs or those damned let's plays, but when compared to historybooks...
 

Merrick Chance'

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There are plenty of narratives in the EUIV forum though. Not when compared with gameplay AARs or those damned let's plays, but when compared to historybooks...
True! Still nowhere near enough though
 

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  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Cities: Skylines
There are plenty of narratives in the EUIV forum though. Not when compared with gameplay AARs or those damned let's plays, but when compared to historybooks...
Or comedies... ;)

Interesting opening moves. I'm playing a game as my beloved Florence at the moment in which I control the from Pisa to Romagna, with Corsica and Sardnia on the side. I'll be interested to see how your game compares, what with Savoy so close. They've been annoyingly aggressive in my game thus far...