Borders Drawn in Blood
Independent Republic of Venice
Venice is an independent nation. This is a rare state of existence considering that most nations owe fealty to either the Holy Roman Empire or the Byzantine Empire. Even more rare is its governmental structure. It is a republic that has turned away from any characteristics of monarchy. They have been able to maintain their independence through vast wealth and naval power. The Venetian territories are very small compared to their rival empires, however, their naval supremacy has ensured their control of all overseas trade for the past 300 years.
The Venetian Republic and Trade Empire is often referred to as “The Most Serene Republic of Venice”. Crime is negligible (and punished with exceeding brutality), and the nation has acquired enough wealth to ensure that even its poorest citizens enjoy a higher standard of life than almost any other nation or city-state.
The Republic is ruled by a Doge who acts as the Head of State, and controls most governmental affairs. His power is not unlimited however, he is checked by the Maggior Consiglio or “Great Council”. The Doge’s Position is held for life (unless great acts of impropriety provoke th ecitizens to remove them from office). But, he is elected by special committee formed of members of the Maggior Consiglio. The Maggior Consiglio is composed of representatives from the most prominent houses and trading companies of Venice elected by free Citizens of the Republic (Citizens must be natural born Venetians and property owners).
The area of North Eastern Italy is under the control of Venice and is referred to as the Veneto. This territory is small in comparison to the nations chief rivals, but Venice also owns all of the maritime trade routes throughout the Mediterranean, Black, and Red Seas. They are the unparalleled naval power throughout Southern Europe, Northern Africa, the Byzantine Empire, and as far away as India. They Control most maritime shipments, and levee taxes upon any independent vessels that decide to make a journey on or through Venetian waters.
Venice at War:
Because of Venice’s naval supremacy, they have been a crucial component of the crusades to date. They currently defend the entire European held Holy Land from naval invasion. They independently sacked most of the Port Cities in Syria during the crusade to capture Jerusalem and the surrounding territories.
Venice continues to wage a war (small border skirmishes in comparison to their naval exploits) against both Verona and Lombardy. Because of this, the Venetians hold no alliance with the Holy Roman Empire, and seek to bolster their relationship with the Byzantine Empire.
Venice is allied with the Byzantine Empire, however current relationships are strained. The Venetian supply the primary naval forces responsible for defending the city of Constantinople, but their wealth and influence has caused many Byzantines to look toward Venice with Jealousy. There have been a number of incarceration of venetian captains and sailors along with the confiscation of venetian property. There are some in Constantinople that have demanded an actual war to remove the Venetian Navy, but such actions have not yet been seriously considered.