This is what I came up with:
Mark Mastropiero Earl of Arbe and harbor master of Constantinople. Mark is a drunkard and loud mouth who mingles with loose women. He controls the crossbow market across the Mediterranean with exports from Arbe by imposing high tariffs at Constantinople and making them available at bulk rates to Venetian Merchants.
This is how I got there:
I’ve decided I want to make an arrogant “Merchant Prince” because that sounds cool. I’m not that up to date on my Byzantine history and to be honest don’t know what a “Merchant Prince” really is…
So, I let google make my character for me. I’ll put my google search key words in bold.
First I want a name because that shit takes forever and I just want to get it out of the way.
I did a google search for: eastern roman empire names because Constantinople is the capital of the Byzantine Empire which was also the Eastern Roman Empire. It led me to this website:
I thought Janus Emiliano sounded cool so that’s done. It sounds Italian to me so… he’s Italian. I know Venice is loaded with Merchant thanks to CHS English class and that anti-Semite playwright Mrs. Newcomb made everyone read. But I know fuck all about actual Merchants of Venice so I googled: what did Venice trade with Byzantium. Google said I spelled Byzantium wrong but I told google to suck a bag of dicks and clicked on….
It’s off by a hundred years but I guess that means that Janus Emiliano’s great grand father was a bad ass trader and our family has just leached off of our inheritance while we rode the wave of the status quo for the last century. Perfect!
I’m reading the wikipedia article and I can’t find exactly what the Venetians traded with the Byzantines. Plus, I want him to be an actual prince of sorts so I’m going to link him to the Doge of Venice which I see a link to in this article.
I skimmed the Doge of Venice article, he’s sort of the Emperor of Venice appointed for life head of the the church, military, government etc… but he’s elected so I guess I can’t be an actual “prince” unless I’m part of the current Doge’s family. At the bottom of the page is a link to the list of Doges the current Doge is Enrico Dandolo (1192 to 1205)….
Holy shit! This dude is a bad ass. It says he probably only had one son. A guy named Raniero Dandolo who was his vice-doge. I did a google search for: Raniero Dandolo and I clicked translate this page on the German wikipedia page about him:
This dude Raniero is lame and plus there’s too much about him in actual history books so I don’t want to play him. Back to the list of Doges. The Doge before is a guy named Orio Mastropiero. English Wikipedia doesn’t have much on him but thanks to Google translate I get this:
The translation is funky but I’m just going to go with it. He’s got a son, maybe, who is a guy named Mark who’s the Earl of Rab which sound Perfect!… Google doesn’t give me any results for Mark Mastropiero so I’ve got free reign with regard to history.
So, now I’m Mark Mastropiero Earl of Rab (a merchant prince?) I search for Rab in wikipedia and it comes up with a nifty article. Rab’s right across the way from Venice just a little closer to Constantinople plus my town has a tourist website:
After reading the article I decide to change his name to Mark Mastropiero Earl of Arbe (the Venetian name for the city). The wikipedia article on Rab led me to a modern festival that celebrates the medieval traditions of Rab, it culminates in a crossbow tournament so, fuck it, I sell crossbows.
I remember from the article on the 1082 trade agreement that Venice controls the harbor in Constantinople and I’ve decided that the Mastropiero Doge made me the harbor master during his regency. This is something I probably fight over with the current Doge Danoldo.
So here’s my concept:
Mark Mastropiero Earl of Arbe and harbor master of Constantinople. Mark is a drunkard and loud mouth who mingles with loose women. He controls the crossbows market across the Mediterranean with exports from Arbe by imposing tariffs at Constantinople and making them available at bulk rates to Venetian Merchants.