The Four Sea Republics - Golden Edition v2.5
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At the turn of the millennium, the maritime city-states of Amalfi and Pisa monopolize trade with the Far East. Their superiority however is being declined due to the increasing competition of two new extremely aggressive rivals: Venice and Genoa. Yet still naval domination of the Sea Republics is unquestioned and each one of them tries to monopolize the East Route. The gate to the East is Byzantium.
The Byzantine Empire is past its prime time but still is the richest and most sophisticated power in the world. But its army is undermanned, legions and legions have been lost in the endless war against the Turkish expansion. The Turks themselves are trying to unify under a leading tribe and dream of conquering Byzantium one day.
The Normans in Sicily have their own claim to the East crown and are taking over all Byzantine possessions in Southern Italy. They have finally managed to capture Durazzo, across the Adriatic, after a long siege. The road to Byzantium lies open.
Meanwhile, the Pope has called for Crusades to free Jerusalem from the Saracens, and Byzantium is a welcome prey for both of them: Crusaders and naval powers. Venice has agreed to help Crusaders take over Byzantium, Genoa has come to help Byzantium in exchange for trade monopoly...
In the west French Kingdom and Holy Roman Empire fight their way to play the key role in all political affairs at Mediterranean Theatre.
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