How the Black Sheep Came Forth from the Fold
The proud Republic of Genoa had grown rich on trade all across the Mediterranean world. Slaves had made the city rich and now luxuries from the Far East were adding to the citizen’s wealth. The trade boom had allowed the city state to expand from the coast of Barbary to the Crimea.
Geonese support for the Sicilian uprising had fostered strong ties between the Republic and the Aragonese. However, an expanding trade empire also meant that Genoa would be seen as a rival by the other great trading republic, Venice. Could it be that Venice was paying the notorious White Company of John Hawkwood to despoil the Northern territories. Or, was it the Byzantines who were intent on quashing Genoa’s much trumpeted distain for royalty and empire. It had been the Byzantines who had overrun Genoa’s Eastern outposts at Galata and Chios. If that wasn’t enough to worry the Genoese, their once trusted allies, the Aragonese, were now openly siding with the duplicitous Byzantine tyrant.
.1.The Northern possessions of Genoa around Milan.
2. The Geonese recall their far flung garrisons and march North.
3. Venice supports the Byzantines’ annexation of Galata and Chios
4. The White Company of John Hawkwood leaves Florentine employ and heads for Milan.
The two armies met on the field of battle to the West of Milan. Genoese money had bought the finest harness for their mercenary knights. Stradiots would attempt to flank the invaders whilst the militia spear and bow allowed the Republic’s new wonder weapons to destroy the longbowmen from afar.
Hawkwood’s army stretched across the wide plain. The steely eyed veteran would dismount his men-at-arms and intersperse them with his longbowmen. However, his Spanish knights were too lofty to alight and so would ride into the battle on his left wing. Was that the colours of Aragon they were flying?
The Genoese began the encounter with a cannonade. Within a few minutes Hawkwood’s archers were falling back. One unit lost and not even within bow range!
It was not to be! The steadfast combination of blade and bow held the charge and then turned the flank of the knights. The city militia were too far away to stop the manoeuvre.
The pride of the knights led to ultimate disaster as they sought out the French routiers. With successive sixes rolled by James, so many that my own honour was questioned, the White company was on the brink of victory. Another unit had been cut down by cannon fire but archery would seal the Genoese fate. A double element of militia lost the firefight and the proud Republic was humbled. James showed his usual magnanimity.
A condottiere bandit now holds Milan! The gallant Republic of Genoa seeks help from any friend of Truth and Justice! Or, for the more prosaic, Genoa can offer the use of a fleet and artillery to any ally who can assist us in our time of need.