Ars Bellica


The new wave of invasions in Europe


Between the ninth and tenth centuries, Europe was subjected to a new (and last) wave of invasions from the North (by the Normans), from South (Saracens) and from East (Hungarians). It all began with sudden raids, in front of which Europe seemed incapable of any kind of defense. Lately, peoples from North, established stable political organizations: from Normandy, to England, to Ireland, to southern Italy, to Russia and became a force for stability rather than a crisis. Likewise, the Hungarians or Magyars, from Caucasia settled in the lands of Hungary were have been converted to Christianity by their king Stephen. It should be noted that the incursions of the Normans, reaching up to the Labrador, are, presumably, the second contact between the Old and the New World, after what happened in prehistoric times. In the map, the darker colors indicate regions of origin of the various raiders, lighter colors and arrows, respectively conquests and raids.

The Crusades, the Christian expansion in the Levant and the "reconquista"


The map shows the main routes of the first four crusades, which shown that the participation of the Italian Maritime Republics, much more interested in trading with the muslim than in the clashes with their world, it was not essential, except for the fourth, which was an unusual crusade. The map shows also the maximum extention (quite peripheral to the Islam territories) achieved by the so-called "Crusader states" in the East, and the boundaries, after 1204, of the Latin Empire. One of the routes of the Third Crusade was interrupted at the river Salef, where the Emperor Redbeard died. It is customary to consider a crusade also the long and bloody expulsion of the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula, also called the "reconquista". The map shows the Moorish kingdoms in Spain at the beginning of the "reconquista", and the limits to which they were reduced in 1257. Only the Kingdom of Granada survived until 1492.

The spread of the universities in the Commons era


The map indicates the prodigious development of university centers in Europe in the age of Commons, from the twelfth to the fourteenth century. It shows the University founded in the twelfth, thirteenth and in the fourteenth century. And it's interesting to note that with the growth of cultural centers matches the territorial expansion of finance, exemplified on the map with the indication, underlined in red, of the branches (in the first decades of the fourteenth century) of the Florentine Compagnia dei Bardi (among the most powerful bankers of the world). The two phenomena had to be placed between them in relation to structure and superstructure.

The Holy Roman Empire at the time of the Swabians


The Holy Roman Empire is apparently a unitary political entity: but it was actually formed on two individual kingdoms, the Kingdom of Germany and the Kingdom of Italy; and each of them was composed by several independent bodies: in Germany the Kingdom of Burgundy, the duchies of Bohemia, of Saxony, Bavaria, Austria, Lorena; in Italy, in addition to the Commons, independent de facto, the various marquisates, bishoprics and patriarchates. The Patrimony of St. Peter (with the dependence of Benevento) was in fact an indipendent state, and even it was shattered into numerous independent podest‡ or rebels to the papal authority. The Kingdom of Sicily, after the marriage of Henry VI and Constance, was tied to the Empire personal union of the sovereign, but it was, legally, a separate entity. Even Corsica and Sardinia are foreign to the Empire, and linked to the republics of Pisa and Genoa. The map indicates the center of Germany, in which originating the Swabian possessions. In the territory bordering with the Pomeranian, the knights of the Teutonic Order and the Knights of the Sword have started a real colonization under the guise of crusade just to evangelize Prussia and the "lands of the East". The map indicates some of the cities founded until 1250. The Republic of Venice (for its Byzantine origin) has no connection with the Kingdom of Italy and is completely independent. Trieste is alien to the Republic and is from now on the commercial outlet of the Bohemian and Austrian territories. At the east of the Empire are shown the Kingdom of Poland, Kingdom of Hungary and the Kingdom of Serbia ( formed in the twelfth century).