How likely is the following scenario, and what are add on consequences to such an event happening?

In 1503, when Machiavelli is made head of the Florentine Militia he sets about gaining the talents of Leonardo daVinci to design and produce his weapons of war. By 1505 daVinci is producing the first automobiles and rail roads in Florence.

In 1508 the League of Cambrai formed against Venice, leading to an alliance between Florence and Venice in 1509 with a common goal of routing foreign invaders and establishing secure borders from their common enemies in the League of Cambrai. This alliance eventually lead to the formation of [insert state name] when the fall of Romagna in 1511 to the alliance prompted Modena, Ferrara, and Mantua to petition Florence for protection from Swiss controlled Milan with the same weaponry that they had used to secure their borders and take Romagna.

In 1513, Milan fell to [State] as Louis XII attempted to retake Milan for himself in the battle of Novara, but failed. [State] pushed onwards, reclaiming all former italic land, former french territory up to the Le Rhone, all the Swiss Confederation, and Tyrol by 1516. Corsica and Sardinia joined [State] seeing their growing power in the region and the promise of what daVinci's inventions could do for their importing and exporting of goods.

By 1526 the Pope, Clement VII, had become alarmed by the growing power of the Holy Roman Empire and Spain and attempted to form the League of Cognac, but failed as [State] did not feel threatened. Naples' citizens began revolting against imperial control due to it being weakened by [State's] control of Corsica and Sardinia. Instead, [State] took a neutral stance and allowed either side to pass into their territory so long as they were peaceful in it. This lead to Rome being sacked and Clement being imprisoned by the empire, leaving the Papal States without a leader. By the winter of 1530, both the Papal States and Naples were Annexed into [State].

Francis I took the annexation of the Papal States as offensive act and launched an attack on [State] with the aid of the Ottoman Empire in 1536, but failed due to France's technological inferiority.

In 1542, France once more attacked [State] after a prolonged war with the Spanish and Holy Roman Empire. It was decided by the leaders of [State] at this point France was a nuisance and had to be dealt with. Within 2 years France was conquored by [State] In 1543, the Spanish and Holy Roman Empire was split apart with the treaty of [Treaty], which also officially annexed French holdings to [State].


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  • $\begingroup$ There appear to be a number of place and event names missing from your question. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Oct 6 '16 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ The title of your question is interesting, but with this wall of description you are almost answering yourself. $\endgroup$ – Radec Oct 6 '16 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre dang it... teach me not to use carrots $\endgroup$ – Durakken Oct 6 '16 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre I had all the [State] in carrots which deleted them from view. It's an unnamed fictional state. $\endgroup$ – Durakken Oct 6 '16 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Nimrod I'm asking whether it's realistic and other consequences $\endgroup$ – Durakken Oct 6 '16 at 17:19

A contrafactual to your contrafactual, Leonardo did build a real self propelled vehicle while in the employ of the Duke d'Sforza in 1478. (This was also a period where his creative energies were really flowing, since this is where many of his famous sketch concepts of other mechanical devices like flying machines, tanks, submarines, diving suits etc. date from).

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Modern replica's of Leonardo's car demonstrate the problem that Leonardo (and all his contemporaries) faced: there is no practical energy source to power these devices at this time. The car was powered by wound springs, and the replica's are capable of travelling for @ 40 m, impressive for people watching a demonstration in 1478, but hardly practical for a working vehicle.

As an aside, many of Leonardo's inventions actually "work"; modern replicas of devices as diverse as the tank, parachute, diving suit etc. have been built and operated by enthusiasts around the world.

Would be conquerors counting on wonder weapons from the Mastro's workshop would be disappointed, however. Not only were these devices lacking workable power sources, but would have to be hand crafted by highly skilled artisans. The Duke d'Sforza would never have been able to get a battalion of tanks, squadron of submarines or even SEAL dive teams in any practical time frame. Evidently the Duke realized this, as Leonardo's primary duties as the Duke's engineer involved party planning and creating special effects like the car) to entertain the guests. So far as we know today, the Duke d'Sforza harboured no long range plans to conquer other cities using Leonardo's war machines.

If the Duke did have warlike intentions, he would have gotten far more for his money by doing what other leaders of Italian city states did at the time: hire professional Condottieri to do the fighting. Leonardo could contribute with logistical improvements, like his "self supporting bridge", and accurate sketch maps of the region. I suspect that just those two innovations in the Duke d'Sforza's kitbag would have had far more positive effect than spending more time and money on fanciful projects on the cutting edge of 15th century technology.

