Rejuvenating the Middle Ages, Sunset Mediterranean

The main ancient civilizations of mankind are mostly produced in the riverside zone with temperate zones at 30 degrees north latitude. The Mediterranean-speaking Mediterranean region in Europe grows into a maritime commercial civilization circle that is different from the four major farming civilizations. The maritime trade route generally travels along the coastline and has a high dependence on islands and harbors, while the northern Mediterranean meets these conditions.

The ancient Roman Empire turned the Mediterranean into its own inner lake. After its collapse, the Mediterranean business did not decline for a long time due to the arrival of the Middle Ages. A number of Italian maritime city-states have long sleeves and dances, giving the Middle Ages a splendid brilliance. However, these city-states will eventually escape the role of geopolitics and business law, and will inevitably fall into the fate of decline.

“The Crusaders Occupy Constantinople”, Eugene Delacroix, made in 1840

Completed into a new bottle of old wine
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, the Apennine peninsula maintained a split between Naples, controlled by the Eastern Roman Empire, and Northern Italy, controlled by the barbarians.

The invasion of the northern barbarian often used the occupation of the Roman city as a symbol of the civilized world. At the same time, the central and northern parts of the Apennine peninsula are frequent: Visigoth, Vandal, East Gothic, and finally Lombard (a Germanic, with the kingdom of Pavia in southern Milan). From time to time, the Eastern Roman Empire also slandered the barbarians and came to the north and south of the peninsula to join in the fun.

The geographical characteristics of Italy are conducive to the formation of a split situation. From the contour point of view, the Apennine peninsula is roughly in the shape of a narrow boot from north to south. However, due to the same direction of the Apennines, the transportation system is mostly east-west. In addition to the large rivers in the north, the Po River plains and the Veneto plains are massive, and the rest of the plains are distributed on the waterfront on both sides of the mountains. The main cities of Italy are scattered on these plains.

The long-term war has caused the population to drop sharply, the city has become rural, and there have been alternatives in Europe – castles and manors owned by barbarian knights. Its greatest feature is the self-sufficient closure, which is the opposite of the openness of the ancient Roman city.

The war also created a lot of power vacuum. At the end of the Western Roman Empire, Italy’s ideology was monopolized by the Holy See. Although the barbarians ruled the secular world by force, they could not control the people’s hearts. At the same time, their sub-systems continued to differentiate themselves and weaken, and the state’s administrative control over the localities went from bad to worse. Even in the relatively stable period of the Lombard Kingdom, Italy was a loose political body.

The loose political structure is not exclusive to Italy, but is also full of Europe. Only in this way, it provides a living space for the recovery of the city, but it is particularly typical in Italy.

The handicraftsmen and merchants who were unbearable and stressed were fleeing from the feudal lords’ estates, and they chose to travel and settle in the city, forming a city commune. These new urban residents come from the free people gathered from all over the place. The stranger society formed by them is extremely open and public rules are greater than everything else. The Roman Republic’s republican political heritage was thus inherited by the new citizens.

The new citizens generally adopted the sage political model of the election of the “governor” to manage the municipality. At first, in order to concentrate on doing great things, in order to survive in troubled times, the cities gave the governors great power; as the living conditions improved, they gradually improved the checks and balances mechanism, and generally created the “supervisor” system exclusively for foreigners. .

The original urban communes were very weak and grew hard between the kings, the lords, and the church forces. However, the efficiency of the urban economy has gradually overturned the manor economy, and it has the strength and confidence of the secular and religious lords.

The growth of the city is synchronized with the resistance to hegemony, and the history of the latter is more tortuous.

In the 8th century, the Franks became the ultimate winner of the barbarians. They quickly formed alliances with the Holy See and destroyed the Kingdom of Lombard through the “Mu Ping Xian”. Charlemagne was crowned by the Holy See as the “Roman emperor” and became the European co-owner after the Roman Empire. Italian cities have to squat under Charlemagne.

