Greetings, fellow Age of Empires fans, it’s me, Sage. I have returned to share with you a little bit more of the stories behind the new civilizations joIning Age of Empires III: Definitive Editions. The Italians and the Maltese are fascinating groups which our developers worked tirelessly to highlight the richness of their history, their culture, and more. Below, I have shared with you some information which will enrich your game play experience and leave you with some new curious facts to share with your friends and colleagues.
The Italian Renaissance and Italian Wars
The rebirth of Italy began circa 14th century AD. Italy had one of the most complex sociopolitical cultures in all of Europe characterized by split political states, each with their own individual government. The splintered nature of Italian politics led to conflict between city-states, but art, architecture, and culture continued to thrive. There is an on-going debate on what event is the “true spark” of the rebirth of Italy, but most can agree that the rise of Italian thinkers (or scholars) were in part, responsible for claiming that the “Middle Ages” of Italy had ended, and the rise of artistic culture and technology they were witnessing marked the beginning of a new age.
As you will discover throughout the game, Italy’s location in between major traDing routes aided in their development of their economic and trading abilities making it one of the major trading capitals of the world. Ports like the ones established near Sicily became banking capitals and a major center for the wealthy Italian traders. Splurging their money on art and architecture as a way to indicate their status allowed for artists to truly invest their time and their efforts into developing their skills and creating breath-taking works. Seemingly endless amount of wealth also meant endless time for curiosity and exploring. An opportunity to be truly curious about the world surrounding those who entered and lived through the rebirth opened the door for exploration and experimentation on what was their purpose on earth and how they could make their limited time aS best as it could be. It was a time in which artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci dared to share their wildest dreams and aspirations. Art, culture, curiosity, trade, wealth, and opportunity collided—the rebirth was in full swing, but all good things do come to an end.
Conflict and tRagedy continued across Italy despite the rise of such a hopeful era. Leaders across Europe understood the economic force behind Italy. The wealth, location, and rapid growth of this peninsula would be an invaluable addition to any crown’s repertoire. France, Spain, England, and the Holy Roman Empire invaded Italian lands and tirelessly battled to claim power over an already war-torn Italy. The Italian Wars, which you will have the option to experience in this new expansion, had begun and the rebirth of this mercantile superpower was over.
Malta, during and past their “Middle Ages”, much like the neighboring Italy, was notorious for its diversity in culture. They were truly a melting pot of peoples, religions, customs, etc., all influenced by the different powers and crowns who held their land for hundreds of years at a time. Malta’s two major influences came from the Byzantine rule and Arab rule, respectively, defining language, religion, politics, government structure, and customs. In addition, this Mediterranean land felt the influence of Sicilian wealth and manpower, making Malta a key target for conquering from European powers. By the 16th century, Malta became the new home for the Knights of the order of St. John, also known as the Hospitallers.
These HOspitallers of Italian descent were a military order founded in Jerusalem trained to build and run hospitals to aid those who were in need of medical care during their pilgrimage, to the poor, and the ill. As their efforts grew throughout Europe, the order expanded their service and care but considered Rome to be their headquarters. Unfortunately, the grasp over the territories they had taken over was short lived. Muslims regained control over Jerusalem, and Rhodes, their last post to the east, was eventually lost leaving these knights with no place to claim as their own. After many years of wondering the seas, Hospitallers were gifted the archipelago of Malta by the Holy Roman Emperor as a place to call their own. Upon arrival, these men realized the risk of lootings and attacks the archipelago faced on an almost daily basis so they rerouted some of their military efforts to aid the people of Malta in their fight against piracy, looters, and any force who attempted to conquer their land. In addition, the knights built an impressive hospital, bringing people from other territories to Malta to receive some of the best medical care in the world. The melting pot of Malta continued to grow.
Despite their military and health assistance to the Maltese people, their aid to this territory did not come at no Cost. These knights continued to spread their religious, governmental, and cultural practices across a land which they conquered not long before creating long lasting effects on the region.
This is only a small glimpse at the history of Italy and Malta, but I do hope you stay tuned to learn more about these new civilization both in game, and with me, Sage, as your guide.
It is gooD to be back,
Ready to explore and battle it out with all the new things? Knights of the Mediterranean is available for pre-order from the Microsoft Store and Steam!