  • $\begingroup$ So if they discovered oil... what then? $\endgroup$ – Durakken Oct 6 '16 at 22:07
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    $\begingroup$ What then? Nothing. Oil has been known since ancient times in the Middle East but the energy potential was not unlocked until the 1800's. $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Oct 6 '16 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ And what if that "unlocking" was done much earlier. As far as I can see, there is no reason to think it couldnt be $\endgroup$ – Durakken Oct 6 '16 at 22:22

As close to impossible as is possible

  1. Machiavelli would never become ruler of Florence. Machiavelli was a native of Florence, but was never a citizen, was not rich, and was never more than a second rate civil servant. The signora controlled Republican Florence, and Machiavelli was not one of them. I suppose he commanded the militia in 1503-1506, so maybe you could make a case for him starting a coup, but his ill-trained militia force would have been easily routed by anyone who hired della Rovere or Gonzaga or any other condottieri of the time.

  2. Da Vinci was never able to make any of his sketches reality, for the simple reason that the required supporting technology did not exist. Lets just isolate the steam engine that would be part of the war machines and rail engines. Even if da Vinci invented Savery's steam pump, it took another 100 years of development until it could be put into a locomotive. And even then it was only about 10 hp. If you assume that da Vinci received a full steam engine building kit from a time traveler, where were they mining coal at this time? Not in Italy. He could have found some low quality mines in Britain and Flanders, but without railroads, how would he get enough of the stuff to his war machines to make them go? And thats not even considering that automobiles are not really possible with steam technology, and would instead require an internal combustion engine. Thats about 200 years of industrial development that all had to happen in da Vinci's brain.

  3. Da Vinci was by no means the only qualified master craftsman of the period. Even if he had managed to invent such a powerful machine out of nothing, and even if he miraculously found enough fuel to make them useful, he surely would have had to teach other people to craft these machines if he hoped to build more than a handful in his lifetime. If he taught other people to make them, then France (or Spain, or the Emperor) could certainly bribe one of them to build a similar creation for them. The Inca weren't able to bribe Spaniards to help them build guns and because of the barriers in language, culture, and religion. On the other hand, there were plenty of Italians happy to work for other Europeans...like da Vinci himself.

  4. The Papal States would not have been left without a leader. We've had a Pope for two millenia, sometimes two or three at a time. They've survived at least 5 sacks of Rome. The Papal States would have a leader.

  5. Nationalism was a thing already, at least in France. It would have been effectively impossible to conquer France...even by controlling the entire territory of France. This was demonstrated about a hundred years before your timeline, from 1423 to about 1428. England and Burgundy between them controlled all the richest parts of France, except for the cities of Orleans and Angers. The king of France was dead, and before his death had signed a treaty passing France to the king of England, the crown prince of France didn't even bother claiming his throne. All is lost for France right? Not really. Turns out a teenage peasant girl showed up to whip up a guerilla war. In a plot more Red Dawn than Red Dawn, the Maid died two years later (probably only 19 years old) but French resistance re-materialized, the English were defeated in open battle for the first time in decades, and the English were steadily driven to the sea. You could conquer France, but it would take a lot more than a few steam tanks to hold it against a population of 20 million engaged in guerilla warfare.

  • $\begingroup$ 1. Nowhere did I say that. Machiavelli simply bough daVinci's services for Militia use. 2. Steam engines were a thing even then, just not their best but were assuming funding to make this work so it is likely to get done. 3. Yes, but they might have thought the idea foolish till too late and thus couldn't rise up to meet them. 4. Even if the pope was just imprisoned? 5. Maybe, but that would be a rebellion that happened after all the stated events and doesn't prevent the anexation. Just makes it hard to enforce. $\endgroup$ – Durakken Oct 6 '16 at 17:42
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    $\begingroup$ 1. Him and what money? Not enough money to fund steam engines without control of the city treasury. 2. They were not a thing until the 100s. Get some history. 3. Your timeline covers 40 years after the debut of the war machines. They could figure out the value of a war machine in that time. 4. An imprisoned leader can be an even better, more motivational one. 5. Presumably you made this timeline for [State] to emerge victorious, not to dissolve in civil war like England did. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Oct 6 '16 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Also, if you want to create this [State] you can do it here. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Oct 6 '16 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ 1. Presumably to run the militia from Florentine Rulers, or at least that's my thinking. 2. Notice the word practical by Savery. That's the difference not that they didn't exist yet. 3. Right, but by the time they did I am presuming that Florence is a much larger lead and exploiting materials they need access to that Florence knows, but others don't. ie Florence Capitalizes on it's advanced knowledge. 4. True, but can harm military effectiveness.At this point btw the Papal states would be surround too so that's another issue. 6. Consequence not the point. The point was very different. $\endgroup$ – Durakken Oct 6 '16 at 19:17

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