However, after Charlemagne’s death, the grandchildren argued that the empire split into the three kingdoms of the West, Central and East, forming the embryonic form of France, Italy and Germany today. The “Zhonglangke”, which was attacked by the East and West, split from the north to the south into the three kingdoms of Lorraine, Burgundy and Italy.

Although Charlemagne was in power, he consciously built the Rhine River Basin as the new economic and cultural center of the empire, but Italy’s cultural centripetal force as a traditional “Gyeonggi” zone is still very strong, and after the Carolingian kingdoms have successively died, Only increase or decrease – it seems that only the control of the Roman Empire, the real estate, it is truly inherited, and has a name. Once the Holy See believes that the Italian chaos is endangering itself, it often uses the coronation of the “Roman emperor” as a bait to summon foreign aid into the health.

This complex chaos gave birth to the “Sacred Roman Empire.” After the Caroling system was extinct, East Frank’s powers changed hands. In 962, the King of Germany, Otto I, who was born by the Duke of Saxony, was invited by the Pope to join the army. As a reward, the Pope was crowned and the name of the country was changed to the “Roman Empire.” Since then, the German King has gone to Rome to become a tradition. To Hohenstaufen, the name of the country was changed to “the Holy Roman Empire” and the religious authority was blessed.

This empire ruled by the Germans has a loose political structure, and the princes are too big to end. Finance is a big problem. The empire regards Italy, which is weak and rich, as a fishing rod, frequently sending troops to force Italy to recognize the “imperial power” of setting up officials and taxation.

When the friction was heating up, the northern Italian cities even formed the “Lombard League” to resist, eventually forcing the imperial emperor to sign the “Constance Peace”, officially recognizing the autonomy of the Lombard cities, allowing them to freely elect the governor and enact laws. , governing its jurisdiction.

The struggle has continued, the city communes have grown step by step, and the powers of the conflict between the Holy See and the secular regime have been used to recover administrative, judicial, and diplomatic powers one by one, eventually forming a series of autonomous city-states.

Mediterranean map. The geographical characteristics of Italy are conducive to the formation of a split situation.

Mediterranean trade general agent dispute
In the agricultural era, the farming conditions in Italy were not excellent, and the Po River Plain was adjacent to Germany and there was no danger. In fact, in order to avoid the barbarian hoof, the new citizens tend to choose to stay away from the inland corners. In order to survive and develop, it is only necessary to engage in intermediary entrepot trade by relying on the sea to eat the sea.

To eat by the sea, you must first deal with the relationship with the sea invaders. Pompeii, one of the three giants of ancient Rome, who clashed with Caesar, annihilated pirates, and the Mediterranean became a sea of ​​peace and prosperity. After the decline of ancient Rome, the pirates came up. In the Middle Ages, Viking pirates and Arabs dominated the Mediterranean, and the former even established the Sicilian kingdom in southern Italy.

Historically, there have been eight maritime city-states in Italy, namely Amalfi, Pisa, Gaeta, Genoa, Noli, Venice, Ancona and Ragusa. The first five are located on the west coast of the peninsula, and the latter three are located on the peninsula to the east coast of the Adriatic Sea (where Ragusa is located in the Balkans).

The eight city-states have large and small, powerful and influential national emblems of Venice, Genoa, Amalfi and Pisa, which constitute the flag of the Italian Navy today. However, if sorted according to the rise and fall time, it should be Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa and Venice. This sort of ordering is also not accidental and has a huge correlation with the geographical features of the Mediterranean.

Amalfi, which faces the sea in the mountains, is the southernmost of the eight cities and is the best location in the Mediterranean section of the Maritime Silk Road. When the voyage of Venice was just starting, Amalfi was the darling of the Mediterranean business circle. The origins of the maritime laws were used by the maritime nations of the Mediterranean circle for hundreds of years and affected today’s law of the sea. . However, in response to the phrase “the first scorpion is bad”, Amalfi has not yet grown into a giant, and was hit by other land-based city states. Later, it was annexed by the Normans (ancestors from Northern Europe) and finally was broken by Pisa. After the vitality, it was quiet and became the pioneer of the Eight Cities.

