Serenissima Repubblica di San Marco
Venice is different, and playing with Venice should be different too. Because different to the feudal states around, Venice is a merchants’ republic. That way, family members from Venice cannot acquire feudal titles, but they can acquire special offices in the administration of the city and the colonies.
These offices will form some kind of “cursus honorum” in dHRR 0.8, similar to that of the Roman Republic. Historically, the Venetians had age requirements as well as the regulation that holding a higher office required to have proven yourself in a lesser one before, but things weren’t handled that strict in the Middle Ages. In dHRR 0.8 family members from Venice can acquire these offices:
A noble citizen who is at least 25 years old can be elected Podestà. As Podestà he would be governing one of the lesser settlements in the possession of the Republic. Podestàs from Venice had also often been used as Imperial governors in Italy.
Having reached the age of 30, and proven himself a capable Podestà, this patrician can be elected Castellano. As Castellano he would be responsible for a 'castellany', a larger district centred on a castle, where he would be holding supreme military and administrative power. This office was also frequently held by foreign noblemen.
Being a Castellano he would have achieved anything he could without entering the Maggior Consiglio, the High Council. The Maggior Consiglio elected the magistrates. Members of an old patrician family (Casa Vecchia) usually became members with the age of 20. Members of other families (Casa Nuova) needed 'good shoes and the right attitude' to be admitted. Well, Venice was a republic, not a democracy.
As a member of the Council he would be eligible for the office of Magistrato, one of the many administrative magistrates that run the Republic. The minimum age would be 35.
From the many offices that the magistrates held we have splitted off nine, three urban and six colonial. These can be appointed separately by the player:
The president of the Magistrato alla Milizia, the high command of Venetian military.
The Camerlenghi de Comùn, the chamberlain of the Republican possesions.
The Avogador de Comùn, the highest attorney of the Republic.
The Provveditore Generale da Màr, the supreme governor of the maritime and overseas possessions of the Republic, the Stato da Màr.
The Provveditore Generale del Friuli, the supreme governor of the Italian possessions of the Republic adjecting the Adriatic.
The Provveditore Generale della Morea, the supreme governor of the Greek possessions of the Republic.
The Provveditore Generale di Dalmazia, the supreme governor of the Adriatic possessions of the Republic.
The Provveditore Generale di Terraferma, the supreme governor of the Italian hinterland possessions of the Republic.
The Bailo, the supreme Venetian governor in Constantinopolis.
The colonial offices are only available when at least one of the cities belonging to the respective district is held by Venice and a Magistrato is present.
For Magistratos it is important to have held as many offices as possible of these for a term. A term in office is usually five turns, while two urban offices and two colonial offices cannot be held at a time (an urban and a colonial office can be held together).
It is also possible to have these offices held by a lower or higher ranking family member, or by a Magistrato whose term has expired. This character will then have the full functional bonus, but will not profit personally from it.
A character that has proven him a worthy Magistrato, and has reached the age of 40, can be elected into the “Council of the Forty”, the Quarantia. This was the supreme court of the Republic. For the common patrician, being a member of the Quarantia would be the final point of his career, because above them is only the Minor Consiglio, the true government of Venice, comparable to the Signoria of other Italian towns.
The Minor Consiglio is composed of the Doge, a rather toothless faction leader, his highest councillor, the Consigliere Ducale (faction heir), and the not more than three characters that had been elected Procuratore di San Marco. Because the office of Procuratore di San Marco is held by livelong appointment, the Doge and his Consigliere can hold this too, reducing the Minor Consiglio to three family members.
To be elected will not be so difficult, but also not automatically. Besides having reached the right age the candidate needs to make “points” with the members of the High Council who are electing the Magistrates. “Points” can be acquired in different ways, for example by proven himself good in the office he is currently holding.
Of course, he might have also failed in the task he was asked to fulfil. In this case he would actually lose points. The pedantic advocates of a merchants’ republic might have different ideas than the feudal lords around of what was a “good conduct” and what “bad”. Acts of insane bravery are not appreciated, such as attacking the enemy against serious odds and winning a heroic victory by losing more than half of the army. Wasting resources is also not appreciated, so don’t send a full stack of expensive mercenaries to fight down a handful of peasant rebels. The councillors are the same nitpicking when it comes to judge on the conduct of a governor.
Another way would be ‘networking’.
The higher the own ranking would be the more important people a character would know. This might prove very helpful when working on ones own career.
And in fact not just the own career but also that of the sons. When daddy is a Doge even the most incompetent character should make it to Magistrato.
Emperor Alexios and the Venetians
In 1080 Venice is allied with Byzantium and both are at war with Sicily. The Emperor is in desperate need of help, and would do close to anything to have at least someone taking care of the Sicilian fleet. And what kind of merchants would the Venetians have been had they not tried to make profit out of it….
When Venice actually attacks the Sicilians, be it on land or on sea, Alexios is willing to grant important privileges.
These will not give much money instantly but will have a severe impact when in effect for longer: Each turn the privileges are in effect the king’s purse of Venice will rise by 50fl and that of Byzantium will drop by the same amount (yes, this makes +5,000 here and -5,000 there after 100 turns!).
This goes on as long as the alliance between Venice and Byzantium is active, or until Byzantium makes peace with Sicily provided it is held by the AI.