The same fate is also in the same region of Naples, with the same year that Amalfi founded the country of Gaeta, and a few years later also died in the hands of the Normans.

The next thing that popped up was the pizza that was known to the family because of the leaning tower. In this city, which is earlier than Rome, except for navigation and commerce, the biggest killer is to hold thighs. At least in the 11th century, it was roughly at the same starting line as Genoa and Noli, the northernmost part of the west coast of the Apennine peninsula. The three families joined forces to retake Sardinia and Corsica Island from the Arabs.

Pisa is in a good position to make a good relationship with the Holy See. It has also turned to the Sicilian Kingdom and the Holy Roman Empire. It even took the world of Christ and established a business relationship with Muslims in North Africa. Based on external forces, Pisa firmly controls the dominance of the west coast of the peninsula and maintains a golden period of 100 years. Although it once wanted to touch the Adriatic Sea, it was frustrated by Venice and had to maintain the pattern of “the East and the West”.

For the mad pizza, Noli is a small state to reconcile, and Genoa said that he shot. It treats the problem with the economic rationality of the merchants and keenly finds the key: to discuss the conditions for the development of the maritime industry, the estuary port of Pisa is far from the natural harbor of Genoa; the rise of Pisa is due to the loss of the former core city of civilization, Rome. The economic function, while the pizza was taken over in time due to the near water platform.

Genoa uses the “People Red is not much” situation in pizza, and draws the inland city-state “Coke” pizza everywhere. In 1284, the two sides fought in the sea, Genoa set the battle in the first battle, and built a dam on the upper Arno River in Pisa after the war, causing sand and gravel to accumulate in the estuary, and the port of Pisa was abolished.

The Mediterranean has once again entered the situation of the rule of the East and the West.

The history of the two cities of Genoa and Venice is to seize the strategic opportunity of the Crusades to achieve the rise. Logistics and transportation, logistics supply orders continue, the two cities businessmen counted money to soft. The three powers of the European continent came out to fight, the Italian city-states made money out of the boat, and the world of Christ was united to besiege the Muslims. The wishful thinking of the Holy See was slammed, but it was missing.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire played an important role in the Mediterranean and traded closely with Italy. The Italians controlled many industries with advanced commercial methods, which led to panic in the East Roman authorities, which led to the “Latin Massacre” against Italian expatriates in 1182.

The revenge in Venice came very fast, and the fourth Crusaders, who had no money to pay, 20 years later, went to Constantinople. It is clearly given the script of “Brothers are united, their profits are broken”, but in the end they have become the drama of “brothers smashing walls, hands and feet.” Obviously, the biggest winner of this script change is Venice, which controls the great wealth of Constantinople and the most commercially valuable Black Sea-Mediterranean route.

In the 13th century, the Mediterranean duo inevitably fell into the “Thucydides trap”, and its military confrontation in the Italian city-state has far-reaching influence, no less than the Peloponnesian war in ancient Greece. The two countries fought four times before and after, and both suffered losses. They suffered greatly from the colony to the local. In the end, Venice won Genoa, but Italy lost the entire Mediterranean.

What is the winner or loser?

Venice profited from the Eastern Roman Empire by virtue of its location

Why is Amalfi early? What is the difficulty of Pisa diplomacy? Why can Venice laugh at the end of the “peak matchup”? The lessons are quite interesting.

The first is the role of geographical location. This is even more evident in the early stages of development: Amalfi is at the forefront of the pirate struggle, and the fate of cannon fodder is inevitable. In contrast, Genoa and Venice are the most inland locations on the coasts of the peninsula, in other words, the most vulnerable to sea invasion. Not only that, there are many Italian rivers, many alluvial plains and estuary ports, and there are not many harbors. The port of Hekou must prevent sedimentation and high maintenance costs. This explains why the eight cities in the sea have become a major climate.

Second is the diplomatic relationship with the land power. The maritime city-state is small and strategically small. To ensure survival, it must maintain a huge commercial colonial system, which depends on a powerful navy. But even so, the mainland is still vulnerable (especially from land), so the Navy can do nothing. The decline of pizza is the best example.

Although Genoa is good at business, it can’t stand the “greetings” of France and the West. It chose Spain, and in the end it was hurt by Spain’s decline. On the other hand, Venice is a stable and stable place, with a stronghold on the Adriatic coast, forming a zone that integrates commercial and defensive functions, so that the sea is called the “Venice Bay” for a long time. Although it is impulsive to attack Constantinople, it is remarkable to unite Spain against Turkey.

Finally, the impact of the state system. Although they all rely on navigation and business, the political system is similar, but the specific national conditions of each state are different, and the differences in details also present a large gap in practice.

The most striking contrast in this respect is Genoa and Venice. Both cities are made up of sailors, but Genoa seems to have changed its sailors, and Venice is far better than Genoa in terms of social management and organization because of its financial industry. In the case of navigation, the Genoese are used to doing so, and are rich in Columbus-style sailing explorers. The Venetian ships are in groups and take care of each other.

The same is democracy, the social class of Venice is highly mobile, the opportunities for civilians to participate in the state affairs are large, and the political situation is stable for a long time; while Genoa has the name of democracy, but the power has long been transferred to the hands of the four families, and the internal consumption is severe and volatile.

Shrimp in the middle of a whale
If you are not successful, you can look back at Italy’s maritime city state. Even if you are a singer, it will be nothing but a “shrimp in the middle of a whale.”

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Italy was only a geographical concept in the millennium, similar to ancient Greece. The city was born in the invasion of the barbarians. It was promoted by the feudal system and flourished according to maritime trade, but it was ultimately destroyed by the negative impact of changes in the external environment.

The Normans who swept the Continental ruined Amalfi, but sheltered Pisa and Genoa; Pizza was self-respecting, backed by Norman and the Holy Roman Empire to suppress the Western Mediterranean rivals; Venice relied on the geographical advantage to profit from the Eastern Roman Empire. However, just as ancient Greece died due to internal friction, and finally died in the emerging Macedonia, when the European countries rose, the competing Italian city states became the fish on the cutting board.

Let’s take a look, what is the European Continental strong when the Italian maritime city is active?

France is busy with the British entanglement, Spain is still in the hands of Muslims, often the Italian Holy Roman Empire is another mess, and is powerless. It is precisely because of the inability of the northern land powers, and the excellent commercial performance that won the appreciation of the Holy See and the European tyrants. The Italian maritime city states have won valuable living space and can play the role of “Mediterranean Economic and Trade General Agent”.

In the middle of the 15th century, the Mediterranean pattern changed dramatically. On the one hand, the rise of Ottoman Turkey, the destruction of the Eastern Roman Empire, the obstruction of the Mediterranean business road, the loss of the overseas colonies of the Italian city-states; on the other hand, the British-French Hundred Years War, the resumption of the lost land movement in Spain, the two nationalities of law and west The rise of the country.

The previous great change forced Western Europe to find a new route, which fundamentally reduced the existence value of the Italian maritime city state. Under the last great change, the French and Western powers emulated the sacred Roman Empire of the year, and regarded Italy as a fish to divide and detonated the Italian war. (Also known as the Habsburg-Walova War).

The war ended in Spain, and most of the city-states including Genoa voted for Spain. Only Venice was independent of the Holy Roman Empire because of the West and the West. However, the glory of Italy has been bleak, and the sun in the Mediterranean has finally fallen.